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Archive for January, 2019

COLETTE – Thomas Adès

January 31, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There is always a slight frisson through the classical music fraternity whenever a respected contemporary concert hall composer writes a film score. It happened when John Corigliano scored (and won an Oscar for) The Red Violin in 1999. It happened when Sir John Tavener contributed music to Children of Men in 2006. And now the latest composer to ‘slum it’ in the world of film is Englishman Thomas Adès, the wunderkind behind such acclaimed classical works as The Exterminating Angel, Powder on Her Face, Asyla, and The Tempest. What invariably happens is that these esteemed composers thoroughly enjoy the process of writing for film, and comment on how difficult it is and how much it stretched their creative abilities, while the highbrow music press writes lavish articles about the composer’s experiences, offering backhanded compliments about the genre while continuing to look down their nose at the entire industry as a ‘lesser art form’. Of course, the other thing that invariably happens is that the classical composer writes a tremendous piece of music too, and this is exactly what has happened here with Adès’s score for Colette. Read more…

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Best Scores of 2018, Part III

January 29, 2019 9 comments

This is the third and final installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world. Again, rather than doing the scores on a geographical basis, this year I decided to simply preset the scores in a random order. This conclusive batch includes six scores: a superb children’s adventure score from an independent American film rebooting a beloved 1970s franchise, two beautiful scores from Japanese animations, a fun and spooky German children’s fantasy-comedy, a Spanish sports comedy caper, and a wonderfully nostalgic throwback to 80s synth scores for a Swedish comedy-thriller. Read more…

DANCES WITH WOLVES – John Barry

January 28, 2019 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Kevin Costner had long wished to produce and star in a western and, after several years of searching, finally came upon a script by his friend Michael Blake that piqued his interest. Set in the post-Civil War era, the tale explored the clash of civilizations between the indigenous American Indians and the westward expanding white Europeans. Costner asked Blake to expand his script into a novel to improve its chances of being adapted to the big screen. He did so, and Dances With Wolves was published in 1988. Costner immediately purchased the film rights and set his plan into motion, using his own Tig Productions Company to finance the film. He would audaciously produce, direct and star in the film. He began with a production budget of $15 million dollars, which ballooned to $22 million due to his insistence on geographical, linguistic and cultural authenticity. To support him in the lead role of Lieutenant John Dunbar he hired Mary McDonnell as Stands With A Fist, Graham Greene as Kicking Bird, and Rodney A. Grant as Wind In His Hair. Read more…

Academy Award Nominations 2018

January 22, 2019 Leave a comment

oscarstatuetteThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have announced the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards, honoring the best in film in 2018.

In the Best Original Score category, the nominees are:

  • TERENCE BLANCHARD for Blackkklansman
  • NICHOLAS BRITELL for If Beale Street Could Talk
  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for Isle of Dogs
  • LUDWIG GÖRANSSON for Black Panther
  • MARC SHAIMAN for Mary Poppins Returns

These are the first Oscar nominations for Blanchard and Göransson. This is the second nomination Britell (his first was Moonlight in 2016) and the fourth score nomination for Shaiman (his seventh overall, including nominations for Best Song) – although his last one came in 1999 for Patch Adams. Desplat has now been nominated ten times, and is the only former Oscar winner in the field, having won for The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014, and for The Shape of Water last year in 2017.

In the Best Original Song category, the nominees are:

  • STEFANI GERMANOTTA (LADY GAGA), MARK RONSON, ANTHONY ROSSOMANDO, and ANDREW WYATT for “Shallow” from A Star is Born
  • KENDRICK LAMAR DUCKWORTH, MARK SPEARS (SOUNWAVE), ANTHONY TIFFITH, and SOLANA ROWE (SZA) for “All the Stars” from Black Panther
  • DAVID RAWLINGS and GILLIAN WELCH for “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • MARC SHAIMAN and SCOTT WITTMAN for “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from MARY POPPINS RETURNS
  • DIANE WARREN for “I’ll Fight” from RGB

The winners of the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on February 24, 2018.

Best Scores of 2018, Part II

January 22, 2019 2 comments

This is the second installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world. As was the case before, rather than doing the scores on a geographical basis, this year I decided to simply preset the scores in a random order. This second batch includes six scores: two superb scores from Spain – a fantasy drama and a period thriller – a children’s animated film from Norway, a children’s adventure film from Sweden, a family adventure film from France, and a big-screen version of a beloved children’s story from Germany. Read more…

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS – Danny Elfman

January 14, 2019 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Tim Burton related that, as a teenager growing up in Burbank California, he felt estranged, isolated and misunderstood. A drawing by him of a solemn man bearing long sharp blades spoke to his inability to form and retain friends. The drawing served as inspiration for his film Edward Scissorhands, where he sought to explore a young man dealing with feelings of isolation and self-discovery. After reading First Born, a 1983 novelette by Caroline Thompson, he was sufficiently impressed to hire her to write the screenplay for the film. Burton and her sought inspiration from the classic monster movies of the past including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, and Frankenstein, as well traditional fairy tales. The project was very personal to Burton, and Thompson relates she wrote the screenplay as a love poem to the director. 20th Century Fox acquired the film rights, and given Burton’s stunning commercial success with Batman in 1989, gave him complete creative control. He assembled a fine cast, including Johnny Depp for the titular role. Joining him would be Winona Ryder as Kim Boggs, Dianne Wiest as Peg Boggs, Anthony Michael Hall as Jim, Kathy Baker as Joyce, Robert Oliveri as Kevin Boggs, Alan Arkin as Bill Boggs, O-Lan Jones as Esmeralda, and Vincent Price in his final screen role as Edward’s creator. Read more…

Best Scores of 2018, Part I

January 11, 2019 6 comments

This is the first installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world. Rather than grouping the scores on a geographical basis, this year I decided to simply present the scores in a random order, and so this first batch includes five scores from several disparate locations – a stunning romantic TV drama from China, a political drama score for a TV series from Egypt, a drama score from India by one of the world’s most successful composers, and two standout works from Spain – a historical TV drama series, and a stunning documentary work about mysteries of science, nature, and space. Read more…