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Film Score Friday 6/26/15
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 6/25/2015 - 9:00 PM
Film music fans around the world were shocked on Monday to learn of the death of composer James Horner at age 61, in a plane crash. The son of Oscar-winning production designer Harry Horner, James Horner had a rise to success that can only be described as meteoric -- his first major feature, the period gangster drama The Lady in Red, was released when he was only 25, and three years later he scored two back-to-back smash hits, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and 48 Hrs., which rapidly put him on the A-list of Hollywood composers. Over the course of his career he earned ten Academy Award nominations and two Oscars, both for his work on the international blockbuster Titanic. Titanic and Avatar, his third film for director James Cameron, are the two top highest grossing films of all-time, both in the United States and around the world. But just as importantly, the long list of directors with whom he worked on more than one occasion indicates the regard with which he was held in the film industry -- Jean-Jacques Annaud, Michael Apted, James Cameron, Martin Campbell, Michael Dinner, Mel Gibson, Walter Hill, Ron Howard, Joe Johnston, Jonathan Kaplan, Nicholas Meyer, Alan J. Pakula, Vadim Perelman, Wolfgang Peterson, Phil Alden Robinson, Peter Yates, Steven Zaillian and Edward Zwick. He remained musically active up to the very end, with a concert piece, Pas de Deux, just released on CD, and a new score, for the boxing drama Southpaw, due in theaters next month. We will feature a more detailed obituary of this immensely popular composer in an upcoming column, but for now, our condolences go out to his friends and family.


Intrada announced two new limited edition CDs this week.

Chris Columbus, who went on to direct such blockbusters as Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the first two Harry Potter films, made his feature directorial debut with the teen comedy ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, starring Elisabeth Shue as a babysitter who takes her charges (including Keith Coogan and future Rent star Anthony Rapp) into Chicago to help rescue a friend (Penelope Ann Miller). The original score was composed by Michael Kamen, fresh off his breakthrough hit Lethal Weapon, and while much of it was dialed out from the final film, the Intrada CD has plenty of unused Kamen music as well as the film's set-piece musical number "Babysitter Blues."

Their other new release is an expanded edition for the score to director George Miller's THE AVIATOR. The great majority of film fans are likely to be utterly baffled by the phrase "director George Miller's The Aviator," particularly since it's both a different George Miller and a different The Aviator than most moviegoers are used to. Like his more famous namesake, the director of The Road Warrior, Aviator's Miller was an Australian filmmaker who had a breakout, sequel-spawning hit in the early 1980s -- The Man from Snowy River. The Aviator, released in 1985, was a period survival drama based on the novel by aviation specialist Ernest K. Gann (The High and the Mighty, Fate Is the Hunter), with Christopher Reeve as a pilot who crash lands on a remote mountain with a young heiress (Rosanna Arquette). The film's melodic orchestral score was composed by Dominic Frontiere (The Outer Limits, Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold, The Stunt Man), and was originally released on LP by Varese Sarabande, later released on CD by La-La Land in a somewhat expanded version paired with Frontiere's hit Hang 'Em High. The Intrada Aviator is a remastered and substantially expanded edition featuring extra cues and previously omitted musical elements.


Varese Sarabande announced their next to limited edition CD Club releases, which are expected to begin shipping next week.

The monster comedy Gremlins, from screenwriter Chris Columbus, executive producer Steven Spielberg and director Joe Dante, was one of the biggest hits of 1984 (and was rumored to be one of the films that inspired the PG-13 rating, instituted later that summer) so a sequel was inevitable, but it was six years later when the creatures returned to the screen in GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH. Original Gremlins stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates returned and joined an ace supporting cast including John Glover, Robert Prosky, Robert Picardo, Dick Miller and Christopher Lee. The sequel was nowhere near the box-office success of the original, but Dante's distinctive blend of thrills and film-centric comedy was at its peak with this lavish effort, whose reputation has blossomed in the years since. Dante's regular composer Jerry Goldsmith returned for the sequel with an energetic score that embellished the film's many moods with new themes as well as his popular melodies from the original Gremlins, and, as in the original, contributed an on-screen cameo ("Did she say there was a rat?"). Varese released the original soundtrack on CD with a well-chosen 39 minutes of score, while their new, 25th Anniversary release features more than a dozen previously unreleased Goldsmith cues.

Richard Preston's article "Crisis in the Hot Zone," a real-life Andromeda Strain/Satan Bug published in the New Yorker in 1992, helped make the Ebola virus internationally feared and famous, and his best-selling book-length expansion The Hot Zone gave the true story even more notoriety. Ridley Scott was announced to direct a film version, possibly to star Robert Redford and Jodie Foster, but in the decades since the project has still gone unmade, while a competing Ebola-esque thriller OUTBREAK, directed by Wolfgang Peterson (at the start of his unexpected morphing into Roland Emmerich), raced to the screen in 1995 with an impressive cast including Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Donald Sutherland, Cuba Gooding Jr., and an uncredited, film-stealing cameo by the late, great J.T. Walsh. James Newton Howard composed the exciting score, released at the time on CD by Varese with, as was common in that era, only 30 minutes of score. The CD Club's two-disc Deluxe Edition features a whopping 103 minutes of Howard music.


The latest CDs from Quartet are an expanded version of Pino Donaggio's score for the 1985 romantic drama L'ATTENZIONE, and a re-release of John Williams' offbeat, monothematic and source-dominated score Robert Altman's modern-day 1973 reworking of Raymond Chandler's THE LONG GOODBYE.

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Aisle Seat 6-23: Summer Arrival Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 6/22/2015 - 9:00 PM
The most cartoonish live-action film that producer Steven Spielberg has been involved with since “The Flintstones,” JURASSIC WORLD (**, 127 mins., PG-13) broke every record last weekend at the domestic and international box-office. That doesn’t excuse the fact that the picture is an insult to both Michael Crichton’s original "Jurassic Park" novel and the type of cinematic sci-fi that Spielberg himself captured in his 1993 screen version. While that groundbreaking blockbuster was flawed, it was at least an honest attempt at incorporating enough real-world science that one’s suspension of disbelief was minimal for a story about bringing dinosaurs back to life.
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June Issue of FSMO Is Live!
Posted By Tim Curran 6/19/2015 - 2:00 AM
The June edition of FSM ONLINE is now live. In this month’s cover story, Tim Burden details the premiere of BACK TO THE FUTURE IN CONCERT in Lucerne, Switzerland. Also this issue, an interview with WALTER MURPHY about TED 2 and his long-running partnership with Seth MacFarlane; ANDREW LOCKINGTON on the seismic score to SAN ANDREAS; a PLANET OF THE APES double feature—an interview with author John O'Callaghan about the classic JERRY GOLDSMITH score and also a Score Restore of a missing cue; JEFF RUSSO returns to FARGO, among many other projects; JOHN DEBNEY and BRUCE BROUGHTON team up to tackle TEXAS RISING; DANIEL LICHT scores THE RED ROAD and premieres a new DEXTER suite in Krakow; Soundtrack Obscurities digs up scores from the films of LANCE HENRIKSEN; Part 2 of the Gold Rush series on MAX STEINER looks at his early film career; more embedded audio clips, and more.

Subscribers, you’ll get notification by email shortly. Or, just go here to log in. For those who want to join FSM ONLINE, go here, click on the “Subscribe” link and follow the instructions. And email us if you have any questions.
 
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Your Friends at FSM ONLINE

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Film Score Friday 6/19/15
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 6/18/2015 - 9:00 PM
Intrada plans to release two new CDs next week.


Varese Sarabande plans to announce new CD Club releases next week.

The label has also announced some non-limited releases: THE MUSIC OF PATRICK DOYLE: SOLO PIANO, with the two-time Oscar nominee performing his own work, due the week of on July 14; and Joshua Johnson's score for the documentary I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROL SPINNEY STORY, due the week of July 28.

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Film Score Friday 6/12/15
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 6/11/2015 - 9:00 PM
Intrada has released two new CDs this week featuring scores by Oscar-winning composers written for two hit Paramount films nearly a half-century apart.

Writer-director Billy Wilder and composer Miklos Rozsa first collaborated on the World War II adventure Five Graves to Cairo, but it was their second film together, the witty adaptation of James L. Cain's classic noir novel Double Indemnity that proved to be a breakthrough for both artists -- a Best Picture nominee, it also earned nominations for Rozsa's score (which the studio reportedly wanted to replace) and Wilder's screenplay and direction.Their third project, THE LOST WEEKEND, was the Best Picture winner of 1945, earning Oscars for Ray Milland's lead performance as a writer fighting a losing battle with alcoholism, and for Wilder's direction and screenplay. Rozsa also received a nomination for his music, but year's Oscar for Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture went instead to...Miklos Rozsa, for Spellbound. Intrada's Lost Weekend, the first release of the film's original score tracks, features nearly 70 minutes of classic Rozsa.

Composer John Barry had one of his last big box-office hits with director Adrian Lyne's 1992 romantic drama INDECENT PROPOSAL. Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson star as a couple who see a possible solution to their financial woes when a charming tycoon (Robert Redford) offers the wife a million dollars for an intimate evening. Barry wrote a typically romantic and evocative score, and the original MCA soundtrack CD featured a lengthy suite of his music as well as several songs from the film. The Intrada Indecent Proposal drops the songs and features a whopping 74 minutes of Barry music. (However, due to licensing reasons, the label was unable to include the Barry co-written song "All the Right Places," performed by Lisa Stansfield, so Barry completists like myself will be keeping our MCA CD as well).


On July 24, Varese Sarabande plans to release Henry Jackman's score for PIXELS, director Chris Columbus' sci-fi-action-comedy starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Peter Dinklage.


Eclectic filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, The Killer Inside Me, The Trip) followed up his film adaptations of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (Jude) and The Mayor of Casterbridge (The Claim) with 2011's TRISHNA, a reworking of Tess of the d'Urbervilles set in modern-day India. The score was composed by Shigeru Umebeyashi (House of Flying Daggers, The Grandmaster) and Caldera is releasing it on CD for the first time.
Quartet has announced two new upcoming CDs -- a new edition of Maurice Jarre's score for UNE STAGIONE ALL'INFERNO (A Season in Hell), starring Terence Stamp as the poet Rimbaud, and Nino Rota's score for TOBY DAMMIT, the Fellini-directed segment of the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired anthology film Spirits of the Dead, also starring Terence Stamp.
Music Box is releasing a CD pairing two scores composed by Pierre Bachelet for early films directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud (Quest for Fire, The Name of the Rose, The Lover) -- LA VICTOIRE EN CHANTANT and COUP DE TETE. La Victoire en Chantant was released in the U.S. as Black and White in Color and was the surprise winner of the Foreign Language Film Oscar -- this was reportedly the first year that Academy members had to see all five of the Foreign Language nominees before voting, as up until then the award more often went to higher profile films from more famous filmmakers (Bergman, Bunuel, Fellini, Kurosawa, Truffaut).

The label is also releasing a new limited edition of Ennio Morricone's score for the 1975 thriller PEUR SUR LA VILLE (The Night Caller). 
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Film Score Friday 6/5/15
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 6/4/2015 - 9:00 PM
On July 10, Varese Sarabande plans a change-of-pace release, a concept album titled THE WOMAN ASTRONAUT. The music was composed by Penka Kouneva, whose scores include Midnight Movie and Chupacabra Terror, and who has worked as an orchestrator for a wide variety of composers including Nathan Barr, Cliff Eidelman, Nathan Furst, Rupert Gregon-Williams, Steve Jablonsky, Javier Navarrete, Atli Orvarsson and Hans Zimmer.


Intrada plans to release two new CDs next week. 

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Aisle Seat 6-2: Early June Rundown
Posted By Andy Dursin 6/1/2015 - 9:00 PM
Saddling up in time for Father’s Day later this month is Warner’s five-disc Blu-Ray anthology JOHN WAYNE WESTERNS FILM COLLECTION, which isn’t exactly comprehensive even by studio output (“The Cowboys” isn’t included) but nevertheless offers a decent overview of The Duke’s sagebrush sagas, with two late-era, generally underrated Wayne titles premiering in this set.
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Film Score Friday 5/29/15
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/28/2015 - 9:00 PM
Intrada has released two new CDs this week.

3-D films received a new mini-boom in the early 1980s thanks to the new Arrivision 3-D process that allowed two widescreen images to be paired on one 35mm frame. Used for such films as Friday the 13th Part 3, Parasite and Metalstorm, it had its highest profile demonstration in JAWS 3-D, in which Jaws production designer Joe Alves made his directorial debut from a script co-written by the great Richard Matheson and starring Dennis Quaid (as one of Chief Brody's grown-up sons), Bess Armstrong, Lea Thompson, Simon Macorkindale, and then-new Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. The film may not have been a worthy successor to Spielberg's universally beloved original, but it was a first-rate guilty pleasure making use of 3-D effects in that wonderfully "in your face" way that's largely gone out of fashion in the current 3-D boom. TV composer Alan Parker had his first major feature assignment with this score, which of course incorporates John Williams' classic shark theme while using a wealth of new Parker material. MCA originally released sections of the score on LP, and decades later Intrada released a CD with the same sequencing. The new Intrada two-disc set features Parker's complete score as well as a wealth of alternate cues (Parker had to rewrite and re-record major sections of the score late in the post-production process). The liner notes include a detailed production history writen by me, as well as excerpts from Daniel Schweiger's exhaustive interview with the composer from Intrada's earlier release of the score.

Their other new release presents the score for the latest collaboration between composer Christopher Young and director Mark Steven Johnson, who previously worked together on Ghost Rider and When in Rome. KILLING SEASON, a drama about the aftermath of the Bosnian War, was a change of pace project for the director, who first broke out in Hollywood as the writer of the Grumpy Old Men films, and the limited U.S. release it received in 2013 is a particular surprise given that the film stars Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Intrada's CD features 43 minutes of Young's score with the cues sequenced into four movements.


La-La Land has announced their planned slate of releases for June 2015. On June 2nd they will release a second volume of Mark Snow's music from the TV series MILLENNIUM, and re-release their out-of-print first volume. On June 16 they will release an expanded edition of James Horner's charming score for 1993's SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISHCHER (one of TEN Horner-scored films released in the U.S. that year). But most notably, on June 16 they will also release an expanded, three-disc (!) version of what gets my vote for the greatest score of the current century.

Fittingly enough, it was the year 2001 that saw the release of a science-fiction project initiated by Stanley Kubrick, but realized for the screen by Steven Spielberg after Kubrick's death in 1999. A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE is one of Spielberg's most controversial films -- a box-office disappointment, it is lauded by some (including myself) as one of his most striking and greatest achivements. Along with the typically impeccable craft (ILM's visual effects are especially dazzling) and Haley Joel Osment's stunning lead performance, John Williams provided a truly remarkable and varied score, arguably his finest since Schindler's List (I'd argue it's even finer). The original soundtrack CD for the film was a frustrating assemblage leaving out some major musical material (including the theme for Osment's principal character) while including two versions of the "mother" theme with lyrics not featured the film. The La-La Land A.I. will present the original score on two discs plus a third disc featuring alternates including the album versions of several of the tracks.


On June 23, Varese Sarabande will release a CD of music from the TV series THE LIBRARIANS. The music is composed by genre veteran Joseph LoDuca, whose resume includes Sam Raimi's three Evil Dead features as well as the Librarian TV movies that spawned the series. 

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Aisle Seat 5-26: Memorial Day Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 5/25/2015 - 9:00 PM
At last available on Blu-Ray June 2nd, 1776 (****, 165/168 mins., 1972, PG; Sony) is Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone’s unique musical on the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The straightforward Columbia film version, directed by Peter H. Hunt – repeating his stage duties – captures the essence of its source with a top notch cast mostly returning from the Broadway stage, including William Daniels as John Adams, Howard Da Silva as Ben Franklin and Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson.
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Film Score Friday 5/22/15
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/21/2015 - 9:00 PM
Varese Sarabande has announced a new subscription series of limited edition soundtrack CDs. Once a month for the next year, beginning with Charles Bernstein's score for the 1986 horror film APRIL FOOL'S DAY, the label will release a CD featuring the contents of one of their earlier soundtrack LPs that had yet to be released on CD.


Music Box has announced two new releases --  a remastered edition (with the same cues from the earlier Milan release) of Antoine Duhamel's score for Francois Truffaut's romantic thriller MISSISSIPPI MERMAID, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Catherine Deneuve and based on Cornel Woolrich's Waltz Into Darkness (and later remade as Original Sin, with Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie and a score by Terence Blanchard); and an expanded version of Ennio Morricone's score for the 1971 heist thriller LE CASSE (THE BURGLARS).


The latest release from Quartet is a four-disc set titled ANTONIONI: SUONI DEL SILENZIO, featuring the scores from four of director Michelangelo Antonioni's early films -- L'Avventura (Givoanni Fusco), La Notte (Giorgio Gaslini), L'Eclisse, and Il Deserto Rosso [The Red Desert] (both Fusco)


Intrada plans to release two new CDs next week. 

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