Best Scores of 2017 – Asia-Pacific, Part I

January 22, 2018 1 comment

The seventh installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world sees us moving east to Asia. Asian film music – especially that of the far east and countries like Japan, China, and South Korea – is shockingly under-valued and un-discovered by the majority of film music fans in Europe and the United States, despite the fact that many of their films contain the bold, orchestral, theme-filled scores that they crave, but do not find in domestic blockbusters. My point in writing these reviews is to show that this great film music does exist if you’re willing to make a little effort to find it: case in point, these seven outstanding scores – four from Japan, one from China, one from Israel, and one outlier from Australia. We will be returning to this part of the world again soon! Read more…

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Best Scores of 2017 – Rest of Europe, Part I

January 18, 2018 Leave a comment

The sixth installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world sees us jumping around the European mainland. Whereas Spain, Britain, and France all had enough scores to warrant articles of their own, other countries had maybe one or two outstanding highlights, and this article is an attempt to cover several of them. As such, here are seven of those outstanding pan-European efforts, including a huge fantasy adventure score from Russia, a rousing sports score from Finland, a rich romantic drama score from Italy, a comedy adventure score from the Netherlands, a superb seasonal animation score from Poland, among others. There will be more to come from this cross-continental adventure later! Read more…

Best Scores of 2017 – Spain

January 15, 2018 3 comments

The fifth installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world sees us in one of my favorite film music countries, Spain. I have long been a vocal promoter Spanish film music which, over last ten years or so, has become a soundtrack powerhouse filled with composers who – in terms of the number of excellent scores per film – are probably writing the highest quality film music in the world. 2017 was no exception, with dozens of excellent scores emerging from the country during the calendar year. This article contains the scores which, in my opinion, are the eight best, which encompass both film and television, span multiple genres, and are written both by familiar favorites and exciting newcomers. Read more…

PHANTOM THREAD – Jonny Greenwood

January 13, 2018 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Phantom Thread is a period romantic drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Set in England in the 1950s, it stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock, a fashion designer and exquisite dressmaker, who runs a high-end haute couture business with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), and whose regular clients include the cream of European royalty. Reynolds is brilliant, an artist of tremendous skill and taste, but is also neurotic, difficult, irritable, and unhealthily obsessed with his late mother; he also frequently embarks on fiery relationships with women that fizzle out as soon as he gets bored, upon which he begins treating them with casual disdain. One day Reynolds meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), a shy waitress, to whom he is unexpectedly attracted. Before long Reynolds has moved Alma into his house in London, and she quickly becomes his muse, challenging him, confounding him, but also inspiring greatness in his work. However, their relationship is tempestuous, and before long it is heading down an unexpectedly dark path which may have serious repercussions for everyone involved. Read more…

DOWNSIZING – Rolfe Kent

January 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Downsizing is the latest film from director Alexander Payne. It has a fascinating premise; in a research lab in Norway a team of scientists led by Dr. Jørgen Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård) finds a way to shrink a human being from full size, down to about five inches tall – perfectly safe, no side effects, but irreversible – as a way to halt humanity’s over-consumption of the planet’s natural resources . Within a decade the new technology – known as ‘downsizing’ – has become incredibly popular, with hundreds of thousands of people undergoing the procedure and moving to brand new, specially built communities for small people, which offer every luxury imaginable. Into this world comes Paul Safranek (Matt Damon), who agrees to undergo the downsizing procedure with his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) as a way to escape from their dull life in the real world. However, before long, Paul finds that the ‘small world’ has its own set of problems, and after he meets a Serbian playboy businessman (Christophe Waltz) and a former Vietnamese political activitist (Hong Chau), his life changes in more ways than he could have ever anticipated. Read more…

BAFTA Nominations 2017

January 9, 2018 2 comments

baftaThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the nominations for the 71st British Academy Film Awards, honoring the best in film in 2017.

In the Best Original Music category, which is named in memory of the film director Anthony Asquith, the nominees are:

  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for The Shape of Water
  • JONNY GREENWOOD for Phantom Thread
  • DARIO MARIANELLI for Darkest Hour
  • BENJAMIN WALLFISCH and HANS ZIMMER for Blade Runner 2049
  • HANS ZIMMER for Dunkirk

This is the eighth BAFTA nomination for Desplat, who won for “The King’s Speech” in 2010 and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in 2014; the second nomination for Greenwood; the third nomination for Marianelli; the first nomination for Wallfisch; and the ninth BAFTA film award nomination for Zimmer. Zimmer also has music nominations from the BAFTA TV Awards and the BAFTA Games Awards.

The winners of the 71st BAFTA Awards will be announced on February 18, 2018.

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Best Scores of 2017 – France, Part II

January 8, 2018 1 comment

The fourth installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world sees us back in France, with a look at a wonderful octet of scores from films made in one of the world’s great cinematic nations. This set of scores ranges across every genre imaginable, and includes one by a controversial double Oscar-winner, two by beloved staples of classic French cinema, and two by one of the most impressive newcomers to emerge in 2017. Read more…