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Film Score Friday 2/14/14
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 2/13/2014 - 9:00 PM
In honor of the 85th anniversary of Jerry Goldsmith's birth, the Varese Sarabande CD Club is releasing one the composer's few remaning "Holy Grail" unreleased scores - director John Huston's twisty 1963 mystery THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER, starring George C. Scott, Kirk Douglas and a roster of top-stars in prosthetic makeup-laden cameos (in a kind of forerunner to Cloud Atlas - both films even feature the explosion of a passenger jet) including Tony Curtis, Burt Lanaster, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra (Video Watchdog's March 2004 issue had a memorable interview with actor Jan Merlin, who revealed just how little those big name stars actually appeared in the Bud Westmore/John Chambers makeups in Adrian Messenger). On a personal note, this was one of the first Goldsmith scores to become a favorite of mine, and I've wanted a soundtrack release since roughly 1977, so for me this is a true soundtrack Holy Grail.

The latest limited edition CD from the label features the score for the period fantasy THE ADVENTURER: THE CURSE OF THE MIDAS BOX, starring Aneurin Barnard, Michael Sheen, Lena Headey and Sam Neill, which received a limited theatrical release earlier this year. The score was composed by Fernando Velazquez (The Impossible, Mama, The Orphanage) and the CD is limited to 1000 units. Both discs are expected to begin shipping the week of February 24th, but as per last December's CD Club releases, Varese has announced that shoppers will be charged for the full amount within days of their order even if the discs do not ship until weeks later.


Next week's new releases from Intrada are the first-ever release of Maurice Jarre's score for the 1988 drama DISTANT THUNDER, with John Lithgow as a traumatized Vietnam War vet and Ralph Macchio as his estranged son, and a box-set featuring the music from six LPs Elmer Bernstein recorded for the Ava label in the 1960s -- BABY THE RAIN MUST FALL, THE CARETAKERS, THE CARPETBAGGERS, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, WALK ON THE WILD SIDE and MOVIE & TV THEMES COMPOSED AND CONDUCTED BY ELMER BERNSTEIN.


GNP Crescendo is releasing an expanded version of Dennis McCarthy's score for Star Trek: The Next Generation's premiere episode, ENCOUNTER AT FARPOINT, paired with McCarthy's previously unreleased score for the first season episode THE ARSENAL OF FREEDOM.


On Thursday, February 27th at UCLA's Royce Hall, the Academy will present an OSCAR CONCERT featuring an 80-piece orchestra performing suites from the five nominated scores -- The Book Thief, Gravity, Her, Philomena and Saving Mr. Banks, currently planned to be conducted by their composers -- plus performances of the four nominated songs.

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Aisle Seat 2-11: Winter Olympics Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 2/10/2014 - 9:00 PM
Robert Redford’s performance as a sailor on a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean anchors – no pun intended – ALL IS LOST (**½, 106 mins., 2013, PG-13; Lionsgate), writer-director J.C. Chandor’s epic tale of survival.
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Film Score Friday 2/7/14
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 2/6/2014 - 9:00 PM
Varese Sarabande plans to announce a new CD Club release this coming Monday. They also plan to release a new CD in their Limited Edition series.

On February 18, the label will be releasing the LP tracks to the light-jazz soundtrack to Burt Reynolds' 1981 cop thriller SHARKY'S MACHINE, as well as the song albums from two Clint Eastwood films from the era, ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN and HONKYTONK MAN. On March 11 they will release Rachel Portman's score for THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG.


Next week La-La Land plans to release an expanded edition of John Carpenter and Shirley Walker's score for the 1996 sequel ESCAPE FROM L.A., and a new edition of one of Basil Poledouris' greatest scores, for Paul Verhoeven's underrated medieval adventure FLESH + BLOOD (featuring the same tracks as the out-of-print Intrada release). They will also be selling Bear McCreary's score for the fantasy comedy KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM from his Sparks & Shadows label.


Alexandre Desplat's Oscar-nominated score for Best Picture nominee PHILOMENA will finally receive a commercial CD release from February 25 on Decca, leaving Her as the only nominated score from this year to not receive a soundtrack release (the plausible theory is that Arcade Fire doesn't want it competing for sales with their latest album). Her is one of a handful of movies in Oscar history to receive nominations for Picture, Song and Scoring, and one of the few not to receive a soundtrack release (it took nearly five decades for a Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing soundtrack to be released). At the bottom of this column is a list of the films nominated in all three categories.


Quartet has announced four new, upcoming releases -- the first-ever release of Cliff Eiedelman's score for the 1991 comedy DELIRIOUS, starring John Candy as a TV writer who finds himself living in his own soap opera; Pierre Adenot's music for the new French version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, from director Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill); a re-release of Ennio Morricone's score for the romantic drama A TIME OF DESTINY, starring William Hurt, Timothy Hutton and Melissa Leo; and Anton Garcia Abril's score for the 1974 Spanish comedy FIN DE SEMANA AL DESNUDO.

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Aisle Seat 2-4: Death Wish, About Time, Last Vegas
Posted By Andy Dursin 2/3/2014 - 9:00 PM
Celebrating its 40th anniversary with its first Blu-Ray release, the original DEATH WISH (***, 93 mins., 1974, R; Warner) became a box-office smash back in the summer of ‘74 and generated one of the most popular roles for its 50-year-old star Charles Bronson.
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Film Score Friday 1/31/14
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 1/30/2014 - 9:00 PM
Next week's new CDs from Intrada are the first-ever release of Bill Conti's score for the 1991 football comedy NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, and a new release of Laurence Rosenthal's score for the 1979 sci-fi disaster epic METEOR, teaming Sean Connery and Natalie Wood.


The latest release from Kritzerland is a remastered edition of the Biblical epic DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS, the sequel to The Robe, for which Franz Waxman composed the score incorporating material from Alfred Newman's classic Robe score.


Buysoundtrax has announced two upcoming CDs -- THE RUNNER STUMBLES, featuring Ernest Gold's score for director Stanley Kramer's final film, a period drama about an ill-fated romance between a priest (Dick Van Dyke) and a nun (Kathleen Quinlan), previously released only as a composer promo LP; and a disc featuring re-recordings of two scores for "true" alien stories -- Elliot Goldenthal's ROSWELL and Eric Clapton's COMMUNION.


On March 4, Varese Sarabande will release the soundtrack to the sci-fi thriller AFTER THE DARK (aka The Philosophers), featuring the score by Nicholas O'Toole and Jonathan Davis (Queen of the Damned), as well as additional cues by Glen Phillips from the band Toad the Wet Sprocket.


In a surprising development, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this week that they are rescinding the nomination for the title song for the period drama ALONE YET NOT ALONE, music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel.

According to the press release, "The decision was prompted by the discovery that Broughton, a former Governor and current Music Branch executive committee member, had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period. 'No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage,' said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President. The Board determined that Broughton’s actions were inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations, which provide, among other terms, that 'it is the Academy's goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner. If any campaign activity is determined by the Board of Governors to work in opposition to that goal, whether or not anticipated by these regulations, the Board of Governors may take any corrective actions or assess any penalties that in its discretion it deems necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process.'”

The announcement also made clear that a fifth song will not be added to fill out the category, leaving only the four remaining songs. 

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Aisle Seat 1-28: January Chiller Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 1/27/2014 - 9:00 PM
A pair of British colonial adventures, a wild take on Shakespeare’s first tragedy and an oddball 3-D rarity comprise Twilight Time’s January Blu-Ray roster.
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Film Score Friday 1/24/14
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 1/23/2014 - 9:00 PM
Next week La-La Land will release two multi-disc sets of animated TV superhero music -- a four-disc set of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, with music by Kristopher Carter, Harvey R. Cohen, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis and Shirley Walker; and a two-disc set of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, featuring music by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis and Andy Sturmer.


On February 25, Varese Sarabande will release the score to Liam Neeson's latest action thriller -- NON-STOP, in which Neeson plays an air marshal on an international flight who finds himself taunted by a killer and framed for a hijacking. The film reunites Neeson with several of his Unknown collaborators, including producer Joel Silver, director Jaume Collet-Serra, and composer John Ottman.


Music Box has announced two new releases -- a CD pairing Georges Delerue's scores for LE MYTHOMANE and L'EDUCATION SENTIMENTALE; and music from three Danny Boon vehicles scored by Philippe Rombi, RIEN A DECLARER, LA MAISON DU BONHEUR and BIENVENUE CHEZ LES CHTIS.


MovieScore Media/Kronos will be releasing the score to Russia's submission for the 2013 Foreign Language Oscar -- STALINGRAD, a 3D World War II epic starring Thomas Kretschmann (who just recently played both Dracula in Dario Argento's Dracula 3D and Van Helsing in NBC's weekly Dracula TV series). The score was written by the noted Russian composer Angelo Badalamenti.

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Aisle Seat 1-21: Killing Fields, Carrie, Blue Jasmine
Posted By Andy Dursin 1/20/2014 - 9:00 PM
Music lost one of its champions when Marvin Hamlisch passed away in 2012. PBS’ American Masters documentary, MARVIN HAMLISCH: WHAT HE DID FOR LOVE DVD (84 mins., 2013; PBS), is a wonderful tribute to the late composer, born a musical prodigy with a personality that wasn’t suited for the life of a virtuoso pianist.
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Film Score Friday 1/17/14
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 1/16/2014 - 9:00 PM
Intrada has announced the three CDs they will be releasing next week -- one of James Newton Howard's most sought-after scores, for the 1993 urban psychological drama FALLING DOWN, starring Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall; a CD pairing music from two Oscar-winning Paramount films scored by Lyn Murray -- Alfred Hitchcock's romantic caper TO CATCH A THIEF, featuring the classic teaming of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, and the Korean War drama (not World War II as I'd originally, erroneously reported) THE BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI; and a re-release of their out-of-print version of Richard Band's cult classic RE-ANIMATOR score.


The latest CD announced by Kritzerland is the first-ever commercial release of the score to JOSEPH ANDREWS. Director Tony Richardson had arguably his greatest success with his 1963 film version of Fielding's classic Tom Jones, which earned Richardson Oscars for Picture and Directing, and in 1977 he directed the film version of Fielding's first novel, with Peter Firth as the title character and Anne-Margaret as the libidinous Lady Booby. Hugh Griffith had a cameo reprising his Oscar-winning role as Tom Jones' Squire Western, while the lighthearted, romantic score was composed by Tom Jones' other Oscar winner, Richardson's longtime collaborator John Addison. The only previous release of this score was a composer promo LP; the Kritzerland edition has additional music (but apparently not the Jim Dale songs featured in the film, which were also absent from the promo LP).

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Oscar Nominations 2013
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 1/16/2014 - 3:00 PM


ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)

THE BOOK THIEF - John Williams
GRAVITY - Steven Price
HER - William Butler, Owen Pallett
PHILOMENA - Alexandre Desplat
SAVING MR. BANKS - Thomas Newman

An interesting mix of the perpetually-nominated (this makes 12 for Newman, six for Desplat, and I-can't-count-that-high for Williams) and newcomers. Everyone except me knew Gravity was a shoo-in; I thought the branch might not cotton to its non-melodic, atmospheric approach, and frankly I also felt it was the film's one craft area that wasn't oustanding. Her is even more surprising, both because of the presence of two composers, and also the nature of the scoring credit: "Music by Arcade Fire, Additional Music by Owen Pallett." Hans Zimmer's 12 Years a Slave is the surprising omission, especially since it was one of the most nominated films overall, and I thought Captain Phillips would provide a first nomination for the rapidly rising Henry Jackman.


ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)

"ALONE YET NOT ALONE" - Alone Yet Not Alone - Music by Bruce Broughton, Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
"HAPPY" - Despicable Me 2 - Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
"LET IT GO" - Frozen - Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
"THE MOON SONG" - Her - Music by Karen O, Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
"ORDINARY LOVE" - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Lyric by Paul Hewson

The IMDB page on Alone Yet Not Alone doesn't list a single actor I've ever heard of, while Rotten Tomatoes doesn't have a single review. That must be a hell of a song (William Ross wrote the actual score to the film).  I think Frozen could have earned more song nominations if the studio had submitted more of its songs; either way, "Let It Go" seems like the front runner, especially since both the album and the film are hugely successful. Spike Jonze joins the company of such Oscar-nominated lyricists as Julie Taymor and Lars von Trier.

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