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Film Score Friday 5/26/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/25/2017 - 9:00 PM
Varese Sarabande has announced three new CDs in their Limited Edition series of contemporary scores -- the new period spy thriller THE EXCEPTION, starring Lily James, Jai Courtney and Christopher Plummer, with music by Ilan Eshkeri (The Young Victoria, Shaun the Sheep Movie); PASSAGE TO DAWN, a romantic drama from Spain scored by Diego Navarro; and FILM MUSIC FESTIVAL KRAKOW - 2017, a compilation featuring original cues and re-recordings by a variety of composers, including the first commercial release of a cue from Abel Korzeniowski's Escape from Tomorrow.


Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.


Yesterday was the 38th anniversary of the release of the original ALIEN, for which Jerry Goldsmith wrote one of his most striking and downright scariest scores. Director Ridley Scott (apparently encouraged by editor Terry Rawlings) notoriously reworked much of Goldsmith's music, substituting other music such as Howard Hanson's "Romantic" Symphony (used as the film's end title) and cues from Goldsmith's first Oscar-nominated score, for 1962's Freud (for the dripping-acid and Dallas-in-the-air-vent scenes). Goldsmith had an even more disappointing experience with his next project with Scott, the lavish fantasy Legend, as Goldsmith's score was replaced in U.S prints with a new score by Tangerine Dream, and even the European release featured some tracked-in music. Fortunately, the later DVD release of Legend featured multiple cuts of the film with multiple scores, and over the years Scott seems to be slowly learning to appreciate Goldsmith's music. His underrated 2005 historical epic Kingdom of Heaven (which must be seen in the longer Director's Cut to be truly appreciated) featured a score by Harry Gregson-Williams but also contained tracked-in cues including a piece from Goldsmith's The 13th Warrior. Scott's 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus featured Goldsmith's Alien theme in one scene (otherwise the score was composed by Marc Streitenfeld with memorable additional material by Gregson-Williams), and the just-released ALIEN: COVENANT, with score credited to Jed Kurzel, features Goldsmith's music, faithfully adapted, in several prominent places as well as multiple uses of Gregson-Williams' Prometheus themes, making it the first in the Alien series with a true sequel score.


The one major change to the Film Score Friday format in recent years was the addition of the THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A. section at the end of the colum, which lists screenings of older films at revival theaters around the Los Angeles area. This section began in 2010, after I mentioned on the site that I'd seen a 35mm print of the wonderfully bad but still somehow wonderful Damnation Alley (with its thrilling and largely unreleased score by Goldsmith) at L.A.'s Silent Movie Theater, and a reader complained that I should have let people know the film would be screening in the area (after all, the score is deservedly popular among many film score fans, and I'm not the only one for whom a complete Damnation Alley CD is one of our last film music holy grails). Thus "The Next Ten Days In L.A." was born, so I should make extra effort to point out that Damnation Alley is returning to L.A. for one night next month.

The New Beverly's just-announced June schedule features an emphasis on science-fiction (as well as an emphasis on, conversely, the films of director Jerry Schatzberg), with the line-up including The Road Warrior/Mad Max: Fury Road (June 2-3), A Boy and His Dog (June 3, midnight), Star Trek -- The Motion Picture/The Black Hole (June 9-10), The Omega Man (June 10, midnight), First Spaceship on Venus/Mars Needs Women (June 13), RoboCop/Starship Troopers (June 16-17), X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes/The Man with Two Brains (June 23-24), Flash Gordon (June 24-25), Barbarella (June 24, midnight), Message from Space/Starcrash (June 27), 2010/Interstellar (June 30-July 1), and for one night only, on June 20, a "Grindhouse" double feature of Damnation Alley and Battle Beyond the Stars (featuring one of the earliest scores by James Horner). To quote the great George Peppard from Damnation Alley, "This whole town is infested with killer cockroaches. I repeat: KILLER COCKROACHES!"

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Aisle Seat 5-23: Kino Lorber May Mania
Posted By Andy Dursin 5/22/2017 - 9:00 PM
A strange sequel that’s half “Alien” rehash and half “Prometheus” follow-up – albeit with none of the latter’s “bigger questions” actually being addressed – Ridley Scott’s ALIEN: COVENANT (**½, 123 mins., 2017, R) serves up a serviceable but ultimately unsatisfying ride over narrative terrain we’ve covered many times over by now.
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Film Score Friday 5/19/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/18/2017 - 9:00 PM
The latest release from Intrada is a three-disc edition of Jerry Goldsmith's 1986 sequel score POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE. Disc One features the complete score in the original digital mix prepared for the soundtrack by Goldsmith and mixer Bruce Botnick; Disc Two features the analog mixes of the complete score as heard in the film; and Disc Three features an hour's worth of alternate versions of cues from the film.


The latest CD from Quartet features two previously unreleased scores composed by Frank DeVol for Burt Reynolds films of the mid-1970s directed by Robert Aldrich -- the 1975 romantic noir HUSTLE, pairing Reynolds with Catherine Deneuve, and his brief score for the hit prison football comedy drama THE LONGEST YARD.


Next week Varese Sarabande plans to announce three new releases in their Limited Edition series, including one compilation CD. 

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The "Last" Top Forty Composer Countdown, Part Six: More Composers on the Rise
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/12/2017 - 9:00 PM
ANDREW HEWITT
 
AGE: 41
BIRTHPLACE: England
REPRESENTATION: Allegro Talent Group
BACKGROUND: child singer/pianist, Cambridge University (BA Music), Guildhall School of Music and Drama (post-graduate), choral performer in scores for Shore and Williams
ONGOING FILMMAKER RELATIONSHIPS: Richard Ayoade
 
Andrew Hewitt is yet another rising composer who is amassing an impressive body of scores without scoring any films that have broken the $1,000,000 box-office grosses mark in U.S. theaters. Like David Buckley, Hewitt had past film music experience as a score vocalist, performing as a choir member in Shore’s final two Lord of the Rings scores as well as Williams’ Revenge of the Sith and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban. After scoring the cult-hit British horror spoof series Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, he teamed up with its writer-director-star Richard Ayoade for Ayoade’s feature filmmaking debut, the offbeat coming-of-age comedy Submarine. The pair reteamed for Ayoade’s Gilliam-esque film of Dostoyevsky’s The Double, with Hewitt’s score proving a key component in the film’s aura of droll unease, while for 2015’s gripping docudrama The Stanford Prison Experiment, he provided a suitably percussive and unsettling accompaniment. He takes a venture into horror with the film version of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

WHAT'S NEXT: A Crooked Somebody, The Good Neighbor, Old Boys, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
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Film Score Friday 5/12/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/11/2017 - 9:00 PM
La-La Land's latest release is a 3-disc set of music from the 1970s TV incarnation of WONDER WOMAN, with the memorable theme song by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, and episode scores by Fox, Johnny Harris, Artie Kane, Richard LaSalle, Angela Morley, Robert Prince, and Robert O. Ragland. Charles Fox will appear in person this Sunday at Creature Features in Burbank to sign copies of the CD and discuss his music in a Q&A.


Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.


This last Tuesday, May 9th, Jerry Goldsmith received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I don't know what else to say besides "about f****** time." 

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Aisle Seat 5-9: WILLARD & BEN, Together Again
Posted By Andy Dursin 5/8/2017 - 9:00 PM
A box-office smash that succumbed to the ravages of both time and distribution woes, Shout Factory has at last resurrected the rambunctious rodent-revenge thriller WILLARD (95 mins., 1971, PG) as well as its quickly-produced sequel, BEN (94 mins., 1972, PG). The former stars Bruce Davison as a put-upon young man who tilts over the edge after his mother’s (Elsa Lanchester) death, leaving him to cultivate a relationship with a nest of mice who follow his every command – both for friendship and, eventually, revenge. The latter was best known for spawning a hit song that climbed the charts all the way to #1 thanks to none other than a young Michael Jackson.
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Film Score Friday 5/5/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 5/4/2017 - 9:00 PM
The latest release from Intrada presents the original LP tracks from the 1963 comedy PALM SPRINGS WEEKEND, starring Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, Stefanie Powers and Robert Conrad, including songs from the film (with one performed by Conrad himself) as well as score cues composed by Frank Perkins, a 1962 Oscar nominee for his adaptation of Gypsy's score.


The latest release from Kritzerland features the original LP tracks from the 1976 teen romance ODE TO BILLY JOE, based on the classic Bobbie Gentry song. The film, starring Glynnis O'Connor and Robby Benson, reteamed Summer of '42 screenwriter Herman Raucher with its Oscar-winning composer, Michel Legrand, and the Kritzerland CD features Legrand's original score cues plus the title song and source music.

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Aisle Seat 5-2: May Arrival Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 5/1/2017 - 9:00 PM
William Wyler’s wide-ranging filmography encompasses everything from “Ben-Hur” to “Funny Girl” and “The Big Country.” During the ‘60s he branched out with the downbeat psychological drama “The Collector” before switching gears, again, for the candy-coated romantic comedy caper HOW TO STEAL A MILLION (***, 1966, 123 mins.), which kicks off Twilight Time’s limited-edition Blu-Ray releases for the month of April.
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Film Score Friday 4/28/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 4/27/2017 - 9:00 PM
The latest release from La-La Land is a two-disc set featuring Mark Snow's music for the recent "Event Series" revival of THE X-FILES.
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Aisle Seat 4-25: April Assault Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 4/24/2017 - 9:00 PM
Kicking off this month’s new releases from our friends at Arrow Films is a features-packed Blu-Ray special edition of DONNIE DARKO (**, 132 mins., 2004, R). Some cult movie fans have turned Richard Kelly’s indie fave into a full-blown phenomenon, though my viewing of the “Director’s Cut” of “Donnie Darko” only confirmed my hesitation towards Kelly’s original theatrical version: namely, what’s the deal? This intentionally weird jigsaw puzzle of a film — complete with ‘80s tunes, pop culture references and a giant rabbit — gives you so little to go on that it’s not even up to sub-Lynchian standards, though some critics, and fans, have long proclaimed it a masterpiece so judge for yourself.
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