The latest film music release from Kritzerland is a five-disc set titled HENRY KING AT FOX, featuring five scores composed by Alfred Newman for the veteran director -- a remastered version of the swashbuckler THE BLACK SWAN; a remastered two-disc version of Newman's classic, spectacular CAPTAIN FROM CASTILLE; an expanded version of the historical drama PRINCE OF FOXES; the first release of the brief score for the Gregory Peck Western THE GUNFIGHTER; and a re-release of Newman's Oscar-winning LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
The Goldfinch - Trevor Gureckis - WaterTower [CD-R]
Ms. Purple - Roger Suen - Notefornote
Pet Sematary II - Mark Governor - La-La Land
Thunderbirds Are Go: Series 2 - Ben Foster, Nick Foster - Silva
IN THEATERS TODAY
The Blonde One - Pedro Irusta
Edie - Debbie Wiseman - Score CD on Silva
It: Chapter Two - Benjamin Wallfisch - Score CD on WaterTower
The Last Photograph - Peter Raeburn
Linda Rondstadt: The Sound of My Voice - Julian Raymond, Bennett Salvay
Ms. Purple - Roger Suen - Score CD on Notefornote
Night Hunter - Alex Lu, Benjamin Wallfisch
Satanic Panic - Wolfmen of Mars
Strange But True - Neil Athale
Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! - Tim Garland, Jeff Meegan, David Tobin
Downton Abbey [the movie] - John Lunn - Decca
Samurai Marathon - Philip Glass - Orange Mountain
Monos - Mica Levi - Lakeshore
Stranger Things 3 - Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein - Lakeshore
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Marco Beltrami, Anna Drubich - eOne
Deep Water - Toydrum - Silva
Elcano & Magallanes: La Primera Vuelta Al Mundo - Joseba Beristain - Quartet
Henry King at Fox - Alfred Newman - Kritzerland
The John Morgan Collection vol. 1 - John Morgan - Dragon's Domain
Lavender Braid - Eugene - Kronos
Metralleta Stein - Luis Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani, Mario Molino, Daniele Patucchi, Dusan Radici, Carlo Rustichelli - CSC
Remember Me - Pascal Gaigne - Quartet
Rory's Way - Frank Ilfman - Kronos
Rwanda - Davide Caprelli - Kronos
Second Spring - Stelvio Cipriani - Kronos
UFO - Barry Gray - Silva
What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Dennis McCarthy, Kevin Kiner - Dragon's Domain
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
September 6 - Louis Silvers born (1889)
September 6 - William Kraft born (1923)
September 6 - Patrick O'Hearn born (1954)
September 6 - Franz Waxman
begins recording his score for My Geisha
September 6 - Hanns Eisler died (1962)
September 6 - John Williams
records his score for the Eleventh Hour
episode "The Bronze Locust" (1963)
September 6 - George Duning
's scores for the Star Trek
episodes "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" and "The Empath" are recorded (1968)
September 6 - Jerry Fielding posthumously wins the Emmy for his TV movie score High Midnight; Patrick Williams wins for the Lou Grant episode “Hollywood” (1980)
September 7 - Leonard Rosenman born (1924)
September 7 - Sonny Rollins born (1930)
September 7 - Carlos Camilleri born (1931)
September 7 - Gianni Marchetti born (1933)
September 7 - Waldo de los Rios born (1934)
September 7 - Mark Isham born (1951)
September 7 - Fred Steiner
's score for the Star Trek
episode "Mudd's Women" is recorded (1966)
September 7 - Herman Stein records his score for the Lost in Space episode "Space Circus" (1966)
September 7 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for The Power (1967)
September 7 - Owen Pallett born (1979)
September 7 - Recording sessions begin for Christopher Young’s score for The Core (2002)
September 8 - Peter Maxwell Davies born (1934)
September 8 - Robert Drasnin records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Deadly Bed” (1965)
September 8 - Fred Steiner
's score for the Star Trek
episode "Mirror, Mirror" is recorded (1967)
September 8 - Dustin O’Halloran born (1971)
September 8 - Leonard Rosenman wins his second Emmy, for Friendly Fire; David Rose wins for the Little House on the Prairie episode “The Craftsman” (1979)
September 8 - John Barry begins recording his unused score for The Golden Child (1986)
September 8 - Alex North died (1991)
September 8 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Homecoming” (1993)
September 8 - Ernest Troost wins the Emmy for The Canterville Ghost; Hummie Mann wins for the Picture Windows episode “Language of the Heart;” Mike Post wins for his main title theme to Murder One (1996)
September 8 - Dennis McCarthy begins recording his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “You Are Cordially Invited” (1997)
September 8 - Jay Chattaway
wins his first Emmy for the final Star Trek: Voyager
episode, “Endgame;” Arturo Sandoval
wins for the For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story
score; James Newton Howard
wins for the Gideon’s Crossing
main title theme (2001)
September 8 - George Fenton
wins his second Emmy, for the Planet Earth
episode “Pole to Pole;” Jeff Beal
wins his second Emmy, for the Nightmares and Dreamscapes
segment “Battlefield;” Trevor Morris
wins his first Emmy, for The Tudors
main title theme (2007)
September 9 - Hoyt Curtin born (1922)
September 9 - Jerrold Immel born (1936)
September 9 - Bernard Herrmann begins recording score cues for Hangover Square (1944)
September 9 - Christopher Palmer born (1946)
September 9 - David A. Stewart born (1952)
September 9 - Eric Serra born (1959)
September 9 - Alex North begins recording his score to The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)
September 9 - Richard Markowitz records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “The Numbers Game” (1969)
September 9 - Harry Geller records his only Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “The Innocent” (1970)
September 9 - Harry Escott born (1976)
September 9 - Hugo Friedhofer's score for Die Sister, Die! is recorded (1976)
September 9 - Joey Newman born (1976)
September 9 - David Shire begins recording his score for The Journey Inside (1993)
September 9 - Michael Galasso died (2009)
September 9 - Michael Stein
and Kyle Dixon
win the Emmy for Stranger Things
main title theme; Jeff Beal
wins for House of Cards
’ “Chapter 63;” Jeff Russo
wins for the Fargo
episode “Aporia” (2017)
September 10 - Arnold Schwarzwald born (1918)
September 10 - Johnny Keating born (1927)
September 10 - Hugo Riesenfeld died (1939)
September 10 - Roy Ayers born (1940)
September 10 - Les Baxter records his score for the U.S. release of Black Sabbath (1963)
September 10 - Richard Shores records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Sedgewick Curse” (1968)
September 10 - Allan Gray died (1973)
September 10 - Laurence Rosenthal records his score for 21 Hours at Munich (1976)
September 10 - Bruce Broughton records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Welcome to My Nightmare" (1986)
September 10 - Laurence Rosenthal
wins his sixth Emmy, for Young Indiana Jones and the Hollywood Follies
; Don Davis
wins his second Emmy, for the SeaQuest DSV
episode “Daggers;” Jerry Goldsmith
wins his fifth and final Emmy, for the Star Trek: Voyager
September 10 - Dennis McCarthy
records his score for the Enterprise
episode “Shockwave, Part 2” (2002)
September 10 - Carter Burwell
wins the Emmy for part 5 of Mildred Pierce
; Trevor Morris
wins his second Emmy, for The Borgias
’ main title theme; Garth Neustadter
wins for the American Masters
episode “John Muir in the New World” (2011)
September 10 - Gert Wilden died (2015)
September 10 - Sean Callery
wins his fourth Emmy, for the theme to Marvel’s Jessica Jones
; Mac Quayle
wins his first Emmy, for the Mr. Robot
episode score “eps1.0_ hellofriend.mov;” Danny Elfman
wins his second Emmy, for his music direction of Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton
; Victor Reyes
wins his first Emmy, for The Night Manager
episode 2 (2016)
September 11 - Herbert Stothart born (1885)
September 11 - Arvo Part born (1935)
September 11 - Leo Kottke born (1945)
September 11 - Stu Philips begins recording his replacement score to The Appointment (1969)
September 11 - Gerald Fried
and Quincy Jones
win the Emmy for Part 1 of Roots
; Leonard Rosenman
and Alan & Marilyn Bergman
win for Sybil
September 11 - Fred Steiner records his only Star Trek: The Next Generation episode score, for “Code of Honor” (1987)
September 11 - Laurence Rosenthal wins his fifth Emmy, for the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode “Vienna, 1908;” Lennie Niehaus wins for the cable movie Lush Life; John Debney wins for his SeaQuest DSV main title theme (1994)
September 11 - Bruce Broughto
n wins his ninth Emmy, for Warm Springs
(2005); Michael Giacchino
wins for the Lost
pilot score; Danny Elfman
wins for Desperate Housewives
’ main title theme (2005)
September 11 - Antoine Duhamel died (2014)
September 12 - David Raksin
begins recording his score for Laura
September 12 - Christopher Dedrick born (1947)
September 12 - Hans Zimmer born (1957)
September 12 - Bernard Herrmann records his score for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Terror at Northfield” (1963)
September 12 - Lalo Schifrin
begins recording his score to Bullitt
September 12 - Nathan Larson born (1970)
September 12 - Jerry Goldsmith wins his fourth Emmy, for part 2 of Masada; Bruce Broughton wins his first Emmy, for “The Satyr” episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1981)
September 12 - Franz Grothe died (1982)
September 12 - Patrick Williams wins his second Emmy, for the TV movie The Princess and the Cabbie; David Rose wins for the Little House on the Prairie episode score “He Was Only Twelve – Part 2” (1981)
September 12 - Recording sessions begin for Pino Donaggio's Body Double score (1984)
September 12 - William Alwyn died (1985)
September 12 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok” (1991)
September 12 - Bruce Broughton
wins his eighth Emmy, for Eloise at Christmastime
; Velton Ray Bunch
wins for the Star Trek: Enterprise
episode “Similitude;” Randy Newman
wins for Monk
’s second season main title theme (2004)
September 12 - John Willliams wins the Main Title Theme Emmy for Great Performances; Howard Goodall wins for the cable movie Into the Storm; Joseph LoDuca wins for the Legend of the Seeker episode “The Prophecy” (2009)
September 12 - Rachel Portman
wins her first Emmy, for Bessie
; Jeff Beal
wins for House of Cards
, “Chapter 32;” Dustin O’Halloran
wins for Transparent
’s main title theme (2015)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
ANGELS ARE MADE OF LIGHT - John Erik Kaada
"Not everything here is perfect; the musical score, by Norwegian composer John Erik Kaada, favors ambient sonic wanderings that smooth over the conflicts on screen. But by the end, you feel as though you’ve truly gotten to know a full range of Kabul residents through their daily routines, joys, recreational diversions (kite-flying, slingshots, the international language of soccer) and bone-deep skepticism about the future."
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"The documentary’s classroom scenes exude a tone of controlled chaos, shot mostly at eye level with the students as they struggle to hear and be heard over the din of their classmates. (This is particularly true at their school’s first location, where numerous classes are taught outside right next to one another.) The passage of time is marked by changes in seasons and the repetition of certain ceremonies, like a teacher appreciation day featuring musical performances by students. Concurrently, there’s a Malickian quality to the near-constant voiceover of the brothers, whose concerns veer from the quotidian (earning money for the family, achieving in school) to the philosophical. Though their voices are profound, their limited perspective yields lengthy stretches of repetitive, meandering sentiments that are inflated by John Erik Kaada’s sometimes intrusive score."
Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine
"Through its spoken words, its sorrowful and understated score (by John Erik Kaada) and its quietly devastating snapshots of people just trying to get by, all amid a pervasive sense of violence, 'Angels Are Made of Light' serves as a lament for a prosperous past that can’t be reclaimed, a volatile present that affords few prospects for joy or success, and a future that’s terrifyingly uncertain. No matter its title, there are no heaven-sent saviors to be found here -- only despondent children struggling, with the aid of a few noble adults, to take flight."
Nick Schager, Variety
BRIAN BANKS - John Debney
"It’s odd to describe a film like this as not dramatic enough, but there is an awkward lack of urgency, which isn’t helped by a lifeless score by John Debney ('The Beach Bum') lifeless score [repitition in original] that further cloaks it. Every moment in Doug Atchison’s ('Akeelah and the Bee') screenplay seems to be told in bullet points with very little exposition. We see Brian as a young athlete with all his gear on the field. Then we see him help fellow student Kennisha Rice (Xosha Roquemore, 'I’m Dying Up Here') across campus; they start making out until he pulls away because he doesn’t want to get caught. The next thing we know, she is accusing him of rape."
Candice Frederick, The Wrap
COLUMBUS - Hammock
"But Kogonada, who also serves as the editor, has also made a film that feels timeless. From Elisha Christian’s rigorously composed cinematography to Hammock’s sparingly but very effectively used ambient electro score (the film gets just as much emotion out of stretches of silence and layered sound design)."
Geoff Berkshire, Variety
DUNKIRK - Hans Zimmer
"'Dunkirk' is also one of the best-scored films in recent memory, and Hans Zimmer’s music plays as important a role as any character. With shades of Edward Elgar’s 'Enigma Variations,' the melodies are glorious, yet Zimmer also creates an instrumental ticking-clock soundtrack that’s a propulsive force in the action scenes."
Brian Truitt, USA Today
"Throughout this relatively brief epic (107 minutes), Nolan sets his sights on pure suspense, with one life-or-death escape or predicament piled on whatever's going on over on story track two or three. The movie takes its cue, right or wrong, from Hans Zimmer's outlandishly manipulative musical score, all ticking clocks and industrial clanging, working on the audience's nervous system in the most obvious way. The score's so bad, it's virtually guaranteed an Academy Award nomination, and after a while you may find yourself thinking: Where's my white flag?"
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"'Dunkirk' is nothing if not a sustained effort on the part of the entire cast and crew to turn the audience’s knuckles permanently white. Nolan maintains gut-wrenching suspense throughout by cross-cutting between the various characters and their plights. I’d go so far to say that 'Dunkirk' could easily serve as its own master class in the art of film editing. Add to that an absolutely terrifyingly discordant score from Hans Zimmer and the result is, well, a bona fide classic. Well done, sir, well done."
Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle
"The film has its share of stumbling blocks. One is the persistent anonymity of the characters; just because a gambit is a conscious part of the film's design doesn't mean it always works, and there are moments you may wonder whether treating supporting players as something other than glorified cannon fodder might have resulted in a film as emotionally powerful as it is viscerally overwhelming. Another miscalculation is the score, by Hans Zimmer, a Jungian din of booming drums, bum-vibrating synth chords, and cawing string effects that loses much of its power by refusing to shut up, even when silence or ambient war noise might have been just as effective, or more so. The overuse of Zimmer's music has been an issue throughout Nolan's career, but here may become an object of debate. The situations and images are so vivid that the score often seems to be trying to rescue a film that doesn't need its help."
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
"Mr. Nolan’s unyielding emphasis on the soldiers -- and on war as it is experienced rather than on how it is strategized -- blurs history even as it brings the present and its wars startlingly into view. 'Dunkirk' is a tour de force of cinematic craft and technique, but one that is unambiguously in the service of a sober, sincere, profoundly moral story that closes the distance between yesterday’s fights and today’s. Mr. Nolan closes that distance cinematically with visual sweep and emotional intimacy, with images of warfare and huddled, frightened survivors that together with Hans Zimmer’s score reverberate through your body. By the time that plane is burning -- and a young man is looking searchingly into the future -- you are reminded that the fight against fascism continues."
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"Neither as poetic as 'The Thin Red Line' nor as savage as 'Saving Private Ryan,' Nolan’s contribution to the war genre owes less to its forefathers than it does unbearably anxious thrillers like 'The Wages of Fear' or even 'United 93.' Riding Hans Zimmer’s typically bombastic score, which abandons melody in favor of ratcheting up the tension, 'Dunkirk' leverages raw suspense in order to cut its characters away from their context and throw them back onto themselves. Few movies have so palpably conveyed the sheer isolation of fear, and the extent to which history is often made by people who are just trying to survive it -- few movies have so vividly illustrated that one man can only do as much for his country as a country can do for one of its men. But Nolan, by stressing that grim truth to its breaking point, returns from the fray with a commanding testament to a simple idea: We may die alone, but we live together."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"Working with repeat collaborators including cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Lee Smith and composer Hans Zimmer, Nolan demonstrates his all-enveloping skill with the tools of narrative, a deep understanding of and commitment to craft as well as -- witness his telling actor Styles that his boots were laced wrong -- a willingness to care about the myriad details of filmmaking. As he’s said in numerous interviews, Nolan has conceived of his film not as a historical drama but rather a Hitchcockian thriller where, aided and abetted by Smith’s razor cutting and Zimmer’s crescendoing score, clocks are relentlessly ticking on any number of fronts."
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"And so the fates keep drumming down like rain. By constantly cutting between the three stories, Nolan, the master of all he surveys, allows us no chance to relax before the next onslaught begins. Hans Zimmer’s music may pilfer from Elgar’s 'Nimrod,' the most patriotically charged of the 'Enigma Variations,' yet such bombast is not really required, and the rest of the score is more attuned to the film’s suspense; the strings unleash a machine-gun stutter, and a ticking sound suggests not a clock but a countdown to detonation. Although 'Dunkirk' is not as labyrinthine as Nolan’s 'Memento' (2000) or 'Inception' (2010), its strike rate upon our senses is rarely in doubt, and there is a beautiful justice in watching it end, as it has to, in flames. Land, sea, air, and, finally, fire: the elements are complete, honor is salvaged, and the men who were lost scrape home."
Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
"It should be maddening, and in the hands of a lesser director it would be. Instead it’s fascinating, building maximum tension between the stories, and the moments within them.This is crucial. The outcome of Operation Dynamo, as the mission is called, is available in any history book, so the telling of the story becomes paramount. Nolan’s technique, aided greatly by Hans Zimmer’s incredibly effective score (at one point he incorporates a ticking stopwatch into a scene), ratchets up the tension from the opening and never relents."
Bill Goodykoontz, USA Today
"'Dunkirk' has some standard disaster-movie touches, and a pushy score from Hans Zimmer (next to IMAX speakers, I felt as though Zimmer was actually trying to hurt me). Yet its unglamorous tales of survival make the drama feel gritty and truthful. Whitehead's character volunteers as a stretcher bearer mainly to cut to the front of a rescue line, but there is no way to game a situation this chaotic. Men claw their way on to troop ships; those ships are strafed or torpedoed or sunk."
Gary Thompson, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Though this movie brims with scarily immersive you-are-there action (captured by Hoyte van Hoytema’s mysteriously mobile-yet-unshaky handheld Imax camera and soundtracked by Hans Zimmer’s braaamm-less yet effective score), it works on the emotions in a different way than most war movies. The event it documents -- sometimes referred to as the Miracle of Dunkirk -- was, in strictly military terms, the opposite of a victory. Evacuating the beach was the Allies’ last remotely possible escape from a rout so complete that the Allies’ only hope was to try to stay alive long enough for the next battle. But it was also, for those civilian seagoers called on to aid in the effort, the only and obvious right thing to do."
Dana Stevens, Slate Magazine
"And in his attempt to record history realistically onscreen, Nolan rejects computer tricks in favor of practical effects, using thousands of extras and whatever boats and planes he could find from the era. The impact is incalculable and indelible. Cheers to camera wiz Hoyte van Hoytema, editor Lee Smith, composer Hans Zimmer (listen for the tick-tock in his score) and a next-level soundscape for sustaining a breakneck pace without losing the personal toll taken on its characters. This is not a film about politics or the major figures of the era (a Churchill speech is heard, but only as read by a soldier on the ground). In fact, Nolan argues that he hasn’t made a war film at all, but a story of survival. Point taken. But there’s little doubt that he has, without sentimentality or sanctimony, raised that genre to the level of art. 'Dunkirk' is a landmark with the resonant force of an enduring screen classic. The Oscar race for Best Picture is officially on."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Nolan’s movies basically don’t acknowledge the existence of religion, and his politics are exclusively sentimental -- the same mush about the hoi polloi needing something to look up to. This makes them hard to pin down ideologically. But 'Dunkirk,' his stubbornly unfashionable passion project, is almost about faith: the evacuation as a microcosm, with young men in uniform clambering to survive one crisis after another, wound together by Hans Zimmer’s omnipresent music. (It’s one of his more abstract scores, but morphs in the final third into a grandiose imitation of early 1980s Vangelis.)"
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The Onion AV Club
"Hoyte van Hoytema’s lucid camera swivels from tight, fraught interiors to the empty sky and sea vistas; designer Nathan Crowley’s three worlds are distinct yet collide; sharp editing by Lee Smith lends a razor’s edge to the script. And sound: Hans Zimmer’s score picks up on the noise and terror to amplify and enhance, ultimately teasing with Elgar’s 'Nimrod' but never overtly manipulating."
Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International
"Adding to 'Dunkirk' and its sense of overwhelming intensity is, of course, Hans Zimmer‘s score, which is even more dissonant and nightmarish. In keeping with the movie’s obsession with the expansion and compression of time, as it relates to a battlefield scenario, Zimmer has chosen to build motifs around the sound of a ticking clock. Not only is this is shrewd and thematically aligned, but it’s also, when paired with the enormous visuals and equally precise sound design, absolutely nerve-shredding."
Drew Taylor, The Playlist
"While there is a high-ranking naval officer on hand (Kenneth Branagh) to play Admiral Exposition, filling in the big picture while surveying the nightmare from a pier, Nolan doesn’t bombard us with information. He knows it’s more powerful to sell the hopelessness of the wind-blasted beach with a stark, simple image, such as the moment in which a Tommy simply gives up and wades into the water. 'Dunkirk' is first and foremost a mood-piece, and a hugely effective one. It doesn’t hurt that Hans Zimmer is on ferocious form, his score by turns throbbing like a heart and ticking like an angry stopwatch, so nerve-wracking that at times it feels like an additional enemy front."
Nick De Semlyen, Empire
"There’s a great deal to hold in our heads: connections to make, holes to fill, people to keep straight. (One Direction’s Harry Styles is in there somewhere, another smudged face with good cheekbones.) Tying the disparate scenes together is Hans Zimmer’s score, which keeps a steady 4/4 beat while never resolving a chord. The brass is muffled, the strings saw but don’t cut. The churning soundscape serves as a reminder that time is running out but that the soldiers (and the audience) is stuck in a kind of void. As the gray waves become even more unruly (Branagh’s commander says he’d rather face them than the dive bombers), the vision of a cruel and implacable nature approaches real tragedy."
David Edelstein, New York
"The metronomic precision of Christopher Nolan’s cinema, which often trades in crafty puzzles, is foregrounded in 'Dunkirk,' with the sound of a ticking stopwatch embedded deeply into Hans Zimmer’s score. The incessant clacking of gears weaves in and out of the noise of breaking waves, German Stukas, and copious explosions, highlighting that the overriding fear facing the 400,000 Allied soldiers trapped on the northern coast of France during World War II is that of time slipping away as the Germans advance."
Jake Cole, Slant Magazine
"Winston Churchill called Dunkirk a miracle. The newspapers tagged it a triumph. But Nolan resists any punch-the-air celebration. Hans Zimmer’s orchestral score scrapes away at you throughout, piling unease on unease before flirting with Edward Elgar’s war-remembrance anthem 'Nimrod' and backing off, as if embarrassed. Tough questions are posed about the government: A survivor asks a pilot back home, 'Where the hell were you?' We hear Churchill’s famous 'We shall fight on the beaches' speech, but the words come from the mouth of a dazed soldier, not the prime minister. There’s no glory here, just survival."
Dave Calhoun, Time Out New York
"All the while, Hans Zimmer’s score ratchets up the anxiety, with grinding metal noises and ticking clocks and humming violin strings rubbing your nerves raw. But, as technically impressive as it all is, the film’s steeped in the same 'just grit your teeth and get on with it' philosophy of the soldiers and rescuers at Dunkirk, which isn’t as much of an asset for Nolan as it was for them. Clinical to a fault, the director tamps down on the emotions of his characters; the closest he comes to allowing an overt display of feeling is showing the eyes of a naval commander (Kenneth Branagh) filling with tears, though he quickly cuts away before even one can spill over."
Sara Stewart, New York Post
"And if the writing can be a little complicated, the filmmaking is clear and direct. The Hans Zimmer score winds the tension tighter than a watch spring. The images, many caught with IMAX cameras, are so deep and precise you'll think they're in 3D."
Stephen Whitty, New York Daily News
"Nolan’s camera pushes the edges of the screen as far as it can -- you must see this movie in IMAX and on film, rather than digital, if at all possible -- as 'Dunkirk' engulfs the audience in something that feels a lot more like a symphony than a war movie. (Nolan’s fruitful collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer certainly helps.) There are movements and pizzicato riffs that shift from guns to violins and back again. Shouts and pauses might as well be written into the score. Sometimes it’s not clear if the rumble you feel in your stomach is a sustained double bass or the engine of a fighter plane...Yet 'Dunkirk' is not a solely triumphant film. There’s something about the enormity of the image (and the richness of the stock it’s shot on) that feels apocalyptic, especially with Zimmer’s score wrestling its way through the collateral noise of war."
Alyssa Wilkinson, Vox
"The editing by Lee Smith ('Inception') is wonderfully relentless, even in a few moments when some of Nolan’s tricks with time don’t quite pan out as well as he might have liked; by keeping the viewer breathless and jumpy, the film’s cutting illustrates that sense of ever-present horror and danger. It’s aided greatly by a Hans Zimmer score that knows when to pound us with percussion and when to let the strings go soaring. (There’s a moment toward the end of the film that’s so gloriously old-fashioned and sweeping that it calls to mind the propaganda-film-within-a-film in 'Their Finest,' another great tale that touches on the Dunkirk rescue.)"
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
"And in that nuance is the great accomplishment of Nolan’s feat: On one hand, he has delivered all the spectacle of a big-screen tentpole, ratcheting up both the tension and heroism through his intricate and occasionally overwhelming sound design, which blends a nearly omnipresent ticking stopwatch with Hans Zimmer’s bombastic score -- not so much music as atmospheric noise, so bassy you can feel it rattling your vertebrae. But at the same time, he’s found a way to harness that technique in service of a kind of heightened reality, one that feels more immersive and immediate than whatever concerns we check at the door when entering the cinema. This is what audiences want from a Nolan movie, of course, as a master of the fantastic leaves his mark on historical events for the first time."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Although the film is deeply moving at unexpected moments, it's not due to any manufactured sentimentality or false heroics. Bursts of emotion here explode like depth charges, at times and for reasons that will no doubt vary from viewer to viewer. There's never a sense of Nolan -- unlike, say Spielberg -- manipulating the drama in order to play the viewer's heartstrings. Nor is there anything resembling a John Williams score to stir the emotional pot. Quite the contrary, in fact. In what has to be one of the most adventurous of his countless soundtracks, Hans Zimmer enormously strengthens the film with a work that equally incorporates both sound and music to extraordinary effect. Mostly it's effectively in the background, reinforcing the action as a proper score is meant to do. But at times it bursts forth on its own to shattering effect. On initial experience it registers as an amazing piece of work that would require repeated exposure to analyze just how it has been conceived and applied to the narrative drama."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
THE GROUND BENEATH MY FEET - Kyrre Kvam
"In fact, as though in an effort to rein in the story’s gaudier tendencies, the filmmaking can feel restrained to the point of constrained, particularly in the slightly repetitive third act. The expressive potential of Leena Kopper’s discreet camerawork is a little hampered by the deliberate anonymity of Martin Reiter’s production design, which eloquently makes the point that, in terms of institutional sterility, Lola’s hotel bedrooms and corporate boardrooms are remarkably similar to Conny’s hospital wards and corridors, prompting us to wonder just which of the two is the more imprisoned. But the lack of visual variety does start to wear toward the end, and with Kyrre Kvam’s unobtrusive score only sparingly used, the already anticlimactic finale threatens to become a little pallid."
Jessica Kiang, Variety
THE LAST FACE - Hans Zimmer
"While there are some lilting African rhythms, Hans Zimmer’s score, sometimes oddly spooky, is light years from his potent sonic punch in 'Dunkirk.' Barry Ackroyd’s handsome cinematography lacks the powerful, kinetic quality he achieved in 'Detroit.'"
Claudia Puig, The Wrap
"But no, it gets worse than that. Hans Zimmer’s score is strangely distancing, investing vital moments with a spooky air, as if to say, nothing that’s going on here matters one way or the other. And Theron, usually so forceful, gives a wispy, sentimental performance, speaking most scenes in a breathy, subdued voice. That is when she is not shrieking memorable lines like, 'Love me? You don’t even know me! I’m different now!' Theron also does a lot of voice-overs, offering poetic or poignant observations that sound straight out of Terrence Malick’s cutting-room floor."
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"Hans Zimmer’s score isn’t any more sensible, rising to its most agonised world-music howl during a lovers’ tiff, rather than any one of the multiple scenes of graphic child slaughter."
Tim Robey, The Telegraph
"'The Last Face' is War, Romance, Love, and Humanity all jumbled through capital importance and puffed up chests; directed, edited, scored (by Hans Zimmer, no less) and written in such fetid style that it’s impossible to take any of it seriously. The list of bizarre melodramatic sentimentality that comes out of nowhere -- like the way Helene makes her life-changing announcement where we see how much of a true asshole Miguel is, or Wren’s outbursts of hysteria as she literally cries out 'you never loved me!!' -- is only second to the grotesque arrogance seeping through the characterization of Africans in the film."
Nikola Grozdanovic, The Playlist
"His fifth feature, from a script by Erin Dignam loaded with platitudinous dialogue and shallow psychology, is arguably Penn's first directorial outing that has pretty much nothing going for it. Even the handsome widescreen visuals of the wounded African landscapes -- relentlessly accompanied by composer Hans Zimmer's extended lecture in musical solemnity, or by on-the-nose vocals -- are rendered uninteresting by Penn's insistence on stretching every exchanged word or gesture to dreamy extremes of the most studious lyricism. Every close-up of a shuffling caterpillar, a scampering beetle, or a hand caressed by sunlight is a reminder of just how much Terrence Malick has to answer for."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
LIGHT OF MY LIFE - Daniel Hart
"Fortunately, 'Light of My Life' has more to offer than cookie-cutter parental challenges and half-formed gender analysis. Australian cinematographer Adam Arkapaw ('Lore,' 'Animal Kingdom') has crafted an absorbing grey-tinted palette that endows the outdoor imagery with painterly depths, while frequent David Lowery composer Daniel Hart supplies a haunting score. Even as 'Light of My Life' meanders, it casts an atmospheric spell."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"But it’s not a failure. Affleck wades into this treacherous morass with reckless sincerity and a depth of feeling that convinces even when the film is at its most self-indulgent. The style of the film, shot in Adam Arkapaw‘s, low-key, naturally lit, clean-lined images and scored to haunting piano-and-cello perfection by Daniel Hart, suggests he was paying close attention to the indie auteurs, such as David Lowery and Kenneth Lonergan, with whom he has worked as an actor. And the script can be read as a surprisingly naked, indeed sometimes over-literal attempt to reckon with modern gender politics: if the Affleck-the-actor’s character gets as much wrong as he does right there is no sense that Affleck-the-writer-director is unaware of those flaws. Less surprising, perhaps is that it is masterfully performed, not just by the undeniably talented Oscar-winner, but by beguiling newcomer Anna Pniowsky, as Rag, the girl-masquerading-as-a-boy, who is just coming to an age where the nomadic existence she and her father have been living for eight years is beginning to chafe."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"For long stretches of time, they are the only humans we see. The landscape is spookily deserted. Cinematographer Adam Arkapaw is attuned to the dramatic tension in nature, its fecundity but also its emptiness, the frightening exposure of fields. Arkapaw often films in long-shot, the two figures dwarfed by surroundings. The color palette is controlled, all greys, pale whites and browns. The trees, the bridges and lanes, vibrate with menace, in stark contrast to their beauty. Daniel Hart's score is melancholy and ominous."
Sheila O'Malley, RogerEbert.com
"The preference of Affleck and DP Adam Arkapaw for diffuse natural lighting means some of the climactic violence is captured in a shadowy blur. But it provides a suitably intense payoff that somewhat predictably marks Rag's loss of innocence. Affleck is generally more confident with dialogue-driven scenes than with physical action, but the movie has a haunting atmosphere of quiet dread, much of it shot in rain or snow, and a mood of enveloping melancholy fueled by arresting use of Daniel Hart's solemnly spiritual score. (Shooting took place in Canada, but the landscapes suggest the Pacific Northwest crossing into Montana.)"
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
MIKE WALLACE IS HERE - John Piscitello
"With moments like those, the documentary is expertly curated and edited; there’s no original video or interviews, and no narration to guide us through Wallace’s world and career. Belkin relies entirely on archival footage, a feat likely made both easier and tougher by Wallace’s decades in front of the camera. Other directors might have been moved by the wealth of video to make a longer, more sprawling film about the journalist, but the 'Mike Wallace Is Here' filmmaker creates a tight, compelling doc that moves quickly through the years, propelled by a powerful internal rhythm and John Piscitello‘s heart-pounding score. This is a fast, fiercely entertaining documentary that says as much about Wallace and his time as it does about our own."
Kimber Myers, The Playlist
"Set to an unexpected electro score and often bisected into a split-screen of two different interviews that makes it seem as though Wallace is watching himself, Belkin’s film susses out a man whose life was defined by his work; as Bette Davis puts it, the least disappointing relationship some people have is with their work. If 'Mike Wallace Is Here' grows frustrating as it goes along, that’s because it starts to confuse ambiguity with truth. Perhaps Belkin was too afraid to reveal his cards and make any sort of declarative statements about Wallace, or maybe it’s just that Wallace seldom allowed himself to be vulnerable on-screen (only in conversation with longtime colleague Morley Safer does he really drop his guard)."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
ONE CHILD NATION - Nathan Halpern, Chris Ruggiero
"The movie’s melancholic score matches Wang’s meditative approach: She manages to unearth the painful ramifications of her upbringing without marginalizing other more harrowing accounts, including the details of forced abortions and infanticide. In a sense, she was one of the lucky ones, and while the movie doesn’t exactly strike an optimistic note, it does imply some degree of spiritual catharsis as Wang comes to terms with her past and contemplates a much better future for the new addition to her family."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"The film is a valuable record and a sober but frightening illustration of the dark side of this government-controlled experiment. Wang also edited, in a fluidly assembled, tight 85-minute cut with subtle scoring by Nathan Halpern and Chris Ruggiero that never intrudes. The bitter irony, after absorbing so much evidence of lives scarred or destroyed with no official accountability, is the shift since the policy was discontinued to a two child society in an effort to address the shortage of young people to look after China's aging population. All traces of one child propaganda have been erased, replaced by images of happy families with two beaming kids apiece."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING - Leigh Roberts, Allison Piccioni
"There are problem areas in terms of style as well as content. 'This Changes Everything''s choppy, frenetic approach to editing makes for an uneven rhetorical texture. Sometimes it feels like a disproportionate amount of attention is applied to legal cases and internecine DGA politics, leaving only a scant amount of time for a cursory history of women filmmakers from the silent era onwards. The musical score, composed by Leigh Roberts and Allison Piccioni, is way too prominent in the mix and by a massive distance much too reminiscent of old-school TV documentaries, underscoring every emotion with obvious musical cues."
Leslie Felperin, 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.
BLOOD SIMPLE (Carter Burwell) [Vista]
THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE (Zbigniew Preisner), BLIND CHANCE (Wojciech Kilar) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MAIGRET AND THE ST. FIACRE CASE (Jean Prodromides), PORT DU DESIRE (Joseph Kosma) [Cinematheque: Aero]
PINK FLAMINGOS [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE ROOM (Mladen Milicevic) [Nuart]
EASY RIDER [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
KILLER OF SHEEP [Vista]
MELODIE EN SOUS-SOL (Michel Magne), THE SICILIAN CLAN (Ennio Morricone) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE PARENT TRAP (Paul J. Smith) [New Beverly]
PURPLE NOON (Nino Rota) [Cinematheque: Aero]
A QUIET PLACE (Marco Beltrami) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
RAISING ARIZONA (Carter Burwell) [Vista]
RESERVOIR DOGS [New Beverly]
BLUE (Zbigniew Preisner), WHITE (Zbigniew Preisner), RED (Zbigniew Preisner) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
PANIQUE (Jean Wiener), NON COUPABLE (Marcel Stern) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE PARENT TRAP (Paul J. Smith) [New Beverly]
BACK TO THE FUTURE (Alan Silvestri) [Arclight Santa Monica]
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (John Williams) [Arclight Culver City]
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (Howard Shore) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (Jon Brion) [New Beverly]
SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Jerome Moross, Emil Newman, David Raksin) [Arclight Hollywood]
WINDJAMMER (Morton Gould) [Arclight Hollywood]
BRINGING UP BABY (Roy Webb) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE GUEST (Steve Moore) [Alamo Drafthouse]
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (John Williams) [Arclight Hollywood]
MINISTRY OF FEAR (Victor Young) [Cinematheque: Aero]
POSSESSED (Franz Waxman) [New Beverly]
BREAKING AWAY (Patrick Williams) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
NINJA SCROLL (Kaoru Wada), VAMPIRE HUNTER D (Tetsuya Komura) [Cinematheque: Aero]
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Stephen Trask) [Nuart]
MILLENNIUM ACTRESS (Susumu Hirasawa), PERFECT BLUE (Masahiro Ikumi) [Cinematheque: Aero]
MURIEL'S WEDDING (Peter Best) [AMPAS]
THE MASTER (Jonny Greenwood) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MILLER'S CROSSING (Carter Burwell) [Vista]
PULP FICTION [New Beverly]
REDLINE (James Shimoji), GHOST IN THE SHELL (Kenji Kawai) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Richard Rodgers, Irwin Kostal) [New Beverly]
TOP HAT (Irving Berlin, Max Steiner) [Vista]
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (Michio Mamiya), ONLY YESTERDAY (Katsu Hoshi) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE LOST BOYS (Thomas Newman) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Richard Rodgers, Irwin Kostal) [New Beverly]
YOJIMBO (Masaru Sato) [Vista]
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano (Sondheim, adapted by 37 other composers including Thomas Newman and David Shire), Logan (Beltrami), Baby's Day Out (Broughton), Justice League (Elfman), Barbarella (Crewe/Fox), Star Trek: The Enemy Within/The Conscience of the King/Shore Leave (Kaplan, Mullendore, Fried), Alien: Covenant (Kurzel), The Razor's Edge (Newman), Colossal (McCreary), Wonder Woman (Gregson-Williams)
Read: The Tango Briefing, by Adam Hall (aka Elleston Trevor)
Seen: Bullitt; Midnight Cowboy; Where'd You Go, Bernadette; Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood; Good Boys; The Omega Man; Official Secrets; The Ugly Dachshund; The Howling; Maiden; Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles
Watched: The Garden Murder Case, Looking ("Looking in the MIrror")
Those of you who actually bother to scroll to the end of these columns may have noticed odd patterns in my weekly "Did They Mention the Music?" selection of film review quotes that discuss scores. Originally I searched few enough sources for these quotes that I was able to keep the quotes relatively recent, which was especially handy because it gave me time to learn about films I wouldn't have seen otherwise before they left local theaters, and add them to my to-see list. But as I started using sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic to track down reviews, my search expanded and the process took longer and longer -- one can find dozens of reviews of a big film like War for the Planet of the Apes on legit sites (I had not realized how consistently praised Giacchino's score had been), and a film like that one where nearly every review discusses the score takes even longer to collate the information for the columns.
I started searching reviews of one seen film for every unseen film and am still two years behind on seen films but have finally caught up with current unseen releases, which is why this week's "Did They Mention the Music?" features quotes about two Hans Zimmer scores from 2017 as well as scores for films released in the last few weeks.
More importantly for me, catching up on new reviews of films I wasn't planning to see allows me to add even more films to my already voluminous to-see list, and in the last few weeks I've seen five documentaries I hadn't originally planned to catch.
Maiden was probably the strongest one of the group, its combination of an emotionally satisfying story and expert storytelling makes it a shoo-in for a "fiction" remake (unless the oceanic setting makes it too much of a production nightmare) -- watching the film one wonders if they'd cast Emma Stone in the remake or go for an actual UK actress like Florence Pugh or Emilia Clarke.
Mike Wallace Is Here was the most impressively assembled, with an excellent use of split screens as well as superb editing with revealing juxtapositions (soon after Wallace dismisses a question about his multiple marriages, we see him in an earlier interview ask Larry King essentially the same thing).
Love, Antosha, the story of Anton Yelchin's tragically curtailed life, is as moving as you would expect, and the group of interviewees assembled (including Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart, Willem Dafoe, Frank Langella, and virtually all of his Star Trek co-stars) is especially telling, indicating how much his collaborators valued him as a talent and as a human being.
David Crosby: Remember My Name was a doc I definitely would not have seen if I hadn't read such strong reviews but was well worth the time, and like the other docs I saw recently manages to cover a lot of ground in a short time -- none of these five films was longer than 97 minutes.
The most recent of the five is Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, which tells the history of Fiddler on the Roof in impressive detail while working in everything from "white slavery" in early 20th century Ukraine to Jerome Robbins' testimony to the HUAC to the current refugee crisis. And any documentary that features Stephen Sondheim (as well as, of course, Fiddler songwriters Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, who also wrote one of my favorite musicals, She Loves Me) is likely to win me over.