The latest release from Intrada is an expanded, two-disc edition of Hugo Friedhofer's score for THE YOUNG LIONS, the 1958 black-and-white widescreen WWII epic about three soldiers -- two American, one German -- starring two of the most influential actors of the era, Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, along with Dean Martin. The original LP sequencing was released decades ago on CD by Varese Sarabande, but the Intrada release features the full score recorded for the film in stereo, followed by source cues and the LP sequencing.
The label has also just released a remastered edition of its expanded two-disc version of James Horner's period superhero score THE ROCKETEER.
Quartet has announced two new releases -- a disc pairing remastered, slightly expanded version of two scores which Philippe Sarde composed for director Claude Sautet: MAX ET LES FERRAILLEURS and VINCENT, FRANCOIS, PAUL ET LES AUSTRES; and two previously unreleased scores by Stelvio Cipriani, LA NOTTE DELL’ULTIMO GIORNO and PROCESSO PER DIRETISSIMA.
La-La Land's brand-new premiere release of the score to SLIVER features not only Howard Shore's original score for the film but four cues of additional music Christopher Young composed for the release version.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Django Il Bastardo - Vasco Vassil Kojucharov - Beat
Genova a Mano Armata - Franco Micalizzi - Digitmovies
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
Preparati La Bara - Gian Franco Reverberi - Digitmovies
The Rocketeer [re-mastered re-release] - James Horner - Intrada Special Collection
Sliver - Howard Shore, Christopher Young - La-La Land
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea - Alexander Courage, Robert Drasnin, Jerry Goldsmith, Lennie Hayton, Joseph Mullendore, Nelson Riddle, Paul Sawtell, Herman Stein, Leith Stevens - La-La Land
The Young Lions - Hugo Friedhofer - Intrada Special Collection
Da Corleone a Brooklyn - Franco Micalizzi - Digitmovies
La schiava io ce l’ho e tu no - Piero Umiliani - Beat
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (re-release) - Joel McNeely - Varese Sarabande
Hackers - Simon Boswell, songs - Varese Sarabande
The Day Time Ended - Richard Band - Dragon's Domain
The Edward David Zeliff Collection, Vol. 1 - Edward David Zeliff - Dragon's Domain
Everybody's End - Luigi Seviroli - Digitmovies
La notte dell’ultimo giorno/Processo per diretissima - Stelvio Cipriani - Quartet
La Svergognata/Anima Mia - Berto Pisano, Franco Pisano - Digitmovies
Max et les ferrailleurs/Vincent, Francois, Paul et les autres - Philippe Sarde - Quartet
One Potato, Two Potato - Gerald Fried - Caldera
Poliziotto Senza Paura - Stelvio Cipriani - Digitmovies
Rambo: Last Blood - Brian Tyler - Rambling
10.5 - Lee Holdridge - Dragon's Domain
Thunderbirds - Barry Gray - Silva
2019 dopo la caduta di New York - Guido & Maurizio De Angelis - Beat
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
June 26 - John Greenwood born (1889)
June 26 - Dave Grusin born (1934)
June 26 - George Bassman died (1997)
June 27 - John McCarthy born (1961)
June 27 - Nelson Riddle
begins recording his score for Batman
June 28 - Richard Rodgers born (1902)
June 28 - Ken Wannberg born (1930)
June 28 - Nora Orlandi born (1933)
June 28 - Bjorn Isfalt born (1942)
June 28 - Charlie Clouser born (1963)
June 28 - George Duning
's score for the Star Trek
episode "Metamorphosis" is recorded (1967)
June 28 - Lalo Schifrin records “Underground,” his final episode score for the original Mission: Impossible (1972)
June 28 - Malcolm Lockyer died (1976)
June 28 - Paul Dessau died (1979)
June 29 - Joseph Carl Breil born (1870)
June 29 - Bernard Herrmann born (1911)
June 29 - Ulpio Minucci born (1917)
June 29 - Ralph Burns born (1922)
June 29 - Daniele Amfitheatrof
begins recording his score for The Painted Hills
June 29 - Richard Markowitz’s score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Infernal Machine” is recorded (1966)
June 29 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Encore” (1971)
June 29 - Mischa Spoliansky died (1985)
June 29 - Bert Shefter died (1999)
June 30 - Tony Hatch born (1939)
June 30 - Stanley Clarke born (1951)
June 30 - Hal Lindes born (1953)
June 30 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for The Boys from Brazil (1978)
June 30 - Guenther Kauer died (1983)
June 30 - Craig Safan begins recording his score for the Amazing Stories episode "The Wedding Ring" (1986)
June 30 - Basil Poledouris begins recording his score for Flight of the Intruder (1990)
June 30 - Dennis McCarthy
records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager
episode “The 37’s” (1995)
July 1 - Sigmund Krumgold born (1896)
July 1 - Hans Werner Henze born (1926)
July 1 - Andrae Crouch born (1942)
July 1 - Francois Dompierre born (1943)
July 1 - Alfred Newman
begins recording his score for The Robe
July 1 - Roddy Bottum born (1963)
July 1 - Seamus Egan born (1969)
July 2 - Jeff Alexander born (1910)
July 2 - Fabio Frizzi born (1951)
July 2 - Frederic Talgorn born (1961)
July 2 - Kristian Eidnes Andersen born (1966)
July 2 - Nathan Van Cleave died (1970)
July 2 - Richard Band
begins recording his score for From Beyond
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
"Ritchie is primarily known as the director of gritty and grimy crime comedies, and he usually brings that aesthetic to mainstream action like 'Sherlock Holmes.' But he also helms witty and colorful fluff like 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,' and 'Aladdin' is mostly in that camp. With music that breathes new life to beloved songs with an emphasis on percussion and horns, and production designer Gemma Jackson’s luscious world building that borrows from various Middle-Eastern cultures as added pedigree, 'Aladdin' is the rare remake that actually gives us a whole new world."
Oktay Ege Kozak, Paste Magazine
"The old-fashionedly theatrical music -- including an emotional climax preceded by the phrase 'no sir-ee' -- did take a few minutes to gel in my brain with new (human!) faces, parkour stunts in the bazaar, and the neon-rainbow swirls of the costumes and sets. But other than its candy-colored delights, Aladdin counts among its chief pleasures the fleshing out of its characters. Having been forced to do some dastardly things in the past, Smith’s Genie is notably disillusioned, especially when it comes to the ambitions of power-hungry men. Jasmine’s disinclination toward matrimony gains dimensions beyond teenage petulance (though I suspect her new 'Let It Go'-esque power ballad, by 'Dear Evan Hansen' composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, will have as about as much staying power as an unattended apple within Abu’s field of vision). The reinvention of Jafar as a fellow 'street rat' turned royal confidant -- and a starry-eyed visionary who can dream more grandly than the sultan himself -- should work better than it does, providing a natural foil to the story’s nimble social climber, but Kenzari fails to find the human tragedy within his character’s backstory. The new 'Aladdin' doesn’t quite add up to a whole new world, but the update derives some small wisdom from having been more places."
Inkoo Kang, Slate.com
"Fears are quickly quelled though. Alan Menken‘s illustrious and regal score is captivating and while it does take a minute to adjust to Will Smith singing, it’s hard to resist the feeling of being transported to a whole new world, the second the orchestra swells into the classic 'Arabian Nights' tune. 'Aladdin' is a film that’s sometimes too cartoony and broad, but also still undeniably entertaining and charming in spots. The character of Jasmine fares well and the spectacular Scott (the real hero of the film) is terrific. Reinvented for the modern era. Jasmine is given a powerful, topical, and rich character arc fighting to be heard, challenging the outdated laws and traditions of her country, and proving her strength, compassion, intellect, and capability as a leader (all of it comes to a head in the show-stopping 'Speechless' musical number). 'Aladdin' is at its best when it ventures out to form its own interpretation and while not all of the choices necessarily work, it is refreshing to see Ritchie and the ensemble attempt a genuine reimagining. Arguably more so than the previous live-action remakes, 'Aladdin' feels fresh, distinct, and modern as it aspires to be more than a simple shot for shot retelling -- something that shouldn’t go unnoticed despite its shortcomings. Sure, the execution can be a bit cartoony at times, some of the musical numbers feel a bit too 'Broadway,' and they certainly could’ve used more dynamic and creative camera work, but this reimagining is ultimately a magic carpet ride you won’t mind experiencing."
Griffin Schiller, The Playlist
"Best of all, the film is a proudly out-and-out musical. Bollywood influences abound with dance numbers that dazzle and delight. The charm of the West End musical and the original animation have been blended to create a fresh feel to the tale. Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman’s cherished songs are injected with renewed life, and a new number gives Jasmine her own moment to shine. Yet, despite Scott’s impressive vocals, the impact is diminished by Ritchie’s nauseating insistence on slow-motion. His choice of this effect ruins more than one scene."
Joseph Walsh, Time Out London
"In an attempt to give Jasmine something to do other than be the object of men’s affections, Ritchie and co-writer John August blend the character’s traditional frustrations at being trapped behind palace walls with a newfound resentment over how her capacity to rule as sultan is thwarted by traditional gender roles. Nonetheless, her desires to lead are bluntly articulated and reflective of a broader tendency among the film’s characters to express their awareness of their own repression by tilting their heads back and staring off into the distance as they speak extemporaneously about their dreams. Poor Scott is also burdened with the film’s big new song, 'Speechless,' an instantly dated empowerment anthem that suggests the sonic equivalent of that old woman’s botched restoration of the Ecce Homo fresco in Borja, Spain. The film does come somewhat to life during its musical numbers. Though these sequences are marked by simplistic and unengaging choreography, they don’t quell the verve of Howard Ashman and Tim Rice’s original songs."
Jake Cole, Slant Magazine
"In true 2019 Disney fashion, Jasmine gets her own freshly added musical showcase to ensure that the audience understands how empowered she is as a modern, independent woman. Her song 'Speechless' sounds like a Jessie J B-side that Hillary Clinton rejected as a campaign theme song circa 2015, but it’s one of the film’s more appealingly performed songs. The only hint of vocal bravado in this otherwise amiable movie comes when Naomi Scott opens her mouth to belt out her musical statements of purpose. Jasmine’s solo number compensates for the way 'A Whole New World' is staged, in a way that makes the film’s world feel smaller, and as if the lyrics don’t matter. (Why sing 'Don’t you dare close your eyes' if no one is closing their eyes? Where’s the blocking?) But 'Speechless' doesn’t make up for the fact that the film’s best, most energetic musical number comes during the end credits -- a Will Smith / DJ Khaled version of 'Friend Like Me' that might leave audiences wondering, 'Why go to Pasek and Paul at all? Why not DJ Khaled for the whole soundtrack, given that the top-billed star is a ’90s rap icon?' Perhaps two white men rooted in traditional American show tunes weren’t the best possible choice to update music that wanted to draw from Middle Eastern and hip-hop musical influences, not when the Palestinian DJ Khaled was right there. It was uniquely frustrating to see the best number '' the film’s only real original statement of purpose '' come at the end of the feature, showing what the film could have been if the creative team had stretched their imaginations instead of mechanically reproducing the original film. It’s a shame that Ritchie couldn’t execute the musical vision 'Aladdin' requires, and that the music itself wasn’t more imaginative. The film has its positive elements, and with stronger numbers, it might have gelled more effectively. It would be nice to be able to say more than, 'Well, at least "Aladdin" is better than Disney’s garish recent live-action "Dumbo."' But at least it is better than 'Dumbo,' because Disney is not going to stop giving us these expensive, unnecessary, generally über-profitable remakes."
Kendra James, The Verge
"There’s another all-important rule that comes with the Genie’s three wishes: No amount of magic can make someone fall in love. Williams’ largely ad-libbed vocal performance (not to mention Eric Goldberg’s character animation) remains one of the great successes of Disney’s post-'Little Mermaid' renaissance period, and no amount of star power and special effects could ever truly fill his pointy shoes. But even taking that into account, the decision to hand the role over to Will Smith seems like titanic miscasting. The erstwhile Fresh Prince is a much more subdued presence (and that’s putting it nicely), though the script still insists on having him repeat many of Williams’ improvised zingers. The popular Broadway stage adaptation of 'Aladdin' managed to get out of his shadow by leaning into the source material’s strengths as a musical, restoring characters and songs that had been cut during the production of the original film. But the new 'Aladdin' -- which features the animated version’s half-dozen musical numbers, often with truncated or poorly reworded lyrics, and adds in a misbegotten new song -- feels hamstrung by the music. Simply put, Smith isn’t much of a singer, a fact that becomes obvious the moment he starts belting out 'Arabian Nights' over the opening credits. (The end credits, on the other hand, get a vintage, movie-summarizing Will Smith rap.)"
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The Onion AV Club
"In the 27 years since the cartoon was first released, Disney’s 'Aladdin' has been reinvented once before as a live-action Broadway musical (a natural, considering the cartoon’s show-tunes-powered format). Ritchie’s approach benefits from that adaptation. Reteaming with composer Alan Menken, who’s assisted here by 'La La Land' lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the director borrows many of the ideas from the stage version and ports them back over into the iconic visual world of the animated film -- adding an over-the-top Bollywood-style spin to the film’s biggest production numbers. Audiences know these Disney classics so well that any live-action adaptation succeeds or fails by how closely the filmmakers choose to adhere to the original. From the start, 'Aladdin' demanded at least one major change: As a story inspired by 'One Thousand and One Nights,' the cartoon was an Arabic folktale as reinvented by white guys, which means that any contemporary version would need to cast people of color in the roles. Smith will get the majority of the attention, bringing so much of his own brand to the Genie (he even calls out his own name in the end-credits song). Yet Scott commands her share of respect as Jasmine, reinventing the character via the movie’s contemporary-sounding 'Speechless' -- the closest thing to a female empowerment anthem Disney has given us since Queen Elsa let it go in 'Frozen.'"
Peter Debruge, Variety
"The classic songs ('A Whole New World,' 'Friend Like Me,' etc.) are all here, albeit in slightly altered form. Some lyrics have been changed, and the arrangements are modernized with the occasional hip-hop influence. There's also an entirely new number, 'Speechless,' featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ('Dear Evan Hansen,' 'La La Land'), that feels all too calculated but probably necessary as a feminist anthem for a character who at one point is told, 'It's better for you to be seen and not heard.' The showstopping 'Prince Ali' gets the most elaborate treatment, with a lavish production number that pours on the spectacle but never really catches fire. Ironically, it's only in the musical reprise during the end credits that a genuine sense of joy is transmitted onscreen."
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
"It’s possible to appreciate 'The Beach Bum' as a sustained and inventive piece of style-over-substance filmmaking and still find it all a little on-the-nose, from the casting (Jimmy Buffett shows up in a cameo) to John Debney’s slightly cutesy score. The movie’s looseness feels controlled and choreographed to a tee, its world hermetically sealed, its over-the-top-ness a bit dated."
Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter
BOOKSMART - Dan the Automator
"Wilde’s film is a complete package delivered to theaters with a bow on top. The movie’s cinematography matches the teens’ wild 'After Hours' adventure with dreamy yet colorful lighting. No high school party ever looked so good. There’s one scene where cinematographer Jason McCormick, who shares Wilde’s background in music videos, captures the moment Amy’s crush, Ryan (Victoria Ruesga), leans her elbow on Amy’s knee, causing time to slow and the pink and yellow party lights to saturate the karaoke room, like that moment when your heart skips a beat because someone you like acknowledges your affections. The snappy rhythm of Jamie Gross’ editing makes the girls' adventure feel like it’s flying by to the infectious beats of Gorillaz’s Dan the Automator. It’s a sensational mix that left me with an elated feeling by the time the credits rolled."
Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com
"'Booksmart' is so finely textured: in set design (a throwaway Virginia Woolf prop made me giggle) and blocking (campus buzzes with activity, including rather delightfully some random fencers parrying and thrusting in the background of one shot), in the superior soundtrack and original music by Dan the Automator, and, most especially, in the performances. There are small supporting turns from star comic talents (Jessica Williams, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, and Wilde’s partner, Jason Sudeikis), and they’re all great. But the movie doesn’t really need them. The kids are doing just fine without the grownups. The charismatic teen cast of mostly unknowns are all coolness as they subvert their assigned types of jock, slut, stoner, and so on. In another movie, Molly and Amy would be reduced to types, too -- nerds. Instead, 'Booksmart' lets them be confident in their smarts and (mostly) comfortable in their skin. Refreshingly, their journey is about running toward experience, not away from their essential selves. I imagine a lot of young people will recognize themselves in this movie, and that isn’t something that always happens in teen comedy, either."
Kimberley Jones, The Austin Chronicle
"Much of 'Booksmart' is in the vein of the find-the-party odyssey and travelogue replete with false starts, bad breaks, crazy detours (the theater hags in-character costume party), but at its best, and most authentic, it’s a squad girls friendship movie that also gets into the nitty-gritty of where this amazing, but complicated relationship is unhealthy and co-dependent and it’s time for these girls to find their own way not so attached-to-the-hip. Perhaps one half is the zaniness of 'Superbad' et al, and the other, something more heartfelt and unaffected like 'Lady Bird' and one wishes it leaned just a tad more in the Greta Gerwig direction and less buddy cop comedy for teen girls. Credited to far too many writers, Katie Silberman, Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, and Susanna Fogel, 'Booksmart' is wicked clever, exciting, dynamic, and fortunately doesn’t feel written by committee, but perhaps all these cooks is why the movie has the nagging sensation of being slightly overwrought and forced (one Molly-spiked scene that goes into stop-motion animation to convey the insanity of drugs is just too much, for example). 'Booksmart' is the type of movie that possesses the best, most dreamy music montage of the year (great score by Dan The Automator on top of the best soundtrack of the year, but also cool it a bit) that will visually f*cking floor you; and yet it also contains two too many music montages as well. Still, it’s so superfresh -- arguably what we should call this uber lit genre that mashes social media sensibilities with pop culture-- it’s only a minor knock."
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
CAPTIVE STATE - Rob Simonsen
"The cinematography by Alex Disenhof serves as a perfect complement to Wyatt’s vision -- it’s relentlessly grim, awash in browns and grays with some stark contrast. Rob Simonsen’s percussion and bass-heavy electronic score almost gives voice to the characters’ anxious heartbeats. It’s a shame that its studio didn’t more heavily market 'Captive State.' Smart, layered, tense, well-executed sci-fi like this should be nurtured in movie theaters."
Oktay Ege Kozak, Paste Magazine
"To say much more about plot specifics would not be fair, because 'Captive State' is one of those relatively rare movies that are all the more gripping if you don’t fully understand what is happening on a minute-to-minute basis, and you’re forced to focus your attention to suss out just who is deserving of a rooting interest, and why they’re doing what they do. The plot has something to do with an assassination conspiracy, which generates as much sweaty-palmed tension as anything in the 'Bourne Identity' franchise, and something else to do with contriving to make someone seem as safe and trustworthy as -- yes, you guessed it! -- a Trojan Horse. Rob Simonsen’s pulsating score propels the movie through the moodily hued urban landscape that DP Alex Disenhof aptly depicts as a place where the sun seldom shines, and nights are fraught with threats."
Joe Leydon, Variety
"Burton’s live-action incarnation of the 1941 animated Disney classic consists of pieces of better Burton movies stitched together. With his oversized ears that make him the subject of both awe and ridicule, Dumbo is a classic Burton misfit -- the kind of character the director has focused on in twisted yet kindhearted fashion for the entirety of his career. Specifically, though, the century-old circus setting can’t help but call to mind 'Big Fish,' especially with Danny DeVito once again serving as ringleader. 'Dumbo' also offers a 'Batman Returns' reunion, with both DeVito and Michael Keaton reteaming with Burton, albeit with their hero and villain roles reversed. And the music from Burton’s decades-long collaborator Danny Elfman is frequently reminiscent of Elfman’s haunting score for 'Edward Scissorhands.'"
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
THE FAREWELL - Alex Weston
"A crushingly bittersweet mood dominates the film, and Wang demonstrates a steady hand in her balancing of morbid material and warm, culturally insightful humor, threaded together by a minimal, sentimental score of dulcet vocals and a single violin. Because the filmmaker approaches the story from the perspective of a Chinese-American millennial (essentially a foreigner in China, even though she was born there), she occasionally flirts with trivializing some of the customs that Billi finds befuddling, like a spa treatment that leaves behind gruesome purple welts or Nai Nai’s daily tai-chi routine, which involves slapping her forearms and legs to 'increase circulation.' (Implicitly, the ignorance doesn’t stop at the lie.) Outside of the tight, intimate apartment spaces, Wang and cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano capture a developing Changchun -- Wang’s actual family hometown -- with the wide-eyed wonder of a visitor, accentuating the place’s unfamiliarity while honing in on its beautiful peculiarity: neon lights, sizzling food carts, enormous cranes hanging over imposing grey buildings."
Beatrice Loayza, The Onion AV Club
"As Billi comes to understand -- or at least relate -- to her family in a fresh light, the movie lingers on indelible images that deepen this portrait of complex family dynamics. After a pivotal moment, as the family walks toward the camera in slo-mo with Billi at the center and Alex Weston’s euphoric score swells, ‘The Farewell’ lands on a tricky happy medium between the eccentric and somber aspects of its curious scenario. It winds up with a sharply bittersweet finale -- followed by an abrupt revelation sure to keep people talking. The movie doesn’t side with Billi or her her family on the decision to obscure the truth - but it suggests that by bringing them all tougher, her grandmother gets the last laugh either way."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"Now comes the real lie: In what is commonplace practice in China, Nai Nai’s family elects to withhold a grim diagnosis of cancer from her, saying the news is good. The clan comes together in Asia under the false pretext of a sudden wedding between Billi’s cousin and his confused Japanese girlfriend, setting the stage for a gathering that’s outwardly celebratory but secretly devastated (a mood beautifully supported by Alex Weston’s vocal-heavy score)."
Tomris Laffly, Time Out New York
"I found Alex Weston's score, with its coating of vocalizing on strings, a little kitschy and overpowering, but that's a minor issue unlikely to impede anyone's enjoyment. A lovely coda with video of Wang's actual grandmother seals the deal on a highly engaging charmer of a movie that never puts a foot wrong."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"This means that while 'Happy Death Day' was a horror movie about a college student stuck in a time loop, the sequel is really about a college student stuck in 'Happy Death Day.' An obvious reference point is the self-referencing 'Back to the Future Part II,' especially obvious because the characters directly discuss how much their story resembles that movie. For punctuation, the musical score even imitates Alan Silvestri’s trademark intrigue-twinkles from that Robert Zemeckis series. Tree, for her part, has not seen 'Back to the Future Part II,' much to the chagrin of her nerdy friends, and she’s 'so over this sh*t,' as she puts it when she wakes up in the same dorm-room bed for the umpteenth time. A masked killer is still after her, her new boyfriend has no memory of their first few days together, and she still gets weaker with every re-spawn, even when she takes matters into her own hands in a ghoulishly silly montage. Tree has learned to be a better person, but she isn’t entirely done growing up."
Jesse Hassenger, The Verge
HER SMELL - Keegan DeWitt
"More loudly stylized than his earlier films, ‘Her Smell’ is visceral nightmare from the moment it starts; if the script evokes John Cassavetes, the aesthetic seems more inspired by Gaspar Noe. Sean Price Williams’ sinuous tracking shots follow Becky and her bandmates through the grimy backstage halls, taking us deep into a labyrinth of pain and self-preservation. Keegan DeWitt’s queasy, bass-heavy score pounds through the ceiling, like the entire first half of the movie takes place on the floor below the loudest house party of all time. Huge chunks of the dialogue are drowned out by the din, which is just as well, because every word you hear from Becky makes you loathe her more."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"A low thrum runs throughout much of 'Her Smell.' It’s part of the [sic] Keegan DeWitt’s unsettling score, but it could easily be mistaken for diegetic sound design, or even just the actual noise picked up in the low-ceilinged space under a rock venue. It starts out sounding like guitars and drums and screaming crowds filtered through several walls, but soon starts to sound like the churn of machinery. You can imagine gargantuan gears, like the ones that propelled the Titanic, on the other side of the grimy green room where Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) terrorizes her bandmates, handlers, and anyone else who dares come within 20 feet of her. Over time, it occurs to you that the sound may only be there for Becky."
Emily Yoshida, New York
"Much of this miscalculation is due to Perry’s insistence on keeping Becky and her art at a curious distance, save for a couple of songs she gets to perform. Even when the filmmaker’s repeat cinematographer Sean Price Williams loyally twirls around Moss’ unsteady and restless body and at times, stays invasively close to her magnificent canvas of a face smeared with tears, wrinkles and smudgy make-up, Becky feels just a touch out of reach. While each of the film’s sections starts with home-style videos serving as brief Preludes into the world of the 'former' (normal?) Becky, Perry quickly pulls us back into frenzied episodes, with Keegan DeWitt’s ominous score pumping through the veins of 'Her Smell' in uniform but atonal beats. One memorable section sees Becky at her most despicable, when she treats both her band and Akergirls (Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson and Dylan Gelula), a newish collaborating band that clearly worships her, abhorrently at a recording studio. Others follow her through hallways and backstage rooms as she lands from target to target to unleash her energetic anger. But none of that quite puts us inside of her mind."
Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com
"Anyone going into 'Her Smell' expecting a conventional movie will be disappointed. Perry utilizes a five-act structure and has each segment play out over long, often chaotic takes. During backstage segments, loud, bass-heavy music ceaselessly throbs in the background while characters speak. All the while, the sets -- often cramped studios and dressing rooms -- can barely contain Moss’ Godzilla-sized performance. Between the abrasive characters, the camera’s tight close-ups, and droning music, 'Her Smell' turns into an unpleasant watch. And that’s what Perry is striving for. This picture is about a suffering woman who masks her pain through her addictions -- drugs and attention. Once immersed in the story, the viewer feels like Becky, suffocating as she bottoms out. And when the story takes a turn in the final acts, the audience can step back and catch its breath."
Victor Stiff, The Playlist
"Perry and Sean Price Williams, the writer-director’s longtime cinematographer, use Steadicam and handheld shots to conjure an intimate, unnerving feeling of destabilization, the inner tumult of Becky and her long-suffering consorts -- bandmates Marielle Hall (Agyness Deyn) and Ali van der Wolff (Gayle Rankin) and their mitigating, multi-hyphenate manager, Howard Goodman (Eric Stoltz) -- manifesting in an abrasive sound design, a persistent enmeshment of disquieting noises and strings scraping on the soundtrack. The clamoring of abused instruments suffuses the film’s scenes, lending them an air of odd menace."
Greg Cwik, Slant Magazine
POMS - Deborah Lurie
"Of course, this wouldn’t be a studio comedy without a poorly kept secret; none of the girls know that Martha’s fervent leadership is fueled by the fact that she is dying of cancer. In between rehearsals, she steps away to vomit, even though we hear at the beginning of the film that she has decided to forego chemotherapy. (The cheesy music underscoring every tonal shift does its heaviest lifting here.)"
Jude Dry, IndieWire
TOY STORY 4 - Randy Newman
"'I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away,' sings Randy Newman, Pixar's bard, in a montage from 'Toy Story 4.' The song's title is aimed at Woody (Tom Hanks), a friend to his original owner, Andy, and later to Bonnie, a five-year old who inherited Andy's toys at the end of 'Toy Story 3' and is shown refining her own playtime rituals that don't always include Woody. Secondarily, the song is officially aimed at a new character, Forky (Tony Hale), a plastic spork with popsicle-stick feet and pipe cleaner arms, created by Bonnie with material supplied by Woody during orientation day at kindergarten. Typical of 'Toy Story,' a series where inanimate objects don't merely have personalities but existential crises, Forky keeps breaking away from Bonnie and Woody and trying to hurl himself into the nearest trash receptacle. This is not a comment on his own feelings of worthiness. but an expression of the fact that Forky is, after all, a utensil, and feels most comfortable in the trash, secure in the knowledge that he fulfilled his purpose. But 'I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away' also expresses the audience's feelings for this beloved series, which has continued over nearly a quarter century, producing four installments that run the gamut from excellent to perfect. We don't want the story of 'Toy Story' to end, but we also don't want it to become a plaything taken down from the shelf out of obligation rather than excitement. If the makers of 'Toy Story 4' shared these anxieties, they've merged them into plot of this movie. Among other things, it's about a devoted playmate's fear that he's become obsolete, boring, not special anymore, and otherwise incapable of holding the attention of a child."
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
"Ultimately, what gives 'Toy Story 4' genuine heft is that it's a tale of second chances and characters who take advantage of them. Like its predecessors, the film is rambunctious, noisy, genial, unpretentious, action-packed and old-fashioned in a very good way. After a nine-year wait, it's gratifying to see original Pixar hands like Stanton, executive producers Lee Unkrich and Pete Docter and composer-singer Randy Newman collaborating at their usual high level with relative newcomers, most notably director Josh Cooley, who worked his way up through the ranks at Pixar for 15 years, toiling in the art department there on five films, helming two shorts and co-writing 'Inside Out.'"
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Gayane (Khatchurian), 21 Jump Street (Bernstein), Chinese Adventures in China/That Man from Rio (Delerue), The War of the Buttons (Berghmans), Zipi y Zape y El Club de la Canica (Velazquez), Autopsy (Morricone), Bullets Don't Argue/The Rover (Morricone), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Williams), Mathilde (Beltrami), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Emissary (McCarthy), Stronger (Brock), Dark Shadows (Elfman), She Loves Me [2016 cast] (Bock), The Rifleman (Gilbert), Knussen Conducts Knussen (Knussen), Gook (Suen), Black Book (Dudley), Hostiles (Richter), Thor: Ragnarok (Mothersbaugh), Thriller vol. 2 (Goldsmith), The Breadwinner (Danna/Danna), Wonderstruck (Burwell), Coco (Giacchino), Downsizing (Kent), The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (Velazquez), Rampage (Lockington), Libera, Amore Mio! (Morricone)
Read: The Last Trial, by Scott Turow
Seen: AMC Theaters has announced that they plan to reopen their screens next month (and are apparently not going bankrupt as feared), and I expect to be there. With a mask. And gloves. And at poorly attended weekday matinees. Probably.
Watched: Have Gun - Will Travel ("The Yuma Treasure"), The Paradine Case, Deadwood ("New Money"), Hawaii Five-O ("The Box"), Dead Man's Eyes, Hannibal ("Roti," "Releves," "Savoreux")