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The latest CD from Intrada is a remastered, re-edited re-release of Jerry Fielding's score for the revenge Western CHATO'S LAND, starring Charles Bronson and directed by Michael Winner.


When director Cary Fukunaga was hired to direct the latest, still-untitled James Bond thriller, fans were understandably curious as to who would compose the film's score, especially since Fukunaga's relatively brief resume means that he's only worked with a handful of composers -- Marcelo Zarvos (Sin Nombre), Dario Marianelli (Jane Eyre), Dan Romer (Beasts of No Nation, Maniac) and T. Bone Burnett (True Detective) -- and it's just been announced that it is in fact Dan Romer who will score the film. Since his credits so far has been almost exclusively documentaries and other arthouse films, one might assume his "Bond 25" score will be a low-key effort a la Serra's GoldenEye or Arnold's Quantum of Solace, but either way he's a wild card-choice and I'm intrigued to hear what he brings to my favorite film music franchise.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited a whopping 842 filmmakers, actors and publicists to join their organization, including the folllowing Music Branch invitees: composers Michael Abels, Nathan Barr, Kris Bowers, Jane Antonia Cornish, Annette Focks, Ludwig Goransson, Rupert Gregson-Williams, Hildur Gudnadottir, Jed Kurzel, Anne Nikitin, Heitor Pereira and John Swihart; songwriters Adele Adkins, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Mark Ronson, Jadon Ruder, Roxanne Seeman, Scott Wittman and Andrew Wyatt; and music editors Missy Cohen, John Finklea, Richard Ford, Bryan Lawson, Peter Myles, Arthur Pingrey, Sherry Whitfield and Robin Whittaker


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Anima Persa - Francis Lai - Digitmovies
Chato's Land
- Jerry Fielding - Intrada Special Collection
E Poi Lo Chiamarono Il Magnifico
 - Guido & Maurizio DeAngelis - Digitmovies  
L'Italia Vista Dal Cielo
 - Piero Piccioni - Beat 
Midsommar - Bobby Krlic - Milan 
Un Caso Di Coscienza/Non Commettere Atti Impuri 
- Riz Ortolani - Beat


IN THEATERS TODAY

Cold Blood - Xavier Berthelot
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love - Nick Laird-Clowes
Midsommar - Bobby Krlic - Score CD on Milan
My Days of Mercy - Michael Brook
Spider-Man: Far from Home - Michael Giacchino - Score CD on Sony

COMING SOON

July 12
Les Miserables - John Murphy - Lakeshore
July 19
Game of Thrones: Season 8 - Ramin Djawadi - WaterTower
The Lion King
 - Hans Zimmer - Disney
The Secret Life of Pets 2
 - Alexandre Desplat - Backlot
July 26
Halston - Stanley Clarke - Node
Date Unknown
Alien Trespass
 - Louis Febre - Dragon's Domain
Child's Play - Bear McCreary - Sparks & Shadows
Good Omens
 - David Arnold - Silva
Le Lunghe Ombre
 - Egisto Macchi - Kronos
Occupation in 26 Pictures
 - Alfi Kabiljo - Kronos
The Scarlet Letter/The Electric Grandmother
 - John Morris - Dragon's Domain
Unchained Melodies: Film Music of Alex North
 - Alex North - Kritzerland
Ursus Y La Ragazza Tartara
 - Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Kronos
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

July 5 - Robbie Robertson born (1943)
July 5 - Robert J. Kral born (1967)
July 5 - Jerry Fielding's score for the Star Trek episode "Spectre of the Gun" is recorded (1968)
July 5 - RZA born as Robert Fitzgerald Diggs (1969)
July 5 - David Ferguson died (2009)
July 5 - David Fanshawe died (2010)
July 5 - Fonce Mizell died (2011)
July 6 - Hanns Eisler born (1898)
July 6 - Bernardo Bonezzi born (1964)
July 6 - John Ottman born (1964)
July 6 - Ron Goodwin begins recording his score to Force 10 from Navarone (1978)
July 6 - John Williams begins recording his score for Superman (1978)
July 6 - Frank Cordell died (1980)
July 6 - Bruce Broughton begins recording his score for Stay Tuned (1992)
July 7 - Anton Karas born (1906)
July 7 - Ron Jones born (1954)
July 7 - Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for We’re No Angels (1954)
July 7 - Johnny Mandel begins recording his score for Point Blank (1967)
July 7 - Gerald Fried's score for the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child" is recorded (1967)
July 7 - Atli Orvarsson born (1970)
July 7 - Richard Hazard records his final Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “The Bride” (1971)
July 7 - Recording sessions begin on James Newton Howard's score for The Fugitive (1993)
July 8 - Bob Alcivar born (1938)
July 8 - Jay Chattaway born (1946)
July 8 - Lyn Murray begins recording his score for The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)
July 8 - John Addison records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "The Pumpkin Competition" (1986)
July 9 - Richard Hageman born (1882)
July 9 - Elisabeth Lutyens born (1906)
July 9 - Earle Hagen born (1919)
July 9 - Paul Chihara born (1938)
July 9 - Harald Kloser born (1956)
July 9 - Conrad Salinger died (1961)
July 9 - Dickon Hinchliffe born (1967)
July 9 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for The Outfit (1973)
July 9 - James Horner records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Alamo Jobe" (1985)
July 9 - Ken Thorne died (2014)
July 9 - Michael Masser died (2015)
July 10 - Jimmy McHugh born (1893)
July 10 - Don Costa born (1925)
July 10 - Bruce Fowler born (1947)
July 10 - Paul Glass records his score for Lady in a Cage (1963)
July 10 - Recording sessions begin for Richard Rodney Bennett’s score for L’Imprecateur (1977)
July 10 - Georges Delerue begins recording his score for The Pick-Up Artist (1987)
July 10 - Robert Mellin died (1994)
July 11 - George Gershwin died (1937)
July 11 - David Baerwald born (1960)
July 11 - John Williams begins recording his score for Not With My Wife, You Don’t (1966)
July 11 - Alexei Aigui born (1971)
July 11 - Georges Delerue begins recording his score for Maxie (1985) 

DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK - The Gifted
 
"Body At Brighton Rock doesn’t pause long enough to truly ponder its rather neat setups, flying through the 87-minute runtime with a funhouse energy that’s the devilish inverse of its initial teen-movie tone. As a director, Benjamin is at her best when her characters are in motion, and the momentum and kinetic energy of 'Body At Brighton Rock' remain vital and engrossing throughout -- no small achievement for a film that spends the majority of its running time in one location with one character. The suspense is enhanced by excellent sound design and ruthless horror montage -- quick, heart-stopping cuts to frothing jaws and gruesome decay. Overall, the film is technically impeccable, from Hannah Getz’s invigorating nature cinematography to The Gifted’s decade-hopping, Ennio Morricone-influenced score."
 
Katie Rife, The Onion AV Club

"Though clocking in at a lean 87 minutes, 'Body at Brighton Rock' feels padded out. Appearing to recognize the flimsiness of her material, Benjamin overcompensates with insistent direction. For instance, Wendy’s climb up a rock wall is goosed with quick cuts when a sustained shot of her against the rock would’ve been more frightening. And the score is always attempting to will nonexistent tension into being, conjuring a frenzy that simply isn’t on the screen."
 
Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
 
"If it doesn’t always feel as though Benjamin has the tightest grasp on her film’s tone, perhaps that’s because she nails it so well right out of the gate. 'Body at Brighton Rock' kicks off with a harpsichord flourish from The Gifted’s giallo-inflected score, a slap-happy title treatment that screams 'good times,' and an Oingo Boingo song from 1987 that helps destabilize the temporarily of a story that explicitly takes place in the present day. Wendy (the spunky and intuitive Karina Fontes) saunters into view without a care in the world, completely oblivious to the nightmare that Benjamin is building for her."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire 
 
BREAKTHROUGH - Marcelo Zarvos
 
"When Joyce praying by herself isn’t doing the trick, the film adds a few hundred people singing a beautiful song of worship outside his hospital window. (Music director Marcelo Zarvos’ score is one of the only things that works in the film.) As you might guess, John wakes up."
 
Yolanda Machado, The Wrap

FAST COLOR - Rob Simonsen
 
"Softer shades of color bleed through the movie as well; cinematographer Michael Fimognari (Netflix’s 'The Haunting of Hill House') never oversaturate the scenes with them, but merely compliments them. When Ruth is home, there are calming blue and green tones around her, enhancing the feeling of safety she feels. In the film’s more active moments, Rob Simonsen’s bopping score emphasizes the feeling of Ruth running from danger with a futuristic synth sound."
 
Monica Castillo, The Wrap 

"Fast Color' opens with a voice we’ll learn is Bo’s reading from an ancient journal that’s their Bible of sorts, though unlike Jesus, they’ve kept their powers hidden away. Fair enough -- look what the Romans did to him, and what scientist Bill (Christopher Denham) might do if he captures Ruth again. Composer Rob Simonsen’s shape-shifting electronic and violin score keeps the mood tense. Still, when Bill urges Ruth to stop running -- 'You’re hurting people,' he pleads -- he’s not wrong, though it’s unclear how much he knows, or if it’s just a good guess."
 
Amy Nicholson, Variety
 
"The story begins with Ruth’s desperate, pistol-packing, middle-of-the-night escape from some form of bondage. There’s mystery and tension in these early scenes, and Rob Simonsen's expressive score signals crisis, yet even here the mildness that will ultimately prevail in 'Fast Color' seeps into the proceedings. Soon after Ruth checks into a motel -- where a jug of precious water costs almost as much as the room itself -- her inconvenient power reveals itself. Whether it's emotion or knowledge or something unnameable, it wells up in her as a seizure that causes a hyperlocal earthquake. The quake attracts the insidious concern of a government scientist, Bill (Christopher Denham), and sends a reluctant Ruth back to her childhood home, a remote farm where she can evade detection but not the hurt, accusing gazes of her mother, Bo (Lorraine Toussaint), and Lila (Saniyya Sidney, of TV's 'The Passage'), the young daughter she barely knows. With federal agents on Ruth’s trail, the forlorn local sheriff (David Strathairn), whose role in the saga is all too clearly telegraphed before it's finally 'revealed,' takes an active interest in her safety."
 
Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

FREE FIRE - Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury

"None of this works without an intensely organized approach to the mechanics of the set pieces, and it’s impressive the way Wheatley and his team manage to keep the geography of the warehouse and the status of the constantly shifting alliances crystal clear. There is never any doubt where anybody is, or what they’re fighting for in the moment, but there’s also a lightness of touch that leads to more than a few explosively hilarious moments. And these are counterweighted by an escalating tension, which is underscored by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s carefully employed score that is at once both minimal and vibrating with anxiety. And pulling it all together are the cast, who have a whale of time, with those playing big, broad characters -- Hammer and Copley in particular -- truly standing out. 'Free Fire' is a movie that demands personality, and there’s plenty of it to go around."
 
Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
 
"Among the various motives at play, one segment of the shooters wants the briefcase of cash for themselves, another simply hopes to get out of the situation alive, while the most dangerous sees the general state of bedlam as the cover they need to settle personal scores. Neither Harry nor Stevo will rest until the other is dead, for example, and the gory resolution of their dispute sparks cheers from audiences who judge each 'kill' in terms of its macabre creativity. Meanwhile, Wheatley heightens the absurdity with his soundtrack choices (which include a trio of ironically deployed John Denver classics, combined with strategic energy-boosting contributions from 'Ex-Machina' composers Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow). The fact that they could all lay down their weapons and finish the deal heightens Wheatley’s generally irreverent approach, all of which serves to remind that guns don’t kill people; insecure, overcompensating idiots do."
 
Peter Debruge, Variety

HAIL, SATAN? - Brian McOmber
 
"Although fascinatingly hilarious, 'Hail Satan?' is a conventional non-fiction effort on the technical front, but Lane does spike her frames with an offbeat score by Brian McOmber ('Little Woods') that reaffirms the quirky tone of the piece with circus-like melodies. Without being facetious, the music here provides an unspoken way to say, 'It’s not that serious.' After all, if Satanists were as uptight as their opponents, what would be the fun in being one?"
 
Carlos Aguilar, The Wrap 

"The musical score, and some of director Lane’s editing strategies, have a way of playing into the more comic aspects. Yet it’s not a mean-spirited affair. In fact, it’s a sly primer in homegrown grassroots activism."
 
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD - Daniel Pemberton

"But all is not well: Uther’s brother, Vortigern (Law), murders the king and usurps his power. He tries to kill the king’s son, but baby Arthur is safely Moses-ed down the river to safety, tucked in a basket and sent towards the hardscrabble life that awaits an anonymous orphan who’s raised by warrior prostitutes in the backstreets of Londinium. One hilariously aggressive montage later -- the first of many examples in which the film moves at the pace that Daniel Pemberton’s beautiful and blisteringly percussive score sets for it -- and Arthur has grown into a beefy, goateed Charlie Hunnam."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
 
"There are other splendid elements here, too. Ritchie indulges the full, goth-nerd-friendly side of this material, with battle scenes that look like Molly Hatchet album covers come to life and a churning soundtrack (by Daniel Pemberton) that I can only describe as industrial death-folk; my teenage lizard brain ate that stuff up. What a waste, then, that so much energy and, yes, artistry has gone into making a movie so soul-crushingly generic."
 
Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
 
"Ritchie and his regular editor James Herbert cut up the action scenes with the desperation of the life of the party who’s secretly afraid to go home to his empty apartment. 'King Arthur' seems constantly panicked that the audience’s attention span won’t last another second, so each moment is a frenzy of sight and sound (particularly Daniel Pemberton’s emphatically percussive score), and the ultimate effect is more exhausting than exhilarating."
 
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
 
"Yet this is still very much a paint-by-numbers fantasy adventure. Arthur pulls the fabled sword from the stone; gets rescued by Sir Bedivere The Wise (Djimon Hounsou) and his band of woodland dissidents; and is assisted by a nameless sorceress (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) on a hallucinatory vision quest and climactic showdown with Vortigern. (The latter is almost incomprehensible -- the kind of thing that leads a critic to scrawl 'giant snake?' in their notes.) It resembles nothing so much as a dysfunctional marriage between two films that can’t stand the sight of each other. In King Arthur’s more inspired moments, Ritchie plays hard-to-get with the plot, disrupting all that 'reclaim Excalibur and Camelot, defeat Vortigern' 'Legend Of The Sword' nonsense with motor-mouthed montages and flashbacks straight out of a smart-alecky heist movie, hearkening back to the name-making one-two of 'Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Snatch.' This is the light, entertaining King Arthur -- the one where characters wonder aloud how the Round Table got into Camelot. ('Did you roll it in on its side?') It has a somewhat unconventional score (hurdy-gurdy, sampled breathing), some interesting camera angles, and decent one-liners."
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The Onion AV Club
 
"There’s so much narrative and visual motion, such fast cutting, such loud music, and so many rapid shifts of time and place that on those rare occasions when the movie slows down and lets two characters speak to each other, in relative quiet and at length, it feels as if something’s gone wrong with the projection. Ritchie keeps rushing us along for two hours, as if to make absolutely certain that we never have time to absorb any character or moment, much less revel in the glorious, cheeky ridiculousness of the whole thing. The entire movie is an information delivery device with top-dollar production values, forever mistaking getting to the point for the point itself. It’s the legend of King Arthur as told by an auctioneer. I’m not sold."
 
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
 
LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT - Lim Giong, Point Hsu
 
"The director delves us deep into his complicated plotting, asking, no daring, us to follow the intricate plight of his main protagonist Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue). Hongwu is still obsessed and preoccupied by an affair he had with Wan Qiwen (Tang Wei), more than a decade ago.  “Fragmented memories -- are they real or not?' he exclaims in an early scene, the same could be said about the film itself which constantly questions what is real and what is fiction. It’s hinted that Hongwu murdered Qiwen and the hazy memories slowly but surely start to resurface. The first half of the film consists of Hongwu returning to his childhood home, searching for recollections of his lost love. The aforementioned affair results in Qiwen trying to flee her gangster boyfriend, Zuo Hongyan (Chen Yongzhong), but it all ends in tragedy. However, the audacious second half of the opaque drama is what leaves most viewers awestruck: at the 73 minute mark Hongwu enters a movie theater and puts on his 3D glasses, a cue for the audience to do the same  The title of the film is slapped on-screen: 'Long Day’s Journey Into Night,' in bright green neon lights, with a moody electric guitar-led score phasing in the background.  Is this a dream? Who knows, but what comes next is a single 50-minute take with an atmosphere soaked in surrealism, as Hongwu explores for his lost love and tries to find some kind of conclusion."

Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist 

"Craft contributions are strong in some parts, especially Liu Qiang’s production design, which evokes the recesses of the mind through dark, underground sets like a coalmine shaft, a basement pool hall, and flooded chambers with leaking roofs and dripping walls reminiscent of Tsai Ming-liang locales. With its ethereal electronic touches, the score by Lim Giong and Point Hsu contributes most of the dreamlike tone intended. During the long 2D lead-up, atmospheric cinematography by Yao Hung-I and Dong Jinsong sets the tone for the extended set piece that culminates the film."
 
Maggie Lee, Variety

"Alongside the superb camerawork, music by Lim Giong and Point Hsu adds a haunting touch to the action, especially when a chorus accompanies the characters as they make their way toward a finale that seems, in some ways, to take things full circle. Not that Journey ever gives us a real sense of closure, and Bi’s film is ultimately akin to the early image we see of Wildcat’s body being wheeled on a mine cart and pushed gently into the abyss, taking us on a slow and steady rollercoaster ride through memory, melancholy and movie magic."
 
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

PENGUINS - Harry Gregson-Williams
 
"So, too, does Harry Gregson-Williams' buoyant score, which has been further enlivened by those inspired 1980s song selections, also including Patti LaBelle’s bouncy 'Stir it Up' (originally featured on the 'Beverly Hills Cop' soundtrack) and Whitesnake’s rock ballad 'Here I Go Again.'"
 
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter 
 
THE PROMISE - Gabriel Yared
 
"For a solid chunk of screen time, the movie breezily conveys the intoxicating possibility of a cosmopolitan city, thanks to the burnished sweep of Javier Aguirresarobe’s cinematography, and Gabriel Yared’s old-fashioned score. Michael settles into his studies in Constantinople, living with a gregarious relative of his father, befriending a raffish Turkish classmate, and -- uh oh -- becoming drawn to the worldly charms of Ana (Charlotte Le Bon, 'The Walk'), an Armenian artist just returned from Paris."
 
Robert Abele, The Wrap 

"Shot in colorful, ultra-crisp widescreen (though the ultra-high definition of Javier Aguirresarobe’s digital lensing actually lends an unwanted artifice) and scored to the gills by Gabriel Yared, the film has reached epic scale by this point, and yet, our interest has been taxed in too many conflicting ways: Do we want Michael and Ana to get together? If so, are we secretly rooting for something awful to happen to Chris and Maral? When the French Navy shows up (led by none other than Jean Reno), 'The Promise' permits itself to plunge these invented characters into the midst of an actual historical standoff at Musa Dagh -- one of the few successful Armenian attempts to resist their Turkish oppressors, which means the Ottoman mayor (Rade Serbedzija) may get his wish: Until this point, they have all been witnesses to the genocide, but now, there could be survivors, and the question of who lives and who dies no longer depends on the Turks’ cruelty, but rather on the screenwriters’ caprices."
 
Peter Debruge, Variety 

STUCK - Riley Thomas, Tim Young, Ben Manughan
 
"Maintaining a sense of claustrophobia is key for a film like 'Stuck,' where the audience must feel immersed in the spatial limitations set for the characters. Berry’s movie is an adaptation of a one-act stage musical by Riley Thomas, and the train’s airless atmosphere is obliterated anytime a character breaks into song, mouthing to prerecorded tracks so slickly mixed, they are borderline laughable. Rather than have musical numbers spring organically from source ambiance or other sounds, such as the buzzing of earbuds or the tapping of fingers a la “Cell Block Tango” (which are used only fleetingly here), the songs jarringly burst forth in a way that makes one suspect the characters have been possessed by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin’s ghosts from 'Beetlejuice.' Speaking of vintage Burton, the title tune’s refrain of 'Wo-oah! Wo-oah!' is so inescapably evocative of Danny Elfman’s villain anthem from 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' that I kept expecting Lloyd to follow it up with, 'I’m the Oogie Boogie Man!'  It’s telling that the best melodic bit in the film is not only the simplest but most functional, as three of the guys perform scat on the spot in order to drown out the sound of a fellow passenger, Alicia (Arden Cho), peeing into a bottle. An early song belted by comic book artist Caleb (Gerard Canonico) about a wheelchair-bound superhero is certainly the liveliest, considering that most of the music serves purely as exposition, rushing through the backstories of each character -- except for Lloyd—so that we may empathize with their troubles. When hard-working immigrant Ramon (Omar Chaparro) starts articulating his anxieties in Spanish sans subtitles, Lloyd instructs us to stop listening with our ears. This would’ve likely resulted in a touching sequence relying on the nuance of visual storytelling, yet the lyrics quickly switch to English, as if they had lost their nerve. The film’s opening moments are similarly promising in how they juxtapose city noise with an orchestra warming up, but Lloyd proceeds to hit the nail on the head by spelling out the 'symphony of sound … underground.'"
 
Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com
 
"'You need to stop listening with your ears, boy!' Lloyd advises Caleb at one point. The advice should be heeded by viewers as well, since the unmemorable songs feature the sort of overly explanatory, melodramatic lyrics that tell us exactly what we're supposed to be thinking and feeling. The performers do everything they can to sell them, and at times come close to succeeding. It's not surprising that Esposito, with his extensive theatrical experience, or Ashanti, a chart-topping pop singer, would put their songs over. But who knew that Amy Madigan had such a good voice? Unfortunately, their strenuous efforts (and Esposito tries very, very hard) aren't enough to lift the material above abject hokeyness. This is a film that makes subway riding seem such a miserable experience, you suspect it's been bankrolled by Uber."
 
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

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

July 5
DJANGO UNCHAINED [New Beverly]
FANTASTIC VOYAGE (Leonard Rosenman), 100 RIFLES (Jerry Goldsmith) [New Beverly]
A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (Ennio Morricone) [Vista]
JAWS (John Williams), HARD TICKET TO HAWAII (Gary Stockdale) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE ROOM (Mladen Milicevic) [Nuart]
1776 (Sherman Edwards, Ray Heindorf) [Cinematheque: Aero]

July 6
FANTASTIC VOYAGE (Leonard Rosenman), 100 RIFLES (Jerry Goldsmith) [New Beverly]
FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (Ennio Morricone) [Vista]
GETTING STRAIGHT (Ronald Stein) [New Beverly]
HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A. [Vista]
JAWS 3-D (Alan Parker), A*P*E (Bruce MacRae) [Cinematheque: Aero]
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Maurice Jarre) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE LOVE BUG (George Bruns) [New Beverly]

July 7
THE LOVE BUG (George Bruns) [New Beverly]
MONSTER ZERO (Akira Ifukube) [Vista]
MURDERER'S ROW (Lalo Schifrin), KITTEN WITH A WHIP [New Beverly]
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (Matt Clifford), THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (Tobe Hooper, Jerry Lambert) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE SANDLOT (David Newman), A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (Hans Zimmer) [Cinematheque: Aero]

July 8
COOLEY HIGH (Freddie Perren) [AMPAS]
MURDERER'S ROW (Lalo Schifrin), KITTEN WITH A WHIP [New Beverly]
THIS BOY'S LIFE (Carter Burwell) [New Beverly]

July 9
ANY GUN CAN PLAY (Francesco DeMasi), WICKED, WICKED (Philip Springer) [New Beverly]

July 10
GOLDFINGER (John Barry) [New Beverly]
THE SECRET INVASION (Hugo Friedhofer), DARBY'S RANGERS (Max Steiner) [New Beverly]

July 11
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (Miklos Rozsa), BALL OF FIRE (Alfred Newman) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
JAWS (John Williams) [Laemmle NoHo]
THE SECRET INVASION (Hugo Friedhofer), DARBY'S RANGERS (Max Steiner) [New Beverly]

July 12
CAT BALLOU (Frank DeVol), THE CHASE (John Barry) [New Beverly]
DJANGO UNCHAINED [New Beverly]
DON'T PANIC (Jon Michael Bischof, Pedro Plascencia) [UCLA]
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (Brad Fiedel) [Nuart]
THE UNTAMEABLE [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
VERTIGO (Bernard Herrmann) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

July 13
THE BAD SLEEP WELL (Masaru Sato) [Vista]
BARBARELLA (Charles Fox, Bob Crewe) [New Beverly]
CAT BALLOU (Frank DeVol), THE CHASE (John Barry) [New Beverly]
GIDGET (Morris Stoloff) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
GIDGET GOES HAWAIIAN (George Duning), PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE (Joseph J. Lilley) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (Ennio Morricone) [Vista]
HERBIE RIDES AGAIN (George Bruns) [New Beverly]

July 14
CHINATOWN (Jerry Goldsmith), THE TWO JAKES (Van Dyke Parks) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (Riichiro Manabe) [Vista]
GREMLINS (Jerry Goldsmith) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
GUNMAN'S WALK (George Duning), THEY CAME TO CORDURA (Elie Siegmeister) [New Beverly]
HERBIE RIDES AGAIN (George Bruns) [New Beverly]
MIRACLE MILE (Tangerine Dream) [UCLA]

THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY

Heard: Captain America: Civil War (Jackman), The Incredibles (Giacchino), Lisa (Yared)

Read: Trust, by George V. Higgins

Seen: Krakatoa, East of Java, The Boston Strangler, Shaft [2019], Bullitt, Pendulum, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Toy Story 4, Annabelle Comes Home, The Reivers, The Sterile Cuckoo, 3 in the Attic

Watched: Kolchak: The Night Stalker ("The Werewolf"), Star Trek ("Shore Leave"), La Femme Nikita ("Innocent"), Star Trek: Discovery ("Battle at the Binary Stars"), Law & Order ("Happily Ever After")

Watching Damian Lewis on Band of Brothers and Homeland, I'd noticed something of a facial resemblance to Steve McQueen, so I was happy to read that Lewis had been cast as McQueen in Quentin Tarantino's imminent 1969-set Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood. I had the welcome opportunity to see McQueen in two very different roles from that era last week, with the New Beverly's screenings of Bullitt and The Reivers.

Bullitt has become my favorite McQueen film, and I enjoyed it more than ever on this last viewing. Having grown up in the Bay Area helps -- it's a wonderful visual time capsule of late '60s San Francisco -- and along with one of the coolest scores ever written (courtesy of Lalo Schifrin), there are a lot of nicely subtle storytelling choices. It's one of the few (or possibly only) films I can think of which had one character and their "lookalike" actually played by two different but similar looking actors, and unlike so many modern films where the plot is overexplained so even the most inattentive moviegoer can understand, the solution to Bullitt's mystery is told only once and so underemphasized that a distracted viewer might actually miss it.

The Reivers, released the year after Bullitt, played as a "kiddee matinee" (though in this case the audience was more than 90 percent adults), and it was fascinating to see what could be featured in a "family film" in 1969 -- children skinny-dipping, period-appropriate use of the N-word, lengthy scenes in a brothel, and a female lead/prostitute character who sleeps with a sleazy Southern sheriff (Clifton James, four years before he played a less sinister version of the archetype in two James Bond films) to bail her friends out of jail. Given that McQueen is best remembered for taciturn characters like Frank Bullitt, it was a treat to see him play a warm, boisterous character like The Reivers' Boon Hogganbeck.

But of course, the star attraction is John Williams' score, arguably the first that showed the movie industry what he was really capable of (earning him his first Original Score nomination, following a nomination for his Valley of the Dolls adaptation). In the context of the film, I found Williams' score to be a little big at times, but musically it's spectacular, and an utter joy as a listening experience. Schifrin was the original composer for the project -- he'd earned an Oscar nomination for director Mark Rydell's previous film, The Fox -- and I wonder if his score was more sedate, in the Cool Hand Luke vein.

Williams' work on The Reivers is one of those career turning points that may have helped change the path of film music history -- it led to Rydell hiring him for The Cowboys, and those scores were reportedly what inspired Spielberg to hire him for The Sugarland Express, as he wanted something in the Copland/Americana vein until Williams convinced him Sugarland needed a more low-key musical approach. And of course, Sugarland led to Jaws, which led to Star Wars.

Williams' extraordinary gifts as a composer and a dramatist, as well as his Hollywood savvy, insured that his rise to the A-list was inevitable, but it's intriguing to ponder whether he would have attained such unparalleled creative and commercial success without these key stepping stones.

While finishing last week's column, a paragraph was lost when I forgot to save a draft in a timely fashion. In writing about Sweet Charity, I intended to mention that it was only while watching the film again that I realized something dumb but obvious about Broadway musicals. Several years ago, I bought the cast album to A Time for Singing, the short-lived Broadway musical adaptation of How Green Was My Valley (music by John Morris!), and I wondered why the show's creators settled on such a generic, forgettable title rather than simply calling the show How Green Was My Valley, especially as there is a song with that title in the score.

During Sweet Charity (the Americanized musical version of Fellini's Nights of Cabiria), it struck me that, until the 1980s, virtually every Broadway musical based on a well-known source used a different title -- the blockbuster shows had titles like My Fair Lady, Mame and Hello, Dolly, not Pygmalion, Auntie Mame and The Matchmaker. Of course now, every "un-original" musical retains the title of its source for obvious commercial reasons, and sometimes you end up with embarrassing official titles such as "The Producers, the new Mel Brooks musical" and "The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein."

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BULLITT is a notoriously confusing film and I can't agree that its cavalier attitude to crucial plot points is admirable.

A couple of years ago I saw a throwaway film (THEIR FINEST) and in a moment of clarity I suddenly realized that in scene after scene I wasn't a hundred percent sure what had just happened. What that meant, why they were acting that way, if that character was really killed. And this wasn't my fault for being inattentive ... it was the fault of the filmmakers for failing to make a film that was completely lucid.

Nevertheless you won't find any reviewer complaining about the incoherence of THEIR FINEST. The confusion is on a micro-level -- microconfusion -- and thus tends to leave viewers blaming their own comprehension skills, attention levels, or even general lack of intelligence. Indeed, I'm convinced that some filmmakers purposely obfuscate and confuse to make their films seem more complex than they really are.

Which brings me to Christopher Nolan, a filmmaker who positively revels in microconfusion. And if you don 't believe me, I challenge you to watch INTERSTELLAR or DUNKIRK and explain everything scene by scene. Why they did that. What that guy just mumbled. What time zone we're in now. How that makes sense.

Microconfusion. Don't fall for it.

You just described David Lynch's entire career. :o


Which brings me to Christopher Nolan, a filmmaker who positively revels in microconfusion. And if you don 't believe me, I challenge you to watch INTERSTELLAR or DUNKIRK and explain everything scene by scene. Why they did that. What that guy just mumbled. What time zone we're in now. How that makes sense.


Agreed. Nolan sets-up interesting ideas (and has an impressive visual style), but most of his films don't hold up to scrutiny.

The Prestige really had me engaged, until copping-out by introducing a preposterous "duplicating machine" (and the highly unlikely notion that Hugh Jackman would commit suicide just to one-up Christian Bale).

Inception is kind of a fun kids' movie, but none of it makes sense (like the silly notion that someone would be subject to zero-g in a dream, simply because he is dreaming in a car that is falling -- in a dream). I guess the loud, frenetic "shoot 'em up" at the climax is cool to Assassin's Creed players (but not to me).

Interstellar has a lot of things going for it, but really, those astronauts didn't notice the massive tidal waves from the air, before landing? And the water level where they land is (initially) conveniently shallow enough for them to comfortably wade in? And the G-forces of a black hole don't crush McConaughey into a singularity -- but instead conveniently deliver him to his daughter's bookcase?

Memento feels like (and very possibly is) a movie in which the budget ran-out before the entire script was shot, and they tried to save it in the editing (plus, anyone suffering that severity of memory loss would certainly be institutionalized).

Dunkirk has no dramatic arc, and plays like a "work in progress" -- a rough assembly of footage which has been shot so far, with most of the scenes of character interaction as-yet un-filmed. Plus I was surprised to learn that a Spitfire could fly that long (and even engage in aerial combat maneuvers) with no fuel. Amazing!

His best film is still Batman Begins.

One of the most mystifying things about Christopher Nolan's pictures is the flip-flopping between screen formats. Some people are annoyed by it, some are completely indifferent, and most don't even notice it. One of the silliest stylistic fads of recent times.

One of the most mystifying things about Christopher Nolan's pictures is the flip-flopping between screen formats. Some people are annoyed by it, some are completely indifferent, and most don't even notice it. One of the silliest stylistic fads of recent times.

I think the formats only flipflop in the IMAX versions (and likely on home video). I've seen Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar and Dunkirk all in multiple theatrical formats, and I believe the aspect ratio only changes in the IMAX versions (since all four films are a mixture of full screen IMAX and traditional widescreen, Dunkirk having the most IMAX).

Unusual and shifting aspect ratios are a quasi-hip trend these days. Xavier Dolan has done it in at least two movies.

(This is the only time I will ever compare my beloved Christopher Nolan with Xavier Dolan. Well, that and their similar last names).

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