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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

MAGDALENE – Cliff Eidelman

September 6, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Do you remember what you were doing when you were 24? Maybe you were just starting out at your first proper job, maybe you just got your first apartment, maybe you were embarking on your first relationship. Maybe you were even still at university, dreaming of what your future life might bring once you leave academia and head out into the big wide world. Whatever you were doing, I’m pretty sure you weren’t doing what Cliff Eidelman was doing when he was 24 – which was conducting 120 musicians of the Munich Symphony Orchestra for his debut film score, Magdalene. To say that Eidelman’s rise was meteoric is an enormous understatement; just a year prior to scoring Magdalene he was still a student at the University of Southern California, but this all changed when German film director Monica Teuber somehow heard a performance recording of a ballet score Eidelman had written on commission for Santa Monica City College. On the strength of that music alone Teuber hired Eidelman to score her film; after it came out the score was so well received that it immediately led to other assignments, and within three years he was scoring major studio blockbusters like Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – and a career was born. Read more…

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER – Craig Safan

August 30, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The fourth movie in the massively successful Nightmare on Elm Street horror franchise was A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; it’s a direct continuation of the story from 1987’s Nightmare on Elm Street 3, in which the survivors of that film have been released from the psychiatric hospital, but still find themselves being stalked by the horribly disfigured child killer Freddy Krueger, who has the ability to murder people in their dreams. The film stars Lisa Wilcox, Danny Hassel, Tuesday Knight, and Robert Englund in his iconic role as Krueger, and was directed by Renny Harlin, who was helming his first major studio feature film following the success of his 1987 English-language debut, the low-budget horror movie Prison. The film was actually one of the best reviewed films of the series, with special praise being given to the surprisingly insightful screenplay by Brian Helgeland, and especially the special effects and design; the critic in the Los Angeles Times wrote at the time that the film was ‘by far the best of the series, a superior horror picture that balances wit and gore with imagination and intelligence’. Read more…

MIDNIGHT RUN – Danny Elfman

August 23, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Midnight Run was one of the best buddy action comedies of the 1980s, and was one of the first films to showcase the hitherto untapped comedy potential of the great dramatic actor Robert De Niro. De Niro plays Jack Walsh, a bounty hunter working for bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano), who is hired to find mob accountant Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin) in New York and bring him back to Los Angeles; Mardukas had embezzled $15 million from Chicago mob boss Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina) before skipping on the bail Moscone had posted for him. What initially appears to be an easy task – Mardukas is annoying but generally compliant – quickly turns into a nightmare when Serrano’s henchmen, FBI agent Alonso Mosley (Yaphet Kotto), and rival bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton) all converge on Walsh, wanting Mardukas for themselves. Thinking on his feet, Walsh finds himself taking Mardukas on an epic road trip, trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuers, while keeping ‘The Duke’ under control. The film was written by George Gallo and directed by Martin Brest, and was a critical and commercial success, with special praise being given to the chemistry between De Niro and Grodin. Read more…

DIE HARD – Michael Kamen

August 16, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Die Hard is one of the most iconic, enduring, and ground-breaking action films ever made; it made an action star of former TV leading man Bruce Willis, launched the cinematic career of the late great Alan Rickman, and set the high benchmark for all the action movies that would follow it. The film is directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven de Souza and Jeb Stuart, based on the novel ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ by Roderick Thorp. Willis plays John McClane, a New York cop who has travelled to Los Angeles for his Christmas vacation, where he intends to try to reconcile with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). He arrives at his wife’s office skyscraper building, Nakatomi Plaza, where a Christmas party is underway. The party is disrupted by the arrival of a German terrorist group led by the suave but ruthless Hans Gruber (Rickman), which takes all the party-goers hostage – except for McClane, who escapes undetected onto a different floor. After Gruber brutally executes the company CEO, McClane becomes involved in a game of cat-and-mouse with the terrorists, picking them off one by one in an attempt to rescue the hostages. The film co-stars Alexander Godunov, Reginald Veljohnson, and Hart Bochner, and remains to this day one of my all-time favorite action movies. Read more…

A FISH CALLED WANDA – John Du Prez

August 2, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Fish Called Wanda is one of the best comedies of the 1980s – one part romance, one part crime caper, one part English farce – which teams several members of the classic Monty Python comedy troupe with several popular American stars. Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline play Wanda and Otto, American jewel thieves in London who, along with stuttering getaway driver Ken (Michael Palin) and East End gangster George (Tom Georgeson), plan an elaborate diamond heist. However, in-fighting and double-crossing within the gang leads to George being arrested, which proves to be a problem for everyone else as he is the only one who knows where the loot has been stashed. In order to get information about the location of the diamonds, Wanda decides to seduce George’s barrister, Archie Leach (the irrepressible John Cleese), a repressed middle-class Englishman stuck in a loveless marriage. Archie, flattered by the attention, immediately falls for Wanda, but shockingly Wanda also finds herself genuinely attracted in return – which causes more friction within the gang, not least because Otto and Wanda are also secretly lovers themselves. Read more…

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT – Alan Silvestri

July 26, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When cinematic scholars make lists of truly groundbreaking films, very few of them ever mention Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but in my opinion they absolutely should. It’s an anarchic action-comedy-murder mystery directed by Robert Zemeckis, adapted from a novel by Gary K. Wolf. Set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the film stars Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant, a down-on-his-luck private detective who is hired by the head of a movie studio to investigate the wife of one of its box office stars; there are rumors that she is having an affair, and the studio feels that the scuttlebutt is affecting their star’s performances. But here’s the catch: the star in question is a cartoon rabbit named Roger, and this version of Los Angeles is an alternate universe where all the classic animated characters from Disney and Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes live side-by-side with humans. As the plot progresses Eddie and Roger team up when Roger is accused of murder; as Eddie tries to exonerate the bothersome bunny he crosses paths not only with Roger’s sensationally seductive wife Jessica, but a creepy law enforcement officer named Judge Doom, who has a pathological hatred of cartoons, and wants Roger to pay the ultimate price for his alleged crime. The film co-stars Christopher Lloyd and Joanna Cassidy, as well as the voices of Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner. Read more…

RED HEAT – James Horner

June 14, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The action comedy buddy-cop movie reached new heights in the summer of 1988 with the release of Red Heat, which was a vehicle for the increasing box office power of action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. In this film directed by Walter Hill, Schwarzenegger plays Ivan Danko, a captain in the Moscow police, whose partner is killed by drug dealer and crime boss Rostavili (Ed O’Ross). Rostavili flees to the United States and disappears into the Chicago underworld; he is arrested by local cop Art Ridzik (Jim Belushi) in connection with several murders, and Danko arrives from Moscow to oversee his extradition back to the Soviet Union. However, when Rostavili escapes again, Danko and Ridzik are paired with each other as partners and tasked with catching him again and bringing him to justice. In addition to the usual fight scenes where Schwarzenegger was able to show off his impressive physique, Red Heat was interesting because of its Cold War overtones. In 1988 the Berlin Wall was still up, the Soviet Union was still a world superpower, and the idea of pairing a traditional wise-cracking donut-munching beat cop with a stoic, by-the-book Soviet detective allowed the filmmakers to use them as a microcosm to explore the political tensions of the era, as well as to inject some fish-out-of-water social commentary as Danko observes and criticizes American consumerism and decadence from a communist point of view. Read more…