Archive for November, 2003

OPEN RANGE – Michael Kamen

November 28, 2003 Leave a comment

openrangeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

As I write this review, it is now just over a week since Michael Kamen, the composer of Open Range, tragically died of a heart attack, at the age of just  55. In such circumstances, it is tempting to give in to sentimentality, and the fondness for which I held the man himself, and to allow it to cloud my judgment in giving what turned out to be his final score an impartial review. Kamen had taken something of a “sabbatical” during the years following the turn of the millennium, writing just three scores: Frequency, X-Men, and the amazing Band of Brothers. Even on Open Range he was not the first choice composer, being brought in as a replacement at short notice after the original score had been rejected by director Kevin Costner. Ultimately, Kamen wrote a gentle ballad to the old west, an evocative statement that celebrates the nobility, honor and steadfastness of the great American cowboy, a score which would have been just as lovely to listen to had its composer still been with us. Read more…

THE COOLER – Mark Isham

November 28, 2003 Leave a comment

thecoolerOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

For all his successful forays into the world of orchestral film music, Mark Isham will always remain, at heart, a jazzer. Having grown up with a trumpet almost permanently attached to his lips, Isham has soloed with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, toured with The Beach Boys and Van Morrison, and performed as a “guest artist” on dozens and dozens of other records, as well as releasing many solo albums. Therefore, his jazz pedigree is in no doubt – but, in film at least, he rarely gets to show it. His work on The Cooler, therefore, is a wonderful change of pace. Read more…

THE MISSING – James Horner

November 28, 2003 Leave a comment

themissingOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

After sitting out the entire summer of 2003, James Horner has exploded back onto the scene with four new scores in less than two months. The third of the four (the others being Radio, Beyond Borders and the Oscar-tipped House of Sand and Fog) is The Missing, a truly remarkable work which brings back wonderful memories of classic Horner scores from the early 1990s. And, although the stylistic elements of a dozen or so scores from his past are readily identifiable, in many ways it’s like revisiting an old friend. Yes, I have criticized other composers for doing the exact same thing in the past, but with Horner, it’s like coming home.  Directed by Ron Howard and based on the novel “The Last Ride” by Thomas Eidson, The Missing stars Tommy Lee Jones as Samuel Jones, a father who returns to his home in 19th-century New Mexico, hoping to reconcile with his estranged adult daughter Maggie (Cate Blanchett). However, when Maggie’s young daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) is kidnapped by a psychopathic leader of a cult with mysterious powers, who has been kidnapping young girls all over the American south west, father and daughter must put aside their differences and work together to get her back. Read more…

Michael Kamen, 1948-2003

November 18, 2003 Leave a comment

Michael KamenComposer Michael Kamen died on November 18, 2003 in London, England, after suffering a heart attack. He was 55.

Michael Arnold Kamen was born in New York in April 1948, where he attended The High School of Music and Art and the Juilliard School, where he specialized in composition and oboe performance. After being a part of the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble with fellow composer Mark Snow as a youth, Kamen moved to England in the 1970s and found work as ballet composer and as an arranger for pop and rock bands, notably for artists such as Kate Bush, David Bowie and Pink Floyd, for whom he arranged the album The Wall in 1979.

Having already dabbled in film music during the late 1970s, Kamen began embracing cinema fully in the early 1980s, writing the music for acclaimed films such as The Dead Zone and Brazil, and the TV mini-series Edge of Darkness, before cracking the Hollywood big-time with a trio of massively successful action scores between 1986 and 1989 – Highlander, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard. Read more…

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MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD – Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti

November 14, 2003 Leave a comment

masterandcommanderOriginal Review by Peter Simons

The movies of Peter Weir have had some interesting musical choices. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Maurice Jarre was his composer of choice, contributing electronic scores for films such as The Year of Living Dangerously, Witness, The Mosquito Coast and Witness. For his last major movie, The Truman Show, he combined new and old Philip Glass recordings with an original score by Burkhard Dallwitz. Weir’s latest movie, the sea-faring epic Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World, follows a similar vein, with multiple composers credited. Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti teamed up to write a score that is certainly atmospheric, and has a fair share of enjoyable tracks, yet for some reason is not very memorable. The soundtrack album is a mix of new music by the three composers, several tracks of traditional folk music, and a handful of classical tracks by Mozart, Bach, Vaughan-Williams and the like. The result is a mixed bag – in the negative sense of the word. Read more…


November 7, 2003 Leave a comment

matrixrevolutionsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

For Don Davis (and for quite a number of score and movie fans) 2003 has been the year of The Matrix. With the original 1999 movie becoming a surprising world-wide smash, and the May release of The Matrix Reloaded taking a staggering $281 million in the US alone, The Matrix Revolutions is one of the most eagerly awaited films of this, or any year. Equally, following the stunningly realized score Davis provided for Part II, his work on Revolutions has equally become one of most anticipated releases of the year. In a rare turn of events, the score actually meets – and in some cases – surpasses all the expectations, making it easily one of the best scores of 2003. With the talented Wachowski Brothers, Andy and Larry, picking up where the last movie finished, The Matrix Revolutions finds Neo (Keanu Reeves) somehow trapped in an unusual limbo world in between the real world and the Matrix, in which he must again battle the nefarious Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), and from which he must escape before the sentinels reach the stronghold inside the last human city, Zion. Meanwhile, the human leaders and the erstwhile crew of the Nebuchadnezzar – Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Link (Harold Perrineau), Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Lock (Harry Lennix) – begin making preparations for the imminent invasion…. an invasion which will surely mark the final battle between humans and machines on what remains of the Earth. Read more…