Quartet has announced three new upcoming score CDs -- Alexandre Desplat's score for Jacques Audiard's just-released dark comedy Western THE SISTERS BROTHERS (reportedly, rights issues with a U.S. label may make this CD difficult to obtain for U.S.-based collectors); a remastered and slightly expanded version of John Barry's romantic suspense score for the 1988 mystery MASQUERADE; and Victor Reyes' score for the recently released horror film DOWN A DARK HALL, starring AnnaSophia Robb and Uma Thurman.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Batteries Not Included - James Horner - Intrada Special Collection
Black Mirror: Arkangel - Mark Isham - Fire (import)
First Man - Justin Hurwitz - Backlot
Fletch - Harold Faltermeyer, songs - Varese Sarabande
Girl - Valentin Hadjadj - Deutsche Grammophon (import)
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - Vince Guaraldi - Varese Sarabande
La Venere di Cheronea - Giovanni Fusco - Digitmovies
Salvare La Faccia - Benedetto Ghiglia - Digitmovies
Zorro - Guido & Maurizio DeAngelis - Digitmovies
IN THEATERS TODAY
After Everything - Xander Singh
All Square - Steve Dueck, Max Knouse, Michael Krasner, Robin Vining
Bad Times at the El Royale - Michael Giacchino
Beautiful Boy - no original score
Bigger - Jeff Beal
- Justin Hurwitz - Score CD on Backlot
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween - Dominic Lewis
The Happy Prince - Gabriel Yared - Score CD on Sergent Major (import)
In Echo Park - Zachary D. McMillan
The Kindergarten Teacher - Ascher Goldschmidt
Longing - Yoram Hazan
Look Away - Mario Grigorov
Moynihan - Mason Daring
The Oath - Bret Mazur
Sadie - Mike McCready
The Sentence - Sam Bisbee
Stella's Last Weekend - Michael Wolff
Studio 54 - Lorne Balfe
306 Hollywood - Troy Herion
22 July - Sune Martin
Carter Burwell: Music for Film - Carter Burwell - Silva
Halloween - John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies - Sacred Bones
The Hate U Give - Dustin O'Halloran - Milan
Mandy - Johann Johannsson - Lakeshore
The Song of Sway Lake - Ethan Gold - Electrik Gold
Can You Ever Forgive Me? - Nate Heller - Verve
The Girl in the Spider's Web - Roque Banos - Sony (import)
Our House - Mark Korven - Lakeshore
Suspiria - Thom Yorke - XL Recordings
Boy Erased - Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans - Backlot
A Private War - H. Scott Salinas - Varese Sarabande
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Carter Burwell - Milan
Under the Silver Lake - Disasterpeace - Milan
Carles Cases Styles - Carles Cases - Rosetta
Deshabitados - Manel Gil-Inglada - Rosetta
Down a Dark Hall - Victor Reyes - Quartet
Every Day a Good Day - Hiroku Sebu - Pony Canyon (import)
Frizzi 2 Fulci Undead in Austin - Fabio Frizzi - Beat
Madly - Francis Lai - Music Box
Masquerade - John Barry - Quartet
Per Pochi Dollari Ancora - Gianni Ferrio - Beat
Red/Family - Soren Hyldgaard - Kritzerland
The Sisters Brothers - Alexandre Desplat - Quartet
Un Italiano in America - Piero Piccioni - Beat
Wolf Guy: Jun Fukamachi Aka Hiroshi Baba Works - Hiroshi Baba - Cinema-Kan (import)
Yucatan - Roque Banos - Saimel
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
October 12 - Ralph Vaughan Williams born (1872)
October 12 - Joseph Kosma born (1905)
October 12 - John Williams
records his score for the Lost in Space
episode "My Friend, Mr. Nobody" (1965)
October 12 - Gil Melle begins recording his score for The Andromeda Strain (1970)
October 13 - Maurice Jarre records his score for The Last Tycoon (1976)
October 13 - Raoul Kraushaar died (2001)
October 13 - Berto Pisano born (1928)
October 13 - Paul Simon born (1941)
October 13 - Recording sessions begin for Miklos Rozsa
’s score to Woman of the Town
October 13 - Lud Gluskin died (1989)
October 13 - David Newman begins recording his score for Jingle All the Way (1996)
October 13 - Dave Pollecutt died (2001)
October 14 - Bill Justis born (1926)
October 14 - Thomas Dolby born (1958)
October 14 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper
's score for Two Loves
October 14 - Richard Markowitz
’s score for The Wild Wild West
episode “The Night of the Glowing Corpse” is recorded (1965)
October 14 - Leonard Bernstein died (1990)
October 14 - Alan Silvestri
begins recording his score for Predator 2
October 15 - Fumio Hayasaka died (1955)
October 15 - Simon Boswell born (1956)
October 15 - Franz Reizenstein died (1968)
October 15 - Kevin Kliesch born (1970)
October 15 - Lalo Schifrin
begins recording his score to THX-1138
October 15 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Lonely Among Us" (1987)
October 15 - Jay Chattaway
records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager
episode “Pathfinder” (1999)
October 16 - Bernard Herrmann records his score for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Misadventure” (1964)
October 16 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for Taps (1981)
October 16 - Art Blakey died (1990)
October 16 - Dennis McCarthy
records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager
episode “Year of Hell, Part I” (1997)
October 16 - David Bell
records his scores for the Enterprise
episodes “Terra Nova” and “Dear Doctor” (2001)
October 16 - Albert Elms died (2009)
October 16 - Pete Rugolo died (2011)
October 17 - Luiz Bonfa born (1922)
October 17 - Around the World in Eighty Days premieres in New York (1956)
October 17 - Bullitt
opens in New York (1968)
October 17 - Basil Poledouris records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “a Message from Charity” (1985)
October 17 - Jay Livingston died (2001)
October 17 - Vic Mizzy died (2009)
October 18 - Frederick Hollander born (1896)
October 18 - Rene Garriguenc born (1908)
October 18 - Allyn Ferguson born (1924)
October 18 - John Morris born (1926)
October 18 - Peter Best born (1943)
October 18 - Howard Shore born (1946)
October 18 - Bernard Herrmann
begins recording his score to The Wrong Man
October 18 - Wynton Marsalis born (1961)
October 18 - Pete Carpenter died (1987)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
"Frears ('The Queen,' 'Philomena') applies his usual smart, reserved approach to the material. 'Florence Foster Jenkins' is inordinately tasteful -- its costumes and period detail are exquisite, and Alexandre Desplat’s score boasts a light, jazzy sophistication. But all that gentility comes at a price, for although Nicholas Martin’s screenplay touches on plenty of potentially thorny themes, the movie tends to glance over them. At its core, 'Florence Foster Jenkins' is a bizarre tale of accidental notoriety, but the filmmakers are so concerned with telling a nice story that they don’t always tell a great one."
Tim Grierson, The New Republic
"There again, 'Florence Foster Jenkins' is best not scrutinized too closely -- and luckily, Danny Cohen’s gleaming, high-key lensing and Alan Macdonald’s bustling, print-heavy production design give our eyes more than enough surface candy to consume while our ears are being comparatively assailed. (Alexandre Desplat’s score hardly gets a chance to make an impression between number after number of vigorous Streepscreeching.) While shooting, perhaps counter-intuitively, on widescreen, Frears’ mise-en-scene appears to subtly emulate the cluttered coziness of dinner-theater staging and styling, down to ornamental corner detailing over the closing credits -- though editor Valerio Bonelli’s frequent screen-wipes might rep one cute touch too many. No one below the line, meanwhile, is enjoying themselves more than costume designer Consolata Boyle, who cloaks Streep in performance garb of chintztastic fabulousness, striking a balance between dowdy and diaphanous that is barely toned down for her fifty-shades-of-lavender daywear. It’s an appropriately subtle sartorial margin for a woman who, in her butterfly-filled head at least, was never off the stage."
Guy Lodge, Variety
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS - Dario Marianelli
"One of the most impressive elements of 'Kubo and the Two Strings' -- besides its dazzling stop-motion animation, its powerful performances and its transporting score -- is the amount of credit it gives its audience, particularly its younger viewers...With long bangs covering his eye patch, Kubo leaves the cave every day to spin his own magic in the town square, where he plucks his lute-like shamisen and brings his elaborate origami figures thrillingly to life. These brisk melodies provide the basis for Dario Marianelli’s soaring and deeply moving score. George Takei and Brenda Vaccaro, meanwhile, are among the actors lending their voices to the locals who help create a sense of place."
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
"Dario Marianelli’s lavish, light score echoes the emotive properties of the art, doing its best to channel the refined aesthetic of Hayao Miyazaki’s longtime collaborator, composer Joe Hisaishi, without ever losing the dynamic, lively sensibility of a Kurosawa samurai epic."
Aja Romano, Vox
"Although it’s rare to see an American movie that borrows so heavily from Asian storytelling traditions, 'Kubo and the Two Strings' incorporates its many exotic influences in a way that feels deceptively familiar, even logical, driven by Dario Marianelli’s score, richly elaborated from Kubo’s plucky shamisen theme. 'If you must blink, do it now,' Kubo advises his rapt audience at the outset, though the film relies on clever trickery throughout, using much-desired revelations -- especially pertaining to Kubo’s parents -- to distract the viewer from the troubling consequences of certain twists the dream-like narrative presents along the way. It’s not every children’s movie that has the courage to kill off so many of its principal characters. Indeed, no one would accuse Knight and his Laika cohorts of talking down to viewers."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Notable contributions also extend to Nelson Lowry’s richly appointed production design, which intricately incorporates thematic elements of origami and traditional Japanese woodblock printing in virtually every frame. Credit also must go to composer Dario Marianelli’s understated, Asian-accented score, which, unlike Kubo’s trusty two-stringed shamisen, opts for the traditional three-stringed model."
Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter
LEAP! (aka BALLERINA) - Klaus Badelt
"Only the ballet sequences themselves disappoint, sidestepping opportunities for more inspired, extravagant spectacle -- not helped, admittedly, by a disjointed soundtrack undecided between Klaus Badelt’s traditional scoring and a panoply of synthetic pop confections that, while perfectly catchy and crammed with suitably inspirational lyrics, do little to convey Félicie’s artistic inspiration. Played at the stage climax, Jepsen’s bespoke contribution, 'Cut to the Feeling,' may be a tasty shot of electro-bubblegum, but just try dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy to it. In this respect, if few others, 'Ballerina' moves very much to its own beat."
Guy Lodge, Variety
MORRIS FROM AMERICA - Keegan DeWitt
"How and why they ended up in this improbable new home isn’t fully sketched in until later, and it’s secondary to the movie’s focus on how Morris, a good kid with a tubby build and an understandably wary streak, copes with his strange new reality. Inka and Curtis encourage him to make friends and attend summer classes at a local youth center, but for the most part, Morris keeps his head down and his ears covered, relying on a steady stream of hip-hop (all original compositions by Keegan DeWitt, neatly sidestepping the need for expensive source music) to not only distract him, but also inspire his future career as a freestyle rap artist. Things perk up when the lonesome Morris catches the eye of a pretty 15-year-old, Katrin (Lina Keller), who strikes up a friendly flirtation, invites him to a summer party, and treats him rather better than the other 'German d--kheads,' as Morris calls them. Katrin, who comes off as the sort of smart, strong-willed young woman we could easily follow into an interesting movie of her own, does her part to open Morris’ eyes and especially his ears (DeWitt’s score incorporates the propulsive EDM tracks that are her generation’s music of choice). Naturally, she also plays with his emotions and stirs his libido, as we see in a scene of privately enacted, pillow-abetted romantic fantasy that feels sweet, funny, awkward and tender in equal measure."
Justin Chang, Variety
VICEROY'S HOUSE - A.R. Rahman
"The settings shot on location in India are appropriately sumptuous, with various Indian sites filling in for the titular structure that boasted 340 rooms. The music by A.R. Rahman ('Slumdog Millionaire') injects grandiose import into the proceedings. But some corners are cut too close. The harrowing journeys of the refugees are mostly discussed or documented by black-and-white newsreel footage rather than actually dramatized. As for the ending, which most closely resembles the experience of Chadha’s grandparents, it is clumsily staged and will leave most dry-eyed."
Susan Wloszczyna, RogerEbert.com
"Surprisingly, despite the airlessness of the drama, this otherwise handsome production could stand to be more stuffy. Heavy on elaborate, expensive-looking fittings and trimmings, for which production designer Laurence Dorman and costume designer Keith Madden can take a joint bow, the film wants for palpable, perspiration-soaked atmosphere in Ben Smithard’s bright lensing or the tidy sound design. A.R. Rahman’s grandiloquent, hard-working score, on the other hand, could hardly be less tidy -- but is chasing a saturated romanticism that 'Viceroy’s House' otherwise doesn’t muster."
Guy Lodge, Variety
"Drenched in a syrupy score by double Oscar-winning 'Slumdog Millionaire' composer A.R. Rahman, 'Viceroy's House' promises a lavish banquet of spicy dramatic material, but somehow ends up lukewarm and flavorless. Every character feels like a brittle caricature defined solely by their position in a simplistic schema that pits Brits against Indians, Hindus against Muslims, rulers against ruled. The nuance and texture of real life have no place in this reductive history lesson. The Romeo-and-Juliet romance between Jeet and Aaliah feels particularly stilted, steeped in more corny cliches and convenient coincidences than any Bollywood fantasy."
Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.
Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPAS, American Cinematheque: Aero, American Cinematheque: Egyptian, Arclight, Arena Cinelounge, LACMA, Laemmle, New Beverly, Nuart and UCLA.
HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter) [Nuart]
TOUCH OF EVIL (Henry Mancini), MR. ARKADIN (Paul Misraki) [Cinematheque: Aero]
BLADE RUNNER [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
EVILSPEAK (Roger Kellaway) [Arena Cinelounge]
HOUSE OF WAX (David Buttolph) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (Bernard Herrmann), THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (Heinz Roemheld) [Cinematheque: Aero]
CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (Angelo Francesco Lavagnino), THE IMMORTAL STORY [Cinematheque: Aero]
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (Dimitri Tiomkin) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THE MUMMY [Arclight Hollywood]
WRITTEN ON THE WIND (Frank Skinner) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Charles Bernstein) [Arclight Hollywood]
BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA (Wojciech Kilar) [LACMA]
PET SEMATARY (Elliot Goldenthal) [Arclight Hollywood]
HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter) [Arclight Culver City]
HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter) [Arclight Hollywood]
HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter) [Arclight Santa Monica]
HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
MON ONCLE (Franck Barcellini, Alain Romans) [Laemmle Royal]
FUNNY GIRL (Jule Styne, Walter Scharf) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
I SAW THE DEVIL (Mowg) [Laemmle NoHo]
TRICK OR TREAT (Christopher Young) [Arena Cinelounge]
FRANKENSTEIN [Arclight Hollywood]
PARENTHOOD (Randy Newman), COCOON (James Horner) [Cinematheque: Aero]
ZOMBIE (Giorgio Tucci, Fabio Frizzi) [Nuart]
APOLLO 13 (James Horner), FROST/NIXON (Hans Zimmer) [Cinematheque: Aero]
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner) [UCLA]
DRACULA [Arclight Hollywood]
HOW THE WEST WAS WON (Alfred Newman) [Arclight Hollywood]
WILLOW (James Horner) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: I've been really enjoying the boxed set Lalo Schifrin: My Life in Music, especially the classic "cool" pieces like Bullitt and the Dirty Harry scores that are arguably his most distinctive contribution to film music (though my favorite Schifrin score may be The Four Musketeers, mostly due to my emotional attachment to the film). I finally played the Quartet release of The White Buffalo, featuring both the unused David Shire score and the final John Barry music, and the two are remarkably different -- I can easily understand how two different but excellent composers could struggle to find the right musical tone for such a strange movie.
Read: I'm in the middle of Elmore Leonard's Bandits (no relation to the Willis/Thornton/Blanchett caper comedy), one of his light-hearted thrillers from the mid-1980s (well, relatively light-hearted, as the plot inolves atrocities in Nicaragua). You can tell that this was published around the period when he started to receive greater public attention and success, because the books start getting longer (but no less engrossing).
Seen: Last weekend I saw A Star Is Born, Venom, The Hate U Give and Private Life. A Star Is Born was very impressive, especially its first half, which depicted the leads' courtship in a refreshingly believable and naturalistic way. The second half followed the traditional rise-and-fall structure of the previous versions but though it wasn't as satisfying as the first half, it still took a fresh approach that made the 80-year-old storyline seem not like just another retread. Given that this is the first Star Is Born where the lead actress wasn't already a movie star at the time of its filming, it's nice that they avoided giving Gaga the sort of histrionic scenes that Streisand indulged herself in back in '76, and I'm curious if the greater character development of the male lead (in the earlier versions, apart from the charisma of the actors who played the part, he didn't have much character detail beyond "drunken star on the wane") in this version is because modern movies feel more need to "explain" the characters and their problems, or simply because the role was played by the film's writer-producer-director. In a terrific supporting cast, Sam Elliott continues to show talent that I simply had no idea he possessed (though he was probably the best thing about Road House, nearly 30 years ago).
Venom was...watchable, but not especially good. As a child of Marin County, it amused me to see Riz Ahmed's gigantic lab "built" (by means of digital effects) on the side of the Marin Headlands, but the film overall seemed closer to the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies (especially the dire Amazing Spider-Man 2) than either the Tobey Maguire or Tom Holland entries, and for extra annoyance, the post-movie sequence was just a lengthy clip from the upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (tacky, but not as tacky as when the end credits of The First Purge were interrupted by a commercial for the Purge TV miniseries). The Hate U Give was engrossing overall (and after Support the Girls, I will happily watch Regina Hall in practially anything) but a little on the long side, and the subplot with Anthony Mackie was pretty trite. It amused me that Amandla Stenberg had a scene in which she talked about which Harry Potter characters she and her childhood friends identified with, since she had a nearly identical scene in this summer's The Darkest Minds.
The best film of the weekend was Tamara Jenkins' Private Life, which is a Netflix film that is getting only a brief theatrical "qualifying run." Jenkins' films (the others were Slums of Beverly Hills and The Savages) are so consistently strong that it's frustrating she only gets to make one roughly every ten years or so.
Watched: I finished watching my Blu-Ray of the miniseries The Terror and it was absolutely terrific. One of my main rules for moviegoing is that I will do almost anything I can to avoid having to take a restroom break during a movie, becuase missing even a minute of a film may completely alter one's understanding and appreciation of the story. I bring this up because it was only after watching the entire miniseries, when I started reading the episode-by-episode reviews in The Onion AV Club, that I discovered that I had accidentally skipped over the entire second half of episode 4, "Punished, as a Boy," which featured a flogging scene that was absolutely crucial in developing the character who ends up being the human villain of the story.
I plan to watch the entire series again, partly for enjoyment but also for clarity -- in its large cast of UK actors playing ship's officers and crewmen, there were only five actors I was already familiar with (Jared Harris, Ciaran Hinds, Tobias Menzies, Ian Hart and John Lynch), and except for a couple other characters, between the facial hair, uniforms, and varying levels of exposure makeup, it was really hard to tell the characters apart visually (and the accents frequently made the dialogue a struggle to understand).
I was not familiar with the show's composer, Marcus Fjellstrom, and was surprised that he has so few credits on IMDB. It was only in reading the AV Club reviews that I discovered the reason for his brief resume as a score composer -- he died in September 2017.
I just finished watching the 1990 Columbo movie Agenda for Murder which has something of the feel of a vintage episode -- probably because the guest-murderer and director is Columbo veteran Patrick McGoohan, wonderfully eccentric as ever.
I'm now watching one of the final episodes of the 1980 anthology series Hammer House of Horror, and uneven as their features were, the series is still unworthy of the name Hammer.