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Archive for December, 2016

Best Scores of 2016 – Western Europe

December 30, 2016 Leave a comment

The second installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world concentrates on music from films from Western Europe – in this instance, France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands (Spain & Portugal, and the UK will get their own pages later!). The film music covered in this installment includes several outstanding dramatic works, animated films, fantasy action adventures, and more! Read more…

Best Scores of 2016 – Asia, Part I

December 24, 2016 Leave a comment

The first installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world concentrates on music from films from the Asian continent – in this first case, Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Israel. The film music coming from the Eastern hemisphere is among the best being written anywhere in the world right now, and my first look at the area features five scores by some of my favorite contemporary composers, including Naoki Sato, Christopher Wong, and one especially impressive newcomer. There will be more to come from Asia later! Read more…

ROGUE ONE – Michael Giacchino

December 20, 2016 4 comments

rogueoneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

When the Walt Disney company bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, the company’s new CEO Kathleen Kennedy announced that not only would they continue the Star Wars story by releasing episode seven, The Force Awakens, in 2015, but that they had also commissioned a handful of spin-off stories that flesh out the Star Wars cinematic universe and focus on side-stories not directly connected to the main saga. The first of these is Rogue One, written by Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, and Gary Whitta, and directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards. Although strictly not a part of the linear Star Wars saga, the film can be considered an immediate prequel to the original 1977 film, as it tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance took possession of the plans to destroy the original Death Star. Read more…

MOONLIGHT – Nicholas Britell

December 16, 2016 Leave a comment

moonlightOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Moonlight is a critically acclaimed drama film from director Barry Jenkins, which follows the life of a young black man growing up under difficult circumstances in contemporary America. As a child, “Little” Chiron deals with bullies, and a an abusive relationship with his crack-addicted mother, but finds a father figure in the shape of Juan, a crack dealer who takes him under his wing and shows him more love and compassion than his family. Later, as a teenager, Chiron continues to suffer an abusive home life, while simultaneously struggling to find himself as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality. The film is based on the stage play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, and stars Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex Hibbert, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali, who appears to be the front runner for the 2016 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Read more…

LA LA LAND – Justin Hurwitz

December 13, 2016 Leave a comment

lalalandsoundtrackOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There has been so much cynicism and negativity in the news in 2016, that a film like La La Land is not so much a breath of fresh air, but a necessary antidote to the political and social upheaval that has swept across far too much of the world. It’s a sincere, optimistic love letter to the power of dreams and the joy of romance, an homage to classic Hollywood musicals, and a celebration of art and dance and music that wears its heart on its sleeve and looks you straight in the eye as it does so. Directed by Damien Chazelle, it stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as Sebastian and Mia, two struggling artists trying to make it in contemporary Los Angeles. Sebastian is a jazz pianist frustrated by his lack of opportunities and the fact that no one seems to love the music he loves any more; Mia is an aspiring actress working in a coffee shop on a studio lot whose dreams are continually crushed by an endless parade of failed auditions. A series of chance meetings between the two slowly leads to a romantic relationship, and together the pair seeks to find a way through the perils and pitfalls of being young and creative in the City of Angels. Read more…

Golden Globe Nominations 2016

December 12, 2016 Leave a comment

goldenglobeThe Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has announced the nominations for the 74th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and American television of 2016.

In the Best Original Score category, the nominees are:

  • NICHOLAS BRITELL for Moonlight
  • JUSTIN HURWITZ for La La Land
  • JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON for Arrival
  • DUSTIN O’HALLORAN and VOLKER BERTELMANN (“HAUSCHKA”) for Lion
  • HANS ZIMMER, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, and BENJAMIN WALLFISCH for Hidden Figures

These are the first major film music award nominations for Britell, Bertelmann, and Wallfisch; Hurwitz was previously nominated for a Grammy for his score for Whiplash, and O’Halloran won an Emmy for his work on the TV series Transparent, while Pharrell is a multiple award nominee and winner for his work as a solo recording artist.

This is the 2nd nomination for Jóhannsson (who won the Globe in 2015 for The Theory of Everything), and the 13th nomination for Zimmer (who previously won Globes for The Lion King in 1994 and Gladiator in 2000).

In the Best Original Song category, the nominees are:

  • JUSTIN HURWITZ, BENJ PASEK, and JUSTIN PAUL for “City of Stars” from La La Land
  • LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA for “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
  • JAMES OSTERBERG (IGGY POP), DANIEL PEMBERTON, STEPHEN GAGHAN, and BRIAN BURTON (DANGER MOUSE) for “Gold” from Gold
  • JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, MAX MARTIN and KARL SCHUSTER (SHELLBACK) for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls
  • STEVIE WONDER, RYAN TEDDER, and FRANCIS FAREWELL STARLITE for “Faith” from Sing

The winners of the 74th Golden Globe Awards will be announced on January 8, 2017.

THE THIEF OF BAGDAD – Miklós Rózsa

December 12, 2016 Leave a comment

thiefofbagdadMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned director Alexander Korda had long envisioned embarking on a remake of the 1924 fantasy adventure The Thief of Bagdad. He set his plans into motion early in 1939, selecting German director Ludwig Berger to manage the project. Creative differences however led to Berger’s replacement as well as his composer Oscar Straus. British director Michael Powell was brought in, however when World War II began, he was transferred to the War Office to begin work on a morale-boosting documentary. Because of the Nazi Blitz, Korda was forced to move film production to Hollywood and American director Tim Whelan was tasked with salvaging the film. The original cast was retained, which included; Conrad Veidt as Jaffar, Sabu as Abu, June Duprez as the Princess, John Justin as Ahmed, Rex Ingram as Djinn, Miles Malleson as the Sultan. The story takes inspiration from the classic Arabian tale One Thousand and One Nights, as well as the novel The Tower and the Elephant by Robert Howard, and offers a classic villain, the love story of a handsome young prince and princess, a heroic young boy, magic, and adventure. Read more…