Intrada plans to release two CDs next week. For those who don't mind "spoilers," information on these releases can be found on this Message Board thread.
Quartet has announced their final four releases for 2020, all featuring scores by Oscar-winning composers: the first-ever release of one of the last scores composed by Bernard Herrmann, for the 1972 Agatha Christie adaptation ENDLESS NIGHT, in a re-recording featuring Fernando Velazquez conducting the Basque National Orchestra; a three-disc release of one of Ennio Morricone's most beloved scores, for Sergio Leone's Western epic THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, featuring the complete score, alternate cues, and the original LP sequencing; a two-disc version of the soundtrack for 1969 Best Picture winner MIDNIGHT COWBOY, featuring the film's songs as well as the score cues by John Barry, both in their film versions and in the soundtrack album re-recordings; and a two-disc edition of the score for the all-star WWII epic A BRIDGE TOO FAR, featuring the film's score by John Addison (who three decades earlier had fought in the battle depicted in the film), alternate cues and the original LP sequencing.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Becoming - Kamasi Washington - Young Turks
A Bridge Too Far - John Addison - Quartet
Endless Night [re-recording] - Bernard Herrmann - Quartet
Freaky - Bear McCreary - La-La Land
The Glorias - Elliot Goldenthal - Zarathustra
Goldsmith at 20th Vol. 1: Von Ryan's Express/The Blue Max - Jerry Goldsmith - La-La Land
Goldsmith at 20th Vol. 2: The Detective/The Flim-Flam Man - Jerry Goldsmith - La-La Land
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Ennio Morricone - Quartet
Jay Sebring...Cutting to the Truth - Jeff Beal - Noteforenote
King of Kings [re-recording] - Miklos Rozsa - Tadlow
La ragazza di Trieste - Riz Ortolani - Beat
Lolita My Love [stage] - John Barry - Kritzerland
Midnight Cowboy - John Barry - Quartet
Spasmo - Ennio Morricone - Beat
The X-Files Vol. 4 - Mark Snow - La-La Land
IN THEATERS TODAY
No major releases are expected to open today, though theaters are still open in much of the country.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - Branford Marsalis - Milan
News of the World - James Newton Howard - Backlot
Film Music 1976-2020 - Brian Eno - Astralwerks
Rams - Brian Eno - Universal
No Time to Die - Hans Zimmer - Decca
Civilta Del Mediterraneo - Bruno Nicolai - Kronos
Gaza Mon Amour - Andre Matthias - Kronos
The Gerald Fried Collection Vol. 1 - Gerald Fried - Dragon's Domain
The Golden Age of Science Fiction Vol. 1 - Marlin Skiles, Leith Stevens - Dragon's Domain
John Williams in Vienna [CD/BluRay] - John Williams - Deutsche Grammophon
L'Uomo Europo - Francesco DeMasi - Kronos
Patrick - Brian May - Dragon's Domain
The Shepherd - Arthur Valentin Grosz - Kronos
Sostiene Pereira - Ennio Morricone - Caldera
T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous - William Ross - Dragon's Domain
Total Recall [re-release] - Jerry Goldsmith - Quartet
The Twentieth Century - George Antheil, Paul Creston, Gail Kubik, Darius Milhaud, Harold Shapero - Kritzerland
Un Sceriffo Extraterrestre...Poco Extra e Molto Terrestre - Guido & Maurizio DeAngelis - Digitmovies
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent - Albert Glasser - Kronos
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
December 11 - Rogier Van Otterloo born (1941)
December 11 - Rachel Portman born (1960)
December 11 - Paul Haslinger born (1962)
December 11 - Anthony Collins died (1963)
December 11 - Jon Brion born (1963)
December 11 - Benny Carter records his score for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Crimson Witness” (1964)
December 11 - Benny Golson records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Incarnate,” the final score composed for the original series (1972)
December 11 - Johnny Mandel begins recording his score for Escape to Witch Mountain (1974)
December 11 - Velton Ray Bunch records his score for the Enterprise episode “Silent Enemy” (2001)
December 11 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Enterprise episode “Catwalk” (2002)
December 11 - Malcolm Clarke died (2003)
December 11 - Ravi Shankar died (2012)
December 12 - Carlo Martelli born (1935)
December 12 - Michael Kamen begins recording his score for Road House (1988)
December 12 - Karl-Heinz Schafer died (1996)
December 12 - Marcello Giombini died (2003)
December 13 - Teo Usuelli born (1920)
December 13 - Reijiro Koroku born (1949)
December 13 - David Raksin begins recording his score to The Reformer and the Redhead (1949)
December 13 - Dimitri Tiomkin begins recording his score for Land of the Pharaohs (1954)
December 13 - Harry Gregson-Williams born (1961)
December 13 - Adam Fields born (1965)
December 13 - Alexander Courage records his score for the Lost in Space episode "The Girl from the Green Dimension" (1966)
December 13 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Psycho II (1982)
December 13 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Past Tense - Part 1” (1994)
December 13 - Rene Cloerec died (1995)
December 13 - Miles Goodman begins recording his score for Dunston Checks In (1995)
December 13 - Emil Richards died (2019)
December 14 - John Du Prez born (1946)
December 14 - John Lurie born (1952)
December 14 - Alfred Newman begins recording his score for Hell and High Water (1953)
December 14 - Jon Ekstrand born (1976)
December 14 - Fred Karlin begins recording his score for Ravagers (1978)
December 14 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Defector" (1989)
December 14 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Shattered” (2000)
December 15 - Gone With the Wind has its world premiere in Atlanta (1939)
December 15 - The Man with the Golden Arm opens in New York (1955)
December 15 - Alan Ari Lazar born (1967)
December 15 - Ennio Morricone begins recording his score for Days of Heaven (1977)
December 16 - Lud Gluskin born (1898)
December 16 - Noel Coward born (1899)
December 16 - Georgy Sviridov born (1915)
December 16 - Camille Saint-Saens died (1921)
December 16 - Marco Frisina born (1954)
December 16 - Adam Gorgoni born (1963)
December 16 - Recording sessions begin for Cyril Mockridge’s score for Donovan’s Reef (1963)
December 16 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for In Harm's Way (1964)
December 16 - Robert Prince records his score for The New Adventures of Wonder Woman episode “The Deadly Toys” (1977)
December 16 - Richard Band records his score for Terrorvision (1985)
December 16 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his unused Timeline score (2002)
December 16 - Paul Baillargeon records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Chosen Realm” (2003)
December 16 - Freddie Perren died (2004)
December 17 - Leo Erdody born (1888)
December 17 - Craig Safan born (1948)
December 17 - Winfried Zillig died (1963)
December 17 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for Rhino! (1963)
December 17 - Paul Hepker born (1967)
December 17 - Don Ellis died (1978)
December 17 - John Debney records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Pegasus” (1993)
December 17 - Galt MacDermot died (2018)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
BLACK WATER: ABYSS - Michael Lira
"If anything, 'Black Water: Abyss' could have benefited by being even tighter in terms of bells and whistles. The soap opera final twist isn’t necessary, and Traucki over-uses Michael Lira’s score, which sounds like it’s replicating 'Jaws' during attacks. There’s a better version of 'Black Water: Abyss' that doesn’t take itself quite as seriously, but when Traucki’s film is focused and no-nonsense, it’s just effective enough that fans of this kind of B-movie cinema won’t really care."
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
"One savvy element here is more of an absence: There’s a good deal of queasy quiet on the soundtrack, as dread builds towards an imminent next attack. Michael Lira’s original score is sparingly used, but appropriately eerie and unsettling rather than histrionic when deployed."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
COME PLAY - Roque Banos
"On the positive side, Robertson carries the large load of the film on his small shoulders and emerges an adept performer, tethering us to the picture’s emotional pull. Cinematographer Maxime Alexandre’s lighting design speaks to the light and dark natures embodied within the two lead characters. Composer Roque Baños’ lush arrangements give the picture a heightened sonic appeal and do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to augmenting the family’s mounting plight. Editor Gregory Plotkin’s slow dissolves, despite their infrequency, add a throwback texture to the transitions between major sequences. David J. Bomba’s production design, showing the family home in a state of disrepair with its water-damaged kitchen and newly spackled hallway, is symbolically reflective of the characters’ marital and parental relationships."
Courtney Howard, Variety
"The director doesn't rely on cheap jump scares or trick editing. Instead, he builds and sustains suspense throughout the well-paced thriller with controlled camera movement, malevolent lighting, unsettling music and jagged, staticky sound. 'Come Play' works by establishing the refuge of technology for a friendless child and then flipping the scenario to explore what happens when the technology demands something in return."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THE CRAFT: LEGACY - Heather Christian
"Lister-Jones does at least have the good sense to bring the entire quartet back into play and late developments tie the plot directly to that of its predecessor, complete with a tantalizing cameo that won't be revealed here. But aside from composer Heather Christian's cool techno theme on the end credits -- which is far more memorable than the timid scoring throughout -- 'Legacy' left me less than spellbound."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THE CUBAN - Hilario Durán
"True to its title, 'The Cuban' uses many of the island’s familiar standards, like 'Guantanamera' and 'El Cañonero.' Cuban jazz pianist Hilario Durán, whose stints with jazz greats Chucho Valdes, Dizzy Gillespie, and Arturo Sandoval share a resemblance with Luis’ career in the film, rounds the soundtrack with original compositions and covers, smoothing over the transitions between the past and the present and bringing lively arrangements of these songs to a new audience. However, for a movie about the healing power of music, some moments do feel uncomfortable, like when the audience first meets Mina to the sound of Middle Eastern-influenced strings, marking her difference from the Cuban man and his music with a bold music change."
Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com
"Mostly it’s left to jazz composer Hilario Durán’s versatile music to smooth out those awkward transitions and to give the film whatever slyly sashaying rhythm it has. It’s perhaps not quite as transformative as Luis seems to find it, but Durán’s compositions do straddle the story’s emotional spectrum well, as evidenced early on when after the spicy salsa beats of the colorful opening titles, it segues into melancholic jazz piano as we move around the care home, observing the residents and staff in little sketches of pathos. But perhaps there’s no better indication of where the film’s sincere, sentimental heart lies than that its centerpiece “live” performances are 'Quizás Quizás Quizás' and 'Guantanamera,' repeatedly: 'The Cuban' is just a little too fond of the familiar."
Jessica Kiang, Variety
LA LLORONA - Pascual Reyes
"Pascual Reyes’ music wafts through the scenes, spreading a horror atmosphere, and the cinematography by Nicolas Wong Diaz is shadowy and suggestive. When the camera slyly approaches the characters unawares, it makes the skin crawl."
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
LOS LOBOS - Kenji Kishi Leopo
"For the more prominent live-action component, Arauz’s expertise with natural light, and the manipulation of it, graces the frames with a subtle brightness. Likewise, his purposely-dynamic compositions and camera movements match the protagonist’s raw energy and avoid a claustrophobic experience. Just as the boys find ways to make the most of their limited assets, Arauz also embraces that resourceful dogma. It’s also fitting that the director’s own younger brother, Kenji Kishi Leopo, composed the perfectly low-key, string-driven score."
Carlos Aguilar, RogerEbert.com
REBUILDING PARADISE - Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe
"But Howard is too much of a humanist to shoot this stuff with the dispassionate remove it needs to feel like the impossible dilemma that it is. We are with his subjects more than watching them, leaving 'Rebuilding Paradise' without a perspective of its own. At times, the documentary is so ambivalent about what it’s showing us that it almost feels like Howard is just messing with composers Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer -- testing these two virtuosos to see if they can deliver a muscular and symphonic musical score that splits the difference between victory and defeat. They can’t."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"Backed by National Geographic and clearly largely intended for TV consumption, the film skews toward a more palatable, optimistic message. It seeks to reassure viewers that, given enough community pride, spit, elbow grease and a surging soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, anything's possible -- making Howard a sort of 21st century successor to mainstream filmmakers making uplifting propaganda in troubled times, like some kind of Frank Capra for a digital age."
Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
RED PENGUINS - Leo Birenberg
"Here’s a film I guarantee won’t be streaming on Disney+ anytime soon. The company’s former CEO Michael Eisner denies that many of the events recounted in 'Red Penguins,' the fourth feature directed by Gabe Polsky, actually took place, and to be fair, it’s difficult to believe in a good deal of the information being fed to us here. With its jaunty score and comic sound effects -- a few of which are notably forced -- this documentary unspools a so-crazy-it-must-be-true yarn on the order of the Fyre Festival or the abusive cat breeders in 'Tiger King.' It invites us to laugh at the bone-headed decisions made by greedy individuals -- that is, until the bodies start piling up and the story’s underlying themes prove to be chillingly resonant. Whether or not certain events played out precisely as we’re told, the urgency of Polsky’s cautionary message is inarguable."
Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com
THE SECRET: DARE TO DREAM - George Fenton
"This overly simplistic philosophy might seem borderline dangerous in these difficult times if it weren’t presented in such silly, predictable fashion. (Rom-com veteran Tennant co-wrote the script with Rick Parks and Bekah Brunstetter.) Got Covid? Just wish it away. Lost your job because of the pandemic like tens of millions of other Americans? If you want your dream gig badly enough, it’ll magically happen. Can’t pay the rent? Money will show up in your bank account if you put it on your vision board. In a place where birds chirp pleasantly and twinkly piano music accompanies the most banal of errands, anything is possible."
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
"Director Andy Tennant’s tone, by the way, resembles that of religious films, like last year’s 'Breakthrough' with Chrissy Metz. Holmes is wholesome, and her third-wheel suitor, Tuck (Jerry O’Connell), is well-intended, if tortilla-flat. The music is cheesy and inspirational. But the whole thing is covered in materialist grime."
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
"Beyond the poor translation of the book’s methods and sentiments, the filmmakers have crafted an astoundingly generic, asexual romance. Leads Holmes and Lucas attempt to start a fire with the sparks from their playful chemistry, but are saddled with soggy wood to ignite. The material lacks the burning desire, tenderness and camp of Nicholas Sparks’ cinematic adaptations, which this clearly seeks to emulate. It’s only made worse when the denouement, propelled by a swelling score and swirling camerawork, takes place in a Waffle House parking lot. There’s no dressing that up."
Courtney Howard, Variety
THE SHADOW OF VIOLENCE - Blanck Mass (Benjamin John Power)
"While some may want to hit snooze on yet another story about a tortured man and all the weight of the world on his shoulders, director Rowland, aided by cinematographer Piers McGrail’s neon imagery and Benjamin John Power’s pulsing electronic score, brings fresh energy to the genre. But at the heart of it all, 'The Shadow of Violence' is a showcase for Cosmo Jarvis who, at this stage in his career, can take any vehicle and run with it."
Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWire
"But while Jarvis puts a memorable mug to the script's meditations, you have to squint too much to see director Rowland’s signature on this broad idea of machismo, who is working from a script by Joseph Murtagh. They collectively boil down much of the raw stuff, and eventually lead this story to cliche moments of guns being pointed at faces, or hollow scenes of realization for Douglas that drop out the synth-driven score to complete silence and put characters in dramatic slow motion, all to make a dull point. When the extra-gothic Uncle Paudi (Ned Dennehy) speaks in a sinister metaphor about a sick dog that needs to be put down, it’s too obvious that the writerly portion of the story is taking control; the same with Douglas' voiceover, which can be more convenient in spite of its gruesome wisdom. As much as the film yearns for prestigious humorlessness and austerity in this sullen patch of Ireland -- captured with wide shots that indicate rows of white houses isolated in large gulfs of nothingness -- the story's few threads end in familiar places, as if it has to be that way. It doesn’t, and better movies of this gritty ilk have proved that."
Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
"Tech and design contributions are solid, though the original score by Blanck Mass (i.e., Brit electronic composer Benjamin John Power) grows a bit overpowering."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Despite the pervasive aura of despair, the dramatic stakes feel rather low and play out -- particularly via the blood-soaked road-to-redemption climax -- in the droningly soporific ways of many an indie. The part-Eno/part-Reznor electronic score by Blanck Mass additionally solidifies the sense that we're watching a depressive ambient album in motion. Fortunately, Jarvis is a tremendously compelling screen presence, moving through scenes -- one of them an emotionally taxing, minutes-long single take -- in much the same wounded-animal vein as Aden Young's wrongfully convicted ex-con Daniel Holden on the Sundance TV series 'Rectify.' He single-handedly elevates a film that would otherwise be a fest-circuit footnote."
Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: The Towering Inferno (Williams), Avenue Montagne (Piovani), The Island at the Top of the World (Jarre), I for Icarus (Morricone), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Williams), Sunrise (Kraemer), The Kentuckian (Herrmann), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Williams/Ross), Themes from The General Electric Theater (Bernstein), Street Scene (Weill), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Williams), Letter to Warsaw (Pasatieri), Time Out (Brubeck), Quigley Down Under (Poledouris), Topaz (Jarre), Nevada Smith: The Paramount Western Collection (various), Dedicato al mare Egeo (Morricone), The Quinn Martin Collection Vol. 2: The Invaders (various), Ulzana's Raid (DeVol), All Is True (Doyle), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (Herrmann), The Kid Who Would Be King (Electric Wave Bureau), The Help (Newman), Spider-Man: Far from Home (Giacchino), Call Me Madam (Berlin), Pokemon Detective Pikachu (Jackman), Symphonies No. 5, 7 & 8 (Piston), Betty Buckley (Buckley), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (McCreary), The Devil Wears Prada (Shapiro), Tolkien (Newman)
Read: The Bookman's Wake, by John Dunning
Seen: As I expected, the theaters I normally patronize in San Francisco have closed yet again due to the latest spike in coronavirus rates. Warner Brothers has announced that in 2021 they plan to release all their films on streaming at the same time as their theatrical releases, though I wonder if this is more to boost interest in HBO Max than simple lack of faith in theatrical exhibition in the pandemic era.
Watched: The Cocoanuts; Star Trek: Discovery ("The War Without, The War Within"); Westworld ("The Well-Tempered Clavier"); Hard Luck ; Star Trek: Picard ("Remembrance"); Track of the Cat; Veronica Mars ("Return of the Kane"); Doctor X; Star Trek: Discovery ("Will You Take My Hand?"); Westworld ("The Bicameral Mind"); Jail Bait