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La-La Land has announced two new soundtrack releases this week -- the first-ever release of Brad Fiedel's score for THE ACCUSED, the 1988 courtroom drama (inspired by the infamous New Bedford rape case) which won Jodie Foster her first Oscar for Best Actress; and THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND, a two-disc set featuring music from the History Channel TV series, from composers David Russell Alfonso, Allan Paul Ett, Jeffrey Hayat, Michael Keely, James Lum, Dennis McCarthy, Patrick O’Neil and Giuseppe Vasapolli

Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.

This year's Oscars will be telecast this Sunday evening. I have included my own, highly inaccurate predictions at the bottom of this column, along with what I would personally vote for in parentheses. 


The Accused - Brad Fiedel - La-La Land
Charlotte's Web - Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman - Varese Sarabande
The Curse of Oak Island
- various - La-La Land
El Lienzo En El Espejo 
- David Bazo - Rosetta
La Guepe
 - Osvaldo Montes - Rosetta
Made in China Napoletano
 - Marco Werba - Rosetta
McMafia - Tom Hodge, Franz Kirmann - Decca (import)
Red Sparrow - James Newton Howard - Sony (CD-R)


Death Wish - Ludwig Goransson - Score CD-R on Sony; pressed CD on Sony (import)
Don’t Talk to Irene - Erica Procunier
Hondros - Jeff Russo
Midnighters - Chris Westlake
Mohawk - Wojciech Golczewski
Oh Lucy! - Erik Friedlander
Pickings - Katie Vincent
Red Sparrow - James Newton Howard - Score CD-R on Sony
The Vanishing of Sidney Hall - Darren Morze


March 9 
The Exorcist
 - Tyler Bates - Milan
Monster Hunt 2 - Leon Ko - Milan (import)
March 16
Tomb Raider
 - Tom Holkenborg - Sony
March 23
B. The Beginning
 - Yoshihiro Ike - Milan
Croc-Blanc - Bruno Coulais - Universal France
 - Laurent Eyquem - Varese Sarabande
March 30
Troy: Fall of a City - Rob - Sony (import)
A Wrinkle in Time - Ramin Djawadi - Disney
April 6
Howards End [U.S. release] - Nico Muhly - Milan 
Pacific Rim Uprising - Lorne Balfe - Milan
Ready Player One - Alan Silvestri - WaterTower
April 27
Kings - Nick Cave, Warren Ellis - Milan
Date Unknown
 - Nino Rota - Quartet
The Blue Planet (remastered reissue) 
- George Fenton - Silva
Love Story 
- Francis Lai - Quartet
 - Taro Iwashiro - Nippon Columbia (import)
Planet Earth (remastered reissue)
 - George Fenton - Silva
 - Georges Delerue - Quartet
The Silence of the Lambs
 - Howard Shore - Quartet

That Good Night
 - Guy Farley - Caldera


March 2 - Marc Blitzstein born (1905)
March 2 - Richard Hazard born (1921)
March 2 - Lost Horizon premieres in San Francisco (1937)
March 2 - Andrzej Korzynski born (1940)
March 2 - Alfred Newman wins Oscar for The Song of Bernadette score (1944)
March 2 - Larry Carlton born (1948)
March 2 - Basil Poledouris begins recording his score to Big Wednesday (1978)
March 2 - Antoni Komasa-Lazarkiewicz born (1980)
March 2 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score to the Twilight Zone: The Movie segment "A Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (1983)
March 2 - Serge Gainsbourg died (1991)
March 2 - Recording sessions begin on Toru Takemitsu’s score for Rising Sun (1993)
March 2 - John Debney records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Nagus” (1993)
March 2 - Goffredo Petrassi died (2003)
March 2 - Malcolm Williamson died (2003)
March 2 - Steven Price wins Oscar for Gravity score (2014)
March 3 - Lee Holdridge born (1944)
March 3 - Jeff Rona born (1957)
March 3 - John Williams begins recording his score for Jaws (1975)
March 3 - Leonard Rosenman begins recording his unused score for The Last Hard Men (1976)
March 3 - Peter Ivers died (1983)
March 3 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score to the Twilight Zone: The Movie segment "Time Out" (1983)
March 3 - Basil Poledouris records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “Profile in Silver” (1986)
March 3 - Arthur Kempel died (2004)
March 4 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score for Anthony Adverse wins the Oscar; however, as per Academy policy, the score is awarded to the head of the studio's music department, Leo Forbstein (1937)
March 4 - Lucio Dalla born (1943)
March 4 - Max Steiner wins score Oscar for Now, Voyager (1943)
March 4 - Leonard Rosenman died (2008)
March 5 - Heitor Villa-Lobos born (1887)
March 5 - Harry Lubin born (1906)
March 5 - Max Steiner's score for The Informer wins the Oscar; Academy policy at the time awards to the score to the head of the studio's music branch -- who, in this case, is Max Steiner (1936)
March 5 - Bruce Smeaton born (1938)
March 5 - Robert Folk born (1949)
March 5 - Michael Gore born (1951)
March 5 - Sergei Prokofiev died (1953)
March 5 - Graham Reynolds born (1971)
March 5 - John Williams begins recording his score to Star Wars (1977)
March 5 - Bruce Broughton records his Emmy-winning score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “The Satyr” (1981)
March 5 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for A Walk in the Clouds (1995)
March 5 - Theodore Shapiro begins recording his score for Idiocracy (2005)
March 5 - Gustavo Santaolalla wins his first Oscar, for the Brokeback Mountain score (2006)
March 6 - Stephen Schwartz born (1948)
March 6 - Leonard Rosenman records his score for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Beast in View” (1964)
March 6 - Richard Hageman died (1966)
March 6 - Erik Nordgren died (1992)
March 6 - Robert B. Sherman died (2012)
March 7 - King Kong premieres in New York (1933)
March 7 - Miklos Rozsa wins his first Oscar for Spellbound score (1946)
March 7 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Allegiance" (1990)
March 7 - Recording sessions begin for John Ottman’s score for X2 (2003)
March 7 - Gordon Parks died (2006)
March 7 - Michael Giacchino wins his first Oscar, for Up (2010)
March 8 - Dick Hyman born (1927)
March 8 - Bruce Broughton born (1945)
March 8 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score for the pilot to Dr. Kildare (1961)
March 8 - Alex North begins recording his unused score for Sounder (1972)
March 8 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording orchestral cues for Logan's Run score (1976)
March 8 - William Walton died (1983)
March 8 - James Newton Howard begins recording his score for Dave (1993)
March 8 - George Martin died (2016)


ALI AND NINO - Dario Marianelli
"There’s a certain primness to the film: Every time a love scene begins, the camera cuts abruptly away. It’s easy to imagine 'Ali and Nino' as one of those Hollywood romantic dramas of the 1950s -- the emotional beats, from Ali and Nino’s parents’ uncertainty about their children marrying to the teary finale, are easy to predict, and the score and landscapes are sweeping, conjuring a dramatic cinematic past. Director Asif Kapadia (whose last film was the harrowing Amy Winehouse documentary 'Amy') frames his characters in handsomely decorated rooms, or outside surrounded by white mountaintops. It’s all very tasteful, if not terribly exciting."
Abbey Bender, Village Voice
"'Captain America: Civil War,' our 13th spin around the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is such a satisfying Problems In 21st Century Superheroics seminar that I'd be humming its theme for days if only I could remember it. Does Captain America have a theme? Does Iron Man? What about Black Widow? Haven't they each earned one by now? Eight years into a lovingly micromanaged franchise that has made Marvel Studios as indomitable as Galactus, benevolent mogul Kevin Feige still hasn't found a composer to elevate one of these movies to the firmament of earworms. 'Civil War''s ersatz score, by Henry 'Not Wolverine' Jackman, might've been borrowed from a '90s Tom Clancy flick."
Chris Klimek, NPR

DREAMLAND - Robert Schwartzman
"Soundtracked by Monty’s own tickling of the ivories and the director’s own energetic, synth-heavy work, the score itself is great, though it’s only intermittently successful when applied to the film. Sometimes it seems like a soundtrack to 'Drive,' but instead of cool Ryan Gosling in a vintage whip, it’s Johnny Simmons navigating the mean streets of K-Town on a motorbike that’s a shade too small for him. The music pumps energy into the film, sometimes underlining the 1970s vibe, but it can also seem wildly at odds with the content."
Katie Walsh, The Playlist

"The sense of a film school student doing movie karaoke with his influences is evident throughout 'Dreamland.' Schwartzman’s own synthesizer-heavy score is the latest in a long line of recent films, among them 'Drive' and 'Mistress America,' to evoke 1980s nostalgia on their soundtracks for seemingly no reason. Nicolas Winding Refn’s fondness for neon reds is also evident in the film’s night exteriors -- eye-catching in a wholly empty way. Such formal homages are marvels of subtlety, though, compared to the more blatant shout-outs: a repeated montage of a character’s morning routine that plays like a slowed-down riff on Joe Gideon’s bathroom rituals in 'All That Jazz;' a seduction scene that rips off 'The Piano' in one shot and 'The Fabulous Baker Boys' in the next; a slow zoom into two characters sprawled on a floor in a post-coital embrace that recalls a shot of Brigitte Bardot in 'Contempt.'"
Kenji Fujishima, Slant Magazine
"Production elements are as solid as the film's acting. But working as his own composer (and in his choices of source music), Schwartzman employs some of the wispy and burbly synth ingredients identified with cousin Sofia Coppola; they work better for her movies than his, which might have been better served with more of the torchy piano-bar numbers Monty dreams of playing one day."
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
THE IVORY GAME - H. Scott Salinas
"Frustratingly, the film also comes off as an overly dramatic episode of HBO’s 'VICE,' all ominous music, slow motion, and imposed gravitas when such extravagances aren’t needed to impart the damning urgency of the truth. And for all 'The Ivory Game' does to say that not all Africans are okay with poachers and not all Chinese buy ivory, it is uninterested in the conditions that foster poaching -- the willingness to put one’s life on the line for incredibly minuscule sums of money (the costs rise a hundred fold or more once in China)."
Gary Garrison, The Playlist

"Unlike a lot of other advocacy docs -- films that seek to raise awareness regarding some serious issue, often concluding with a call to action -- Netflix’s 'The Ivory Game' offers something spectacularly visual: elephants. Those trunks! Those ears! Those… tusks. A book or lengthy magazine article could perhaps better convey the same basic information, alerting people that African elephants are being illegally slaughtered for their ivory at a pace that will result in their extinction within the next two decades. (An elephant is poached every 15 minutes, on average.) Seeing the majesty of these endangered creatures in action, however, juxtaposed with the horrific sight of their mutilated carcasses, inspires visceral feelings of sorrow and anger that no amount of elegant prose can possibly match. That’s why it’s so frustrating that directors Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson apparently felt that they needed to craft a thriller -- complete with pulse-pounding music and a mysterious, all-powerful nemesis -- in order to hold viewers’ attention."
Mike D'Angelo, The Onion AV Club

"'The Ivory Game' may be a harsh wakeup call to anyone concerned about the future of the largest land mammal, but it’s also a keen evaluation of the efforts being made to correct the situation. Even as it captures a dire situation, Davidson and Ladkani single out a series of engaged personalities risking everything to bring illegal traders to justice -- and in some cases, making actual progress. By transforming its urgent message into the sensationalistic language of pulse-pounding blockbuster -- replete with dramatic music cues and frantic editing sequences -- 'The Ivory Game' risks overstating its message, but at the same time it makes the underlying didacticism more palatable. The you-are-there approach to tackling this subject means that 'The Ivory Game' largely avoids lecturing its viewers; instead, the harrowing experience speaks for itself."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"'Are we really in our generation going to allow the biggest mammal on earth to disappear?' asks a conservationist late in Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson’s propulsive ivory-trade doc. That simple question cuts to the heart in ways that much of this showy, desperately dramatic pseudo-thriller doesn’t. The title is a giveaway: 'The Ivory Game' suggests the kind of globetrotting paperback adventure that Larry King might blurb as 'a helluva read!' before it gets adapted into a big-budget studio feature. The music pounds, pulses, seizes your ears to demand you get how tense everything is. Ladkani and Davidson offer up sweeping aerial shots of SUVs surging down African two-lanes, then glass-and-gold reflection-scapes of Hong Kong skyscrapers glinting above the South China Sea. 'You cannot trust anyone,' a white anti-poaching investigator tells us as he and the camera stalk down a dark Hong Kong alley. An aproned worker rocks in a hammock as we hear those words, and it stings that a film as nobly intended as 'The Ivory Game' has gone all-in on Hollywood filmmaking, right down to the demonization of what George Lucas called -- in a story conference for 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' -- 'third-world local sleazos.' There are only something like 500,000 elephants left in the world, and one gets killed -- we’re told -- every 15 minutes, but the filmmakers seem to believe that the only way to get us to care is to juice their doc with performance-enhancing Bourne suspense. But the material is suspenseful already: Investigative teams infiltrate the Chinese shops that sell illegal ivory, and the Vietnamese wholesalers ship it into China, where most of the world’s illegal ivory is sold. There are also raids on the homes of poachers, night patrols with the rangers protecting elephants in Tanzania, a bristling confrontation between rangers and poacher-sympathizing farmers whose crops the herds have trampled. In Hong Kong, one ivory merchant spots the investigators’ hidden camera, and rather than let the footage play out or allow the principals to tell us what happened and how they handled this, the filmmakers crank up the tense music and cut to the skyline for a long moment, goosing real life to play like a TV drama’s season finale."
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

"In the end we are told that world leaders are beginning to join forces to isolate the ivory traders. But beyond the message of the doc, which few would challenge, the film achieves its impact because of tight direction and handsome photography by Ladkani. The haunting musical score by H. Scott Salinas also adds to the movie’s impact. Sweeping, thoughtful and often wrenching, this elegy for one of the world’s most majestic animals deserves the attention that it is sure to receive."
Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

NINA - Ruy Foguera
"'She has to deliver truth again,' says David Oyelowo as Simone’s late-life nurse and friend. The film itself struggles to hit that mark. The scene-craft is undistinguished TV-movie stuff -- a scene about a phone call will open with a close-up of a phone; one about an arrival and departure opens with a close-up on the door. The score often sinks into tinkly piano mush that Simone, trained on Bach, would never abide. (Mort has sued the film’s producers, alleging, among other things, that their cuts and changes to her script and film constitute a breach of contract.)"
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

"Cynthia Mort’s 'Nina' begins with a scene that depicts the incomparable Nina Simone’s dedication to racial equality. It’s North Carolina, 1946, and the 13-year-old Simone sits before a piano, unwilling to perform for a predominantly white audience inside a school auditorium until her parents are allowed to watch her from the front row. They are, and Simone proceeds to wow those who remain in their seats with her technical prowess. Her music is meant to be understood as an inkling of what would become, for many, the soundtrack to the civil rights movement. But the scene, the only one in the film to articulate Simone’s resistance to racial prejudice prior to her fading from the spotlight, more successfully announces the filmmakers’ almost willful sense of self-sabotage: From the dull pastel-like hues of the image, to the saccharine Ruy Foguera composition that scores Simone’s courage, 'Nina' immediately announces its commitment to the sort of broad strokes that reduce a great artist’s life to a spectacle of self-pity."
Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

"Scattered throughout are brief scenes from an interview Simone does with a French journalist, and these are notable only because Saldana suddenly decides to do some kind of accent in these interview segments. The really distressing thing about 'Nina,' which features a light comedy-type musical score, is its cheerful, bouncy tone, as if a laugh track is indicated every time Simone loses her temper again. 'Nina' tries to make Simone into a joke, but the only joke here is the movie itself."
Dan Callahan, The Wrap


Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightLACMALaemmleNew BeverlyNuart and UCLA.

March 2
THE FACULTY (Marco Beltrami), URBAN LEGEND (Christopher Young) [Cinematheque: Aero]
GIRL 6 (Prince), THE BEST OF EVERYTHING (Alfred Newman) [UCLA]
THEY LIVE (John Carpenter, Alan Howarth) [Nuart]

March 3
DOCTOR DOLITTLE (Leslie Bricusse, Lionel Newman, Alexander Courage) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE PROUD REBEL (Jerome Moross), FOUR DAUGHTERS (Max Steiner) [UCLA]

March 6
DIE HARD (Michael Kamen) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THESE GLAMOUR GIRLS (Edward Ward, David Snell) [LACMA]

March 8
BABY BOOM (Bill Conti) [UCLA]
THE DARJEELING LIMITED, THE RIVER (M.A. Partha Sarathy) [Cinematheque: Aero]
MS. 45 (Joe Delia), SUDDEN IMPACT (Lalo Schifrin) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (Mark Mothersbaugh) [Laemmle NoHo]

March 9
LABYRINTH (Trevor Jones) [Nuart]
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (Mark Mothersbaugh), THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (Bernard Herrmann) [Cinematheque: Aero]

March 10
FANTASTIC MR. FOX (Alexander Desplat) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (Mark Mothersbaugh), THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI (Michael Boddicker) [Cinematheque: Aero]
NORMA RAE (David Shire), SWING SHIFT (Patrick Williams) [UCLA]

March 11
ALICE SWEET ALICE (Stephen Lawrence), DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING (Riz Ortolani) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MOONRISE KINGDOM (Alexandre Desplat), S.W.A.L.K. (The Bee Gees) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SPACE JAM (James Newton Howard) [UCLA]

Predictions (and my own metaphorical vote, in parentheses) for this Sunday's Oscars:

Picture: Lady Bird (Dunkirk)
Actor: Gary Oldman (Timothee Chalamet)
Actress: Frances McDormand (Saoirse Ronan)
Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell (Sam Rockwell)
Supporting Actress: Allison Janney (Lesley Manville)
Directing: Guillermo del Toro (Christopher Nolan)
Original Screenplay: Get Out (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name (Call Me By Your Name)
Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049 (Blade Runner 2049)
Production Design: The Shape of Water (Blade Runner 2049)
Costume Design: Phantom Thread (Phantom Thread)
Film Editing: Dunkirk (Dunkirk)
Sound Editing: Dunkirk (Dunkirk)
Sound Mixing: Dunkirk (Dunkirk)
Original Score: The Shape of Water (Phantom Thread)
Original Song: This Is Me (Mystery of Love)
Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049 (Blade Runner 2049)
Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour (Darkest Hour)
Foreign Language Feature: The Square (The Square)
Animated Feature: Coco (Coco)
Animated Short Film: Lou (Garden Party)
Live Action Short Film: My Nephew Emmett (DeKalb Elementary)
Documentary Short Subject: Heroin(e) (Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405)
Documentary Feature: Faces Places (Faces Places)

I also try to predict the In Memoriam entries, but I won't bore you with that whole list. As far as music is concerned, I think Johann Johannsson is a lock, John Morris is a strong possibility (I certainly hope so -- what a wonderful, underappreciated composer), Luis Bacalov could get in depending on the length of the list (last year it was 46 names), and I don't think Dominic Frontiere makes the cut (overall I think he had much greater impact in television -- Outer Limits and his Invaders theme are classics).

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THE SHAPE OF WATER's production design features bowl-style urinals and liquid soap dispensers in the early 1960s. Did they really exist then? In a government research facility? I really need to know!

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