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Did They Mention the Music? 2013
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 12/29/2013 - 9:00 PM
*Films with an asterisk were added after this column was originally posted


THE PRAISE:

ADORE - Christopher Gordon, Antony Partos

"Exquisite beauty, as exemplified by Christophe Beaucarne’s pristine widescreen images and Christopher Gordon’s lush orchestrations, are apparently all the explanation or justification one needs."

Justin Chang, Variety

AFTERMATH - Jan Duszynski

"Inspired by Jan Gross’ book 'Neighbors,' about the 1941 massacre of a Polish village’s Jewish population by their Catholic neighbors, Wladyslaw Pasikowski's 'Aftermath' retools the material into a fast-paced “backwater burg with a dark secret” quasi-horror film, complete with spooky lighting, ominous music, unexplained phenomena and hostile townfolk. Writer-director Pasikowski, co-scenarist of Andrej Wadja’s 'Katyn' and helmer of several successful thrillers, has a foot in both the arthouse and commercial camps. Pawel Edelman, lenser of Polanski’s 'The Pianist,' navigates the woodlands in atmospheric fashion; Jan Duszynski’s score cannily ratchets up the tension while Jaroslaw Kaminski’s kinetic cutting keeps action flowing briskly."

Ronnie Scheib, Variety

ALL IS LOST - Alex Ebert

"J.C. Chandor knows what a jewel he has in Redford, and he creates an appropriately simple, transparent setting. There’s minimal digital trickery here, and no flashbacks, cutaway scenes, or dream sequences to break up the action. The musical theme -- a simple, haunting melody by Alex Ebert -- is used sparingly and effectively, with natural sound providing most of the sonic backdrop."

Dana Stevens, Slate.com

*AMERICAN HUSTLE - Danny Elfman

"A key element is the energizing use of music, perfectly attuned to every turn the action takes. Danny Elfman’s cool connective score follows the lead of the Duke Ellington number 'Jeep’s Blues,' smoothly integrated into a killer collection of cocktail tunes, brassy jazz and primo ‘70s nuggets that includes tracks from Chicago, America, Jeff Lynne, Steely Dan, Donna Summer, Elton John, David Bowie and the Bee Gees. Oh, and extra points for using the Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes original of 'Don’t Leave Me This Way,' instead of the heard-to-death Thelma Houston redo.

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

THE ARMSTRONG LIE - David Kahne

"His filmmaking is strenuously alpha, too. Like all Gibney's documentaries, 'The Armstrong Lie' is fast-paced, aggressively stylized, and juiced by a driving score. That fits, but perhaps we should offer thanks that the tribute film never panned out: Not too deeply buried in the press notes is the casual but staggering disclosure that Armstrong would have taken a cut of the movie's returns in return for 'unprecedented' access."

Ella Taylor, NPR

ARTHUR NEWMAN - Nick Urata

"Special mention goes to composer Nick Urata for his haunting, strings-based score, the strongest element in a generally solid tech package."

Peter Debruge, Variety 

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Oscar Predictions and Other End of 2013 Lists
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 12/28/2013 - 9:00 AM
Predictions are in boldface, followed by those which I personally would nominate in italics. As with previous years' lists, for several categories I have NOT provided my own nominations, since frankly I know jack about costumes, sound and so forth. Films that I have listed as my own personal nominations yet which are not actually eligible in those categories are marked with an asterisk.


PICTURE

(This year, there will be anywhere from five to ten Best Picture nominees, so I will rank them in order of likeliness -- my guess is that there will be nine, because that’s how many there were the last two years. Which means, of course, there will probably be eight or ten.)

1. 12 YEARS A SLAVE
2. GRAVITY
3. SAVING MR. BANKS
4. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
5. NEBRASKA
6. AMERICAN HUSTLE
7. DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
8. HER
9. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
10. BLUE JASMINE


1. 12 YEARS A SLAVE
2. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
3. IN THE HOUSE*
4. BEFORE MIDNIGHT
5. SHORT TERM 12
6. THE SPECTACULAR NOW
7. FRUITVALE STATION
8. GRAVITY
9. SOMETHING IN THE AIR*
10. THE WORLD’S END 

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Film Score Friday 12/27/13
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 12/26/2013 - 9:00 PM
The latest CD from Kritzerland, due early next year, is an expanded version of the 1958 remake of Cecil B. DeMille's 1938 swashbuckler THE BUCCANEER (a rare swashbuckler actually set in the United States), the only feature directed by Anthony Quinn, which reunited several of The Ten Commandments' star players -- Yul Brynner (as Jean Lafitte), Charlton Heston (as Andrew Jackson), DeMille himself (his final production before his death in 1959) and composer Elmer Bernstein. Bernstein's score was released on LP and later on CD courtesy of Varese Sarabande, but the Kritzerland CD, limited to 1000 units, features the score in its entirety for the first time. 
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Memo to the Oscar Music Branch
Posted By Cary Wong 12/24/2013 - 1:00 AM

Every year, I write a memo to the Music Branch of the Academy to highlight scores that I think have the best chance to get a nomination, and to suggest other scores that are flying below the radar. To read my in-depth analysis of the music categories, check out this month’s column in FSM Online. But here is a listing of my score predictions and suggestions for the film year 2013:


Most Likely

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Aisle Seat 12-23: A Holiday Extravanaganza
Posted By Andy Dursin 12/22/2013 - 9:00 PM
Ray Harryhausen fans still mourning the passing of the legendary special effects master have reason to cheer this holiday season thanks to Twilight Time’s new Blu-Ray releases of the second and third films in his Sinbad trilogy, THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (***, 103 mins., 1973, G) and SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (**, 115 mins., 1977, G). Both titles are limited to 3000 copies and are available – two per customer – exclusively through Screen Archives.
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Film Score Friday 12/20/13
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 12/19/2013 - 9:00 PM
The latest in Tadlow and Prometheus' series of re-recordings of film scores is actually the first complete release of Jerry Goldsmith's Emmy-winning score for what may be the first American TV miniseries, billed as "An ABC Novel for Television" - the lavish, all-star version of Leon Uris' semi-autobiographical novel QB VII.  Ben Gazzara played the Uris figure, who's taken to court (at Queen's Bench Seven, hence the title) when he accuses a respected doctor (Anthony Hopkins in a breakout performance) of working with the Nazis during the war. The supporting cast included Leslie Caron, Edith Evans, John Gielgud, Jack Hawkins, Sam Jaffe, Juliet Mills, Dan O'Herlihy, Milo O'Shea, Anthony Quayle, Lee Remick, Robert Stephens and Joseph Wiseman. The original soundtrack LP (later released on CD by Intrada) featured highlights from the score, while the new Tadlow release features the 94-minute score in its entirety, some of the more striking cues giving listeners a taste of what it might have been like if Goldsmith had scored Schindler's List (as he openly wished he could have). 


Director Kenneth Branagh has followed up his smash hit Thor with a brand new reboot of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan franchise. JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT (one can assume a Shadow Recruit is required for a Ghost Protocol) casts Star Trek's Chris Pine as Ryan, with Keira Knightley as his love interest and Branagh himself as the Russian villain. The score, as with every Branagh film except for his little seen A Midwinter's Tale and The Magic Flute, was composed by Patrick Doyle, and Varese Sarabande will release the soundtrack on January 14, 2014.


If you scroll to the end of this column, you will find the lists of eligible scores and songs for the 2013 Oscars. 

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Next FSM ONLINE Issue Now Live!
Posted By Tim Curran 12/18/2013 - 2:00 AM
The jam-packed December edition of FSM ONLINE is now live. In this issue, the cover story is an interview with HOWARD SHORE on THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, and also marks the long-awaited FSMO return of DOUG ADAMS. Also in this issue are the first part of an exclusive video documentary feature with GEORGE FENTON; ALEX EBERT discusses his music for ALL IS LOST, the Robert Redford boating accident film; ALEX HEFFES finds the musical voice for Nelson Mandela in LONG WALK TO FREEDOM; ROLFE KENT scores LABOR DAY, the new Jason Reitman movie; a detailed analysis of JOHN BARRY’S FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE; an audio interview DEBBIE WISEMAN, discussing her latest work including the BBC’s THE WHALE; the TORN PAGES column takes a look at five rejected scores for TV; reality TV music moguls Jeff Lippencott and Mark T. Williams tackle every show from THE APPRENTICE to SHARK TANK to THE BIGGEST LOSER; a Composer’s Corner review of STORMDRUM 3; Cary Wong's MEMO TO THE ACADEMY MUSIC BRANCH; 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.
 
Wishing you an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 
Your Friends at FSM ONLINE
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Aisle Seat Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2
Posted By Andy Dursin 12/16/2013 - 9:00 PM
A movie that’s going to carry around a dubious reputation for years to come, Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer’s THE LONE RANGER (**, 148 mins., 2013, PG-13) manages to be entirely watchable, occasionally inspired and yet so thoroughly miscalculated that it ranks as the most violent film to ever carry the Disney brand name.
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Much Ado About Patrick Doyle
Posted By Tim Burden 12/14/2013 - 9:00 PM

The music of Patrick Doyle is anything but nonsense or silly, like Shakespeare's "Hey Nonny Nonny" phrase suggests. It is, however, playful at times. Much like the man himself. Most of Patrick's character is in his music, so naturally this makes for an endlessly entertaining platform for a concert experience.

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Film Score Friday 12/13/13
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 12/12/2013 - 9:00 PM
Intrada's latest CD (and apparently final release of 2013) is the first-ever release of Alan Silvestri's score for BLOWN AWAY, the 1994 thriller pitting bomb squad officer Jeff Bridges against IRA veteran Tommy Lee Jones, which was the third consecutive film Silvestri scored for director Stephen Hopkins, following Predator 2 and Judgment Night.


Varese Sarabande has just announced six new limited edition CD Club releases, which will begin shipping in early January -- STAR TREK NEMESIS: THE DELUXE EDITION, a two-disc, greatly expanded version of Jerry Goldsmith's final score for the franchise and the final film starring the Next Generation crew, pitting Picard and the gang against an evil Romulan clone played by Tom Hardy, a decade before he menaced Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises (with this release, Star Trek Into Darkness is now the only Trek feature score which has not received an expanded re-release); THE ABYSS: THE DELUXE EDITION, a two-disc, expanded edition of Alan Silvestri's score for James Cameron's Oscar-winning 1989 underwater sci-fi epic; the first CD release of Laurence Rosenthal's exciting, romantic score to BRASS TARGET (previously released on LP by Varese, at the time their very first release of a new score), a conspiracy thriller about the allegedly accidental death of General George Patton; and three straight re-releases of out-of-print CDs, James Horner's VIBES (one of the first and rarest from the original Varese CD Club), Michael Kamen's SUSPECT, and Jerry Goldsmith's RUNAWAY: THE DELUXE EDITION

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