The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced their list of 819 actors, filmmakers and publicists whom they are inviting to join the organization. As usual, the list includes many people one is surprised to see weren't already members (Ben Mendelsohn, anyone? Udo Kier?), as well as a lot of welcome and deserving newcomers (including Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas, Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Adele Haenel, Brian Tyree Henry, Thomasin McKenzie, Florence Pugh and Lakeith Stanfield). The list including the following Music Branch invitees: score composers Tamar-Kali Brown, Chanda Dancy, Nainita Desai, Arhynn Descy, Bryce Dessner, Ilan Eshkeri, Robert Glasper, Andrea Guerra, Tom Howe, Devonte Hynes, Jung Jae-Il, Peter Kam, Lele Marchitelli, Cyril Morin, Khaled Mouzanar, Blake Neely, Roger Neill, Michael Nyman, Sattar Oraki, Michiru Oshima, Park Inyoung, Max Richter, Jeff Russo, Arturo Sandoval, Anton Sanko and Jermaine Stegall; songwriters Joshuah Brian Campbell, Cynthia Erivo (also invited to the Actors branch, no surprise), Chad Hugo, Larry Mullen Jr., Patrice Rushen and Bernie Taupin; and music editors Clint Bennett and Katie Greathouse.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
La notte dell’ultimo giorno/Processo per diretissima - Stelvio Cipriani - Quartet
Max et les ferrailleurs/Vincent, Francois, Paul et les autres - Philippe Sarde - Quartet
Da Corleone a Brooklyn - Franco Micalizzi - Digitmovies
La schiava io ce l’ho e tu no - Piero Umiliani - Beat
The Last of Us Part II - Gustavo Santolalla, Mac Quayle - Sony (import)
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (re-release) - Joel McNeely - Varese Sarabande
The Last Dalai Lama? - Philip Glass, Tenzin Choegyal - Orange Mountain
Outlander: Season 5 - Bear McCreary - Sony
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 Svergognata/Anima Mia - Berto Pisano, Franco Pisano - Digitmovies
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
July 3 - George Bruns born (1914)
July 3 - Jean Prodromides born (1927)
July 3 - Robert O. Ragland born (1931)
July 3 - David Shire born (1937)
July 3 - Peer Raben born (1940)
July 3 - Michel Polnareff born (1944)
July 3 - The Great Escape opens in Los Angeles (1963)
July 3 - Delia Derbyshire died (2001)
July 4 - Fred Wesley born (1943)
July 4 - Larry Herbstritt born (1950)
July 4 - Nathan Furst born (1978)
July 4 - Astor Piazzolla died (1992)
July 4 - Benedetto Ghiglia died (2012)
July 5 - Robbie Robertson born (1943)
July 5 - Robert J. Kral born (1967)
July 5 - Jerry Fielding's score for the Star Trek episode "Spectre of the Gun" is recorded (1968)
July 5 - RZA born as Robert Fitzgerald Diggs (1969)
July 5 - David Ferguson died (2009)
July 5 - David Fanshawe died (2010)
July 5 - Fonce Mizell died (2011)
July 6 - Hanns Eisler born (1898)
July 6 - Bernardo Bonezzi born (1964)
July 6 - John Ottman born (1964)
July 6 - Ron Goodwin begins recording his score to Force 10 from Navarone (1978)
July 6 - John Williams
begins recording his score for Superman
July 6 - Frank Cordell died (1980)
July 6 - Bruce Broughton begins recording his score for Stay Tuned (1992)
July 7 - Anton Karas born (1906)
July 7 - Ron Jones born (1954)
July 7 - Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for We’re No Angels (1954)
July 7 - Johnny Mandel begins recording his score for Point Blank (1967)
July 7 - Gerald Fried's score for the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child" is recorded (1967)
July 7 - Atli Orvarsson born (1970)
July 7 - Richard Hazard records his final Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “The Bride” (1971)
July 7 - Recording sessions begin on James Newton Howard
's score for The Fugitive
July 8 - Bob Alcivar born (1938)
July 8 - Jay Chattaway born (1946)
July 8 - John Addison records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "The Pumpkin Competition" (1986)
July 9 - Richard Hageman born (1882)
July 9 - Elisabeth Lutyens born (1906)
July 9 - Earle Hagen born (1919)
July 9 - Paul Chihara born (1938)
July 9 - Harald Kloser born (1956)
July 9 - Conrad Salinger died (1961)
July 9 - Dickon Hinchliffe born (1967)
July 9 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for The Outfit (1973)
July 9 - James Horner records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Alamo Jobe" (1985)
July 9 - Ken Thorne died (2014)
July 9 - Michael Masser died (2015)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
AFTER THE WEDDING - Mychael Danna
"With the equivalence of each woman’s life choices established, 'After the Wedding' finally -- spoilers ahead -- gets to the meat of its story, which is to say that, after an elongated series of close-ups on Williams looking like she’s just bit into a lemon at the wedding, the film reveals that Grace is actually Isabel’s biological daughter. Syrupy strings overload the soundtrack as each character in turn learns of how Oscar absconded with his daughter after he and Isabel had decided to give her up for adoption. Debate over the ethics of his decision to keep Grace after Isabel had effectively disappeared is interrupted by further revelations, each and every one as oddly paced and superficially developed as the last."
Pat Brown, Slant Magazine
"It's always a pleasure to watch nuanced actors like Williams and Moore, the latter especially good here when displaying her brittle edges. Williams remains a bit distant but she's affecting nonetheless. There's something mechanical about the movie, however, that stops it from being the honestly earned sobfest it should be, even with the lacquering of Mychael Danna's insistent score. The constant cuts to Isabel thinking longingly of her existence back in India and her bond with little Jai just feel pat, an on-the-nose contrast to the maternal regrets elsewhere in her life. It seems reasonable to expect that swapping out the male protagonists of Bier's film for two women whose agendas intersect in unexpected ways would have tapped into a richer vein."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
ANNA - Eric Serra
"Cut to 1990, when a modeling scout discovers a blue-eyed diamond in the rough. Her name is Anna, he’s blessed the the statuesque figure and flat affect that Besson has been chasing since he discovered Milla Jovovich, and in just a few months she goes from selling Russian dolls in a Moscow street market to walking the runaways of Paris. Cue woozy music, manic energy, and lots of implied sex. And then, just as our steely heroine is about to bed the shady arms dealer who’s been wooing her for months, she whips out a silenced pistol and shoots him in the head (this is sort of her move - roughly 40% of the movie is comprised of Luss walking around with an arched back and assassinating men at close range."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
ANNABELLE COMES HOME - Joseph Bishara
"Dauberman orchestrates a dramatic array of supernatural entities to frighten the girls, with the bloody bride perhaps the most threatening, other than the silently menacing Annabelle. Fluid camerawork and tightly controlled editing, which transform the Warrens' home into a genuinely haunted house, emphasize Dauberman's dark vision, abetted by franchise vet Joseph Bishara's shiveringly shrill score."
Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter
DARK PHOENIX - Hans Zimmer
"But by then, none of it matters. While Hans Zimmer provides a terrific score that adds to the movie’s sense of urgency and propulsiveness in the third act and the action is far better than it deserves to be -- many inane decisions from the characters aside -- 'Dark Phoenix' decides, in a critical moment, that it won’t consider any 'The Dark Knight'-like costs of dubious ethical choices and instead opting for the less complicated, action-packed finale."
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
“Phoenix” goes off the rails in the second half when Kinberg piles fight scene atop CG-enhanced fight scene, backed by Hans Zimmer’s oppressive pounding score, until the picture devolves into a chaotic mess.
Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times
"Xavier and his team don’t know how to handle space entities, whose minds he can’t read and whose powers seem elastic (to me, too -- I never figured out what they could and couldn’t do). But it’s great to see Chastain reveling in her character’s villainy -- high, as they say, on the hog. Kinberg conjures up some good, horror-movie images that are enhanced by Hans Zimmer’s score, which adds percussive, otherworldly sounds to the usual orchestral bombast. And above it all floats Turner, whose face is good to watch even when nothing seems to be happening on it."
David Edelstein, New York
J.T. LEROY - Tim Knavovsky
"Knoop goes from being the custodian of Albert’s creation to developing her own sense of ownership. For a while, Kelly generates a remarkable degree of intrigue as Tim Kvnavovsky’s high-pitch score injects the scenario with an aura of mystery."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
MARY MAGDALENE- Johann Johannsson, Hildur Guonadottir
"For 'Parabellum,' it quickly becomes apparent that the filmmaker drew inspiration from classic martial arts films, as many hand-to-hand fight sequences are featured prominently in this third chapter. The end result became somewhat lyrical, as the striking visuals and sophisticated skirmishes paired with immersive sound design and operatic music amount to a thing of beauty. Stahelski and cinematographer Dan Laustsen bring so much artistry to the look and aesthetic of 'Parabellum,' utilizing the entirety of the canvas to emphasize the precision of the combat. Evoking the feel of neo-noir, with such vibrant colors and distinct lighting, 'John Wick' Chapter 3''’s visual palette doubles down on the atmospheric nature of 'Chapter 2,’' ultimately elevating the film’s overall appearance to the next level."
Griffin Schiller, The Playlist
THE LION KING  - Hans Zimmer
"The sincerity of 'The Lion King' -- best expressed in the still-mighty ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’, strongly sung by Beyoncé and Glover -- has aged better than any of Disney’s goofier asides, and this update is smart to stay out of the way of that showstopper, along with Hans Zimmer’s shimmering underscore. (Elton John’s aggressively upbeat new end-credits song, ‘Never Too Late’, won’t be entering the pantheon.) But it’s not long before the digital weirdness throws the mood out again. Always effortful and desperate to impress, ‘The Lion King’ may serve as a virtual substitute for going to the zoo, but let’s hope it never replaces such outings, nor its 1994 forebear, a passport to something far more sublime."
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"At least it’s a chance for Disney to show off its current technological standard. As impressive as 'The Lion King' looks, though, it also shows the weaknesses of current photorealistic CGI. While it’s a near shot-for-shot remake of the original, this version of 'The Lion King' lacks much of the emotion and expressiveness that keeps people coming back to the first. Perhaps one of the most affecting moments of animation in the 20th century is the way Simba’s ears go flat and his eyes get wide as he sees the wildebeest stampede approaching in the moments before Mufasa is killed. The terror in his eyes is fully evident. 'The Lion King' 2019 has the correct music cues for the moment and a hell of a realistic-looking stampede. But real lions don’t emote the way cartoons can, and in the equivalent moment in the new film, Simba barely seems to react to the situation at all. And the more fanciful, playful, and experimental moments of the original have similarly been erased in favor of animals standing around looking like nature-documentary shots. During the 'Hakuna Matata' number, Pumbaa isn’t happily belly-flopping into a lagoon, nor is Simba awkwardly trying to swing in after him. While Nala and Simba are supposedly belting the final notes of 'I Just Can’t Wait to be King,' their mouths are barely open. But hey, they definitely look like real lions. This lack of dexterity weighs down the movie, and again raises the question: 'Why such a slavish remake in a medium that doesn’t allow the glory of the original to fully translate?' It’s hard to imagine millennials, or even Gen-Xers, choosing to show their kids this version of the film in lieu of the animated original. But 20 years later, the score and soundtrack are still compelling (although half of the villain number 'Be Prepared' apparently got stuck in a warehouse somewhere), and given that the script is still mostly unchanged, everything that worked narratively the first time around works again here. Someone who’s never seen the original version could probably enjoy this strictly inferior clone. But why should they?"
Kendra James, The Verge
"From the ecstatic Zulu chant that opens the film -- 'Nants ingonyama bagithi baba!' -- to the thundering drumbeat that ends it, director Jon Favreau’s exhilarating live-action take on 'The Lion King' hews closer to the Walt Disney animated masterpiece than any of the studio’s recent remakes. Technically, 'live action' is the wrong way to describe the movie -- it’s more a cover version, really -- which is every bit as animated as the 1994 original, and leagues beyond Favreau’s 2016 'The Jungle Book' update in terms of how breathtakingly photo-realistic the visual-effects work looks. At times, the movie mimics the earlier Disney toon practically shot for shot -- as in the presentation of baby Simba on Pride Rock and the spectacular wildebeest stampede that endangers him as a cub -- so much so that composer Hans Zimmer didn’t need to change a note for these sequences. That raises the inevitable question, 'Why bother?' and though any number of artistic arguments could be made (no one balks when a fresh version of 'Hamlet' hits the stage, and what is 'The Lion King' but a leonine riff on Shakespeare’s regicidal classic?), the answer here can be spelled in dollars. Considering the 1994 film was the top-grossing movie of its time, and factoring in the success of 'The Jungle Book' (the project whose nearly billion-dollar box office sparked this entire phenomenon), 'The Lion King' could be Disney’s most successful do-over yet."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"The music of 'Mary Magdalene' is significant on its own, but it has an added, sorrowful importance: it’s the last film score by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, who is co-credited with cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir. Jóhannsson was a composer whose power came from his ability to create precise atmosphere with rhythm and melody, regardless of the project. 'Mary Magdalene' is a strong testament to Jóhannsson’s meticulous arrangements, his mournful string pieces paired with howling winds and prayers, further coloring Fraser’s extreme wide shots that show Jesus’ followers as seeds in a barren land."
Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
"'Mary Magdalene''s most engrossing moments are in its opening scenes, where we see Mary in her milieu in Magdala, a quiet village on the Sea of Galilee. Davis immediately reveals himself to be on the side of the believers, as the film attempts to unite the historical and the divine visually before doing so in narrative terms after the appearance of Jesus and his disciples. Magdala is presented as a deeply sensual place, a liminal realm on the border of land and sea that marks it as a gateway between the spiritual and physical worlds. Davis hammers this home by drowning the soundtrack in an omnipresent roar of waves and nonstop, intrusive, portentous music that brings even the most mundane moments to a fever pitch. The ambient noises and orchestrated music combine to form a dirge without respite, endowing the proceedings with an incessant solemnity that quickly grows tiresome."
Oleg Ivanov, Slant Magazine
"Along the route, Davis arguably reclaims this story from the religious right, rerouting it away from lacerated, victimized flesh and back toward tolerant souls; he’s aided by the late Johann Johnannsson’s typically searching final score, and cinematographer Greig Fraser, who -- while not on 'Bright Star' form -- stages the odd fresco of bodies at prayer that might have made even a syphilitic Old Master offer thanks to the heavens. What’s missing is anything much of Gibson’s passion, which, however wayward or inflammatory, might just have pepped up those stretches of 'Mary Magdalene' that become indistinguishable from sermons or unleavened bread: manna for believers, perilously dry for everyone else."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"For Jesus of Nazareth comes into Mary’s life shortly thereafter, and she’s swiftly enveloped in his kinder, more hopeful movement. 'In the silence, is there something calling? Do you have the courage to follow what you hear?' he asks her. So she does, even if what we hear in the silence is mainly the swelling, swooning strings of Hildur Guðnadóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s unreservedly vast score -- the latter’s last, tragically, which rather heightens the hair-tingling effect of it all. Would that Mary’s religious awakening had quite the same ecstatic effect in the film, but her interactions with Jesus are consistently wan: all breathy ruminations on pained spiritual questions, with little grounded, galvanizing passion between them."
Guy Lodge, Variety
"In technical terms, 'Mary Magdalene' is a classy package. Cinematographer Greig Fraser ('Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Foxcatcher,' 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story') works mostly within an eye-pleasing palette of bleached-out creams, sandy ochres and granite grays. Costume designer Jacqueline Curran ('Darkest Hour)' mirrors this color scheme with a wardrobe of stylishly minimal shawls and robes, many hand-embroidered for the production by Palestinian refugees working for an anti-poverty social enterprise in Jordan. Striking a poignant note, quite literally, the film's haunting electro-orchestral score marks the final screen credit for composer Johan Johansson, who died this month, here working in tandem with fellow Icelander Hildur Gudnadottir."
Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
THE MOUNTAIN - Music by Robert Donne; Musical Arrangements by Daniel Lopatin
"Well before the film gets to Jack, though, and also to his shell-shocked institutionalized daughter, Susan (Hannah Gross), Alverson spends ample time setting the grim mood of his minimalist 1950s. Guided by an ambient score by Robert Donne that makes stirring use of the theremin, 'The Mountain' offers a procession of meticulously composed and art-directed tableaux, each a stifling container for the rigidly choreographed bodies within. Cinematographer Lorenzo Hagerman’s soft, dim lighting, which creates an uncanny sense of neither day nor night, draws upon Edward Hopper, while Alverson’s habit of lingering on a master shot for a pregnant minute before dollying in at a lugubrious pace, typically parallel to a wall or another flat surface, evenly distributes the menace across the film so as to leave no doubt that America’s postwar boom was less a period of enlightenment than a purgatory."
Carson Lund, Slant Magazine
"The craftsmanship is outstanding. After Josh and Benny Safdie‘s 'Good Time,' Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never proves himself an inspired choice for composer, turning in the film’s only overtly anachronistic element, an electro score made up of lonely single notes that sometimes blossom into snake charmer motifs, before going full-on blip-bleep-bloopy like a malfunctioning R2D2. Otherwise simple sequences unsettle subliminally, like a shot-reverse-shot conversation that takes place in a room, we finally notice, that has no entrance -- an impossible object, a trick of the camera, a play on the gullibility of the audience in believing what they see."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"Production designer Jacqueline Abrahams creates interiors completely lacking in warmth and personalization. Composer Dan Lopatin and sound designer Gene Park underscore the action with low whining moans, persistent buzzes like an eternal headache, and reverberating echoes. In one scene, Andy slumps in a corner, watching Perry Como sing 'Home on the Range' on the 'Ed Sullivan Show,' and the feeling of alienation is so total it's as if Andy was an astronaut, circling the earth, far away from anything connected to anything else."
Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com
"Composer Dan Lopatin and sound designer Gene Park’s contributions are similarly entwined, making for a stunningly atonal soundscape of high-frequency whines, echoes and anachronistic electronic blips. It says much for the anti-nostalgic bent of Alverson’s film, however, that its most disquieting musical cue is also its most traditional one: In this universe, the cornball sentiments of folk standard 'Home on the Range' play about as harmoniously as a buzzsaw."
Guy Lodge, Variety
THE NIGHTINGALE - Jed Kurzel
"But there is far more to admire. The tangle of languages -- Irish, English, Palawa Kani (a reconstructed amalgam of the lost languages of the indigenous Tasmanian tribes) -- and the folk songs from various cultures are sensitively complemented by Jed Kurzel‘s eerie score. Radek Ladczuk‘s academy ratio cinematography is gorgeously pictorial, even when it contains horrors, and his lustrous close-ups of faces, especially Clare’s and Billy’s, give them iconic status, lending the genre-inflected revenge narrative its seedily resonant texture. The defrosting relationship between the two is also movingly and understatedly drawn -- a scene of unexpected reunion, when each believes the other is likely dead or gone for good, is a heart-swelling but also sweetly shy moment, where they run toward each other as though to embrace but instead fall chastely into step side by side."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Rain Man (Zimmer), Spider-Man: Far from Home (Giacchino), Brigadoon (Loewe/Green/Salinger), Game Night (Martinez), Gone with the Wind [London cast] (Rome), Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (various), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Tykwer/Klimek/Heil), Let It Be...Naked (The Beatles), Hercules (Velazquez), Living in the Age of Airplanes (Horner), Storie di vita e malavita (Morricone), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Kamen), The Great Train Robbery (Goldsmith), Harper (Mandel), The Valley of Gwangi (Moross)
Read: The Fire Engine That Disappeared, by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
Seen: Warner Bros. has moved the release of Tenet from the end of July to August 12, with Mulan moving to the following week, so it remains to be seen which major studio film will be the first to open in theaters in this era of understandable uncertainty. And California Governor Gavin Newsom has just ordered that indoor movie theaters be closed for the next three weeks due to the latest spike in COVID, which surprised me only because I hadn't realized any of them were actually open.
Watched: Hannibal (“Kaiseki,” “Sakizuke,” “Hassun,” "Takiawase," "Mukozuke," "Futamono," "Yakimono," "Su-zakana," "Shiizakana," "Naka-choko," "Ko no Mono," "Tome-wan," "Mizumono"), Looking ("Looking for Top to Bottom"), Sherlock Holmes in Washington, Hannibal ("Antipasto")