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Next week La-La Land will release an expanded, two-disc version of Don Davis' score for THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, the final film in the Matrix trilogy, and a remastered two-disc edition of one of Jerry Goldsmith's earliest classic scores, for the 1966 World War I flying drama THE BLUE MAX.


Danny Elfman's Oscar-nominated score for 1997's GOOD WILL HUNTING will receive its first commercial CD release (it had only been released previously as a song soundtrack with a few score cues, and as a rare For Your Consideration Oscar promo) courtesy of Music Box Records, including cues not featured on the FYC CD as well as several compositions by the late Elliott Smith including his Oscar-nominated "Miss Misery."

The label will also be releasing a CD with two scores for French thrillers composed by Serge Franklin -- HOLD UP and DERNIER ETE A TANGER.


On April 1, Varese Sarabande will release the soundtrack to the A&E TV series BATES MOTEL, with Freddie Highmore as the young Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga as his mother, in the years before she spent her days in that rocking chair in the cellar. The music is composed by Chris Bacon (Source Code, Space Chimps).


Most of the reviews of George Clooney's World War II drama THE MONUMENTS MEN have commented (not always favorably -- see Did They Mention the Music, below; the key word is apparently "jaunty") on Alexandre Desplat's old-fashioned score, but few have mentioned that Desplat himself makes an appearance in the film. But this is not the usual composer-conducting-the-orchestra cameo (like John Barry in The Living Daylights or Lalo Schfirin in Red Dragon) -- Desplat has five short scenes with Matt Damon, as a helpful member of the French resistance, including comedic and dramatic moments. So the real surprise in the film for Desplat fans is that he can act! In English!
 


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Agguato Sul Bosforo
- Stelvio Cipriani - GDM
Beauty and the Beast
- Pierre Adenot - Quartet
Delirious
- Cliff Eidelman - Quartet
Distant Thunder - Maurice Jarre - Intrada Special Collection
Elmer Bernstein: The Ava Collection - Elmer Bernstein - Intrada Special Collection
Fin De Semana Al Desnudo
- Anton Garcia Abril - Quartet
Roswell/Communion (re-recordings) - Elliot Goldenthal, Eric Clapton - Buysoundtrax
The Runner Stumbles - Ernest Gold - Buysoundtrax
Sharky's Machine - various - Varese Sarabande
That Awkward Moment
 - David Torn - Varese Sarabande
A Time of Destiny
- Ennio Morricone - Quartet
Tim's Vermeer - Conrad Pope - Milan
Una Vita Venduta
- Ennio Morricone - GDM


IN THEATERS TODAY

Barefoot - Michael Penn
In Secret - Gabriel Yared
Omar - no original score
Pompeii - Clinton Shorter - Score CD due Feb. 25 on Milan
3 Days to Kill - Guillaume Roussel


COMING SOON

February 25
The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box
- Fernando Velazquez - Varese Sarabande
Atlantis: The Last Days of Kaptara
- Peter Bateman - MovieScore Media/Kronos
The Blue Max - Jerry Goldsmith - La-La Land
The List of Adrian Messenger
- Jerry Goldsmith - Varese Sarabande CD Club
The Matrix Revolutions - Don Davis - La-La Land
Philomena - Alexandre Desplat - Decca
Pompeii - Clinton Shorter - Milan
The Thirteenth Tale
- Benjamin Wallfisch - MovieScore Media/Kronos
Welcome to the Jungle - Karl Presusser - MovieScore Media/Kronos
March 4
Good Will Hunting
- Danny Elfman - Music Box
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Alexandre Desplat - ABKC
Hold Up/Dernier Ete a Tanger
- Serge Franklin - Music Box
Justininen Trouve
- Germinal Tenas - Disques CineMusique
Mio Caro Dr. Grasler [The Bachelor]
- Ennio Morricone - GDM
Mr. Peabody & Sherman - Danny Elfman - Relativity Music
Non-Stop - John Ottman - Varese Sarabande
Pizza Connection
- Carlo Savina - GDM
300: Rise of an Empire - Junkie XL - Watertower
March 11
After the Dark
- Nicholas O'Toole, Jonathan Korn - Varese Sarabande
Enemy - Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans - Milan
Flash Gordon Vol. 1 - Michael Picton - Perseverance
March 25
The Right King of Wrong - Rachel Portman - Varese Sarabande
April 1
Bates Motel - Chris Bacon - Varese Sarabande
Date Unknown
An Adventure in Space and Time
- Edmund Butt - Silva
Danza Macabra
- Riz Ortolani - Digitmovies
Donna Leon
- Ulrich Reuter, Florial Appl, Andre Rieu
In Einem Wilden Land [In A Wild Country]
-  Karim Sebastian Elias - Alhambra
Inspektor Jury
- Marcel Barsotti - Alhambra
La Galette Du Roi/Promis...Jure!
- Vladimir Cosma - Disques CineMusique
La Regina dei Tartari
- Bruno Canfora - Digitmovies
Secret Sharer/Tsotsi
- Guy Farley - Caldera
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint/The Arsenal of Freedom - Dennis McCarthy - GNP Crescendo
Three Days (of Hamlet) 
- Jonathan Beard - Buysoundtra
Trinita E Sartana Figli Di...
- Carlo Savina - Digitmovies


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

February 21 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for The Story of Three Loves (1952)
February 21 - Ron Grainer died (1981)
February 21 - Laurence Rosenthal begins recording his score for Who'll Stop the Rain (1978)
February 21 - Basil Poledouris begins recording his score for Flesh + Blood (1985)
February 21 - Morton Gould died (1996)
February 22 - Angelo Francesco Lavagnino born (1909)
February 22 - Maurizio De Angelis born (1947)
February 22 - Gary Chang born (1953)
February 22 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score to Hawkins on Murder (1973)
February 22 - James Horner begins recording his replacement score for Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
February 22 - William Loose died (1991)
February 22 - A.R. Rahman wins the Original Score and Song Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire and its song "Jai Ho" (2009)
February 23 - Allan Gray born (1902)
February 23 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold wins Original Score Oscar for The Adventures of Robin Hood, the first year the award goes to the composer instead of the head of the studio's music department; Alfred Newman wins Score Oscar for Alexander's Ragtime Band (1939)
February 23 - David Buttolph begins recording his score for The Horse Soldiers (1959)
February 23 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Offspring" (1990)
February 24 - Fred Steiner born (1923)
February 24 - Michel Legrand born (1932)
February 24 - George Harrison born (1943)
February 24 - Rupert Holmes born (1947)
February 24 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording score to The World of Henry Orient (1964)
February 24 - Franz Waxman died (1967)
February 24 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score for Crosscurrent (1971)
February 24 - Roy Budd begins recording his score to The Carey Treatment (1972)
February 24 - Walter Scharf died (2003)
February 25 - George Duning born (1908)
February 25 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold begins recording his score for The Sea Wolf (1941)
February 25 - Laurence Rosenthal records his score for To Heal a Nation (1988)
February 25 - Ennio Morricone wins an Honorary Oscar, "for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music;" Gustavo Santaolalla wins his second consecutive Best Score Oscar, for Babel (2007)
February 26 - John Lanchbery died (2003)
February 26 - Bernard Herrmann wins his only Oscar, for the All That Money Can Buy score (1942)
February 27 - The first score Oscar is awarded, to Victor Schertzinger and Gus Kahn's score to One Night of Love; however, Academy policy at the time awards the Oscar to the head of the studio's music department, Louis Silvers (1935)
February 27 - Leigh Harline, Ned Washington, Paul J. Smith win Best Score Oscar for Pinocchio (1941)
February 27 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper's score to A Life of Her Own (1950)
February 27 - Mort Glickman died (1953)
February 27 - George Duning died (2000)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

THE MONUMENTS MEN - Alexandre Desplat

"Clooney and Heslov's film offers all these elements, plus an alternately rousing and lyrical score by Alexandre Desplat that evokes 'Bridge on the River Kwai' and 'The Great Escape.' (Brass, kettle drums, whistling.)"

Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

"The climax of the film is a 'race against time' in which the guys attempt to save the golden oldies before the Soviets get to the salt mine where the art has been stored. The Soviets are depicted with unrelenting crudity and cliché (like the Germans, the French, the Brits and the Americans), and the shockingly trite score (by Alexandre Desplat) marks them as villains scarcely more ugly than the Nazis."

David Thomson, New Republic

"Clooney talked openly about having a hard time nailing down the tone of 'The Monuments Men' since it oscillates so wildly between goofiness and heart-tugging sentimentality, and the final product shows that he was never able to reconcile these two halves of the story. It would be one thing if the wackiness of these missions was wholly involving, but they rarely are. These guys are supposedly the best in their respective fields, but they're lousy soldiers, and try as Clooney might, with soaring musical cues from Alexandre Desplat, inspirational voiceover narration, and shots of a billowing American flag, it's awfully hard to give a s**t about whether they live or die and whether or not they succeed in their mission. Especially since, you know, the Holocaust. It's hard to fault a movie so competently made and well intentioned. 'The Monuments Men' is gorgeously shot by 'The Descendants' DP Phedon Papamichael with a muted palette that suggests that colors were also rationed during World War II. Desplat's score manages to be both grating and over-the-top but also rousing and beautiful."

Drew Taylor, The Playlist

"The platoon recovers the treasures in clunky episodic sequences devoid of energy and suspense. (Does anyone doubt these pros are not going to ultimately unearth the vaunted, much-talked-about Madonna statue?) And though two Men die along the way, the casualties feel like an afterthought because Clooney never finds the right tone between jaunty caper and Serious War Film. It's obvious to the eyes and the ears. In fact, the jolly musical score playing in the background after a scene in which a Nazi threatens violence is borderline offensive. A Nazi!"

Mara Reinstein, Us Magazine

"Now comes 'The Monuments Men,' Clooney's first completed feature since he turned 50, and certainly his most idealistic work: a sincere ode to art scholars recruited in WWII to salvage European masterworks pilfered by the Nazis. The story, co-scripted by Clooney and Grant Heslov from Robert M. Edsel's non-fiction tome, goes down smoothly enough if you're willing to tolerate its softball treatment. Clooney's treatment of the material takes from of a goofy ensemble and whimsical ebullience seemingly borrowed from Wes Anderson's cabinet (Bill Murray and Bob Balaban, as two experts awkwardly paired together, make a particularly delectable odd couple that could carry their own spin-off). Alexadre Desplat's upbeat soundtrack and Phedon Papamichael's vibrant cinematography complete the glossy treatment. Far from a great war movie, 'The Monuments Men' is routinely entertaining in its simplistic vision of history, which also makes it entirely disposable. The movie's collection of tame storytelling ingredients -- toothless battle scenes, galvanizing speeches -- reach an apex when the music swells to uplifting effect in the closing scene, set in the present day and meant as a tribute to the intentions of the fallen men. It's Clooney's first bonafide stab at a Spielberg moment: an attempt to render a dour subject in sugary, feel-good terms. Due to the unquestionably profound implications of its characters' mission, 'The Monuments Men' succeeds at doing that much while creating a distancing effect through its rosy lens. Smothered by its lighthearted approach, 'The Monuments Men' attempts to make a grand statement about the valiance of dying for the sake of art, but fails to create it."

Eric Kohn, IndieWIRE

"'The Monuments Men' feels loose and disorganized, even though all the requisite cogs (including a jaunty ascot of a score by Alexandre Desplat) have been accounted for."

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

“'Monuments Men’' is a handsome-looking movie, with great period detail and a jaunty score. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to men who gave up comfortable lives and careers to do what they had to do for posterity under incredibly difficult and dangerous circumstances."

Lou Lumenick, New York Post

"Remember those all-star World War II pictures that were a regular part of '60s moviegoing? Films that could skew serious ('The Great Escape') or comic ('Kelly's Heroes') but provided big-name casts in rousing, cheer-on-the-good-guys adventures? George Clooney must. Because his new 'The Monuments Men' is a bit of a throwback to those old days of Jim Garner and barracks-room jokes, from its jaunty music to some corny compositions (whenever FDR or Truman show up, they're kept in the shadows, in respectful silhouette)."

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

"And so we watch this over-the-hill gang, egged on by composer Alexandre Desplat's jaunty marching theme, prep for bullets and shelling they're not remotely equipped to handle. The mood is set for a highspirited free-for-all. And for a while, that's what we get."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"While the story has moments of liveliness and spurts of believable camaraderie among the artistically minded men, it is sometimes disjointed and lacking in emotional depth. The incongruously jaunty score by composer Alexandre Desplat undercuts the lofty message of people willing to die to save art."

Claudia Puig, USA Today

"There are some clunky attempts at comedy and even clunkier moralising, with Stokes making a series of solemn speeches about the value of art in a civilised world, while piano music plinks meaningfully in the background.The music is badly misjudged throughout, used to generate tension when there really isn’t any, while a jaunty recurring theme tune is a direct steal from 'The Great Escape.'"

Brian Viner, The Daily Mail

"Clooney’s latest, 'The Monuments Men,' may be his most earnestly retro effort yet. In tackling a non-fiction novel about the quest to rescue stolen European artwork during WWII, the actor-turned-director has made a square, star-studded throwback to a bygone era of Hollywood war movies. Absent is the extreme violence and moral ambiguity of most contemporary combat pictures; in their place, Clooney offers heroic servicemen, villainous Nazis, a fundamentally honorable mission, and the rousing fanfare of Alexandre Desplat’s antiquated score. All of this should amount to an effervescent caper, a revival of the simple pleasures of a simpler cinematic age. But Clooney, swelling with noble purpose, wants it to be something grander. As a result, 'The Monuments Men' feels not just self-conscious but also a bit self-congratulatory, its creator squashing the spirit of adventure with too many grandiose lines about the Importance Of Art."

A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club

"It might have benefited Clooney and Heslov to spend a little more time on the set-up and less on the saving-the-art scenes, which grow a bit logy and repetitive. Pacing aside, however, Clooney definitely gets the old-school vibe down, from the zippy repartee to Alexandre Desplat’s vintage-sounding score, equal parts gung-ho and whoop-dee-doo."

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

"But faced with the need to condense and summarize the work of hundreds of people spread throughout Europe, these Pretty Neat Seven are immediately separated into smaller groups and thrown out there, occasionally communicating by radio, letter, or the like. What follows are smaller episodes with tones that are by turn comic, romantic (-ish) and tragic. (I swear, sometimes the music itself seems to get confused.)"

Michael Burgin, Paste Magazine

"Clooney applies an unflagging chumminess to nearly every scene. It’s the war film his astronaut from 'Gravity' would have made. The camaraderie is played for gentle laughs. The score, by Alexandre Desplat, imitates the music in old Hollywood battle pictures -- woodwinds pip, brasses gleam, tubas fart. When Clooney’s character, Frank Stokes, a dashing conservator, delivers a speech about the crux of the operation -- to save the soul of civilization -- a piano twinkles behind him. The whole movie has an unbearable lightness. As I said, there’s an audience for this movie. But that audience lives in 1964."

Wesley Morris, Grantland

"'The Monuments Men' is an old-fashioned World War II movie, of a kind Hollywood used to churn out 50 years ago, back when the war was still a fairly recent memory. Today, in the post-'Saving Private Ryan' era, war is invariably presented as a series of individual tragedies, even in tough-minded films such as 'Lone Survivor.' But 'The Monuments Men' harks back to a time when audiences more easily accepted that overall missions mean more than the problems of a few little people. So the movie has a certain gallantry and a spring in its step that's retro, appealing and ever-so-slightly phony. The soundtrack is buoyant, like the one for 'Stalag 17' or 'Hogan's Heroes,' and the overall mood is happy yet serious. It's a little bit funny and a little but schmaltzy, a mostly jolly adventure in which people get killed."

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

"Clooney fills the air with cracks about wives, a marching brass-band and 'Bridge-over-the River-Kwai'-style chorused whistling, just to let you know exactly how far back in cinema history we are going to be travelling tonight. The film feels so amiably ancient they should have called it 'Ocean's 87: the Ration-Book Years.' Or 'Saving Private Ryan: the Battle for Arts Funding.'"

Tom Shone, The Guardian

"I emphasize Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov’s speechifying on behalf of their heroes’ mission to suggest why 'The Monuments Men' never quite shakes off its family-friendly squareness. It’s a graceful, engaging film -- I enjoyed it. But it could have been called 'The Tasteful Dozen.' After helping to shape such acid, anti-imperialist movies as 'Syriana' and David O. Russell’s 'Three Kings,' Clooney must have been eager to make a hopeful, positive war picture, with a lighthearted marching-drum-and-woodwind score by Alexander Desplat -- and an implicit subtext that government funding of the arts is vital to our very existence. But he plays it so safe. Perhaps fearful of being called exploitative, he doesn’t bring out the tension between timeless masterpieces and the chaos and obscenity of war. He doesn’t even linger on the paintings and sculptures, which seem like fodder, MacGuffins. And he panders to the mainstream audience. It’s only when the Monuments Men come up against snipers and murderous commandants that Stokes announces they’ve earned the right to wear their uniforms. But if they need to take bullets to prove they’re soldiers, what are all those high-flown speeches about preserving civilization about?"

David Edelstein, New York

"From stock wartime scenes, to Alexandre Desplat’s generic score, Clooney’s film is a hybrid of a war-movie homage ('The Great Escape,' 'The Guns of Navarone'), and one of the star-studded 'Oceans Eleven' caper flicks."

Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

"Steven Soderbergh's 'Ocean's 11' meets David Lean's 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' in George Clooney's 'The Monuments Men.' The combination isn't as intriguing as it sounds. At times, this fact-based film feels like a breezy heist flick, while at others it's a somber tribute to the sacrifices of war. The two tones don't harmonize, and they never ring true. Directed and co-written by Clooney (with longtime collaborator Grant Heslov) from a nonfiction book by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter, 'The Monuments Men' is the story of several unlikely soldiers -- all from the genteel art world and well past draft age -- who venture to the front lines of World War II to find art stolen by the Nazis. To the tune of Alexandre Desplat's reworked 'Colonel Bogey March' (made popular by Lean's film), dashing art historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) assembles his team."

Rafer Guzman, Newsday

"Composer Alexandre Desplat, who contributes one of his most conventional scores -- a John Williams-esque Americana fanfare -- also appears in a small role as one of Damon’s contacts in the French resistance."

Scott Foundas, Variety

"Alexandre Desplat's score is uncharacteristically sentimental."

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

VISITORS - Philip Glass

"Yes, this is all plastic-bag-on-the-wind type stuff, and I wonder how much patience I would have for it without the hypno-music of Reggio's longtime collaborator, Philip Glass. Glass's signature repetitious motifs, always churning toward resolution yet continually denying it, carry us in suspense across shots that last minutes, not seconds. As form-fitting scores, go, Glass's work for 'Visitors' feels skintight. Reggio's process includes making sure Glass is "marinated" in the film's footage before writing a single note. It's Glass who gives 'Visitors' something like a structure, alternating between long, contemplative stretches and moments of ecstatic grandeur, like the crowd of sports fans who erupt in (extreme slow-motion) joy at some victory."

Steven Boone, RogerEbert.com

"With the portent of a man bringing fire to humanity, Godfrey Reggio introduces viewers to the technique of the camera pan -- and Philip Glass rediscovers the power of the triplet -- in 'Visitors,' a tedious Rorschach test whose novelty depends on discounting much of the history of photographic, cinematic, and gallery art."

Ben Kenigsberg, The Onion AV Club

"Reggio’s filmmaking has evolved too -- although 'Visitors' is still clearly the work of the man who made 'Koyaanisqatsi.' It has a lush, entrancing Philip Glass score, and it has 'Naqoyqatsi' editor Jon Kane working closely with Reggio to maintain a pace that first relaxes viewers, then jolts them with surprising juxtapositions."

Noel Murray, The Dissolve

"Monk-turned-director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass arrive with 'Visitors,' a video installation which would be much more appropriate screening in a museum, where you could just get up and move along to the next gallery when you’ve had enough. The 1983 film 'Koyaanisqatsi,' by far Reggio’s most famous, used majestic pans and time-lapse photography, set to the declarative repetitions of Glass’ score, to hammer (and hammer and hammer and hammer) at the message: We humans were given a beautiful planet to play with, and just look what we’ve done with it."

Farran Smith Nehme, New York Post

"'Nothing in the world can be compared to the human face,' said the great Carl Theodor Dreyer, and in his transfixing, perplexing new film, 'Visitors,' Godfrey Reggio seems to be taking this sentiment to heart. Reggio is the enigmatic monk turned visionary filmmaker who in 1980 revolutionized cinema with 'Koyaanisqatsi,' an Olympian montage of immaculately captured documentary footage portraying the beauty, horror, and enormity of life on Earth, all set to an iconic soundtrack by Philip Glass. The film was a lament for a world at odds with nature, but it was also so hypnotic and gorgeous and unshakeable that Reggio’s style of filming and editing quickly became embraced by advertising; its pervasive influence can still be felt today. Undeterred by what he called 'the Beast' appropriating his language, Reggio made two more films in what would be called the QatsiTrilogy. His latest is still very much in that vein -- again we have a montage of images set to music, and again we have a (wonderful) Philip Glass score."

Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

"If 'Visitors''s visuals are accidentally redundant, the score by Philip Glass is quite consciously repetitious, and no less gorgeous for that. But where Glass’s score for 'Koyaanisqatsi' gave that film a sense of breakneck momentum, the circular orchestrations in 'Visitors' confirm its status as a movie trapped inside its own narrow concept. Like 2012’s similarly deluxe travelogue 'Samsara' (directed by Reggio’s former DP Ron Fricke), 'Visitors' is content to score broad points off modern life -- a scene of fingers moving over an invisible tracking pad facilely paints us as slaves to technology -- instead of seeking out genuinely surprising points of view. The skill that goes into making a film like this should not be discounted, but it’s hard to celebrate something that seems so serenely pleased with its own shimmering perfection."

Adam Nayman, The Globe and Mail

''Visitors' arrives nearly 12 years after the conclusion of Mr. Reggio’s experimental 'Qatsi' trilogy: 'Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance' (1982), 'Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation' (1988) and 'Naqoyqatsi: Life as War' (2002). Like those films, 'Visitors' has a sober, churning score by Philip Glass that evokes ceaseless turbulence and profound ambiguity. Some of the music is neither in a major nor a minor key, but the harmonies still tilt toward minor. There is no overall narrative arc to imagery that might be described as a very sophisticated Rorschach test with an environmentalist subtext."

Stephen Holden, New York Times

"With 'Visitors,' Reggio's continued collaboration with composer Philip Glass adds heft to the images. But instead of dazzling cityscapes juxtaposed with the natural world, we are hit with slow-motion closeups of faces in blank settings."

Jordan Hoffman, New York Daily News

"A calculated philosophical emptiness pervades the solemnly contemplative, minutely gliding, powdery-matte images of this visual symphony by the director Godfrey Reggio. Silent portraits in extreme close-up -- first, of a calm gorilla, followed by a series of model-like people (with an emphasis on children) staring into the camera -- alternate with architectural views of skyscrapers under time-lapse clouds darting through darkened skies, the ruins of an amusement park, the lunar surface, a garbage dump, all set to insistent, wall-to-wall music by Philip Glass. The postcard profundity of the luxury images befits a commercial in search of a product; a single ordinary word from any participant would shatter the illusion of substance. In its superficial depth, the movie resembles a cinematic mantra involving the words 'people' and 'planet.' But in one extended sequence, showing blasted trees in a swamp, Glass’s music reaches a high level of invention; the gripping performance, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, shunts the bland images into oblivion."

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"The aesthetic mysteries of 'Visitors,' a symphony of pristine 4K sequences by director Godfrey Reggio, lie in the answers to 'What am I looking at?' and 'What am I seeing?' Composed of 74 roughly minute-long shots, underscored by the roiling rhythms of Philip Glass (as were the filmmaker's 1982 'Koyaanisqatsi' and two formally similar follow-up features), Reggio's black-and-white space oddity opens with Kubrickian flair, fading in on the baleful stare of a lowland gorilla, then a flyover of the lunar landscape with an empty sky above its horizon."

Bill Weber, Slant Magazine

"Never less than gorgeous in its crisp, high-definition b&w, the latest from 'Koyaanisqatsi''s Godfrey Reggio once again insists that you brown-bag your own meanings (and, it must be said, your own pep pills). Here’s what I got: Visitors sometimes comes off like a postmodern 'King Kong,' as when a beautiful lowland gorilla stares at the lens head-on, almost accusingly. Elsewhere, a building appears handsome, then old. Gulls swarm. Nature seems to be doing its thing. Unfortunately, the draggy movie is one thing definitively, and that’s exactly like all of Reggio’s other films. His formal devices haven’t changed in 30 years, and the po-faced presentation, once hypnotically strange and cosmic, now feels like an overused gimmick. These head trips rise or fall on Philip Glass’s original scores; this time, the composer seems to be in a somber, troubled mood. Sad gorilla? Maybe so."

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

"The complaints leveled by his latest film, 'Visitors,' will sound familiar to anyone who has spent time with a senile relative: kids these days with their smartphones and videogames, and so on. We've been rendered zombies before our luminescent screens, and, naturally, Reggio wants to have a stern word with us about that. Philip Glass returns to score the lecture (and his contributions provide the usual pleasures), but what happened to the visual splendor? Koyaanisqatsi was a marvel of smeared and kaleidoscopic light; 'Visitors' is a dull etch of digital blacks and grays.

Calum Marsh, Village Voice

"Thirty years after blowing minds with his first feature, 'Koyaanisqatsi,' helmer Godfrey Reggio supplies yet another dialogue-free juxtaposition of visceral imagery, time-lapse photography and mesmerizing Philip Glass music with 'Visitors.' But with two other 'Qatsi' films having emerged in the interim, Reggio’s m.o. is by now practically a cliche, having long since been appropriated by advertising execs and musicvideo directors, as well as his former cameraman Ron Fricke. Distribs will need to be ultra-creative to attract a niche audience prepared to engage with this velvety black-and-white reverie on the bigscreen, where it will be seen to its best advantage. Cinedigm plans a 2014 release. The world premiere of 'Visitors' at Toronto -- where 71 members of the Toronto Symphony performed the score under the baton of Michael Riesman -- offered a model, albeit a pricey one, for how to 'eventize' the film. (The music on the release version is performed by the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, led by conductor Dennis Russell Davies.) More than ever with Reggio’s oeuvre, the viewing experience here requires patience as well as an openness to contemplation. The swelling, repetitive structure of the music works hand-in-hand with the visuals to facilitate this shift to a different level of consciousness, but what it’s all about will remain a matter of individual associations and connections. Walkouts and snores are to be expected, although those on the film’s meditative wavelength will be held rapt."

Alissa Simon, Variety

"Glass' music, though certainly not without a formal structure, offers fewer emotional cues linked to images than it did in the 'Qatsi' films. It is less attention-grabbing, more meditative -- conducive to the hypothesis that 'Visitors' is less a message than a Zen koan. It's no insult to the score, though, to wonder how this piece of Reggio's oeuvre would play stripped of audio entirely, screening in a pristine white room in a museum. Odds are good that far fewer people would sit through from first monkey shot to last, and that something essential would be lost. But completely removing the associations of the music video (always the low-brow reference point for this high-minded work) could add something to a film that, it's safe to say, has a lot to do with the pure act of watching."

John DeFore, 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.

February 21
BAD TIMING (Richard Hartley) [Silent Movie Theater]
BILLY BUDD (Antony Hopkins) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD [New Beverly]
SPIRITED AWAY (Joe Hisaishi) [Nuart]
STARSHIP TROOPERS (Basil Poledouris) [Silent Movie Theater]
STRANGE IMPERSONATION, THE LAST FRONTIER (Leigh Harline) [UCLA]
TWO FOR THE ROAD (Henry Mancini) [Silent Movie Theater]

February 22
BREATHLESS (Marital Solal), LE PETIT SOLDAT (Maurice Leroux) [Cinematheque: Aero]
CHILD'S PLAY 2 [New Beverly]
FOOTLIGHT PARADE [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (Joe Hisaishi), PORCO ROSSO (Joe Hisaishi) [Egyptian]
TRICK (David Friedman) [UCLA]
TWO FOR THE ROAD (Henry Mancini) [Silent Movie Theater]
WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE II: RAINBOW BRIDGE [UCLA]

February 23
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (Erich Wolfgang Korngold) [UCLA]
ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES (Edward Ward), JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (Bernard Herrmann) [New Beverly]
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (Michio Mamiya), OCEAN WAVES (Shigeru Nagata) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
OUR NEIGHBORS (Lin Li), HOME SWEET HOME (Chia Chang Liu) [UCLA]
TWO FOR THE ROAD (Henry Mancini) [Silent Movie Theater]
WEEKEND (Antoine Duhamel), LA CHINOISE [Cinematheque: Aero]

February 24
ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES (Edward Ward), JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (Bernard Herrmann) [New Beverly]
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY [Arclight Hollywood]

February 25
ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES (Edward Ward), JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (Bernard Herrmann) [New Beverly]
BAD TIMING (Richard Hartley) [Silent Movie Theater]
THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (Georges Delerue) [LACMA]
HAROLD AND MAUDE (Cat Stevens) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andre Previn, Herbert Spencer) [Arclight Hollywood]

February 26
BAD TIMING (Richard Hartley) [Silent Movie Theater]
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (John Williams) [Arclight Hollywood]
LAST CALL AT THE OASIS (Jeff Beal) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD (Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, Verdine White), GREAT WORLD OF SOUND (David Wingo) [New Beverly]

February 27
BAD TIMING (Richard Hartley) [Silent Movie Theater]
BOOGIE NIGHTS (Michael Penn) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (Joe Hisaishi) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (Mychael Danna) [Arclight Hollywood]
PIERROT LE FOU (Antoine Duhamel), HAIL MARY [Cinematheque: Aero]
THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD (Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, Verdine White), GREAT WORLD OF SOUND (David Wingo) [New Beverly]
TOO LATE BLUES (David Raksin) [LACMA]

February 28
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Stephen Trask) [Nuart]
JE T'AIME, JE T'AIME (Krzysztof Penderecki) [Silent Movie Theater]
SURF II (Peter Bernstein) [Silent Movie Theater]

March 1
CONTEMPT (Georges Delerue), KING LEAR [Cinematheque: Aero]
DESPERATE (Paul Sawtell), RAILROADED! (Alvin Levin) [UCLA]
JE T'AIME, JE T'AIME (Krzysztof Penderecki) [Silent Movie Theater]
MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (Joe Hisaishi), MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS (Akiko Yano) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THREE WOMEN [Silent Movie Theater]

March 2
FANTASTIC MR. FOX (Alexandre Desplat) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]

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