Under-the-Radar Round Up 2022, Part 4B

January 13, 2023 1 comment

Life has returned to world cinema in 2022 following the easing of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and at the end of the fourth quarter of the year I’m absolutely delighted to present the latest instalment in my on-going series of articles looking at the best under-the-radar scores from around the world. This article covers five scores for projects from Spanish-speaking countries, and includes a sci-fi drama series, a Mexican existential comedy-drama, two murder-mystery thriller movies, and a TV series about the life of explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Read more…

FOREVER YOUNG – Jerry Goldsmith

January 12, 2023 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Forever Young was a romantic drama with a fantasy-science fiction twist, written by a young J. J. Abrams (credited as ‘Jeffrey’), and directed by Steve Miner. It was envisaged as a vehicle for Mel Gibson to establish himself as a romantic leading man; he plays Daniel McCormick, a test pilot with the US Army Air Corps in 1939. When his fiancé Helen (Isabel Glasser) falls into a coma after a car accident, and not wanting to watch her die, Daniel volunteers for a top-secret government program where he will be cryogenically frozen and placed into suspended animation for a year. However, when Daniel is finally woken up, he is shocked to discover that it is now 1992; with the help of an inquisitive 10-year old boy named Nat (Elijah Wood) and his charming mother Claire (Jamie Lee Curtis), Daniel resolves to find out what happened – but is soon presented with another problem, as he finds himself ageing rapidly. The film was a modest success at the box office and with critics, who enjoyed its old fashioned charm, unusual time-travel plot, and warm lead performances. Read more…

Golden Globe Winners 2022

January 10, 2023 2 comments

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) have announced the winners of the 80th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and American television of 2022.

In the Best Original Score category composer Justin Hurwitz won the award for his score for Babylon, a raucous and debauched look at three characters making their way through 1920s Hollywood as the movies transition from silents to talkies. Hurwitz wrote a huge homage to big band jazz, coupled with some more sentimental music accompanying the central relationships. This is the fourth Golden Globe for Hurwitz, from four nominations – he previously won awards for La-La Land in 2016 (both Best Score and Best Song), and First Man in 2018. In his acceptance speech, Hurwitz said:

“Thank you, guys, thank you so much. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to figure out at a young age that music was the thing for me. I’m grateful to my parents. I’m grateful to the public schools I went to that had music classes. I think a lot about all of the people out there who are really talented at something but never get the chance to figure out what that thing is. So I just think it’s so important to spread opportunity around, to make sure that everybody – kids and adults and everybody – has the opportunity to be exposed to things, to try things out, to figure out what’s for them, because I think things would be so much better if people could… I was very fortunate but I would be… things would be better if people could figure out the thing that they were good at, the thing the love doing more than anything else, and we just need opportunity, we need to spread the opportunity. Thank you Team Babylon, and thank you HFPA.”

The other nominees were Carter Burwell for The Banshees of Inisherin, Alexandre Desplat for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Hildur Guðnadóttir for Women Talking, and John Williams for The Fabelmans.

In the Best Original Song category, the winners were M. M. Keeravani and Kanukuntla Subhash Chandrabose for their song “Naatu Naatu” from the epic Bollywood action movie RRR.

The other nominees were Alexandre Desplat, Roeben Katz, and Guillermo Del Toro for “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio; Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), Michael Tucker (Bloodpop), and Benjamin Rice for “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick; Temilade Openiyi (Tems), Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Göransson for “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; and Taylor Swift for “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing.

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THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN – Carter Burwell

January 10, 2023 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Banshees of Inisherin is a dark comedy-drama written and directed by Martin McDonagh, set on a remote island off the coast of Ireland in 1923. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as Pádraic Súilleabháin and Colm Doherty, long-time friends and drinking partners. Colm is a folk musician and fiddle player, and dreams of writing a classic song that will seal his legacy. Things change for the pair when, out of the blue, Colm decides that he no longer wants to be associated with Pádraic, and begins to ignore him. Pádraic, distressed by the loss of one of his few friends, begins hounding Colm, to the point where an exasperated Colm gives Pádraic an ultimatum: if he doesn’t stop bothering him, he will start cutting off his own fingers. From there, things escalate further, with the entire town eventually becoming involved in their feud. The film co-stars Kerry Condon as Pádraic’s kind sister Siobhán, and Barry Keoghan as troubled local boy Dominic, and has been a massive critical success, picking up awards at the Venice International Film Festival, and receiving multiple Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations. Read more…

PETER IBBETSON – Ernst Toch

January 9, 2023 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In early 1935 Paramount Pictures executives decided that they would adapt and bring to the big screen George du Maurier’s1891 romantic fantasy novel Peter Ibbetson. Louis D. Lighton was assigned production and provided a budget of $750,000. Henry Hathaway was tasked with directing, and a team of screenwriters lead by John Meehan were hired to write the screenplay. A fine cast was assembled, but not without controversy. Fredric March and Robert Donat were originally envisioned for the titular role, but in a dubious decision, Hathaway decided to cast against type, Gary Cooper, who had achieved fame in Westerns and heroic dramas. Joining him would be Ann Harding as Mary, Duchess of Towers, John Halliday as the Duke of Towers, and Ida Lupino as Agnes. Read more…

Under-the-Radar Round Up 2022, Part 4A

January 6, 2023 1 comment

Life has returned to world cinema in 2022 following the easing of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and at the end of the fourth quarter of the year I’m absolutely delighted to present the latest instalment in my on-going series of articles looking at the best under-the-radar scores from around the world. This article covers six scores for projects from disparate parts of Europe, and includes a Dutch-Belgian Christmas family film, a powerful Croatian drama, a Belgian nature documentary, a Spanish supernatural horror film, and two different scores by the same French composer – one a period drama film, and one a historical TV series looking at the life of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Read more…

HOFFA – David Newman

January 5, 2023 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa remains one of the United States’s most intriguing mysteries. Hoffa was a union leader with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Detroit, an important man with political influence, but who was also involved with a number of criminal organizations, including the mafia. Hoffa went missing in 1975 after leaving to have a meeting with two local organized crime kingpins; to this day his body has never been found and, although he was declared legally dead in 1982, speculation about his fate and what exactly happened to him remains rife. This film, directed by Danny DeVito and written by David Mamet, looks back at Hoffa’s life and ends with his mysterious disappearance. Jack Nicholson plays Hoffa, and DeVito plays Robert Ciaro, an amalgamation of several Hoffa associates over the years. The film also features John C. Reilly, Robert Prosky, Kevin Anderson, Armand Assante, and J. T. Walsh in key supporting roles. The film was a modest critical and commercial hit; it earned two Oscar nominations for Cinematography and Makeup, and Nicholson received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Read more…

BABYLON – Justin Hurwitz

January 3, 2023 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The first half hour of Babylon, director Damien Chazelle’s epic look at the excesses of early Hollywood in the 1920s, is a sensory overload that feels like too much of everything. It’s a literal orgy of sex, drugs, and debauchery, drinking and dancing and music and good times blended with the sort of bacchanalian overkill that would make even the most hardened party goer question their judgement. Within the opening few minutes we are treated to scenes of, among other things, a grossly overweight man receiving a golden shower, someone snorting a literal mountain of cocaine, dwarves on phallus-shaped pogo sticks ‘ejaculating’ onto a crowd, a lounge singer crooning about playing with ‘her girl’s pussy’, and an elephant with the worst case of diarrhea you have ever seen. But, somehow, out of this initially overwhelming celebration of Pasolini-esque depravity, a compelling story emerges focusing on three main characters: silent film matinee idol actor Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), ambitious but damaged starlet Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie), and idealistic Mexican immigrant Manny Torres (Diego Calva), who just wants to work in the movies. Read more…

THE BLACK ROSE – Richard Addinsell

January 2, 2023 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Black Rose was conceived as a follow-up to the 1949 film Prince of Foxes, reuniting the two male lead actors Tyrone Power and Orson Welles in a new adventure. It would be based on the 1945 novel of the same name by Thomas B. Costain, with Talbot Jennings writing the screenplay. 20th Century Fox Studios and its British counterparts joined together to finance the film, with Louis D. Lighton assigned production, and Henry Hathaway tasked with directing. The cast included Tyrone Power as Walter of Gurnie, Orson Welles as Bayan of the Hundred Eyes, Cécile Aubry as Maryam, Jack Hawkins as Tristam Griffen, and Michael Rennie as King Edward I. Read more…

AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER – Simon Franglen

December 29, 2022 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

For a while, people sort of forgot what a big deal Avatar was. When James Cameron’s spectacular sci-fi epic first hit screens in December of 2009 it was immediately heralded as a visual masterpiece, boasting some of the most impressive and realistic special effects in the history of cinema, as well as being a groundbreaking step forward in the use of 3D technology and motion-capture. It won three Oscars, was nominated for another six (including Best Picture), and grossed something in the region of $2.9 billion at the global box office, making it one of the most financially successful films ever. But then the backlash came, with some people (rightfully) criticizing the story as being a tired re-tread of both the Pocahontas legend and movies like Dances With Wolves and Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, while also noting its ‘white savior’ tropes. And then… well… it all sort of drifted away. Cameron announced that there would be sequels – possibly four of them – and then he went away to go and make them. And, slowly, over the course of more than a decade, almost everyone forgot about the whole thing. Every once in a while some bit of Avatar news would leak out – shooting began way back in 2017 – but more than anything the Avatar sequels felt a little like a mythical thing, some fairy-tale idea seemingly destined to never come to fruition. Read more…

RASHOMON – Fumio Hayasaka

December 26, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned director Akira Kurosawa found inspiration for his next film from two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa – In a Bamboo Grove (1922) and Rashomon (1915). He decided to blend the two narratives and collaborated with Shinobu Hashimoto to adapt a screenplay. Financial backing was secured from the Daiei Film company, Minoru Jingo was assigned production with a very small budget of $250,000, and Kurosawa took the reins to direct. For his cast, Kurosawa brought in Takashi Shimura as Kikori the woodcutter, Minoru Chiaki as Tabi Hõshi the priest, Masayuki Mori as Takehiro the samurai, Machiko Kyõ as the samurai’s wife Masako, and Toshiro Mifune as Tajomaru the bandit. Read more…

SCL Award Nominations 2022

December 22, 2022 Leave a comment

The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) has announced the nominations for the fourth annual SCL Awards, honoring the best in film and television music in 2022. The SCL is the premier professional trade group for composers, lyricists, and songwriters working in the motion picture, television, and game music industry, and is headquartered in Los Angeles. The nominees are:

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A STUDIO FILM

  • MICHAEL ABELS for Nope
  • CARTER BURWELL for The Banshees of Inisherin
  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio
  • MICHAEL GIACCHINO for The Batman
  • JOHN POWELL for Don’t Worry Darling

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN INDEPENDENT FILM

  • LEO BIRENBERG and ZACH ROBINSON for Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
  • SHARON FARBER for Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power
  • SON LUX for Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • ROB SIMONSEN for The Whale
  • MARK SMYTHE for The Reef: Stalked

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION OR STREAMING PRODUCTION

  • NICHOLAS BRITELL for Andor
  • SIDDHARTHA KHOSLA for Only Murders In The Building
  • BEAR MCCREARY for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
  • THEODORE SHAPIRO for Severance
  • CRISTOBAL TAPIA DE VEER for The White Lotus

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SONG FOR VISUAL MEDIA – DRAMA/DOCUMENTARY

  • STEFANI GERMANOTTA (LADY GAGA) and MICHAEL TUCKER (BLOODPOP) for “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick
  • TEMILADE OPENIYI (TEMS), ROBYN RIHANNA FENTY, RYAN COOGLER, and LUDWIG GÖRANSSON for “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • TRENT REZNOR and ATTICUS ROSS for “(You Made It Feel Like) Home” from Bones and All
  • TAYLOR SWIFT for “Carolina” from Where The Crawdads Sing
  • DIANE WARREN for “Applause” from Tell It Like A Woman

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SONG FOR VISUAL MEDIA- MUSICAL/COMEDY

  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT, ROEBAN KATZ, and GUILLERMO DEL TORO for “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio
  • DANNY ELFMAN for “Light The Match” from Central Park
  • BENJ PASEK, JUSTIN PAUL, KHIYON HURSEY, SUKARI JONES, and MARK SONNENBLICK for “Good Afternoon” from Spirited
  • MARC SHAIMAN and BILLY EICHNER, for “Love Is Not Love” from Bros
  • AL YANKOVIC for “Now You Know” from Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • NAINITA DESAI for Immortality
  • STEPHANIE ECONOMOU for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök
  • BEAR MCCREARY for God of War: Ragnarök
  • WINIFRED PHILLIPS for Jurassic World: Primal Ops
  • CHRISTOPHER WILLIS for Cat Burglar

DAVID RAKSIN AWARD FOR EMERGING TALENT

  • ESIN AYDINGOZ
  • ANNA DRUBICH
  • DEANDRE JAMES ALLEN-TOOLE
  • NAMI MELUMAD
  • DARA TAYLOR

SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION AWARD

  • To be announced at a later date

The winners of the 4th SCL Awards will be announced on 15 February, 2023.

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Golden Globe Nominations 2022

December 12, 2022 Leave a comment

goldenglobeThe Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has announced the nominations for the 80th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and American television of 2022.

In the Best Original Score category, the nominees are:

  • CARTER BURWELL for The Banshees of Inisherin
  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
  • HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR for Women Talking
  • JUSTIN HURWITZ for Babylon
  • JOHN WILLIAMS for The Fabelmans

This is the fourth nomination for Burwell; the 14th nomination for Desplat, who previously won Globes for The Painted Veil in 2006 and The Shape of Water in 2017; the second nomination for Guðnadóttir, who previously won for Joker in 2019; the fourth nomination for Hurwitz, who previously won for La-La Land in 2016 and First Man in 2018 ; and the 26th nomination for Williams, who previously won Globes in 1975 for Jaws, 1977 for Star Wars, 1982 for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and 2005 for Memoirs of a Geisha.

In the Best Original Song category, the nominees are:

  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT, ROEBEN KATZ, and GUILLERMO DEL TORO for “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
  • STEFANI GERMANOTTA (LADY GAGA), MICHAEL TUCKER (BLOODPOP), and BENJAMIN RICE for “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick
  • M. M. KEERAVANI and KANUKUNTLA SUBHASH CHANDRABOSE for “Naatu Naatu” from RRR
  • TEMILADE OPENIYI (TEMS), ROBYN RIHANNA FENTY, RYAN COOGLER, and LUDWIG GÖRANSSON for “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • TAYLOR SWIFT for “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing

The winners of the 80th Golden Globe Awards will be announced on January 10, 2023.

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Angelo Badalamenti, 1937-2022

December 11, 2022 Leave a comment

Composer Angelo Badalamenti died on December 11, 2022, at home in New Jersey after a short illness. He was 85.

Angelo Daniel Badalamenti was born in New York City in March 1937, the son of Italian immigrants from Sicily. A piano player from a young age, Badalamenti was already earning money as a pianist accompanying singers at resorts in the Catskill Mountains in his teens; he later studied at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and then at the Manhattan School of Music, graduating with a master’s degree in 1959.

He began his career as a songwriter, penning works for singers such as Nina Simone and Shirley Bassey using the pen name Andy Badale. He made his film music debut was early as 1973, scoring the blaxploitation action pic Gordon’s War, but his break came when he was hired to be Isabella Rossellini’s vocal coach for David Lynch’s 1986 film Blue Velvet. Impressed with his work, Lynch asked Badalamenti to co-write the song “Mysteries of Love” for vocalist Julee Cruise, and then asked Badalamenti to composed the score for the entire film. Read more…

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BROKEN ARROW – Hugo Friedhofer

December 5, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1949 Darryl F. Zanuck, Director of Film Production at 20th Century Fox decided that the 1947 novel Blood Brother by Elliot Arnold, which explored the Arizona Indian War of 1870-1872 offered a compelling story, which needed to be brought to the bIg screen. He purchased the film rights, AND assigned production to Julian Blaustein, with Albert Maltz and Elliot Arnold hired to adapt the novel and write the screenplay. Delmer Daves was tasked with directing and a cast was assembled, which would cause great controversy. Once again, the issue was criticism of white actors coopting Indian roles. James Stewart at 41 would head the cast and star in his first Western film. Joining him would be Jeff Chandler as Cochise, Debra Paget as Sonseehray, Basil Ruysdael as General Oliver Howard, Will Geer as Ben Slade, and Jay Silverheels as Geronimo. Read more…