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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

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…

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BIG – Howard Shore

June 7, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Big was one of the most popular and successful comedies of 1988 – in fact, of the 1980s as a whole – and was, in many ways, the film which made Tom Hanks a bonafide box office star. Directed by Penny Marshall from a screenplay by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg, Big is the story of childhood wish fulfillment, in which a regular 12 year old boy from New Jersey named Josh Baskin makes a wish ‘to be big’ on an old fortune teller machine at a traveling carnival, and then wakes up the following morning transformed into a 30 year old man (Hanks). After having terrified his mother, who believes that adult Josh is actually a kidnapper holding her son for ransom, he calls on his best friend Billy (Jared Rushton) for help, and together they travel to Manhattan to track down the carnival – only to be told that it will take months for the paperwork to come through. In the meantime, through a fortuitous set of circumstances, Josh manages to get a job at a toy company, working for the gruff but kindly Mr. MacMillan (Robert Loggia). He impresses his new colleagues – including the beautiful Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), who soon falls for Josh’s ‘child-like’ charm – but as much as Josh begins to enjoy his new adult life, he continues to search for the fortune teller machine so he can return home. Read more…

RAMBO III – Jerry Goldsmith

May 31, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Sylvester Stallone’s position as one of the decade’s most bankable Hollywood stars continued in 1988 with Rambo III, the third film about the exploits of John Rambo, a bitter and damaged Vietnam-era Special Forces veteran who keeps getting dragged back into war zones no matter how much he tries to live a quiet life. Directed by Peter MacDonald and written by Stallone himself with Sheldon Lettitch, Rambo III begins with Rambo being visited by his old army colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna), who tries to recruit him for a covert special ops mission to bring weapons to mujahedeen freedom fighters battling the Soviets in Afghanistan. Rambo refuses, but is eventually drawn into the conflict anyway weeks later when he learns that the mission was a disaster, and Trautman is now being held captive by a the sadistic Soviet colonel Alexei Zaysen (Marc de Jonge). Vowing to rescue his friend and bring him home, Rambo travels to the region alone, intending to wage a one-man war on the kidnappers. Read more…

WILLOW – James Horner

May 24, 2018 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Willow is a high fantasy film, which takes well-loved genre tropes from Lord of the Rings and elsewhere, and casts them in an adventure filled with magic, monsters, evil queens, beautiful princesses, soaring romance, daring sword fights, and much much more. Written by Bob Dolman from a story by George Lucas, and directed by Ron Howard, Willow is the story of a newborn baby prophesized to bring about the downfall of the evil witch Queen Bavmorda; to prevent the prophecy from coming to pass Bavmorda imprisons all expectant mothers, but after it is born, the baby is smuggled out of Bavmorda’s castle by a midwife, and eventually finds its way into the hands of Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn (dwarf) farmer and aspiring magician. Determined to protect the baby, Willow journeys far from his home, and eventually finds himself in the company of a roguish swordfighter named Madmartigan, the good witch Fin Raziel, and a pair of mischievous woodland sprites. As the story progresses they all become involved in a large scale war between Bavmorda’s army and those who oppose her, while Bavmorda’s daughter Sorsha and the fearsome General Kael continue to hunt for the baby. The film stars Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, and Jean Marsh, and has a spectacular original score by James Horner. Read more…

A WORLD APART – Hans Zimmer

April 26, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As I wrote in my review for James Newton Howard’s Russkies last year, one of my favorite things about the Throwback Thirty series is the opportunity it gives me to take a look back at the very beginnings of certain composers’ careers, and examine how they started and where they came from. But first, a little background on the movie: A World Apart is an anti-Apartheid drama from the acclaimed cinematographer Chris Menges, who was making his directorial debut; it was written by Shawn Slovo, and loosely based on the lives of her parents, Ruth First and Joe Slovo. Set in South Africa in 1963, the film tells the story of Diana and Gus Roth, who are strong and determined anti-Apartheid activists. Despite being white and wealthy the Roths are frequently involved in public demonstrations and high profile political activism against the racist South African government, and as a result are often subjected to police brutality, violence, and societal ostracism – something which their pre-teen daughter Molly struggles to understand. The film stars Barbara Hershey, Jeroen Krabbé, a young Tim Roth, and a then 10-year-old Jodhi May, and was a significant critical success in Europe, winning a BAFTA for Best Screenplay, and receiving commendations at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. Read more…

THE LIGHTHORSEMEN – Mario Millo

April 12, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Lighthorsemen was one of a series of critically acclaimed Australian films in the 1980s which looked at the experiences of that country’s soldiers during World War I and World War II, while also commenting specifically on the emergence of an Australian national culture and identity as it moved from being a British colony to attaining full independence. Capitalizing on the success of 1980’s Breaker Morant and 1981’s Gallipoli, which launched the international careers of directors Bruce Beresford and Peter Weir, The Lighthorsemen was directed by Simon Wincer and followed the experiences of four young and inexperienced Australian soldiers in a mounted brigade, fighting for the British against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East as part of World War I. The movie culminates with an extraordinary depiction of the Battle of Beersheba, which has since come to be regarded as one of the greatest mounted infantry charges in history, and one of the finest moments of Australian military success. Read more…

BEETLEJUICE – Danny Elfman

April 5, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Beetlejuice is an irreverent supernatural comedy, one of the best of the 1980s, and is the film which introduced the world to one of the most iconic characters of the period – the ghoulish, disgusting, undead horror-for-hire played by Michael Keaton at his most madcap. The film is set in an idyllic New England town, where blissful newlyweds Adam and Barbara Maitland are renovating their dream home; unfortunately, they are killed in a car crash on their way back from the hardware store, and become ghosts, stuck haunting their home for 125 years. Some time later the home is sold to a new family, the Deetzes, comprising the insufferable and talentless artist Delia, her henpecked developer husband Charles, and his goth daughter Lydia; immediately, Delia begins ripping out the country charm of the house, replacing it with garish modern art. Desperate to save their home, the Maitlands travel to the afterlife – a dreary netherworld set up like the universe’s worst DMV office – where they are advised that they can scare out the Deetzes if they so desire. To accomplish this, the Maitlands find and hire a ‘bio-exorcist’ named Betelgeuse, who can be summoned by saying his name three times – but the perverted, irreverent ghost quickly causes more chaos then he cures. Not only that, but it quickly becomes apparent that the introverted and sensitive Lydia can actually see the ghosts… Read more…