Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Dec 4, 2023 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)

Godzilla: Minus One. Pretty damn good for a monster film. Not perfect of course but several scenes were intense and they actually made Godzilla pretty damn scary at times. The effects do vacillate between great to meh but it's the sound effects that are really impressive and punch this movie up a notch even more. The biggest drawback was the mechanical way Godzilla moved in a lot of his shots and then there is the ending.... Hate that they felt they had to go that route given all that happened before it, just felt it was tacked on. But this is quite possibly Toho's best Godzilla movie since the original, imho of course.

7.5 out of 10

 
 Posted:   Dec 4, 2023 - 6:35 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Godzilla: Minus One. Pretty damn good for a monster film. Not perfect of course but several scenes were intense and they actually made Godzilla pretty damn scary at times. The effects do vacillate between great to meh but it's the sound effects that are really impressive and punch this movie up a notch even more. The biggest drawback was the mechanical way Godzilla moved in a lot of his shots and then there is the ending.... Hate that they felt they had to go that route given all that happened before it, just felt it was tacked on. But this is quite possibly Toho's best Godzilla movie since the original, imho of course.

7.5 out of 10


Good review. I wouldn't been fine with the surprise ending if there was any credible way she could've survive that blast and there really wasn't one.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 4, 2023 - 11:26 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

NAPOLEON (2023) – 8/10

This biopic gets points from me (a) for being a biopic (I love ‘em) and (b) for a great physical production. It does not, however, provide any new or enlightened take on the life of the ambitious Napoleon (Joaquin Phoenix) or his less-than-faithful wife Josephine (Vanessa Kirby). It’s been several decades since I’ve seen any film other than WATERLOO (1970) on Napoleon…probably Marlon Brando’s DÉSIRÉE (1954), was the last one. WATERLOO, of course, focuses on just a small part of Napoleon’s life, and Desiree Clary, who was engaged to Napoleon before he broke it off to marry Josephine, doesn’t figure into David Scarpa’s screenplay for NAPOLEON at all.

Except for the opening third of the film, set during the French Revolution, the film doesn’t focus much on politics, but instead on Napoleon and Josephine’s relationship. Then the latter half delves more into Napoleon’s military campaigns. We see Bonaparte in Egypt, without much explanation as to what he is doing there. Much time is spent on the Battle of Austerlitz, then it’s off to conquer Russia, with brief scenes of the Battle of Borodino, the burning of Moscow, and the winter retreat to France. Finally, Napoleon meets his Waterloo. The film also squeezes in Bonaparte’s coronation as Emperor and his two exiles—to Elba and St. Helena islands.

As for the acting, Phoenix is okay, but reports say that he was really floundering trying to find the character of Napoleon, so much so that he and director Ridley Scott had to have a 10-day sit-down on the subject, and Phoenix fell back on some comedic touches to inject some life into his portrayal. Nowhere can one find the dynamism that he brought to his role in JOKER. Vanessa Kirby is somewhat better as Josephine, often coming off as the more willful of the two.

Ridley Scott stages the battles well, so we generally know who’s who, even if some of the tactics aren’t always clear. Scott noted that the battle scenes utilized 11 cameras, to allow for maximum flexibility in editing.

Scott said he made a conscious attempt to keep the theatrical cut of the film as close to 2 and a half hours as possible. He said he feels this is the maximum length of time the average person can tolerate viewing a film without a break before feeling uncomfortable in the seat or starting to think a film is dragging. However, he did say he is planning a longer director's cut for the streaming debut of this Apple Studios production. The subject can easily use all the time that Scott can devote to it. For example, the 1987 television mini-series NAPOLEON AND JOSEPHINE: A LOVE STORY, starring Armand Assante and Jaqueline Bisset, runs nearly 5 hours.

Martin Phipps’ semi-melodic and chorus-infused score is a welcome respite from the pounding superhero/action scores I’ve been listening to in the theater most of the year. NAPOLEON cost $200 million, but with a two-week gross of just $138 million worldwide, the film will have to earn its keep as a big draw on the streaming platforms. But the picture, filmed in England and Malta, is best appreciated on the large screen.

 
 Posted:   Dec 5, 2023 - 3:06 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Innocent (1993) ... 5/10

When I bought the CD of Gerald Gouriet's score ... nearly 22 years ago ... it was a blind buy - I knew nothing of the film and had (and still have) only one cue from another score by him. But for GBP 1.00 it was worth a try.

Only it didn't attract me, what with some dialogue (annoying!), a German language song and a tune which I thought I knew but couldn't place. After another play or two, I identified the tune as the English language song Answer Me, but didn't understand its relevance to the film.

I don't know the actor Campbell Scott and didn't recognise Isabella Rossellini but the storyline intrigued me and I wanted to follow the score. After 10 minutes I almost gave up as nothing made sense, there were numerous faces, voices and no coherence. Worse still there was Anthony Hopkins, one of my favourite actors, completely miscast as a ham-fisted American officer. But the story was now set in the early 1950s, in war-torn Berlin and appeared to be about the west's attempts to spy on the Russians. What not to like?

I'm glad I stuck with it: as a spy story there is great potential ... it doesn't hold, though, and I'm left wondering whether Glass/Hopkins set Leonard/Scott up with Maria/Rossellini or was this pure coincidence; as a romance there is great potential ... it doesn't hold, though, as Leonard's treatment of Maria doesn't ring true (even if he was that drunk); as a melodrama it works ... except that the events are so ludicrous that it loses any realism the story may have carried up until the dramatic event.

If a lightly built man struggles to lift the corpse of a heavy man will it be easier to do so if said corpse is now in two (or more) pieces? I hadn't allowed for the black comedy element ...

Whilst Scott played an Englishman far better than Hopkins an American, the latter still showed his strength as a brilliant actor such that I could almost ignore this. Rossellini was simply superb and made - almost - every scene enjoyable. Lovely period settings helped carry the story ... it was the story which let the film down.

As for the score: it works and I'll enjoy it more now.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2023 - 4:35 AM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

I've never seen the film (THE INNOCENT) but I've long enjoyed the score CD by Gerald Gouriet.
Nice use of the song (Glaube Mir??) for the main theme, given some lovely orchestral renditions and also some tender moments and decent suspense scoring.
I think I'll leave the film alone and stick to the one I see in my head, when I play the CD, Mitch wink

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2023 - 9:03 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I've never seen the film (THE INNOCENT) but I've long enjoyed the score CD by Gerald Gouriet.
Nice use of the song (Glaube Mir??) for the main theme, given some lovely orchestral renditions and also some tender moments and decent suspense scoring.
I think I'll leave the film alone and stick to the one I see in my head, when I play the CD, Mitch wink


I'm torn ... my rating of "5" indicates I may watch it again though this would be to see if I missed some of the spy thriller elements, such as Leonard's neighbour who knows what's going on but it's not clear whose side he's on; and if Glass knew Maria how come he didn't know Otto, etc.

I do wonder if director John Schlesinger was seeking to make an Alfred Hitchcock film ... if so, he failed.

As for Glaube Mir (previously Mütterlein) the melody became well-known as Answer Me this side of the Channel ... and I recall being told by my parents how the song had been banned by the BBC because of its religious overtones (the English lyric was subsequently revised). Strange times ...

The film includes a short scene where Anthony Hopkins is playing the piano. IMDb credits him with the composition of the Piano Étude. Neither this, or the diegetic 1950s' pop music, features on the CD release.

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2023 - 1:55 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Shadow of Fear (1963) ... 3/10

A cheap one hour production filmed entirely in Sussex which has some promise until one line of dialogue* destroys the magic and from that point it's all basic stuff: man on the run, can't risk contacting the police as he's just killed someone who might be a police officer, but - as we all have - his girlfriend has an uncle who knows someone in MI5.

* perhaps an in-joke but the script has the actor then say Maybe some day I'll learn to keep my mouth shut!

Some nice scenery, quiet roads (allowing for a car chase with shooting), action on the high seas ... and lots of talking.

Lead Paul Maxwell is good as the innocent caught up in a spy-ring and there's decent support from a few well-known British TV actors. The story, acting, direction and overall production mirrors many 1960s' TV dramas.

A highlight is the music score by Martin Slavin ... a great title theme and melodic, if not dramatic, underscoring. I know his name from only one other film: The Cool Mikado (1963)

As for the film's title ... your guess is as good as mine ...

Sully (2016) ... 7/10

As a dramatic re-telling of a recent dramatic event it's pretty good and the script/direction allow you to become involved wanting Sully and his co-pilot to be fully vindicated for their actions which saved all lives. Most of the flying scenes and the landing sequence look realistic such that, even if you know the outcome, the film holds your attention.

Where the script has a problem is deciding how to open the story out without it becoming a tedious portrayal of everyday people doing their everyday jobs. Hence the events which probably took months are shown to take only a few days and nobody other than Sully is given any character ... the witty remark his co-pilot makes at the end is the closest we get to seeing anymore of the second lead, Aaron Eckhart.

IMDb Goofs demonstrate how the script departs from reality but most of the issues described did not occur to me whilst watching.

If I'd known, I'd forgotten that Clint Eastwood was the director; I don't know the names of the music contributors and the score was mostly nondescript.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2023 - 1:46 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

SILENT NIGHT (2023) – 6/10

This film lives up to its title, since not a single word is uttered by any of the characters during the picture. The story is told solely through the visuals, sound effects, and Marco Beltrami’s sometimes poignant score. Unfortunately, screenwriter Robert Archer Lynn has not stretched himself at all, devising a simplistic tale of suburban father “Brian Godlock” (Joel Kinnaman) whose pre-school son is killed just before Christmas by a stray bullet fired by gangbangers engaged in a drive-by shootout. Afterwards, a grieving Godlock turns to the bottle, losing his wife (Catalina Sandino Moreno) in the process, then decides to arm up and go into training to avenge his son’s death. He sets the next Christmas Eve as the date of his retribution.

This film was directed by noted Chinese action director John Woo (FACE/OFF, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2), his first film in 6 years and first American film in 20 years. Known for his stylish action sequences, Woo has decided this time to go light on the style and to lead with brutality.

I suppose that this film is proof positive that many action films could dispense with the dialogue entirely and still be understandable. If so, it’s also proof that the story has to be stripped to its bare elements for that to be a viable technique. But there is definitely something lost in the process. There is only so much an actor can do to build a character with just facial expressions and flashbacks. Even most silent films had intertitles, and the silent film actors were much better versed in their technique than is Joel Kinnaman, whose stern face is onscreen for nearly every one of the film’s 104 minutes. Beltrami’s score helps somewhat, providing the emotional core of the quieter scenes. But when the slaughter starts, the score slips into standard action mode.

The film is an interesting experiment, but I can’t call it a success.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2023 - 2:30 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Hopscotch (1980) ... 8/10

There are few films I will watch more than two or three times and I'll admit that I've enjoyed this one only mildly until now. Perhaps I was in the right mood but on this viewing I found it very entertaining: a near-superb script, wonderfully played by its cast with lovely settings ... and an ending which leaves you smiling.

Walter Matthau/Kendig is the aged CIA operative who knows everyone and everything and doesn't like being retired by the new upstart, Ned Beatty/Myerson, who he considers is not competent. As Myerson gets more frustrated as Kendig outwits him we're treated to several clever, witty scenes with Glenda Jackson/Isobel aiding Kendig and Sam Waterston/Cutter attempting to reign in his out-of-control boss.

The film does lose one mark because the script resorts to making Myerson look so stupid having Beatty use a constant stream of foul language ... not only does this become tiresome it signifies a lack of quality. Also, the film has no original score (there might be a few snippets which I didn't notice) with all music heard being pre-existing, mostly Mozart, some Rossini and Puccini. All good (I enjoy much more these days) but an original score might have added to the enjoyment (than again ... )

I was planning to throw out the DVDr of this TV broadcast (Apr 08) but given how much I enjoyed it ... smile

 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2023 - 1:27 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Steptoe & Son (1972) ... 6-/10

I was a fan of the BBC TV series Steptoe and Son which ran from 1962-74 and so, as with so many other TV spin-offs, I went to see the film ... and was I disappointed. I think I may have seen a TV broadcast since but this recording has been on my Humax recorder for many months.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and found I laughed a great many times. And yet the film, whilst incorporating the essence of the TV show, misses the mark: the humour has to fight with the drama being played out. Had Harold's week away with Zeta been ruined by father Albert ... that would have worked; but here it's his marriage. Later there is a baby and the scenes (which were probably handled much better in many other films) of the two men feeding and bathing him mean humour has long gone. We know from the outset that the marriage fails ... we didn't need to see the soap-opera which brought this about. The fight sequence which leaves Harold bloodied is distasteful.

But to its credit the film's two stars plus Carolyn Seymour carry their roles well and the picture quality is excellent. And there is an excellent reason to watch: an unreleased score by Roy Budd (with Jack Fishman), incorporating an arrangement of Ron Grainer's original theme Old Ned, is worth hearing.

 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2023 - 3:05 PM   
 By:   agentMaestraX   (Member)

Milady: The Three Musketeers - (2023) 9/10

This continuation follows on from the first movie, with a lot of intrigue, double-crossing, lots of action, and a murder plot to unravel!
D'Artagnan is forced to join forces with Milady to save an acquaintance who was kidnapped on purpose before his eyes. But as war is declared and Athos, Porthos and Aramis have already joined the front, a secret from the past shatters old alliances to reveal who is the true enemy and friend are right within the heart of monarchy and government.. Just brilliant yet again thoroughly enjoyable in all categories: Direction, story etc. A classic has truly come alive!

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2023 - 11:07 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

DIE HARD (1988) – 9/10

Is DIE HARD a Christmas movie or not? Disney seems to think so, since they have chosen December to re-release the film to theaters, just catching the tail end of its 35th anniversary year. (It was originally released on 15 July 1988.) Christmas movie or not, it’s still a hell of a bang-up action film, and hasn’t aged more than a tad.

This seems to be the film in which the crime drama/heist film graduated into an action spectacular. I was trying to think of an earlier film that treated the crime genre in this manner, but none came readily to mind. Maybe the previous year’s LETHAL WEAPON, also produced by this film’s Joel Silver. Whether or not there are prior iterations, this was the one that made such films into a genre, such that producers could pitch a film by calling it “Die Hard on a plane,” or “Die Hard on a ship,” or Die Hard wherever.

Given how over-the-top such action films have become in the past 35 years, it’s interesting to see the origins of the genre—how screenwriters Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, and director John McTiernan, pace the film and carefully meter out its action scenes between the quieter moments of Bruce Willis’ “John McClane” talking to himself, to baddie Alan Rickman, or the patrol officer whom he contacts on the outside (Reginald VelJohnson).

This was also the film that turned Bruce Willis from a television star into a movie star, and he never looked back. Willis was paid like a star for the film, taking home $5 million of the film’s $28 million budget. But the picture earned its keep, grossing $143 million worldwide.

It’s fitting that DIE HARD was added to the National Film Registry in 2017. The film received four Oscar nominations in the technical categories. The film print (now DCP) retains all of its original credits, with no suggestion that the film has been updated in any way. But it was previously digitally remastered for its 25th anniversary re-release, and the analog Dolby Stereo sound that is still credited would have been upgraded to digital then. It sounds great.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2023 - 2:28 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Yup, I like to watch Die Hard (& Lethal Weapon) around Christmas time, but I don't think it's a Christmas film (whatever that is), it's an action film set around Christmas (as is Die Hard 2 & Lethal Weapon).

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2023 - 2:32 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Milady: The Three Musketeers - (2023) 9/10

This continuation follows on from the first movie, with a lot of intrigue, double-crossing, lots of action, and a murder plot to unravel!
D'Artagnan is forced to join forces with Milady to save an acquaintance who was kidnapped on purpose before his eyes. But as war is declared and Athos, Porthos and Aramis have already joined the front, a secret from the past shatters old alliances to reveal who is the true enemy and friend are right within the heart of monarchy and government.. Just brilliant yet again thoroughly enjoyable in all categories: Direction, story etc. A classic has truly come alive!


The first one, D'Artagnan is on Sky Movies & I'll be watching it in the next couple of days.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2023 - 1:56 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

A Prize of Gold (1955) ... 4/10

I'm biased! I've always found Richard Widmark worthwhile watching even when the material is questionable. Here we have a low-key crime thriller, with military personnel conspiring to hijack Nazi gold bullion en-route to London. But for Widmark/Joe it's not for personal gain.

Poor Mai Zetterling has few scenes and the idea that a group of homeless juveniles from Berlin will find a better life in Brazil does raise a query.

This mainly-British film (courtesy of pre-JB007 Broccoli when in partnership with Irwin Allen) has high production values but the script is pure corn ... quite why Widmark signed on is not clear.

Some nice location photography (the two seater "car" is great!) but Malcolm Arnold's score is way OTT at times. I liked the (Lester Lee/Ned Washington) title song - Joan Regan.

 
 Posted:   Dec 18, 2023 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Double Jeopardy 1-5

WARNING: Major Spoilers below!

Who writes this sh*t?! There's so much wrong with this film! The idea that if you're convicted of murdering someone you didn't really murder and who isn't really dead you could turn around and murder them "again" and not face prosecution? Or that insurance companies will give out two million dollar life insurance polices to your child after you're convicted of murder to get the life insurance policy? Or you would ask your best friend to adopt your own son? Or you only get a sentence of six years in jail for conviction of premeditated murder? Or that neither the insurance company or the police would reopen the case when there's evidence the victim might still be alive and it was a set up? Or that the protagonist who's on the run for breaking parole just wants her son back and is happy to be a fugitive for the rest of her life instead of clearing her name? Not to mention all the new crimes the protagonist committed in an effort to find her cheating husband and son? Not to mention not having her husband face charges for killing the other woman? And who's blood was it in the beginning of the film? WTF is this?! Really who gets paid to write this sh*t?!

 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2023 - 11:43 AM   
 By:   Adventures of Jarre Jarre   (Member)

The Boy and the Heron: 8/10

Q: What does a "gray heron" have to do with being the guide to time and space and life and death? And why do anthropomorphized, warlike parakeets have a kingdom guarding that inner world? And why does the ramshackle temple, conveniently placed in an outlier locale, serve as the conduit between our world and theirs, especially for a kid who suffered a recent, terrible loss? And what does WWII have to do with any of this?

A: ... hey shaddap.

 
 Posted:   Dec 24, 2023 - 2:41 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Bell Book and Candle (1958) ... 7+/10

It starts off at Christmas and tells a lightweight, gently comedic, mildly romantic story of a witch who wants to renounce her powers so as to fall in love with the man upstairs.

Sounds pretty so-so ... except with James Stewart and Kim Novak as the leads plus wonderful support from Jack Lemmon, Elsa Lanchester, Ermie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold and Janice Rule the story becomes enchanting, watchable and most of all: entertaining.

Mostly studio sets (it is based on a stage play) but these don't hinder the production and the film boasts a superb score by the ever-dependable George Duning. Fabulous.

And, if that's not enough ... there is Pyewacket who almost steals every scene. smile

 
 Posted:   Dec 24, 2023 - 3:31 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard, 2000) 2/10

Overblown, fuzzy, and confused movie. Ron Howard has shown that he is capable of crafting excellent mainstream movies, but in his attempt at a Tim Burtonish surreal Christmas fantasy he turns out a garrish nightmare.

The backstory has the Grinch hate Christmas because of past rejection as a child, which is cringe- but not gringeworthy notion and deflates the character beyond recognition. The Grinch seemed quite reasonable in not wanting to have anything to do with the obnoxious and loud Whoville citizens and their Christmas-Fury.

Not even James Horner, whose music is the only thing that hits all the right notes, can save this mess.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2023 - 6:35 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard, 2000) 2/10

Overblown, fuzzy, and confused movie. Ron Howard has shown that he is capable of crafting excellent mainstream movies, but in his attempt at a Tim Burtonish surreal Christmas fantasy he turns out a garrish nightmare.

The backstory has the Grinch hate Christmas because of past rejection as a child, which is cringe- but not gringeworthy notion and deflates the character beyond recognition. The Grinch seemed quite reasonable in not wanting to have anything to do with the obnoxious and loud Whoville citizens and their Christmas-Fury.

Not even James Horner, whose music is the only thing that hits all the right notes, can save this mess.


This film should be grouped together with the worst of the worst like CATS. Absolutely cringe worthy, obnoxious and horrific all in one.

 
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.