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Hot on the heels of La-La Land's impressive Black Friday quintet of new releases, Intrada has announced a pair of truly historic soundtrack releases this week.

The 1977 science-fiction adventure DAMNATION ALLEY is a perfect encapsulation of Jerry Goldsmith's talent for writing inspired scores for uninspired films. Jack Smight (Harper, The Illustrated Man) directed this loose adaptation of the novel by Roger Zelazny (whose Lord of Light was the basis for the script used in the real-life Argo caper), co-written, surprisingly enough, by the excellent screenwriter Alan Sharp (Night Moves, The Last Run, Ulzana's Raid, Rob Roy). George Peppard and Jan Michael Vincent play a pair of Air Force officers who survive World War Three inside a desert missile base, and proceed to travel across the irradiated America in a high-tech tank called the "Landmaster" (movie geeks like myself who lived in L.A. in the early '80s were always thrilled to spot the Landmaster in a lot just off the freeway north of the Hollywood Bowl), battling such menaces as freak storms and killer cockroaches, and picking up stray survivors (Euro-star Dominique Sanda and the then-teenage Jackie Earle Haley). The film was a box-office failure (rumor has long had it that certain 20th Century Fox execs were convinced that this film, not Star Wars, was destined to be the studio's sci-fi blockbuster for 1977), with visual effects that were far from state-of-the-art in the wake of Star Wars and many unintentionally hilarous moments, but is one of those indefensible films that manages to still be consisently entertaining and endlessly rewatchable 40 years later. But what makes the film most rewatchable is Goldsmith's thrilling score, an inventive mixture of rousing orchestral tracks and distinctively Goldsmithian synth overlays. Goldsmith's score was one of his few popular works to not receive a satisfactory release in the archival soundtrack boom of the last few decades -- because most of the synth parts were missing, the only release so far had been eight largely orchestral cues on Varese Sarabande's epic Jerry Goldsmith at 20th Century Fox boxed set. Intrada has since found the complete master session tapes from the orchestral recordings, including music not featured in the final film, and has engaged synthesizer artist Leigh Phillips to recreate the missing electronic parts, resulting in a soundtrack release that has been a forty-years-in-the-making, true Holy Grail for Goldsmith fans like myself.

Their other new release is a four-disc set featuring previously unreleased original score tracks from one of the all-time film music masters, two-time Oscar winner Franz Waxman. Disc One of CAPTAINS COURAGOUS: THE FRANZ WAXMAN COLLECTION features 43 minutes of music from the title film, which won Spencer Tracy the Best Actor Oscar, and 34 minutes from another Tracy vehicle, the 1941 remake of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which earned Waxman an Oscar nomination. Disc Two features the 1939 film of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (20 min.), the classic 1938 version of A Christmas Carol (34:06), and the first classic Tracy-Hepburn romantic comedy, Woman of the Year (14 min.). Disc Three features the 1959 Deborah Kerr comedy Count Your Blessings (48 min.), the 1936 Joan Crawford-Clark Gable romantic comedy Love on the Run (15 min.), and Fritz Lang's classic 1936 crime drama Fury (6 min.). Disc Four concludes the set with Alfred Hitchcock's 1941 romantic mystery Suspicion (18 min.), which earned Joan Fontaine a Best Actress Oscar and nominations for Best Picture and for Waxman's score, Tod Browning's 1936 horror film The Devil-Doll (19 min.), and the 1961 gangster biopic King of the Roaring 20's: The Story of Arnold Rothstein (37 min.). The set features liner notes by Frank DeWald as well as illustrations including scoring manuscripts and stills from the collection of the composer's son, John Waxman.


Quartet has also announced their final batch of 2017 soundtrack CD releases -- an expanded edition of Jerry Goldsmith's wonderful romantic jazz score for the Fred Schepisi-Tom Stoppard adaptation of John Le Carre's THE RUSSIA HOUSE; a two-disc expanded version of an international film and film-music classic, Nino Rota's score for Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA; a new re-recording of Fernando Velazquez's score for J.A. Bayona's memorable ghost story, THE ORPHANAGE; and a remastered, 50th anniversary edition of perhaps the greatest pop movie music ever written, Burt Bacharach's score for the 1967 comedy film version of Ian Fleming's CASINO ROYALE.


The Recording Academy has announced this year's nominations for the Grammy Awards, including the following film music-related categories: 

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media
 
ARRIVAL - Jóhann Jóhannsson 
DUNKIRK - Hans Zimmer 
GAME OF THRONES: SEASON 7 - Ramin Djawadi 
HIDDEN FIGURES - Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams & Hans Zimmer
LA LA LAND - Justin Hurwitz 

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
 
BABY DRIVER
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2: AWESOME MIX VOL. 2
HIDDEN FIGURES: THE ALBUM
LA LA LAND
MOANA: THE SONGS

Best Song Written For Visual Media
 
CITY OF STARS - Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul - La La Land
HOW FAR I'LL GO - Lin-Manuel Miranda - Moana
I DON'T WANNA LIVE FOREVER (FIFTY SHADES DARKER) - Jack Antonoff, Sam Dew & Taylor Swift - Fifty Shades Darker
NEVER GIVE UP - Sia Furler & Greg Kurstin - Lion
STAND UP FOR SOMETHING - Common & Diane Warren - Marshall

Film composers nominated in other categories include three of the nominees for Best Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals -- Justin Hurwitz for La La Land's opening number "Another Day of Sun," Joel McNeely for Seth MacFarlane's rendition of "I Like Myself," and Randy Newman for his own song "Putin." John Williams was nominated in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella category for his "Escapades For Alto Saxophone And Orchestra From Catch Me If You Can." while Ludwig Goransson earned three nominations for his collaboration with "Childish Gambino" (aka Donald Glover), including those obscure categories "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year."

CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Blue Planet II
 -- Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea, David Fleming - Silva
Captains Courageous: The Franz Waxman Collection - Franz Waxman - Intrada Special Collection
The Crown, Season 2 - Lorne Balfe, Rupert Gregson-Williams - Sony (import)
Damnation Alley - Jerry Goldsmith - Intrada Special Collection
Garci Cervantes Film Music 2001 - 2015
 - Pablo Cervantes - Rosetta
I Dolci Inganni
 - Piero Piccioni - Saimel
Jungle
 - Johnny Klimek - Varese Sarabande
Justice League 
- Danny Elfman - WaterTower
The Lion Woman
 - Uno Helmersson - Kronos
Reliquias - Sergio Moure de Oteyza - Rosetta
The Shape of Water 
- Alexandre Desplat - Decca
Thunderbirds Are Go, Vol. 2
 - Ben Foster, Nick Foster - Silva


IN THEATERS TODAY

Arthur Miller: Writer - Michael Rohatyn
Big Sonia - Brad Anthony Laina
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story - Keegan DeWitt, Jeremy Bullock
Bullet Head - Austin Wintory
Foxtrot - Ophir Leibovitch, Amit Poznansky
I Am Evidence - Wendy Blackstone
I, Tonya - Peter Nashel - Score CD due Dec. 15 on Milan
Just Getting Started - Alex Wurman
Shadowman - Joel Goodman
The Shape of Water - Alexandre Desplat - Score CD on Decca
Song of Granite - Pat Collins


COMING SOON

December 15
Ferdinand - John Powell - La-La Land
I, Tonya - Peter Nashel - Milan
LBJ - Marc Shaiman - Lakeshore
Mindhunter - Jason Hill - Milan
Paddington 2 - Dario Marianelli - Decca (import)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
 - John Williams - Disney
Stranger Things 2 - Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein - Lakeshore
12 Monkeys: Season 3
 - Stephen Barton - Varese Sarabande
December 22
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
 - Henry Jackman - Sony [CD-R]
Mr. Robot vol. 4
 - Mac Quayle - Lakeshore
January 5
Lady Bird - Jon Brion - Lakeshore
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) - Randy Newman - Lakeshore
January 12
Downsizing - Rolfe Kent - WaterTower
The Post - John Williams - Sony
Date Unknown
Bandes Originales Des Films De Laurent Heynemann
- Philippe Sarde - Music Box
Casino Royale
- Burt Bacharach - Quartet
A Christmas Carol
- Nick Bicat - Quartet
Christmas with a Capital C 
- Erwin Wendler - Howlin' Wolf
Drole de Petites Betes
- Bruno Coulais - Quartet
La Crime/Marquis
- Reinhardt Wagner - Music Box
La Dolce Vita
- Nino Rota - Quartet
Lisa
- Gabriel Yared - Caldera
Lovemaker
- Armando Trovjoli - Beat
The Orphanage (re-recording)
- Fernando Velazquez - Quartet
Queen's Messenger
- Stelvio Cipriani - Kronos
The Russia House
- Jerry Goldsmith - Quartet
Salvatore - Questa e La Vita
- Paolo Vivaldi - Kronos
Snofall
- Henrik Skram - Quartet
Sweet Smell of Success
 - Elmer Bernstein - Verve
Un Gatto Nel Cervello
- Fabio Frizzi - Beat
Una Sull'altra/Non Si Sevizio Un Paperino
- Riz Ortolani - Beat 
Vai Avanti Tu Che Mi Vien Da Ridere/C'e Un Fantasma Nel Mio Letto
- Piero Umiliani - Beat


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

December 8 - Leo Shuken born (1906)
December 8 - John Rubinstein born (1946)
December 8 - Bruce Kimmel born (1947)
December 8 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score to The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1958)
December 8 - Russell Garcia begins recording his score for The Time Machine (1959)
December 8 - Junkie XL born as Tom Holkenberg (1967)
December 8 - Antonio Carlos Jobim died (1994)
December 8 - Richard Thompson begins recording his score for Grizzly Man (2004)
December 9 - Von Dexter born (1912)
December 9 - Chris Wilson born (1958)
December 9 - William Goldstein records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “Her Pilgrim Soul” (1985)
December 9 - Alessandro Cicognini died (1995)
December 10 - Morton Gould born (1913)
December 10 - Alexander Courage born (1919)
December 10 - Milan Svoboda born (1951)
December 10 - Jack Hues born (1954)
December 10 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Shock Treatment (1963)
December 10 - Leigh Harline died (1969)
December 10 - Roy Webb died (1982)
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 - Rene Cloerec died (1995)
December 13 - Miles Goodman begins recording his score for Dunston Checks In (1995)
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 - 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)

DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE - Hans Zimmer, Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL)
 
"Snyder is largely stripped of the legroom that allowed some of his previous works to seem like showcases for camp and ostentatious production design, but he manages to integrate some beautiful, patently weird images and moments into the proceedings: a monumentally confusing dream-within-a-dream sequence (presumably littered with fan service that will exceed the grasp of most viewers) features a visceral single-shot fight scene with visual echoes of 'Fury Road''s red-tinted dystopia; Batman gets a shirtless training montage soundtracked by the triumphant sound of dumbbells crashing onto a cement floor; and a score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL transcends the usual pummeling of percussion with bracing nods to Bach and Shostakovich."
 
Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine

"As a senator, Holly Hunter is completely natural and, with the exception of Jeremy Irons as Alfred, she is the only actor unaffected by being in a superhero movie. Everyone else tries to compensate, as though thinking, 'I’m going to ignore this really awful material and act even more.' As Lex Luthor, Jesse Eisenberg gives what will probably pass as a great performance -- he twitches, raves, talks slowly and then fast, and he doesn’t wipe his nose even when he needs to -- but it’s all surface, calculated to impress and coming from nowhere. Hans Zimmer’s score matches the acting, with music that is portentous and full of unearned meaning. When Superman and Batman finally meet in full costume, Zimmer is practically losing his mind, as though St. Paul and Plato, or Lincoln and Washington, or Jesus and Buddha were finally going to have a sit-down. The music is thundering and cresting, and the world will never be the same. In that moment, try to back up a second and perceive it from a distance. You might get a laugh."
 
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

"Director Snyder plays to what I suppose you have to call his strengths. He lays on the moody atmospherics and Hans Zimmer's score, while keeping the images grand enough to support the obligatory special-effects dust-up with a monster in the final reel."
 
Bob Mondello, NPR

"Also looking into Luthor’s plans is Wonder Woman, a/k/a Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), a mysterious Amazon who captivates (and briefly collaborates with) Wayne but otherwise doesn’t get much to do until the climax. The film uses the actress’s intense gaze well, but she’s been given hardly any character or dialogue to work with. Even so, 'Batman v. Superman' does come to life whenever she’s onscreen, and not just because composers Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL have outfitted her with a rousing, charging musical theme that offers a welcome contrast to the rest of the brooding soundtrack. Also, not having much dialogue, she’s one of the few characters who doesn’t have to issue pseudo–Joseph Campbellian proclamations about power and heroes and goodness and evil and the individual and oh god make it stop."
 
Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

"Meanwhile, floppy-haired millennial tech prodigy Lex Luthor starts stocking up on Kryptonite, plotting a way to turn the two biggest heroes in the greater Gotham City-Metropolis area against each other, because… well, what supervillain really needs a reason? At least Lex Luthor isn’t a clichéd, manic villain enacting an insidious plot to control or decimate humanity. Backed by a bombastic Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL score, he’s a clichéd, manic villain enacting an insidious plot because Superman reminds him of his dad."
 
Jen Yamato, The Daily Beast

"The plot turns on the shocking, never-mentioned-again destruction of a symbolic American edifice, a bloodless explosion that one-ups Independence Day’s White House flattening for glibness. Minutes later, we’re supposed to be whipped into a fanboy frenzy by the tribal drumming that accompanies our first hints of Gal Gadot’s severely corseted Wonder Woman (a character that could use some complexity and, if it’s not too late, a better actor). The endgame is your typical WrestleMania nonsense, bereft of weight or grandeur, set in a generic rubblescape that’s emblematic of the script’s lack of human stakes. (Affleck brings on his 'Argo' writer Chris Terrio, but the impact is negligible.) Only the movie’s seesawing, Sergei Prokofiev–inspired score, by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, contains a glimmer of wit. Shamelessly, 'Batman v Superman' lunges for a funereal mood in its final stretch, but come on: We all know superheroes don’t die, not when there are reboots in the balance. After this one, you’ll wish a few of them did."
 
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
 
"An explosive highlight is the entrance of Wonder Woman (if you don't applaud when she appears, the comic-book-loving child in you is dead). And Gadot, a combat instructor in the Israeli army, is a wonder indeed, a true warrior. 'Is she with you?' asks Superman. 'I thought she was with you,' counters Batman. That kind of quippy repartee bumps against the grain of a script that takes things very seriously, especially the notion of illegal aliens like Superman taking over the world and the Trump-like wall Batman would like to build around them. No matter. Snyder, juiced up by Hans Zimmer's caffeinated score, throws everything at the screen until resistance is futile. Better than 'Man of Steel' but below the high bar set by Nolan's 'Dark Knight', 'Dawn of Justice' is still a colossus, the stuff that DC Comics dreams are made of for that kid in all of us who yearns to  see Batman and Superman suit up and go in for the kill. Suck on that, Marvel. After this, can 'Justice League v The Avengers' be far behind?"
 
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
 
"To put it delicately, this comics fan hated 'Batman v Superman' with the fury of a thousand red-dwarf suns. Blunt, humorless, and baffling, it collides the brutish directorial stamp of Zack Snyder (he of '300' and 'Watchmen' fame) with the most shameless instincts of our latter-day superhero franchise bubble. It is worse than the widely detested Joel Schumacher Batman films, including the one with bat nipples. It is probably worse than the never-filmed Superman movie starring Nicolas Cage would have been. If Christopher Reeve is spinning in his grave right now, it’s not because Snyder’s film so egregiously ignores what might make a Superman film special (though it does!) but because the throbbing Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL score is loud enough to rattle a buried corpse. I’m a lifelong comic-book reader who is generally sympathetic to comic-book movies and even liked 'Man of Steel.' 'Batman v Superman' made me want to yell at the Justice League to get off my lawn. The aim here -- other than setting up the sequels -- is the fight, which, like the movie itself, feels closest to bare-knuckle boxing: blunt technique, lots of thuds, no grace. It’s the centerpiece fans are apparently hungry for in droves. (The movie is already Fandango’s top preselling superhero movie ever.) And it makes plain everything I can’t stand, perhaps heretically, about Snyder’s aesthetic, from the rafter-rattling soundtrack to the overuse of grit-flecked shaky cam to the way overuse of timeline ramping, his favored style of slow motion (which makes everyone look like they’re made of really angry Silly Putty). When Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) finally arrives in costume -- after the heroes have teamed up to fight something even moodier than Batman -- the film announces it with a processed guitar riff I’m pretty sure once appeared on a Staind album. If something exciting happened during any of it, I missed it while looking at my moviegoing companion to roll my eyes."
 
Jonathan L. Fischer, Slate.com

"Therein is Snyder's ultimate failure: His fight scenes featuring Batman and Superman are just fine. The two throw punches. Superman is stronger. Batman uses gadgets. It's all set to a rock 'n' roll Hans Zimmer score that Snyder uses when he wants things to be dramatic. The weightless CGI-fest begins to bleed together and morph into an exercise in risk-averse repetition. Megaton fight scenes are the reason people will put up with bad dialogue or bad logic in a film, so it's an outright tragedy when 'Batman v Superman''s showdowns become as boring as the rest of it. What happens when the stuff that's supposed to break you out of the monotony is just as monotonous as everything else?"
 
Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

"Ultimately though, the central flaw of 'Batman v Superman' is Snyder’s trademark tone, which alternates between angry and maudlin with little in between. Almost the entire film seems to be set at night, as if it were taking place in Mordor, or perhaps Anchorage in December. And Hans Zimmer’s clamorous, punishing score was still reverberating in my fillings for hours after the movie was over. In the end, 'Batman v Superman' is a tiresome, ill-tempered film, and one too lazy even to earn its dismal outlook."
 
Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

"Co-written by David S Goyer, who also wrote both 'Man of Steel' and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, 'Batman v Superman' combines the fraught, multi-stranded plotting of the Batman films and the smoke-filled warzones favoured by Snyder. There are discussions of philosophy and theology, or building legacies and losing parents. There is thunderously operatic music by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. And there is a colour palette that ranges all the way from black to dingy grey."
 
Nicholas Barber, BBC.com
 
"It’s quite a lineup, and not one of them goes unwasted. All are sacrificed to the plot -- the usual farrago of childhood trauma, lumps of kryptonite, and panic in the streets—or, rather, to the very loud noises that the plot creates. The director is Zack Snyder, who was responsible for '300' (2006), 'Watchmen' (2009), 'Man of Steel,' and other Chekhovian chamber pieces, and whom I suspect of having worked for NutriBullet before he joined the movie business. When in doubt, he simply slings another ingredient into the mix, be it an irradiated monster, an explosion on government premises, or the sharp smack of masonry on skull. Then, there’s the music. Hans Zimmer, seldom the most placid of composers, is joined on this occasion by Junkie XL, and we should give thanks for their combined efforts, which render large portions of the dialogue, by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, blessedly inaudible. The drawling Irons does, now and then, signal his fatigue at the whole enterprise ('Even you’ve got too old to die young,' Alfred says to his master), and there is one other good line, but it’s stolen from Cole Porter, so that doesn’t count."
 
Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"Knowing exactly nothing about it, I have to figure 'The Inhumans' will be more fun to sit through than 'Batman v Superman,' from Zack Snyder, the same guy who brought DC's other influential 1986 comic book to the screen in 'Watchmen.' That film was R-rated and long and grim and dark and violent, averaging roughly one joke per 40 minutes. But it looks like 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure' next to 'BvS,' a ponderous, smothering, over-pixelated zeppelin crash of a movie scored by a choir that sounds like it's being drowned in lava."
 
Chris Klimek, NPR

"The whole enterprise comes wrapped up in the usual trappings, including a bombastic score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL that could use a lot more Drang and a lot less Sturm. An army of effects wizards make the impossible plausible, but during one of the several climactic engagements, Snyder allows the battle to descend to Michael Bay levels of visual cacophony, where one can’t be entirely sure who is doing what to whom, and how, and where all those beams of light are coming from."
 
Alsonso Duralde, The Wrap

"This is an airless and humorless superhero movie, but it’s never an anonymous one. Much more so than the Batman films of Christopher Nolan, from which Snyder borrows a self-seriousness but not a sense of propulsive excitement, 'Dawn Of Justice' aims for some of the exaggerated visual grandeur of actual comics: Our heroes look like Greek gods, towering and massive, with Superman descending from the heavens (and out of an Alex Ross painting, perhaps) while Batman basically gets to slip on the boxy, heavy armor he sported in Frank Miller’s seminal dystopian miniseries 'The Dark Knight Returns.' There are striking images, most notably in a whacked-out dream sequence (one of many, actually) that feels like a lost passage from Snyder’s juvenile-pastiche passion project 'Sucker Punch.' Just as often, the director proves himself woefully incapable of staging the kind of big-bang spectacle his material demands. The film’s interminable final act, for example, is an eyesore of CGI combat, the kind of weightless, machismo, rock-scored digital spectacle that the filmmaker previously mined from Miller’s rah-rah Spartan war saga '300.' What Snyder sees in these timeless characters is raw, herculean power, and little else; he pushes them closer to abstract icons of fascist supremacy than they’ve possibly ever been pushed, either paying lip service to or outright ignoring the values they’ve always stood for. Which, frankly, isn’t the end of the world: We can have a scarily remote Superman and a borderline-alcoholic Batman, just as we can now have a Gotham (never properly established, as nothing in this film is) that apparently lies just across the bay from Metropolis. But shouldn’t all this geeky property colliding still at least be entertaining? Shouldn’t it play to the cheap seats instead of wallowing in the murk? To enjoy 'Batman V Superman,' a blockbuster somehow more boring than it is strange, is to cling for dear life to brief flashes of levity and lunacy -- and the most reliable source of both is Eisenberg’s nervous motormouth of a supervillain, granted pages of halting monologue and a musical theme much more playful than the film containing it. The actor’s having fun. At least someone is."
 
A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club

"Some time later, public opinion has started to turn on Superman -- he’s even brought before Congress. (Holly Hunter is terrific as a skeptical Kentucky senator -- pity she doesn’t get more scenes.) We see talking heads -- real-life media gadflies like Andrew Sullivan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson -- weighing the philosophical quandaries of Superman, while the hero himself goes about his solemn duty, rescuing downtrodden folks looking to the heavens for deliverance. It’s not the most nuanced or sophisticated discussion of faith and politics ever committed to film, but in its context, embedded in a loud summer-season-kickoff movie like this, it’s rather striking. It’s engaging on emotional and intellectual wavelengths, and shows Snyder’s expert talents, apparent since his near-perfect 'Dawn of the Dead,' for montage filmmaking. Indeed, the best parts of 'Batman v Superman' play as turgid, bombastic, and really effective music videos for a Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL album about the quaking of the American spirit, and the hard-jawed men who wrestle on its fault lines...Not that what surrounds him is making much sense on its own, as our two heroes gird themselves for war with one another, until they inevitably, briefly fight, then, whoops, join together against a common foe. That foe, I won’t tell you who it is, is plunked down into the picture with such arbitrary laziness that the entire last battle -- with its huge, meaningless array of fireballs, electrical shock waves, nuclear bombs, crashing music—could be cut out of the film and you’d lose almost no actual story. They say that what makes a musical a musical is that the songs have to advance the plot (a rigid rule that isn’t always exactly true). Well, I think we should impose a similar guideline for fight scenes in superhero movies. Sure, sure, the end of 'Batman v Superman''s climactic battle brings us somewhere big, but that end could have been arrived at in myriad other ways, none involving Snyder senselessly re-destroying a city he just said he was sorry for destroying. (Well, technically what he’s destroying is across the harbor in Gotham, but it’s essentially the distance of Jersey City to lower Manhattan.) And so 'Batman v Superman' becomes that which it initially cries out against. Ah well. At least there are the film’s handful of moments, with swelling score and rich cinematography, that bracingly probe superhero identity. And, hey, there’s the exciting enough introduction of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, tall and mysterious) and maybe some other folks, promising an Avengers-style convergence to come."
 
Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

"As a pure visual spectacle, however, 'Batman v Superman' ably blows the hinges off the multiplex doors, and editor David Brenner does excellent work to comprehensibly streamline the chaos, capably captured by d.p. Larry Fong. Composers Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL are again key assets here, with Gadot’s theme in particular proving quite infectious. Snyder largely tamps down his penchant for hyper-stylized combat imagery until the end, when he stages a series of galactic battles that take style notes from sources as varied as classic WWE rumbles and Harryhausen creature features. As overblown as the lengthy showdown might become, Snyder gets closer than ever before to the chiaroscuro palette of classic comics, and even if his scrupulous efforts to avoid reopening 'Man of Steel's' collateral damage debates are a bit on the nose, at least he’s clearly received the message."
 
Andrew Barker, Variety

"Stylistically, it's clear that Snyder felt the weight of responsibility entailed in setting the visual and tonal template for Warners' DC universe to come; with all the ominous foreboding and hues much darker than the director worked with on 'Man of Steel,' one senses him and cinematographer Larry Fong (in their fourth collaboration, although Fong did not shoot 'Man of Steel') figuratively looking over their shoulders in the direction of hovering executive producer Nolan to make sure it's all black and bleak enough. This applies as well to Patrick Tatopoulos' envelopingly gloomy production design as well as to the score by Nolan regular Hans Zimmer and the latter's collaborator here, Junkie KC, who have come up with a number of very effective musical passages that seriously enhance the mood of impending doom. The look of the bat suit keeps evolving, and Michael Wilkinson's costumes impressively meet a wide variety of requirements."
 
Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
 
MICROBE & GASOLINE - Jean-Claude Vannier
 
"Boasting a jaunty score that contributes to its ramshackle, off-the-cuff atmosphere, '“Microbe & Gasoline' opens by concentrating on glum Daniel (Ange Dargent), whose small size has earned him the derisory nickname 'Microbe,' and who fruitlessly pines for taller beauty Laura (Diane Besnier). Awkward and alienated from his unkind peers, Microbe lives with his overprotective mother (Audrey Tautou) and causes youthful trouble with his younger brother, finding little solace or companionship wherever he turns."
 
Nick Schager, IndieWire

"But instead of disappearing up an anal canal of self-reference, Gondry’s appealingly low-key coming-of-age movie contents itself with puttering from classroom to countryside, its laid-back charm exemplified by a winsome score by French pop maverick Jean-Claude Vannier, best known for his moody string arrangements on the classic 'Histoire De Melody Nelson.' It takes a good chunk of time for 'Microbe And Gasoline' -- titled after its heroes’ schoolyard nicknames -- to get around to the boys’ DIY project, and even longer for them to decide to sneak off on an unsanctioned summer trip to the south of France. Scaling back from both the high-concept surrealism of his last film, 'Mood Indigo,' and the freewheeling experimentation of his previous foray into teen drama, 'The We And The I,' Gondry offers up his take on the long-running European tradition of unambitious, naturalistic coming-of-age portraiture."
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The Onion AV Club

"Despite the inherent charm of the story -- and Gondry’s charm really is particularly well-suited to stories about kids -- there are a handful of missteps along the way, including a running joke that everyone thinks Daniel looks like a girl (he doesn’t) and an overbearing score by Jean-Claude Vannier that’s incongruously serious and mournful. At nearly 105 minutes, 'Microbe and Gasoline' runs out of steam in its second act, but the majority of this sweet, sensitive ride is a real treat."
 
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque:EgyptianArclightLACMALaemmleNew BeverlyNuart and UCLA.

December 8
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Wendy Carlos) [Nuart]
MR. HORN (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]
RESERVOIR DOGS [New Beverly]
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (Perry Botkin), SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 3: BETTER WATCH OUT! (Steven Soles), SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE TOY MAKER (Matthew Morse) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
SOME LIKE IT HOT (Adolph Deutsch), THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (Alfred Newman) [Cinematheque: Aero]

December 9
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (Miklos Rozsa), THE LOST WEEKEND (Miklos Rozsa) [Cinematheque: Aero]
EL VAMPIRO (Gustavo C. Carrion), SOMBRA VERDE (Antonio Diaz Conde) [UCLA]
GET MEAN (Bixio-Frizzi-Tempera) [New Beverly]
THE GREAT ESCAPE (Elmer Bernstein) [New Beverly]
MARIA CADELARIA (Francisco Dominguez, Rodolfo Halffter), CITA EN LA FRONTERA (Mario Maurano) [UCLA]
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (Cyril B. Mockrdige) [New Beverly]
THE ROOM (Mladen Milicevic) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

December 10 
THE APARTMENT (Adolph Deutsch), ONE, TWO, THREE (Andre Previn) [Cinematheque: Aero]
DARBY'S RANGERS (Max Steiner), 36 HOURS (Dimitri Tiomkin) [New Beverly]
ENAMORADA (Eduardo Hernandez Moncada), ALLA EN EL RANCHO GRANDE [UCLA]
KISS KISS, BANG BANG (John Ottman), THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (Alan Silvestri) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (Cyril B. Mockrdige) [New Beverly]
NUTCRACKER: THE MOTION PICTURE (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Mark Adler) [UCLA]

December 11
DARBY'S RANGERS (Max Steiner), 36 HOURS (Dimitri Tiomkin) [New Beverly]
EL NORTE (Los Folkloristas) [AMPAS]
THE LOST CITY OF Z (Christopher Spelman) [Cinematheque: Aero]
LOVE ACTUALLY (Craig Armstrong) [Arclight Hollywood]

December 12
THE AMPHIBIAN MAN (Andrei Petrov), INFRA-MAN (Yung-Yu Chen) [New Beverly]
A CHRISTMAS STORY (Paul Zaza) [Arclight Santa Monica]
ELF (John Debney) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Dimitri Tiomkin) [Arclight Culver City]
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Dimitri Tiomkin) [Arclight Hollywood]
NOCTURNE (Leigh Harline) [LACMA]

December 13
AUNTIE MAME (Bronislau Kaper) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
DUEL AT DIABLO (Neal Hefti) [New Beverly]
SILENT RUNNING (Peter Shickele) [Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts]
SKIN GAME (David Shire), MAVERICK (Randy Newman) [New Beverly]

December 14
AUNTIE MAME (Bronislau Kaper) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
CLAMBAKE (Jeff Alexander) [New Beverly]
COLORS (Herbie Hancock) [Laemmle NoHo]
GET OUT (Michael Abels) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SKIN GAME (David Shire), MAVERICK (Randy Newman) [New Beverly]

December 15
EL LUGAR SIN LIMITES (Joaquin Gutierrez Heras, Jose Padilla) [UCLA]
KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (Joe Hisaishi) [Nuart]
RESERVOIR DOGS [New Beverly]
A STAR IS BORN  (Ray Heindorf) [Cinematheque: Aero]
VICTOR/VICTORIA (Henry Mancini), MURPHY'S ROMANCE  (Carole King) [New Beverly]

December 16
NIGHT AND THE CITY (Franz Waxman) [UCLA]
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (MIlton Delugg) [New Beverly]
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Richard Rodgers, Irwin Kostal) [Cinematheque: Aero]
TAXI ZUM KLO (Hans Wittstatt) [New Beverly]
TO ALL A GOODNIGHT, ELVES (Vladimir Horunzhy) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
VICTOR/VICTORIA (Henry Mancini), MURPHY'S ROMANCE  (Carole King) [New Beverly]

December 17
THE MALTESE FALCON (Adolph Deutsch), THE BLACK BIRD (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (MIlton Delugg) [New Beverly]
WHITE CHRISTMAS (Irving Berlin, Joseph J. Lilley), HOLIDAY INN (Irving Berlin, Robert Emmett Dolan) [Cinematheque: Aero]

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Comments (2):Log in or register to post your own comments
"... and proceed to travel across the irradiated America in a high-tech tank called the "Landmaster" (movie geeks like myself who lived in L.A. in the early '80s were always thrilled to spot the Landmaster in a lot just off the freeway north of the Hollywood Bowl)."

I remember seeing this shortly after moving to LA in Feb. 1996. I knew exactly what it was, and what movie it came from. I, too, used to love seeing it when I drove by the area. Very cool!

Just a heads-up, Scott: while listing the new releases from Quartet, you forgot to include mention of their new Bruno Coulais title...also, though they announced them a few days earlier, I don't know if you made mention of their holiday titles: Skram's Snofall and Bicat's A Christmas Story?

Yavar

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