Varese Sarabande has announced two new, limited edition CD Club releases.
U.S. MARSHALS was the inevitable sequel to the blockbuster 1993 film version of TV's The Fugitive, with Tommy Lee Jones reprising his Oscar-winning role as U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard, but instead of Harrison Ford's falsely accused wife murderer Dr. Richard Kimble, Gerard has to contend with an untrustworthy government agent (Robert Downey Jr.!) as he hunts down a mysterious fugitive (Wesley Snipes). The sequel was the second film directed by master film editor Stuart Baird (The Omen, Superman, Casino Royale, Skyfall), and as with his other directorial efforts (Executive Decision, Star Trek: Nemesis), the score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith (fittingly enough, as James Newton Howard's Oscar-nominated score for The Fugitive showed a strong Goldsmith influence in its action music). The original Varese release of the U.S. Marshals score came at a time when score CDs were frequently brief due to the expense of union fees, and this Varese Deluxe Edition release expands the score from 9 tracks (30 minutes) to a whopping 39.
Their other new CD is the first-ever release of the score for the 1978 comedy-mystery THE BIG FIX. The film was the first (and to date, only) adaptation of Roger L. Simon's series of mystery novels about an offbeat private eye named Moses Wine, who becomes involved in a complicated case involving former 1960s radicals. Wine was played by Richard Dreyfuss, his first big studio project after the one-two punch of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goodbye Girl (and an Oscar) made him a top star (he was even one of the producers), and the outstanding supporting cast included Bonnie Bedelia, Susan Anspach, Fritz Weaver, John Lithgow, F. Murray Abraham (as the Abbie Hoffman figure) and Ron Rifkin, as well as bit roles for Mandy Patinkin and Lupe Ontiveros. The quirky score was composed by Bill Conti, not long after the success of Rocky put him on the A-list, and the Varese CD features his score plus a wealth of alternate cues.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
The Big Fix - Bill Conti - Varese Sarabande CD Club
U.S. Marshals: The Deluxe Edition - Jerry Goldsmith - Varese Sarabande CD Club
Queen & Slim - Devonte Hynes - Domino
The Roads Not Taken - Sally Potter - Milan
The Witcher - Sonya Belousova, Giona Ostinelli - Sony [import]
Army of Darkness - Joseph LoDuca, Varese Sarabande CD Club
Lo Chiamavano Bulldozer - Guido & Maurizio DeAngelis - Beat
Hackers - Simon Boswell, songs - Varese Sarabande
Doctor Who: Series 12 - Segun Akinola - Silva
Doctor Who: The Sun Makers - Dudley Simpson - Silva
Doctor Who: The Visitation - Paddy Kingsland - Silva
Franco De Gemini Performs Ennio Morricone - Ennio Morricone - Beat
Franz Waxman: The Documentaries - Franz Waxman - Dragon's Domain
The Jack in the Box - Christoph Allerstorter - Howlin' Wolf
The Louis Febre Collection: Vol. One - Louis Febre - Dragon's Domain
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins - Craig Safan - Noteforenote
Santa Barbara: A Musical Portrait - Joe Harnell - Dragon's Domain
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
April 3 - Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco born (1895)
April 3 - Edward Ward born (1900)
April 3 - Marvin Hatley born (1905)
April 3 - Francois de Roubaix born (1939)
April 3 - Jungle Book released in U.S. theaters (1942)
April 3 - Richard Bellis born (1946)
April 3 - Philippe Rombi born (1968)
April 3 - Ferde Grofe died (1972)
April 3 - Bruce Broughton records his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Testimony of a Traitor” (1981)
April 3 - Lionel Bart died (1999)
April 3 - Dusan Radic died (2010)
April 4 - Elmer Bernstein born (1922)
April 4 - Monty Norman born (1928)
April 4 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for Madame Bovary (1949)
April 4 - Michel Camilo born (1954)
April 4 - Miklos Rozsa
wins his third and final Oscar, for his Ben-Hur
April 4 - Brian May begins recording his score for Cloak & Dagger (1984)
April 4 - Roberto Nicolosi died (1989)
April 5 - Bernhard Kaun born (1899)
April 5 - Michael Galasso born (1949)
April 5 - Leo Erdody died (1949)
April 5 - Bent Aserud born (1950)
April 5 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for The Ten Commandments (1955)
April 5 - Robert B.
& Richard M. Sherman
win Oscars for Mary Poppins'
score and song "Chim Chim Cher-ee" (1965)
April 5 - Dave Grusin begins recording his score for The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
April 5 - Pharrell Williams born (1973)
April 5 - John Morris begins recording his score for Yellowbeard (1983)
April 5 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Skin of Evil" (1988)
April 5 - James Horner begins recording his score for Patriot Games (1992)
April 5 - Jerry Goldsmith
begins recording his score for First Knight
April 5 - Jay Chattaway
records his score for the Enterprise
episode “Detained” (2002)
April 5 - Richard LaSalle died (2015)
April 6 - Gerry Mulligan born (1927)
April 6 - Andre Previn born (1929)
April 6 - Patrick Doyle born (1953)
April 6 - Christopher Franke born (1953)
April 6 - John Green
begins recording Leonard Rosenman
's score for The Cobweb
April 6 - Normand Corbeil born (1956)
April 6 - Dimitri Tiomkin wins his fourth and final Oscar, for the Old Man and the Sea score (1959)
April 6 - Johnny Mandel
begins recording his score for The Sandpiper
April 6 - Born Free opens in Los Angeles (1966)
April 6 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Icarus Factor" (1989)
April 6 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Storyteller” (1993)
April 7 - Herbert Spencer born (1905)
April 7 - Percy Faith born (1908)
April 7 - Ravi Shankar born (1920)
April 7 - Gino Marinuzzi Jr. born (1920)
April 7 - Ikuma Dan born (1924)
April 7 - Roger Webb born (1934)
April 7 - James Di Pasquale born (1941)
April 7 - Charles Strouse begins recording his unused score for The Molly Maguires (1969)
April 7 - Laurence Rosenthal begins recording his score for the Logan's Run pilot (1977)
April 7 - Nathan Lanier born (1978)
April 7 - Kenyon Hopkins died (1983)
April 7 - Fred Steiner records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “A Day in Beaumont” (1986)
April 7 - Elliot Kaplan records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “The Last Defender of Camelot” (1986)
April 7 - Michael Kamen begins recording his score for Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
April 8 - Victor Schertzinger born (1888)
April 8 - Paul Sawtell
and Bert Shefter
record their score for The Cosmic Man
April 8 - Julian Lennon born (1963)
April 8 - Eric Rogers died (1981)
April 8 - Keegan DeWitt born (1982)
April 8 - James Horner
begins recording his score for The Pagemaster
April 9 - Miklos Rozsa
begins recording his score to Diane
April 9 - Toshiyuki Honda born (1957)
April 9 - Miklos Rozsa
begins recording his score to The Seventh Sin
April 9 - Arthur Benjamin died (1960)
April 9 - Nathan Van Cleave begins recording his score for Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
April 9 - Recording sessions begin for Christopher Komeda’s score for Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
April 9 - Elmer Bernstein
begins recording his score to The Gypsy Moths
April 9 - Giorgio Moroder wins his first Oscar, for his Midnight Express score (1979)
April 9 - Herbert Don Woods records his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “The Dorian Secret” (1981)
April 9 - Bill Conti
wins his first Oscar, for The Right Stuff
score; Michel Legrand
wins his third and final Oscar, for Yentl
's song score (1984)
April 9 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Perfect Mate” (1992)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
BIRD BOX - Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
"But, hell, this is Hollywood and audiences may go with the flow when Netflix debuts 'Bird Box' in theaters this week ahead of its release on the streaming service. The less said the better about plot developments, which use every twist they can get (the end is a doozy). The haunting, hypnotic, palm-sweating score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross promises way more than the film delivers. By the way, the birds in the box are meant to set off alarms when the monsters approach. They see way more than we do, which is part of the problem. Why should birds have all the fun?"
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Salvatore Totino's sharp cinematography represents a solid plus, but most helpful of all is the atypical, ominous and vastly mood-enhancing score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
FREE SOLO - Marco Beltrami
"Apart from a slow stretch around the hour mark, the filmmakers keep things lively (with a big assist from Marco Beltrami’s pulse-quickening score, the nail-biting opposite of Tim McGraw’s soaring end-credits single, 'Gravity'), featuring test runs at Zion National Park’s Moonlight Buttress and the nearly sheer limestone cliffs in Taghia, Morocco. Still, all this spectacle leaves one thing very much unsaid: 'Don’t try this at home' -- basic advice for those who might be drawn to the sport, since a film this exciting is bound to inspire imitators (almost all of whom will wind up pancaked across granite trying to top this feat)."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Brilliantly photographed by Chin, Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaefer, often from angles and positions you wouldn't think possible, 'Free Solo' never entirely escapes the trappings of a NatGeo-sanctioned doc. From the soaring score by Marco Beltrami to the pie-eyed awe often afforded its subject, this is in many ways a white-knuckle brand extension for Honnold above all else. Still, the film frequently treads into knotty territory. Chin appears onscreen several times to wonder at the ethics of filming his subject, whom he also considers a good friend, in what could very likely be his final moments. And this moral predicament extends to Honnold's relationship with his new girlfriend, Sanni McCandless."
Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter
"This is a perfectly suitable theme for a film about a young transgender woman, and it’s one which potentially allows Dhont to explore the tricky psychological nuances of feeling trapped in the wrong body. And yet, in practice, 'Girl''s treatment of Lara is narrow and grindingly miserable. Her only interest appears to be ballet, yet the film never gives life to her ambition, as dance is simply another source of agony and toil. The emotional tenor of 'Girl' can be summed up in a single shot near the middle of the film in which Lara and her family are shown riding a roller coaster. As Lara is whipped back and forth, she’s bathed in the harsh light of the carnival as moody, haunting ambient music fills the soundtrack. Dhont can’t allow his protagonist even this simple moment of carefree joy, as Lara looks less like a teen girl enjoying a ride than a captive inexorably hurtling toward some unknown doom."
Keith Watson, Slant Magazine
"One might call it a failure on almost every level -- that is, if the movie ever gave the impression that it was trying to succeed. Instead, it’s pervaded by an air of extreme laziness. It’s cheap and tacky -- a bizarrely dated parody of Ritchie’s Holmes (complete with a soundalike score) poisoned with rib-elbowing topical references and puerile gags. It’s the Sherlock Holmes movie with the red 'Make England Great Again' hat and the lactating Watson. It succeeds in only one respect. As a Christmas Day release that wasn’t screened in advance for critics, it managed to avoid our list of the worst films of 2018. It belongs at the top."
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The Onion AV Club
MARY POPPINS RETURNS - Score by Marc Shaiman; Songs by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman
"Burnishing old-school, kite-flying, Cockney-cavorting nostalgia to a high gloss, Disney’s improbable sequel -- coming a full 54 years after the original fantasy -- is a risk that pays off, magically. 'Mary Poppins Returns' is a defiantly backward-glancing musical, not only in its gaslit 1930s London (the days of the 'Great Slump,' as we learn), but also via its orchestral sweep, supplied by ace composer-lyricists Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who nail the retro mood."
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"Unfortunately, 'Mary Poppins Returns' falls quite short of being practically perfect in every way. The cast puts on a good show, but very little can be done to salvage the forgettable numbers by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and dance routines that already look dated. A handful of colorfully charming scenes liven up the movie’s dull events, but its copycat story arc isn’t strong enough to stand apart from the original."
Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com
"The songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (the music-and-lyrics team behind 'Hairspray') are clever and hummable, even if they never match the timeless perfection of the 1964 score by the brothers Richard and Robert Sherman -- whose capacity for creating earworms can be measured by the fact they also wrote 'It’s a Small World (After All),' another moneymaker for Disney that’s been cited as the most frequently played song of all time. The most memorable songs in the new film include 'A Cover Is Not the Book,' an English music hall–style number performed by Blunt and Miranda on a stage set made of giant books, and 'The Place Where Lost Things Go,' a melancholy lullaby Mary sings to the grieving children. The equivalent of the original’s rollicking rooftop dance 'Step in Time' is a major production number in which the leeries of London come together to light the Banks children’s way home through the fog, incorporating everything from acrobatic stunts to BMX bike parkour."
Dana Stevens, Slate.com
"But it’s hard to shake the feeling that some of the magic has worn off. The primary reason is also the saddest: The songs of 'Mary Poppins Returns' are almost shockingly forgettable. Penned by the movie’s composer Marc Shaiman and his longtime co-writer Scott Wittman (the duo co-wrote songs for 'Smash' and 'Hairspray,' among many others), they’re trying very hard. I defy you to hum any of the tunes on your way out of the theater; if anything, you’ll retain the key phrase from an interminably long interlude -- 'trip a little light fantastic' -- which may embed itself into your brain as a not terribly pleasant earworm. (Based on a true story.) That 'Mary Poppins Returns' is the only proper movie musical actually nominated in the Golden Globes Best Picture category for comedy or musical, but didn’t earn any nominations for Best Original Song, seems to underline the problem. The music of this sequel is fun while you’re watching it, but the hummable quality of its predecessor’s songs is gone. And without that musical element, 'Mary Poppins Returns' eventually starts to feel like a slog. The story, about a bereaved father who is struggling to save his family home for his motherless children, is a lot darker -- and far less fixable by a magical nanny -- than that of the original film, where the biggest hurdle is a brief loss of employment that seems to inject a spring into Mr. Banks’s previously dour step."
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
"The problem is that most of 'Mary Poppins Returns' -- the parts with 'Mary Poppins,' sadly -- feels like a digression from the central, stay-the-foreclosure narrative. The blame doesn’t wholly rest with the screenwriter, David Magee. You can be as digressive as you want with music and lyrics as delectable as 'A Spoonful of Sugar,' 'Chim Chim Cheree,' 'Feed the Birds,' 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,' and bravura dancing numbers like 'Step in Time.' But Mary Poppins has returned without the Sherman brothers (not Mary’s fault -- Robert B. died in 2012, while Richard M. is listed here as a consultant); and apart from a wistful little number about 'where the lost things go,' the score (by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman) leaves no residue. It’s not unpleasant, at least, apart from a song led by Meryl Streep as some sort of wacky sorceress whose world turns turtle once a week. The number ends with the singers collapsing and laughing on the floor -- a cliché parodied by Shaiman’s collaborators way back in 1999 in 'South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.'"
David Edelstein, New York
"As for the character, Jack’s team of 'leeries' come in handy in exactly one scene -- this despite the burgeoning and frequently commented-upon relationship between him and the labor organizer. And just before that scene, Jack leads the leeries in a song whose lyrics include 'when it’s foggy/don’t complain.' That’s the main trouble with 'Mary Poppins Returns;' the songs don’t especially advance the plot or voice the themes. In a story about a corrupt boss using a financial crisis to screw one of his workers out of his house, the magical servant and musical lamp lighter team up with a labor organizer to sing… well, mostly songs about positive thinking and believing in magic. Which sounds to me a lot like 'buy more Disney stuff.'"
Vince Mancini, Uproxx
"Why, it’s Mary Poppins, of course, and she hasn’t aged a day! Talking parrot umbrella, smart red bowtie, a stern but enchanted approach to daily chores… the only thing that’s changed about the character is the actress playing her. But while the part only requires Emily Blunt to channel the spirit of Julie Andrews’ performance -- once again, the eponymous nanny lacks a clearly defined character arc, and all but blends into the background during the second half of the film -- the 'Edge of Tomorrow' star can’t help but overachieve. Not only does she capture Andrews’ careful balance between severity and playfulness, but she constantly wobbles the scales in a way that adds tension to a movie that never manages to mine any from its plot, or from any of the mediocre songs that punctuate it. The original 'Mary Poppins,' for all its appeal, isn’t a work of musical genius. Earworms like 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' and 'Let’s Go Fly a Kite' might have trickled down from one generation to the next, but even the most cursed afflictions can be hereditary. Still, 'Mary Poppins Returns' manages to shimmy under the low bar set by its predecessor. While composer Marc Shaiman (who co-wrote the lyrics with Scott Wittman) does a note-perfect job of recapturing the general 'Poppins' vibe, there isn’t a memorable tune in the bunch; for better or worse, you won’t be haunted by these songs. 'Hamilton' maestro Lin Manuel-Miranda -- playing a cockney lamplighter in an amiably goofy performance that only makes sense as a tribute to Dick Van Dyke -- provides enough personality to salvage the opening number, but 'Trip a Little Light Fantastic' is a headache waiting to happen (because Miranda is so capable of genius, he may always be held to a higher standard, even when singing other people’s songs). Marshall at least gets a chance to trot out some of his kinetic choreography, but the dance moves fail to compensate for his flat direction. Blunt pours every ounce of her character into each would-be showstopper, and 'The Place Where Lost Things Go' might prove to be a genuinely invaluable help to grieving children, but even they might struggle to remember how it goes. It doesn’t help that Marshall drowns 'Can You Imagine That?' in a flood of CGI that snuffs out the old-timey aura in favor of some blue plastic newness."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"The naughty Michael Banks apparently did not learn the lessons that the original film was trying to teach. In 'Returns,' he comes across as infantilized from the beginning, which makes that push-pull dynamic of balancing responsibilities and joy difficult to accept when there’s no real growth. The film attempts to make an excuse for Michael’s childlike behavior through a musical number early on where he asks his deceased wife for guidance. It’s schmaltzy and manipulative, and the film relies heavily on the dead parent motif as a crutch to generate easy emotion from the audience. To Whishaw’s credit, the warmth in his voice that has done wonders in the two 'Paddington' films comes through honest and sincere, even as we can feel the soft score tugging at our heartstrings in a calculated manner. Despite those forcibly fabricated emotions, a decent amount of that aforementioned awe does inspire, and it rests almost solely on the shoulders of Blunt. She is radiant in Julie Andrews’ iconic role, bringing that similar sense of charm, mischievousness and no-nonsense (there’s even some cheeky pat-on-the-head condescension which is a nice touch in a movie that’s generally painfully sincere). Unlike the film itself, her performance feels more like a continuation of Andrews’ work than strictly an imitation. And yet, despite Blunt as the film’s ace-in-the-hole, she -- like Mary Poppins herself -- magically disappears through large swaths of the film (can someone explain to us how she’s up for Lead in this but Supporting in 'A Quiet Place?'). When she’s not on screen and/or the music isn’t playing, the film stops completely dead and you’re literally counting the minutes and begging for her return. The plot itself -- to put it nicely -- is ramshackle at best. Everything from the younger Banks’ grieving to Jack’s (Lin-Manuel Miranda, hung out to dry anytime he’s not opposite Blunt) not-well-explained place in the story to the comically bad antics at the bank are all excuses to set up the musical numbers. When Blunt isn’t doing all of the heavy lifting, the musical numbers take the reins and are largely successful. None of the musical numbers will catch on in the pop culture lexicon the way the original did, but in their own right, spark occasional glimmers of magic. Specifically, the 2D animated sequence, with far and away the strongest musical number -- 'A Cover is Not the Book'-- a witty, well-choreographed duet between Blunt and Miranda, who is essentially filling the shoes of the Dick Van Dyke role. Director Rob Marshall ('Chicago,' 'Into the Woods') knows his way around an elaborate musical number, and most of them are commendable, with the exception of a downright embarrassing number involving Poppins’ cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep in arguably her worst role ever) and an upside-down shop."
Ryan Oliver, The Playlist
"Along with Sandy Powell’s bold costume design of stripes and plaids, the fantasy interludes are the movie’s strong suit, with the splashy song 'Can You Imagine That?' kicking things into high gear as the trio of children slide feet-first into a bubbly bathtub to magically experience a high-spirited, underwater adventure that quickly convinces the Banks offspring that Mary Poppins is no ordinary nanny. Other musical numbers mirror those in the original film, such as Jack and his fellow lamplighters’ athletically choreographed, parkour-inspired 'Trip a Little Light Fantastic,' a rousing sequence taking its cue from the chimney sweeps’ near-as-physically demanding rooftop production of 'Step in Time' in the first film. And, thankfully, there are a couple of elaborate mixed animation/live action numbers on par with the chalk-drawing song-and-dance sequences performed by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, with classic anthropomorphic cartoon characters (the penguins are back!) still drawn in old-school style. It’s enough to make an old guy with a strong sentimental streak smile, ear to ear."
Steve Davis, The Austin Chronicle
"But what it can be is something else: a 1960s movie, cleansed of shadow, improbably delivered into the present day. 'Mary Poppins Returns' doesn’t have to replace 'Mary Poppins' in our affection to be more than a spoonful of sugar. The movie overflows with delirious good vibes. And the key to what works about it is that it lets you access and celebrate something that’s deeply square. The songs are square (though frankly, while good enough, not nearly as timeless as the Sherman brothers’ classics from the earlier film), the orchestrations are square (and, in fact, brilliantly retro), the plot is square, the whole look of the movie is square, and when Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), the boy from 'Mary Poppins,' now grown up with three children of his own, stands in the attic of the Banks townhouse singing 'A Conversation' (addressed to his late wife), the tear that will roll down your cheek is square. This is lump-in-the-throat filmmaking that feels like an antidote to every bad thought you had in 2018. Just about every song in 'Mary Poppins Returns' has a 1964 antecedent. 'Can You Imagine That?,' the bathtub-into-the-ocean number, echoes 'A Spoonful of Sugar,' and once the characters arrive in animation land the tongue-twisting 'The Royal Doulton Music Hall' is the film’s nod to 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.' Later on, the lamplighters join in a ladder-and-torch chorus of 'Trip a Little Light Fantastic' that’s the film’s equivalent to 'Step in Time,' and the finale, 'Nowhere to Go But Up,' is 'Let’s Go Fly a Kite' with human-levitating balloons. Meryl Streep, in a triumphant scene, shows up as Mary’s cousin, who resembles a gypsy version of the Mad Hatter and sings a song called 'Turning Turtle' in a voice that sounds like Madame Blavatsky meets 'Fiddler on the Roof.' Now that’s showbiz."
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
"Shaiman's lush underscoring enriches the movie throughout, and his songs with co-lyricist Wittman are their best since 'Hairspray,' full of personality and humor, and reverential without being slavish in their adherence to the musical patterns of the first film. Even the raucous 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' has an equivalent here: 'The Royal Doulton Bowl,' full of 'marvelous, mystical, rather sophistical' wordplay. There's no song as memorably poignant as 'Feed the Birds,' but 'The Place Where Lost Things Go,' sung by Mary and later reprised by the children, is a tender lullaby that conveys the film's underlying sorrow with a comforting message of hope."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THE MULE - Arturo Sandoval
"If you’ve read this far, then you are at least receptive to the idea that 'The Mule' could do better where its identity politics are concerned, and that’s perhaps the biggest letdown in a movie that’s otherwise classic Eastwood: spare, efficient, and morally complicated enough (regarding Earl’s motives) to deliver a satisfying night at the movies. This isn’t the role that will earn Eastwood a legion of new fans, but it’s almost sure to delight those who appreciate him already. There are a few subtle changes to the Eastwood M.O. here: Whereas the piano-savvy star famously scores his own films, reuniting the same team on most of his productions, here he taps Canadian DP Yves Bélanger ('Dallas Buyers Club') to supply the unfussy look Tom Stern usually provides and enlists Arturo Sandoval to compose the handful of jazzy, classic-noir wisps of music that breeze through the film."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Few leading men in film history have been active this long (Eastwood made his screen debut 63 years ago), and probably none has ever had star billing above the title for this long. And how many modern directors have made as many films as he has? (Spielberg has directed 31 over a comparable period.) Eastwood has made some slack and overlong pictures over the years, but this is not one of them, and there is visual vitality here resulting from the first collaboration between the director and Canadian cinematographer Yves Belanger, who has worked with Xavier Dolan and especially Jean-Marc Vallee on the likes of 'Wild' and HBO's 'Big Little Lies.' Also fresh and welcome is the unobtrusive score by Cuban-born jazz great Arturo Sandoval."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
"'The Other Side of the Wind” doesn’t always justify its scattershot, guerrilla-Fellini style. The doc-inspired construct loses steam, while the skin-and-stares burlesque with Kodar and Random tips into symbolic (scissors, meet phallus) absurdity. Michel Legrand’s new, jazzy score makes for a percolating accompaniment, but considering the up-and-down nature of the dialogue tracks -- heroically assembled from sources of varying quality by the sound team -- the score’s sonic faultlessness is more jarring for not feeling integrated."
Robert Abele, The Wrap
"And that’s the big question that will always hang over this version of 'The Other Side of the Wind': Is this truly close to the film Orson Welles would have made? Consider this; Marshall, who originally worked as a production manager on the film, is quoted as saying 'Orson always talked about having a jazzy score with different groups playing at Hannaford’s birthday party.' That led the current producers to recruit the legendary, Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand ('The Umbrellas of Cherbourg') to score the film. And yet, although Legrand created a beautiful composition is it somehow seems wrong in context? Would Welles have recognized that and gone in a different direction? Would he have made other changes? Let the debates begin."
Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist
"Such fragmentary interactions ground 'The Other Side of the Wind' with an incendiary tone that epitomizes the movie’s overarching attitude about Hollywood’s self-destructive cycle, and the disillusionment left in its wake. These scenes succeed far better on their own terms than a distracting opening voiceover by Bogdonavich, seemingly recorded in more recent times, as he describes the entire project as a collection of moments from the fictional film shoot. The movie doesn’t need this fictional context because its appeal lies in discord -- the frenzied pace, jarring editing style, and overlapping narratives drive the movie forward as the party descends into chaos. It’s hard to discern between Welles’ intentionality here and what’s been cobbled together from his notes, but Michel Legrand’s absorbing new score and the hectic atmosphere keep the mayhem moving forward at an engaging clip."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"It's not known what sort of musical score, if any, Welles ever contemplated for this film, but it's fair to say that one of the luckiest and/or savviest moves of its rescue team was to engage Michel Legrand to provide the soundtrack. At least partly derived from pre-existing music, this jazzy score goes a very long way both to smoothing out some of the jumpy continuity and providing a resonant through-line to a bifurcated tale. It's propulsive, energetic and alive without ever being intrusive or distracting and, as such, stands as one of the outstanding composer's greatest film soundtracks."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
VICE - Nicholas Britell
"Director of Photography Greig Fraser ('Rogue One,' 'Zero Dark Thirty'), is a far superior choice than 'The Big Short's' Barry Ackroyd who went too far with the 'Bourne'-like approach to docudrama comedy and composer Nicholas Britell’s ('Moonlight') score seems to give subtle homage nods to the mordant patriotism method Terrence Blanchard often applies to Spike Lee films"
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
THE WILD GOOSE LAKE - B6
"That hunger for power, to be its master not its servant, determines every one of Cheney’s choices here. It’s not a terribly psychologically rich portrait, but nuance isn’t what the film is shooting for. What McKay wants to make certain is that the audience gets it, whatever it is -- the unitary executive theory, the obfuscations and outright lies that marketed and sold the war in Iraq to America and its allies, the bleakly comic awfulness of it all -- and he uses every trick in the book to get his points across. Some of them work brilliantly, like Jesse Plemons' omniscient narrator, maybe the film’s best invention, and Nicholas Britell’s brassy, doom-laden score (he also wrote the theme to HBO’s 'Succession,' which McKay produced). Other tactics are more crude -- a teacup motif, a fishing metaphor that stretches to the sound edit, as the gurgle of stream water underscores a scene set in the Oval Office, the vice president catching the ear of the president. It’s a bit much. Does McKay think his audience is too stupid to connect the dots?"
Sophie Jones, The Austin Chronicle
"Elsewhere, Dong soaks whole sequences in neon pinks and garish reflected blues, which throb with particular sleaze under B6’s clanging, dramatic score, accented with some offbeat soundtrack choices -- an impromptu outdoor line dance happens to the strains of of Boney M’s 'Rasputin,' for example. There’s room, too, for semi-surreal interludes, like a wander through a zoo, again under cover of night, where elephants blink in alarm at the intrusion and a tiger gazes impassively at a murder. At one point Zhou, who takes quite a few beatings and bullets over the film’s runtime, pioneers a self-bandaging technique that makes him look like a Cirque du Soleil aerial artist, wrapping himself in gauze rather than silk. At another, the ubiquitous transparent umbrella is gorily reinvented as a peculiarly cinematic lethal weapon."
Jessica Kiang, Variety
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: The Goldberg Variations (Bach), Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin (Schifrin), Three Days of Rain (Belden), Damnation Alley (Goldsmith), Arrow: Season Five (Neely), The Master Touch (Morricone), If Beale Street Could Talk (Britell), Shogun (Jarre), Black Gold (Horner), Star Trek -- The Motion Picture (Goldsmith), Thoroughbreds (Friedlander), Captains Courageous: The Franz Waxman Collection (Waxman), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Yazbek), Concerto for Orchestra/Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (Bartok), The Night Of (Russo), The Golden Age of French Film Music (various), Cremaster 2 (Bepler), Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Kirkscey), Die Another Day (Arnold), The Flash: Season Three (Neely), Doctor Dolittle (Bricusse/Courage/Newman), What Am I Doing in the Middle of a Revolution? (Morricone), The Bad Seed (North), Avengers: Endgame (Silvestri), Apocalypse Now (Shire), Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (Horner), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Goldenthal), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Williams), Little Women: The Musical (Howland), Suburbicon (Desplat), Symphonies 1 & 2 (Beethoven), Altered Carbon (Russo), Justice League (Elfman), 24: Seasons 4 & 5 (Callery)
Read: Pronto, by Elmore Leonard
Seen: Los Angeles theaters are of course still closed, but I like to imagine the ghost of Charlton Heston in one of those empty Hollywood theaters, screening Woodstock for himself yet one more time.
Watched: Salem's Lot , The Avengers ("Noon Doomsday"), Wiseguy ("The Merchant of Death"), Philo Vance Returns, Battlestar Galactica ("Colonial Day"), The X-Files ("Shadows"), Shadow of the Thin Man
I hadn't realized when I started reading Pronto that it would turn out to be essentially Justified's Italian Vacation, as one of the main characters (and ultimately the hero) is Raylan Givens, and was even more surprised when the book's finale turns out to be the opening scene of the first episode of Justified.
REMEMBERING THE AGE OF ANTONOWSKY, PART THREE
Continuing an on-going series looking back at the remarkably verbose movie poster texts from the early 1980s at Columbia and Universal under studio executive Marvin Antonowsky.
The verbose movie poster text of the early 1980s is something I most associate with Antonowsky, but other studios were following that trend as well at times. Below is the poster text from 20th Century Fox's 1982 spy thriller, The Amateur -- a superior predecessor to American Assassin and The Rhythm Section:
In the world of professional assassins,
there is no room for an amateur.
At 29, Charles Heller
was a mathematician
At the CIA, he was
a computer expert
But when terrorists
murdered the most
in his life, he became
an assassin without
To avenge her death,
the CIA trained him,
briefed him, armed him,
and then…abandoned him.
The first 11 minutes will absolutely
The last 11 minutes will rivet you
to your seat.
And now back to the Antonowskys...
A story of natural love.
Two children, a boy and a girl, are shipwrecked on a lost tropical island.
When their only adult friend dies, they must survive, somehow, alone.
Nature is kind to them. They live off the bounty of the jungle and the
lagoon. The boy grows tall. The girl beautiful.
They swim naked over coral reefs. They run in a cathedral of trees. And
the warm winds, the tropic moon, the silk sand conspire to enchant them.
When their love happens, it is as natural as the sea itself, and as
powerful. Love as nature intended it to be.
[The Blue Lagoon
He has been working
for this moment
his entire life.
This is his last chance.
this could be the beginning.
And it would be
the perfect love story,
if it weren’t for…
They broke the cardinal rule
of the competition…they fell in love.
Frank Bryant is a professor of literature.
And Rita is his newest student.
A hairdresser who thinks Macbeth runs
the local pub. And Hamlet is a plate of
eggs with cheese.
He’s a failed writer who has given up
on his life.
She’s determined to change hers by
getting an education.
And the more she loves to learn.
The more he learns how to love.
Sometimes students end up being the best teachers.
She was a beautiful fugitive.
Fleeing from corruption.
He was a professional
athlete past his prime.
Hired to find her,
he grew to love her.
Love turned to obsession.
Obsession turned to murder.
And now the price of freedom
might be nothing less
than their lives.
A TAYLOR HACKFORD FILM
AGAINST ALL ODDS
SOMETIMES LOVE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME OF ALL
[Against All Odds
IN HIS MOTION PICTURE DEBUT
He’s a rock star on a roll.
She’s into more
He wants the spotlight
She wants the quiet life.
He lives for freedom
She wants a commitment.
They’re as different as
two people could be…
and as much in love.
HARD TO HOLD
Love is hard to find, when the whole world is watching.
[Hard to Hold, 1984]