Quartet has announced two new soundtrack CDs, both featuring expanded editions of scores from composer Philippe Sarde -- GHOST STORY, the 1981 adaptation of Peter Straub's supernatural bestseller, starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and John Houseman, remastered and featuring nearly 20 minutes of music not included in the earlier MCA LP/Varese Sarabande CD; and Sarde's first score for director-star Roman Polanski, the 1976 psychological thriller THE TENANT, featuring cues not included in the previous Universal France CD release of the score (which paired it with the Sarde/Polanski Tess).
Composer Barrington Pheloung died in his native Australia on Wednesday, July 31 at the age of 65. Pheloung began his musical training on the guitar at the age of five, and in his late teens moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music. His entree into the world of film and television music came through future Oscar winner Anthony Minghella, who saw one of the ballets Pheloung had composed. Not only did Minghella hire the composer to wrote incidental music for some of his plays, he introduced Pheloung to TV producer Kenny McBain, who hired him for the job that would prove to be the most popular of his entire scoring career -- the long-running mystery series Inspector Morse. Pheloung's scores for the series actually interpolated morse code clues into his themes, and his music was so popular that it spawned multiple soundtrack releases, and he returned for the show's sequel series Lewis and its prequel Endeavor, about Morse's early years.
Minghella later brought Pheloung along for his feature directing debut, the 1990 ghost romance Truly Madly Deeply, and over the next few decades Pheloung would score an impressive variety of features, including the historical drama Nostradamus, the Stephen King adaptation The Mangler, and even Paul W.S. Anderson's first feature, Shopping, starring a 22-year-old Jude Law.
One of Pheloung's most dependable collaborators was producer-director Anand Taylor, who worked with the composer on several projects for the small screen as well as such features as the Oscar-nominated music biopic Hilary & Jackie, the Steve Martin adaptation Shopgirl, And When Did You Last See Your Father (with Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent and Matthew Beard), and the final chapter of the critically acclaimed Red Riding trilogy.
The composer is survived by his wife Heather and their four children. (Most of the biographical information in this obituary came from Daniel Mangodt's 1994 interview with the composer for Soundtrack)
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Amundsen - Johan Soderqvist - Perseverance
Vera - Benjamin Bartlett - Silva
Yellowstone - Bill Conti - Buysoundtrax
IN THEATERS TODAY
After the Wedding
- Mychael Danna - Score CD due Aug. 23 on Varese Sarabande
Angels Are Made of Light
- John Erik Kaada
The Art of Racing in the Rain
- Dustin O'Halloran, Volker Bertelmann
- John Debney
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
- John Debney, Germaine Franco
Dying to Survive
- Chao Huang
Every Time I Die
- Ran Bagno
- Bryce Dessner
Light of My Life
- Daniel Hart
- Michael Lira
Ode to Joy
- Jeremy Turner
One Child Nation
- Nathan Halpern, Chris Ruggiero
The Peanut Butter Falcon
- Zachary Dawes, Noam Pikelny, Jonathan Sadoff, Gabe Witcher - Score CD due Sept. 6 on Varese Sarabande
- Andrea Moscianese, Claudio Giovannesi
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Marco Beltrami, Anna Drubich
This Changes Everything - Leigh Roberts
The Informer - Brooke Blair, Will Blair - Varese Sarabande
Intolerance - Carl Davis - Carl Davis Collection
After the Wedding - Mychael Danna - Varese Sarabande
Chernobyl - Hildur Guonadottir - Deutsche Grammophon
Ghost Story - Philippe Sarde - Quartet
Ms. Purple - Roger Suen - Notefornote
Succession - Nicholas Britell - Milan
The Tenant - Philippe Sarde - Quartet
The Durrells - Ruth Barrett, Jon Wygens - Abkco
Samurai Marathon - Philip Glass - Orange Mountain
Stranger Things 3 - Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein - Lakeshore
Dementia/Piano Concerto - George Antheil, Ernest Gold - Kritzerland
Evil Toons - Chuck Cirino - Dragon's Domain
Secrets of the Titanic - Craig Safan - Dragon's Domain
Thunderbirds Are Go: Series 2 - Ben Foster, Nick Foster - Silva
UFO - Barry Gray - Silva
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
August 9 - Alexander Courage records his score for the Lost in Space episode "Wild Adventure" (1966)
August 9 - Leith Stevens records his score for the Lost in Space episode "Blast Off into Space" (1966)
August 9 - George Duning's score for the Star Trek episode "And the Children Shall Lead" is recorded (1968)
August 9 - Dmitri Shostakovich died (1975)
August 9 - Andre Hossein died (1983)
August 9 - Peter Matz died (2002)
August 9 - David Raksin died (2004)
August 9 - Tony Mottola died (2004)
August 10 - Brian Easdale born (1909)
August 10 - Mischa Bakaleinikoff died (1960)
August 10 - Ennio Morricone
begins recording his score for So Fine
August 10 - Isaac Hayes died (2008)
August 11 - Ron Grainer born (1922)
August 11 - Raymond Leppard born (1927)
August 11 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for The Light Touch (1951)
August 11 - Joe Jackson born (1954)
August 11 - Richard Shores begins recording his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Eccentrics” (1966)
August 11 - Bill Conti begins recording his score for Five Days from Home (1977)
August 11 - Toby Chu born (1977)
August 12 - David Lee born (1926)
August 12 - David Munrow born (1942)
August 12 - Victor Young
begins recording his score for The Accused
August 12 - Mark Knopfler born (1949)
August 12 - Pat Metheny born (1954)
August 12 - Peter Peter born (1960)
August 12 - Hugo Montenegro records his only Mission: Impossible episode score, for “The Rebel” (1970)
August 12 - Marty Paich died (1995)
August 12 - Zacarias M. de la Riva born (1972)
August 13 - John Ireland born (1879)
August 13 - Dennis Farnon born (1923)
August 13 - John Cacavas born (1930)
August 13 - Richard Shores records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Big Blackmail” (1968)
August 13 - Gerald Fried writes his final Mission: Impossible score, for “The Code” (1969)
August 13 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Warlock (1988)
August 13 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score to Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
August 13 - John Ottman
begins recording his score to Gothika
August 13 - Roque Banos
records his score for Oldboy
August 14 - Lee Zahler born (1893)
August 14 - Edmund Meisel born (1894)
August 14 - James Horner born (1953)
August 14 - Oscar Levant died (1972)
August 14 - Michael McCormack born (1973)
August 15 - Jacques Ibert born (1890)
August 15 - Ned Washington born (1901)
August 15 - Jimmy Webb born (1946)
August 15 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Memory” (1966)
August 15 - Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Harry and Son (1983)
August 15 - Bruce Broughton begins recording his score for George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation (1986)
August 15 - Ronald Stein died (1988)
August 15 - Ron Jones records his pilot score for the animated Superman series (1988)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
CARS 3 - Randy Newman
"This is the rare movie that might benefit from silence. Partly that’s because of the squeezed syrup of Randy Newman’s score. Even more that’s because it would eliminate distraction from the visuals. Movies, animated and otherwise, are about motion and light. Pixar makes a marvel of both, doing so with such seeming ease that we in the audience take it for granted. Big mistake! The race sequences are an internal-combustion ballet. And the gradations of light, in night-time scenes especially, have a subtlety that would defy belief -- except that there they are up on the screen, presenting themselves for blissful inspection. No matter how slack the storytelling can get, the animation conveying that storytelling is borderline miraculous."
Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe
47 METERS DOWN - tomandandy
"At the same time, there are certain elements to the film that aren’t that bad. Mandy Moore, who has always been an underrated actress in my book (her turn in the great 'Southland Tales' is a thing of beauty), is immensely likable and sympathetic as Lisa, even if the script never quite finds a way to make her emotional turmoil pay off in a convincing dramatic fashion. Clare Holt is good as Kate, even if she has much less to do. And while Roberts is all thumbs when it comes to screenwriting, his work as director does manage to generate some genuine tension at certain points as he plunges us into the murky depths of the ocean with no idea of where we are or what might be lurking only a few feet away. As for the sharks themselves, they are used in a reasonably sparing manner -- at least until the ending -- and they manage to score a couple of decent-sized scares by popping out of nowhere to wreak havoc. The best thing about the film, oddly enough, is the enormously effective score by tomandandy that does a good job of adding another layer of tension to the proceedings."
Peter Sobcynski, RogerEbert.com
IT COMES AT NIGHT - Brian McOmber
"Shults never offers any answers -- his questions he purposely wreathes in darkness, and for a film with Night in the title, darkness is as much a character as Travis’s dog. Shults and Daniels used mostly natural light to limn the claustrophobic interiors of Paul and Sarah’s labyrinthine home (shot in upstate New York), and the only thing interrupting their deliberately oppressive chiaroscuro is their sumptuous use of color, which is spare but pregnant with endless, subconscious symbolism. Meanwhile, the sound design of this film is gut-obliterating, dwelling in the realm of the jump scare without actually sinking to the level of using one. The darkness of the film’s tiny world feeds into the intensity of its foley, and vice versa, while Brian McOmber’s score is as unsettling and monolithic as his work on 'Krisha.'"
Dom Sinacola, Paste Magazine
"From Drew Daniels‘ impeccable cinematography to Shults and Matthew Hannam‘s pristine editing to Brian McOmber‘s petrifying score to the very fine work of its impressive, tightly-wound cast, there’s nary a weak link in 'It Comes At Night' on both sides of the camera. Expertly handled and intelligently subdued, it’s a slow-burning chamber thriller that -- not unlike A24‘s other highly-exceptional horror 'The Witch' -- might not earn the wholehearted respect of a wide audience. But to not appreciate the intricacies and skillfulness on display is to be robbed of its delicate calculation."
Will Ashton, The Playlist
"'It Comes at Night' would work just as well as a play if Shults didn’t inject every scene with a keen cinematic eye. Cinematographer Drew Daniels’ roaming Steadicam glides through the tangled woods as Brian McOmber’s thundering score enriches the uneasiness throughout; Shults exploits the inherent scariness of long, shadowy corridors illuminated by a single, weak lantern, elevating the effectiveness of that image to high art."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"All of that is established quickly and obliquely. No zombies come shambling through the woods, and Mr. Shults doesn’t jolt the audience with false scares or showy plot twists. He builds up the dread with ruthless efficiency and minimal gimmickry, relying on and refreshing some of the oldest techniques in the book. The camera glides down a long, dimly lighted corridor. The soundtrack pulses with dissonant chords and heartbeat rhythms. (The score is by Brian McOmber.) Daylight is scarce, and shadows are long."
A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"My colleague Tasha Robinson recently had a fascinating conversation with Shults about his film grammar and visual choices, and his insights reveal why, on a technical level, 'It Comes At Night' is a wonder. Cinematographer Drew Daniels turns traditional horror visuals -- Kevin waking up from a nightmare and walking down a darkened hallway, for example -- into evocative moments that linger in the mind long after the film ends. The movie sometimes feels like a Baroque painting come to life. Daniels’ use of light directs the eye in constantly surprising ways, while creating an inescapable sense of dread. Brian McOmber’s score is equally evocative, a constantly building cacophony of noise and chaos that amplifies the ever-escalating on-screen conflicts."
Bryan Bishop, The Verge
"Working in upstate New York, Texas native Shults gives the rural setting a heart-pounding intensity. Daniels’ camera roves over a winding dirt road with the same foreboding that it conjures within the rustic house where most of the action unfolds. There’s a dreamlike, terrifying beauty to the cramped, lantern-lit nighttime interiors designed by Karen Murphy: the empty attic where Travis can listen unseen, the long nightmare of a corridor, the framed Brueghel (depicting a plague), the omen of a heavy red door. Brian McOmber’s tormented heartbeat of a score heightens the horror every step of the way."
Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
KILLERS ANONYMOUS - Roger Goula
"Among packaging elements generally superior to any content in the package, Roger Goula’s score hits a semi-camp, retro caper-cum-spaghetti-western note. It’s as viable a choice as any, even if the film it supports rarely commits to that particular tenor, or any other for that matter. 'Killers Anonymous' is a pastiche, which is all right. But its sewn-together borrowed parts certainly don’t become something seamless, while on the other hand it lacks the courage to actually emphasize those crazy-quilt seams, and turn sheer artificiality into an absurdist adventure."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
THE MUMMY - Brian Tyler
THE LITTLE HOURS - Dan Romer
"Jeff Baena’s 'The Little Hours' is a loose adaptation of two stories from Boccaccio’s 'The Decameron' about sexual hijinks in a medieval Tuscan monastery and castle. The locations and score (by the brilliant Dan Romer with help from Hildegard von Bingen) have a splendid period accuracy -- which flies right out the window when a nun named Fernada (Aubrey Plaza, who also co-produced) begins screaming at a gardener in 21st-century Americanese: 'What the f*ck are you looking at? F*cking delusional … Mind your own f*cking business!' The movie is not camp. It’s deliciously deadpan sex farce played by some of the deftest clowns in the English-speaking world. The more matter-of-fact it is, the more screamingly funny."
David Edelstein, New York
"It’s a brilliantly comic cast. Big points to Offerman whose deadpan style and ridiculous bowl-cut wig combine to make his conspiracy theory tirades against the invading Guelphs hysterically funny. Just the word 'Guelph' elicits giggles. Offerman, Plaza and Reiser all have a talent for sardonic comedy, which suits the bawdy material perfectly. Micucci is affably zany. Fred Armisen has a small part as a censorious visiting bishop. The score by Dan Romer has a superb period accuracy."
Claudia Puig, The Wrap
"Though the connective tissue keeping the film’s story together often requires its thin characters to improvise or otherwise overstretch themselves from sketch to sketch -- emphasizing their relative shallowness as short story subjects -- the medieval absurdity at the heart of the comedy always lands. Partially due to the care Baena takes to situate us in a very specific time period (the filming took place in real castles from the era and the score/costuming feels spot-on), and partially thanks to the comic chemistry between its cast, each vignette keeps the 'swearing holy woman' gag fresh."
Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine
"If the plague doesn’t kill them, the boredom will. Thankfully, like some kinky miracle, in comes a newcomer to disrupt the stifling sameness: strapping deaf-mute groundskeeper Masseto (Dave Franco), who’s actually neither deaf nor mute, but pretends to be both in order to lay low at the convent, beyond the reach of the lord (Nick Offerman) he’s been cuckolding. The premise suggests an accidental parody of 'The Beguiled' (either version), which also concerned a deceptive, on-the-lam stranger hiding among horny, religious, stir-crazy women. But 'The Little Hours' isn’t really spoofing anything in particular, even if Baena’s flatly presentational direction -- goosed by the occasional ’70s-style zoom and the hilarious Renaissance faire squareness of Dan Romer’s score -- does sometimes recall the ascetic austerity of the classic religious almost-comedy 'The Flowers Of St. Francis.' Nor does the film reach the go-for-broke hilarity of the Mel Brooks and Monty Python movies to which it’s been prematurely compared. Mostly, that’s because Baena keeps the shenanigans pitched to the more grounded, behavioral comic style of his actors. For those not tickled by the idea of 14th-century characters behaving like 21st-century ones, the laughs will ride solely on the cast."
A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club
"Boutella, augmented with extra pupils and hieroglyphic skin markings, has a menacing presence, especially when in movement. But she isn’t scary, just committed. Cruise, on the other hand, always looks unsure of what he’s playing at any given moment: heroically bemused? Terrified? Pissed off? As for what’s around them, 'The Mummy' isn’t so much a movie directed as a perpetual-climax machine oiled and operated, its shouted dialogue and charging, insisting score (by Brian Tyler, 'The Fate of the Furious') like the rote groans from a factory."
Robert Abele, The Wrap
NIGHTMARE CINEMA - Richard Band, Kyle Newmaster, Aldo Shllaku, J.G. Thirlwell
"Garris directs 'The Projectionist,' 'Nightmare Cinema''s framing episode, in which a theater portends doom for the film’s various characters while Mickey Rourke saunters around, lending the production his usual found-object weirdness. Garris also concludes the anthology with 'Dead,' [scored by Richard Band] a grab bag of clichés in which a young piano student (Faly Rakotohavana) grapples with a near-death experience in a hospital while evading pursuit by a psychopath (Orson Chaplin). Characteristically, Garris over-telegraphs the scares with cheesy music and evinces no sense of specificity or reality even for a story that’s set on such a heightened plane. (One may wonder how a boy recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest can defend himself against a much larger madman.) 'Dead' also bears an unfortunate structural resemblance to the vastly superior 'This Way to Egress,' which is also a surreal journey of a character within an institution. There are notable, surprising highpoints in 'Nightmare Cinema' that justify Garris’s passion for horror, though he ironically proves to be one of his project’s liabilities."
Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
OKJA - Jaeil Jung
"The latter ['Babe: Pig in the City'] was blasted as too dark for kids. Bong's film is even tougher going, mainly because it steers clear of the 'all's well that ends well' finale we expect. And yet, in the end it is somehow warmer, or at least less brutalizing. Maybe it's because Bong is a showman who packs every frame with three jokes and grace notes where most directors would only offer one, if that. The chain reaction slapstick sequences are as thoughtfully assembled as "Okja" itself, building and paying off amusing bits of business to create movies-within-movies. The pig's fearful rampage through an underground shopping mall in Seoul is a marvel of composition and editing, creating surprise through clever camera angles and unexpected cuts while giving us a glimpse of the bland consumer paradise that companies like Mirando depend on. The score, by Jaeil Juing, is a delight, alternating gentle acoustic guitar with his version of klezmer music, which lends a whimsical quality to action scenes while reminding us that this is, in a sense, a kosher film. The soundtrack of pop tunes is charming as well, especially when it scores a slow-motion sequence to John Denver's 'Annie's Song' (for the second time this year, oddly; the other time was in 'Free Fire')."
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
"Zipping along to a vibrant soundtrack, Bong crafts lively, action-packed moments that find the hulkish Okja careening through public spaces while people scramble around her. This includes one of the most striking moments in Bong’s entire career -- a slow-mo battle set to John Denver’s 'You Fill Up My Senses,' which finds the ALF forming a wall of umbrellas to defend a cornered Okja while Mija cowers nearby."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
THE PROPOSAL - T. Griffin
"Magid has made a film that’s cool, assured, and understated. Someone should sign her up to direct a techno-thriller. In which case, she should collaborate again with T. Griffin, whose stripped-down score never calls attention to itself even as it propels and enhances what we watch."
Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe
"As she interviews locals who object to having this chunk of their cultural heritage owned by a European control-freak, Magid imagines Zanco's single-mindedness as a romantic obsession, one that jealously leaves traces anywhere the architect designed a building: 'Every time I try to find Barragan,' she laments, 'I encounter Federica.' A fine, hypnotic score by Brooklyn composer T. Griffin, pairing electronics and abstract jazz, lulls us into such a state that the plan Magid eventually hatches feels inevitable."
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
WONDER WOMAN - Rupert Gregson-Williams
"Alas, much of her fighting is computer-enhanced, and there are too many of the kind of slo-mo leaps and midair freezes that got old at the time of the third Matrix movie. Jenkins is no visual stylist, and the battles are a hash. The other night on the season finale of TV’s 'The Americans,' Keri Russell’s Elizabeth trained her daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) in hand-to-hand combat in their garage, and watching them feint and parry and lightly slap each other was more satisfying than any of the fights in 'Wonder Woman.' It wasn’t just that you cared about this mother and daughter. You could watch their whole bodies move through space in long takes -- unlike the new breed of superhero films, in which fights are chopped into little pieces or larded with slow motion and over-amplified blows. The problem is compounded by Rupert Gregson-Williams’s music, which is a nonstop assault -- especially when Wonder Woman emerges for the first time in costume and marking the occasion is some kind of twangy electronic cello that made me wince."
David Edelstein, New York
"Action-wise, the movie is frustratingly inconsistent. Set pieces early on are kinetic, well-choreographed and, strangely enough, even speed-ramping is impressively used. Later on, however, this technique deadens. Deeper in, the action becomes cartoonish and silly. As much as Jenkins tries to make her mark, 'Wonder Woman' does feel obligated to franchise prerequisites when wiping the slate clean would be best. You don’t have to dust too hard to find Zack Snyder’s fingerprints and unfortunate sensibilities (clearly some vociferous and devout fans won’t see this as a pejorative, but he’s an irredeemable filmmaker at this point to many): the speed-ramping, slow motion, fundamental story flaws and pedestrian views of legends (he has the first 'story by' credit) and that '300'-esque scene, tonally inconsistent with the rest of the film. Then there’s that plangent Junkie XL-written musical theme of pounding drums and squealing guitars -- the clarion call of which signals to the audience where all the DCEU movies begin to suck. And of course, the deafening 'Man Of Steel,' and 'Batman V Superman' ending -- loud, incoherent, and pointless to the level that one’s engagement in the movie begins to quickly drop like an emergency room patient’s dying pulse."
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
"Throughout, Lindy Hemming’s superb costume designs are in sync with production designer Aline Bonetto’s vivid locales, contrasting the poetic, not-quite-real timelessness of Themyscira, the all-female isle where Diana was raised, with the prosaic reality of early-20th-century Europe, from cosmopolitan London to the provinces to the devastating chaos of the trenches. Matthew Jensen’s cinematography heightens every shift, while the score by Rupert Gregson-Williams alternates between obvious emotional chords and enriching counterpoint."
Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.
Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPAS, Alamo Drafthouse, American Cinematheque: Aero, American Cinematheque: Egyptian, Arclight, Arena Cinelounge, Laemmle, New Beverly, Nuart, UCLA and Vista.
ERASERHEAD (Peter Ivers) [Cinematheque: Aero]
LADYHAWKE (Andrew Powell), FLESH + BLOOD (Basil Poledouris) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
NUDE ON THE MOON (Daniel Hart) [UCLA]
SHREK (Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell) [Nuart]
TASTE OF CHERRY, TEN [Cinematheque: Aero]
CLOSE-UP, THE WIND WILL CARRY US [Cinematheque: Aero]
GRAND PRIX (Maurice Jarre) [UCLA]
THE HITCHER (Mark Isham), NIGHTHAWKS (Keith Emerson), HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (Adam Burke, Darius Holbert, Russ Howard III) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
SAMMY, THE WAY-OUT SEAL (Oliver Wallace) [New Beverly]
THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Jonny Greenwood) [Vista]
THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (Max Steiner) [Vista]
THE BLOOD OF HEROES (Todd Boekelheide), BLIND FURY (J. Peter Robinson) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
EL CID (Miklos Rozsa) [UCLA]
GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (Akira Ifukube) [Vista]
HELLO, DOLLY (Jerry Herman, Lennie Hayton, Lionel Newman) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
IT (Benjamin Wallfisch) [Alamo Drafthouse]
SAMMY, THE WAY-OUT SEAL (Oliver Wallace) [New Beverly]
THE SECRET OF NIMH (Jerry Goldsmith) [UCLA]
WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOUSE? (Amine Allah Hessine), AND LIFE GOES ON, THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES (Chema Rosas) [Cinematheque: Aero]
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (Elmer Bernstein) [Arclight Culver City]
HOOPER (Bill Justis) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE OUTSIDERS (Carmine Coppola) [New Beverly]
MILLENNIUM ACTRESS (Susumu Hirasawa) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (Leonard Rosenman) [Cinematheque: Aero]
TENEMENT (William Fischer, Walter E. Sear) [Alamo Drafthouse]
HOUSE (Asei Kobayashi, Mikkî Yoshino) [Alamo Drafthouse]
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING (Frank Loesser, Nelson Riddle) [Cinematheque: Aero]
LOVER COME BACK (Frank DeVol) [New Beverly]
THE AMBASSADOR (Niklas Schak, Tin Soheili) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE LAST SEDUCTION (Joseph Vitarelli), ROUNDERS (Christopher Young) [Cinematheque: Aero]
ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA (Romeo Diaz, James Wong), ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 2 (Gam-Wing Chow, Johnny Njo, Richard Yuen) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE RED CHAPEL [Alamo Drafthouse]
WOODSTOCK [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THE BEACH BUM (John Debney) [Nuart]
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (John Williams) [Vista]
FRIGHT NIGHT (Brad Fiedel) [Arclight Hollywood]
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (Robert Rodriguez), ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
RED ROCK WEST (William Olvis), KILL ME AGAIN (William Olvis) [Cinematheque: Aero]
YOUNG SOUL REBELS (Simon Boswell) [UCLA]
THE LADY EVE, SCARLET STREET (Hans J. Salter) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE LONG, LONG TRAILER (Adolph Deutsch) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
MULHOLLAND DRIVE (Angelo Badalamenti) [Vista]
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
RASCAL (Buddy Baker) [New Beverly]
SUBURBIA (Alex Gibson), ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL [UCLA]
SUNSET BLVD. (Franz Waxman) [Vista]
THE THING (Ennio Morricone) [Arclight Hollywood]
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH (Akira Ifukube) [Vista]
LABYRINTH (Trevor Jones) [Alamo Drafthouse]
MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (Bronislau Kaper) [UCLA]
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (Ennio Morricone) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
RASCAL (Buddy Baker) [New Beverly]
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: The 5th Musketeer (Ortolani), The World Is Not Enough (Arnold), Marnie (Herrmann), Reunion/Misunderstood (Sarde), Stavisky (Sondheim)
Read: Jack Reacher (aka One Shot), screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie; The Damsel, by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake)
Seen: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, The Nightingale, Them That Follow
Watched: New Girl ("Menzies"), Fringe ("There's More Than One of Everything"), News Radio ("Big Day"), Hannibal ("Fromage")
As we get into to the bleakest part of the summer movie season (seriously, there's a third film narrated by a dog this year? I'd like to imagine a preview screening of The Art of Racing in the Rain before Kevin Costner has recorded his dog-voice narration, where instead the soundtrack is over-laid with incessant barking), I thought this might be a good time to look at some of the movies due later in the year that might have Oscar on their minds. So far, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood and possibly The Farewell seem like the only serious contenders already released.
AD ASTRA: Interplanetary thriller with Brad Pitt trying to save the world. I'm optimistic to see if director James Gray can walk that tightrope between the intimacy of his films like The Immigrant and The Lost City of Z and the narrative and commercial demands of a nine-figure VFX-laden studio epic (I originally wrote "ten-figure," but I don't think this movie cost a billion dollars). Thomas Newman was originally announced to score but Max Richter is currently the composer -- he has experience with this type of film on a much much smaller scale (The Last Days on Mars).
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: From director Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?), about the friendship between Fred "Mister" Rogers (Tom Hanks) and a journalist (Matthew Rhys as a fictionalized version of Ton Junod). After the hit documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, it will be interesting to see what more can be said about the beloved Rogers. Heller's brother Nate Heller scored her previous films and is expected to score this one.
CATS: If you've seen the much-talked-about (to put it politely) trailer, there's not much more be said. Except, now and forever. (Andrew Lloyd Webber, of course, wrote the song score from T.S. Elliot poems with additional lyrics by theater director Trevor Nunn).
THE CURRENT WAR: This docudrama about the rivalry between Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch), Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and Tesla (Nicholas Hoult) was meant to be the Weinstein Company's big Oscar bait in 2017, right before the name "Weinstein" became something the industry dares not speak five times in front of a mirror. Film festival reviews were pretty brutal -- one critic suggested the film was the first to be shot entirely with "dutch angles" (think The Riddler's Lair) -- while the film has since been recut and the original score by the Lion team of Dustin O'Halloran and Volker Bertelmann (aka Hauschka) replaced with a new score by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans.
DOWNTON ABBEY: The movie version of the popular TV series, of course, scored by John Lunn, who has received two Emmys and three nominations for his work on the show. I've never watched it, but the trailer makes the movie look like the most uneventful story ever. Still, always happy to see Elizabeth McGovern working. Not to mention Maggie Smith.
FORD V FERRARI: Matt Damon and Christian Bale try to build a race car for Ford in this '60s set docudrama directed by James Mangold. Marco Beltrami got his first Oscar nomination for Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma and this will be their fourth film together.
GEMINI MAN: Super-soldier Will Smith finds himself targeted by his younger clone. Director Ang Lee returns to high-frame-rate 3D, which he previously used on the little-seen Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, and combining it with the digital de-aging of Smith seems a risky proposition (the cast of Billy Lynn went largely makeup-free due to the high-definition approach). Lorne Balfe is writing the score.
THE GOLDFINCH: A childhood tragedy and a missing painting figure into this adaptation of the Donna Tartt bestseller. Oakes Fegley (Pete's Dragon) and Ansel Elgort play the young lead at different stages in his life. Finn Wolfhard ages into Aneurin Barnard (the suspiciously mute soldier from Dunkirk), which seems a more plausible transition than the upcoming It sequel, where Bill Hader plays the grownup Wolfhard. The master cinematographer himself, Roger Deakins, shot it, so at least one nomination is likely. This seems like the kind of film about which one would ask "How's the Desplat score?", but the composer here is a relative newcomer, Trevor Gureckis, a name I was totally unfamiliar with (his hiring was announced in late 2017, so clearly someone has a lot of faith in him).
THE GOOD LIAR: Con man Ian McKellen preys on Helen Mirren in the new film from Bill Condon. The success of his pointless Beauty and the Beast remake will, I hope, mean that he never has to make a movie like that again, but I would have thought the same thing after he made the last two Twilight films. This will be Condon's seventh film with Carter Burwell.
HARRIET: Tony-winning singer-actress Cynthia Erivo (Widows, Bad Times at the El Royale) plays abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a biopic from actor-turned-director* Kasi Lemmons, with her usual composer Terence Blanchard writing the score. (*I know, Lemmons has been directing features for more than twenty years so she's clearly gone far past "actor-turned-director," but I suspect more of our readers are still familiar with her role as Clarice's fellow trainee in The Silence of the Lambs than have seen any of her directing efforts such as Eve's Bayou, The Caveman's Valentine and Talk to Me)
A HIDDEN LIFE: Terrence Malick's epic-length biopic of an Austrian conscientious objector in WWII has a James Newton Howard score, along with presumably a lot of tracked-in concert pieces since it's a Malick movie. Some raves when it screened at Cannes.
THE IRISHMAN: A fact-based Scorsese gangster epic (involving Jimmy Hoffa) reteaming De Niro and Pacino (And Joe Pesci! And Harvey Kietel!). The aspect of the film that's been getting the most publicity -- the digital de-aging of the stars for certain scenes -- is also the most worrisome. Scorsese is a remarkable director, to say the least, but (outside of Hugo) he doesn't have a great eye for visual effects, which is especially surprising since his usual VFX guy, Robert Legato, supervised the extraordinary effects for The Jungle Book and the new Lion King. IMDB claims Scorsese's close friend Robbie Robertson is doing the music, which sounds all too plausible.
IT: CHAPTER TWO: I was amused to read that digital de-aging is being used for some of the child actors in the flashback scenes -- which makes sense, given how much those kids may have changed in the two years since the first film. Since the sequel's stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader all previously starred together in the two-part film The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her and :Him (ultimately released in a combined version as The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them), I can't help but think of this film as The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: It, and wish that one of Pennywise's manifestations was Isabelle Huppert with an ever-present glass of red wine. Benjamin Wallfisch is returning for the score, natch.
JOKER: Joaquin Phoenix plays Batman's most iconic nemesis in this self-contained origin-ish, whose King of Comedy vibe includes the casting of Robert De Niro. The good news is Phoenix is an extraordinary actor. The bad news is director Todd Phillips also made the Hangover sequels. Johann Johannsson collaborator Hildur Guonadottir (Chernobyl) is doing the score.
JUDY: Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland. It looks like the Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool version of Garland's story, but Zellweger is a plausible nominee depending on how the Best Actress field shapes up. Gabriel Yared is the composer.
KNIVES OUT: A Southern-accented Daniel Craig investigates a family of wealthy murder suspects (including Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Toni Colette and Jamie Lee Curtis) in the first Rian Johnson film since The Last Jedi, with a score by his cousin Nathan Johnson.
LITTLE WOMEN: Here's that sure-fire nominated Alexandre Desplat score you were waiting for. Writer-director Greta Gerwig follows up Lady Bird with yet another version of the Alcott classic, with Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronin and Eliza Scanlan as the sisters, Meryl Streep as the aunt, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Timothee Chalamet, James Norton and Louis Garrel (keeping his clothes on for once, one assumes) as the men.
MARRIAGE STORY: My favorite contemporary filmmaker, Noah Baumbach, casts Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a divorcing couple, also starring Laura Dern, Ray Liotta and Alan Alda. This and Baumbach's previous film, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), are the only non-Pixar films Randy Newman has scored in the last 11 years.
MIDWAY: For those who felt that what Dunkirk needed was A LOT MORE CGI, Roland Emmerich brings us his digitally-infused take on the famous WWII battle in the Pacific, with music by his usual team Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander. For those of us who remember what it's like when Emmerich tries to make a "serious" film (The Patriot, Anonymous, Stonewall), we can only hope he's going for a more popcorn-friendly approach.
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN: The long-in-development adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's novel about a private detective with Tourette's, with Edward Norton playing the lead and directing, his first time behind the camera since Keeping the Faith 19 years ago. Music by Daniel Pemberton.
1917: Though WWII stories seem to be nearly inexhaustible, Western cinema is showing a renewed interest in World War One, with everything from War Horse, The Water Diviner, Testament of Youth and the documentary They Shall Not Grow Old to Wonder Woman. Sam Mendes makes his first non-James-Bond film in ten years with this WWI saga, roping in his top craft collaborators -- cinematographer Roger Deakins (will he get two nominations this year?), production designer Dennis Gassner, and of course Thomas Newman, who better get a damn Oscar someday.
PAIN AND GLORY: Pedro Almodovar's new film stars Antonio Banderas as an Almodovar-esque film director, with a score by, of course, Alberto Iglesias.
PARASITE: Not a remake of the Demi Moore 3D horror, but the new dark comedy-drama from one of my favorite filmmakers, Bong Joon-Ho (The Host, Snowpiercer), which won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Score by Boon's Okja composer Jaeil Jung.
QUEEN & SLIM: Daniel Kaaluya's date with Jodie Turner-Smith ends up with a dead policeman and the young couple on the run. Kaaluya earned a Best Actor nomination for Get Out and is receiving some Oscar buzz for this one, which can mean everything or nothing. Wikipedia claims the score will be by Devonte Hynes.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER: Surprisingly, this is the first movie J.J. Abrams has directed since The Force Awakens in 2015, and he doesn't even have a Best Director Oscar, the usual excuse for such a delay (hey, whatever happened to Alejandro G. Inarritu, anyway?). John Williams returns for the final time to the franchise that made him the God Emperor of Film Music.
UNCUT GEMS: The Safdie brothers, makers of the terrific, too-little-seen Good Time, return with a crime comedy-drama with Adam Sandler (yes, the guy from the Netflix movies) as a jeweler, and a score by Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never.