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La-La Land has two new soundtrack releases this week.

One release pairs two mystery-thriller scores by Jerry Goldsmith. ARCHER was the short-lived TV series version of Ross MacDonald's acclaimed "Lew Archer" mystery novels, and the LLL CD features the first-release of Goldsmith's music for the series, totaling 19 minutes. The CD also features Goldsmith's score for the 1967 thriller WARNING SHOT; La-La Land had previously released this score on CD, but the new release features improved sound and additional music (but does not feature the Si Zietner re-recorded LP tracks).

Their other new release is a three-disc set of John Williams' beloved score for the 1978 superhero classic SUPERMAN, remastered with improved sound from the first generation recording masters. Discs One and Two feature the original score plus alternates, while Disc Three features the original LP sequencing, also remastered.

Varese Sarabande is releasing a limited edition (500 units) two-disc set of Jeff Beal's music for the sixth and final season of HOUSE OF CARDS.

BAFTA's award for Original Music for a motion picture went to A STAR IS BORN, for Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Lukas Nelson (the other four nominees were all for original scores which received Oscar nominations this year).

Intrada plans to release one new CD next week. 


All Is True - Patrick Doyle - Sony
Archer/Warning Shot - Jerry Goldsmith - La-La Land
 - BC Smith - Howlin' Wolf
Free Solo
 - Marco Beltrami - Node
House of Cards: Season 6
- Jeff Beal - Varese Sarabande
Miss Bala - Alex Heffes - Sony

- John Williams - La-La Land


The Changeover - Andrew Thomas
1st Summoning - Jeffery Alan Jones
Holiday - Martin Dirkov
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - John Powell - Score CD on Backlot
Run the Race - Paul Mills
Wrestle - David Wingo, Graham LeBron


March 1
Colette - Thomas Ades - Lakeshore
Dorian Gray - Charlie Mole - Filmtrax
March 8
BlacKkKlansman - Terence Blanchard - Backlot
Ittefaq - BT - Kss3te Recordings
March 15
The World of Hans Zimmer: A Symphonic Collection
 - Hans Zimmer - Sony
March 22
The Beach Bum - John Debney - Milan
Operation Mystery
 - Toru Fuyuki, Naozumi Yamamoto - Cinema-Kan (import)
Woman with Seven Faces
 - Katsuhisa Hattori - Cinema-Kan (import)
April 19
Being Rose - Brian Ralson - Notefornote
Date Unknown
Arthur Gesetz
 - Christophe Blaser - Kronos
The Cardinal
 - Jerome Moross - Kritzerland
Dead Ant
 - Edwin Wendler - Notefornote
Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype
- Richard Band - Dragon's Domain
For the Term of His Natural Life/The Wild Duck
 - Simon Walker - Dragon's Domain
The Joel Goldsmith Collection vol. 1
- Joel Goldsmith - Dragon's Domain
Josef Mengele: The Final Account 
- Joe Harnell - Dragon's Domain
La Citta Prigioniera
- Piero Piccioni - Digitmovies
Le Gran Promesa
 - Rodrigo Flores Lopez - Kronos
Masters of the Universe - Bill Conti - Notefornote
Si Puo Fare...Amigo
- Luis Bacalov - Digitmovies
Valley of Shadows
 - Zbigniew Preisner - Caldera
Wish You Were Here
 - Andre Matthias - Kronos


February 22 - Angelo Francesco Lavagnino born (1909)
February 22 - Maurizio De Angelis born (1947)
February 22 - Gary Chang born (1953)
February 22 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score to Hawkins on Murder (1973)
February 22 - James Horner begins recording his replacement score for Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
February 22 - William Loose died (1991)
February 22 - A.R. Rahman wins the Original Score and Song Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire and its song "Jai Ho" (2009)
February 22 - Alexandre Desplat wins his first Oscar, for The Grand Budapest Hotel score (2015)
February 23 - Allan Gray born (1904)
February 23 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold wins Original Score Oscar for The Adventures of Robin Hood, the first year the award goes to the composer instead of the head of the studio's music department; Alfred Newman wins Score Oscar for Alexander's Ragtime Band (1939)
February 23 - Rachel Elkind born (1939)
February 23 - Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann begin recording their score for The Egyptian (1954)
February 23 - David Buttolph begins recording his score for The Horse Soldiers (1959)
February 23 - Richard Markowitz records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Live Bait” (1969)
February 23 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for Hunters Are for Killing (1970)
February 23 - Lorne Balfe born (1976)
February 23 - Recording sessions begin for Danny Elfman’s score for Dick Tracy (1990)
February 23 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Offspring" (1990)
February 24 - Fred Steiner born (1923)
February 24 - Michel Legrand born (1932)
February 24 - Franz Waxman begins recording his score for Captains Courageous (1937)
February 24 - George Harrison born (1943)
February 24 - Rupert Holmes born (1947)
February 24 - Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter record their score for It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)
February 24 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording score to The World of Henry Orient (1964)
February 24 - Franz Waxman died (1967)
February 24 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score for Crosscurrent (1971)
February 24 - Roy Budd begins recording his score to The Carey Treatment (1972)
February 24 - Walter Scharf died (2003)
February 24 - Mychael Danna wins the Original Score Oscar for Life of Pi (2013)
February 25 - George Duning born (1908)
February 25 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold begins recording his score for The Sea Wolf (1941)
February 25 - Victor Reyes born (1962)
February 25 - Penka Kouneva born (1967)
February 25 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Outland (1981)
February 25 - Haim Mazar born (1983)
February 25 - Laurence Rosenthal records his score for To Heal a Nation (1988)
February 25 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Divergence” (2005)
February 25 - Ennio Morricone wins an Honorary Oscar, "for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music;" Gustavo Santaolalla wins his second consecutive Best Score Oscar, for Babel (2007)
February 26 - Hagood Hardy born (1937)
February 26 - Bernard Herrmann wins his only Oscar, for the All That Money Can Buy score (1942)
February 26 - John Lanchbery died (2003)
February 26 - Ludovic Bource wins the Original Score Oscar for The Artist (2012)
February 26 - Justin Hurwitz wins Oscars for La La Land’s score and original song “City of Stars” (2017)
February 27 - The first score Oscar is awarded, to Victor Schertzinger and Gus Kahn's score to One Night of Love; however, Academy policy at the time awards the Oscar to the head of the studio's music department, Louis Silvers (1935)
February 27 - Leigh Harline, Ned Washington, Paul J. Smith win Best Score Oscar for Pinocchio (1941)
February 27 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper's score to A Life of Her Own (1950)
February 27 - Mort Glickman died (1953)
February 27 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for True Grit (1969)
February 27 - Herbert Don Woods records his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “The Crystals” (1981)
February 27 - George Duning died (2000)
February 27 - Nathan Scott died (2010)
February 27 - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross win the Original Score Oscar for The Social Network (2011)


BREATH - Harry Gregson-Williams
"Pikelet knows a shred of her pain, in that he too has experienced a high he will never replicate. Early on, he says of his first wave: 'I still judge every joyous moment and every victory and revelation against those first few seconds of riding that wave.' And by the end of 'Breath,' we too might feel a similar pang. Though Winton’s narration delivers some blunt plot resolution, Baker and Gerard Lee’s screenplay offers no closure. But it isn’t what comes at the end of the film that stays in the mind, but rather the tangle of bodies and kelp, the music swelling with the waves: a moment in the sea."
Josh Wise, Slant Magazine
"In place of a striking directorial vision, Baker leads viewers with sensitivity. Not just with his love for syrupy slow motion and an instructive score from Harry Gregson-Williams, but in how he expects to captivate you with an innocent nostalgia, while showing how boys find their way to becoming men. It's just never enough, even if one tries to rationalize it (as I did) as like an early, airy Clint Eastwood-directed project a la 'Breezy,' which itself shouldn’t be a dream comparison for any filmmaker."
Nick Allen,
"Assembly is unshowy but surefooted, with Harry Gregson-Williams contributing an attractive original score."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Complemented by the sleepy guitar strains of composer Harry Gregson-Williams' gentle score, this is a minor-key yet transporting memory drama that, as its title suggests, breathes."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
COLLATERAL BEAUTY - Theodore Shapiro
"The pathos of the situation and the lush strings of Theodore Shapiro's relentless score occasionally manage to get past the contrivances long enough to foster some emotional involvement. But Smith's one-note performance -- teary eyes, sad stubble, furrowed brow, graying temples -- makes Howard more of an emoji for unimaginable loss than a character we come to care much about."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"By articulating this problem, 'Eating Animals' inherently questions its own value -- what’s the efficacy of a doc like this when you’re fighting against massive systems, and even human nature itself? The hopeful bounce of Daniel Hart’s original music doesn’t change the fact that change seems impossible. Quinn’s sensible approach to meat-eaters helps the film remain accessible (to paraphrase the book: eating meat is circumstantially bad, but not intrinsically bad), but the scale and sheer inertia of the problem is still enough to make the average viewer’s eyes glaze over. This ambling, deadly serious film doesn’t really go out of its way to keep you engaged (even though you’re sort of proving its point every time you tune out)."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"Barbosa also has to be commended for wanting to tackle what was clearly a complex production for only his second feature, shooting in various countries in Africa and in locations that aren’t always easily accessible and partially with a non-professional cast. If nothing else, the images, accompanied by Arthur B. Gillette’s suitably foreboding score, look gorgeous on the big screen, suggesting at least one of the reasons why Gabriel went on his ill-fated journey."
Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter
GOTTI - Pitbull, Jorge Gomez
"The second interesting choice is that some of the music was written by global superstar Pitbull. That’s right, the one and only Mr. Worldwide lends his talents to the film, which helps to explain why his hit 2012 song 'Don’t Stop the Party' plays over a scene that takes place in 1984 (a deliberate anachronism in a cheap-looking film that expends zero energy attempting to capture accurate period detail). It doesn’t explain why the rest of the music in 'Gotti' sounds like it was lifted from a daytime soap, but this isn’t really one of those movies where 'things' make 'sense.'"
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"The most important thing to know about 'Gotti' -- and it’s been underplayed in most reviews, or at least second-handed to the sheer incomprehensibility and ineptitude of this thing cinematically -- is that it’s a straight-up shine job. Based on the self-published memoir of Gotti’s son, John A. Gotti (aka 'John Jr.'), it’s the story not of a notorious crime boss or even a savvy media manipulator, but of a tough but fair family man who was targeted by 'the feds,' sold out by 'rats,' and who died a saint’s death, complete with soaring strings. But more than that, it’s the story of a what a swell guy John Jr. is, sacrificing his own well being to honor his father, and showing admirable courage and bravery as he weathers the ordeal of being… tried for running a crime family."
Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
"Made on a purported $10 million budget, the film was shot in Cincinnati and tends to feel like it, with a few aerial images and Brooklyn exteriors reminding us that this is New York. The soundtrack is credited to three composers, including Armando Christian Perez, aka Pitbull, whose hip-hop contributions accompany montages of the real Gotti showboating in front of the camera."
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
LOVING PABLO - Federico Jusid
"Alex Catalan’s lighting makes a nice arc from the joyous fiesta colors of the early courtship scenes to the dark horrors of mass murder, torture and prison. Period songs like 'Black Magic Woman' and 'Evil Ways' rev up the score by Federico Jusid."
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

"Crafted and assembled with considerable intelligence, polish and sensitivity, 'Ducasse' benefits from a gripping, almost thriller-like score from Armand Amar."
Alissa Simon, Variety
"Otherwise, this Quest goes off so smoothly that it often feels like a promo video for Alain Ducasse Inc., with lots of travelogue imagery backed by a puffed-up score from Armand Amar ('The Concert') and a fawning voiceover that describes the chef as an 'explorer, philosopher, artist,' a 'culinary genius' and a 'gastronomic hero.' If Ducasse is somewhat renowned for the simplicity of his dishes, for the way he can blend a few homegrown ingredients to achieve the perfect amalgam, then de Maistre definitely lathers the man with too much sauce."
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY - Michael Giacchino
"The screwball banter from characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia -- or Rey and Finn, for that matter -- is so essential to what we think of as 'Star Wars,' so it’s hard not to feel like something’s amiss when those kind of exchanges never materialize, or when the darker tone never gives way to the 'Flash Gordon'-style adventure we’ve grown accustomed to. The score also suffers from comparisons. Michael Giacchino’s work is excellent, but despite a spattering of themes and adopted stylistic flourishes, the film simply doesn’t have the John Williams cues that have become so inextricably linked to the franchise. It’s a tension that runs throughout the film: it’s trying to be 'Star Wars,' but not. It’s trying to do something original, but not too original."
Bryan Bishop, The Verge
"'Rogue One,' more so than 'The Force Awakens,' is a 'Star Wars' fanatic’s wet dream. Contained yet expansive, nostalgic yet new, it introduces striking heroes and villains and fills its two hours and 13 minutes with a narrative that fits snugly into the canon. But where 'The Force Awakens' leaned on a family-friendly appeal with its innocent do-gooder leads and tantrum-throwing baddie, 'Rogue One' satisfies a darker itch. Its stakes are higher, soaring on the bombastic score of Michael Giacchino, which turns iconic themes into hard-charging new arrangements; its battles are more violent and militaristic. The scope of the mass casualties incurred in ground and air assaults between the Alliance rebels, Saw Gerrera’s insurgents, and the Empire’s heavily armed forces hammer home the costs of war."
Jen Yamato, The Daily Beast
"The movie tries to earn its battle-film bona fides by setting the ultimate clash in a tropical setting that evokes the South Pacific circa World War II. Edwards does generate a real sci-fi frisson when he depicts Imperial Walkers, over 20 meters high, striding across sandy shores. Ace cinematographer Greig Fraser ('Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Lion') fails to find his footing there. He can’t merge the 'Star Wars' paraphernalia into a more rough-and-ready style (to be fair, the climax does boast some mind-blowing blends of lighting and special effects). Stalwart composer Michael Giacchino does better at updating rousing or menacing 'Star Wars' motifs with novel, moodier themes."
Michael Sragow, Film Comment
"Along the way, this band of mostly brothers (who are, at least, not mostly white) meets a cast of characters new and -- more often than you might expect -- old. Looming largest is, of course, Darth Vader, voiced once again by James Earl Jones -- though Jones may regret returning after being given his worst line in 'Star Wars' history, a Mr. Freeze-level pun. (Note to future screenwriters: Darth Vader should not make puns.) Indeed, some of these characters might have been best left in the trash compactor of history. Strangest of all is the appearance, already revealed in the teasers, of a revived Grand Moff Tarkin -- played, thanks to CGI trickery and stitched-together old footage, by Peter Cushing, who is 22 years deceased. Many of John Williams’ most famous themes are reprised, too, but composer Michael Giacchino -- perhaps due to the fact that he was given only four and a half weeks to write his score -- doesn’t quite manage to deliver a memorable new theme. (A tall order, but one Williams managed to fill with 'Rey’s Theme' in 'The Force Awakens'.)"
Forrest Wickman,
"Still, between epic battles featuring scores of familiar spaceships and the genuine thrill of hearing composer Michael Giacchino riff on John Williams’ classic score, there’s no denying that the film belongs to the creative universe Lucas established. This is the rebellion as it is experienced in the trenches. Younger audiences will be bored, confused, or both. But for the original generation of 'Star Wars' fans who weren’t sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, 'Rogue One' is the prequel they’ve always wanted."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"This is the first 'Star Wars' feature not to be graced by an original John Williams score. His successor, the estimable Michael Giacchino, aptly weaves some of his predecessor's famous themes into his own work, with solid results."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
THE THIRD MURDER - Ludovico Einaudi
"Suitably painted in muted blues and grays by cinematographer Mikiya Takimoto (who previously shot 'Like Father, Like Son' and 'Our Little Sister' for Kore-eda), 'The Third Murder' is at its best in its understated moments, like Shigemori's meetings with his client, or when he clashes with his father -- the same judge who sent Misumi to jail three decades earlier -- about rehabilitation and the death penalty. That's why the piano score by Ludovico Einaudi never quite meshes, sometimes teetering over the line into melodramatic."
Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle
"The extreme delicacy of Ludovico Einaudi's musical score is a subtle mood-shifter."
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
211 - Frederik Wiedmann
"While seldom credible, the film is nonetheless adequately assembled in tech/design terms, though its lack of aesthetic personality beyond basic slickness is underlined by composer Frederik Wiedmann’s routine action-pic bombast."
Dennis Harvey, Variety


Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew Beverly, Nuart and UCLA.

February 22
MANDY (Johann Johannsson) [Nuart]
PULP FICTION [New Beverly]
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (Bill Justis, Jerry Reed), SEMI-TOUGH (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]

February 23
FILLMORE [New Beverly]
PHANTASM (Fred Myrow, Malcolm Seagrove), THREE O'CLOCK HIGH (Tangerine Dream), 10 TO MIDNIGHT (Robert O. Ragland) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (Bill Justis, Jerry Reed), SEMI-TOUGH (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]
3 RING CIRCUS (Walter Scharf) [New Beverly]

February 24
GIDGET (Morris Stoloff), BECAUSE THEY'RE YOUNG (John Williams) [New Beverly]
3 RING CIRCUS (Walter Scharf) [New Beverly]

February 25
BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Graham Reynolds) [Arclight Hollywood]
DEEP COVER (Michel Colombier) [New Beverly]
GHOST (Maurice Jarre) [Arclight Culver City]
GIDGET (Morris Stoloff), BECAUSE THEY'RE YOUNG (John Williams) [New Beverly]

February 26
BEFORE SUNRISE [Arclight Santa Monica]
HAROLD AND MAUDE (Cat Stevens) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
MALONE (David Newman), HEAT (Michael Gibbs) [New Beverly]
THE WILD BUNCH (Jerry Fielding) [Laemmle Playhouse]

February 27
ADAM'S RIB (Miklos Rozsa) [New Beverly]
BELISSIMA [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
EATING ANIMALS (Daniel Hart) [Cinematheque: Aero]
OPERATION MAD BALL (George Duning), GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM (Frank DeVol) [New Beverly]

February 28
DREAMGIRLS (Henry Krieger, Stephen Trask) [Laemmle NoHo]
OPERATION MAD BALL (George Duning), GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM (Frank DeVol) [New Beverly]
WHITE NIGHTS (Nino Rota), THE WITCHES (Ennio Morricone, Piero Piccioni) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

March 1
AUDITION (Koji Endo) [Nuart]

March 2
ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (Nino Rota) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE WILD BUNCH (Jerry Fielding) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]

March 3
CONVERSATION PIECE (Franco Mannino), THE INNOCENT (Franco Mannino) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]


One of the things I like most about the Oscars is the fact that each branch votes individually on the nominations for each category -- the cinematographers pick Cinematography, the film editors pick Film Editing, and so forth. That's one of the reasons I've long felt that the nomination is ultimately a much more impressive achievement than the award itself. If you get an Original Score nomination, it means John Williams thinks you've written a great score; if you win an Original Score Oscar, it means a random Academy member who may or may not know much about film music thinks you wrote a great score. On the other hand, it's always surprising when nearly all the branches snub a major movie, since it's not like the cinematographers, editors, actors and screenwriters all plotted together to deny a film a nomination.

Before it was released, First Man seemed certain to be a major Oscar contender, and the reviews it received at film festivals didn't change that. Though it was well reviewed upon its theatrical release, its U.S. boxoffice was a disappointing $44.9 million -- compare that to director Damien Chazelle's previous film, the musical La La Land, which ultimately earned $151 million in the U.S.

I just saw First Man again and it's really good -- how it could get so few nominations (four, all in the craft categories) while Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice are major contenders is a mystery to me. Justin Hurwitz's score is especially fine, and as a two-time winner for La La Land he's not exactly hurting for accolades, but I hope that his work on this film leads to more feature projects.

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I on the other hand am unsurprised by FIRST MAN's underwhelming performance. It was my most eagerly anticipated movie of 2018 and yet I found it a grievous misfire. At some point the filmmakers seized upon the idea of turning the most iconic moment of the millennium into an intimate portrait of grief (filmed largely on hand-held 16mm at that). Combined with Gosling's mute performance, it made for a joyless, frustrating experience. Hurwitz's score, too, often sounded like a Philip Glass track played backwards (as did much of Zimmer's INTERSTELLAR score). (Those looking for the most influential film composer of the last 30 years might like to consider Glass, by the way.)

ROMA is the ne plus ultra of fashionably joyless, monotone fillmmaking. Against this, the hokey but thrilling BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY seems like an outlier -- a huge global hit that starkly illustrates the growing divide between the public and the critical establishment. Were it not for Singer's involvement I'd predict a surprise Best Picture win for BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, much as that would cause a meltdown in many circles.

I recently rewatched HOOSIERS, another hokey but thrilling film and another picture that was largely spurned by the critics at the time (I remember in particular some savage comments re Goldsmith's aggressive score). It nevertheless holds up very well, which can't be said for the largely forgotten critical darlings of the mid-80s.

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