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Merry Christmas!


La-La Land has announced that next month they will release a two-disc set of music from the second season of TV's THE ORVILLE, with cues from episodes scored by Andrew Cottee, John Debney and Joel McNeely.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

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

Inchon - Jerry Goldsmith - Intrada Special Collection
John Williams in Vienna [CD/BluRay] - John Williams - Deutsche Grammophon
Patrick - Brian May - Dragon's Domain
T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous - William Ross - Dragon's Domain
Wonder Woman 1984 - Hans Zimmer - WaterTower [CD-R]


IN THEATERS TODAY

Wonder Woman 1984 is scheduled to open in theaters and premiere on HBO Max today. Hans Zimmer wrote the score, which WaterTower is releasing as a two-disc CD-R.


COMING SOON

January 22
Film Music 1976-2020 - Brian Eno - Astralwerks

The Orville: Season Two - Andrew Cottee, John Debney, Joel McNeely - La-La Land
Rams - Brian Eno - Universal
April 2

No Time to Die - Hans Zimmer - Decca
Date Unknown
Civilta Del Mediterraneo - Bruno Nicolai - Kronos
Fireball XL5
- Barry Gray - Silva

Gaza Mon Amour - Andre Matthias - Kronos
L'Uomo Europo
- Francesco DeMasi - Kronos

The Shepherd - Arthur Valentin Grosz - Kronos
Sostiene Pereira
- Ennio Morricone - Caldera

The Twentieth Century
- George Antheil, Paul Creston, Gail Kubik, Darius Milhaud, Harold Shapero - Kritzerland
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent
- Albert Glasser - Kronos


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

December 25 - Nathaniel Shilkret born (1889)
December 25 - Pete Rugolo born (1915)
December 25 - To Kill a Mockingbird opens in Los Angeles (1962)
December 25 - Christian Henson born (1971)
December 25 - Charles Chaplin died (1977)
December 25 - James Brown died (2006)
December 26 - Morgan Lewis born (1906)
December 26 - Albert Sendrey born (1911)
December 26 - Ira Newborn born (1949)
December 26 - Bernard Herrmann begins recording his score for 5 Fingers (1951)
December 26 - Stephen Graziano born (1954)
December 26 - Roger Neill born (1963)
December 26 - Tom Howe born (1977)
December 26 - Pablo Sorozabal died (1988)
December 26 - Curtis Mayfield died (1999)
December 27 - Oscar Levant born (1906)
December 27 - Benedetto Ghiglia born (1921)
December 27 - Victor Young begins recording his score for The Proud and Profane (1955)
December 27 - John Williams begins recording his score to The Empire Strikes Back (1979)
December 27 - Kenneth Wannberg records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “Still Life” (1985)
December 27 - Lars Erik-Larsson died (1986)
December 27 - Buxton Orr died (1997)
December 27 - Isaak Shvarts died (2009)
December 28 - Mischa Spoliansky born (1898)
December 28 - Garry Sherman born (1933)
December 28 - Captain Blood released in theaters (1935)
December 28 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper's score to Invitation (1952)
December 28 - Richard Band born (1953)
December 28 - Alex North begins recording his score to All Fall Down (1961)
December 28 - Paul Hindemith died (1963)
December 28 - Rahman Altin born (1971)
December 28 - Max Steiner died (1971)
December 28 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Loud as a Whisper" (1988)
December 28 - Milton Rosen died (1994)
December 28 - Michel Michelet died (1995)
December 29 - Roman Vlad born (1919)
December 29 - Ron Goodwin begins recording his score for Submarine X-1 (1967)
December 29 - Alexander Courage records his unused score for the Land of the Giants pilot episode “The Crash” (1967)
December 29 - George Duning's score for the Star Trek episode "Return to Tomorrow" is recorded (1967)
December 29 - Ryan Shore born (1974)
December 29 - Wojciech Kilar died (2013)
December 30 - Dmitri Kabalevsky born (1904)
December 30 - Alfred Ralston born (1907)
December 30 - Paul Bowles born (1910)
December 30 - Lucio Agostini born (1913)
December 30 - Ray Cook born (1936)
December 30 - Michael Nesmith born (1942)
December 30 - Harry Geller records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night the Dragon Screamed” (1965)
December 30 - Jason Brandt born (1973)
December 30 - Richard Rodgers died (1979)
December 30 - Patrick Gowers died (2014)
December 31 - Frank Skinner born (1897)
December 31 - Gil Melle born (1931)
December 31 - Anthony Hopkins born (1937)
December 31 - Andy Summers born (1942)
December 31 - Duel in the Sun premieres in Los Angeles (1946)
December 31 - Antonio Diaz Conde died (1976)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

CHILDREN OF THE SEA - Joe Hisaishi


"Backing the scenery is an equally impressive score by longtime Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi. Like the scenery, Hisaishi’s score evokes curiosity. There’s also a certain quietness to it, contrasting with the film’s many speedily swimming fish. At its best, 'Children of the Sea' steadily envelops viewers with curiosity, drive, and calmness. It’s a sensory concert."

Just Lunning, Polygon

"The movie intends to impress with their beauty, exaggerating just how striking Sora’s blond hair and blue eyes look to Ruka -- or later, the androgynous teen-idol appearance of long-haired aquarium assistant Anglade. But doing so also draws audiences into identifying with characters who might otherwise feel 'cartoony,' for lack of a better word, which is critical in connecting with a story that gets increasingly surreal as it unfolds. ('Ponyo' composer Joe Hisaishi’s lovely score, whose strings and sparkles suggest sun glimmering across the waves, similarly expands alongside the film’s ambitions.)"

Peter Debruge, Variety

DESERT ONE - Wendy Blackstone

"The extended sequence that narrates these events is alternately heart-stopping and gut-wrenching, as dramatically propulsive as any action movie. In addition to her interviews with several participants, Kopple’s telling benefits enormously from Zartosht Soltani’s superb animation, as well as the work of editors Francsico Bello and Fabian Caballero and composer Wendy Blackstone."

Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com

"Kopple, who’s known for her cinema vérité-style docs like 'Harlan County U.S.A.' and 'American Dream,' applies a more classical approach here ('Desert One' was made for the History Channel), mixing one-on-one interviews with tons of archive footage and military documents to cover the mission from all angles. The result is a film that can be somewhat conventional in form, including a score that overdoes it on the pathos, but one that still provides a fascinating deep dive into organized failure. Editing by Francisco Bello and Fabian Caballero keeps the pace tense, with animation by Zartosht Soltani ('Where to Invade Next') re-creating the action in colorfully realistic ways. Wendy Blackstone’s omnipresent score is a bit much in places, lending a solemn air, and even a shred of hope, to an ordeal that continues to haunt those who survived it."

Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION - Steve Khan, Franco Rampazzo

"Set to music that sounds like the public domain keyboard synths accompanying a silent film, 'Driven to Abstraction' is too inept to enjoy. It might help to know a bit about the mysterious aspects of the high priced art world -- the cliques, the language, the suspicions, the anonymous donors -- but even then, I’m not sure the documentary unveils anything that hasn’t already been written about by the reporters in the film. I thought maybe 'Driven to Abstraction' might be trying to become some form of meta commentary, with its own forgery of typical doc conventions, but it’s just not assembled well enough to pull that off."

Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com

LINGUA FRANCA - Teresa Barrozo

"In his first feature as DP, Isaac Banks’ lensing underlines the film’s best points, combining atmospheric urban grit and elegant simplicity. The film isn’t quite pared-down enough to qualify as minimalist, but it’s typical of its economy of means that you don’t even notice Teresa Barrozo’s score until it accompanies the closing credits."

Dennis Harvey, Variety

LOVE, GUARANTEED - Ryan Shore

"For those of you who appreciate the ways in which a classic car can declare something about a character’s personality, perk up: Susan’s car of choice is a foxy Karmann Ghia. If you bristle at the ’80s hit 'I Think We’re Alone Now' by Tiffany, beware. The various uses of the earwig tune, which play on that vintage VW’s tape deck, are clever. The score itself a little less so: It’s the one gesture that tends to overstate the movie’s charms. Still, if likability is a trait you value, 'Love, Guaranteed' delivers the undemanding pleasure of watching two fundamentally decent people tumble into fondness and then love."

Lisa Kennedy, Variety

THE MOLE AGENT - Vincent van Warmerdam

"Director Maite Alberdi makes her own presence known in the beginning in a clever way, with the camera from Sergio’s spy glasses showing the crew that’s in the room filming with him -- a sound guy, a cinematographer, and a director. That visual context rings throughout, and you appreciate the documentary’s pivotal candid moments even more as Sergio is welcomed into the home of predominantly women, and talks to the different residents in heartening, low-key scenes that frame the sharp-dressed man more as a new friend than a visitor. Sometimes Sergio does what he's been sent to do, watching certain residents and writing copious notes, while a James Bond-like guitar accompanies his not-so-subtle work. But we hardly see his recorded footage from the pen or glasses, as the documentary is more about watching him sit and chat with these different women, his heart breaking for them. Meanwhile the camera stays back, looking through the glass of closed doors, or positioned behind some leaves blown by a gentle breeze."

Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

"Alberdi’s comic-caper approach soon fizzles. Like Sergio, the film is hunting for drama, something to merit the 007 guitar and upright bass riffs of Vincent van Warmerdam’s score. Failing that, 'The Mole Agent' pads its running time with shots of stray cats and flapping laundry before rejiggering itself for a sincere message about the power of community, as Sergio -- a retiree so bored he answered a bizarre job ad -- discovers he can still contribute to the world."

Amy Nicholson, Variety

NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN - Ernst Reijseger

"'Nomad' marries its maker’s commentary to tableaux -- of icy Patagonian lakes and tree-lined Australian paths -- that convey a sense of profound beauty and primordial mystery, the latter enhanced by Ernst Reijseger’s score of tribal chants and orchestral arrangements. Even though Chatwin is only seen in a handful of snapshots and one brief video snippet, Herzog brings him to vivid life. At the same time, he captures the essential building blocks of their union, which lasted even after Chatwin’s passing, as evidenced by Herzog using the writer’s trusty rucksack (gifted to him on the man’s deathbed) as a seat cushion during a 55-hour ordeal trapped in a blizzard on Cerro Torre -- an example of literal and figurative artistic support that, for the director, clearly continues to this day."

Nick Schager, Variety

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN - Craig Armstrong

"The concept of 'making amends' is top of mind in the film’s last half, and while Applegate’s lauded book offered a rosy view of zoo life -- and the idea that they are “where humans make amends” is still present in the film -- White has offered a necessary update to that storyline, one that would likely have bothered anyone up to date on the story of a being like Happy the elephant. The humans of 'The One and Only Ivan' do need to make amends, and Sharrock and White don’t turn away from that, even if they occasionally tamp down the darker sides of people’s misdeeds. (Ruby’s training, for instance, is never overtly abusive, but a tense score and some clearly unhappy supporting characters make it sting.)"

Kate Erbland, IndieWire

"Underscoring the introspective atmosphere are composer Craig Armstrong's subdued musical themes and the end-credits Diane Warren contribution, 'Free,' performed by Charlie Puth."

Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

RISING PHOENIX - Daniel Pemberton

"That said, the film would have been more effective if its relentlessly uplifting score didn’t keep figuratively prodding the viewer in the chest, telling us to feel moved, dammit. Likewise, the editing is annoyingly frenetic at times, and you long for a more measured approach that would allow you to appreciate the athletes’ skills, instead of seeing their prowess chopped up into tiny snippets of footage."

Leslie Felperin, The Guardian

THE 24TH - Alex Heffes

"A slough of a first act -- where the only relief from the violence comes by way of Boston and Marie’s endearing romance -- is followed by a tense second act: the Houston riot of 1917. Spurred by a savage assault on Boston by local police, the Black soldiers take up arms and enact revenge upon the white residents of Houston. The sequence is cathartic and startling. Each fulfillment of revenge feels personal, yet the men carry them out with cold military precision. Alex Heffes’ affecting score and Brett Pawlak's dark, portentous cinematography give the sequence a haunting aura of the long ignored now seen. By the final defiant act -- their trial -- no man regrets his actions."

Robert Daniels, RogerEbert.com


THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY

Heard:
The Report (Wingo), Edward Scissorhands [ballet] (Elfman/Davies), Chernobyl (Guonadottir), Posse/The Last Tycoon (Jarre), Midway (Wander/Kloser), Un Sacco Bello (Morricone), Krypton (Toprak), A Hatful of Rain (Herrmann), Annihilation (Oswalt), The Journey Inside (Shire), J'Accuse (Desplat), Memphis (Bryan), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Howard), Violin Concerto/Capriccio Italien/Francesca di Rimini (Tchaikovsky), The Fault in Our Stars (Mogis/Walcott), Cabaret Noel: A Broadway Cares Christmas (various), Hidden Figures (Zimmer/Williams/Wallfisch), Thriller Cues (Glass), I Lost My Body (Levy), Enemy Mine (Jarre), 1917 (Newman), Il Ladrone (Morricone), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Beltrami/Drubich), Endless Night (Herrmann), Kin (Mogwai), Vertigo (Herrmann), The Lighthouse (Korven), Wanted (Elfman), You Only Love Once (Loussier), Paul, Apostle of Christ (Kaczmarek), The King and I (Rodgers), Clarinet Music of Joan Tower (Tower), Darkman (Elfman), La course en tete (Munrow), Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me (various), Pandora: Season One (Kraemer/Kouneva), Music for Television (LoDuca), Seven Days in May/The Mackintosh Man (Goldsmith/Jarre), Hoffa (Newman), Downton Abbey [2019] (Lunn)

Read: Train, by Pete Dexter

Seen: At this time a year ago, I was seeing Cats, Richard Jewell, A Hidden Life, Jumanji: The Next Level, 1917, Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, Little Women, Just Mercy and Hello, Dolly! (the latter in 70mm). Sigh. 1917 and Duck Soup were an especially memorable back-to-back pairing. But honesty, I'd be happy just to see Cats again. Now and forever.

Watched: Westworld ("Reunion"); The Wire ("Storm Warnings"); Thieves Like Us; The X-Files ("Ghost in the Machine"); Champagne [1928]; Star Trek: Discovery ("Point of Light"); Westworld ("Virtu e Fortuna")

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