Intrada plans to announce one new CD next week.
The latest release from La-La Land is a two-disc set featuring the first-ever commercial release of the score for the 1999 superhero comedy MYSTERY MEN, which was a box-office disappointment at the time of its release (and was the subject of a particularly brutal and hilarous takedown by Jeffrey Ross at the Friars Club roast of Jerry Stiller) but has since become a cult favorite. The film has an eclectic cast including Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Claire Forlani, William H. Macy, Kel Mitchell, Wes Studi, Paul Reubens, Greg Kinnear, Lena Olin and Geoffrey Rush, and the original score was composed by Stephen Warbeck, hot off his Oscar win for Shakespeare in Love. In the final film, many of his cues were replaced by new music by the great Shirley Walker, and the La-La Land Mystery Men features Warbeck's 62-minute original score on Disc One and Walker's 28 minutes of new score on Disc Two.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced changes in the rules in the 93rd Academy Awards, including some related to film music.
According to the new rules, "In the Music (Original Score) category, for a score to be eligible, it must comprise a minimum of 60% original music. Additionally, for sequels and franchise films, a score must have a minimum of 80% new music." If this change had been made earlier, for example, John Williams' nominated scores for the recent Star Wars sequels would probably not have been eligible, nor would Alan Silvestri's shortlisted scores for the last two Avengers films.
And for those who collect rare For Your Consideration score CDs, "As part of the Academy’s sustainability effort, the 93rd Awards season will be the final year DVD screeners will be allowed to be distributed; these mailings will be discontinued starting in 2021 for the 94th Academy Awards. Access to the Academy Screening Room will continue to be made available for all eligible releases. The distribution of physical music CDs, screenplays and hardcopy mailings, including but not limited to paper invites and screening schedules, will also be discontinued next year."
The biggest news is that films which had planned theatrical releases this year (and only this year) which instead were released directly to streaming services will still be eligible for Oscar consideration. And in a related but surprising move, "For films to more easily meet theatrical exhibition requirements when theaters reopen, the Academy also will expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in additional U.S. metropolitan areas: the City of New York; the Bay Area; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia."
Also, the categories Sound Editing and Sound Mixing are being merged into one category, Sound, but all the craftsmen who might previously been eligible in one of those categories (most likely Supervising Sound Editors, Sound Designers, Production Mixers and Re-Recording Mixers) will still be eligible in the combined category with a potential six people nominated per film. This seems a logical compromise, as who besides people in the sound fields can accurately delineate between Mixing and Editing?
This has nothing to do with film music, but it is with a heavy heart that I announce that my favorite international film actor, Irrfan Khan, has died at the age of 53 of natural causes. Khan made his feature film debut in Mira Nair's 1988 international hit Salaam Bombay!, and worked steadily in Indian cinema for many years. He had his English-language breakthrough as Kal Penn's father in Nair's family drama The Namesake, and since then he balanced Indian and Western films, with a variety of projects including The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog Millionaire, The Amazing Spider-Man, Life of Pi (as the adult Pi) and Inferno.
One only has to watch his performances as the police chief hunting for the missing Daniel Pearl in A Mighty Heart, the lonely everyman hero of The Lunchbox, and the charismatic billionaire owner of Jurassic World to get a sense of his extraordinary range. I know it's a cliche, but he will be truly missed.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Franco De Gemini Performs Ennio Morricone - Ennio Morricone - Beat
Legends of the Fall - James Horner - Intrada Special Collection
Mystery Men - Stephen Warbeck, Shirley Walker - La-La Land
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins - Craig Safan - Noteforenote
The Roads Not Taken - Sally Potter - Milan
The Meanest Man in Texas - Steve Dorff - Notefornote
Hackers - Simon Boswell, songs - Varese Sarabande
The David Spear Collection: Volume One - David Spear - Dragon's Domain
Doctor Who: Series 12 - Segun Akinola - Silva
Doctor Who: The Sun Makers - Dudley Simpson - Silva
Doctor Who: The Visitation - Paddy Kingsland - Silva
Ghost Warrior - Richard Band - Dragon's Domain
The Haunting of Morella - Frederic Ensign Teetsel, Chuck Cirino - Dragon's Domain
The Jack in the Box - Christoph Allerstorter - Howlin' Wolf
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
May 1 - Heinz Roemheld born (1901)
May 1 - Bill Byers born (1927)
May 1 - Gordon Jenkins died (1984)
May 1 - Bill Byers died (1996)
May 2 - Alan Rawsthorne born (1905)
May 2 - Van Alexander born (1915)
May 2 - Satyajit Ray born (1921)
May 2 - Paul Ferris born (1941)
May 2 - Ondrej Soukup born (1951)
May 2 - Elliot Goldenthal born (1954)
May 2 - Justin Caine Burnett born (1973)
May 2 - Aram Khachaturian died (1978)
May 2 - Recording sessions begin for Danny Elfman
's score for Batman Returns
May 2 - Recording sessions begin for James Newton Howard
’s score for Wyatt Earp
May 2 - Jay Chattaway
records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager
episode “Scorpion, Part I” (1997)
May 2 - Recording sessions begin for John Ottman's score for Orphan (2009)
May 3 - Hugo Friedhofer born (1901)
May 3 - James Brown born (1933)
May 3 - Stephen Warbeck born (1953)
May 3 - David Raksin begins recording his score for Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
May 3 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Cahill United States Marshal (1973)
May 3 - Bruce Broughton begins recording his score for Baby’s Day Out (1994)
May 3 - Alden Shuman died (2002)
May 3 - Recording sessions begin for Michael Giacchino’s score for Sky High (2005)
May 4 - Beatrice Thiriet born (1960)
May 4 - John Barry begins recording his score for Body Heat (1981)
May 4 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Sarek” (1990)
May 4 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “I, Borg.” (1992)
May 4 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Crossover” (1994)
May 4 - Albert Glasser died (1998)
May 5 - Patrick Gowers born (1936)
May 5 - Delia Derbyshire born (1937)
May 5 - Andre Previn begins recording his score for House of Numbers (1957)
May 5 - Jerome Moross
begins recording his score for The Jayhawkers
May 5 - David Shire
begins recording his score for The Big Bus
May 5 - Recording sessions begin for Pino Donaggio
’s score for Dressed to Kill
May 5 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Congo (1995)
May 5 - Recording sessions begin for Christopher Young's score for Species (1995)
May 5 - Isao Tomita died (2016)
May 6 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper
's score to The Glass Slipper
May 6 - Recording begins on Alfred Newman
and Hugo Friedhofer
's score to The Bravados
in Munich, Germany (1958)
May 6 - Tom Chase born (1965)
May 6 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
May 6 - Morton Stevens begins recording his score for Parts 3 & 4 of Masada (1980)
May 6 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Neutral Zone" (1988)
May 6 - Leonard Salzedo died (2000)
May 6 - Jay Chattaway
records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager
episode “The Haunting of Deck Twelve” (2000)
May 6 - William Olvis died (2014)
May 6 - Antony Hopkins
May 7 - George Stoll born (1902)
May 7 - Anne Dudley born (1956)
May 7 - Elliot Kaplan died (1992)
May 7 - Soren Hyldgaard died (2018)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
DOGMAN - Michele Braga
"As in all Garrone's films, lighting and camerawork (sometimes handheld and human, sometimes fixed, overhead and godlike) play a major role in creating a setting that is simultaneously real and imagined. Nicolaj Bruel's cinematography describes extreme desolation with a careful palette of limited colors that still manage to be eye-catching. Dimitri Capuani's sets are tawdry to the point of being humorous and depressingly real, while Michele Braga's nearly abstract score sets nerves on edge."
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD - James Newton Howard
"Unfortunately, even the most meticulous world-building is only half the journey; you still have to populate that world with real characters and compelling stories, and it’s that second half of the equation that comes up missing in 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.' The noisiest, most rhythmless, and least coherent entry in the Wizarding World saga since Alfonso Cuarón first gave the franchise its sea legs in 2004, 'Grindelwald' feels less like 'The Hobbit' than a trawl through the appendixes of 'The Silmarillion' -- a confusing jumble of new characters and eye-crossing marginalia. Most of the surface pleasures of filmic Potterdom (the chiaroscuro tones, the overqualified character actors, the superb costuming, James Newton Howard’s warmly enveloping score) have survived intact, but real magic is in short supply."
Andrew Baker, Variety
"Though individually cute, when this magical trio appear together on-screen at the same time, they look as incongruous as Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze in the much-maligned 'Batman & Robin,' a movie whose garish sense of excess serves as the baseline for 'The Nutcracker''s over-the-top aesthetic. So much care has gone into each of the departments, from Guy Hendrix Dyas’ exquisite production design to Jenny Beavan’s micro-detailed costumes to composer James Newton Howard’s loving update of the Tchaikovsky score, and while any one of these elements might be tasteful in and of itself, it’s all too much to take in at once -- the kind of overkill for which Liberace was known."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"To put it bluntly, the story is a convoluted mess, occasionally inching toward interesting developments but almost invariably careening off in some frantic new direction before lasting involvement can take hold. The filmmakers seem aware that this is an issue, drenching the action in an almost nonstop flood of lush music that shuffles Tchaikovsky with James Newton Howard. Oversaturation is the default setting. Clearly, this was conceived as a prestige project, as evidenced by the recruitment of Gustavo Dudamel to conduct the score and make a brief on-camera appearance (possibly referencing 'Fantasia'), as well as a featured piano solo by Lang Lang. Then there's the bonus of Copeland again, dancing on the end credits with Sergei Polunin. But it would take more than an entire corps de ballet and full orchestra to breathe class and cohesion into this charmless misfire."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THE UPSIDE - Rob Simonsen
"Director Neil Burger has never really reached the heights of his breakthrough in 'The Illusionist,' but 'The Upside' is a capably made film on the technical side. It looks great, both in its cinematography from Stuart Dryburgh and some really nice art direction from Kim Jennings that believably depicts the wealth and poverty that exist side by side in New York City. Rob Simonsen‘s elegant classical score is lovely and works well in parallel with Phillip’s passion for opera."
Kimber Myers, The Playlist
VOX LUX - Score by Scott Walker; Songs by Sia
"Even with the buzz surrounding the film, I managed to go into 'Vox Lux' almost cold. All I knew were four names: Portman, Corbet, and music by two wildly different artists, Scott Walker (not the outgoing Governor of Wisconsin) and Sia, the Australian singer/songwriter. An intriguing mix, in particular the Scott Walker-Sia combination. Scott Walker also composed the score for 'The Childhood of a Leader,' so his work with Corbet is already a fascinating collaboration. Walker is a famously reclusive artist, with a career going back to the 1950s, followed by many twists and turns and long silences between albums. His music, experimental, sometimes difficult, could be seen as antithetical to what Celeste represents (although he began as a pop teen idol himself). Walker's magnificent and huge score gives the film a wintry grandeur, making familiar sites like Manhattan buildings seem archaic and strange, relics of a long-gone world, or threatening manifestations of current-day monsters. Celeste's pop songs, written by Sia, and performed by Portman, are 'anthems' about self-empowerment and survival, filled with catchy hooks, and totally believable as hits. The contrast with Walker's moody gigantic orchestrations could not be more acute, and it destabilizes the entire landscape."
Sheila O'Malley, RogerEbert.com
"One of them refuses, or is she paralyzed with shock? She is 13-year-old Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) and she’s the only one who pleads with the shooter to spare them. It makes him hesitate, the way she addresses him, directly and with compassion. But then he opens fire anyway. The low-to-ground footage of the ambulance screaming to the hospital with a blood-soaked Celeste inside feels like a ’70s slasher film (indeed, Lol Crawley‘s darkly grainy 35mm camerawork, and Scott Walker‘s brilliantly discordant, apocalyptic scoring gives the whole first half an aesthetic that evokes 'The Omen' or 'The Evil Dead'). And over this horror-movie opening, the credits play -- a full credits roll, giving the beginning of the film, which depicts the end of so many lives, an appropriately terminal feeling. The twin strands run in parallel, really, the paranoid hubbub of the world outside and the soap-operatics of Celeste’s life as a bitchy pop prima donna. But wrapped up in Portman’s like-it-or-loathe-it-you-cannot-ignore-it performance (I love it, for the record) and Corbet’s astonishingly confident filmmaking chutzpah -- all fast-motion montages, off-kilter framing, and bravura soundtrack collisions between Walker’s score and Sia/Celeste’s pop tracks -- it somehow becomes a jagged, messy but endlessly intriguing whole. Proving Corbet’s credentials as a filmmaker never afraid to risk doing something wrong for the sake of doing something interesting, even the climactic show, which by any measure goes on way too long, starts to work its own mesmeric magic, becoming, in its own right, somehow important in the grand frivolity of its spectacle and escapism."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
'Raffey Cassidy ('The Killing of a Sacred Deer') plays her in these early scenes, with Portman not appearing onscreen for nearly an hour. 'That’s what I love about pop music,' she says, shortly before recording her breakthrough single. 'I don’t want people to have to think too hard. I just want them to feel good.' Corbet doesn’t share that desire in the slightest, and one shudders to think what CinemaScore this film might receive -- it couldn’t be less of a crowdpleaser, and is almost certainly the only movie about a pop star you’ll ever see whose own soundtrack inspires people to stick their fingers in their ears. Scott Walker’s booming orchestral played an integral role in setting the ominous tone of 'The Childhood of a Leader,' and so it’s unsurprising that Corbet would go overtly musical in his follow-up -- even if it is surprising that he would collaborate with Sia. By turns discordant and catchy, their contrasting efforts are emblematic of 'Vox Lux' as a whole: Celeste is a cross between goth and glam, and Portman holds nothing back in a histrionic performance that sees a damaged woman teetering on the brink of collapse. She shouts, curses, drinks wine from a plastic cup, and snorts who knows what off a table; occasionally she even finds time to perform, but not before being hounded by the press over her many misdeeds. Portman is fearless, going all out in a role that requires nothing less."
Michael Nordine, IndieWire
"In Brady Corbet’s 'Vox Lux' a star isn’t so much born as forged and shaped by the blunt force of trauma. The film tells (quite literally, with gloomy narration by Willem Dafoe) of the rise and rebirth (don’t call it a comeback) of pop star Celeste (Cassidy/Portman) whose career begins when she catches media attention after a life-altering tragedy: In 1999, when Celeste is 13 (played by Cassidy) she survives a school shooting; she sings at a memorial for her fallen classmates, and a recording of the event essentially goes viral. It’s a cheap act of commodification that feels ahead of its time. From that point on, Celeste is never seen unadorned by a thick collar, usually shiny, that covers up an injury she sustained in the shooting. It’s at once primely ancient -- a gold choker for an Egyptian queen -- yet robotic and futuristic. In a scene on a rooftop balcony, set to a melodramatic score, Celeste tells a new lover that she likes creating pop music because she doesn’t want people to have to think too hard; she just wants them 'to feel good.'"
Danielle White, The Austin Chronicle
"That the plastic dazzle of Celeste’s music shares equal space on the soundtrack with another thunderingly deranged orchestral score by Scott Walker -- so integral to 'Childhood of a Leader’s' imposing grandeur -- encapsulates the exciting ways in which Corbet’s filmmaking has evolved. A tendency towards arch pomposity remains (not least in Willem Dafoe’s needless omniscient voiceover), but a scuzzier, more splintered sensibility has crept into his regal, oak-carved mise-en-scène."
Guy Lodge, Variety
"The busy soundtrack throbs with EDM glitz-pop stompers by Sia, the Australian singer-songwriter who has penned hits for Beyonce and Rihanna, and more. In counterpoint to them is a stridently unsettling orchestral score by cult avant-garde composer Scott Walker, himself a former teen-pop idol, who previously worked on 'Childhood of a Leader.' Even if Corbet's grandiose ambitions sometimes get lost in tonal wobbles and pretentious flourishes, there is more than enough juicy material in this darkly glamorous postmodern fairy tale to score a left-field commercial hit."
Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Riverdale: Season 2 (Neely/Chung), The Lego Batman Movie (Balfe), Sepolta Viva (Morricone), The Dark Tower (Holkenborg), Ghost Story (Sarde), The Mummy (Tyler), Star Trek: The Next Generation: Where Silence Has Lease/The Outrageous Okana/Loud as a Whisper (Jones), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Jackman), Boston (Beal), Jim Henson's The Storyteller (Portman), The Legend of Tarzan (Gregson-Williams), Ant-Man and the Wasp (Beck), Mata Hari (Thomas), Septembers of Shiraz (Isham), Symphony No. 1 in C minor (Bruckner), San Andreas (Lockington), The Host (Lee), The Bye Bye Man (Newton Brothers), Supergirl: Season 3 (Neely/Chan), Lights Out (Wallfisch), Legend (Burwell, songs), Cooley High (Perren, songs), Monsignor (Williams), She Loves Me [2016 cast] (Bock), Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Matter of Honor/The Royale/The Icarus Factor/Q Who (Jones), Geostorm (Balfe), American Icons (Daugherty), Azur and Asmar (Yared), A Thousand Times Good Night (Amar), All the Money in the World (Pemberton), Giordano Bruno (Morricone)
Read: Lemons Never Lie, by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake)
Seen: A co-worker at my day job drove to a drive-in to Montclair recently to see Trolls World Tour. It hadn't occurred to me, but it makes total sense that, given the social distancing rules currently in effect, drive-in theatres could still stay open. Though that's not the format I'd like to see Trolls World Tour in (I still have a vain hope that films released directly to streaming will at least get a cursory/award-qualifying theatrical run once theaters are finally re-opened, though the just-announced changes in Oscar rules makes that even less likely), I envy him that experience.
Watched: Columbo ("A Friend in Deed"), Mosaic ("The Reckoning"), Arrested Development ("Alter Egos"), Calling Dr. Death, Columbo ("An Exercise in Fatality," "Negative Reaction"), Mystery Science Theater 3000 ("Mac and Me"), Banacek ("No Sign of the Cross")
REMEMBERING THE AGE OF ANTONOWSKY, PART SEVEN
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.
Chevy Chase Goldie Hawn Charles Grodin
A husband, 6 dogs,
a wife, a
larcenous chauffeur, an ex-
husband, a temperamental maid,
2 bank robbers, a governor,
2 cats, 2 bad cats
and a whole bunch of
policemen get together
to help you
SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES
[Seems Like Old Times
Kristy McNichol’s a daughter who never had a childhood…
Marsha Mason is a mother who never grew up.
For 16 years, they’ve been practically strangers…
And when they get together,
They’re the most mismatched roommates
Since “THE GOODBYE GIRL.”
Marsha Mason – Kristy McNichol
NEIL SIMON’S Only When I Laugh
IT’LL MAKE YOU LAUGH… ‘TIL YOU CRY.
[Only When I Laugh
MEET LARRY HUBBARD…LONELY GUY
He was young, free
and eligible. Real eligible.
When his girl friend left him, he
tried his best to meet all kinds
of women: lawyers, teachers,
secretaries…any women. But he
just wasn’t succeeding.
He was still lonely.
So lonely he wrote a book about it,
and then things began to change.
He became successful and famous.
Larry was an overnight sensation.
But he was still a lonely guy.
And just when he thought he’d never
find the girl of his dreams…
She found him.
And that’s when his
troubles really started!
[The Lonely Guy
From the man who brought you “Mr. Mom” & "National Lampoons’ Vacation”
It’s the time of your life that may last a lifetime.
Samantha Baker is turning sixteen and
she's fallen in love for the first time.
It should be the best time of her life.
But…her family is so preoccupied with
her sister’s wedding they totally forget
her birthday, the boy she loves
doesn’t know she exists and the class
clown is putting the make on her.
And…she still has to go to school, ride the bus,
put up with an annoying younger brother,
a hopelessly vain older sister, four delirious
grandparents and a whack-out foreign
Well, hang in there, Samantha. The day’s
not over yet. You may still get one wish.
Turning sixteen isn’t easy, when you’ve fallen in love…for the first time.
THEY ONLY MET ONCE, BUT IT CHANGED THEIR LIVES FOREVER
They were five total strangers, with nothing in common,
meeting for the first time.
A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.
Before the day was over, they broke the rules.
Bared their souls.
And touched each other in a way
they never dreamed possible.
[The Breakfast Club
It’s all in the name of science. Weird Science.
With a lot of wishful
thinking and a little help
from the supernatural,
Wyatt and Gary acciden-
tally brought Lisa, their
ultimate fantasy, to life.
Now she’s showing
them how to live with
fast cars, expensive
clothes, and a party
that’s getting wilder
Meet Eugene Jerome and his family,
fighting the hard times and sometimes each other.
It’s about laughter,
tears and love
BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
THE HEART-WARMING STORY BASED ON HIS AWARD-WINNING PLAY
[Brighton Beach Memoirs, 1986]