Varese Sarabande has announced their latest batch of CD Club releases, which can be pre-ordered now and are expected to begin shipping the week after next: a Deluxe Edition of John Williams' popular score for director John Badman's lavish and underrated 1979 remake of DRACULA, starring Frank Langella, Kate Nelligan and Laurence Olivier, a two-disc set featuring both the original LP tracks and the first-ever release of the complete score (including cues not heard in the film); an greatly expanded Deluxe Edition of Basil Poledouris' exciting score for ON DEADLY GROUND, the ecologically-themed action adventure that marked the directorial debut of star Steven Seagal (pitted against an over-qualified Michael Caine); and an encore release of Georges Delerue's score for the 1990 political thriller A SHOW OF FORCE, starring Amy Irving, Andy Garcia, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Duvall and Kevin Spacey. The label is also releasing a new two-disc compilation, VARÈSE SARABANDE: 40 YEARS OF GREAT FILM MUSIC 1978-2018, which can be ordered as a CD-set, on vinyl, or as a "bundle" including a T-shirt and tote bag.
The latest CD from Caldera is THE LOST CHILDREN OF PLANET X, a concept album/spoken word drama, with music by Christopher Young incorporating unused material from his film scores. The disc features both the narrative version, with text written by Bob Badway, and the instrumental cues without words.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Can You Ever Forgive Me? - Nate Heller - Verve
Down a Dark Hall - Victor Reyes - Quartet
Frizzi 2 Fulci Undead in Austin - Fabio Frizzi - Beat
Masquerade - John Barry - Quartet
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms - James Newton Howard - Disney
Red/Family - Soren Hyldgaard - Kritzerland
The Sisters Brothers - Alexandre Desplat - Quartet
Suspiria - Thom Yorke - XL Recordings
Un Italiano in America - Piero Piccioni - Beat
IN THEATERS TODAY
Air Strike - Liguang Wang
Border - Christoffer Berg, Martin Dirkov
Don't Go - Ferry Corsten
Hunter Killer - Trevor Morris
Johnny English Strikes Again - Howard Goodall
Killer Kate! - John E. Hopkins
London Fields - Toydrum, Benson Taylor
Love Jacked - Steve London
Mobile Homes - Matthew Otto
1985 - Curtis Heath
The Price of Everything - Jeff Beal
Shirkers - Ishai Adar
Sicilian Ghost Story - Anton Spielman
Silencio - Leoncio Lara
- Thom Yorke - Score CD on XL Recordings
Viper Club - Gingger Shankar
Boy Erased - Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans - Backlot
Dracula: The Deluxe Edition - John Wiliams - Varese Sarabande CD Club
The Girl in the Spider's Web - Roque Banos - Sony (import)
La Dove Non Batte Il Sole/Un Animale Chiamato Uomo - Carlo Savina - Digitmovies
La Notte Brava - Piero Piccioni - Digitmovies
Le Avventure di Pinocchio - Fiorenzo Carpi - Digitmovies
On Deadly Ground: The Deluxe Edition - Basil Poledouris - Varese Sarabande CD Club
A Private War - H. Scott Salinas - Varese Sarabande
A Show of Force - Georges Delerue - Varese Sarabande CD Club
Bad Times at the El Royale - Michael Giacchino - Milan (import)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Carter Burwell - Milan
Varèse Sarabande: 40 Years of Great Film Music 1978-2018 - various - Varese Sarabande
Widows - Hans Zimmer - Milan
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - James Newton Howard - WaterTower
Ralph Breaks the Internet - Henry Jackman - Disney
Goon: Last of the Enforcers - Trevor Morris - Notefornote
Mary Queen of Scots - Max Richter - Deutsche Grammophon
Under the Silver Lake - Disasterpeace - Milan
The Basil Poledouris Collection vol. 4: The Blue Lagoon Piano Sketches - Basil Poledouris - Dragon's Domain
Every Day a Good Day - Hiroku Sebu - Pony Canyon (import)
The Lost Children of Planet X - Christopher Young - Caldera
Per Pochi Dollari Ancora - Gianni Ferrio - Beat
Polynesian Odyssey/Alamo: The Price of Freedom - Merrill Jenson - Dragon's Domain
Retrospective Jean Musy - Jean Musy - Music Box
Wolf Guy: Jun Fukamachi Aka Hiroshi Baba Works - Hiroshi Baba - Cinema-Kan (import)
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
October 26 - Bob Cobert born (1924)
October 26 - Jacques Loussier born (1934)
October 26 - Victor Schertzinger died (1941)
October 26 - Recording sessions begin for Roy Webb's score to Fixed Bayonets (1951)
October 26 - Curt Sobel born (1953)
October 26 - Howard Shore
begins recording his score for She-Devil
October 27 - Samuel Matlovsky born (1921)
October 27 - Recording sessions begin for Hugo Friedhofer's score for Ace in the Hole (1950)
October 27 - Richard Markowitz
records his score for The Wild Wild West
episode “The Night of the Green Terror” (1966)
October 27 - John Williams
begins recording his score for Pete ‘n’ Tillie
October 27 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for The Enforcer (1976)
October 27 - Frank DeVol died (1999)
October 27 - James Newton Howard
begins recording his score to Peter Pan
October 27 - Jay Chattaway
records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise
episode “Cold Station 12” (2004)
October 28 - Gershon Kingsley born (1922)
October 28 - Carl Davis born (1936)
October 28 - Howard Blake born (1938)
October 28 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Memo from Purgatory” (1964)
October 28 - Jerry Fielding records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “The Exchange” (1968)
October 28 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Submarine” (1969)
October 28 - Oliver Nelson died (1975)
October 28 - Recording sessions begin for James Newton Howard
’s score for Eye for an Eye
October 28 - Gil Melle died (2004)
October 29 - Daniele Amfitheatrof born (1901)
October 29 - Neal Hefti born (1922)
October 29 - George Bassman records his score to Mail Order Bride (1963)
October 29 - Michael Wandmacher born (1967)
October 29 - Irving Szathmary died (1983)
October 29 - Paul Misraki died (1998)
October 30 - Paul J. Smith born (1906)
October 30 - Irving Szathmary born (1907)
October 30 - Teo Macero born (1925)
October 30 - Charles Fox born (1940)
October 30 - The Lion in Winter opens in New York (1968)
October 30 - Brian Easdale died (1995)
October 30 - Paul Ferris died (1995)
October 30 - Paul Baillargeon records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Little Green Men” (1995)
October 30 - Dennis McCarthy
records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager
episode “Year of Hell, Part II” (1997)
October 30 - Dennis McCarthy
records his score for the Enterprise
episode “Breaking the Ice” (2001)
October 31 - Now, Voyager opens in theaters (1942)
October 31 - Robert Drasnin
records his score for the Lost in Space
episode "West of Mars" (1966)
October 31 - Adam Schlesinger born (1967)
October 31 - Spellbound opens in New York (1945)
October 31 - Jerry Goldsmith
begins recording his score for Patton
October 31 - John Williams begins recording his score to The Towering Inferno (1974)
October 31 - The Mission
is released in the United States (1986)
October 31 - Ian Fraser died (2014)
November 1 - John Scott born (1930)
November 1 - Roger Kellaway born (1939)
November 1 - Keith Emerson born (1944)
November 1 - David Foster born (1949)
November 1 - Jerry Fielding records his first Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “The Council” (1967)
November 1 - Leighton Lucas died (1982)
November 1 - Louis Barron died (1989)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
BOBBI JENE - Uno Helmersson
"Though it won the documentary editing and cinematography nods at Tribeca, the assembly here is more competent than inspired, with Uno Helmersson’s spare guitar-based score a modest plus."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
THE FORCE - Justin Melland
"So dismal is the OPD’s recent history that 'The Force' doesn’t bother to go into detail, merely noting that the department has been under federal oversight -- a highly unusual circumstance -- since 2003. The film’s first half chronicles police chief Sean Whent’s efforts to dismantle what Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf terms the 'toxic macho culture' prevalent among the city’s cops. Nicks eschews talking heads, favoring the dispassionate gaze pioneered by Frederick Wiseman (albeit juiced up here with a pulsing, anxious electronic score); academy lectures instructing cadets not to be trigger-happy assholes are juxtaposed with ordinary police work caught on the fly. (Wiseman’s own version of this film is 'Law And Order,' shot in Kansas City in 1968. Less has changed than one would hope.) Authority figures, including Whent, say all the right things and seem to be genuinely invested in turning the department around. Citizens’ complaints are taken seriously. The overall tone is cautiously triumphal."
Mike D'Angelo, The Onion AV Club
"'It’s a very difficult time in this country to be a police officer,' says Whent about a minute into the film, and for over an hour afterward, nearly everything we see -- 'Cops'-style street encounters, protests by a hostile public, press conferences with skeptical reporters -- serves to underline his point. Nicks even includes some nocturnal helicopter shots of Oakland scored to brooding synths to imbue the O.P.D.’s work with an air of urgency and danger."
Keith Watson, Slant Magazine
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS - Alexandre Desplat
"There’s much about this tale that feels like a foregone conclusion, from Tom and Isabel’s early courting, to the larger tragedy they find themselves wrapped up in. The quality of the acting, directing and cinematography, however, manages to not just elevate what feels like a familiar (and at times contrived) story, but also gives it that necessary feeling of verisimilitude. Adam Arkapaw’s cinematography is so insistently pretty that it threatens to derail the bad times detailed in the film, but in conjunction with Alexandre Desplat’s mournful score, the stunning vistas are kept from becoming overbearingly beautiful."
Tom Charles, The Skinny
"The opening act of the film is where Cianfrance succeeds at capturing the melodramatic air that these kinds of stories live or die by. Tom and Isabel first flirt by correspondence, writing each other letters of restrained admiration as the waves crash around them and Alexandre Desplat’s paint-by-numbers piano score builds on the soundtrack. The dialogue is sparse, the imagery lovely, and Fassbender and Vikander both excel at conveying emotion with a furtive glance and a tremble of the lower lip. When the two quickly marry and Isabel moves to the lighthouse, it’s easy to be on board; when Isabel then suffers two painful miscarriages, it’s genuinely sad, and the isolation of the lighthouse goes from feeling tranquil to oppressive."
David Sims, The Atlantic
"Don’t go to a Derek Cianfrance film looking for characters to end up happy. There may be moments where a family is a whole, but it’s like a beautiful vase falling to the ground, moments away from shattering irreparably. Cianfrance has explored this shattering effect in his previous two films, 'Blue Valentine' and 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' and he returns to it in his latest effort, 'The Light Between Oceans,' a story where one family’s happiness is stolen from another’s. While 'The Light Between Oceans' lacks the intensity of 'Blue Valentine' and 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' it’s still anchored by two strong performances, striking cinematography, and an outstanding score that attempt to pull at your heartstrings in between wandering thoughts of life as a lighthouse keeper. The problem is that 'The Light Between Oceans' is too pretty to be difficult. Between its gorgeous cinematography, Alexandre Desplat’s melodic score, and the romance between the lead characters, it’s a lot like someone trying to notify you you’re getting a parking ticket while getting a massage. At some point, you’re too relaxed to care about real problems, and while 'The Light Between Oceans' eventually dives headfirst into overwrought melodrama, it’s also a story that lacks immediacy."
Matt Goldberg, Collider
"The film is based on a novel by M.L. Stedman, although it’s a story Nicholas Sparks is probably jealous he didn’t write himself. The moral dilemma at the crux of the story is what makes it interesting, and good choices were made in the casting of Fassbender and Vikander, he so deft at playing men suffering silently from inner turmoil and she so emotively open-faced. Despite this, we fail to connect with the characters in any deep, emotional way. The film is so decorous that it keeps us at a remove, with Adam Arkapaw’s beautiful cinematography of the natural landscape and Alexandre Desplat’s patently lovely musical score substituting the trappings of emotion for the real thing."
Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
"Derek Cianfrance has undeniable skill with actors, drawing masterful performances out of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in 'Blue Valentine' and his large ensemble in the highly underrated 'The Place Beyond the Pines.' That skill is evident here mostly in Fassbender’s largely internal turn. His take on Tom is often stoic, haunted by the ghosts of World War I in a way that makes him quiet, sometimes uncertain. Vikander often goes in the other direction, offering the more extreme emotions that Tom keeps hidden, but she’s rarely given the room to breathe life into the performance. And I mean that almost literally. Cianfrance and cinematographer Adam Arkapaw put us right in her face in extreme close-up, thinking that this will help force an audience response. It’s distracting more than effective, as is the soft focus and overcooked score by Alexandre Desplat. When Arkapaw and Cianfrance let their characters breathe, or even when they admire the gorgeous landscape, the film feels more effective and less manipulative."
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
"While the movie features strong, earnest performances from its leads (Fassbender and Vikander), the tenor begins to veer off in the second half where the intimate moments become either saccharine or overly dramatic. Cianfrance essentially miscalculates; in trying to raise stakes, tension and emotion, he overcooks the picture with gobs of forlorn woe. Even the great Alexandre Desplat’s always-wistful score doesn’t work; it simply suggest twinkling melancholy and tragedy too much and too often."
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
"Enthusiasts of the Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu coined the term 'pillow shot' for the insert shots of natural elements -- the wind in the trees, birds sitting on telephone wires -- that he liked to place in between dramatic scenes to give the audience’s attention a chance to rest. 'The Light Between Oceans' is a veritable Bed, Bath, and Beyond of pillow shots, with lengthy takes of the ever-shifting seascape around Janus Rock padding the spaces between every human interaction. The resulting stately, at times indulgent pacing (it’s 132 minutes long), in combination with composer Alexandre Desplat’s effulgent score, may make 'The Light Between Oceans' feel too emo by half for some moviegoers."
Dana Stevens, Slate.com
"As a Decemberists song, 'The Light Between Oceans' could have been a masterpiece. As a middlebrow period melodrama in the vein of 'The Painted Veil,' 'Lust, Caution,' and other swooning romances scored by the great Alexandre Desplat, the film -- much like the twinkling musical tempest the French composer wrote for it -- is lush and lacking in equal measure."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"The cathartic pleasures of a good old-fashioned weepie are promised and then never delivered in Derek Cianfrance's handsome but curiously lifeless 'The Light Between Oceans.' That's not to say copious tears aren't shed onscreen. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander do lots of moist emoting -- she with chin aquiver, he through stoically clenched jaw -- as a couple who find a baby off the coast of Western Australia after World War I, raise her as their own and later are forced to return her to her biological mother (Rachel Weisz). Yes, there are worse ways to spend a few hours than watching two of our prettiest performers swoon in each other’s arms. But the film, poised awkwardly between costume-drama prestige and all-out schmaltz, is so busy sweeping us up in a swirl of music, scenery and beautiful, suffering faces that it forgets to do the actual work of earning our emotions. The subsequent courtship yields some eye-rolly exchanges, as when Isabel asks Tom what he wishes for in the future and he responds, simply, 'Life.' The epistolary phase of their romance is equally dewy, with the two exchanging letters heard via voiceover: 'You have a light inside you,' Tom writes to his beloved. John Keats he's not, but Isabel adores him. They marry and she moves into his isolated seaside cottage, which is as quaint and inviting as something out of a Better Homes and Gardens spread. Cue montage of sun-dappled embraces, wind-tousled hair and sweet nothings whispered, set to Alexandre Desplat's unremarkably lovely score. It's all enough to make Terrence Malick blush. None of this is likely to matter to some viewers, who will find the trappings -- gorgeous actors, breathtaking landscapes and heartstring-tickling music -- enough to make them misty-eyed. The rest of us will save our tears for another movie."
Jon Frosch, Hollywood Reporter
THE 9TH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX - Patrick Watson
"'Where the hell is this movie going?' you might ask, and that’s not an entirely bad thing. For much of its running time, 'Louis Drax' manages to walk an impressive tightrope -- feeding us just enough information to make us suspect that not everything is as it seems while using stylistic flourishes to mitigate the overall bleakness of its story. Every shot feels precisely composed and luminous. Patrick Watson’s score is lush and full-bodied, leaning into the melodrama. All that bravura filmmaking -- the elaborate camera moves and colorful images and unexpected angles -- is fascinating from both technical and aesthetic standpoints, and it certainly held my attention. But don’t be surprised if you start to suspect that, for all the film’s ornamentation, it might not be leading up to something revelatory."
Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
"'The 9th Life of Louis Drax' goes to some daring and dreamlike places, full of lushly colorful wonder and dark, chilling danger, with Patrick Watson’s tinkly score simultaneously suggesting whimsy and menace. Either you’ll be willing to go with some of its wilder visual conceits or you won’t. (I was, for the most part.) But the emotional truth that grounds the film, particularly in the moments between Paul and Longworth as father and son, offset Aja’s iffy flights of fancy."
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
"Aja may as well be mocking such legitimately tragic tales, much as his recent 'Horns' skewered earnest teen love stories. But that’s not to say this genre-challenging thriller is lacking in style. Shot in shadowy blues and buried in an elaborate orchestral score, the mystery feels like a Stephen King-penned spin on the classic detective noir, where Dornan is the sucker who falls for the dame, and Paul serves as the composite character who stands in his way. Adding a splash of truly eccentric color to the mix is Barbara Hershey, who plays Louis’ concerned grandmother, stirring up trouble in the coma ward, where closed-circuit cameras reveal some 'Paranormal Activity'-like behavior on Dr. Pascal’s part."
Peter Debruge, Variety
OUR SOULS AT NIGHT - Elliot Goldenthal
"Composer Elliot Goldenthal’s score leans a little heavy on the bluegrass-lite -- although a Willie Nelson song on the radio is a subtle wink to his co-starring role opposite Redford and Fonda in 'The Electric Horseman' -- and Stephen Goldblatt’s cinematography is functional but unobtrusive. There’s nothing particularly world-shaking about 'Our Souls at Night,' but it’s a nice movie about nice people finding love."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
"Unlike 'The Sense of an Ending,' Batra’s other soft-toned study of golden-years regret and redemption released this year, there’s no larger, crueller irony or emotional catharsis to be gained from this subtle accumulation of heartaches -- merely the half-smiling assurance that life goes on until, with ultimately little fanfare, it eventually doesn’t. (Haruf’s novel, after all, was all the more touching for being published a year after the American author’s passing.) 'Our Souls at Night' is a somewhat less ambitious work altogether than that time-shifting Julian Barnes adaptation, with scarcely a flourish to be found in Stephen Goldblatt’s even-keeled, honey-dipped lensing or John F. Lyons’ strictly functional cutting. Even Eliot Goldenthal’s plaintive acoustic score -- his first feature-film work in seven years, the film staging of Julie Taymor’s 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' aside -- is surprisingly middle-of-the-road by his standards."
Guy Lodge, Variety
SULLY - Clint Eastwood, Christian Jacob, The Tierney Sutton Band
"D.P. Stephen Goldblatt’s warm lighting favors the stars, highlighting their hair, erasing lines, and creating a safe, cozy atmosphere for their feelings to grow and bloom. Jane Ann Stewart’s production design is beautifully expressive of small town America, while Elliot Goldenthal’s score is laid back and ultimately consoling."
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
"There are stylistic, clever ways to get at these ideas. In the future, Marc has a memory reader that lets him revisit and record key moments, and the movie’s twin narrative threads offer plenty of opportunity for juxtaposition and cross-cutting. But all too often, Realive resorts to treacly music cues while Marc ponders The Big Questions of Life in voiceover, sometimes even referring to himself in the third person. His narration isn’t just clunky; it draws attention to itself in the most obvious manner, telling the audience what Gil wants viewers to be feeling, rather than actually making them feel anything. It doesn’t help that Hughes plays Marc as emotionally detached and charisma-free for much of the movie. The flashbacks to pre-diagnosis 'happy' Marc are fleeting, and when much of the movie’s emotional thrust ends up revolving around Marc and Naomi’s love story, it’s hard to feel anything but sidelined by the whole thing."
Bryan Bishop, The Verge
"Gil is a gifted writer-director and manages to intercut the past and future with considerable skill for most of the running time, building a sterile dystopia filled with slick technology and production design (courtesy of Alain Bainee) that recalls Oscar Isaac’s minimalist lair in 'Ex Machina,' primary colors included. Where things hit a snag is during flashbacks involving Marc’s on-and-off relationship with Naomi (Oona Chaplin) -- a best friend and occasional lover he falls for just as the cancer kicks in -- with a backstory meant to convey why our hero grows so sullen as the narrative moves ahead, although the result is several overdramatic moments that rely a lot on Lucas Vidal’s gushy score to create emotion."
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
"The French jazz pianist Christian Jacob provides one of the better scores in Eastwood’s later work, applied like a bittersweet afterglow to the post-landing scenes in Manhattan. But the emergency landing scenes are mostly music-free. Crisply, they cut around as cabin crew, air traffic controllers, Hudson ferry operators, and rescue personnel all make decisions based entirely on what they see on screens or hear over radios. 'Sully' isn’t exactly a character study. It’s too generous with the other characters to be called that, and treats its protagonist as modestly as he treats himself; a couple of flashbacks to his early days as a young pilot and a few phone calls to his wife (Laura Linney) are just about all it provides in terms of biography."
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The Onion AV Club
"This is first and foremost Eastwood’s movie and if he wants to feature his incongruous tinkling piano-bar jazz on the soundtrack, that is his prerogative. Then again, a John Williams type fanfare probably wouldn’t have suited a guy like Sully, who steadfastly diffuses any fuss over his accomplishment. 'We did our job,' he plainly states. And, ultimately, so has Eastwood and his team as they serve a porterhouse of a movie that touches your heart."
Susan Wloszczyna, RogerEbert.com
"'Sully' wants us to see many heroes in this event and that federal agencies don’t know anything about split second life or death decisions but Eastwood only directly tells us of their heroism and we don’t actually learn anything about anyone. Including Sully. As a simple something to make you feel good that heroes still exist, 'Sully' might work. But in terms of filmmaking, it’s generally lazy and sometimes it’s even abysmal (though Hanks never is). The characters are impenetrable. The messages are directly stated. The music sounds like a Kleenex ad. The construction is clunky and turbulent."
Brian Formo, Collider
"'Sully''s musical soundtrack -- co-composed, like most of Eastwood’s scores, by the director -- is at times intrusively sappy, especially when an unfortunate female vocal part keens wordlessly over the main piano theme. Hanks’ and Eckhart’s performances, both models of nuance and emotional restraint, make clear that whatever that wailing lady is doing on the soundtrack, she’s not expressing the inner experience of either Sullenberger or his co-pilot. Maybe the singer is there to give voice to the only victims of the crash landing who didn’t live to tell about it, and whose point of view even Eastwood’s prismatic reconstruction of the event leaves unexplored: the geese."
Dana Stevens, Slate.com
WAR DOGS - Cliff Martinez
"All that said, at no point does Eastwood apply the heavy hand that characterized some of his other late-period prestige efforts (most notably 'Mystic River' and 'Flags of Our Fathers'). Maybe it’s the amount of reverence he has for his subject, and just maybe it’s a testament to Hanks’s continuing dignity as a performer, but somehow even framing the entire film around the simultaneous persecution and deification of a true everyman caught in an extraordinary circumstance doesn’t result in cantankerousness. For one refreshing moment we have an Eastwood film that very nearly strikes the same unsophisticated but delicate tone of his obligatory end-credits ditty."
Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"In terms of acting, there’s not a whole lot for the supporting cast to do other than support, and some of the extras (most notably the passengers) can be distractingly amateurish at times. This is Hanks’ show, and he delivers a typically strong performance, quickly allowing us to forget that we’re watching an actor. With his snowy white hair and mustache to match, Hanks conveys a man confident in his abilities, yet humble in his actions, which could also be said of Eastwood as a director. As unfussy as ever, Eastwood juggles the script’s odd chronology-bending structure, steering by his central character’s conscience throughout, while supplying another of his simple piano scores, which doubles as the melody for end-credits song 'We’re All Flying Home' -- though if ever there was a film that called for 'The Wind Beneath My Wings,' this is it."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Directing his first film since 2013’s 'The Hangover Part III,' Phillips’ style is the same as ever, displaying a certain visual flashiness, but generally not getting in the way of the story or performances. His penchant for FM classic rock has not softened one bit, and 'War Dogs' is packed with so many songs, you almost wonder why Phillips bothered hiring someone as distinctive as Cliff Martinez to score the film, if you’re only to going to leave most of it out. But it does make one curious about the moodier film that could’ve been, particularly when Phillips’ tendencies toward classic rock ‘n roll jams can sometimes feel like a familiar crutch."
Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
WOODSHOCK - Peter Raeburn
THE WILD LIFE - Ramin Djawadi
"Other tech credits are fine, with composer Ramin Djawadi ('Warcraft') providing a busy and rather standardized score. The film was reviewed online and will be released in both 2D and 3D formats."
Jordan Mintzer, The Holywood Reporter
"One bright spot is Peter Raeburn‘s shimmery score which is woozy electronica and diffuse drones marked with surprising bursts of harp. But then filmmaking craft is not the issue here, it’s the timidity of the storytelling that sits in sharp contrast to the boldness of some of the visual and sonic experimentation. And when something definitive finally does happen, it leaves an oddly sour aftertaste in the suggestion that in some ways, the narrative has turned into an anti-euthanasia manifesto; Teresa’s guilt at causing the death of someone who did not want to die appears to be lesser than her retroactive regret at having helped her suffering mother to pass on painlessly. But then, long before 'Woodshock' has hinted that assisted suicide is equivalent to plain old killing (or certainly a kind of gateway drug to it) the film’s self-indulgent noodling has made it difficult to care too much what its moral may be, and this reverie among the redwoods has become a slog among the logs."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"The directors do appear to have an almost spiritual grasp of their star’s (and good friend’s) body, clothing Dunst but also knowing how to hold her in frame to suggest an internal world so much more fertile than what they’ve constructed within their script. Composer Peter Raeburn, too, is magnanimous with his overtures, pushing the Mulleavys’ images out of stasis and into thornier emotional thickets. Still, little of the directors’ choices make sense. Case in point: Theresa spends much of her time alone and in the bathroom, in the bath even, but she never removes her expensive-looking undergarments, which feels weird and gross to comment upon were it not so jarring and did it not occupy so much of the movie."
Dom Sinacola, Paste Magazine
"The Mulleavy sisters are obviously gifted sensualists, and the synesthesia of their approach is so extreme that it almost starts to work (e.g. the harp sound that eventually emerges from Peter Raeburn’s ambient score comes to express Theresa’s mindset, even when she’s not on camera), but the substance of their first movie isn’t nearly as compelling as the style they use to suffocate it. 'Woodshock' offers a whole lot to look at, but not all that much to see."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"Still, I can’t say that I wasn’t willing to follow the Mulleavys down their ruminative, starry-eyed path, and found its jarringly violent conclusion both ridiculous and admirable. I caught myself, in the orchestral swell of the film’s final moments, thinking, 'This must be what it felt like to not hate "Mother!,"' Darren Aronofsky’s audacious not-quite-horror film that has thrown the film community (and pretty much nobody else) into rancorous controversy. I’ll say this much, I was much more captivated by Dunst wandering around and touching the interior of her possibly haunted metaphor house than Jennifer Lawrence doing the same, mostly because 'Woodshock' is the noncommittal ellipses to Aronofsky’s preachy exclamation point. (Who knows if the Mulleavys even picked up an idea or two on the set of Aronofsky’s 'Black Swan,' for which they designed costumes for?) There are a lot of half-complete ideas among the sisters’ jumble of imagery, but trying to tie them together is a fitfully enjoyable, if ultimately fruitless experience."
Emily Yoshida, Vulture
"The overall effect -- enhanced by Peter Raeburn’s score, a long list of hipster-loved rock songs and countless edits -- is dreamlike but also, finally, rather empty. Dunst is frequently a mesmerizing presence, but her performance can’t hold a candle to her own work in one of her most challenging roles, as a depressed woman facing the end of days in Lars Von Trier’s 'Melancholia.' That film also dealt with depression and death and featured exquisite symbolic images, too. But Von Trier knew how to create meaning out of all his disparate elements. Here, it mostly feels like Dunst has graduated from playing Manic Pixie Dream Girls -- her turn in Cameron Crowe’s 'Elizabethtown' coined the term -- to a Manic-Depressive Pixie Dream Woman."
Boyd van Hoiej, Hollywood Reporter
THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.
Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPAS, American Cinematheque: Aero, American Cinematheque: Egyptian, Arclight, Arena Cinelounge, LACMA, Laemmle, New Beverly, Nuart and UCLA.
THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (Basil Kirchin), THE DEVIL'S RAIN (Al De Lory) [Cinematheque: Aero]
PSYCHO (Bernard Herrmann) [Arclight Hollywood]
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (Richard O'Brien, Richard Hartley) [Nuart]
CARRIE (Pino Donaggio) [Arclight Hollywood]
JASON X (Harry Manfredini), BODY MELT (Philip Brophy), LINK (Jerry Goldsmith), MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (AC/DC), ZOMBIE 3 (Stefano Mainetti), CURTAINS (Paul Zaza), ANTROPOPHAGUS (Marcello Giombini) [Cinematheque: Aero]
FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Franz Waxman)[Cinematheque: Aero]
RETRIBUTION (Alan Howarth) [UCLA]
THE EXORCIST [Arclight Santa Monica]
GANJA & HESS (Sam Waymon) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
SUSPIRIA (Goblin) [Arclight Hollywood]
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner), THE INVISIBLE MAN [Laemmle NoHo]
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner), THE INVISIBLE MAN [Laemmle Royal]
FRANKENWEENIE (Danny Elfman) [LACMA]
GREMLINS (Jerry Goldsmith) [Arclight Hollywood]
IT (Benjamin Wallfisch) [Arclight Culver City]
PET SEMATARY (Elliot Goldenthal) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
THE SHINING (Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind) [Arclight Hollywood]
HEAD (Ken Thorne) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE LAST STARFIGHTER (Craig Safan) [Laemmle NoHo]
TULLY (Rob Simonsen), MONSTER (BT) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SEA OF LOVE (Trevor Jones), MALICE (Jerry Goldsmith) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SUSPIRIA (Goblin) [Nuart]
A QUIET PLACE (Marco Beltrami) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
I only saw three movies last weekend:
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was perfectly pleasant and forgettable. The Dominic Lewis score was lively enough that I wondered if they'd tracked in cues from Elfman's score the first film, but no Elfman music was credited. I was disappointed that they made the film such an overt sequel to its predecessor rather than telling a new Goosebumps story, but the scenes with the evil dummy (voiced this time not by Jack Black but by Mick Wingert, sounding remarkably Jack-like) were fairly effective for a kids horror-comedy, and as a Reno 911 fan, it was a pleasant surprise to see Wendy McLendon-Covey in such a mainstream role. I have to say, I much prefer director Ari Sandel's features like this and The DUFF to his Oscar-winning short West Bank Story, but at this rate he still probably shouldn't expect a second Oscar any time soon.
Wildlife is the directorial debut of Paul Dano, based on a Richard Ford, and is an extremely impressive and assured effort for a first-time filmmaker, visually confident and with first-rate acting, especially by Carey Mulligan and Ed Oxenbould (the boy from The Visit and Alexander and the etc etc. Day). Concert composer David Lang wrote the fine score (I know he got the music credit for Youth, but did he actually write anything for that film besides the nominated song?), and the film is dedicated to Johann Johannsson, who has one track featured.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is the new film from the director of The Greasy Strangler, which I didn't see and don't regret missing. I enjoyed Beverly Luff Linn probably more than I should have, but I suspect a comedy with its specific style that featured only the supporting non-actors (who give the film a distinctive quality yet are easier to take in small doses) and lacked professional actors like leads Jemaine Clement (who I think may be a comic genius), Aubrey Plaza, Craig Robinson, Emile Hirsch and Matt Berry might be more than a little intolerable. Berry was one of my favorite things about Garth Marenghis' Darkplace, while Craig Robinson was so good in Morris in America that it was a little sad to see him here in a role where he spends most of the film growling like Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein and breaking wind, but his presence in any film is always welcome.