Archive for January, 2018

Best Scores of 2017 – Asia-Pacific, Part II

January 29, 2018 1 comment

The eighth and final installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world finds us on a triumphant return to Asia, with eight more reviews of the best film music the continent has to offer. And what a treasure trove it is, encompassing animated fantasies, TV series, war movies, epic dramas, and a guest appearance from the world’s most beloved 100-foot lizard. There are four scores from Japan, two from China, and one each from Turkey and Vietnam, rounding out what has been an eye-opening journey around the darkest reaches of the film music globe, searching for bright spots. Read more…

Best Scores of 2017 – Rest of Europe, Part II

January 26, 2018 2 comments

The seventh and penultimate installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world sees us back on Europe mainland for a final dash around the continent. This is where we get really obscure: we’ve got a total of eight scores here, including a TV series from Poland, a historical action movie from Russia written by a rock musician, a Norwegian supernatural thriller, children’s adventure films from both Germany and Norway – one of which is animated – and a comedy road movie about racism from Finland! It just goes to show that good film music being written everywhere, in the most unexpected places, if only you have the patience to seek it out. Read more…

John Morris, 1926-2018

January 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Composer John Morris died on January 25, 2018, at his home in Red Hook, New Jersey, following complications from a respiratory infection. He was 91.


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Academy Award Nominations 2017

January 23, 2018 1 comment

oscarstatuetteThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have announced the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film in 2017.

In the Best Original Score category, the nominees are:

  • CARTER BURWELL for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for The Shape of Water
  • JONNY GREENWOOD for Phantom Thread
  • JOHN WILLIAMS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • HANS ZIMMER for Dunkirk

This the first nomination for Greenwood and the second nomination for Burwell. Desplat has now been nominated nine times, having previously won for The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014, while Zimmer has now been nominated eleven times, having previously won the The Lion King in 1994.

Incredibly, this is the 51st Oscar nomination for John Williams, which breaks his own record for the most nominated living person, and maintains his position as the second most nominated person of all time after Walt Disney (who had 59). He previously won Academy Awards for Fiddler on the Roof in 1971, Jaws in 1975, Star Wars in 1977, E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial in 1982, and Schindler’s List in 1993.

In the Best Original Song category, the nominees are:

  • KRISTIN ANDERSON-LOPEZ and ROBERT LOPEZ for “Remember Me” from Coco
  • MARY J. BLIGE, RAPHAEL SAADIQ, and TAURA STINSON for “Mighty River” from Mudbound
  • BENJ PASEK and JUSTIN PAUL for “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman
  • SUFJAN STEVENS for “Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name
  • DIANE WARREN and LONNIE LYNN JR. (COMMON) for “Stand Up For Something” from Marshall

The winners of the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on March 4, 2018.

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Best Scores of 2017 – Asia-Pacific, Part I

January 22, 2018 2 comments

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…

Best Scores of 2017 – Rest of Europe, Part I

January 18, 2018 2 comments

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 4 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 4 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…


January 10, 2018 1 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 2 comments

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…

Golden Globe Winners 2017

January 7, 2018 Leave a comment

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) have announced the winners of the 75th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and American television of 2017.

In the Best Original Score category composer Alexandre Desplat won the award for his score for director Guillermo del Toro’s romantic fantasy The Shape of Water. This is Desplat’s second Golden Globe, him having won previously for The Painted Veil in 2006. In his acceptance speech, Desplat said:

Thank you, merci, merci beaucoup. Different color from the previous one! Thank you Hollywood Foreign Press. Thanks to Fox Searchlight, to Miles Dale the producer, and Guillermo… you moved me. Your movie has moved me so much, inspired me so much, because it’s made of your humanity, your passion. I thank you also for all the dinners we have in Paris, and the ones to come. I want to thank all the musicians who recorded the score, they are marvelous. All the crew and cast: Richard [Jenkins], Sally [Hawkins], Doug [Jones]. The music department at Fox Searchlight, Queen Renee Fleming, Laura Engel, Ray Costa, my friend Katz, and Solrey – this is for you. Thank you very much!

The other nominees were Carter Burwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread, John Williams for The Post, and Hans Zimmer for Dunkirk.

In the Best Original Song category, the winners were Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul for their song “This Is Me” from the screen musical The Greatest Showman.

The other nominees were Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for “Remember Me” from Coco; Mariah Carey and Marc Shaiman for “The Star” from The Star; Nick Jonas, Justin Tranter, and Nick Monson for “Home” from Ferdinand; and Raphael Saadiq, Mary J. Blige, and Taura Stinson for “Mighty River” from Mudbound.

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THE POST – John Williams

January 2, 2018 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In 1971 the Washington Post was still a comparatively small-scale regional newspaper, lagging behind such behemoths as the New York Times in terms of prestige and influence. That all changed when the Post’s hard boiled news editor Ben Bradlee found himself in possession of what became known as The Pentagon Papers: a leaked classified report which proved that the US government had lied to the American people about the scope of its involvement in the Vietnam War, and that multiple US presidents were involved in the cover-up. Director Steven Spielberg’s film The Post tells the story of how the newspaper came into possession of the Papers, and the subsequent protracted legal and ethical battles that ensued over whether or not to publish; it stars Tom Hanks as Bradlee, Meryl Streep as the Post’s owner Kay Graham, and has a stellar supporting cast including Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Rhys, Carrie Coon, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Sarah Paulson. Read more…