Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Mar 19, 2024 - 9:55 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)


It's 1941, and Jane Russell is a prostitute being thrown out of San Francisco on a vice charge. She decides to hop a freighter to Honolulu. While onboard she meets a writer (Richard Egan) who is a member of Honolulu high society and they spark. Upon arrival in Hawaii Russell begins working at a taxi dance joint operated by Agnes Moorehead. She's a sensation and Moorehead has to pay her more and more in order to keep her working there. Soon Russell has a big bankroll and enlists boyfriend Egan to manage her money. The Pearl Harbor attack occurs, Russell starts buying real estate at fire sale prices, and she becomes a war profiteer. Egan goes off to war. Russell promises to stop working at the dance joint, but she can't resist the money. Fun times ensue.

Russell gives one of her best performances here. The part was originally slated to be played by Marilyn Monroe, but Russell is a much better fit. The film also sports an excellent Hugo Friedhofer score that was released by Intrada several years ago. It's currently playing on the Criterion Channel.

 Posted:   Mar 19, 2024 - 11:30 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

CABRINI (2024) – 7/10

In 1887, Sister Maria Francesca Cabrini (Cristiana Dell'Anna), founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, asks Pope Leo XIII (Giancarlo Giannini) to send her to do missionary work in China. But the Pope, taking note of all the Italians immigrating to America, tells her to “Go West, not East.” So, in 1889, Cabrini lands in New York, along with six other sisters. She is immediately told to return to Italy by New York’s Irish Archbishop Michael Corrigan (David Morse). But she instead convinces him to give her a small stipend to open an orphanage, with the proviso that she not solicit funds from any non-Italians. Over time, she is able to overcome the prejudice against the Italian immigrants, expand the orphanage, and even open an immigrants’ hospital, winning over New York Mayor Gould (John Lithgow) to her cause.

This is the true story of the woman who became known as Mother Cabrini, who eventually established 67 missionary institutions to serve the sick and poor—long before government agencies provided extensive social services—in major American cities and in countries throughout Latin America and Europe. Today, dozens of churches, hospitals, and schools bear her name. She became a U.S. citizen in 1909 and died in 1917 at age 65. In 1946, she became the first American to be canonized as a saint, and in 1950, Pope Pius XII named Frances Xavier Cabrini as the patron saint of immigrants.

This biopic sticks very closely to the facts of Cabrini’s life. It tends to downplay the Roman Catholic religious aspects, except in Cabrini’s dealings with Church officials, instead opting for a more general feeling of spirituality in showing her work among the poor. The cast is first rate, with Italian actress Cristiana Dell'Anna, whom I haven’t seen before, strongly supported by character actors Morse, Lithgow, and Giannini. Director Alejandro Monteverde also directed last year’s independent hit SOUND OF FREEDOM, which grossed $250 million.

Angel Studios, which produced SOUND OF FREEDOM for $15 million, likely felt it could splurge on CABRINI, giving it a reported budget of $50 million. CABRINI does an excellent job of recreating the New York City of the late 1800s. It’s an excellent physical production. However, at 142 minutes, the film becomes a bit repetitive.

Gene Back provides what may be considered a traditional orchestral score, and the film’s end credits feature a song sung by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and his daughter Virginia. The soundtrack is available as a download. CABRINI grossed $13 million in its initial two weeks of release.

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2024 - 3:18 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The File of the Golden Goose (1969) ... 3/10

Ham-fisted, over-long and poorly scripted crime thriller set in the UK (London, that is ...) but seeking to be a modern version of a typical US Feds v. Mob melodrama from 20 years prior.

After an appalling start with awful voice-over (Patrick Allen, of course) setting the scene and lead Yul Brynner/Novak losing his lady to the criminals (no explanation as to how or why Novak was targeted) it does improve though the American take on the British Police (New Scotland Yard) raises the eyebrows.

A cast of Brits (Edward Woodward and Charles Gray main leads), with Brynner shining as the hard, take no prisoners cop, is both amusing and annoying. The violence is slightly harder than I'd expected and the ending is very weak.

tTe score by Harry Robertson was mostly enjoyable and appropriate but not what I'd expected ... my memory of near 50 years failing me: I recall seeing the film (Sunday evening broadcast) and thinking it was rubbish but with an over-bearing melodic theme, totally inappropriate used several times. I did wonder if the film had been rescored but have seen no evidence of this.

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2024 - 1:32 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 2-5

Every scene was trying to be the most dramatic scene in the film. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes.
Oh, and we did all of this in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2024 - 4:03 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE GREEN WALL [La Muralla Verde] (1969) – 7/10

This Peruvian film looks at the life of a family—husband “Mario” (Julio Alemán), wife “Delba” (Sandra Riva), and young son “Rómulo” (Raúl Martin)—as they face contemporary life on a small farm on the edge of the jungle. Mario had left his life as an office worker in the city and taken his pregnant bride to this farm under a homesteading program implemented by the government. It’s unclear what crop the farm produces—both corn and coffee are mentioned at various points. But the family is poor. They have no electricity, running water, or automobile. Not even an animal for transportation. To get to the nearest town, Mario must walk to the river, catch a ferry or swim across, walk further to the road, and then hitch a ride on a passing truck. This lack of transport will prove crucial as events unfold.

Still, the family seems happy. Mario tends the fields, Delba takes care of Rómulo, and Rómulo plays with crude toys and a water wheel that his father built for him in a small stream. Like all farmers, weather is a big concern, and Mario has to drive off some men who are breaking his coffee plants by logging too close to his property.

The film intercuts these domestic scenes with flashbacks of how Mario came to acquire his land, dealing with an almost impenetrable Peruvian bureaucracy, where no one can make a move without getting permission or a sign-off from a higher-up, until it seems as if the president of Peru himself has to approve Mario’s land grant. The Peruvian bureaucracy will also prove critical in subsequent events.

We also see in flashback the concern of Delba’s parents over her leaving the safety of the city to move into the jungle, a forest that Mario describes in a letter to her as a “green wall.” And we watch scenes of the couple’s life shortly after they make their move to the farm, but prior to the start of the film. These latter scenes are sometimes confusing, since we can’t always tell if we are in a flashback until we are well into a scene.

Sources differ as to the origin of the story. Some say it was based on incidents that actually happened to writer-director Armando Robles Godoy; one says it was based on a short story; another, a novel (the latter is probably an error, since it lists a completely different writer than Godoy). Enrique Pinilla provides a score that is half original and half based on a classical piece that I’ve heard before, but am not familiar with enough to name.

The film received excellent reviews—primarily because of its simplicity, genuineness, and its lack of artifice. It turns somewhat melodramatic near the end, but if those incidents actually happened to Godoy, then the film can be forgiven. Praise was also given to the film’s lush photography, which loses something in the VHS-quality version I watched on YouTube.

THE GREEN WALL received an [R] rating from the MPAA because of a love scene near the beginning of the film. Distributor Altura Films appealed the rating, but the appeal was denied. The picture was the Peruvian nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but was not one of the finalists.

 Posted:   Mar 26, 2024 - 12:07 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE (2024) – 7/10

This biopic covers the life of reggae singer and Rastafarian Bob Marley from 1976 to 1978. His native Jamaica was in the throes of civil unrest during that time, which involved political and gang-related violence. Marley survived an assassination attempt in 1976, and soon thereafter moved to London where he continued to work on his music, eventually producing the renowned album, “Exodus,” which subsequently generated a successful tour. In 1978, he used one of his concerts in Jamaica to bring the warring parties together.

Kingsley Ben-Adir, who played Malcolm X in 2020’s ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… and Barack Obama in the 2020 Showtime miniseries THE COMEY RULE, here portrays another Black icon. He delivers a fine performance. Lashana Lynch is equally good as Marley’s wife Rita, and the film spends considerable time examining their relationship, with most of the film’s flashbacks devoted to that subject.

Not as much time is spent on Marley’s creative process—we just see various songs being performed fully formed, and rarely do we get a full song. The major problem with the film is that it doesn’t have a primary focus. It looks superficially at many aspects of Marley’s life, from his love of soccer to his marijuana smoking to his Rastafari beliefs to his political views (which take the form of “Can’t we all just get along?”).

A minor problem with the film is that it is sometimes hard to understand the Jamaican accents, particularly when multiple people are talking fast. I could have used subtitles at times. Reportedly, Kingsley Ben-Adir had as much trouble learning the patois as we have listening to it. He immersed himself in it for over a year. On set, he was supported by a team of seven to eight language experts.

As one might expect, the music in the film is good, although music is not the film’s primary interest. Kris Bowers provides an OK background score, none of which appears on the digital soundtrack release. The $70 million film has been a hit at the box office, grossing $173 million worldwide to date.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 1:06 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

LUCA (2021) – 8/10

This is a minor, but still pleasing, Pixar film that is a riff on THE LITTLE MERMAID. It seems that somewhere in the seas near Italy, sea monsters live who can morph into human shape when they come up on dry land. “Luca Paguro” (voice of Jacob Tremblay) is one such monster—a teenager who has always wanted to go onto the land, but is forbidden by his parents “Lorenzo” and “Daniela” (Jim Gaffigan and Maya Rudolph). When he finally gets up the nerve to climb onto a lonely island, he meets “Alberto Scorfano” (Jack Dylan Grazer), a monster his age who spends a lot of time as a human in a deserted castle on the island. Caught by his parents, Luca is ordered to go live with his “Uncle Ugo” (Sacha Baron Cohen) in the dark depths of the sea. But Luca runs away, and with Alberto, they swim to a small seaside village, and take up residence. There they get involved with young “Giulia Marcovaldo” (Emma Berman) and her fisherman father “Massimo” (Marco Barricelli).

The film gets a lot of mileage out the fact that whenever the boys get wet, they revert to their monster shapes, so they are constantly and humorously trying to keep dry and keep their identities secret. More comedy comes when they try to help Giulia win the annual town “triathlon” (swimming, bike riding, and spaghetti eating), against the event’s perennial winner, wiseacre/bully “Ercole Visconti” (Saverio Raimondo). Things come to a head when Luca’s parents arrive in town, but don’t know what Luca looks like in human form.

LUCA was ready for release while the pandemic was still going on, so it went to Disney+ instead of theaters. Unlike something like SOUL, another Pixar pandemic film that was recently given a brief theatrical release, or this summer’s upcoming INSIDE OUT 2, LUCA is not a high concept film. It is not dependent on trying to turn emotions or existential life and death ideas into onscreen characters. In LUCA, the characters are easy to understand, the animation style is functional rather than flashy, and the storytelling is straight-forward. To be sure, that means that it is less imaginative and ambitious than those other films, but it makes up for that with lots of charm.

Director Enrico Casarosa, who stated that he drew inspiration from the films of Hayao Miyazaki, made his feature-length debut with LUCA. The film did get a theatrical release overseas, grossing nearly $50 million. The picture got good reviews in the U.S., and in a better time probably would have done good box office here as well.

Although he’s been scoring films for 17 years, this is the first feature score by Dan Romer that I’ve heard. It has a couple of pleasant and recognizable themes and was released as a download. Romer has been the series composer for ABC’s “The Good Doctor” throughout its seven-year run. I’ve watched every episode of that series, and while I can recall some musically moving scenes, I’ve never bothered to pay attention to the composer’s name. I’ll be listening more closely in the future.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 3:24 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) ... 3/10

All I knew of this film (a Christmas present - BluRay) was that it starred Tom Cruise in a sci-fi take on Groundhog Day (1993). I've not seen that film for many years but do recall enjoying it.

The start of this film (no credits ... why filmmakers think this a good idea is beyond me but at least we didn't have to worry about the composer creating a decent theme smile) brought back fond memories of The Americanization of Emily (1964) ... the last act thereof in which James Garner/Madison finds he has to join the D-day landings, having to date enjoyed a most profitable and comfortable war. It's clear that Tom Cruise/Cage is the modern day version in this re-enactment of the second front.

For a while I went with the premise, waiting to see how Cage learns day-after-day how to overcome the obstacles but it becomes tedious and when we reach the last act in which the film has become Star Wars: Luke must destroy the Death Star I'd lost interest.

Whilst Tom Cruise is watchable the story provides little chance for him to show much character and no other role (and that includes lead female Emily Bunt/Rita) has much to do other than fight the aliens. And the film desperately needs some human interaction to overcome the CGI which is boring.

The score by Christophe Beck does nothing to raise interest. I wish I'd watched James Garner and Julie Andrews rather than this ... that film had a story with characters.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

RE: Edge of Tomorrow- I enjoyed it because I got to see Tom Cruise die over and over again.

 Posted:   Mar 30, 2024 - 3:40 AM   
 By:   agentMaestraX   (Member)

RE: Edge of Tomorrow - if you enjoyed this Tom Cruise movie so much good news they're planning a sequel or prequel!

 Posted:   Mar 30, 2024 - 4:11 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

RE: Edge of Tomorrow - if you enjoyed this Tom Cruise movie so much good news they're planning a sequel or prequel!

Could be both

 Posted:   Mar 31, 2024 - 7:51 AM   
 By:   henry   (Member)


I really enjoyed this one. Love the touching scenes with ROCKY, the fight scenes are well done and I love when Conti’s themes kick in.

 Posted:   Apr 1, 2024 - 6:20 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

MISTER QUILP (1975) – 6/10

Anthony Newley stars in and wrote the songs for this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “The Old Curiosity Shop.” I’ve never read the novel, so this was my first exposure to the tale. Comparing a synopsis of the novel to the film, it appears as if screenwriters Louis and Irene Kapp have made some minor revisions in the nature of a few characters, but basically hewed closely to Dickens.

Th story finds teenage “Little Nell” (Sarah-Jane Varley) and her grandfather (Michael Hordern) confined in their small curio shop by the hunchbacked moneylender “Daniel Quilp” (Anthony Newley), after Grandfather has failed to pay back any of the money he has borrowed. Quilp is convinced that the old man has stashed away the money somewhere, since he won’t reveal what he did with it. Nell and her grandfather sneak off one night and escape into the English countryside, meeting various people, good and bad, on their travels. Quilp eventually sets out after them, after two strangers take a room above the office of his lawyers (David Warner and Jill Bennett), and Quilp discovers that the strangers are looking for the pair as well.

This film was an obvious attempt to repeat the success of 1968’s OLIVER! The film’s songs are OK, but obviously not as memorable as those in OLIVER! (name one). While dancing is minimal, most of the songs are sung “on the move.” Quilp is the major villain of the piece, although he is not in the same league as “Bill Sikes” in OLIVER! He’s more a combination of Sikes and “Fagin.” Oliver Twist may not have been the main character in OLIVER!, and while the film may have gotten by with the title “Fagin,” at least the filmmakers had the good sense not to call it “Sikes!” Not so here. The Quilp character has been enlarged in the translation from novel to film, gets more songs than anyone else, and is the focus of the film.

Despite carrying the name of its villain, the film is generally light through its first 80 minutes, but after a major production number about people going to a country fair, the musical numbers end. The last half-hour of the film, after we finally learn what Grandfather has been doing with the money he borrowed, is a continual downer, and the film ends on a somber note. One can easily see why audiences didn’t leave the theater in a cheerful mood. OLIVER! had its dark passages too, but it had a much more upbeat ending.

Elmer Bernstein adapted and conducted the music and provided the modest underscoring. No official soundtrack album was released. The film was shot in Panavision and Technicolor, and I probably would have added a point to the rating if I hadn’t had to view the film via a faded, pan-and-scan print.

This was the third musical film produced by Reader’s Digest Films, after TOM SAWYER (1973) and HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1974). MISTER QUILP was Anthony Newley’s last major theatrical film. Reportedly, the picture did poor business in the U.S., and it was the final Reader’s Digest musical production.

 Posted:   Apr 1, 2024 - 8:13 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

SMASHING TIME (1966) 4/10

Lynn Redgrave and Rita Tushingham are naive young things who come to London from the north of England. They plan to go to Carnaby Street and make it big. They experience many adventures, many of which are presented as slapstick in the Laurel and Hardy mode. A young Michael York plays a photographer who takes a shine to Miss Redgrave. Miss Redgrave becomes a pop singer and Miss Tushingham becomes a top model. Both are briefly in the limelight until the fun wears off and they decide they've had enough smashing times. The film is very uneven, but it does provide a time capsule of what swinging London was like, with many exterior shots of Carnaby Street boutiques, etc.

 Posted:   Apr 2, 2024 - 2:03 AM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

Watched a bunch while on a cruise, which included 6 days at sea (Atlantic crossing, St Maarten's to Tenerife).
BARBIE (3.5/10)
Dull, not very funny rehash of LEGO MOVIE & FREE GUY.
Stunned by its breakout success but it is what it is.
Dull, boring rehash of JFK, without the hard hitting subject matter, dazzling editing and outstanding music score of JFK.
Stunned by its breakout success, but Nolan is 'en vogue' with critics and viewers alike, falling over themselves to laud his talents.
The missus picked this one. An awful rom-com featuring Celine Dion (in song AND IN PERSON). Low rent Richard Curtis (and I don't rate Richard Curtis in the first place). Risible.
Annoying, non-sensical horror/thriller about a grieving wife, dead husband, spooky modern house (x2) and a plot that makes no sense.
Stephen King short story stretched to its seams. Monster in the closet attacks grieving families, mainly the kids. Predictable modern horror film with the usual shocks and tropes. Snooze.
No rating for this one, as I bailed after about 30 minutes. I quite liked the first one for the goofy brainless fun it offered, but this one just wound me up.

So yeah, some great movie watching for me there!

 Posted:   Apr 2, 2024 - 2:06 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

...So yeah, some great movie watching for me there!

Hope you enjoyed the cruise!

It looks as if you're absorbing my talent for film-rating smile

 Posted:   Apr 2, 2024 - 3:37 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Hurdy Gurdy, you are Leslie Holywilly and I demand my 400 reels of Charlie Chaplin films, when cinema meant entertainment.

 Posted:   Apr 2, 2024 - 4:37 AM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

I made the mistake of watching NEW films, from the vast library of FILLUMS available in our cabin, instead of re-watching the PLETH-AURA of classic films I COULD have rolled (I did watch the opening credits of HOW TO STEAL A MILLION and AGONY & THE ECSTASY - AND MANY MORE!!! - for the Williams and Goldsmith aural treats to be-hear).

 Posted:   Apr 3, 2024 - 12:39 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)


No actors’ names appear on the posters for this film because, well, what difference would it make? You could pretty much plug anyone into the human roles, and the film would essentially remain the same. As it is, three of the “stars” from 2021’s GODZILLA vs. KONG return in this film. Rebecca Hall is “Dr. Ilene Andrews,” a scientist in charge of monitoring King Kong for some monster-tracking outfit called Monarch. Young Kaylee Hottle is “Jia,” the last known survivor of the Iwi tribe from Kong’s Skull Island and Andrews’ adopted daughter, and Bryan Tyree Henry is conspiracy podcaster “Bernie Hayes.” The three of them make a journey to the center of the earth (called “Hollow Earth”), where Kong now lives, trying to trace some unusual disturbance. Turns out another giant ape down there has plans to come to the surface and ravage Earth. Kong and Godzilla, who fought against each other in the prior film, must now team up to defeat this new foe. You know…the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

This new giant ape, Skar King, is aided by an ancient ice-powered Titan, a lizard called Shimo. And Godzilla and Kong get a little support from Mothra. So basically, the film is just one giant monster battle after another. While the battles are taking place in Hollow Earth, the people are busy trying to get out of the way. When the action moves to the surface, the people are forgotten until the end, when they reappear to wrap things up with a few lines.

From behind the camera, the returnees from the prior film include director Adam Wingard and composer Tom Holkenborg. Wingard directs the monster battles so that we can see clearly what is going on, eschewing the excessive closeups that director Michael Dougherty used in 2019’s GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS. That film also had many of the battles taking place in darkness or in the rain, further obscuring the special effects, while Wingard has them all well illuminated. (One wonders what the light source is for Hollow Earth, however.*) Wingard also instructed the special effects artists to pump up the color in the film (“to resemble the experience of what it was like to walk down a toy aisle in the 1980s”), rather than go with the color-drained approach of so many modern films. For his part, Holkenborg provides a serviceable score, when it can be discerned between monster roars and falling buildings.

The $135 million production (on the low end of the scale for this kind of film) is off to a good start, with a one-week worldwide take of $203 million. The film’s domestic opening was $80 million, which contrasts favorably to the 2021 film’s Covid-restricted opening of just $31 million. So, Godzilla and Kong are likely to have some legs.

*After writing that, I read that when the prior film came out, Elon Musk tweeted about the movie, and among other things questioned where the light source in Hollow Earth was, which isn't answered in the first film. Tom Wingard has said that “as a rebuttal to that, the very first shot of this movie answers the question of where the light source comes from in Hollow Earth, as a response to Elon Musk's tweet. Hopefully he'll appreciate that when he sees it." Well, it didn’t register with me (I don't recall what the first shot was), but I didn't even think of asking the question until writing this review.

 Posted:   Apr 4, 2024 - 11:04 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Dentist in the Chair (1960) ... 3/10

Cheap British comedy which owes a lot to the long-running Doctor film series, but is somewhat restricted in the story material by virtue of its subject. There are plenty of laughs in what is essentially a farce and leads Bob Monkhouse and Kenneth Connor work overtime in wringing every line and scene for the humour. There's good support, too, from Peggy Cummins and Ronnie Stevens.

But it's basically a TV comedy show lasting 25 minutes only it runs an hour longer. The scenes where crook Sam Field/Connor acts as a new student so as to hide from the police are strained and feel like padding.

Ken Jones provides a typical jolly score.

To its significant credit: it's a much more entertaining film than its follow-up Dentist on the Job (1961) which is dire ...

You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2024 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.
Website maintained and powered by Veraprise and Matrimont.