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Varese Sarabande has just announced a limited edition CD release (number of units unspecified, currently available only on-line) of the LP tracks from the 1978 comedy-mystery WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE?, starring George Segal, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Morley, and directed by Ted Kotcheff (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, First Blood, Weekend at Bernie's -- there's an eclectic resume for you). The score was one of Henry Mancini's most delightful works of the 70s, with charming main themes and elegant suspense music, and the LP was one of the rare Mancini soundtrack albums (before the CD era) that was dominated by score cues, rather than source pieces and more album-friendly arrangements of the main themes. Highly recommended, while it lasts.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 
- Hans Zimmer - Sony
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Deluxe Edition - Hans Zimmer - Sony
Dennis the Menace - Jerry Goldsmith - La-La Land
Draft Day
- John Debney - Lakeshore
Joe - Jeff McIlwain, David Wingo - Milan
Oculus - The Newton Brothers - Varese Sarabande
Overlord/The Disappearance/Hustle
- Paul Glass/Robert Farnon - Kritzerland
The Stepford Wives - David Arnold - La-La Land
Victor Young at Paramount
 - Victor Young - Kritzerland
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? - Henry Mancini - Varese Sarabande


IN THEATERS TODAY

Blue Ruin - Brooke Blair, Will Blair
Brick Mansions - Trevor Morris
Bright Days Ahead - Quentin Sirjacq
Cesar's Last Fast - Ed Barguiarena
The Final Member - Rob Simonsen
The German Doctor - Andres Goldstein, Daniel Tarrab - Score CD Wakolda on Quartet
Last Passenger - Liam Bates
Locke - Dickon Hinchilffe
The Machine - Tom Raybould
Next Goal Wins - Roger Goula Sarda
The Other Woman - Aaron Zigman
The Quiet Ones - Lucas Vidal - Score CD due May 6 on Varese Sarabande
Walking with the Enemy - Tim Williams


COMING SOON

April 29
Grand Piano - Victor Reyes - MovieScore Media/Kronos
Muppets Most Wanted/The Muppets - Christophe Beck - Intrada
The Raid 2 - Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal - Spacelab2
Real Humans
- Rikard Borggard - MovieScore Media/Kronos
The Rescue - Bruce Broughton - Intrada
Tiko and the Shark
- Francesco De Masi - Beat
May 6
The Double - Andrew Hewitt - Milan
Flash Gordon vol. 2 - Michael Picton - Perseverance
The Quiet Ones - Lucas Vidal - Varese Sarabande
The Sacrament - Tyler Bates - Milan
May 13
Dan Curtis' Dracula - Robert Cobert - Varese Sarabande
Godzilla - Alexandre Desplat - Watertower
Lone Survivor - Steve Jablonsky, Explosions in the Sky - River Road
Walking with Dinosaurs - Paul Leonard-Morgan - River Road
May 20
Bates Motel - Chris Bacon - Varese Sarabande
Belle - Rachel Portman - Varese Sarabande
Calvary 
- Patrick Cassidy - Varese SarabandeCold in July
- Jeff Grace - Milan
House of Cards: Season Two - Jeff Beal - Varese Sarabande
X-Men: Days of Future Past - John Ottman - Sony
May 27
A Million Ways to Die in the West - Joel McNeely - Back Lot
The Railway Man - David Hirschfelder - Varese Sarabande
July 1
Game of Thrones: Season 4 - Ramin Djawadi - Watertower
Date Unknown
A Dio Piacendo
- Marco Werba - Intermezzo Media
Anne & Alet
- Mark R. Candasamy - MovieScore Media/Kronos
The Best of John Barry: The Definitive Collection (re-recordings)
 - John Barry - Silva
Belle Ma Povere
- Piero Piccioni - Digitmovies
Bianco Rosso E Verdone
- Ennio Morricone - Beat
Ciliegine
- Nicola Piovani - Beat
The Curse of Dracula
- Joe Harnell, Les Baxter - Buysoundtrax
Das Drei? Das Verfluchte Schloss
- Annette Focks - Alhambra
El Lado Oscuro De La Luz
- Gus Reyes - MovieScore Media/Kronos
Maciste L'Uomo Piu Forte Del Mondo
- Armando Trovajoli - Digitmovies
Mein Herz in Chile
- Marius Felix Lange - Alhambra
Paura Nella Citta Del Morti Viventi
- Fabio Frizzi - Beat
Relentless Justice
- Chuck Cirino - Buysoundtrax
Senilita
- Piero Piccioni - GDM
Superseven Chiama Cairo
- Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Beat
Three Days (of Hamlet) 
- Jonathan Beard - Buysoundtrax
Viaggio Sola
- Gabriele Roberto - Beat
Walk of Shame - John Debney - Lakeshore
The Wedding Date (The Reception Edition)
- Blake Neely - Buysoundtrax
Wilde Wellen
- Karim Sebastian Elias - Alhambra


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

April 25 - John Williams begins recording his score for How to Steal a Million (1966)
April 25 - Brian May died (1997)
April 26 - Francis Lai born (1932)
April 26 - Giorgio Moroder born (1940)
April 26 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for Green Fire (1954)
April 26 - Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter record their score for Kronos (1957)
April 26 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for Gray Lady Down (1977)
April 26 - Bruce Broughton begins recording his score The Blue and the Gray (1982)
April 26 - Bronislau Kaper died (1983)
April 26 - Barry Gray died (1984)
April 26 - Carmine Coppola died (1991)
April 27 - Christopher Komeda born (1937)
April 27 - The Thing opens in Los Angeles (1951)
April 27 - Christopher Young born (1954)
April 27 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Q Who" (1989)
April 27 - Henry Brant died (2008)
April 28 - Billy Goldenberg records his score for High Risk (1976)
April 28 - Christopher Young records orchestral passages for his Invaders from Mars score (1986)
April 29 - Duke Ellington born (1889)
April 29 - Rod McKuen born (1933)
April 29 - Herbert Stothart begins recording his score to Random Harvest (1942)
April 29 - Jan A.P. Kaczmarek born (1953)
April 29 - Chris Boardman born (1954)
April 29 - Lawrence Shragge born (1954)
May 1 - Heinz Roemheld born (1901)
May 1 - Bill Byers born (1927)
May 1 - Citizen Kane premieres in New York (1941)
May 1 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording score for Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1972)
May 1 - Gordon Jenkins died (1984)
May 1 - Bill Byers died (1996)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

DIVERGENT - Junkie XL

"Though its largely handheld camerawork is always competent, the film displays an ungainly sort of beige sheen throughout: Backgrounds often appear washed-out and featureless, and actors’ faces sometimes display the lifeless aspect of overdone digital touchups. A trance-infused score by Junkie XL is appropriately youthful, while music supervisor Randall Poster has assembled a clever collection of indie rock, electronica and hip-hop."

Andrew Barker, Variety

"The score by Junkie XL (Hans Zimmer is credited as executive score producer) is rousing when appropriate and mostly unobtrusive, unlike the tone-deaf use of indie-pop and techno tracks at key points in the action (Randall Poster is the music supervisor)."

Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

HATESHIP LOVESHIP - Dickon Hinchliffe

“Production design and camerawork are solid, with cinematographer Kasper Tuxen's camera work mostly steady and his occasional close-ups appropriately drawing attention to the performances. Dickon Hinchliffe’s sparse, strings-driven score is pure Americana.”

Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

JOE - Jeff McIlwain, David Wingo

"Early sequences following Joe and his employees combing through patches of forest establish 'Joe''s darkly impressionistic tone: Shot and edited almost in a montage fashion, and set to a moody score by Jeff McIlwain, this dreamlike introduction brims with equal parts dread and wonder. It's a surprising filmmaking strategy for a story about such earthbound people, but Green has a gift for balancing the abstract with the mundane."

David Lee Dallas, Slant Magazine

"With such a tightly crafted mood, the story itself can't always keep pace. The series of crimes that eventually enter into the scenario lack the same credibility of the people involved in them, and 'Joe' stumbles through a murky mid-section that repeats some of the same basic showdowns between its central characters a few too many times over.  However, even then, it remains a thoughtful portrait of Southern despair, and efficiently culminates in a suspenseful arrangement of images that realize the full range of strengths from the creative team involved: Green's longtime cinematographer Tim Orr and composer David Wingo complicate the movie's dense atmosphere to give it both poetic and lived-in feel. The bright colors of the closing shot create a marked contrast to the brooding nature of the visuals preceding it. If 'Joe' marks a new beginning for some of its characters, the same description applies to its director and star."

Eric Kohn, IndieWIRE

"While the film flirts with a number of genres -- melodrama, comedy, coming-of-age—it ultimately lands closest to being Green’s first western by the time it reaches its conclusion. But the shift into that direction is more deftly handled here than in the tone-breaking final shootout in 'Mud,' with the filmmaker setting the seeds for that kind of violence early on. It might shift between tones, but it all feels of a piece. In part it’s thanks to typically excellent work from regular collaborators in DoP Tim Orr and composers David Wingo and Jeff McIllwain, and in part to Cage’s performance."

Oliver Lyttleton, The Playlist

"In presenting Joe and the audience with such unambiguous archetypes of good and evil, and encouraging the notion that sometimes blood must be shed in order to shield the innocent, the film strives for a mythic resonance grounded in its primal, close-to-nature setting. The atmosphere quivers with spiritual undertones of grace and menace: The camera at times hovers alongside the characters as though wielded by some invisible presence (actually Green’s regular d.p., Tim Orr), while David Wingo and Jeff McIlwain’s moody score puts the viewer in a metaphysical state of mind from the opening scenes."

Justin Chang, Variety

"Green’s regular cinematographer, Tim Orr, as always, does impeccable work, elegantly juxtaposing images of natural beauty with harshness and squalor in a visual field of rich, dark tones. Pace-wise, the sinewy drama seems a touch too long and occasionally tends to idle where genre conventions dictate a steadier build, but David Wingo and Jeff McIlwain's score maintains a suitably ominous mood."

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Jozef Van Wissem, Squrl

"All of this is clever enough to keep us entertained in the almost complete absence of conventional action, and the film is fleshed out, in a manner of speaking, by several other zestful performances: Mia Wasikowska as Ava, Eve's trashy kid sister who arrives from Los Angeles, which Adam calls "zombie central"; Anton Yelchin as Ian, Adam's zombie gofer, and Jeffrey Wright as Adam's blood supplier, a hematologist named Dr. Watson. But a funny thing happens on the way to farce central, which is where Mr. Jarmusch's film first seems headed. Yorick Le Saux's cinematography is so seductive, the music of Jozef Van Wissem and Squrl is so haunting and, above all, Ms. Swinton and Mr. Hiddleston complement each other so elegantly that languor gives way to a genuinely affecting -- and erotic -- love story. These two exiles from humanity truly are inseparable, wherever fate and the blood supply may take them, and we're entangled too."

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"But the film is really about Adam and Eve, and Hiddlestone and Swinton are so good, and so well-matched, that their love story is surprisingly romantic and sexy. It’s also really good to look at, with Swinton maybe more luminous than she’s been since 'Orlando,' often posed with Hiddleston in a kind of beautiful tangle of alabaster limbs, and the richness of the set design and costuming giving every frame a depth and warmth that rewards in itself. Add to that a terrific score that in its twangy electric guitar chords reminded us of Neil Young’s work on 'Dead Man' and some choice songs, including a truly mesmerising track at the very end of the film sung seemingly live, and the film certainly comes handsomely dressed."

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

"The film is packed with Jarmusch's diverse preoccupations: Einsteinian physics, vintage guitars, the strangeness of fungi. A sumptuously narcotised atmosphere is conjured up, with many a rotating overhead shot, by cinematographer Yorick Le Saux. Jarmusch's band SQÜRL compose the score, together with experimental lute player Jozef van Wissem, and there's a show-stealing, intensely sexual live number by Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan."

Jonathan Romney, Observer

"Fortunately, this in and of itself proves enjoyable, at least for us: As is so often the case in Jarmusch's films, simply spending time in the company of his creations is engrossing enough to sustain a feature. There's a decadence of sound and image here, too, that's well worth poring over, particularly when it comes to any one of the several standalone musical sequences. Adam, having long ago moved on from the classically symphonic, now prefers a kind of psychedelic drone, producing trance-like feedback loops of guitar tones and noise that sound a bit like Sunn O))). Much like Boris's Pink set the mood for 'The Limits of Control,' Adam's constant noodling -- actually the sounds of Jarmusch's own band SQURL -- defines the world of the film."

Calum Marsh, Slant Magazine

THE RAID 2 - Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal

"Apart from the brief use of the 'Sarabande' from Handel’s 'Suite in D minor,' which may jerk your thoughts toward 'Barry Lyndon'(or not), the soundtrack is essentially a wall of percussion that mirrors the pummeling, metronomic rhythms of the action."

Justin Chang, Variety

"Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi and Fajar Yuskemal contribute a dynamic score that ranges from ambient electronica to pounding drums to rare interludes of reflection."

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

RIO 2 - John Powell

"Many a classic musical comedy, of the kind the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced through, had a disposable script and ineffable production numbers. 'Rio 2,' no classic, comes alive whenever it sings and moves. The movie’s opening celebrates New Year’s Eve with the vivid 'Sapo Cal,' colors and characters exploding everywhere to the samba percussion of composers Sergio Mendes, Carlinho Brown and John Powell. Hathaway exercises her expert chops on the ballad 'Don’t Go Away'; Broadway legend Moreno and previous non-singer Garcia duet on 'Beautiful Creatures.' In fact, most of the good comedy in 'Rio 2' is connected with the music, as in a snatch of spectacular funny-intentional bad singing (by Bebel Gilberto, daughter of João Gilberto), or when some cute birdies start to sing 'Memory' (from 'Cats' -- already a sly joke), and are instantly devoured by a panther. Clement, nearly stealing the limelight with his Anglo-ham foppery, gets an unnecessary but delightful solo -- Gloria Gaynor’s 'I Will Survive' -- and supports Chenoweth’s knockout diva turn, 'Poisonous Love' (by Brown, Powell and lyricist Randy Rogel), which Gabi sings to the sleeping Nigel. Escalating from Broadway patter song to 'Tristan und Isolde' intensity, it challenges Josh Gad’s 'In Summer,' from 'Frozen,' as the cleverest and most passionately rendered original number in recent movie history.

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine

"A love of music was at the heart of 'Rio,' and so it is with the sequel as well, which mixes samba and bossa nova tunes and a couple awkward hip-hop interludes (courtesy of wearying supporting characters from Jamie Foxx and Will.i.am) alongside some legitimately entertaining Broadway-style musical numbers, plus a score from composer John Powell that never misses a chance to punch an emotive point."

Brent Simon, Paste Magazine

"What may lend the film an extra commercial boost is an aggressively pre-marketed soundtrack that offers a vigorous fusion of hip-hop beats, samba riffs and Broadway-style showstoppers (once again overseen by composer John Powell, executive music producer Sergio Mendes and songwriter Carlinhos Brown)."

Justin Chang, Variety

TRANSCENDENCE - Mychael Danna

"Transcendence suffers from terrible timing, arriving a few months after Spike Jonze charmed audiences with his semi-futuristic love story 'Her,' which flipped a century’s worth of technophobia on its back to view what futurist Ray Kurzweil calls 'the singularity' -- the point at which humans are eclipsed by their computer counterparts -- as a version of romantic bliss. It was 'Annie Hall' for the iGeneration. Now, along comes Pfister, as if to say: no, no, forget that, be afraid again. He’s put together a handsome-looking film, no question. His cinematographer Jess Hall has a soft spot for slow-mo water droplets and the sun flaring through solar panels at dawn; the score, by Mycheal Danna, is a haunting mixture of Satie-like piano nocturnes and glassy choral arrangements; and the cast is classiness personified: Bettany, Hall, Mara. But what’s the point of calling in Rebecca Hall to do your power-hitting -- her early shows of grief are textbook examples of sharp fluid, emotional economy -- if you’re then going to ask her somehow not to smell a rat while Depp amasses enough power to light up southern California?"

Tom Shone, The Guardian

"While 'Transcendence' has tons of money to spend on unpersuasive digital effects and dronelike music, it shows little interest in exploring the potentially tricky benefits of a computer-enhanced intellect; it’s not even in the enjoyable realm of starkly ridiculous Cold War thrillers like 'Colossus: The Forbin Project.'"

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

"Composer Mychael Danna rattles the speakers of the new Dolby Atmos sound system with a score that combines lush string arrangements and occasional electronic twangs, whenever the basso profundo sound design isn’t doing same."

Scott Foundas, Variety

UNDER THE SKIN - Mica Levi

"Underpinning it all is Mica Levi, whose awe-inspiring work inhabits that strange musique concrète netherworld between score and sound effects. Working closely with sound designer Johnnie Burn, Levi creates percussive, scraping, buzzing accompaniments that nod toward the avant-garde strains of Penderecki and Ligeti (and arguably the film scores of Jonny Greenwood), while groaning fragments of what sound like an alien language recall the industrial soundscapes of Alan Splet. The overall effect is dazzling, lending cohesion to a film that occasionally threatens to fall apart in the director's hands, the disparate elements of the visuals locked together at a genetic level by the firm foundation of sound."

Mark Kermode, The Observer

"Darkness, underscored by violins imitating a busy beehive. A flash of circular light that clarifies into a blinking eye. Fragments of familiar words in a woman’s voice, as if she were learning a new language. One female figure stripping another of her clothes and putting them on. An alien entity has come to Earth (Scotland, to be exact), called herself Laura and assumed the most beguiling of human forms: Scarlett Johansson’s. The movie proves its avant-garde bona fides in two ways. One is the score by Mica Levi, of the band Micachu & The Shapes. At first the music mesmerizes, as its drone accompanies the alien’s first words (which Johansson recorded before filming, as she practiced the English accent she employs here). But it soon turns repetitious: three ascending notes, familiar from old sci-fi movies, and played on an instrument that sounds like a theremin with a chest cold."

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine

"As primal and affecting as the film’s imagery is, its score and sound design is more than a fitting match. Mica Levi’s often jarring, often exquisite postmodern compositions feel as closely informed to a completely alien experience, struggling to interpret this strange planet, as one could imagine. The hyper-reality of the sound design complements it superbly, often acting in concert with the score. (It’s here, perhaps, that Glazer’s background as a director of award-winning music videos is most evident.)"

Scott Wold, Paste Magazine

"My response to the first half was 'That’s a hell of an image, but why is it held so long?' Also 'I could use a cup of strong coffee.' Soundtrack composer Mica Levi’s quivering, atonal strings are like sandpaper on the eardrums. Deep silence is followed by deafening babble. On the street, the camera scrutinizes men and women of all ages and shapes: meat. Meanwhile, there is Scarlett in a dark, shaggy wig, her lips pink and full, her breasts ripe, her eyes blank as they fix on potential victims. Which of these earthlings will be the next Anthony Lane?"

David Edelstein, Vulture

"Uniquely, the wisp of a sci-fi plot unfolds entirely from the perspective of its near-mute 'monster.' This allows Glazer, the increasingly adventurous English director of 'Birth' and 'Sexy Beast,' to make a 'normal' environment seem threateningly abnormal. Sonic texture plays a crucial role in the disorientation: The complex sound design, coupled with Mica Levi’s superbly sinister score, suggests a world of natural sounds being received and vaguely distorted by inhuman ears. The sporadically vérité shooting style -- another rarity in cinema of the fantastic -- only enhances the sense that Glazer has entered the headspace of his heroine."

A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club

"The English director -- whose first feature, 'Sexy Beast,' announced a rare cinematic talent 13 years ago -- uses an extraordinary abstract score by Mica Levi to fully immerse the viewer in a foreign consciousness."

Donald Clarke, The Irish Times

"Nothing in our kitchen-sink tradition prepares us for the formidable scenes in which these unwitting passers-by follow the alien femme fatale into her lair, feeling the siren’s pull as they shed their clothes bit by bit in a Tardis-like cavern of endless blackness. Astonishing music by Micachu’s Mica Levi -- ominous death drums and shrieking strings -- scores these abstracted dances of erotic doom, as the victims obliviously wade into lethal, liquid depths like insects succumbing to the final stickiness of a Venus fly trap while happily drunk on the sweet scent."

Samuel Wigley, Sight & Sound

"Much of this film is disorienting and withholding. The music, by young wunderkind Mica Levi, is prickly and playfully eerie, but it keeps us at an arm’s length, its trills and trickles never quite coalescing into a real melody."

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

"She takes some of them back to her lair, where the mood, the landscape, and the soundscape (courtesy of an extraordinary score by the young British composer Mica Levi) are transformed, and where we realize that the temptress is, in fact, a bringer of death."

Anthony Lane, New Yorker

"Glazer, a music-video director credited with two provocative features ('Sexy Beast,' 'Birth'), has joined with writer Walter Campbell to adapt Michael Faber's 2000 novel into a story Faber himself might not quite recognize. As adaptations go, this one's a highwire act. Using hidden digital cameras, Glazer shows us real Scots reacting to this sexy beast behind the wheel. The effect is eerie and electrifying. Glazer attempts to let us see the human world through the eyes of a nonhuman, evocatively reflected in Mica Levi's score."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"It is, to be sure, a beautiful and often hypnotic film. The score, by young Mica Levi, is a marvelous mashup of industrial ambiences, monotonous beats, Bernard Herrmann and Krzysztof Penderecki. The sense of dread begins early, and builds."

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

"The film opens with shots of space, and stars forming circles and ellipses and eclipses. The soundtrack is a frenzied soundscape of stringed instruments, and we eventually hear Scarlett Johansson forming sounds and reading alphabetical lists of words, like someone  learning a language, and those circles become what appears to be a human eye… Still, if you're willing to let yourself go with the movie, to follow it where it wants to take you and to fill in the blanks on your own, Glazer creates a hypnotic atmosphere. Composer Mica Levi and sound designer Johnnie Burn put in overtime on this one; it's a valid complaint that most mainstream movies are wall-to-wall music and explosions, but here's an example of using sound to challenge and disconcert an audience rather than lulling and entertaining them."

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

"Johansson’s performance is necessarily quiet, her look subtly out of this world. She utters her few lines in a refined English accent, while presumably most of the rest of the cast are non-professionals. Mico Levi’s score ups the dread level: it sounds at times like a new electronic language being born or a subtle form of communication between aliens. It’s a serious, often bleak film -- a scene of a family faced with drowning is the film’s most horrific moment -- but a wry humour stops it taking itself too seriously."

Dave Calhoun, Time Out

"The film is based on Michel Faber’s 14-year-old novel of the same name, in which an alien called Isserley, disguised as an attractive woman, hunts hitchhikers in the Scottish highlands for their meat. But in the ten-or-so years it has taken Glazer to bring the story to the screen, much of its own flesh has fallen away from the bone. What remains is the now-nameless alien, who is played by Scarlett Johansson as a kind of prototypic femme fatale, with ash-black hair, a deep fur coat and lips as bright as blood. (Johansson is nothing short of iconic in the role, and the film’s extraordinary score, by Mica Levi, equips her with a keening, three-note Siren’s call.)"

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

"This notion is compellingly evinced in Laura being interrupted -- by a looming tragedy at sea -- as she sizes up a surfer. Eerily and sexily complemented by Mica Levi's score, a weirdly fetching mix of live and synth strings and percussion that rumbles like the sea's angry waves, Glazer frames a woman's pursuit of her drowning dog, the husband's pursuit of the wife, and the surfer's pursuit of the husband as a primordial daisy chain of self-destruction."

Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

"But if Glazer is only just resurfacing with his first movie in 10 years (the last was the 2004 arty-elegant reincarnation romance 'Birth'), at least he's coming back with a great one. Along with his actors, cinematographer Daniel Landin, and composer Mica Levi, he's made a work of quiet audaciousness, half-soothing, half-jolting. This is a dream-state movie that's always fully awake and alive… And Levi's score is a small, weird miracle in itself. The opening sequence, in which an orb of light is used as a kind of visual shorthand to fill us in on some otherwise incomprehensible alien backstory, is accompanied by a chorus of anxious violins like 1,000 obsessive crickets. This is the music of unease, the sound our neurons might make if we could listen in on their workday."

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

"'Under the Skin' opens with a bewildering white dot in the middle of a black screen, which grows into a bright light as violins buzz on the soundtrack. (The ingenious score is by Mica Levi of Micachu and the Shapes.)"

Dan Kois, Slate.com

"The movie is set in Scotland, where thick brogues render the locals incomprehensible and, in a way, foreign. (Johansson, oddly, adopts a saucy London accent.) What's more, the victims aren't actors. Accompanied by hidden cameras, Johansson really did drive around ambushing strange men, and their reactions are touchingly genuine. All of this makes their death scenes, accompanied by Mica Levi's terrifying, skull-scraping score, the more chilling."

Rafer Guzman, Newsday

"The opening of 'Under the Skin' might remind you of the openings of '2001,' 'Blade Runner' or 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' or certain movies by Paul Thomas Anderson: an immersive, hypnotic gambit that feels like the mental equivalent of a palate cleanser. As Mica Levi's score buzzes like an otherworldly hornet's nest, we see a black screen with a tiny white dot in the middle."

Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

"There are a few natural ways one could go with this premise: melodramatic thriller, prurient exploitation flick, dark comedy. The 'Species' series took a similar idea in all three directions. Here, director Jonathan Glazer ('Sexy Beast'), working from a screenplay by Walter Campbell that adapts Michel Faber's novel, instead opts for a cerebral study of the mechanics of seduction and the allure of the ideal female form. It's an ambitiously off-kilter choice, cloaked in a score by Mica Levi packed with haunting discordant string strains and atonal digressions."

Robert Levin, AM New York

"The opening sequence alone is worth more than the price of a ticket. It’s just rioting color and deafening soundscape, but you watch and listen and wonder and wait for a concrete image to take shape, and eventually something does, and the shape taken is that of Scarlett Johansson, who’s well used in 'The Winter Soldier,' but ingeniously deployed here."

Wesley Morris, Grantland

"In the movie’s striking opening sequence, this otherworldly siren first appears as a speck of light that expands into a disc, which forms into an unblinking eye. Accompanying this metamorphosis is a scratchy electronic soundtrack by Mica Levi that suggests vaguely melodic static emanating from another galaxy."

Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Stripping the film of all this does not undermine its coherence, but rather adds to the eeriness, as does Mica Levi’s plaintive score."

Brian Viner, Daily Mail

"Whether or not there’s much feeling to take away in the end is another story. Eerily scored throughout by Mica Levi, 'Under the Skin' is a deliberately oblique piece of work that prizes rhythms and textures above hows and whys. If that very notion makes your skin crawl, then don’t bother, but more curious audiences may find that Glazer’s film does that well enough on its own."

William Goss, Film.com

"This is really a film to be experienced: Glazer expertly uses all the elements at his disposal, including an oppressive score by Mica Levi, to create an outsider perspective on humanity that feels uncanny and unnerving. He’s aided no end by Johansson, who not only looks entirely alien alongside all the hardy Scots that populate the cast, but also conveys a believable ‘otherness’ through her simple facial expressions. She is like the film itself: always looking (at things, at people and at herself) and her fascination is infectious."

Paul Gallagher, The List

"After landing on Earth and slipping into the skin of a human woman, Scarlett Johansson’s space creature drives around Scotland picking up various men, whose rapid vocal interjections are looped in a way that makes them sound like another language (at least to an American). Not only does Johansson misunderstand what she sees -- for instance, asking a man with a profound facial deformity why he doesn’t have a girlfriend, unaware that she’s being hurtful -- but she seems to experience it through imperfect stimuli. The soundtrack, courtesy of a hypnotically strange score by Mica Levi, would be a mesmerizing experience on its own."

Ben Kenigsberg, The Onion AV Club

"In the grand tradition of 'The Man Who Fell to Earth,' Glazer's movie drops us right into the thick of the alien's experiences without a modicum of exposition to explain her arrival or intent. A shocking series of visuals open the story with bright flashes of color that eventually reveal an unblinking eyeball, followed by shots of Johansson's character against a stark wide backdrop discovering her fresh human host. In the next several wordless minutes, she drives around Scotland in search of suitors while Mica Levi's eerie soundtrack drifts in and out, furthering a sense of discombobulation associated with the mysterious point of view."

Eric Kohn, IndieWIRE

"As has been clear throughout his career, Glazer is a very accomplished image maker. This may not be enough to float the film, but the director's explorations with cinematographer Daniel Landin are daring and always intriguing to watch. The mood is quiet and strong, pregnant with threat, not of horror film-like violence but of unexpected images and psychosexual freakiness. An equally important element here is the score by Mica Levi (aka pop band member Micachu), an eerie, anxiety-provoking electronic work that is extremely accomplished in its own right."

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter


THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianLACMANew Beverly, NuartSilent Movie Theater and UCLA.

April 25
CRITTERS 2 (Nicholas Pike) [Silent Movie Theater]
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (Michel Legrand), THE ROCK (Hans Zimmer, Nick Glennie-Smith) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
SIXTEEN CANDLES (Ira Newborn), THE BREAKFAST CLUB (Keith Forsey, Gary Chang) [New Beverly]
TO CATCH A THIEF (Lyn Murray), TORN CURTAIN (John Addison) [Cinematheque: Aero]

April 26
DEATH PROMISE (Bill Daniels, Mike Felder) [Silent Movie Theater]
GOODFELLAS, MY BLUE HEAVEN (Ira Newborn) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
JURASSIC PARK (John Williams), THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK (John Williams), JURASSIC PARK III (Don Davis) [Cinematheque: Aero]
M*A*S*H (Johnny Mandel) [UCLA]
THE NARROW MARGIN [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
SIXTEEN CANDLES (Ira Newborn), THE BREAKFAST CLUB (Keith Forsey, Gary Chang) [New Beverly]

April 27
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner), MUNSTER GO HOME (Jack Marshall) [New Beverly]
ALL THAT JAZZ (Ralph Burns) [Silent Movie Theater]
MARY, THE SKIN GAME [Cinematheque: Aero]
MARY POPPINS (Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE MATRIX (Don Davis) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]

April 28
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner), MUNSTER GO HOME (Jack Marshall) [New Beverly]

April 29
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner), MUNSTER GO HOME (Jack Marshall) [New Beverly]
THE GREAT GATSBY (Robert Emmett Dolan) [LACMA]

April 30
GIFT, DRUGSTORE COWBOY (Elliot Goldenthal) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MEAN GIRLS (Rolfe Kent), THE HOUSE OF YES (Rolfe Kent) [New Beverly]

May 1
BOOGIE NIGHTS (Michael Penn) [Silent Movie Theater]
MEAN GIRLS (Rolfe Kent), THE HOUSE OF YES (Rolfe Kent) [New Beverly]
THE WICKER MAN (Paul Giovanni), EYE OF THE DEVIL (Gary McFarland) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

May 2
BLACKMAIL, MURDER [Cinematheque: Aero]
CAMOUFLAGE (Wojciech Kilar), THE CONSTANT FACTOR (Wojciech Kilar) [LACMA/AMPAS]
THE DEAD ZONE (Michael Kamen) [Silent Movie Theater]
MANHATTAN (George Gershwin, Tom Pierson) [Silent Movie Theater]
THE PRINCESS BRIDE (Mark Knopfler) [Nuart]
SLITHER (Tyler Bates) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE SWIMMER (Marvin Hamlisch), CORRUPTION (Bill McGuffie) [New Beverly]

May 3
AIRPLANE! (Elmer Bernstein) [Silent Movie Theater]
THE BANK DICK (Charles Previn) [Silent Movie Theater]
EXPLORERS (Jerry Goldsmith) [New Beverly]
GODZILLA (Akira Ifukube) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE ILLUMINATION (Wojciech Kilar) [Silent Movie Theater]
READY TO WEAR (Michel Legrand) [UCLA]
A SUNDAY IN HELL, BREAKING AWAY (Patrick Williams) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE SWIMMER (Marvin Hamlisch), CORRUPTION (Bill McGuffie) [New Beverly]
TOO MUCH JOHNSON [LACMA/AMPAS]
VALLEY OF THE GIANTS [Silent Movie Theater]

May 4
CHARLOTTE'S WEB (Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Irwin Kostal) [UCLA]
DIAL M FOR MURDER (Dimitri Tiomkin) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SPACEBALLS (John Morris) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (Elmer Bernstein) [Silent Movie Theater]

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What, no mention of the fabulous new Music Box releases?

What, no mention of the fabulous new Music Box releases?

I'd just finished the column when those were announced, so I figured those could wait for next Friday's column. Chalk it up to laziness.

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