La-La Land has announced a historic upcoming CD release -- the original score tracks from one of the most important and influential film scores of all time, Franz Waxman's groundbreaking BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. It will first go on sale at a screening of the film on October 13 at the Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival in Tarrytown, NY, which will include a Q&A featuring the composer's son, John Waxman, and soundtrack producer/restorer Mike Matessino. The disc will be available from the label's website at a later date.
This week the label has two new releases -- an expanded, two-disc release of Danny Elfman's thrilling score for Brian DePalma's 1996 franchise-starter MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, featuring the original soundtrack release sequencing on Disc One and the score as heard in the film on Disc Two (plus alternates); and Harry Manfredini's score for what is arguably the best of the Jason Voorhees franchise, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES (featuring the same cues as on the label's Friday the 13th boxed set).
The latest re-recording from Tadlow, due in late October, features the complete scores for two groundbreaking horror films from England's Hammer Film Productions, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and HORROR OF DRACULA, with Nic Raine conducting the music of Oscar winner* James Bernard.
*(yes, I know, Bernard won his Oscar for co-writing the story to Seven Days to Noon, not for his music. Still, that's one more Oscar than you or I have, bub).
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Across the Stars - John Williams - Deutsch Grammophon
Elcano & Magallanes: La Primera Vuelta Al Mundo - Joseba Beristain - Quartet
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives - Harry Manfredini - La-La Land
Mission: Impossible - Danny Elfman - La-La Land
Remember Me - Pascal Gaigne - Quartet
IN THEATERS TODAY
Another Day of Life - Mikel Salas
Can You Keep a Secret? - Jeff Cardoni
Chained for Life - C. Spencer Yeh
Depraved - Will Bates
Empathy, Inc. - Omri Anghel
Freaks - Tim Wynn
The Goldfinch - Trevor Gureckis - Score CD-R on WaterTower
Haunt - tomandandy
Hustlers - Music Supervisor: Jason Markey
Monos - Mica Levi - Score CD due Sept. 27 on Lakeshore
Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins - Ethan Gruska
Scarborough - Daniel Pemberton
The Sound of Silence - Will Bates
3 Days with Dad - John Ballinger
The Weekend - Robi Botos
Downton Abbey [the movie] - John Lunn - Decca
Samurai Marathon - Philip Glass - Orange Mountain
Monos - Mica Levi - Lakeshore
Stranger Things 3 - Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein - Lakeshore
Solis - David Stone Hamilton - Perseverance
Dracula/The Curse of Frankenstein [re-recordings] - James Bernard - Tadlow
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Marco Beltrami, Anna Drubich - eOne
Bride of Frankenstein - Franz Waxman - La-La Land
Deep Water - Toydrum - Silva
Henry King at Fox - Alfred Newman - Kritzerland
The John Morgan Collection vol. 1 - John Morgan - Dragon's Domain
Lavender Braid - Eugene - Kronos
Les B.O. Introuvables vol. 2 - Jean Bouchety, Christian Chevalier, Jean Morlier, Pierre Porte, Didier Vasseur, Roland Vincent - Music Box
Metralleta Stein - Luis Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani, Mario Molino, Daniele Patucchi, Dusan Radici, Carlo Rustichelli - CSC
Quando La Coppia Scoppia - Piero Umiliani - Beat
Rory's Way - Frank Ilfman - Kronos
Rwanda - Davide Caprelli - Kronos
Second Spring - Stelvio Cipriani - Kronos
Tutti Possono Arricchire Tranni I Povere - Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi, Vince Tempera - Beat
UFO - Barry Gray - Silva
What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Dennis McCarthy, Kevin Kiner - Dragon's Domain
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
September 13 - Leith Stevens born (1909)
September 13 - Maurice Jarre born (1924)
September 13 - Gene Page born (1939)
September 13 - Harvey R. Cohen born (1951)
September 13 - Don Was was born (1952)
September 13 - David Mansfield born (1956)
September 13 - Franz Waxman
begins recording his score to Beloved Infidel
September 13 - Bernard Herrmann records his score for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode "A Home Away from Home" (1963)
September 13 - Evan Evans born (1975)
September 13 - James Guymon born (1977)
September 13 - Billy Goldenberg wins his fourth Emmy, for Rage of Angels; Bruce Broughton wins his second Emmy, for the Dallas episode “The Ewing Blues” (1983)
September 13 - Dennis McCarthy
records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager
episode “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy” (1999)
September 13 - Bruce Broughton
wins his seventh Emmy, for Eloise at the Plaza
; Sean Callery
wins for the 24
episode “10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.”; Jeff Beal
wins his first Emmy, for Monk
’s main title theme (2003)
September 13 - Jeff Beal
wins his third Emmy, for part 1 of The Company
; Jim Dooley
wins for the Pushing Daisies
episode “Pigeon;” Russ Landau
wins for Pirate Master
’s main title theme (2008)
September 14 - Franz Waxman begins recording his score to Cimarron (1960)
September 14 - John Williams records his score for the Lost in Space episode "Island in the Sky" (1965)
September 14 - Sol Kaplan
's score to the Star Trek
episode "The Enemy Within" is recorded (1966)
September 14 - Gerald Fried records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Odds on Evil” (1966)
September 14 - Recording sessions begin for Danny Elfman’s score for Scrooged (1988)
September 14 - Laurence Rosenthal wins his seventh Emmy, for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode “Travels with Father;” John Debney and Louis Febre win for the pilot episode to The Cape; Mark Isham wins for his main title theme to EZ Streets (1997)
September 14 - George Fenton
wins his first Emmy, for the Blue Planet
episode “Seas of Life: Ocean World;” Adrian Johnston
wins for Shackleton Part II
; Thomas Newman
wins for the Six Feet Under
main title theme (2002)
September 15 - Gail Kubik born (1914)
September 15 - Shinichiro Ikebe born (1943)
September 15 - Recording sessions begin for Bronsislau Kaper
's score for The Naked Spur
September 15 - Oliver Wallace died (1963)
September 15 - Sol Kaplan begins recording his score for The Spy Who Came in from The Cold (1965)
September 15 - Jerry Fielding
begins recording his score for The Black Bird
September 15 - Bruce Montgomery died (1978)
September 15 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Evolution" (1989)
September 15 - Don Davis wins his first Emmy, for the Beauty and the Beast episode score “A Time to Kill; James Di Pasquale wins for the TV movie The Shell Seekers (1990)
September 15 - Aldemaro Romero died (2007)
September 15 - Javier Navarrete
wins the Emmy for Hemingway & Gellhorn
; John Lunn
wins for episode 6 of Downton Abbey; Paul Englishby
wins for Page Eight
’s main title theme (2012)
September 15 - Bear McCreary wins his first Emmy, for Da Vinci’s Demons’ main title theme; John Lunn wins for episode 3.6 of Downton Abbey; Mychael Danna wins for the World Without End episode “Medieval Life and Death” (2013)
September 16 - J. Peter Robinson born (1945)
September 16 - Lyn Murray records his score for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Triumph” (1964)
September 16 - Robert Drasnin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “My Friend, My Enemy” (1970)
September 16 - Bruce Broughton wins his third and fourth Emmys, for The First Olympics: Athens 1896 and for the Dallas episode score “The Letter” (1984)
September 16 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Circle” (1993)
September 16 - Jay Chattaway
records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise
episode “Storm Front, Part 1” (2004)
September 17 - Franz Grothe born (1908)
September 17 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1968)
September 17 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “The Contender” (1968)
September 17 - Billy Goldenberg wins the Emmy for his King score; Jimmie Haskell wins for See How She Runs (1978)
September 17 - John Barry begins recording his score for The Black Hole (1979)
September 17 - Stephen Barton born (1982)
September 17 - Basil Poledouris
wins his only Emmy, for Lonesome Dove Part 4: The Return
; Joel Rosenbaum
wins his second Emmy, for the Falcon Crest
episode score “Dust to Dust”; Lee Holdridge
wins his second Emmy, for Beauty and the Beast
’s original song “The First Time I Loved Forever” (1989)
September 17 - James Horner begins recording his score for Extreme Close-Up (1990)
September 17 - Georges Delerue
begins recording his score for American Friends
September 17 - Jay Chattaway
records his score for the Enterprise
episode “Carbon Creek” (2002)
September 17 - Joel Hirschhorn died (2005)
September 18 - Dee Barton born (1937)
September 18 - Vince Tempera born (1946)
September 18 - Dimitri Tiomkin
begins recording his score for Wild Is the Wind
September 18 - John Powell born (1963)
September 18 - Robert Drasnin records his first Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “The Slave” (1967)
September 18 - Jack Pleis records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Samurai” (1967)
September 18 - Alva Noto born (1969)
September 18 - Leonard Rosenman begins recording his score for Hide in Plain Sight (1979)
September 18 - Thomas Newman records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Santa '85" (1985)
September 18 - Fred Steiner records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Life on Death Row" (1986)
September 18 - Herbert Spencer died (1992)
September 18 - Arthur B. Rubinstein
begins recording his score for Nick of Time
September 19 - Arthur Benjamin born (1893)
September 19 - Paul Williams born (1940)
September 19 - Vladimir Horunzhy born (1949)
September 19 - Daniel Lanois born (1951)
September 19 - Nile Rodgers born (1952)
September 19 - Johann Johannsson born (1969)
September 19 - Johnny Harris begins recording his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Planet of the Slave Girls” (1979)
September 19 - Joel McNeely
wins the Emmy for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
episode “Young Indiana Jones and the Scandal of 1920;” Patrick Williams
wins his third Emmy, for Danielle Steel’s Jewels
; Dennis McCarthy
wins for his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
main title theme (1993)
September 19 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Search - Part 1” (1994)
September 19 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Powder (1995)
September 19 - Willie Hutch died (2005)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
ADAM - Jay Wadley
"'Adam' has a pleasingly goofy, sweet, modest tenor amplified by Jay Wadley’s dweeby lo-fi alt-rock score. Ernst doesn’t go for any big stylistic gestures (apart from a first-date scene amid a spacey art installation), keeping the film grounded in a sort of subtly refined mumblecore aesthetic apt for characters who inhabit a sexual-politics frontier on one hand, but on the other also seem barely aware there’s a lot more to Manhattan than their incestuous little niche. There are some sexual expressions that are mostly played for comedy but are still outré and explicit enough to surprise us almost as much as they do Adam, whose naif POV dominates."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Those latter qualities are chief among the strengths of this sweetly subversive movie, which represents a step forward in representation simply via the fact that it's directed by a trans filmmaker and features trans actors in the appropriate roles. The pacing slackens a bit in the midsection as Adam shuffles between immersive art happenings, sex parties and karaoke bars in scenes that don't always have as much bite or humor as they could. But the cast is appealing; the visuals are crisp and colorful, with a textured feel for the Brooklyn milieu; and the blasts of Jay Wadley's post-punk score along with synth tracks by trans musician Beverly Glenn-Copland provide welcome off-kilter energy."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"Designed to depict harshness with animated humanity, Simó’s artful frames are coated in composer Arturo Cardelús’ timeless melodies. His near-celestial music invokes Yann Tiersen and Alexandre Desplat with the addition of a divine choir. One of the most unforgettable scores to accompany a release of any kind this year, Cardelús’ notes are at their most efficacious in nostalgia-filled remembrances, like when young Buñuel receives a Magic Lantern projector and showcases his innate narrative inclinations. A faint smile from dad is like a drop of water for the love-thirsty boy."
Carlos Aguilar, The Wrap
"The striking and distinctive animation in 'Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles' -- comparable to the unrefined style of Revolution Software’s 'Broken Sword' video game franchise -- is peppered with snippets from the original documentary. This is a bold creative choice, which might easily have been irritating and distracting. Oddly though, it works, offering a compelling juxtaposition between two very different worlds -- one multi-colored, yet muted, and the other monochrome -- tied neatly together by Arturo Cardelús’ gorgeous, rich score."
Steven Allison, The Playlist
"If you’re thinking this is a lot of artistic philosophy for one animated film, you’re not wrong, but director Salvador Simó has a light touch that mingles surrealism with history lesson. He regularly returns to dreamscapes that Buñuel would admire, very rarely in a way that underlines the internal struggles of the filmmaker at the time but that highlight how his visions co-existed with his reality. At its best, 'Buñuel and the Labyrinth of the Turtles' is as caught between dream and reality as the film that Buñuel made in the mountains of Spain. Assisted by a gorgeous score by Arturo Cardelús, it is a film that flows back and forth between animated vision and a more traditional story of process and filmmaking. Buñuel’s lottery-winning producer butts heads with the filmmaker and their relationship dominates the final minutes of the film in ways that I didn’t expect and I’m not sure completely works, but it does remind one of the legacy of a man who would soon become a victim of the Spanish Civil War."
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
"What is clear to anyone who watches 'Las Hurdes' is that Buñuel was not attempting to make a straightforward documentary but one designed to shock, using the rough format of exotic travelogues to expose a situation far closer to home: There, in the impoverished community (whose maze of crudely shingled shacks gives the film its title), Buñuel found people living in almost medieval conditions, suffering from malnutrition, lack of hygiene, and severe inbreeding -- all of which touch a different, more heart-rending nerve when accompanied by composer Arturo Cardelús’ stunning score."
Peter Debruge, Variety
THE DARK TOWER - Tom Holkenborg
"The contrast between Bunuel’s shaping of the truth (he sees 'Bread' as a heightened attack on Francoist policy) and Acin’s belief that it should be recorded without frills form the dramatic backbone, as, with Bunuel’s behavior growing ever wilder and more provocative, the two friends become estranged. Perhaps 'Bunuel''s most touching moments, and there are several, come after the credits, in regard to the tragic real-life fate of Acin. They are aided by the lilting crescendos of Arturo Cardelus’ piano-based score, which, delightful though it is (it took best score at the recent Malaga festival), tends towards the lachrymose."
Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter
BURN - Ceiri Torjussen
"The film is nicely turned in all tech/design departments, with solid supporting performances and a decent score by Ceiri Torjussen that does provide some of the tonal glue otherwise lacking. But it never quite ignites, even when (as the title duly portends) the setting literally does. It’s ultimately a stalemate between neo-noir, indie character quirkiness and macabre psycho-chiller. Sooner or later, a movie has to show its hand -- but 'Burn' seems to be deciding which cards to play when the final credits roll."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"From the first scene, when we see a group of children being creepily herded to their psychic laser beam-launchers with absolutely no context, 'The Dark Tower' has a rushed, middle-of-the-battle feel that it never fully loses. But that’s not really a bad thing. In fact, that’s partly what makes the film so much fun. It foregoes lengthy exposition and backstories, and while that makes for a disjointed narrative structure, it allows for a fast-paced story told mainly through scares and monsters and plenty of gunfights and Idris Elba asking Jake if the animals in his world still speak. (It also gets an assist from a tonally perfect score from Tom Holkenborg.) There’s a basic, wondrous glee in 'The Dark Tower' that makes it feel more like a Stephen King film than any other Stephen King film since 'Stand By Me.'"
Aja Romano, Vox
GOOD TIME - Oneohtrix Point Never [aka Daniel Lopatin]
"Connie’s reckless, driven energy finds its equivalent in Sean Price Williams’ mobile yet steady-handed cinematography, which creates ever-shifting frames in which these permanently off-balance characters bounce and collide. The electronic score, by Oneohtrix Point Never, is both unusually omnipresent and unusually avant-garde–sounding for a movie of such otherwise naturalistic style. This counterpoint between music and image is mostly effective though a few moments -- like a car pulling up to a White Castle to the sound of anxious, discordant plinks and booms -- strike an overly self-conscious and needlessly manipulative note. (The visual equivalent to this moment is a scene at the amusement park that takes place in black light. The closed-down erotic-themed haunted house was creepy enough, guys.)"
Dana Stevens, Slate.com
"The directors and their cinematographer Sean Price Williams never met a neon tube they didn’t love, and they light up Pattinson in every shade of pink, blue, and black light, and TV-static glow. Under orange street lights and in vacant amusement parks, the film’s vivid nighttime bleeds luridly across the screen, amplifying the hallucinatory quality of events that feel like they could tip over into the fantastical at any moment. It’s perfectly matched with the score provided by Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin, which nods to Tangerine Dream–style VHS thriller soundtracks of yore while going someplace far more inventive and expressive than most current imitators. Lopatin’s anxious squiggles of melodies and sonic assaults give us as good a sense as any of what it feels like inside Connie’s head."
Emily Yoshida, Vulture
"'Good Time' sees the Safdies reunite with cinematographer Sean Price Williams, who is shooting on 35mm for the first time. But where the constraints of film might hamper the expressiveness of a lesser digital DP, here Williams’ richly textured, up-close aesthetic is further liberated. The film is both viscerally spontaneous and entirely beautiful, with the night-time neons and low-lit interiors of various run-down Queens neighborhoods giving the glancing, choppy, fleet-footed chase narrative both grace and grit. Those qualities are then magnified by a terrific electro score from Oneohtrix Point Never (aka experimental musician Daniel Lopatin) which is by turns woozy, pulsating, and pounding. All of which reflects the altered-state, accelerating vibe as the night gets longer, the tale gets shaggier, and the bottle blonde Connie has nothing left in the tank but fumes, sour adrenaline, and bad luck."
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"Needless to say, that doesn’t go as planned, either. The ensuing misadventure finds Pattinson on the lam, hiding out in multiple households, joining forces with unlikely criminals, chasing buried treasure, and stealing a Sprite bottle of acid. The Safdies enhance the sheer lunacy of the plot with the unnerving tension of Connie’s messy journey around town, while the throbbing score by Daniel Lopatin ('The Bling Ring') ensures the breathless pace never slows down."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"Working again with the great cinematographer Sean Price Williams (who shot the Safdies’ 'Heaven Knows What,' Alex Ross Perry’s 'Queen of Earth,' and others), the Safdies give 'Good Time' a claustrophobic energy that’s hard to fully convey in a review. It’s accomplished through intense close-ups and a style that could be called jittery but never calls too much attention to itself. It’s a visual language designed to enhance the enhance the mood of its leading man without distracting from it, and it works remarkably with an assist by a pulsing score from Daniel Lopatin."
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
"But events continue to trend toward madness, senses heightened by every element of 'Good Time''s production. The score by the brilliant electronic composer Oneohtrix Point Never is a severe and assaultive series of notional crescendos, shifting from careening pop riffs to horrifying ambient clatter. Cinematographer Sean Price Williams’s nocturnal photography is a fantasia of available light: storefront neon signs and police sirens tint Connie’s face and fill in the bags under his eyes; when he and Chrystal pull up to a White Castle with the petty hood Ray (Safdies discovery and repertory player Buddy Duress), the façade radiates like the Graceland Chapel. In a film that spends so much time scrutinizing faces for elusive signs of hesitance or regret, establishing shots (a helicopter’s view of a drive from Queens to a Long Island, an amusement park full of black-lit skeletons and death-obsessed imagery) mythologize the scope of Connie’s odyssey while retaining a Cassavetes-like feel for raw emotions that tend to spiral into lies and chaos."
Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine
"Once the bank job goes south, the film stays on the move, running, punching, tumbling and stumbling over 24 hours as the fallout drags us through streets, vehicles, homes, jail, a hospital, a theme park and more. Racing through the gutter of the city, it's all shot in a scuzzy, real-world style, although the cinematography (by Sean Price Williams) also runs with a theme of neon and scarlet. Bathing some scenes in brothel-red isn’t the only thing here that nods to early Martin Scorsese -- check out Pattinson walking down the street hunched like Robert De Niro in 'Taxi Driver,' for one. The movie also boasts a terrific, throbbing electronic score by Daniel Lopatin, a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never."
Dave Calhoun, Time Out New York
"This might sound like uncharted territory for the Safdie brothers, who specialize in proudly janky, digressive New York character pieces. But just as their breakthrough, 'Heaven Knows What,' was a freshly idiosyncratic spin on the addiction drama, 'Good Time' funnels a crackerjack genre scenario through the peculiar particulars of their style: the shaggy storytelling, the affection for twitchy misfits from NYC‘s underbelly, the alternately seductive and oppressive blare of an electronic score (in this case, by Oneohtrix Point Never, whose hypnotic, feverish tango of synths and guitar supply the movie a retro Tangerine Dream vibe). Part of the good fun of 'Good Time' is how it marries a bootleg Michael Mann urgency to an older, grungier species of NYC movie. (From the fleabag backdrops to the fringe-dwelling characters, a Safdies production never gives us a romantic or upscale New York.) But there’s also the thrilling unpredictability -- the way the plot keeps zigging when you expect it to zag."
A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club
"Filmed by Sean Price Williams with an intense abundance of close-ups, 'Good Time' emphasizes personal distress over the details of the crimes. Even if it’s not always clear exactly what is occurring in a scene, we always know how the characters are responding. An insistent synth score by Oneohtrix Point Never (aka Daniel Lopatin) also heightens the movie’s emotional tone. (Iggy Pop also croons a song over the film’s closing credits.) The film’s visual scheme and the soundtrack often fill in for what these clueless characters cannot convey. 'Good Time' demonstrates an admirable daring in its technique and willingness to go against the grain, but its payoff isn’t equal to its challenges."
Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
"The onscreen brothers may execute their job in careless haste, but the Safdies thrust us into the heist’s reckless, twisty fallout with glistening pop vigor, occasionally saturating the screen in electric waves of magenta and turquoise, while experimental musician Oneohtrix Point Never’s furious electro-rock score settles sharply between the temples. (It works in brilliant tandem with the film’s throbbing-to-buzzing sound design, for which the younger Safdie can take yet more multi-hyphenate credit.) After an escape attempt that lands Nick back in the grasp of the authorities, Connie’s equally botched mission to retrieve him plays as a kind of waking nightmare, enlivened equally by these surreal formal flourishes and ragged details of everyday humanity."
Guy Lodge, Variety
"If the Safdie Brothers' last feature, 'Heaven Knows What,' evoked 'The Panic in Needle Park' with its cinema verite observation of the New York City heroin subculture, their impressive follow-up, 'Good Time,' sees them continuing to draw inspiration from the gritty American movies of the 1970s, albeit with their own distinctive street edge. Led by Robert Pattinson, giving arguably his most commanding performance to date as a desperate bank robber cut from the same cloth as Al Pacino's Sonny Wortzik in 'Dog Day Afternoon,' this is a richly textured genre piece that packs a visceral charge in its restless widescreen visuals and adrenalizing music, which recalls the great mood-shaping movie scores of Tangerine Dream. 'Good Tim'e looks terrific, bringing a scrappy sheen to the Safdies' native borough. But more essential to its tight clench is the knockout underscoring, an almost nonstop blitz of intoxicating electronica from Brooklyn-based experimental composer Daniel Lopatin, who records as Oneohtrix Point Never. Lopatin also collaborated with Iggy Pop on an original closing-credits song, aptly titled 'The Pure and the Damned.' Throughout, the prog-rock synth sounds conjure echoes of the vintage films of William Friedkin, Michael Mann and perhaps a hint of 'Assault on Precinct 13' John Carpenter, and yet the sonic carpeting never feels derivative."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
JAY MYSELF - Joel Goodman
JAWLINE - Palmbomen II
"Additionally, a beautifully watery, dreamlike score from Netherlands-based musician Palmbomen II adds extra dimension to this often seemingly unreal adolescent-driven universe of wannabes and the people who will help them make it happen, for a price. Even as it ends on a question mark regarding Austyn’s future as an online celebrity, Mandelup’s film offers a tender yet surprisingly thorough look at this one kid and at an entire ecosystem that, again, it’s easy to dismiss or criticize."
Todd Gilchrist, The Wrap
"A key part to the hoarding of all this stuff is about perspective -- Maisel likes to study something junky and see something anew; he speaks often about the difference between looking and seeing, and how color and light are changing qualities. There’s no grand scheme behind his collection -- sometimes he takes pictures of his knickknacks -- but mostly its just storage that he picks up and re-conceptualizes, while director Stephen Wilkes films him musing about it, accompanying the object with dreamy close-ups and a ponderous score. It’s all part of a tribute that Wilkes has ultimately constructed for Maisel and his work, but it’s just too whimsical of a narrative foundation."
Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
KIDNAP - Federico Jusid
"Neither the score by Federico Jusid nor the acting of Chris McGinn and Lew Temple as the kidnappers contain an ounce of subtlety, but both the music and those villainous performances are completely effective. These are ham-fisted proceedings, but it’s very tasty ham."
Federico Jusid, The Wrap
"Frankie’s kidnappers turn out to be nothing but two caricatures of vaguely meth-y swamp people, and that’s it -- I’d say spoiler alert, but there’s nothing to spoil here: no dramatic irony, no big reveal as to what the crime was was really about. Karla’s vigilante instinct is what supposedly makes her worthy of a movie ('What a brave woman!' a news anchor can be heard saying in the film’s closing moments, in case we had fallen asleep), but there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, done with more style and wit. The score, by Federico Jusid, is so treacly and pedestrian I almost had respect for its outright refusal to be creative, and the same goes for the rest of the film. 'Kidnap' reaches its conclusion without us finding out if Karla gets to keep partial custody of Frankie, as if acknowledging that none of us really cared about those obligatory stakes in the first place. This is true filler cinema, with no reason to exist other than to pass time in the doldrums of summer."
Emily Yoshida, Vulture
"Although it over-indulges in flashbacks to Xin’s emotion-charged memories of Piao, and it’s a little too easy for Ying Zheng to pull off a daring raid at his palace, 'Kingdom' bounces along with high energy and nice sprinklings of dry humor for the vast majority of its lengthy running time. Largely shot on lavish sets at Xiangshan Film and Television Town in China, with some gorgeous exteriors filmed in regional Kyushu and near Mt. Fuji, 'Kingdom' is lovely to look at in widescreen and is very well served by Yutaka Yamada’s ('Tokyo Ghoul' TV series) lush orchestral score. All other technical aspects are tip-top."
Richard Kuipers, Variety
LOW LOW - Heavy Young Heathens
"Richey conjures a snappy, deeply affecting energy through his collaboration with editors Jay Diaz and John Quinn. Their work combines with Heavy Young Heathens’ spry, stirring score, Pascal Combes-Knoke’s cinematography (which gives the calamity a radiating glow) and the actresses’ acumen to build a palpable feeling of comraderie. From the pep talk Cherry delivers to Ryan, in which the camera observes her hard outer shell being stripped away before our eyes, to the final scene involving Sylvia’s raw, honest and hopeful advice to her daughter, Richey’s instincts for when to linger on his performers and when to cut away for a reaction prove impeccable."
Courtney Howard, Variety
THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.
Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPAS, Alamo Drafthouse, American Cinematheque: Aero, American Cinematheque: Egyptian, Arclight, Arena Cinelounge, Laemmle, New Beverly, Nuart, UCLA and Vista.
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Stephen Trask) [Nuart]
MILLENNIUM ACTRESS (Susumu Hirasawa), PERFECT BLUE (Masahiro Ikumi) [Cinematheque: Aero]
MURIEL'S WEDDING (Peter Best) [AMPAS]
THE MASTER (Jonny Greenwood) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MILLER'S CROSSING (Carter Burwell) [Vista]
PULP FICTION [New Beverly]
REDLINE (James Shimoji), GHOST IN THE SHELL (Kenji Kawai) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Richard Rodgers, Irwin Kostal) [New Beverly]
TOP HAT (Irving Berlin, Max Steiner) [Vista]
THE GODFATHER (Nino Rota), THE GODFATHER: PART II (Nino Rota, Carmine Coppola) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (Michio Mamiya), ONLY YESTERDAY (Katsu Hoshi) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE LOST BOYS (Thomas Newman) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE SON-OF-A-GUN [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Richard Rodgers, Irwin Kostal) [New Beverly]
YOJIMBO (Masaru Sato) [Vista]
FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (Joe Walsh) [New Beverly]
THE LOST BOYS (Thomas Newman) [Alamo Drafthouse]
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY [Arclight Hollywood]
CATHY'S CURSE (Didier Vasseur) [Alamo Drafthouse]
DESPERATE LIVING (Chris Lobinger) [Alamo Drafthouse]
HOLIDAY (Morris Stoloff) [Cinematheque: Aero]
JAWS (John Williams) [Arclight Hollywood]
BELLE EPOQUE (Antoine Duhamel) [Laemmle Royal]
KITTEN WITH A WHIP (Joseph Gershenson) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE NARROW MARGIN [New Beverly]
PUTNEY SWOPE (Charley Cuva) [Alamo Drafthouse]
PUTNEY SWOPE (Charley Cuva) [Cinematheque: Aero]
ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (Alberto Iglesias) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (Malcolm Arnold) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
2010 (David Shire) [Cinematheque: Aero]
A DIRTY SHAME (George S. Clinton) [Nuart]
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Alan Menken, Miles Goodman) [Vista]
THE MAN WHO LAUGHS [Arena CineLounge]
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (Richard Robbins) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SHE SHOULDA SAID 'NO!' (Raoul Kraushaar), NARCOTIC, MARIJUANA: WEED WITH ROOTS IN HELL [UCLA]
THE BAND WAGON (Arthur Schwartz, Adolph Deutsch) [Vista]
DAYS OF HEAVEN (Ennio Morricone) [Vista]
HEY THERE, IT'S YOGI BEAR (Marty Paich) [New Beverly]
MOM AND DAD, TEST TUBE BABIES [UCLA]
JACKIE BROWN [New Beverly]
THE MAN WHO LAUGHS [Arena CineLounge]
REBECCA (Franz Waxman), THE FALLEN IDOL (William Alwyn) [Cinematheque: Aero]
CHILD BRIDE, SEX MADNESS [UCLA]
FIRST BLOOD (Jerry Goldsmith), RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II (Jerry Goldsmith), RAMBO III (Jerry Goldsmith), RAMBO (Brian Tyler) [Alamo Drafthouse]
GRAND PRIX (Maurice Jarre) [Arclight Hollywood]
HEY THERE, IT'S YOGI BEAR (Marty Paich) [New Beverly]
RUGGLES OF RED GAP, BY CANDLELIGHT (W. Franke Harling) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SANJURO (Masaru Sato) [Vista]
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (Thomas Newman) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (Beltrami/Sanders), Hollywood Swing & Jazz (various), Agnes of God (Delerue), Questa Specie d'Amore (Morricone), Papillon (Goldsmith), The Jerry Goldsmith Songbook (Goldsmith), Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey vol. 1 (Silvestri)
Read: Killshot, by Elmore Leonard
Seen: It: Chapter Two; The Parent Trap ; Blinded by the Light; The Angry Birds Movie 2; Ms. Purple
Watched: Calling Philo Vance, The Prisoner ("Checkmate"), The Dragon Murder Case
I've been watching a DVD set of Philo Vance detective movies for creative inspiration (no, I'm not writing liner notes for a Philo Vance scores boxed set), and watching one in particular, Calling Philo Vance, reminds me of the variety of approaches of adapting a book for the screen.
Decades ago when I was an active member of the Writers Guild, there was (if my memory is accurate) an attempt to change the criteria for which screnwriting credits were awarded. It used to be that high-priced "script doctors" would be content with their writing fees and their reputation, and not expect to receive screen credit for films which they'd "saved." This changed in a big way when the home video market exploded -- residuals for credited writers on films could potentially double a writer's earnings, so some script doctors wanted to receive screen credit as well.
When the potential changes in arbitration procedures came up, there was a concept discussed called, if memory serves, "inevitable elements." The idea was, I believe, that any adaptation has story and/or structural elements that are inevitable -- you wouldn't adapt Peter Benchley's Jaws without including a murderous shark, even if you changed the setting to Central Park or the moons of Jupiter -- and thus the first writer on a project shouldn't necessarily receive credit for including such elements in their script (At least, this was my take on the situation -- it all happened decades ago, when I was a working, "middle class" screenwriter, so my perception and memory may be skewed by time and my own inherent bias).
I've long felt that the idea of "inevitable" elements is total BS; here are two examples of why. When Albert R. Broccoli produced a film version of Ian Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, pretty much the only aspect of the book which was retained for the film was the character of James Bond (if you've read the book, the most atypical of Fleming's Bond novels, you'll readily understand why). When Ed McBain's 87th Precinct mystery novel Jigsaw was adapted as a Columbo TV movie titled Undercover, the script adapted the plot so faithfully that a photographic clue used in the book as an illustration was actually retained for the movie. The only major change in the adaptation was that McBain's protagonist, Steve Carella, was replaced by the very distinct Lt. Columbo (in the inevitable form of Peter Falk). So what's inevitable -- the main character or the plot? (One other late Columbo was also based on an 87th Precinct novel - McBain's So Long As You Both Shall Live was adapted as the Columbo movie No Time to Die, whose title has been co-opted for the new Daniel Craig/James Bond movie).
Some of the later James Bond films feature intriguing examples of the art of adaptation, with For Your Eyes Only not only expanding Fleming's short story of the same title but also incorporating elements of his story Risico (the Topol/Julian Glover plotline). Licence to Kill not only includes elements from the story The Hildebrand Rarity but grafts the Felix-Leiter-mutilated-by-a-shark subplot from the book Live and Let Die, complete with the dark comedy of "He disagreed with something that ate him."
The late great William Goldman was the first writer on the screenplay for the 1973 film version of Papillon but he didn't ultimately receive screen credit. He once pointed out that an important contribution he had made to the adaptation was deciding when to end the script -- apparently the memoir the film is based on continues long after the escape which ends the film. In one of his non-fiction books, Goldman talked about the major changes he made in adapting another bestseller to the screen (I won't identify the book, for fear of spoilers) -- the main character of the screenplay was a character who died in the first part of the novel, while the protagonist of the novel was dropped from the screenplay entirely.
Some adaptations take more drastic approaches than just lopping off the end of the story as Goldman did with Papillon. Elia Kazan's film of Steinbeck's East of Eden focuses on only the latter part of the novel, about Adam's sons Cal and Aron. I was once a huge fan of John Irving's novels, particularly The Cider House Rules, but I hated A Prayer for Owen Meany so thoroughly that I swore off Irving entirely. I saw enough good reviews of his 1998 book A Widow for One Year that I was persuaded to pick it up, and while I felt the first third, about a teenage boy who gets a job with a family with a tragic past, was Irving at top form, I hated the last two thirds, which detailed the adult life of the family's young daughter and her witnessing the murder of an Amsterdam prostitute, and renewed my resolve to keep Irving off my reading schedule. Writer-director Tod Williams may have felt the same way about Irving's novel, because when he adapted the book for his 2004 film The Door in the Floor, starring Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger, he based his script only on the first third and completely jettisoned the story of the daughter's adult life.
Getting back to the Philo Vance mysteries -- between 1926 and 1939, art critic Willard Huntington Wright published 12 mystery novels under the pseudonym S.S. Van Dine, about a brilliant, debonair, amateur New York detective named Philo Vance, and by 1947 those stories had inspired 15 features (and several shorts) in the U.S. alone, with Vance played by a variety of stars from the era including Basil Rathbone, Edmund Lowe, James Stephenson, Warren William, and the great William Powell.
Those who marvel (no pun intended) at how frequently franchises are "rebooting" these days -- two Spider-Man origin films only ten years apart (not counting his Marvel and animated incarnations), two Fantastic Four origins also ten years apart -- should think about Hollywood's Golden Age, when the studios could make three film versions of The Maltese Falcon in just a decade, with only the third one becoming an undying classic. Two years before Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely was adapted as Murder, My Sweet (with Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe), it was the basis of franchise entry The Falcon Takes Over, with George Sanders in the title role.
By 1940, with World War II imminent, filmmakers attempted to transform Vance from a detective to a spy. The best of the Vance films is often considered to be 1933's The Kennel Murder Case, with William Powell playing Vance for the fourth and final time. 1940's Calling Philo Vance is actually a remake of Kennel, and watching both films within a few weeks of each other, I was amused to see how they did -- and didn't -- update the story for the war era.
Calling begins with Vance in Austria, assigned to find out whether an American tycoon ("Archer Coe", the murder victim from Kennel) is selling airplane designs to the enemy. Vance finds the evidence but is captured, deported to the U.S., and is about to be shipped back again to Europe for imprisonment when he dives off a steamship and is safely back in the States.
At which point the film turns into an abbreviated but largely faithful remake of The Kennel Murder Case -- same victim, same murder, same "locked room" mystery, same solution and most of the same suspects, but with the wartime espionage element grafted on as a motive.
The Philo Vance films I've watched so far have been fun both on their own terms and as footnotes in film history. William Powell would of course follow his four Vance mysteries with a more famous role as Nick Charles in the Thin Man sextet -- one original Thin Man trailer even featured him playing both parts. Basil Rathbone played Vance in The Bishop Murder Case ten years before he first played Sherlock Holmes on screen in The Hound of the Baskervilles, and in Bishop other characters teasingly call Rathbone's Vance "Sherlock Holmes." The Bishop Murder Case is also fascinating because for the most part the acting is truly terrible. As a 1929 release, it was an early sound film, and one wonders if most of the performances represent the style of theater acting of the time. The only good performances came from the two actors who would go on to have notable film careers -- Rathbone, and "Topper" himself, Roland Young.
In many ways Vance was clearly modeled after Holmes, and in the books "S.S. Van Dine" serves as his Watson but that character was dropped from the films. The Vance films did have their own group of regular characters -- District Attorney Markham, who always seems to bring Vance onto the case even before the police have a chance to investigate; the bumbling Sgt. Heath, played five times by Golden Age great Eugene Pallette; and my favorite, coroner Doremus, who is always complaining about having his meals interrupted to show up at murder scenes, and who spouted variations on the catchphrase "I'm a doctor, not a --" decades before Dr. McCoy made it a Star Trek running joke.