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5. LOTR: The Two Towers (2018)
Filmtracks On Cue

On Cue for May, 2005:

5/30/05 - Chain Reaction: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "In an attempt to continue the success of the films inspired by the Academy Award-nominated The Fugitive in 1993, Fox's Chain Reaction offers another variation on the good-guy running from a good-natured cop routine. This time, the two primary fugitives are scientists on a university experiment that successfully yields clean and abundant energy by extracting hydrogen from water. When assassins kill the other scientists and set off an absolutely enormous explosion to destroy their laboratory, the two heroes are set up and accused of murder. Their boss escaped the blast, but as Morgan Freeman can be in a number of circumstances, you can't be sure if he's on their side or not. The film takes an interesting concept and group of characters and allows it all to degenerate into a standard chase story. The actors really aren't believable in their roles, the chases have been largely done before..." *** Read the entire review.

5/26/05 - Spamalot: (John Du Prez/Eric Idle) --Capsule Review-- It's not often that a Broadway production gets a blurb at Filmtacks, but given Spamalot's outstanding 14 Tony nominations and its origins in the 1975 cult classic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Python enthusiasts among score collectors can't miss this one. The music by John Du Prez (best known for his score for A Fish Called Wanda) and Eric Idle (whose lyrics are true Pythonism at their best) are characteristically silly, distracted, and not very complex in structure. While the story of the film is the premise of the play, characters and events have been re-arranged and the songs mostly poke fun at the structure of Broadway productions and their big numbers; some knowledge of musicals will help you get most of the jokes. There may not be some of the signature lines ("Ni! Ni! Ni!" or "Come back and fight like a man!"), but there are just enough shrubberies, monks slapping themselves with their prayer-boards while chanting, and other various off-kilter British humor to satisfy hardcore Python fanatics. Any song with the lyrics "Always look on the bright side of death" (stolen from Life of Brian) deserves a spin, and hearing a John Denver song skewed to gospel styles is among many funny adaptations of tune. A slightly larger instrumental ensemble is recorded for the album, which features impressive production information and complete lyrics. Politically correct chumps beware... Python's not dead yet! Listen to the album and purchase it at ****

5/22/05 - Madagascar: (Hans Zimmer and co.) --All New Review-- "From the writer and director of Antz and The Ren & Stimpy Show comes Madagascar, the latest production from the PDI/DreamWorks studio that has most recently brought the two extremely popular Shrek films to the big screen. The short animated film has all the glitz and visual attraction for kids, and while the film's premise is rich with promise, the execution of it seems to have gone awry in critics' views. A giraffe, lion, hippo, and zebra live the pampered life in New York City's Central Zoo, and mostly featuring mostly famous voices, their personalities carry them on a journey that involves an escape from the zoo and consequent travel back to the wild. Their transport lost at sea off the large East-African island nation of Madagascar, the animals have to cope with real life on the island. Somewhere at this point, the story loses all cohesion and this plot summary ends. As a purely slapstick style comedy, Madagascar relies heavily on its soundtrack to accentuate its sense of humor...." * Read the entire review.

5/18/05 - Dust to Glory: (Nathan Furst) --All New Review-- "While most people probably haven't heard of the Baja 1000 event (in Baja California, Mexico), it's a fully sponsored auto race that has the distinction of being the world's longest non-stop point-to-point race. All sorts of vehicles inhabit the same course, from race cars worth millions of dollars to motorcyles and Volkswagen Beetles. The actual course changes from year to year, and features secret checkpoints that make it risky --although still legal-- to take shortcuts. From dirt roads to actual Mexican highways (where racers not only have to weave around regular civilian traffic, but can get pulled over by the cops for speeding), the race takes drivers on a perilous journey that has different records for each class of vehicle. The speedy ones can make it in 16 hours, and the slowpokes have to do it in 32 hours to even qualify as a winner. Most vehicles don't even make it to the finish line, with injuries and even deaths (to drivers and spectators who stand along the edge of the road to watch) not uncommon...." **** Read the entire review.

5/15/05 - Valiant: (George Fenton) --All New Review-- "A digitally animated British film from Vanguard Studios, Valiant was co-produced by the producer of Shrek and is aimed at British audiences with its all-British cast and stubborn English humor. It's the United Kingdom's attempt to capture the same enthusiasm (and box office) as Aardman Animation's Chicken Run of several years ago, and there's just enough humor aimed at Americans in Valiant to make the film viable for an international audience as well. It's a hard stretch to say that the film is very loosely based on real events given that the story involves a patriotic pigeon who decides to go to war for King and country in the Royal Homing Pigeon Service during World War II. But the British military actually gave medals for bravery to carrier pigeons at the time, so one could conceivably say that the story is partly based on true events. All joking aside, the film's animation is adequate, and the voices of everyone from Ewan McGregor to John Cleese bless the variety of pigeons and other birds on screen..." *** Read the entire review.

5/11/05 - Event Horizon: (Michael Kamen) --All New Review-- "One of the scarier, somewhat-trashy horror/sci-fi flicks of the late 1990's, Event Horizon is a loose adaptation of William Castle's 1960 film Thirteen Ghosts (which was badly remade in 2001). The concept of inheriting a house with several brutal ghosts and a machine meant to open the gates of Hell is translated into the script for Event Horizon, in which a starship of that name is built to fold space (and, as in Dune, travel great distances instantly) but instead opens the gates to Hell and kills its own crew. When a rescue ship, "Lewis and Clark," goes to rescue the adrift "Event Horizon," they are attacked by both the ghosts of the previous crew and the ship itself, which is slowly pulling itself back through the gates of Hell now that it has new human souls on board. Thus, the storyline is nothing new, although the execution of the film is beautifully rendered, with the ring-spinning mechanism at the heart of the ship offering extremely disturbing visuals..." * Read the entire review.

5/8/05 - Flight of the Intruder: (Basil Poledouris) --All New Review-- "Director John Milius' 1991 adaptation of the popular Stephen Coonts novel came under much criticism at the time of its release. Viewers who had read the novel sharply criticized the adaptation, claiming that much of the intrigue revolving around the intelligent, politically complex portion of the plot was replaced with black and white wartime situations that make for good, dumbed down American cinema. For the story of A-6 fighter pilots during Vietnam of the early 1970's, the characters, while maintaining flight names such as Cowboy, Razor, Rabbit, or Tiger, didn't closely resemble their counterparts from the book as well, further irritating Coonts readers. Adaptations of technothriller war novels to the big screen was a hot idea in the early 1990's, with The Hunt for Red October opening the box office floodgates to potential mega-profit imitations. Composer Basil Poledouris had by chance been the composer of the popular Hunt for Red October..." ** Read the entire review.

5/4/05 - Battlefield Earth: (Elia Cmiral) --All New Review-- "If cinematic science-fiction failures are to be ranked on a list, the 2000 epic turkey Battlefield Earth would exist someplace high on that list. A significant level of talent was employed to bring L. Ron Hubbard's best-selling novel to the big screen, and it's hard to imagine just how so many people managed to produce such a hideous film. A poor plot, dumb dialogue, cheesy effects, et al are all so pronounced in the film that even fans of bad B-realm sci-fi flicks laughed at this one. The plot is a usual "mankind in turmoil" kind of affair from Hubbard: a race of strangely dressed, bad mannered alien humanoids called Psychlos conquer Earth sometime in our future and do some pretty nasty things, including (but not limited to) the destruction of fast food restaurants, the elimination of the designated hitter rule, and, of course, the mass enslavement of humankind. Not only do they manage to keep humans like this for a thousand years, but they accomplish it while dressed like someone you'd see..." ** Read the entire review.

Page created 6/1/05, updated 6/2/05. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 2005, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio ( "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.