La-La Land has announced two new limited edition score CDs this week -- the first ever release of Quincy Jones' score for the 1967 golfing drama BANNING (part of the label's ongoing collaboration with Universal) which earned an Oscar nomination for its original song "The Eyes of Love"; and an expanded version of Christopher Young's score for the 1998 heist/disaster movie HARD RAIN, starring Christian Slater, Minnie Driver and Morgan Freeman.
Jon Burlingame has written an article for Variety about the lists of eligible scores and songs for this year's Oscars (which, let's not forget, extended its release eligibility period to the end of February 2021 - hence the inclusion of Thomas Newman's score for the just-released The Little Things, for example). For example, the score to Pixar's Soul is apparently eligible, and the article suggests that Jon Batiste would be eligible for the film's original jazz compositions along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for their background score.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced this year's nominees for the Golden Globes, including the following film music categories:
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
MANK – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
THE MIDNIGHT SKY – Alexandre Desplat
NEWS OF THE WORLD – James Newton Howard
SOUL – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste
TENET – Ludwig Göransson
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“Fight for You” – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas
“Hear My Voice” – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Daniel Pemberton, Celeste
“Io Si (Seen)” – THE LIFE AHEAD – Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, Niccolò Agliardi
“Speak Now” – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – Leslie Odom Jr, Sam Ashworth
“Tigress & Tweed” – THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLLIDAY – Andra Day, Raphael Saadiq
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Banning - Quincy Jones - La-La Land
Lost Themes III: Alive After Death - John Carpenter - Sacred Bones
IN THEATERS TODAY
No major releases this week, but theaters which are still open are showing a mixture of releases from the last few months as well as older films. COVID rates in the L.A. area are currently dropping to what they were around Thanksgiving, and one can only hope the trend continues.
Da Uomo a Uomo - Ennio Morricone - Beat
The Devil All the Time - Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans, various - ABKCO
Hard Rain - Christopher Young - La-La Land
Tutti Dentro - Piero Piccioni - Beat
Zappa - John Frizzell, songs - Zappa Records
Flesh Contagium - Daniele Marinelli, Luca Maria Burocchi, Riccardo Adamo - Digitmovies
I Cosacchi - Giovanni Fusco - Digitmovies
Tranquille donne di campagna - Nico Fidenco - Digitmovies
His Dark Materials: Season Two - Lorne Balfe - Silva
The Tattooed Torah - Daniel Alcheh - Notefornote
Alex Hugo - Jerome Lemmonier - Music Box
Fear and Desire - Gerald Fried - Caldera
Fireball XL5 - Barry Gray - Silva
The Great Gatsby Ballet - Carl Davis - Carl Davis Collection
Symphonies No. 6 & 7/Night Voyage - Christopher Gunning - Signum
Ulysse 31 - Denny Crockett, Ike Egan, Shuki Levy, Haim Saban, Seji Suzuki - CSC
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
February 5 - Felice Lattuada born (1882)
February 5 - Bronislau Kaper born (1902)
February 5 - Clifton Parker born (1905)
February 5 - Elizabeth Swados born (1951)
February 5 - Cliff Martinez born (1954)
February 5 - Nick Laird-Clowes born (1957)
February 5 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for The Rat Race (1960)
February 5 - Jacques Ibert died (1962)
February 5 - Guy Farley born (1963)
February 5 - Kristopher Carter born (1972)
February 5 - Michael Small begins recording his score for The Parallax View (1974)
February 5 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "When the Bough Breaks" (1988)
February 5 - Douglas Gamley died (1998)
February 5 - David Bell records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager episode “The Killing Game, Part 1” (1998)
February 5 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Enterprise episode “Stigma” (2003)
February 5 - Al De Lory died (2012)
February 5 - Ray Colcord died (2016)
February 6 - Akira Yamaoka born (1968)
February 6 - Hugo Montenegro died (1981)
February 6 - Alan Silvestri begins recording his score for Romancing the Stone (1984)
February 6 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Power Play” (1992)
February 6 - John Dankworth died (2010)
February 6 - Sam Spence died (2016)
February 7 - George Bassman born (1914)
February 7 - Marius Constant born (1925)
February 7 - Laurie Johnson born (1927)
February 7 - Alejandro Jodorowsky born (1929)
February 7 - Gottfried Huppertz died (1937)
February 7 - Frans Bak born (1958)
February 7 - David Bryan born (1962)
February 7 - Jerry Fielding begins recording orchestral cues for Demon Seed (1977)
February 7 - Ira Newborn begins recording his score for Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)
February 7 - Shirley Walker begins recording her score for Willard (2003)
February 8 - John Williams born (1932)
February 8 - Joe Raposo born (1937)
February 8 - Johnny Mandel records his score for Drums of Africa (1963)
February 8 - Alan Elliott born (1964)
February 8 - Richard Markowitz records his score for The Invaders episode “Quantity: Unknown” (1967)
February 8 - Planet of the Apes opens in New York (1968)
February 8 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for Earth II (1971)
February 8 - David Bell records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Dark Frontier, Part II” (1999)
February 8 - Akira Ifukube died (2006)
February 9 - Jean Constantin born (1923)
February 9 - Barry Mann born (1939)
February 9 - Alfred Newman begins recording his score for The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)
February 9 - Gregory Tripi born (1975)
February 9 - Elvis Perkins born (1976)
February 9 - Percy Faith died (1976)
February 9 - James Horner begins recording his score for Project X (1987)
February 9 - Jean-Claude Petit begins recording his score for The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
February 9 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “One Little Ship” (1998)
February 9 - Dennis McCarthy and Kevin Kiner record their score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Doctor’s Orders” (2004)
February 9 - Johann Johannsson died (2018)
February 9 - Hildur Gudnadottir wins her first Oscar, for Joker (2020)
February 10 - Larry Adler born (1914)
February 10 - Gordon Zahler born (1926)
February 10 - Jerry Goldsmith born (1929)
February 10 - Billy Goldenberg born (1936)
February 10 - Nathan Van Cleave records his score for The Space Children (1958)
February 10 - Bruce Broughton records his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “The Golden Man” (1981)
February 10 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “By Inferno’s Light” (1997)
February 10 - Velton Ray Bunch records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Affliction” (2005)
February 10 - Lyle Mays died (2020)
February 11 - Yves Baudrier born (1906)
February 11 - Recording sessions begin for Leigh Harline's score for The Desert Rats (1953)
February 11 - Bernard Herrmann records his score for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Wally the Beard” (1964)
February 11 - Dave Grusin’s score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Puppeteer” is recorded (1966)
February 11 - Richard Markowitz records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “The Bunker” (1969)
February 11 - Mike Shinoda born (1977)
February 11 - Heinz Roemheld died (1985)
February 11 - Don Davis begins recording his score for The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
THE DISSIDENT - Adam Peters
"Juggling haunting 3D graphics with a moody score, Fogel illustrates how the Saudis developed a digital strategy for targeting its critics abroad, including thousands of pro-Saudi Twitter accounts run by propagandists at the behest of the government. It also touches on the upside to the digital age, with Twitter becoming so prevalent in Saudi Arabia that some 80 percent of its residents use the service. That platform has enabled a new energy among those keen on pushing back at the throne’s tyrannical grip, and the ability to conceive of a 'new Middle East' committed to democratic ideals."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"Although 'The Dissident' is, arguably, unnecessarily juiced-up with the editing and scoring of a Hollywood thriller, the excesses are balanced by the procedural rigour worthy of a crack prosecutor. For background, Fogel places Khashoggi’s killing in a geo-political context, including the Saudi regime funding the backlash to the Arab democracy movement of the past decade and particularly, the use of social media and sophisticated cyber-surveillance to control dissidents at home and abroad."
Liam Lacey, Original Cin
"But for all its wealth of detail and thematic ambition, 'The Dissident' is a good documentary that never quite becomes great. Because Fogel spends a lot of this film re-reporting a story that was in all the papers, all over the world, for months, watching 'The Dissident' at times feels like hearing someone summarize a bestselling murder-mystery novel, while ominous 'true crime' music plays incessantly on the soundtrack. And while the anecdotes about Khashoggi’s personal life are humanizing, the movie’s pacing slackens a bit whenever Fogel lets the journalist’s friends talk at length about how lonely he was before he met the woman who became his fiancée."
Noel Murray, The Onion AV Club
"'The Dissident' is cut and scored much like a dramatic Hollywood thriller, happily making use of suspense-engendering editing techniques, mystery-building music and other devices to tease out all aspects of the drama, with the entirely reasonable objective of drawing in viewers who might otherwise not readily watch a political documentary. There is absolutely nothing lost with this technique, especially as the film tends to its essential business of revealing the nature of the Saudi regime and its refusal to countenance any dissent."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
HERSELF - Natalie Holt
"As Mister Rogers once instructed from his Neighborhood, 'Look for the helpers.' There are plenty to be found, from the generous Peggy to a gentleman behind Sandra at the hardware store who won’t let the snooty clerk dismiss her request for a price check. That gentleman, Aido, is played to perfection by Conleth Hill, whose character on 'Game Of Thrones' survived so long due to shady cleverness; Aido, by contrast, ensures the survival of others through golden-hearted kindness, all to the muted score of composer Natalie Holt. Lloyd enhances the power of her material with handheld shots that underscore the instability of Sandra’s new life or find a simple beauty amid the chaos. On a technical level, 'Herself' is so unassuming that its craft might be overlooked."
Anya Stanley, The Onion AV Club
LET THEM ALL TALK - Thomas Newman
"The strangeness and unpredictability of human relationships has been a central theme in Eisenberg's work since her biting 1986 debut story collection, 'Transactions in a Foreign Currency.' Paired with Soderbergh's knack for drawing out the hidden shadings of his characters, this yields a scintillating group dynamic among the five principal characters stuck in the same contained environment. Thomas Newman's jazzy, '60s-style score supplies a teasing element that keeps you guessing about where things are headed, an aspect borne out in some unexpected swerves along the way."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
MANK - Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
"Fincher works overtime to craft a rich, layered character study on a vast scale, resulting in his best movie since 'The Social Network' and one of his most audacious filmmaking experiments since 'Benjamin Button.' (By playing to Fincher’s unsentimental strengths, it’s a lot more successful than that one.) Jack’s script (allegedly spruced up by credited producer Eric Roth) unfolds in snippets of heated back-and-forths, wasting little time to explain itself for any passive viewers overwhelmed by the circumstances at hand. But even they will appreciate the level of craftsmanship on display, from Erik Messerschmidt’s lush cinematography to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ uncharacteristically jazzy score that sustains the action with restless verve."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"Look, let’s not beat around the bush: this is a gorgeous movie, especially for film nerds. (Have you ever written a clichéd phrase and thought, 'Wait, what does that even mean?' I just looked up where 'beat around the bush' came from and apparently its origins were from hunters beating bushes so birds would fly out. Anyway.) And I’d recommend watching (rewatching) 'Citizen Kane' before you watch 'Mank' because a lot of the same filmmaking techniques are at work here and it’s a fun thing to compare. Well, at least at first. Because there’s only so long into a movie a person can continue to go, 'Wow, another fadeout?' Or, 'Oh, look, another cigarette burn!' (It’s almost as if David Fincher taught the moviegoing public what cigarette burns were in 'Fight Club' so that they’d be appreciated in Mank. Also, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score, as usual, is dynamite. (Fun fact: Trent Reznor also wrote the score for 'Citizen Kane'.) Again, all the ingredients are here. First, it’s Fincher, a director I admire greatly. But it’s a different Fincher at work here. With Fincher, we kind of expect a sense of urgency in every scene. 'Mank' is a bit more lackadaisical in its storytelling, taking a more Benjamin Button approach, only without the whole aging backwards thing to move the story along. And the acting and cinematography and score are all fantastic. But the story on its whole is hard to embrace. It’s an admirable effort. It’s just a beautiful thing to look at. And the whole endeavor is such a touching tribute from Fincher to his father. But, in the end, I found myself more interested in the behind the scenes shenanigans that led to the creation of, perhaps, the greatest movie of all time, as opposed to Mank the human being. And 'Mank' focuses much more on the latter."
Mike Ryan, Uproxx
"'Mank' commits fully to its Wellesian style, with theatrical fades at the end of scenes, echoey sound mixing, a Bernard Hermann [sic]-channelling score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and deep-focus photography. Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt emulates his 'Kane' counterpart Gregg Toland, capturing every conspiratorial exchange and disdainful look in the background of sumptuously staged party scenes. It roots itself in period authenticity that never tips into pastiche."
Phil De Semlyen, Time Out
"Accompanying it, of course, is Fincher’s decade-long musical collaborators, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who join him in stretching their old-school filmmaking muscles with a swinging, horn-heavy score more indebted to the films of the era than the synth-heavy minimalism of their previous efforts. 'Mank''s definitely a film-tailor made for cinephiles; it’s a dense, complicated work with a screenplay as labyrinthine and mired in inside baseball as 'Kane''s. But as a stylistic exercise and a work of craft, it’s one of Fincher’s most exciting in years. There’s hardly a false note in the cast, the costumes, the production design, or the score. And the Wellesian flourishes are an interesting stylistic move for a filmmaker usually known for his cold, crisp exactitude. It may require a glossary for folks who haven’t read as many Otto Friedrich books, but Fincher’s surely pulled off a uniquely beautiful ode to Hollywood -- a rare feat for an industry that loves to make movies about itself."
Clint Worthington, Consequence of Sound
"Fincher is clearly in love with this era of filmmaking, from the studio offices of yore to the reel-change burn-ins he digitally adds to this Netflix production. (He previously spotlighted those dots in 'Fight Club.') The swooping camera, and the upbeat score by frequent collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, evoke the zippiness of 1930s Hollywood, and only occasionally (a low angle here, a spotlight facing the camera there) does he visually paraphrase 'Citizen Kane.'"
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
"While Mankiewicz is his gateway character, Fincher is no less intent on paying homage to Welles' other key collaborator on 'Citizen Kane,' cinematographer Gregg Toland. 'Mank' is a work of dazzling craftsmanship. Production designer Donald Graham Burt and costumer Trish Summerville take their cues from Welles, conjuring both the glamour and grit of 1930s and early '40s California with consummate flair. The tonally shape-shifting score by composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross moves supply between Bernard Herrmann influences and the big band jazz of the era. Editor Kirk Baxter's artful scene transitions and theatrical fades are swoon-worthy, with period monaural sound design completing the deluxe retro package. But it's the director's reteaming with 'Mindhunter' DP Erik Messerschmidt that dominates this film."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
ON THE ROCKS - Phoenix
"And it’s perhaps the most agile trick Coppola pulls off. 'On The Rocks,' is implicitly full of wealth, privilege, and frothy luster. Laura lives in a posh Tribeca flat (the kind most filmmakers believe audiences will suspend their disbelief for), she comes from money, Felix is a man of unlimited means, and he’s a borderline sexist, unabashed philanderer who cheated on Laura’s mother and nearly destroyed their family (notably, something that also happened in the Coppola household). And yet, Coppola’s movie is never tone-deaf, and doesn’t let the vivacious gleam of her lovely movie gloss over Felix’s many shortcomings as a father and privileged white cis man. While their carbonated quests around town escalate with bellyful laughs and choice soundtrack cuts (Michael Nyman, Chet Baker, a faintly dreamy original score by Phoenix), so do the inherent, bubbling-under-the-surface tensions between the two of them and Coppola interrogates all of her fictional father’s faults. 'You have daughters and granddaughters so you better learn to hear them,' Laura scolds in one particularly biting confrontation about his narcissism and the ridiculous excuses he constantly makes about his philandering and chauvinist tendencies (the irony of an adulterer advising his daughter to spy on her potentially cheating husband is also not lost on the movie)."
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
"For another thing, Laura’s world is uncharacteristically recognizable, even for all of its super-characteristic wealth. She lives in a pre-COVID New York that already seems nostalgic for itself, and on a street that locals will know by sight. There’s a Bernie sticker on her door, and a Greenlight Bookstore tote bag hanging nearby. Her daughters are her best friends, her life is sound-tracked by jazz standards and breezy new Phoenix instrumentals (as opposed to incandescent My Bloody Valentine bangers and a mash of post-punk gems). It’s possible that Laura doesn’t even know Jason Schwartzman. At one point, A24 is even name-checked as a punchline to a sly joke about how out of the loop she’s become."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"Music is always a key part of Coppola's aesthetic. Mirroring her use of Air in 'The Virgin Suicides' and 'Lost in Translation,' she steers the action along to cool electronic tracks by French synth band Phoenix (the director is married to frontman Thomas Mars), stirring in occasional jazz and pop standards. A highlight among those is Felix serenading the assembled guests at a beach bar with 'Mexicali Rose,' a silly-sweet interlude that wears down our resistance as much as Laura's."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
PIECES OF A WOMAN - Howard Shore
"Throughout all those incidents and interactions, the film is primarily concerned with Martha, with her withdrawal from the world, with her pent-up directionless rage, her guilt, her helplessness and with the extremely ordinary ways she tries to process a grief so large it blots out the sun and throws everyone around into a kind of defocused blur. It’s truly unusual to find a film -- at least since the days of John Cassavetes‘ partnership with Gena Rowlands -- with this much quiet confidence that the minute observation of a remarkable yet ordinary woman’s state of mind is story enough for a feature film. But Wéber’s writing and Kirby’s performance, working in concert with Mundruczó’s dazzling, multifaceted direction, Howard Shore‘s gorgeously mood-appropriate score and, again, Loeb’s drifting, searching, soulful camera together create, from so many disparate pieces, an entirely complete portrait, that even suggests further internal universes still to be explored, universes every one of us contains."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"Mundruczó's command falters in climactic courtroom scenes that seem pedestrian and too movie-ish compared to the edgier psychodrama that's come before, especially when Martha gets stuck with a big heart-stirring trial speech. Such flaws are heightened by increasing overuse of Howard Shore's intrusive score in the latter sections. There are also clumsily obvious touches like Martha's interest in sprouting apple seeds as a metaphor for rebirth, or clunky allusions to bridges as tricky structures that sometimes need to be burned."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN - Anthony Willis
"The soundtrack features a parade of deliberately vapid pop tunes by the likes of Paris Hilton and the Spice Girls. Yet Anthony Willis’ original score is puzzlingly conventional and earnest, complete with ominous Dolby thumps every time justice is served. The film really goes out on some limbs it then seems to saw off in the last lap, both tonally and plot-wise. Still, haphazard as 'Woman' can seem, it all somehow pulls together at last with a satisfying smack."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
SYLVIE’S LOVE - Fabrice Lecomte
"Underneath Phoenix Mellow’s rich and varied period costumes of cinched waists, cigarette trousers, full skirts and loafers and Mayne Berke’s eye-popping vintage production design that reportedly fashioned a vintage Harlem in studio lots, Ashe keeps the love story pleasantly conventional. When the duo meet again by the aforesaid marquee, their love swells once more and they pick up where they had left off. Where Ashe goes more adventurous is with Sylvie’s career as a television producer. Alongside Fabrice Lecomte’s sultry original score and classically bebop tunes, we watch the young woman thrive as an assistant to a prominent network producer (notably also a Black woman, played by Ryan Michelle Bathe) and juggle the demands of her home life with Lacy with her burgeoning professional path. Once she gets back together with Robert and the rise of Motown curtails Robert’s future as a jazz musician, Ashe also smartly puts the madly-in-love pair’s jobs in competitive tracks, gently inspecting the intersection of love and sacrifice through satisfying and twisty embellishments to the story."
Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com
"If you’re the kind of viewer who tunes into 'Mad Men' or 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' for the cigarette lighters and the neckties and the bathing suits and the light fixtures, 'Sylvie’s Love' delivers big-time in that department; production designer Mayne Berke and costumer Phoenix Mellow create a dazzlingly idealized take on the Eisenhower and Kennedy years, and the great cinematographer Declan Quinn ('Hamilton') provides enough gloss to give the settings a nostalgic sheen without tipping into parody or turning living rooms into showrooms. The score by Fabrice Lecomte similarly dovetails in and out of period needle-drops with a delicacy that enhances the romantic storytelling."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
"Ashe’s staging is largely anodyne and flatter than his characters’ feelings demand -- a ravishing midnight stroll down an empty Harlem street is the exception that proves the rule -- but the director orchestrates a killer band of collaborators with a singleness of vision that allows 'Sylvie’s Love' to reach for the sublime. Declan Quinn’s gauzy cinematography wraps Fabrice Lecomte’s convincing set of jazz originals in just the right amount of softness, while Phoenix Mellow’s sumptuous costumes -- almost imperceptibly heightened during the recording sessions where Robert styles himself after Sidney Poitier, and flat-out ravishing in glitzier stretches like the night that Sylvie wears a Tiffany’s blue stunner to a Nancy Sinatra concert -- help the movie strike a sustainable balance between its human-sized emotions and the larger-than-life drama that provokes them."
David Erhlcih, IndieWire
"That gives you a sense of the kind of lush hyperbole the film is prone to. Still, the original tunes written for the movie by Fabrice Lecomte are rather fine, persuasively bebop and blend in well with the eclectic selection of period tunes on the soundtrack. Moreover, when Sylvie, Robert and some of the other characters (especially a shady English band manager played by Jemima Kirke) talk about key signatures and quadruplets, they're reasonably convincing as people who really know jazz. Less convincing given the milieu and the time is the fact that although everyone smokes cigarettes constantly, not even a joint gets lit once, and certainly no one has any of the drug problems that afflicted the many greats alluded to here."
Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
THE WITCHES - Alan Silvestri
"Making the kind of movie where thunder loudly claps, lightning strikes, and the camera pushes more than once when Spencer’s character mentions the word 'witch,' Zemeckis is here to frighten and entertain with a knowing wink. At the end of the adventure, one wonders exactly why the director thought he needed to retell this story, considering how the influence of Roeg’s film is felt throughout, but he still adds his own particular, nimble flair to the proceedings. With a grand score by Alan Silvestri that kicks up at every possible turn and extravagantly over-the-top Hathaway performance, this update on 'The Witches' is a family-friendly Halloween treat that still boasts Zemeckis’ brand of the bizarre and a clear-eyed vision that seems all the more rare in today’s Hollywood."
Jordan Raup, The Film Stage
"Zemeckis' signature style is much in evidence, from the dynamic camerawork of the director's longtime collaborator Don Burgess to the propulsive use of Alan Silvestri's big, old-fashioned orchestral score and the lavish detailing of Gary Freeman's period production design. And the extensive CG work -- a far cry from the artisanal prosthetics and makeup overseen by Jim Henson in the Roeg film -- is playful without taking over."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
WONDER WOMAN 1984 - Hans Zimmer
"Far more compelling is the film’s opening sequence, a flashback to a pivotal moment in the life of young Diana, years before she’d become Wonder Woman. As a girl on the magical island of Themiscyra (played once again by the poised and perfectly cast Lilly Aspell), she competes in an arduous challenge of strength and skill against women twice her age and height. This whole section soars -- the camerawork and editing put us right in the middle of the action, and Hans Zimmer’s score sweeps us along. The memory also efficiently establishes Diana’s fearlessness and ability as well as the important lesson she learns about the nature of truth that will become relevant down the road. It is the film’s high point; nothing else will match it in terms of visual cohesion or emotional impact."
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
"The spirit of the 1980s suffuses the film throughout, from Lindy Hemming’s aforementioned costumes (which nail so many of the decade’s looks, whether it’s workout wear or power suits) to Hans Zimmer’s score, which occasionally veers off its grandly heroic terrain to do some fun synth noodling. Gen Xers will certainly feel pangs of retail nostalgia (whether it’s for Washington, D.C.’s New Wave fashion emporium Commander Salamander or just the idea of a mall that could support both a Waldenbooks and a B. Dalton), and comics fans of that era will enjoy the film’s shout-outs to characters like Max Lord and Simon Stagg (Oliver Cotton), as well as the oil-rich nation of Bialya."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
"Like Jenkins’ original 'Wonder Woman,' this sequel spins out of control once the villains gain their full power, shifting from engaging character-based comedy to eye-crossing, CGI-bloated super-battle. (Cue Hans Zimmer’s typically overzealous thunder score.)"
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Despite being half the size of her competitors, Diana performs outstandingly in a contest of physical skills with an obstacle course that's like 'Amazonian Ninja Warrior.' Instead of Mount Midoriyama, the contestants go outside the packed arena for the final stretch, a decathlon-type challenge combining an open-sea swim, horseback riding and archery, all of it further adrenalized by the thundering strains of Hans Zimmer's rousing score. Diana learns a hard but valuable lesson in patience, diligence and honesty, along with her mother's assurance that her time will come."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THING I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: The Henry Brant Collection Volume 3 (Brant), 100 Rifles/Rio Conchos (Goldsmith), Mystery Men (Warbeck/Walker), The Lodge (Bensi/Jurriaans), The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 12B: 1972 (various), Shakespeare Behind Bars (Stemple), The Swarm (Goldsmith), Solar Crisis (Jarre), Bram Stoker's Dracula (Kilar), Occhio Alla Penna (Morricone), King Cohen (Kraemer), Jason and the Argonauts (Herrmann), Far and Away (Williams), Parasite (Jung), Symphony No. 3 (Bruckner), Taras Bulba (Waxman)
Read: Prelude to Foundation, by Isaac Asimov
Seen: A year ago was the Oscars, and the first film I saw after that was truly one of the worst films I have ever seen -- Hot Potato, a quasi-sequel to Black Belt Jones.
Watched: Son Frere; Combat! ("Escape to Nowhere"); Torchy Blane in Chinatown; Star Trek: Discovery ("Perpetual Infinity"); Westworld ("Parce Domine"); The Snow Devils; Breaking Bad ("No Mas"); Extras ("Daniel Radcliffe"); Terror by Night; Star Trek: Discovery ("Through the Valley of Shadows"); Westworld ("The Winter Line")