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For the one or two of you who somehow missed the column posted three days ago, here are this year's Oscar nominations in the music categories:


BLACK PANTHER - Ludwig Goransson
BLACKKKLANSMAN - Terence Blanchard
ISLE OF DOGS - Alexandre Desplat

"ALL THE STARS" - Black Panther - Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith; Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith, Solana Rowe
"I'LL FIGHT - RBG - Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
"THE PLACE WHERE LOST THINGS GO" - Mary Poppins Returns - Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman
"SHALLOW" - A Star Is Born - Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthhony Rossomando, Anthony Wyatt
"WHEN A COWBOY TRADES HIS SPURS FOR WINGS" - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Music and Lyric by David Rawlings, Gillian Welch

Along with their two-disc set of music from the TV series THE ORVILLE, La-La Land has just released a limited edition (1500 units) CD of Nathan Barr's score for director Eli Roth's terrific 2018 kids' horror-fantasy THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett.

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker and veteran soundtrack and DVD/Blu-Ray producer Nick Redman died in Santa Monica on Thursday, January 17th, at the age of 63. Born in Wimbledon, England, he was an actor in the early part of his career but ultimately moved behind the camera, first for the BBC and later in the United States. He was nominated in the Documentary Short Subject category (with Paul Seydor) in 1996 for The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage, which incorporates rare 16mm behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Sam Peckinpah's classic, with Redman narrating (and producing) and Ed Harris providing the voice of Peckinpah (the documentary is featured on the Wild Bunch Blu-Ray from Warner Home Video).

Redman served as a consultant to Fox Music Group beginning in 1993, was a founding partner in the CD label Bay Cities, produced countless score and soundtrack CDs including many releases for Film Score Monthly, and in 2011 co-founded the DVD/Blu-Ray label Twilight Time, whose releases regularly feature their film's scores (and sometimes the unused score as well) as isolated tracks.

His most recent documentary was 2007's Becoming John Ford. He is survived by his wife, writer Julie Kirgo, as well as his daughter Rebecca, two stepchildren and his brother Jonathan. A more detailed tribute to Mr. Redman by Jon Burlingame can be found at Variety. 


 - Khaled Manzour - Decca
The House with a Clock in Its Walls - Nathan Barr - La-La Land
The Orville
 - Bruce Broughton, Andrew Cottee, John Debney, Joel McNeely - La-La Land
 - Benjamin Wallfisch - Milan


Dead Ant - Edwin Wendler
The Final Wish - Samel Joseph Smythe
Heartlock - Paul Wiancko
In Like Flynn - David Hirschfelder
The Invisibles - Matthias Klein
The Kid Who Would Be King - Electric Wave Bureau
King of Thieves - Benjamin Wallfisch - Score CD on Milan (import)
Serenity - Benjamin Wallfisch - Score CD on Milan
West of Sunshine - James Orr, Lisa Gerrard


February 1
- Joseph Trapanese - Sony
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
 - John Powell - Backlot
February 8
Cannibal Holocaust
- Riz Ortolani - Beat
Duri a Morire
- Stelvio Cipriani - Digitmovies
La Professora Di Lingue
- Lallo Gori - Beat
Simon Bolivar
- Carlo Savina - Digitmovies
We the Animals - Nick Zammuto - Temporary Residence
February 15
Alita: Battle Angel
 - Tom Holkenborg - Milan
February 22
Free Solo - Marco Beltrami - Node
March 1
Colette - Thomas Ades - Lakeshore
Dorian Gray - Charlie Mole - Filmtrax
March 8
Ittefaq - BT - Kss3te Recordings
Date Unknown
Calypso/Italia '61 in Circarama
 - Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Alhambra
The Cisco Kid in The Gay Amigo
 - Albert Glasser - Kritzerland
Deux Hommes Dans La Ville/Le Toubib/La Verve Couderc
 - Philippe Sarde - Music Box
Durante La Tormenta
- Fernando Velazquez - Quartet
El Fotografo Del Mauthausen
 - Diego Navarro - Rosetta
El Lado Oscuro del Corazon
 - Osvaldo Montes - Rosetta
El Reino
- Olivier Arson - Quartet
For the Term of His Natural Life/The Wild Duck
- Simon Walker - Dragon's Domain
The House that Dripped Blood
 - Michael Dress - Kritzerland
The Hyper Agent Gridman
- Osamu Tozuka, Kisaburo Suzuki - Cinema-Kan (import)
Josef Mengele: The Final Account
- Joe Harnell - Dragon's Domain
Los Futbolismos
- Fernando Velazquez - Quartet
Mad Macbeth
 - Susan Dibona, Salvatore Sangiovanni - Kronos
A Man Called Peter
 - Alfred Newman - Kritzerland
Minuscule: Mandibles from Far Away
 - Mathieu Laboley - Music Box
Non Lasciamoci Piu
 - Fabio Frizzi - Kronos
Oma Maa
 - Pessi Levando - Kronos
- Pierre Hamon - Quartet
Sin Fin
 - Sergio De La Puente - Rosetta
Super Lopez
- Fernando Velazquez - Quartet
Superman - John Williams - La-La Land
Twelve Students Who Want to Die
- Yukihiko Tsutsumi - VAP (import)
Valley of Shadows
 - Zbigniew Preisner - Caldera
- Alberto Iglesias - Quartet


January 25 - Albert Glasser born (1916)
January 25 - Antonio Carlos Jobim born (1927)
January 25 - Benny Golson born (1929)
January 25 - Tobe Hooper born (1943)
January 25 - Hans-Erik Philip born (1943)
January 25 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Poltergeist (1982)
January 25 - Paul J. Smith died (1985)
January 25 - James Horner begins recording his score for A Far Off Place (1993)
January 25 - Gregory Smith records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Field of Fire” (1999)
January 25 - Normand Corbeil died (2013)
January 25 - John Morris died (2018)
January 26 - Hugo Riesenfeld born (1879)
January 26 - Stephane Grappelli born (1908)
January 26 - Ken Thorne born (1924)
January 26 - Alfred Newman begins recording his score for Take Care of My Little Girl (1951)
January 26 - Christopher L. Stone born (1952)
January 26 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953)
January 26 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for The Miracle (1959)
January 26 - George Bassman records his score for Ride the High Country (1962)
January 26 - Wendy Melvoin born (1964)
January 26 - Victoria Kelly born (1973)
January 26 - Recording sessions begin for Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Damnation Alley (1977)
January 26 - Gustavo Dudamel born (1981)
January 26 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "A Matter of Honor" (1989)
January 26 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Far Beyond the Stars” (1998)
January 27 - Jerome Kern born (1885)
January 27 - Alaric Jans born (1949)
January 27 - Mike Patton born (1968)
January 27 - David Shire begins recording his score for All the President's Men (1976)
January 27 - Leonard Rosenman begins recording his score for The Car (1977)
January 27 - Craig Safan records his scores for the Twilight Zone episodes “To See the Invisible Man” and “Tooth and Consequences” (1986)
January 27 - Arthur Kempel records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “The Elevator” (1986)
January 28 - Karl Hajos born (1889)
January 28 - Paul Misraki born (1908)
January 28 - John Tavener born (1944)
January 28 - Burkhard Dallwitz born (1959)
January 28 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for Once a Thief (1965)
January 28 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible pilot (1966)
January 28 - Giancarlo Bigazzi died (2012)
January 28 - John Cacavas died (2014)
January 29 - Leslie Bricusse born (1931)
January 29 - Leith Stevens begins recording his score for The Atomic City (1952)
January 29 - Victor Young begins recording his score for Forever Female (1953)
January 29 - Alfred Newman begins recording his score to A Man Called Peter (1955)
January 29 - David Robbins born (1955)
January 29 - Joseph Mullendore records his score for the Lost in Space episode "Space Beauty" (1968)
January 29 - Georges Van Parys died (1971)
January 29 - Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Condorman (1981)
January 29 - Panu Aaltio born (1982)
January 29 - Rogier Van Otterloo died (1988)
January 29 - Don Davis records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Face of the Enemy” (1993)
January 29 - Berto Pisano died (2002)
January 29 - Rod McKuen died (2015)
January 30 - Morton Stevens born (1929)
January 30 - Franz Waxman records his score for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)
January 30 - Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for The Affairs of Susan (1945)
January 30 - Phil Collins born (1951)
January 30 - Steve Bartek born (1952)
January 30 - Recording sessions begin for Lyn Murray’s score for On the Threshold of Space (1956)
January 30 - George Duning begins recording his score to Toys in the Attic (1963)
January 30 - George Duning begins recording his score for the pilot movie for Then Came Bronson (1969)
January 30 - Robert Folk begins recording his score for Police Academy (1984)
January 30 - Jean Constantin died (1997)
January 30 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Rise” (1997)
January 30 - Manuel Balboa died (2004)
January 30 - John Barry died (2011)
January 30 - William Motzing died (2014)
January 31 - Benjamin Frankel born (1906)
January 31 - Hans Posegga born (1917)
January 31 - Nicholas Carras born (1922)
January 31 - Al De Lory born (1930)
January 31 - Philip Glass born (1937)
January 31 - Andrew Lockington born (1974)
January 31 - Andy Garfield born (1974)
January 31 - Yasushi Akutagawa died (1989)


AARDVARK - Heather McIntosh
"The film opens with a childhood flashback accompanied by dreamy music (composed by Heather McIntosh, who also did the music for last year's beautiful 'Princess Cyd,' directed by Stephen Cone). An aardvark meanders out of a cave, snuffling its long snout in the air. Two small boys stand watching at the glass. The flashback shows up throughout 'Aardvark,' and each time it shifts. Sometimes it's a good memory. Sometimes it's bad. Maybe this is to show how people have different memories of the same event, but it's presented in such a low-key way you can't tell the intended significance. Aardvarks are powerful symbols in many cultures: they can represent solitude, survival, the striving for success. Shoaf doesn't make anything of the symbol (and maybe that's a blessing, but a little underlining might have helped the aardvark gain more symbolic and emotional resonance.)"
Sheila O'Malley,

"Though attractive on its own, Heather McIntosh’s string-quartet score tends to underline the movie’s somewhat self-conscious, borderline-ponderous tenor. There are several; well-chosen songs soundtracked, however, by the likes of Numero Group and Andrew Bird. Eric Lin’s cinematography and other major contributions are fine, but 'Aardvark' needed a bolder stylistic approach, a more insightfully detailed screenplay, or both, to make the most of a promising premise that never really develops."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
BIG FISH & BEGONIA - Kiyoshi Yoshida
"And that’s plenty. The film’s surface pleasures are so abundant that losing track of the plot is always an opportunity to lose yourself in something else. 'Big Fish & Begonia' is a bottomless feast for the eyes, the animation (produced by 'Legend of Korra' powerhouse Studio Mir) combining the expressiveness of anime with the fluidity of Flash animation. Bright and detailed and soaring on the wings of a limitless premise, the movie takes us from shimmering lakes to snow-covered fields -- from hazy mahjong dens to crowded arenas -- all of these incredible sights glazed by the guzheng stirrings of Kiyoshi Yoshida’s score."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
THE ENDLESS - James Lavelle
"Things get weird before the brothers even reach the compound, thanks to an atmosphere of mystery and menace realized with clever sound design, a synthesized score (by James Lavelle) that samples 'House of the Rising Sun' and evokes the best of John Carpenter; and unexplained images that recur. This story is filled with circles, and circles within circles. Or maybe we should call them "saucer shapes." There's an overcast sky with a hole punched through the clouds; round wind chimes clinking in in the breeze; wooden benches arranged around a campfire. Circles are embedded into the score itself: 'House of the Rising Sun' is built around a series of circular chord patterns, and the lyrics are about a gambler's son who escaped an abusive childhood but seems determined to repeat his father's sins by choice. Mirrors are as important, too. There are actual mirrors in the film, mirrored compositions, characters whose fates or personalities seem to mirror each other, and moments where the universe seems to tear a hole in itself and show us what's on the other side. The filmmaking is mostly restrained and intelligent, strategically framing characters, moving the camera to reveal or conceal information, and amping up tension with surprising edits, dissonant sound effects, and Lavelle's music, which is so unsettling that I would not be surprised to learn that it was performed on a keyboard made from frayed human nerve endings. Not every moment in the film works: the lead actors overdo it a bit during the opening section, which unfortunately showcases some terrible, exposition-dump dialogue, and the CGI is dodgy in a way that's characteristic of moviemakers whose artistic ambitions exceed their budgets."
Matt Zoller Seitz,
FURLOUGH - Jeff Cardoni
"The pair’s public-transit journey is interrupted by a train delay in Manhattan, at which point Joan convinces Nicole to stop in for a bite at a local restaurant, and then to make a pit stop at a local salon so she can get a hairstyle that’ll better please her mother. Nicole reluctantly goes along with these requests, as well as Joan’s subsequent plea that they stop in at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that just so happens to be taking place at the church they pass by. Jeff Cardoni’s jaunty score underscores that these incidents are meant to be funny, as do the actress’ exaggerated odd-couple reactions to each other. However, their circumstances are so pedestrian, and their exchanges are so devoid of wittiness, that the material just lays there, seemingly waiting for a punchline to appear."
Nick Schager, Variety

HACKSAW RIDGE - Rupert Gregson-Williams
"And as I said, it mostly succeeds at its goals. Only a stone-hearted robot could be completely unmoved by 'Hacksaw Ridge,' which tugs relentlessly on your heartstrings at every opportunity. This is both its strength and its weakness. The score swells a bit too earnestly and the images are shimmery and idealized, a heightened reality that seems like it may belong more to a fairy tale or a fantasy epic than a story about a war in which a lot of people died. (And in contrast to a director like Eastwood, who paired 'Flags of our Fathers' with 'Letters from Iwo Jima,' Gibson isn’t very interested in humanizing the enemy. There’s maybe one moment of recognition that the Japanese enemy soldiers are people with families as well.)"
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

"Predictably, this causes some consternation at boot camp amongst his company (who are introduced in one of those getting-to-know-you scenes in the barracks where each is given one single character trait or physical attribute by which we’ll be able to identify them later when they’re caked in blood). His Sergeant (played in the film’s wittiest role by a pretty good Vince Vaughn), his commanding officer (Sam Worthington), and fellow soldier Smitty (Luke Bracey) certainly don’t want a conscientious objector in their number, and do all they can to force him to quit. Doss doesn’t, nor does he compromise on his non-violence. All of this stuff is surprisingly talky and rather fustily mounted, not helped by an omnipresent, ploddingly literal score from Rupert Gregson-Williams that tells us exactly what to feel about everything, and in which the climactic motif is angelic choirs underpinned by rushing martial percussion. There’s even a point where the sunny, upbeat 'going to meet my girl!' melody is interrupted for about two seconds by dark notes of foreboding as Desmond runs into a heavily scarred veteran leaving the hospital before the chirpiness resumes."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"That conundrum aside, Doss deserves praise for his heroics in these circumstances, and 'Hacksaw Ridge' is passionate in arguing that asking someone to act against their own moral convictions is wrong. What pulls us out of the film is a presentation that is too self-aware of its gravity and its status as a Big War Movie. It’s an approach that occasionally works against dramatic impact when the swelling score is imploring us to feel otherwise. Even accepting that everything depicted about Doss’ heroics are true, 'Hacksaw Ridge' delivers them like someone too intent on wanting to make us feel good about ourselves for honoring the bravery and sacrifice of those soldiers. Where a less manipulative approach would be more respectful and powerful, Gibson opts for discomfiting obviousness."
Anthony Salveggi, Paste Magazine

"There are moments, however, when Gibson might have done well to rein in composer Rupert Gregson-Williams ('The Legend of Tarzan'), who’s constantly putting too fine a point on Doss’s heroism in the field. The visuals are telling us what we need to know without the orchestra working overtime to do the same thing."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
"The big orchestral score by Rupert Gregson-Williams also serves to keep the climactic action surging forward. Gibson has never been a director with much use for understatement, and he's in his element with the furious bluster of battle. But there's no denying the effectiveness of the drama, or the resonant emotional notes as men like Glover, Howell and Smitty see Desmond through new eyes. And it's hard not to read their humility as intertwined with Gibson's own efforts toward rehabilitation after his widely chronicled personal struggles with rage."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

LION - Dustin O'Halloran, Hauschka [Volker Bertelmann]
"There’s never a doubt regarding how Saroo’s familial melodrama will play out, and so while Lion has a magical, thrilling first act set amidst the chaotic hurly-burly of Kolkata (the 5-year-old is, after all, on a genuine if unwanted and occasionally scary adventure) and a 'bring your handkerchiefs' final act, the lengthy midsection stops the story in its tracks. Kidman does her best to evoke a sort of all-encompassing maternal love that’s spiderwebbed by her adoption of Saroo’s 'brother' Mantosh (Ladwa), who is plagued by mental illness and self-harm. But still, it’s little Saroo’s fanciful yet perilous journey through the labyrinthine, colorful avenues and alleyways of Calcutta that really roars. A melodrama with a terrific, jarring score by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran, older Saroo’s fixation on finding his biological mother and siblings is rooted in the actual, adult world, meaning more logical reality -- he’s driving his girlfriend (Mara) to distraction with his marathon Googling -- and less magical realism via little Saroo’s kid’s-eye view of the world. It’s a tonally imperfect film that’s nonetheless ideal for holiday viewing, a respite from 'Rogue One' perhaps, or simply an exciting, old-school explorer’s tale well told (for the most part)."
Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
"But unless you like long montages of mouse clicks set to inspiring music, that unbelievable story, stretched over a two-hour run time, has made for a pretty dull movie. In fact, 'Lion' seems poised to be the perfect test case for whether Weinstein still possesses his famous, unparalleled talent for spinning even a mediocre movie into Oscar gold."
Forrest Wickman, Slate Magazine

"However, the movie’s best section is its first act, in which 5-year-old Saroo is alone and defenseless. For long stretches, Saroo is quiet and disconnected, unable to even understand the people around him. Shot with restraint and beauty (but without either aestheticizing or fetishizing poverty), it’s effective because it puts us in Saroo’s shoes, understanding the dangers through a 5-year-old’s perspective. Playing young Saroo, Pawar’s face is full of expression, both innocent and, eventually, streetwise. This section has more in common with neorealism than anything else -- it’s almost impressionistic. That impressionism resurfaces later, when as an adult, Saroo begins to dream of his family, and the film works hard, and effectively, to convey his mental and emotional state. So when the film inevitably dips into the swelling music and emotion that belongs to a more conventional 'inspirational' drama, it doesn’t feel overblown. We’ve been there with Saroo, and we’re as hungry to come home as he is."
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
"Covering the months when Saroo manages to survive alone in Calcutta, scrounging for food and narrowly escaping child abductors before being taken to an orphanage, Davies' screenplay shows the extreme vulnerability of children and the cunning of those who prey on them by presenting themselves as rescuers. The script also is effective in suggesting how the boy was so confused and worn down by the selective information being fed him that he gave up on ever finding his mother. This is heartbreaking stuff, its impact deepened by the elegant symphonic score by Dustin O'Halloran and Hausckha [sic]."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

"It is not unusual for an underdog sports picture to be predictable. But 'The Miracle Season' seems downright preordained, and not just in its arc. The movie is constitutionally incapable of surprise even on a moment-to-moment level. If characters are talking smack, of course the object of their scorn will turn out to be nearby, within earshot. If characters hesitate slightly before a coin toss, the results won’t go their way. The movie itself feels like a coin toss that always, always, always comes up 'heads,' to the point where spending 90 minutes or so in this world constitutes a simulation of psychic abilities. The only real surprise is just how quickly the film is willing to jump to tears, hugs, and swells of music -- this happens before the team even gets a winning streak going, let alone makes it into the finals. McNamara seems in a hurry to jerk some tears for the team’s glory and move on to his next batch of underdogs."
Jesse Hassenger, The Onion AV Club

"Riding home from a party on a borrowed moped, Line is hit by a car and killed. Before McNamara is done with his maudlin community-grief montage, Ellyn dies as well. West High School lives under a cloud, and the Trojans, the volleyball team that just lost its leader, understandably forfeits a game or two by not showing up. But stoic coach Kathy Bresnahan (Helen Hunt), who was already dealing with her own personal loss, sees sport as a path back to normalcy. She declares that practices will resume, and forces the girls right back into achievement mode. First job: Find a new girl to play setter position. Roque Banos' score shimmers heroically as Kelly is discovered as Line's natural replacement."
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS - Abel Korzeniowski
"DP Seamus McGarvey gives each location distinct flavour -- red sunsets and hot yellow desert for the Lone Star State; cool gun-metal grays for Los Angeles; a warm, hazy hue for flashbacks set in New York, the backdrop for Tony and Susan’s young marriage and its eventual breakdown -- while composer Abel Korzeniowski shuns Hollywood’s increasing tendency to turn movie music anonymous with a lurid, attention-grabbing string score."
Brogan Morris, Paste Magazine

"Ford’s direction is, like his previous feature 'A Single Man,' immaculate. Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography is striking, and composer Abel Korzeniowski once again provides his director with a brooding, sorrowful score. As one would expect from a fashion designer, Ford outfits his characters beautifully, but the fashion always helps illustrate the characters. The stark, clean lines of Susan’s expensive wardrobe betray a woman whose current life is tidy because it’s hollow, and Tony’s clothing eventually becomes simple and direct as his worldview narrows to getting revenge against Ray."
Matt Goldberg, Collider
"Those moments contrast with the longueur of Susan’s day-to-day L.A. life, and all the departments work overtime to differentiate the film’s two narrative threads, from cinematographer Seamus McGarvey ('The Avengers') to composer Abel Korzeniowski, whose eclectic score runs the gamut from Bernard Herrmann-inspired lush menace to a sequence scored with nothing but the sound of a single heartbeat."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
"My suspicion is that there’s a lot less to 'Nocturnal Animals' than meets the eye. True, it’s quite a meeting; the contrast of the cloud-capped heavens above the desert and the velvet darkness of Los Angeles, rubbed by the lush harmonies of Abel Korzeniowski’s score, makes the film every inch as seductive as Ford’s début, 'A Single Man' (2009). What everyone remembers of that movie, however, is Colin Firth on the phone, holding back a tide of grief as he learns of a lover’s death, and it must be said that nothing in the new work can top such a surge of feeling. Michael Shannon is reliably hard-bitten as the cop, but too many of the Texas scenes, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson overdoing it as the main thug, carry a nasty whiff of the ersatz -- an art-house fantasy of the redneck. I felt sorry for Gyllenhaal, berated in both his personae for being weak, and for Adams, strapped and laced into a role that scarcely lets her breathe. As for the news that Susan and her moneyed kind are frustrated by the vacuum of their existence ('No one really likes what they do,' a friend says), tell me something I didn’t learn from Visconti and Antonioni half a century ago. The best thing in this gleaming and self-enraptured picture is a five-minute cameo from Laura Linney, as Susan’s mother, dryly informing her daughter, over a Martini, that all women turn into their mothers: 'Just you wait.'"
Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"From its opening titles, a seeming riff on a James Bond credits sequence in which naked, overweight-to-obese ladies dance in slow motion wearing nothing but majorette-style accessories while glitter flies through the air and Abel Korzeniowski‘s shamelessly romance-and-intrigue-based score swirls and swoops deliriously, Tom Ford‘s 'Nocturnal Animals' is a feast for the eyes and a fun-size Mars Bar for the brain. It’s also highly enjoyable, when it’s not trying to be serious and make heavy points about the interrelation of art and life. It’s a bifurcated film, and so perhaps a bifurcated reaction is to be expected, but after so much drama, all the violent deaths, all the heavy-rimmed glasses, all the designer bathtubs, all the beautiful male forms, all that bitten-off art-world chatter, all that Michael Shannon being the greatest thing ever (again, but this time in a Stetson), Ford’s attempt to synthesize the two halves of his film into a coherent whole is what sells it all short. His bid for consequence is where the film becomes inconsequential: a longwinded, thoroughly entertaining anecdote told to account, ultimately, for one deliberately missed connection. All of that was for that?
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

"The credits sequence is an outrageous grabber: a series of heavy-set women, nearly nude, jiggling in slow motion and leering into the camera like middle-aged burlesque strippers, while music that’s voluptuous and forlorn enough to have been composed by Bernard Herrmann (the score is by Abel Korzeniowski) floods the soundtrack. It turns out that we’re watching an art installation at the gallery owned and curated by Susan Morrow (Adams), and what it expresses, in a very extreme way, is everything our junky cosmetic culture doesn’t 'allow.' It’s a rebuke to moneyed perfection."
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

"'Nocturnal Animals' is no less manicured -- even the desert shacks could be artfully distressed fashion-shoot locations. And unsurprisingly, the end credits are an orgy of high-end designer names and contemporary American art luminaries. But the sumptuous look here feels very much of a piece with the storytelling as a whole, unequivocally owning its visual signature. The tempestuous strings of Abel Korzeniowski's lush score provide an additional ballsy flourish, explicitly nodding to Hitchcock and Sirk."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

AN ORDINARY MAN - Christophe Beck, Chilly Gonzalez
"The film benefits from being shot on location, with the Belgrade exteriors providing vivid atmosphere, while Christophe Beck and Chilly Gonzalez's tense music score makes a strong contribution."
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
"By shooting in Malta on locations that convincingly evoke the ancient world, Hyatt and his team achieve a relatively high production value for faith-based cinema (although it often feels underlit, with some scenes almost entirely lost in darkness). As suggested by the tense drumbeat score, the film succeeds in re-creating the palpable fear these early Christians must have struggled with at all times. Amid such life-and-death stakes, various characters’ decisions to forgo their personal safety seem all the more moving. That goes not only for Paul but also for members of his flock, including teenage orphan Tarquin (Daryl Vassallo), who undertakes a dangerous but essential mission, and Luke, who makes a climactic choice that potentially endangers his entire community."
Peter Debruge, Variety


Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew Beverly, Nuart and UCLA.

January 25
BLOW OUT (Pino Donaggio), INFERNO (Keith Emerson) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
JACKIE BROWN [New Beverly]
SHOCK TREATMENT (Richard O'Brien, Richard Hartley) [Nuart]
WINGS OF DESIRE (Jurgen Knieper) [Cinematheque: Aero]

January 26
BURY ME AN ANGEL (Richard Hieronymus, East-West Pipeline), SUMMER SCHOOL TEACHERS (J.J. Jackson) [UCLA]
DRESSED TO KILL (Pino Donaggio), TENEBRE (Simonetti-Morante-Pignatelli) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
FIGHT CLUB (Dust Brothers) [Cinematheque: Aero]
HIS PICTURE IN THE PAPERS [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (David Raksin) [New Beverly]

January 27
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE (Frank Skinner) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE NAKED KISS (Paul Dunlap) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
ROMEO AND JULIET (Nino Rota), BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON (Donovan, Ken Thorne) [New Beverly]
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (David Raksin) [New Beverly]

January 28
ROMEO AND JULIET (Nino Rota), BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON (Donovan, Ken Thorne) [New Beverly]

January 29
POISON IVY (David Michael Frank), STREETS (Aaron Davis), STRIPPED TO KILL (John O'Kennedy) [New Beverly]

January 30
SMASH-UP ALLEY: 49 THE RICHARD PETTY STORY (Wiliam St. Pierre, Ed Lasko), THE LAST AMERICAN HERO (Charles Fox) [New Beverly]

January 31
GROUNDHOG DAY (George Fenton) [Laemmle NoHo]
SMASH-UP ALLEY: 49 THE RICHARD PETTY STORY (Wiliam St. Pierre, Ed Lasko), THE LAST AMERICAN HERO (Charles Fox) [New Beverly]

February 1
THE IRON GIANT (Michael Kamen) [Cinematheque: Aero]
JAWS (John Williams), THE DEEP (John Barry) [New Beverly]

February 2
THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE (Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Jack Elliott) [New Beverly]
THE INCREDIBLES (Michael Giacchino), INCREDIBLES 2 (Michael Giacchino) [Cinematheque: Aero]
JAWS (John Williams), THE DEEP (John Barry) [New Beverly]
TALES FROM THE HOOD (Christopher Young), TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT (Edward Shearmur) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
TESTAMENT (James Horner) [UCLA]

February 3
FATSO (Joe Renzetti) [UCLA]
THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE (Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Jack Elliott) [New Beverly]


The New Beverly (or at least its owner and programmer, Quentin Tarantino) and I seem to share an obsession with '70s movies, so I've been going there even more often than usual since they re-opened last month. Their "Modern Day Private Eyes" series has been a particular highlight, especially as it gave me my first chance to see Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye on the big screen. My feelings about Altman and his films have changed drastically over the last few decades. It probably didn't help that I started seeing his films during a particularly erratic period in his career (A Wedding, A Perfect Couple, the visually stunning but dramatically inert Quintet), and that in the 1980s he made two particularly weak films based on source material I really liked -- O.C. and Stiggs and Beyond Therapy (at the time, Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy was my favorite play, and watching the film version I actively wanted to murder Altman).

My feelings about Altman began to change over the next decade. I was highly impressed by his film version of Michael Tolkin's novel The Player (which I'd read before the film was made), which managed to feel true to both Tolkin and Altman, and his 2001 mystery Gosford Park (written by Julian Fellowes) was first-rate, and would have been my pick for Best Picture of that year's nominees. My appreciation for Altman has only increased after reading Michael Zuckoff's Robert Altman: An Oral Biography, in which seemingly every person who ever worked with the filmmaker (including John Williams) discusses their time with Altman.

The Long Goodbye was even better than I expected. As one who recently re-read all of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe mysteries, I can sympathize with those who find it a desecration of both Chandler's book and his beloved character, but viewing it on its own terms I was fairly knocked out by it, both as a modern-day take on the traditional private eye story and simply as a great Los Angeles movie. Williams' score, largely source cues based on endless variations of his original title song (a concept Williams credits to Altman in the Zuckoff biography) is inspired, and Vilmos Zsigmond's scope cinematography (incoporating near constant zooms and camera movement) is typically expert.

One nice bonus of the screening I attended was that Elliott Gould, the film's Phillip Marlowe, was there in person -- but just to watch the film; he didn't make any remarks. Frequently at the New Beverly, the first film in the double feature is the more high-profile one and the audience for the second feature is often markedly smaller, so I was impressed that Mr. Gould actually stayed for the second film, especially since it was The Black Bird (perhaps he has remained friends with Black Bird star George Segal since they starred in Altman's California Split together 45 years ago).

I first saw The Black Bird when I was 14, when it was released in 1975, and I can't say it's exactly withstood the test of time (not that it was much of a success on first release either). I happened to see it again a couple years ago and I think I liked it a little more this time. It's really not very good -- one can hear the funny lines in David Giler's script, but Giler's direction (in a decades-long career as a writer-producer, this is his only directing credit) is so lifeless that very little works, except for Lee Patrick and Elisha Cook reprising their roles from the original Maltese Falcon (and even repurposing lines from that classic script). I don't know if it was due to color fading, but even Segal himself looked pale and lifeless. 

My strongest memory of seeing the film in 1975 was noticing how brief sections of Jerry Fielding's score sounded like the music from Kolchak: The Night Stalker -- it was probably the first time I was ever aware of Fielding (despite his two Star Trek episodes), and possibly the first time I noticed a composer's music bleeding over from one project to another.
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