Newest Major Reviews:.This Month's Most Popular Reviews: Best-Selling Albums:
. 1. The Lego Batman Movie
2. Fifty Shades Darker
3. Hidden Figures
4. La La Land
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
. . 1. Star Wars: Force Awakens
2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
3. Titanic
4. Avatar
5. Nineteen Eighty-Four
6. Gladiator
7. Star Wars: A New Hope
8. Animal Farm
9. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
10. Harry Potter: Sorcerer's Stone
. . 1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. Fantastic Beasts/Find Them
3. Willow
4. The Ghost and the Darkness
5. An American Tail
Filmtracks On Cue


On Cue for November, 2005:





11/29/05 - Serenity: (David Newman) --All New Review-- "When at first you don't succeed, try, try again, and hopefully the big screen will afford you the success that witless television studio executives failed to allow you in their own venue. Such is the story with writer and director Joss Whedon, who was buoyed by his success of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer on television after it was thrashed in its initial big screen debut. This time, the equation is thrown the other way around, with Whedon having created the science fiction action series Firefly for television only to see it cancelled before the end of its first season (and, to make matters even worse, having the few episodes made shown out of sequence by the network). Luckily for Whedon, his success on Buffy (and the subsequent Angel) would give him the opportunity for Universal Studios to finance a big-screen film based on Firefly. Renamed Serenity, but retaining most of the cast and concepts..." ** Read the entire review.

11/27/05 - The Dukes of Hazzard: (Nathan Barr) --All New Review-- "You really have to wonder how such terrible films like this can actually turn immensely huge profits. It's frightening to think what people in India think of America and its inhabitants when this film plays overseas ("these people currently rule the earth?"), and it's almost as frightful to think what American city-dwelling liberals with college educations think about it either ("these people still exist?"). Based on the the popular television show of the same name from 1979 through 1985, The Dukes of Hazzard is about two cousins who run a moonshine business and another one who waitresses in a bar, all of which happens in the backroads of Georgia. The whole point of The Dukes of Hazzard was to exhibit "General Lee," a 1969 Dodge Charger with the Confederate flag painted on the roof. It flies over ditches, rivers, and ravines, outruns angry semi-truck drivers, and eludes police in every mind-boggling fashion..." *** Read the entire review.

11/25/05 - A History of Violence: (Howard Shore) --All New Review-- "The collaboration between director David Cronenberg and composer Howard Shore has now spanned four decades and has surprisingly outlasted Shore's pairing with Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson, whose role in the firing of Shore from King Kong in late 2005 is murky at best. Cronenberg, meanwhile, continues along a familiar path with nearly every film he directs. Often dark, pervasively glum character stories, Cronenberg's works are profound but unpleasant, and while A History of Violence falls under the same general category, it makes some steps in new directions. There is still brutal violence, graphic sexuality, nudity, foul language, drug use, and Ed Harris' creepy, deformed face. Being a film about dual personalities, it's no surprise that one of the primary lifestyles of the film's primary character (Viggo Mortensen) is that of a former criminal in the big city. The odd aspect of this film is that his new, reformed life is an escape to rural Indiana..." *** Read the entire review.

11/23/05 - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: (John Ottman) --All New Review-- "It's hard to describe movies in which the creation of the screenplay actually becomes part of the story on screen, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one such entry. Existing in the private eye genre and borrowing from the works of Raymond Chandler, the film is a comedic parody that doesn't necessarily want to make sense; writer Shane Black, known for his sometimes suspect writing for three of the Lethal Weapon films as well as The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Last Action Hero, directs for the first time and tells the story of this film through his primary character's narration. As as conman who moves to Los Angeles to take private eye lessons from a gay detective, solve a murder mystery, and try to win over an old flame, the characters inevitably define the nonsensical plot by simply paying tribute to guns and women (hence, the title of the movie). Whether the film was meant to make sense or not, its off-the-wall humor is a perfect match for the similarly weird humor of composer John Ottman, who by his own confession..." *** Read the entire review.

11/21/05 - March of the Penguins: (Alex Wurman) --All New Review-- "Not the first and probably not the last documentary made about the yearly cycle of life for a penguin, French filmmaker Luc Jacquet's March of the Penguins was originally released in his own country with a quirky electronic score by Emilie Simon. Picked up for a major theatrical release in the United Stated, it features the narration of Morgan Freeman and a new score by Media Ventures product Alex Wurman. With word of mouth publicity that eventually spilled over into major network news, March of the Penguins became the second-highest grossing documentary of all time in America and was still raking in theatrical profits six months after its release. While the quality of the film is very strong, humanity's fascination with the cute and cuddly penguins persists (even when we see some of those old National Geographic shows when hundreds of them slide down giant ice mountains over cliffs... sometimes to their deaths, and people still seem to love it)...." *** Read the entire review.

11/19/05 - Fantastic Four: (John Ottman) --All New Review-- "The rights to put the oldest Marvel comics superhero franchise on the big screen have taken a long and rocky road to reach 2005, when director Tim Story finally puts Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's original 1961 characters on film. A group of scientists goes up into space to study an approaching anomaly but are accidentally exposed to its mysterious energy. Fittingly, each of the four heroes receives a different superpower (it wouldn't have been as fun if they could all just only turn a shoe into a bottle of beer, would it?), as does the evil guy who used to be their colleague, so it's up to the four heroes to do their duties for national security and, of course, the usual fire truck falling off a bridge scenario. The only problem with this picture is that the adaptation to the big screen for Mr. Fantastic and his gang is extremely poorly written, with disappointing action scenarios, extremely loose logical jumps, and little genuine emotion and intrigue applied to the self-discoveries of the mutated scientists. In a summer that featured an exceptionally strong Batman entry..." *** Read the entire review.

11/17/05 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: (Danny Elfman) --All New Review-- "Despite Tim Burton's best intentions to once again enter the imaginative world of a child, the release of his remake of the famous Roald Dahl book happened to coincide with the spotlight of Michael Jackson's 2005 child molestation court case. And, of course, it doesn't help that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about a reclusive adult who creates a neverland (in the form of a chocolate factory), invites select kids into his playground, and, oh yeah, seems to have the same wardrobe designer and make-up artist as Michael Jackson himself. Nearly everything about Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a success, including the faithful adaptation of the book and the spectacular visuals, and the film steamrolled to tasty financial delights for the studio. But then there was Johnny Depp, so suspiciously similar to Michael Jackson in appearance, mannerism, and setting... No matter how many times he and Burton assured audiences that his Willy Wonka was only coincidentally similar to Jackson..." *** Read the entire review.

11/15/05 - Pride & Prejudice: (Dario Marianelli) --All New Review-- "As both time and technology continue to barrel forward, it seems to take more and more talent to do justice to the writings of Jane Austen in their screen adaptations. With her stories already made for the big screen in most cases, it's even more difficult to both capture the spirit of Austen's novels and do so in a fashion that doesn't step on the feet of previous adaptations while performing that delicate dance. In the case of Pride & Prejudice, it's hard not to forget the BBC adaptation from as recently as the 1990's, not to mention the renaissance of Austen's work that hit the big screens with much critical success at about the same time. The newest adaptation by Joe Wright, casting an unexpected group of youth in the lead roles and peppering bit roles with established actors, has been met with considerable critical and popular praise, infusing the story with fresh blood while maintaining all the necessary authenticity required of the story. In the age of institutional marriage in 18th Century England..." *** Read the entire review.

11/13/05 - Corpse Bride: (Danny Elfman) --All New Review-- "There must be some kind of mental condition that describes the specific derangement that director Tim Burton suffers that causes him to be so fascinated with graceful portrayals of death and stark realities. His stop motion animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas, considered an anomaly at the time, turned out to not only be a rare singularity in modern film, but also a mass cult favorite. Its catering to both the morbid symbols of the underworld and boundlessly hopeful worlds of different holidays combined with Danny Elfman's popular musical numbers to create, at the very least, a very memorable piece of entertainment. Despite the great following that The Nightmare Before Christmas has continued to build, it took Burton and Elfman a dozen years before resurrecting the same stop motion/musical formula. While it's by no means a sequel to the previous hit, the common treatment of macabre underworld elements, as well as its existence in various shades of gray, along with Elfman's similarly conceived musical ideas..." *** Read the entire review.

11/10/05 - SpaceCamp: (John Williams) --Expanded Review-- "When anybody in the summer of 1986 thought about NASA and the American space shuttles, their memories would become fixed on the sight of the Challenger exploding tragically against a blue sky on a crisp morning earlier that year. And yet, in an incredibly bad stroke of luck, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was just finishing up its collaboration with ABC Motion Pictures to release SpaceCamp, a comedy thriller about a bunch of bratty kids who are accidentally shot up into space aboard a real shuttle. The real life summer camp teaches bright young kids everything about flying a shuttle (supposedly this camp really existed) and claims that the best of the lot could actually do it. The film spends over an hour trudging through endlessly boring and predictable character conversations between the kids. Kate Capshaw is the unfortunate leader of this group of twits, and she gets propelled into space along with the group when a robot conveniently launches them unexpectedly. Anybody who believes that NASA would actually allow a group of these kids into a shuttle..." *** Read the entire review.

11/6/05 - The Accidental Tourist: (John Williams) --Expanded Review-- "A film about both depression and laughter, The Accidental Tourist reunited director Lawrence Kasdan with actors William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. Having established themselves in Body Heat several years earlier, they turned their attention to this adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel. Hurt's character writes travel books for people afraid of traveling, and upon his son's death, he falls into a hopeless depression that causes his wife, Turner, to leave him. Through his dog, the only connection he has to the outside world is the quirky Geena Davis, who he meets at a kennel. Davis begins the task of bringing the author back to life, and she manages to slowly accomplish this through humor and determination. The Accidental Tourist certainly dwells in the lengthy scenes of Hurt's character's loneliness, and much of John Williams' score for the film mirrors that introverted reflection. But the integration of the humor into the story, as well as Kasdan's ability to make the characters likeable even through their troubles..." ** Read the entire review.

11/3/05 - Stanley & Iris: (John Williams) --Expanded Review-- "Nuzzled in between composer John Williams' lofty and adventuresome scores of 1989 and 1990 was Stanley & Iris. It was one of Williams' relief efforts from his fully orchestral exercises in bombast that he would take once every two or three years. Unfortunately, his respite in the soft warmth of light character drama would not contribute any success to the film itself. Slammed by critics left and right, Stanley & Iris lost the interest of audiences almost immediately. With a screenplay written by husband-and-wife team Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., and directed by Martin Ritt, the film reunited the team that brought Norma Rae and, more recently, Murphy's Romance to the big screen. The purpose of the film was to make a statement about illiteracy, with Jane Fonda as a working class widow attempting to befriend and teach Robert DeNiro, a working class illiterate, how to read and write. With a stock supporting cast of actors typecast from previous films (Moonstruck, Parenthood, etc)..." ** Read the entire review.






Page created 11/28/05, updated 11/29/05. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 2005, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio (www.realaudio.com). "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.