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The latest CD from Intrada is Christopher Young's exciting score for VIRTUOSITY, the 1995 sci-fi thriller pitting cop Denzel Washington against computer-generated villain Russell Crowe (12 years before they re-teamed for Ridley Scott's American Gangster). This release features 76 minutes of Young's orchestral and electronic music for the film, with music heard not in the film as well as not on the score's previous release as a 44-minute composer promo.

The latest soundtrack CD from Caldera presents the first-ever commercial release of Gerald Fried's only Oscar-nominated score, from the 1975 documentary BIRDS DO IT, BEES DO IT, which focused on reproduction in the animal kingdom. (Fried was up against tough competition in the Original Score category that year, including Jerry Goldsmith and Alex North, and to no one's surprise the Oscar went to John Williams for Jaws.) 


The Accordionist's Son
 - Fernando Velazquez - Quartet
Always at the Carlyle - Earl Rose - Rambling (import)
Asterix: Le Secret de la Potion Magique
 - Philippe Rombi - Music Box 
Birds Do It, Bees Do It
- Gerald Fried - Caldera
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind 
- Antonio Pinto - Rambling (import)
Conquistadores Adventum
 - Carlos M. Jara, Daniel Rodrigo, Neonymus Jara - Quartet 
Halston - Stanley Clarke - Node
Horus: Prince of the Sun
 - Yoshio Mamia - Cinema-Kan (import)
The Jade Pendant
 - Anne-Kathrin Dern - Quartet 
La Ronde/La Chasse a L'Homme/A Coeur Joie
 - Michel Magne - Music Box
Megan Leavey
 - Mark Isham - Quartet
Short Cuts 2018
 - various - Quartet 
 - Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein - Invada  
The Story of O
 - Pierre Bachelet - Music Box 
Unchained Melodies: Film Music of Alex North
 - Alex North - Kritzerland 
Virtuosity - Christopher Young - Intrada Special Collection


Angels on Tap - David Raiklen 
Astronaut - Virginia Kilbertus
At War - Bertrand Blessing
For Sama - Nainita Desai
The Great Hack - Gil Talmi
Honeyland - Foltin
I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians - no original score
Mike Wallace Is Here - John Piscitello
The Mountain - Robert Donne
Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood - Soundtrack CD on Columbia
Wish Man - Tony Morales


August 2
Planet of the Apes: Original Film Series Soundtrack Collection 
- Jerry Goldsmith, Leonard Rosenman, Tom Scott - La-La Land
August 9
 - Johan Soderqvist - Perseverance
- Benjamin Bartlett - Silva
 - Bill Conti - Buysoundtrax
August 16
The Durrells - Ruth Barrett, Jon Wygens - Abkco
Intolerance - Carl Davis - Carl Davis Collection
 - Nicholas Britell - Milan
August 23
 - Hildur Guonadottir - Deutsche Grammophon
October 4
Stranger Things 3 - Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein - Lakeshore
Date Unknown
Dementia/Piano Concerto
 - George Antheil, Ernest Gold - Kritzerland 
Evil Toons
 - Chuck Cirino - Dragon's Domain
Secret of the Titanic
 - Craig Safan - Dragon's Domain
Thunderbirds Are Go: Series 2
- Ben Foster, Nick Foster - Silva


July 26 - Tadeusz Baird born (1928)
July 26 - Bronislau Kaper and Scott Bradley begin recording their score for Courage of Lassie (1945)
July 26 - David Raksin begins recording his score for Too Late Blues (1961)
July 26 - Robert Drasnin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “The Mercenaries” (1968)
July 26 - Robert Drasnin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Run for the Money” (1971)
July 26 - Buddy Baker died (2002)
July 27 - Marc Wilkinson born (1929)
July 27 - Bernard Herrmann records the Piano Concerto for the Hangover Square score (1944)
July 27 - Michael Linn born (1952)
July 27 - Stefan Nilsson born (1955)
July 27 - Alex North begins recording his score to The Outrage (1964)
July 27 - Max Steiner begins recording his score for Those Callaways (1964)
July 27 - Harry Lubin died (1977)
July 27 - Georges Delerue records his score for Exposed (1982)
July 27 - Jerome Moross died (1983)
July 27 - Miklos Rozsa died (1995)
July 28 - Carmen Dragon born (1914)
July 28 - Ray Ellis born (1923)
July 28 - Brian May born (1934)
July 28 - Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for Disputed Passage (1939)
July 28 - Richard Hartley born (1944)
July 28 - On the Waterfront opens in New York (1954)
July 28 - Richard Shores records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Firebrand” (1967)
July 28 - Robert Drasnin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Butterfly” (1970)
July 28 - Leonard Rosenman begins recording his adaptation score for Bound for Glory (1976)
July 28 - Basil Poledouris records his score for The House of God (1980)
July 28 - Laurence Rosenthal records his score for Proud Men (1987)
July 29 - Mikis Theodorakis born (1925)
July 29 - Gian Piero Reverberi born (1939)
July 29 - Michael Holm born (1943)
July 29 - Bronislau Kaper begins recording his score for Quentin Durward (1955)
July 29 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for The Venetian Affair (1967)
July 29 - Lee Holdridge records his score for The Explorers: a Century of Discovery (1988)
July 29 - Doug Timm died (1989)
July 29 - Giorgio Gaslini died (2014)
July 30 - Guenther Kauer born (1921)
July 30 - Antoine Duhamel born (1925)
July 30 - David Sanborn born (1945)
July 30 - Alexina Louie born (1949)
July 30 - Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for Remember the Night (1949)
July 30 - Peter Knight died (1985)
July 30 - Richard Band begins recording his score for Zone Troopers (1985)
July 31 - Barry De Vorzon born (1934)
July 31 - Michael Wolff born (1952)
July 31 - Lionel Newman begins recording his score for The Last Wagon (1956)
July 31 - John 5 born as John Lowery (1971)
July 31 - Richard Band records his score for The Alchemist (1981)
July 31 - Lennie Niehaus records his score for the Amazing Stories episode “Vanessa in the Garden” (1985)
August 1 - Walter Scharf born (1910)
August 1 - Jerome Moross born (1913)
August 1 - Lionel Bart born (1930)
August 1 - Paddy Moloney born (1938)
August 1 - Michael Penn born (1958)
August 1 - Dean Wareham born (1963)
August 1 - Antony Partos born (1968)
August 1 - Dhani Harrison born (1978)
August 1 - Paul Sawtell died (1971)
August 1 - Arthur B. Rubinstein records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Remote Control Man" (1985)


"Its road trip narrative wending from L.A. to K.C., 'Creatures' has time for local color in Bongani Mlambo’s attractive widescreen cinematography. But there’s not much room for characters other than the principals, and mysteriously little interest in lending them greater dimensionality. We have to take on faith that their plight is a damn tragedy, albeit one that feels assembled out of spare parts from 'Thieves Like Us,' 'The Sugarland Express' and 'Of Mice and Men.' The climactic pouring on of angelic choirs by Ceiri Torjussen’s original score does not lend poetical grandeur to a tale that remains stubbornly smaller-than-life."
Dennis Harvey, Variety

FUNAN - Thibault Kientz-Agyeman
"The relative brevity of the movie, coupled with its being structured around trauma rather than character development, and its relative flatness as a political history, prevents it from reaching its full potential as either memoir or expressive art. But the direction, sound design, and music (by Thibault Kientz-Agyeman) are enough to lend the project a unifying hypnotic energy that helps it overcome its shortcomings."
Matt Zoller Seitz, 
HALSTON - Stanley Clarke
"Which makes 'Halston' all the more curious in the way it has chosen to frame this man’s very extravagant life. French director Frédéric Tcheng seems to be cornering the market on docs about fashion (see 'Dior and I' and his 2012 debut 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel' for reference), but his decision to bookend and drop in narration with a fictional character, voiced by fashion journalist Tavi Gevinson, 'investigating' Halston's life is a distracting and unneeded device. Her voiceover, with that sad saxophone film-noir soundtrack, is horribly out of place, and taints an otherwise intriguing portrait of a man from Iowa who became a fashion legend."
Josh Kupecki, The Austin Chronicle 
"Less successful (and consuming far too much screen time in a two-hour movie) is a mannered, fictional framing device that casts prodigious fashion writer Tavi Gevinson as a prying secretary in the Halston archives, sifting through assorted yellowing files and analog tapes to uncover the 'truth' of the designer’s downfall, and breathily narrating proceedings with her findings. Shot, scored and accoutred with winkingly camp, shadowy film noir flourishes, this initially amusing distraction soon turns wearying, not least since it has little bearing on Halston’s own milieu or stylistic legacy. (Bring on Detective Disco, if you must.) Moreover, this faux cloak-and-dagger business yields no blinding revelations that aren’t industry knowledge: Tcheng’s film, diligently researched and flooded with fascinating archive nuggets, has all the receipts already in its hands, without need for fussy investigative posing."
Guy Lodge, Variety 
"It's a shame then that he didn't trust the enormous wealth of great material to tell the story here without the need to get tricksy. Tcheng casts fashion blogger turned actor Tavi Gevinson as an unnamed narrator in a bad wig, a staffer in the Halston company archives, poring over old dossiers, legal papers and VHS tapes to get to the heart of the designer's story, her appearances accompanied by the sleepy jazz strains of Stanley Clarke's film-noirish score. There's plenty of exciting rise-and-fall drama in the illuminating interview material without all this frou frou built around the labored mystery of pinpointing when it all began falling apart."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter 

PAINT IT BLACK - Mac McCaughan
"Tamblyn demonstrates impressive command of the camera in her feature debut. Mac McCaughan’s haunting, dissonant score enhances the film’s impact."
Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter 
PAPI CHULO - John McPhillips
"Hope is slowly lost when it comes to the wish of Ernesto feeling more than just a flat surface to project onto. When it looks like Ernesto will get a moment of personality, talking to Sean’s friends at a party, Butler only lets us see these interactions as piano score takes over the mix. Butler does cut away from Sean’s main perspective in one instance for a joke -- to see Ernesto joke with his wife after attending the party -- but there's no time allotted for Patiño's performance to have a life of its own. It all makes one even more dismayed as to what purpose Ernesto serves for the bigger picture."
Nick Allen,
"Given the number of historical inventions, perhaps pretending Trinity College is Oxford wasn’t really such a traitorous decision. Far worse is the wearying score whose omnipresence leads attentive viewers to the conclusion that the producers didn’t trust the images and felt sappy music was the only way to rouse emotions."
Jay Weissberg, Variety

"Shot in Dublin, with Trinity College doubling for Oxford (which was the source of some of the litigation), the film certainly has the technical foundations to be engaging, if not great. Production designer Tom Conroy and costume designer Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh do great work, and Kasper Tuxen’s cinematography gracefully captures the hallowed halls of higher learning. But the editing (by Dino Jonsater) often makes the narrative feel illogical, and the score (by the usually reliable Bear McCreary) draws attention to the Big Moments, just in case we missed them. Ironically, for a movie about words, the dialogue sparks to life only on rare occasion. (Coogan seems to be having the most fun delivering his flowery takedowns of the Oxford delegates.)"
Elizabeth Kerr, The Hollywood Reporter
THE SILENCE OF OTHERS - Leonardo Heiblum, Jacobo Lieberman
"Binding their stories is a methodical, journalistic survey of the 2010 lawsuit mounted in Argentina by several Franco-era victims, including Galante and human rights lawyer Carlos Slepoy, to bring the likes of Pacheco to justice under international law -- a dogged, complex procedure repeatedly stymied by a Spanish legal system still bound to the blind eye turned in the 1970s. It’s intricately fascinating material, even if it doesn’t culminate in the cathartic climax that a fictitious version of this story would demand; Spain’s reckoning with its history remains a nascent work in progress. The film’s finale doesn’t idealize or romanticize that trajectory, even as its delicate visual and sonic language -- including the light, folky strains of Leonardo Heiblum and Jacobo Lieberman, and repeated, sunset-lit pans across a rare, bullet-pecked local monument to Franco’s victims -- lends some bittersweet grace to proceedings. 'Looking for justice isn’t looking for revenge,' notes Galante: it’s less tidy and more difficult, and this stoically tender film knows the difference."
Guy Lodge, Variety


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

July 26
SUPERMAN (John Williams), SUPERGIRL (Jerry Goldsmith) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

YOJIMBO (Masaru Sato) [Vista]

July 27
EMPIRE OF THE SUN (John Williams) [Vista]

FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER (Harry Manfredini) [Laemmle NoHo]
FUNNY FACE (George Gershwin, Adolph Deutsch), PARIS BLUES (Duke Ellington) [UCLA]
HERBIE: FULLY LOADED (Mark Mothersbaugh) [New Beverly]
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (Von Dexter), THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (Dimitri Tiomkin), FREAKS, THEM! (Bronislau Kaper), THE HAUNTING (Humphrey Searle), CAT PEOPLE (Roy Webb) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

July 28
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (Akira Ifukube) [Vista]
HERBIE: FULLY LOADED (Mark Mothersbaugh) [New Beverly]

July 29
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (Elmer Bernstein) [Arclight Santa Monica]
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (Elmer Bernstein) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
THE AVIATOR (Howard Shore) [New Beverly]
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arclight Culver City]
POLTERGEIST (Jerry Goldsmith) [Arclight Hollywood]

July 31

August 1
MY MAN GODFREY (Charles Previn), DETOUR (Leo Erdody) [Cinematheque: Aero]

August 2
CHILD'S PLAY (Joe Renzetti) [Cinematheque: Aero]
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (Akira Ifukube) [Vista]
GOODBYE, COLUMBUS (Charles Fox) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
HOUSE OF BAMBOO (Leigh Harline), ANATAHAN (Akira Ifukube) [UCLA]
THE ROOM (Mladen Milicevic) [Nuart]
SUNSET BLVD. (Franz Waxman), SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (Leo Shuken, Charles Bradshaw) [Cinematheque: Aero]

August 3
BREAKIN' (Gary Remal, Michael Boyd) [Vista]
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (Louis Silvers), THE HITCH-HIKER (Leith Stevens) [Cinematheque: Aero]
MARY POPPINS (Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Irwin Kostal) [New Beverly]
PET SEMATARY (Elliot Goldenthal), PET SEMATARY II (Mark Governor) [UCLA]

August 4
MARY POPPINS (Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Irwin Kostal) [New Beverly]
THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (Dick Hyman) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SIESTA (Marcus Miller) [UCLA]


Heard: Protagonist (Beal), Star Trek: The Cage/Where No Man Has Gone Before (Courage), Wilde-Salome (Beal), 1st Concinemad Film Music Festival of Madrid Symphonic Concert (Trevor Jones), Jackie (Levi), The Prowler (Einhorn), Passengers (Newman), The Lover (Yared), Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (Arnold/Price), Mio Caro Assassino (Morricone), The White Buffalo (Barry, Shire)

Read: Roseanna, by Maj Sjovall and Per Wahloo

Seen: The Terminator, Mad Max, Gypsy, This Property Is Condemned, The Farewell, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, The Lion King [2019]

Watched: Planet Earth, The Avengers ("The Forget-Me-Knot"), Battlestar: Galactica ("Flesh and Bone"), Mission: Impossible ("The Carriers")

In this computer-aided age of extraordinary visual effects, one frequently sees a new movie (or even a trailer) and wonders "How did they do that?" I don't mean to sound like one of those people who feels the need to viciously attack every new high-profile movie trailer that gets released, but seeing the brand new trailer for the film version of the stage musical Cats provokes the question "Why did they do that?"

Don't get me wrong -- I love musicals. And I love cats. But I don't like Cats. (I don't hate it quite as much as I hate Starlight Express, but it's close). I don't know that there is a good way to make a movie of Cats, even if one should. Years ago, playwright Tom Stoppard was actually hired to write a screenplay for a (I think, animated) film version, and I always liked to imagine him giving his own Stoppard-esque take to the "Jellicle Cats" song ("I am Schrodiger's Cat/I am locked in a box/Paradox/Am I living or dead/It's hypothetical").

But that Cats trailer just looks damn creepy. I'm ambivalent about director Tom Hooper. While I would have been thrilled if Fincher had won the Best Director Oscar (for The Social Network) over Hooper and The King's Speech, given the tastes of the Academy membership Hooper's win was hardly a surprise. And I would certainly disagree with those who claim that Hooper has no "style" as a director -- his tendency toward offbeat compositions definitely counts as a visual style, whether you find it apporpriate or not.

My favorite Tom Hooper film is actually one of his most obscure -- The Damned United, the fact-based British sports drama adapted by Peter Morgan* from the David Pearce book, with Michael Sheen giving one of his best performances as Brian Clough, who had an uncessful run as football manager for Leeds United in 1974. I really enjoyed Hooper's film of Les Miserables, despite the apparently delibrately arrythmic editing, but if the trailer for Cats is any indication, he took a stage musical that makes me go "ugh" and turned it into a film to make one go "UGH!"

I was reminded how much I genuinely love musicals last week when I saw the film version of Gypsy at the New Beverly. The movie doesn't have a great reputation overall, but at the very least it's a surprisingly faithful film version of one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time. The show has a great story, a great book, and a fantastic song score -- unforgettable Jule Styne melodies and typically brilliant Stephen Sondheim lyrics.  Two of the songs -- "Let Me Entertain You" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses" -- are such classics that it's hard to imagine they were written as recently as 1959, and the finale, "Rose's Turn," is one of the most remarkable numbers in Broadway history. (If you hadn't figured out already, I am an utter and complete Sondheim worshipper). Rosalind Russell's performance makes an interesting companion piece to her work in Auntie Mame, released only four years earlier, and while Pauline Kael felt that Natalie Wood was "almost pitifully miscast" as Louise/Gypsy, she's much more convincing here than she was as a Puerto Rican teenager in West Side Story, released a year earlier. And both actresses do most of their own singing, something I tend to appreciate more than most people do.

Even though I don't see the need for new remakes of every Disney classic, I am happy that movie musicals seem to be in vogue again. Rocketman was very much a mixed bag for me -- Jamie Bell was so much better than Taron Egerton that he made me wish I was watching a Bernie Taupin biopic instead, and Lee Hall's screenplay can't compare to his Billy Elliot -- but I was glad the filmmakers made the gutsy choice to make the film a full-on, break-into-song musical. Even the supporting characters got to sing (this is no Yentl). And though it isn't a Bohemian Rhapsody/Star Is Born blockbuster at the box-office (an R-rated break-into-song musical about a gay alcoholic -- even a famous and beloved one -- was never going to be a surefire hit), it's made a respectable $93 million in the US as of last weekend.

In this era where so many people seem to do their movieviewing through television, computers and other devices, it continues to impress me that documentaries and other relatively low-profile films can still find a theatrical audience. Here are a few of the to-date grosses listed in last weekend's box-office chart:

Amazing Grace - 5 (million)
Apollo 11 - 9
The Biggest Little Farm - 4
Echo in the Canyon - 2
The Last Black Man in San Francisco - 3 
Pavarotti - 3

*Another Hooper/Morgan collaboration well worth hunting down is Longford, a 2006 made-for-cable docudrama starring Jim Broadbent as Frank Longford, the British peer who became involved in the case of the notorious "Moors murderers" Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, played by Andy Serkis and Samantha Morton. The acting and writing are top-notch, as you would expect, and though the visual style is Hooper at his most mannered, it can be quite effective at times (such as in a scene where the imprisoned Morton is allowed to visit a public park).

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Comments (4):Log in or register to post your own comments
THE DAMNED UNITED is indeed one of the best movies of the century. After seeing it I said to a friend that Hooper was going to make a masterpiece one day. So it frustrates me to see him make something as grotesque as CATS.

Re: Cats
could we wait till the movie comes out?!

Glad you, too, love musicals. (May our tribe increase.)

You might want to amend your composer credits/listing for FUNNY FACE. After Gershwin should come Roger Edens, who wrote the additional songs with Leonard Gershe. Adolph Deutsch was a fine composer, but this was one of his musical comedy movie jobs in which his duties were limited to conducting. The list of distinguished composers who contributed to the dance arrangements and underscore were: Alexander Courage, Conrad Salinger, Van Cleave and Skip Martin.

As to Rosalind Russell's singing in GYPSY, Broadway diva Lisa Kirk, uncredited, was hired to re-do the portions of the Mama Rose songs where Miss Russell's vocal was considered inadequate. For comparison, without too much searching, one can find online versions of Russell's songs as heard both before and after Kirk's sweetening.

THE DAMNED UNITED is indeed one of the best movies of the century. After seeing it I said to a friend that Hooper was going to make a masterpiece one day. So it frustrates me to see him make something as grotesque as CATS.

The Damned United has tour de force performances from Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall as Clough and Taylor. Colm Meaney has a passing resemblance to Don Revie but almost every other part is horribly miscast. Decent film as long as you don’t think it’s more than superficially accurate.

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Today in Film Score History:
November 25
Chico Hamilton died (2013)
Craig Safan records his scores for the Twilight Zone episodes “The Uncle Devil Show” and “Opening Day” (1985)
Daniele Amfitheatrof begins recording his score for The Last Hunt (1956)
Eleni Karaindrou born (1941)
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