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Film Score Friday 5/4/18
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/3/2018 - 9:00 PM
The latest soundtrack release from the Brigham Young University Film Music Archive is a three-disc set titled CAGED: THE DARK SIDE OF MAX STEINER. The set features surviving score tracks for seven films scored by the multi-Oscar winner: the 1950 women's prison drama CAGED, nominated for three Oscars including Best Actress for Eleanor Parker; director John Huston's 1948 classic KEY LARGO, starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, and featuring an Oscar-winning performance by Claire Trevor; THE UNFAITHFUL, a remake of The Letter, starring Ann Sheridan; FLAMINGO ROAD, starring Joan Crawford; his uncredited main title music for 1950's BACKFIRE; uncredited cues from THE BREAKING POINT, Michael Curtiz's 1950 remake of To Have and Have Not, starring John Garfield and Patricia Neal; and King Vidor's 1951 romantic thriller LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE.


The latest release from Counterpoint presents the first-ever release of the score for Fox's 1952 Argentina-set Western WAY OF A GAUCHO, starring Rory Calhoun, Gene Tierney and Richard Boone, directed by Jacques Tourneur (Curse of the Demon) and scored by Sol Kaplan (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold).


The latest CD from Intrada presents the LP tracks from Johnny Mandel's score for HARPER, the 1966 film version of Ross McDonald's Lew Archer mystery novel The Moving Target, adapted by the great William Goldman, starring Paul Newman as "Lew Harper" (re-named due to the success of Newman's The Hustler and Hud, and followed by Hombre), a role he reprised in 1975's The Drowning Pool.


The latest releases from Quartet include a two-disc, expanded version of Nino Rota's score for director Luchino Visconti's Oscar-nominated epic family saga THE LEOPARD, starring Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale, and 2017's PILGRIMAGE, a violent period adventure film starring Jon Bernthal, Richard Armitage, and our latest friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Tom Holland, with a score by Stephen McKeon (Borstal Boy, Queen & Country).


La-La Land has announced their planned schedule of releases for this month -- on May 8th they will release a two-disc set of SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE, scored by Alexander Courage from themes by John Williams (including two specially composed for this film), with the same audio contents as FSM's Superman Collection; on May 22, music from the Karate Kid spinoff COBRA KAI, by Zach Robinson and Leo Birenberg, and the score for the live-action (not animated, as I'd previously writen) CRISIS ON EARTH-X, by Blake Neely, Nathaniel Blume, Daniel Chan and Sherri Chung

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Film Score Friday 4/27/18
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 4/26/2018 - 9:00 PM
 La-La Land has announced two new soundtracks which will begin shipping next week -- an expanded, two-disc version of Elliot Goldenthal's score for David Fincher's feature directorial debut, 1992's ALIEN 3, featuring the complete Goldenthal score, alternates, the original LP sequencing, and Goldenthal's memorable arrangement of Alfred Newman's Fox fanfare; and a CD of music from the History Channel's ANCIENT ALIENS, featuring cues from a variety of composers including William Ashford, Allan Paul Ett, Jeffrey Hayat, Michael Keely, Logue Ihn, Kieran Kieley, Dennis McCarthy, Patrick O’Neil and William Pearson.


Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.


This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the updated rules for the 91st Oscars, including this surprisng change in the music rules:

In the Music categories, all members of the Music Branch will view films eligible for Original Score and film clips of eligible Original Songs and vote in a preliminary round to produce a shortlist of 15 titles in each category using the preferential voting system.  Five nominees for Original Score and five nominees for Original Song will then be chosen by branch members in a second round of balloting also using preferential voting.

The Academy used to have shortlists for nearly all of its "technical" categories, from roughly 1950 to 1979 -- including Original Score, Original Song, and Music Adaptation/Song Score -- but from 1980 to the present only a handful of categories have had shortlists, mostly specialty film categories such as documentaries, foreign language and shorts, but also a few crafts such as visual effects and makeup & hairstyling. Back when there were score shortlists, the usual suspects tended to figure prominently, particularly Goldsmith, Mancini and Williams, and in 1978 5 of Goldsmith's 6 scores for the year were shortlisted in the two score categories (with The Swarm the redheaded stepchild of the bunch). 

The Academy hasn't announced what inspired this change in the process. While as before, there are a group of usual suspects who get nominated regularly -- these days it's Desplat, Thomas Newman, Zimmer, and, of course, still John Williams -- recent years have seen many new, rising composers nominated for the first time, including Nicholas Britell, Jonny Greenwood, Mica Levi, Dustin O'Halloran, Steven Price, and the late Johann Johannsson (who has three final scores expected in theaters this year). My main question is -- how are the branch members planning to view all those eligible movies? (Of course, the paragraph cited above does not mention special screenings of eligible scores/films, so maybe they'll just view those eligible movies the way they always have -- in commercial theaters, at industry screenings, and on screener DVDs)

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April Issue of FSMO Is Live!
Posted By Tim Curran 4/26/2018 - 2:00 AM

The April edition of FSM ONLINE is now live. In this month’s cover story, Marco Beltrami whispers the secrets of the April blockbuster A QUIET PLACE. Also in this issue, FRANK ILFMAN discusses the music of GHOST STORIES; CHRISTOPHER LENNERTZ navigates us through the Netflix reboot of LOST IN SPACE and Tyler Perry’s ACRIMONY; PINAR TOPRAK experiments with KRYPTON for SYFY; WILL BATES juggles scores to THE LO

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Aisle Seat 4-24: Quiet Place, 4K & New Release Wrap
Posted By Andy Dursin 4/23/2018 - 9:00 PM
It seems as if cinemas are being filled with two kinds of studio films these days: bloated franchises based on pre-fab brands, and modestly budgeted horror outings like last year’s hit “Get Out” where directors seemingly have more freedom to tell their stories. This year has brought another unexpected commercial success, John Krasinski’s A QUIET PLACE (***½, 95 mins., PG-13), and this one is even better than Jordan Peele’s intriguing if overrated film, dabbling in some familiar genre elements but doing so in such a unique and effective manner that it’s one of the most exciting film-going experiences I’ve had in years.
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Film Score Friday 4/20/18
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 4/19/2018 - 9:00 PM
The latest soundtrack from Intrada is the first commercial score CD release of James Horner's emotional score for the 2008 Holocaust-themed tearjerker THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, starring Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, and Asa Butterfield in his first lead role.


Varese Sarabande has just announced a limited edition (1500 units), three-disc set featuring Rachel Portman's music for the TV anthology series JIM HENSON'S THE STORYTELLER, which aired from 1987 to 1991. 


The latest film music CD release from Kritzerland features the music of Oscar winner Johnny Mandel -- a re-release of his brief score for director Sidney Lumet's 1982 Best Picture nominee THE VERDICT, and expanded version of Mandel's unused score for the 1973 cop thriller THE SEVEN-UPS, and the first release of suites of his music for episodes of TV's long-running M*A*S*H.
 

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Film Score Friday 4/13/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 4/12/2018 - 9:00 PM
The latest from La-La Land is a new edition of Bernard Herrmann's classic, groundbreaking score for director Robert Wise's 1951 sci-fi drama THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.


Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.

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Aisle Seat 4-10: Shout, Kino Lorber, New Releases
Posted By Andy Dursin 4/9/2018 - 9:00 PM
A bevy of Disney-licensed titles debut on Blu-Ray this week from Kino Lorber, with several titles new to the format included in the mix. Among the latter is the 1991 Goldie Hawn vehicle DECEIVED (**½, 108 mins., 1991, PG-13), a Touchstone thriller that aims for Hitchcokian heights. While the movie doesn’t quite get there, it’s nevertheless a modestly entertaining film with one of Thomas Newman’s best (and still unreleased) scores.
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Did They Mention the Music 2015
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 4/6/2018 - 9:00 PM
When I began this series over a decade ago, it was intended to sum up the critical view of the film scores of the year just passed. However in the last few years, between the increased number of films whose reviews I search, the increased number of publications I read reviews in, and other time constraints, the "Did They Mention the Music?" section of my Friday columns has gone from looking at the scores of just-released films to scores of films released two years ago, which is why it's taken me so long to finish this particular column. (And I don't want to think about when Did They 2016 will be ready, much less 2017.) So just think of this column as a nostalgic look at the long-ago scores of 2015.


THE PRAISE:
 
AIR - Edo Van Breemen
 
"What it is, in other words, is science fiction in quotation marks. That makes for some unquestionable aesthetic pleasures -- namely, a swooping, whizzing synth score that builds to a Vangelis-esque end theme, and some handsome camerawork by Norm Li, cinematographer of the similarly retro-genre-fetishistic 'Beyond The Black Rainbow'. But it isn’t much of a reason to be. Cantamessa’s background is game design ('Manhunt,' 'Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor'), and 'Air' is all environment and puzzles. However, unlike other recent movies that take their cues from game design -- namely Bong Joon-ho’s 'Snowpiercer' -- it doesn’t progress through its environment so much as circle it in repetitive tasks."
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The Onion AV Club
 
ALEX OF VENICE - David Wingo
 
"Apart from the strong performances -- that do keep the movie afloat despite from the narrative breaks in your emotional suspension of disbelief -- other cinematic elements help support the movie. The film is well shot with naturalistic lighting, and composer David Wingo’s wistful score is also quite excellent and effective. However, the melancholy, plaintive score arguably does too much of the emotional heavy-lifting and that’s because, again, these moments don’t always add up genuinely. 'Alex Of Venice”' isn't a strong sum of its good individual parts and many moments feel unearned. We believe and empathize with Mary Elizabeth Winstead when she’s upset often as she’s a good actress that can sell a scene, but we don’t always believe the situation or the sequence that got her from emotional point A to B. And this obviously hurts the movie and the viewer’s engagement in it, and that's not all."
 
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
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Film Score Friday 4/6/18
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 4/5/2018 - 9:00 PM
The latest CD from Intrada is the premiere release of one of James Horner's final scores, for the 2015 National Geographic IMAX documentary LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES.


Music Box has announced two new soundtrack CD releases -- an expanded version of David Shire's score for George Romero's underrated thriller MONKEY SHINES; and a disc pairing two scores by Claude Bolling, FLIC STORY and DOUCEMENT LES BASSES

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Aisle Seat 4-3: April Arrival Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 4/2/2018 - 9:00 PM
Kicking off this month’s Twilight Time limited editions is THE SEVEN-UPS (103 mins., 1973, PG), a follow-up of sorts to “The French Connection” that reunites most of the production personnel from that Oscar-winning smash — producer Philip D’Antoni (who also served as director here), composer Don Ellis, and stars Roy Scheider and Tony LoBianco — and sports a story authored by detective Sonny Grosso, the inspiration for “Popeye Doyle,” himself.
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