The Roads Not Taken - Sally Potter - Milan
The Meanest Man in Texas - Steve Dorff - Notefornote
Hackers - Simon Boswell, songs - Varese Sarabande
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (re-release) - Joel McNeely - Varese Sarabande
Django Il Bastardo - Vasco Vassil Kojucharov - Beat
Exorcism at 60,000 Feet - Richard Band - Dragon's Domain
Genova a Mano Armata - Franco Micalizzi - Digitmovies
Incident at Raven's Gate/The Time Guardian - Graham Tardif, Allan Zavod - Dragon's Domain
La Polizia Accusa: Il Servizio Segreto Uccide - Luciano Michelini - Digitmovies
L'Agnese Va a Morire - Ennio Morricone - Beat
Occhio Malocchio Prezzemolo E Finocchio - Guido & Maurizio De Angelis - Beat
One Potato, Two Potato - Gerald Fried - Caldera
The Paul Chihara Collection vol. 4 - Paul Chihara - Dragon's Domain
Preparati La Bara - Gian Franco Reverberi - Digitmovies
Tales of Frankenstein - William Stromberg - Dragon's Domain
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
May 29 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold born (1897)
May 29 - Masaru Sato born (1928)
May 29 - Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov born (1936)
May 29 - David McHugh born (1941)
May 29 - Danny Elfman born (1953)
May 29 - Ed Alton born (1955)
May 29 - Deborah Mollison born (1958)
May 29 - J.J. Johnson
begins recording his score for Cleopatra Jones
May 29 - Maurice Jarre
begins recording his score for Shogun
May 29 - Simon Brint died (2011)
May 30 - Michael Small born (1939)
May 30 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for Golden Needles (1974)
May 30 - Devendra Banhart born (1981)
May 31 - Rene Cloerec born (1911)
May 31 - Akira Ifukube born (1914)
May 31 - Mario Migliardi born (1919)
May 31 - Clint Eastwood born (1930)
May 31 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score for Studs Lonigan (1960)
May 31 - Giovanni Fusco died (1968)
May 31 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his unused score for The River Wild (1994)
June 1 - Werner Janssen born (1899)
June 1 - Frank Cordell born (1918)
June 1 - Nelson Riddle born (1921)
June 1 - Tom Bahler born (1943)
June 1 - Konstantin Wecker born (1947)
June 1 - Barry Adamson born (1958)
June 1 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Emissary" (1989)
June 1 - John Debney begins recording his score for Hocus Pocus (1993)
June 2 - Frederic Devreese born (1929)
June 2 - Marvin Hamlisch born (1944)
June 2 - David Dundas born (1945)
June 2 - Alex North
begins recording his score to Les Miserables
June 2 - Patrick Williams begins recording his replacement score for Used Cars (1980)
June 2 - Bill Conti
begins recording his score for Cohen & Tate
June 2 - Recording sessions begin for Danny Elfman
’s score to Big Top Pee-Wee
June 2 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Duet” (1993)
June 3 - Curtis Mayfield born (1942)
June 3 - Shuki Levy born (1947)
June 3 - Michael Small begins recording his score for Jaws the Revenge (1987)
June 4 - Irwin Bazelon born (1922)
June 4 - Oliver Nelson born (1932)
June 4 - Suzanne Ciani born (1946)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
ARCTIC - Joseph Trapanese
"Penna’s decision to cast Mikkelsen is brilliant, however. The 52-year-old actor’s already proven his ability to emote in silence (see Nicolas Winding Refn‘s 'Valhalla Rising') and still oozes charisma in film barren of dialogue. Penna’s slow-moving work is a decidedly non-mainstream affair favoring minimalism and a bare-bones approach. However, the austerity is at least juxtaposed and amped up with a score by Joseph Trapanese ('The Raid,' 'Oblivion,' 'The Greatest Showman'), whose music is memorable but never overused for emphasis. However, 'Arctic' barely registers as a standout of the genre because Penna constantly strains the picture to make the starkness the main draw. 'All is Lost' and '127 Hours' were artfully conceived exercises of thoughtful mise-en-scene, but Penna just doesn’t pull it off. 'Arctic' has none of the transcendence that was achieved in the aforementioned movies. It doesn’t help that the young woman Mikkelsen drags along for the ride, recovering from her debilitating injury, feels like a pointless appendage; she barely registers a word throughout."
Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist
"Penna too often leans on a generic, often overbearing score to ratchet up the tension, but his approach to the material is otherwise austered and free of manufactured drama. His camera remains hyper-focused on Overgard's movements, gestures and intense interactions with his surrounding environment, capturing the extent of the physical stresses that come with surviving in such a harsh landscape. But even in the worst predicaments, Overgard conveys a sense of resolve that prevents the film from becoming some miserablist parable. 'Arctic''s stripped-down aesthetics and nuts-and-bolts approach to the survival film leads to a handful of redundant passages, but its stark realism lends Overgard's tale a raw immediacy that can only be achieved when most cinematic excesses have been eliminated."
Derek Smith, Slant Magazine
"More than that, Penna finds ways to infuse real drama into potentially mundane details. We always know where the characters are and what's at stake with each step, so that watching Mikkelsen turn a sled into a makeshift shelter achieves the excitement of a major setpiece. The photo Overgard finds of the pilot with her husband and baby -- at first a maudlin touch -- comes to assume a genuine emotional heft. Some credit for that belongs to Joseph Trapanese's lwo and stirring score, but the brunt of its power exists between Mikkelsen and the man he's playing. Overgard needs someone to live for, even if he's not the person who ultimately needs to live for them."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"Eventually, Overgard realizes that staying put while waiting to be rescued is a major roll of the dice, so he bundles up the woman, loads her onto a makeshift sled and trudges off across the frigid terrain, hauling her behind him. Penna makes sparing use of the somber electronic strings of Joseph Trapanese's score to give shape to Overgard's determined quest. But the story becomes slow and repetitive; arduous for the wrong reasons. Another snowstorm, an impassable route, a temporary shelter, a nasty fall that evokes a different survival story: '127 Hours.'"
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
BRIGHTBURN - Tim Williams
"As mentioned, the Gunns and Yarovesky don’t lift their feet off of the proverbial gas pedal in the gore department. 'Brightburn' is a welcome harkening back to Gunn’s savagely violent ('Dawn of the Dead,' screenwriter), over-the-top, gory horror-comedy ('Slither,' writer, director), Vantablack comedy superhero indie ('Super,' writer, director), and horror-satire ('The Belko Experiment,' screenwriter) roots, drawing inspiration from and paying homage to the director’s filmography. It’s smarter than it looks, its characters intentionally dumbed down, its production value exceptional; Yarovesky and composer Tim Williams beautifully emulate specific Zack Snyder shots and Hans Zimmer motifs from 'Man of Steel' on merely 3% of the blockbuster’s bloated budget. This genre antithesis screams of intelligent rebelliouness with clever, stylistic flourishes to boot."
Alex Arabian, The Playlist
"The movie doesn’t actually show the Breyers’ first encounter with the alien baby; it cuts from the mysterious crash landing to video footage of Brandon growing up, finally winding up as a 12-year-old played by Jackson A. Dunn. But any attempts to obscure where the movie is headed are weirdly pointless, especially for a movie that goes heavy on the rumbling-score portent from the jump. For such a specific, clever-on-paper idea, Brightburn follows a shockingly predictable turn of events, possibly because it has few reference points beyond other pop-culture stories."
Jesse Hassenger, The Onion AV Club
"The same unfortunately can’t be said about some dramatic scenes. There are some tear-jerking moments where time slows down and the string section in Volker Bartelmann’s score goes into overdrive. (Thankfully, there aren’t many of them.) There are also some odd pacing decisions with too-frequent cuts to establishing shots of the hotel, being burned by the attackers. Not only do these cutaways distract from the otherwise heart-pounding tempo, but it draws too much attention to the obvious CG fire elements added to the footage. 'Hotel Mumbai' is a two-hour film that could have benefited from a more intimate and tighter 100-minute cut."
Oktay Ege Kozak, Paste Magazine
THE WEDDING GUEST - Harry Escott
LATE NIGHT - Lesley Barber
"'Late Night' is never self-indulgent enough to go the full 'Studio 60,' but its TV roots still show; sometimes it feels like an extended pilot for a gender-flipped adaptation of 'Funny People,' a messier but more daring exploration of similar themes. Director Nisha Ganatra’s impressive resume includes episodes of 'Girls,' 'The Last Man On Earth,' 'Love,' and 'Dear White People,' among many others, and that’s evident in the crispness of her cutting and the briskness of her pacing. But 'Late Night' is actually less cinematically engaging than some of her TV work, with a generic fret-squeaking score and lots of cheesy reaction shots cuing the audience about whether a joke is considered one of the good, refreshing, truth-telling ones, or one of the hacky, half-assed ones."
Jesse Hassenger, The Onion AV Club
PET SEMATARY - Christopher Young
"Clarke and Seimetz are good, specifically Seimetz, and a great improvement over Dale Midkiff and Denise Crosby from the original, but some of their emotions are either too internalized or take a backseat to the filmic craft on display. The relentlessly bleak tone -- punctuated by a terrific Christopher Young ('Hellraiser') score -- feels like it occasionally drains what should be strong emotions and grief. At times, it’s also difficult to tell if the shorthand being used for character development is subtle, or barely existent and will only be picked up on by people who have read the book. If it’s the former, it’s undeniably impressive."
Ryan Oliver, The Playlist
RED JOAN - George Fenton
"'Red Joan' is uninspired on all levels, with credible-enough period atmosphere but little in the way of style or scale to give this oddly flat tale -- odd because it involves sex, spying, scandal, and death, none of which bring excitement here -- an aesthetic lift. The most you can say about the film’s look and George Fenton’s original score are that they are conventionally workmanlike."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Zac Nicholson’s cinematography is warm and involving like production designer Cristina Casali’s quaint woody laboratories, as behooves the sub-genre of British spy yarns. George Fenton’s romantic score and Charlotte Walter's charming costumes well describe the mood of the time."
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
"While Patel’s performance and the chemistry between him and co-star Apte are thrilling to watch, the travel scenes sometimes slow the film’s momentum down. There doesn’t seem to be a concrete reason for hopping town-to-town, other than India has many pretty places for them to hide out. There’s also a sharp tinny sound in Harry Escott’s music somewhere that sometimes took me out of the movie. After trying it on two different speakers and hearing the same sound, I can only conclude it was meant to create a suspenseful ambiance, but that it didn’t work for me."
Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com
THE WHITE CROW - Ilan Eshkeri
"This is Fiennes’ third film as director following 'Coriolanus' (2011) and 'The Invisible Woman' (2013), both handsome but restrained efforts. He also has a supporting role as Nureyev’s teacher and mentor (in which he displays a so-so Russian accent). Fiennes favors an old-fashioned approach to many individual sequences, which can be pleasing. He bathes Paris in a creamy, sun-drenched light that radiates romance and nostalgia, and the propulsive score from Ilan Eshkeri provides a sense that anything is possible. Similarly, he shoots the dance sequences (of which there are too few) in such lush blues, greens and pinks. It feels as if we’re watching a retro, Technicolor musical."
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Star Trek: The Next Generation: additional & alternate cues (Jones), The Golden Apple (Moross), The Bride Wore Black (Herrmann), Lady Bird (Brion), Busker Alley (Sherman/Sherman), The Little Match Girl Passion (Lang), Requiem/Pavane (Faure), Call Me By Your Name (various), One More Drifter in the Snow (Mann), Les Chevaux du Soleil (Delerue), Garbo: The Spy (Velazquez), Reindeer Games (Silvestri), Quando L'Amore e Sensualita (Morricone), Brother on the Run (Pate), Don't Go in the House (Einhorn), Starfleet Academy/Starfleet Command (Jones), Land of the Giants (various), Show Boat (Kern/Deutch/Salinger), Heidi (Williams), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Burwell), Evil Dead: The Musical (Copolla/Bond/Morris/Reinblatt), Tvpopmuzik (Pemberton), An American in Paris/West Side Story Symphonic Dances/Street Music (Gershwin, Bernstein, Russo), The Fate of the Furious (Tyler), The Nativity Story (Danna), The Exorcist (Bates), Lope (Velazquez), Tokyo Ghoul (Davis), La cugina (Morricone), Collage: The Last Work (Horner), Bad Times at the El Royale (Giacchino)
Read: Bomber's Law, by George V. Higgins
Seen: I haven't been to any movies, of course, but I have been reading Groucho, an excellent biography by Stefan Kanfer (I don’t think I need to explain whom it’s a biography of), and came across this eerily relevant passage, about the 1918 tour of the Marx Brothers’ stage show “The Street Cinderella”:
Inept as the show was, though, the Brothers might have been able to save it except for a virus. Just at that time an epidemic of Spanish influenza swept through the country, affecting every aspect of American life. Author Mary McCarthy, who lost both parents to the plague, would later write about those fatal weeks in the fall of 1918 as "when no hospital beds were to be had and people went about with masks or stayed shut up in their houses, and the awful fear of contagion paralyzed all services and made each man an enemy to his neighbor." Vaudeville theaters were only allowed to be half full -- members of the audience had to leave one seat on either side empty so that they would not breathe on each other. To further protect themselves many wore surgical masks, so that even when they laughed the sound was muffled. "The Street Cinderella" could be chalked up as another victim of the flu, succumbing in Michigan to bad reviews and empty houses.
Watched: The Ring , Columbo ("Now You See Him," "Last Salute to the Commodore"), The Terror ("Horrible from Supper"), Firefly ("Our Mrs. Reynolds"), Weird Woman
REMEMBERING THE AGE OF ANTONOWSKY: ADDENDUM
As anyone who has bothered reading to the end of these Friday columns for the last ten weeks has probably noticed, I've fallen into the research rabbit hole of looking up poster taglines for films past and present, particularly the memorably verbose texts supervised by the late Marvin Antonowsky, a former executive at Columbia and Universal in the early 1980s.
I much prefer the more terse style currently in vogue, such as these examples:
Act like you own the place (Parasite)
Here's to the fools who dream. (La La Land)
Love is a force of nature (Brokeback Mountain)
Love knows no boundaries (Room)
No one gets away clean (Traffic)
Own your story (Little Women)
They took the American dream for a ride (Ford v Ferrari)
The truth can be adjusted (Michael Clayton)
What a lovely day. (Mad Max: Fury Road)
You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies (The Social Network)
Looking back at posters of the 1970s, I was impressed by how many major films avoided taglines entirely, and just went with a strong central image and no text besides the title and credit block, including Chinatown, Heaven Can Wait, Kramer vs. Kramer, Lenny, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Taxi Driver. Annie Hall might have been the last Woody Allen film to actually have a tagline ("A nervous romance"), while Deliverance had one of the best of the era ("This is the weekend they didn't play golf")
Some posters of the 1960s, on the other hand, were especially wordy, such as Fred Zinnemman's 1960 Australia-set quasi-Western The Sundowners:
HERE COME THE SUNDOWNERS! They’re real people, fun people, fervent
people; They have a tremendous urge to keep breathing. Their rousing
story comes roaring across six thousand miles of excitement…
First off, "fervent people?" Was that a phrase well designed to draw people to a theater? More puzzling is "They have a tremendous urge to keep breathing." Was that unusual quality for people in the early 1960s? The film is set in Australia -- do they have a different attitude about breathing than is found in the rest of the world?
The text for 1961 Best Picture nominee Fanny practically hyperventilates in its enthusiasm:
We could fill every inch of this theatre
telling you all about the wonderful time you’re going to
have with Fanny. We could tell you about Fanny and Marius
…Fanny and Panisse…Fanny and Cesar…Fanny and her
baby. We could tell you – but maybe we’ll let you tell us be-
cause after you see Fanny you’re going to tell everybody!
FANNY IS ALL THE LOVE STORIES OF THE WORLD ROLLED INTO ONE!
But for sheer word count, probably nothing tops the 1965 film version of the play A Thousand Clowns:
It’s about…Hot pastrami sandwiches. Chuckles, the Chipmunk,
the original Lum Far’s Oriental Paradise, 18 busted radios,
24 worthless clocks, a Prussian helmet, unemployment
insurance, spies, kite-flying, a bugle, a wooden eagle,
4 pairs of binoculars, the Statue of Liberty, a Park Avenue
volleyball team, one television set (minus screen),
a nameless nephew whose mother went out for cigarettes
seven years ago, a girl with a “good-bye” problem, and a
one-in-a-million guy by the name of Murray Burns.
Sooner or Later…
You’ll Fall in Love with
“A Thousand Clowns”
One can only appreciate the pride and enthusiasm displayed in this tagline for one of A Thousand Clowns' Best Picture competitors of 1965, Darling:
a powerful and bold motion picture...
made by adults...with adults...for adults!
Poster taglines of the 1960s frequently resorted to empty hyperbole that might have seemed a bit old-fashioned at the time:
The Greatest Adventure Ever Lived Becomes the Greatest Adventure Ever Filmed (Mutiny on the Bounty)
The greatest high adventure ever filmed! (The Guns of Navarone)
The happiest sound in all the world (The Sound of Music)
...a motion picture for all times! (A Man for All Seasons)
Much more than a musical! (Oliver!)
Never so timely! Never so great! (The Longest Day)
Once in a generation...a motion picture explodes into greatness! (Judgment at Nuremberg)
Perhaps the most extraordinary story of courage, conflict and devotion ever filmed! (Lilies of the Field)
The screen achieves one of the great entertainments in the history of motion pictures. (West Side Story)
You've never seen anything like it in your life! (Doctor Dolittle)
I was surprised to see that in the 1930s, like the 1970s, many major films went without taglines, instead relying on the gorgeous poster art of the era, although plenty of posters of the 1930s through the 1950s did not stint on the hyperbole:
At last on the screen! (The Caine Mutiny)
At last on the screen! Biggest spectacle since Quo Vadis (Ivanhoe)
The boldest book of our time...honestly, fearlessly on the screen! (From Here to Eternity)
The entertainment experience of a lifetime! (Ben-Hur)
Everybody's talking about it! It's terrific! (Citizen Kane)
Frank Capra's greatest production (Lost Horizon)
The Great American Motion Picture! (In Old Chicago)
The greatest event in motion picture history! (The Ten Commandments)
The greatest heart drama of the year (Boys Town)
The greatest motion picture of our time! (In Which We Serve)
Here is a motion picture that was marked for greatness before it was even screened! (Dodsworth)
It's the Great American Story! (Pride of the Yankees)
Last year's No. 1 best-seller...This year's No. 1 motion picture. (Anatomy of a Murder)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's great production (The Human Comedy)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's greatest motion picture (David Copperfield)
The most electrifying entertainment of our time! (Witness for the Prosecution)
The most exciting picture of the world's most exciting city! (Dead End)
One of the great ones (The Defiant Ones)
The Pulitzer Prize wnning novel beocmes a vital, very great motion picture (All the King's Men)
The screen's most unusual picture (Our Town)
The sensation of the century! (The Great Ziegfeld)
Takes its place among the greatest pictures ever made! (Lady for a Day)
Terrific as all creation (Cimarron)
There has never been a motion picture like...(The Red Shoes)
The Thrill Spectacle of the Year! (Foreign Correspondent)
A truly great motion picture (The Heiress)
But for me, nothing can top the tagline for William Wyler's 1956 Best Picture nominee Friendly Persuasion, an earnest film about a Quaker family during the Civil War, starring Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire and an Oscar-nominated Anthony Perkins. I can only imagine that this was some sort of inside joke among the marketing team:
"It Will Pleasure You In a Hundred Ways!"
In conclusion, I was intrigued to discover that the lengthy, Antonowsky-esques taglines were an overall trend from the 70s through the early 90s even at other studios, as these examples demonstrate (one or more, such as Tender Mercies, may be from Antonowsky himself, but most of these I believe were done without him):
is an invader of privacy.
The best in the business.
He can record
between two people
three people are dead
because of him.
[The Conversation, 1974]
“THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, THIS LAND
IS MY LAND, FROM CALIFORNIA TO THE
NEW YORK ISLAND. THIS LAND WAS
MADE FOR YOU AND ME.”
The man who wrote these
words was Woody Guthrie.
His music has become as
much a part of America
as its mountains, its rivers,
and its people.
His life has touched all of
our lives. This is his story.
[Bound for Glory, 1976]
She laughs, she cries, she feels angry,
she feels lonely, she feels guilty,
she makes breakfast, she makes love,
she makes do, she is strong, she is weak,
she is brave, she is scared, she is…
an unmarried woman.
[An Unmarried Woman, 1978]
She was married at 13. She had four kids by the time she was 20.
She’s been hungry and poor. She’s been loved and cheated on.
She became a singer because it was the only thing she could do.
She became a star because it was the only way she could do it.
[Coal Miner's Daughter, 1980]
This is a story of two men
who run…not to run…
but to prove something
to the world.
They will sacrifice anything
to achieve their goals…
Except their honor.
[Chariots of Fire, 1981]
The night of February 5, 1976, George and
Kathleen Lutz and their three children
fled their home in Amityville, New York.
They got out alive!
Their living nightmare shocked audiences
around the world in “The Amityville Horror.”
But before them, another family lived in
this house and were caught by the original evil.
They weren’t so lucky…this is their story!
[Amityville II: The Possession, 1982]
Charlie Horman thought that
being an American
would guarantee his safety.
His family believed that
would guarantee them the truth.
They were all wrong.
Frank Galvin Has One Last Chance At A Big Case.
The doctors want to settle,
the Church wants to settle,
their lawyers want to settle,
and even his own clients
are desperate to settle.
But Galvin is determined
to defy them all.
He will try the case.
[The Verdict, 1982]
FROM BRUCE BERESFORD,
THE ACCLAIMED DIRECTOR OF "BREAKER MORANT."
WRITTEN BY HORTON FOOTE, SCREENWRITER OF
"TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD."
Robert Duvall is Mac Sledge,
down and out country
singer. His struggle
for fame was over.
His fight for
respect was just
[Tender Mercies, 1983]
He was a reporter for The New York Times.
He covered the Cambodian War with his camera
and wrote about it from his heart.
His coverage would win him
a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.
But the friend who made it all possible
couldn’t be by his side.
He was half the world away
with his life in great danger.
This is a story of war and friendship,
the anguish of a country and
of one man’s will to live.
[The Killing Fields, 1984]
She is the most mysterious, independent,
beautiful, angry person
he has ever met.
He is the first man who has ever gotten
close enough to love her.
[Children of a Lesser God, 1986]
Deep in the jungles of South America
two men bring civilization to a native tribe.
Now, after years of struggle together,
they find themselves on opposite sides in a
dramatic fight for the natives' independence.
One will trust in the power of prayer.
One will believe in the might of the sword.
[The Mission, 1986]
He was the Lord of Ten Thousand Years,
the absolute monarch of China.
He was born to rule a world
of ancient tradition.
Nothing prepared him for our world of change.
A true story
[The Last Emperor, 1987]
was set in his ways.
The way he lived,
thought and worked.
He imagined it would
always be like that.
Until an unusual woman
showed him the way
it could be.
[The Accidental Tourist, 1988]
Col. Frank Slade
has a very special plan
for the weekend.
It involves travel, women,
good food, fine wine, the tango,
and a loaded forty-five.
And he’s bringing
for the ride.
[Scent of a Woman, 1992]