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Archive for March, 2018

The World of Film Scores – 2018 First Quarter Round-Up

March 30, 2018 4 comments

In a break with my usual convention, I have decided that instead of doing a series of geographical articles at the end of the calendar year highlighting the best under-the-radar film scores, I am instead going to write four quarterly articles which spotlight the same types of scores – unheralded works from outside the Hollywood film music mainstream – but which are spaced throughout the year so that they are more timely in terms of when the films are released. As such, here is the first – a look at ten outstanding scores from the first three months of 2018, encompassing a wide range of projects from all over the world, including works from Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Japan, Spain, China, Russia, and beyond! Read more…

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MASQUERADE – John Barry

March 29, 2018 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Masquerade is a now long-forgotten mystery-thriller directed by Bob Swain and written by Dick Wolf, just before he took over television with his expansive Law & Order franchise. The film is set in and around an elite New England yachting community, and tells the story of Olivia, a naïve, recently orphaned millionairess who returns home after many years away, and falls in love with a dashing young yacht racing captain named Tim. However, Olivia soon becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine plot of lies, deceit, and murder, the scope of which apparently extends to the entire community. The film stars Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly as the central pair, features Kim Cattrall, John Glover, Dana Delany, and Doug Savant in supporting roles, and has a lovely original score by John Barry. Read more…

ISLE OF DOGS – Alexandre Desplat

March 27, 2018 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Isle of Dogs is the latest film from the quirky hipster director Wes Anderson, and sees him returning to the world of animation for the second time, after Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009. Of all the ‘mainstream’ directors working today, Anderson is one of the only ones who regularly switches between mediums like this – Robert Zemeckis dabbled in animation with things like The Polar Express and Beowulf, and Steven Spielberg had a go with The Adventures of Tintin, but those were exercises in motion capture which still used real actors as reference. Anderson’s animated films are more traditional, featuring stop-motion puppets and models and actors doing voices. It’s a typically idiosyncratic effort from the undisputed king of these things; plot-wise, the film is set in the near-future in Japan, and follows the adventures of a young boy named Atari who embarks on a daring mission to rescue his dog, Spots, from a trash-filled island, after the entire canine population of the city are banished there by a corrupt mayor in the aftermath of an outbreak of ‘dog flu’. Read more…

CHINATOWN – Jerry Goldsmith

March 26, 2018 2 comments

chinatown100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Robert Evans of Paramount Studio was determined to bring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic, The Great Gatsby (1925) to the big screen. He hired trusted screenplay writer Robert Towne for $175,000 to write the script. Towne however had a different ambition and managed to convince Evans to take on his own 1930’s detective mystery thriller titled “Water and Power” for $25,000. Well, Evans liked the script saw opportunity, and so moved forward with production. He greatly enjoyed his collaboration with Roman Polanski with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and so brought him in to direct. They assembled a fine cast, which included Jack Nicholson as detective J.J. “Jake” Gittes, Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Cross Mulwray, John Huston as Noah Cross, John Hillerman as Russ Yelburton, Perry Lopez as Lieutenant Lou Escobar, and Darrell Zwerling as Hollis Mulwray. Read more…

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE – Jonny Greenwood

March 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Anže Grčar

When the discussion arises about which are some of the finest female directors working in industry today, the name of Lynne Ramsay is seldomly brought up into the conversation by fellow film aficionados, much to my great disappointment – her selectiveness and large gaps between mainly auteur, art house driven projects that never elicited a major box office turnout may have something to do with mainstream never taking her work to the heart. Indeed, the 48 year old Glasgow native has only four feature credits under her belt – albeit four great ones. Since the release of her debut Ratcatcher back in 1999, she has been an indie darling, notorious for making the film on her own terms (the production history of nearly aborted Jane Got The Gun project speaks for itself) and it shows. You Were Never Really Here, starring the exceptional Joaquin Phoenix in the title role and who won the Best Actor Award in Cannes, is a follow up to much discussed We Need To Talk About Kevin in which Tilda Swinton churned out her career best work (much like Phoenix in this case), and finally arrives after seven year gap between her previous feature, riding on the wave of ecstatic Cannes reviews where Ramsay also received a “Best Screenplay” award. The project seems way overdue for Ramsay fans – but if it takes so many years for her to forge another film of this kind of magnitude, I’ll gladly keep myself busy seven years more. Read more…

THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR – Dave Grusin

March 22, 2018 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the annals of recent film music history, there is perhaps no more obscure a winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Score than Dave Grusin’s The Milagro Beanfield War. Even the film itself is virtually forgotten today, despite it being directed by Robert Redford and having a cast that includes Rubén Blades, Sônia Braga, Melanie Griffith, John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Walken. It’s a political comedy-drama – as Redford’s films often are – about the residents of a rural New Mexico town who find themselves in an ever-escalating confrontation with a group of unscrupulous businessmen. The businessmen want to buy tracts of land in order to invest in a series of lucrative property developments, but before they can do so they need the local residents to leave, so they divert the local water supply, leaving the farmers unable to irrigate their crops. It’s a very 1980s story about how the financial concerns of the wealthy ignore, and sometimes intentionally destroy, the rights of working class people. Read more…

TOMB RAIDER – Tom Holkenborg

March 21, 2018 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Back in the 1990s, someone had an idea to make a film based on a popular video game, and it was quickly seen as a fertile new ground from which to draw cinematic inspiration. Unfortunately, the first few films – 1993’s Super Mario Bros., 1994’s Street Fighter, 1995’s Mortal Kombat – were all significantly awful, meaning that it was not until 2001’s Tomb Raider that a video game movie saw any real traction, either with critics or at the box office. The original film starred Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, the eponymous globe-trotting adventurer searching for artifacts and hidden treasure among the ancient ruins of the world. Now, 17 years later, Lara Croft has been rebooted, and this new film stars Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, the eponymous globe-trotting adventurer searching for… well, you get the idea. The film is directed by Norwegian Roar Uthaug, co-stars Walton Goggins and Dominic West, and has done some brisk business, achieving the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any major video game adaptation movie to date, and taking in well over $100 million on its opening weekend. Read more…