Film Score Monthly
Screen Archives Entertainment 250 Golden and Silver Age Classics on CD from 1996-2013! Exclusive distribution by SCREEN ARCHIVES ENTERTAINMENT.
Wild Bunch, The King Kong: The Deluxe Edition (2CD) Body Heat Friends of Eddie Coyle/Three Days of the Condor, The Ben-Hur Nightwatch/Killer by Night Gremlins Space Children/The Colossus of New York, The Not With <i>My</i> Wife, You Don’t! Vol. 2—Original Soundtrack
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
LOG IN
Forgot Login?
Register
Search Archives
Film Score Friday
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
The Aisle Seat
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
View Mode
Regular | Headlines
All times are PT (Pacific Time), U.S.A.
Site Map
Visits since
February 5, 2001:
14916936
© 2019 Film Score Monthly.
All Rights Reserved.
Return to Articles

The latest soundtrack CD from Intrada presents the score to the 2019 thriller CRAWL, which pitted Kara Scodelario and Barry Pepper against hungry alligators in a hurricane-flooded house. The score was composed by newcomers Max Aruj and Steffen Thum, who have provided additional music for several Lorne Balfe scores; the ubiquitous Mr. Balfe served as Executive Music Producer on Crawl.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Crawl Max Aruj, Steffen Thum - Intrada 
Dracula/The Curse of Frankenstein [re-recordings]
 - James Bernard - Tadlow
La Setta
 - Pino Donaggio - Cinevox 
Lavender Braid
 - Eugene - Kronos 
Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds
 - Masao Yagi - Cinema-Kan (import)
The Quinn Martin Collection Vol. 2: The Invaders - Sidney Cutner, Dominic Frontiere, Irving Gertz, Richard Markowitz, Duane Tatro - La-La Land
Romeo and Juliet
 - Nino Rota - Quartet
Rory's Way
 - Frank Ilfman - Kronos
Rwanda
 - Davide Caprelli - Kronos
The Taming of the Shrew
 - Nino Rota - Quartet 


IN THEATERS TODAY

Black and Blue - Geoff Zanelli
By the Grace of God
 - Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine - Score CD Grace a Dieu on Music Box
The Cat and the Moon - Alex Wolff, Michael Wolff
Countdown - Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans
The Current War - Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans
Fantastic Fungi - Adam Peters
Frankie - Dickon Hinchliffe
The Gallows Act II - Zach Lemmon
The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash - Mike McCready
Girl on the Third Floor - Steve Albini, Alison Chesley, Tim Midyett 
Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace - Chris Wormer
Housefull 4 - Guru Randhawa
The Kill Team - Zacarias M. de la Riva
The Last Color - Mahesh Bharti
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound - Allyson Newman
Paradise Hills - Lucas Vidal
Portals - Ram Khatabakhsh
Prescience - Marcus Cruz
Watson - Christophe Beck
Western Stars - Bruce Springsteen
Ximei - Dong Liu


COMING SOON

November 1
Abominable
 - Rupert Gregson-Williams - Backlot
Gemini Man - Lorne Balfe - La-La Land 
November 8 
Encounter - Penka Kouneva - Notefornote
Go Fish - George Streicher - Notefornote
The Good Liar - Carter Burwell - WaterTower [CD-R]
J'Accuse - Alexandre Desplat - Warner Classics (import)
Windjammer - Morton Gould - Sepia
November 15
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, vol. 1
 - Daniel Pemberton - Varese Sarabande
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, vol. 2 
- Daniel Pemberton, Samuel Sim - Varese Sarabande
November 22 
Ad Astra
- Max Richter, Lorne Balfe, Nils Frahm - Deutsche Grammophon
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Marco Beltrami, Anna Drubich - eOne 
November 29
Lucy in the Sky - Jeff Russo - Lakeshore
Date Unknown
Damon and Pythias
- Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Alhambra
Mutant
 - Richard Band - Dragon's Domain
Zombie Night
 - Alan Howarth - Dragon's Domain


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

October 25 - Konrad Elfers born (1919)
October 25 - Don Banks born (1923)
October 25 - Recording sessions begin for Alex North's score to I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
October 25 - Bronislau Kaper begins recording his score to The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
October 25 - Alexander Courage's "Plato's Stepchildren," the last score composed for the original Star Trek series, is recorded (1968)
October 25 - Billy Goldenberg begins recording his score for Duel (1971)
October 25 - Benny Golson records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Blues” (1971)
October 25 - David Shire begins recording his score for Max Dugan Returns (1982)
October 25 - Richard Hazard begins recording his score for Airplane 2: The Sequel (1982)
October 25 - Recording sessions begin for W.G. Snuffy Walden’s score for The Stand (1993)
October 25 - Recording sessions begin for Danny Elfman’s score for Good Will Hunting (1997)
October 26 - Bob Cobert born (1924)
October 26 - Jacques Loussier born (1934)
October 26 - Victor Schertzinger died (1941)
October 26 - Recording sessions begin for Roy Webb's score to Fixed Bayonets (1951)
October 26 - Curt Sobel born (1953)
October 26 - Richard La Salle records his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Unchained Woman” (1979)
October 26 - Howard Shore begins recording his score for She-Devil (1989)
October 27 - Samuel Matlovsky born (1921)
October 27 - Recording sessions begin for Hugo Friedhofer's score for Ace in the Hole (1950)
October 27 - Recording sessions begin for Hugo Friedhofer’s score for The Rains of Ranchipur (1955)
October 27 - Richard Markowitz records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Green Terror” (1966)
October 27 - John Williams begins recording his score for Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1972)
October 27 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for The Enforcer (1976)
October 27 - Frank DeVol died (1999)
October 27 - James Newton Howard begins recording his score to Peter Pan (2003)
October 27 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Cold Station 12” (2004)
October 28 - Gershon Kingsley born (1922)
October 28 - Carl Davis born (1936)
October 28 - Howard Blake born (1938)
October 28 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Memo from Purgatory” (1964)
October 28 - Jerry Fielding records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “The Exchange” (1968)
October 28 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Submarine” (1969)
October 28 - Oliver Nelson died (1975)
October 28 - Artie Kane records his score for The New Adventures of Wonder Woman episode “I Do, I Do” (1977)
October 28 - Recording sessions begin for James Newton Howard’s score for Eye for an Eye (1995)
October 28 - Gil Melle died (2004)
October 29 - Daniele Amfitheatrof born (1901)
October 29 - Neal Hefti born (1922)
October 29 - George Bassman records his score to Mail Order Bride (1963)
October 29 - Michael Wandmacher born (1967)
October 29 - Irving Szathmary died (1983)
October 29 - David Newman begins recording his score for Throw Momma from the Train (1987)
October 29 - Paul Misraki died (1998)
October 30 - Paul J. Smith born (1906)
October 30 - Irving Szathmary born (1907)
October 30 - Teo Macero born (1925)
October 30 - Charles Fox born (1940)
October 30 - The Lion in Winter opens in New York (1968)
October 30 - Brian Easdale died (1995)
October 30 - Paul Ferris died (1995)
October 30 - Paul Baillargeon records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Little Green Men” (1995)
October 30 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Year of Hell, Part II” (1997)
October 30 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Enterprise episode “Breaking the Ice” (2001)
October 31 - Now, Voyager opens in theaters (1942)
October 31 - Robert Drasnin records his score for the Lost in Space episode "West of Mars" (1966)
October 31 - Adam Schlesinger born (1967)
October 31 - Spellbound opens in New York (1945)
October 31 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Patton (1969)
October 31 - John Williams begins recording his score to The Towering Inferno (1974)
October 31 - The Mission is released in the United States (1986)
October 31 - Ian Fraser died (2014)

DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

CLEMENCY - Kathryn Bostic
 
"From the sparing use of Kathryn Bostic's subtle score to Phyllis Housen's fluid editing, this is a superbly crafted film, particularly in terms of its visual sense. The graceful movement of Eric Branco's camera, with especially masterful use of reverse pans, displays a sensitivity to the subject matter that considerably enhances 'Clemency''s emotional and psychological depth. And if Chukwu perhaps overextends the devastating gut punch of an ending, there's no arguing with the final shot of Bernadine's face. It leaves us wondering long after about where this staunch woman, embodying both fortitude and suffering, can go to find redemption within herself."
 
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

THE DEAD CENTER - Jordan Lehnin
 
"Support turns are also expert, as are all tech/design elements in the modest but astute package assembly. In a film most often characterized by eerie quiet, Jordan Lehnin’s effective original score is notable for its spare usage, a sonic restraint finally relaxed for a closing-credits song by the always-welcome Jon Spencer Blues Explosion."
 
Dennis Harvey, Variety
 
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN - Carter Burwell
 
"PTSD sets in soon thereafter, the affliction represented in all the usual ways (spotlights remind him of flash bangs, popped balloons evoke gunshots, etc.). Daphne, never portrayed as a particularly patient woman, grows tired of her grumpy husband. She tells him that 'Life is full of frightful things, the good thing is to find something to be happy about and stick to that.' In other words: 'I’ve got a major Zelda Fitzgerald vibe going on, so stop bumming me out all the time.' He doesn’t. They have a son, and that doesn’t work either -- Milne carries young Christopher with arms outstretched like he’s a tray of food, and Daphne is so disinterested that she hires a sweet nurse named Olive (Kelly Macdonald) to effectively raise the kid on her own. And then, after eight years of futilely trying to write off war altogether, Milne hits on a way to Make Writing Fun Again. They move out to the verdant countryside, where it always feels like a late summer afternoon and the sunlight is just soft enough to justify Carter Burwell’s characteristically lush score."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
 
"Some of that sun-dappled, tree-canopied cavorting in a picturesque English countryside is glossily re-enacted complete with a sweeping Carter Burwell score in 'Goodbye Christopher Robin.' That way, we learn how a little boy and his cuddly toys captivated the imaginations of both young and old around the globe in the children’s books written by Milne more than 90 years ago."
 
Susan Wloszczyna, RogerEbert.com
 
"Milne wouldn’t be the first teller of children’s stories to be something of a brute when it came to dealing with the little nippers in person ('Alice' creator Charles Dodgson also comes to mind), although the movie doesn’t feel unreasonably tough in the way it holds Milne accountable for spoiling the one life he had intended to improve by writing the Winnie-the-Pooh books. From the opening shot, as the sun splinters through the green-leafed canopy of a crooked old tree to the trills of Carter Burwell’s honey-sweet score, we know what kind of movie this is -- in part because so many biopics about English literary figures (from J.M. Barrie-based 'Finding Neverland' to C.S. Lewis-centric 'Shadowlands') have adopted nearly the same aesthetic over the years."
 
Peter Debruge, Variety
 
"Curtis, whose feature credits include the lamentable 'Woman in Gold' and the considerably more involving 'My Week With Marilyn,' tends to bring the story's every undercurrent to the surface. So does the screenplay, beginning with the movie's opening salvo, which needlessly resorts to the default tactic of starting at a crucial point late in the story and then flashing backward to tell the tale. But whether the onscreen action is obvious or subtle, Carter Burwell's elegant score is understatement personified."
 
Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter 
 
JIGSAW - Charlie Clouser
 
"Say this for the 'Saw' series of self-mutilating slasher pictures: They get right to it. Most of them open with a victim or victims waking up in a signature horrifically violent trap -- no stalking or backstory until later, if at all—and proceed straight into parallel narratives involving a gauntlet of survival traps set for those victims and the hard-bitten cops trying to pause the carnage. Even the theme music is identifiable within three notes—the most recognizable in modern horror, at least among people who bother to see 'Saws.' 'Jigsaw,' the eighth installment and first after a lengthy break, breaks out the staccato dun-dun-duns during the opening logo roll."
 
Jesse Hassenger, The Onion AV Club

LIBERTY: MOTHER OF EXILES - David Benjamin Steinberg
 
"Also, the musical score in the first half of the film sounds like a techno remix of the 'House of Cards' theme song, and not in a good way. It’s such an ill-fitting choice that it undermines the engrossing backstory of the statue. At times the doc feels like two films that fail to cohere. The stiffer first half has a muddled tone; the second half finds an enjoyable rhythm and ditches the odd scoring in place of something less noticeable."
 
Beandrea July, The Hollywood Reporter
 
MARSHALL - Marcus Miller
 
"Still, Hudlin keeps things moving, dashing through the setup so quickly that the film only finds its rhythms once the principals stand before the judge. It gets better as it goes, as a legal thriller should. The courtroom scenes prove suspenseful, often twisty and protracted, more 'Anatomy of a Murder' theatrics than John Grisham–style wrangling. (Emphasizing the connection to Otto Preminger’s 'Anatomy,' which boasts a killer score from Duke Ellington, is the smart small-combo blues composed for Marshall by guitar player–composer Marcus Miller.) Gad gets some anxious laughs in the role of a man pressed into a cause he wouldn’t have chosen, but he’s also persuasive in the moments when Friedman is seized with purpose and conviction. Boseman plays Marshall as heroic but not infallible; he tends toward crankiness and self-regard, and sometimes, in his zeal, overlooks critical possibilities."
 
Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

"But good source material will only get you so far. Curiously, 'Marshall' bounces around from being a straight-ahead courtroom drama to something like a buddy comedy, and the result feels mostly confused. Director Reginald Hudlin has had a long and impressive career as a director, writer, and producer, often of comedy -- his breakout film was the 1990 cult comedy 'House Party.' At times this kind of works. The comedic flourishes (musical cues, one-liners, diagonal wipes from one scene to the next) take on a kind of grim cast next to the seriousness of the story and the pungent racist attitudes on display. The result is that the humor becomes increasingly less funny and the seriousness of the case, and what’s at stake, becomes more evident."
 
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox 
 
MIDNIGHT TRAVELER - Gretchen Jude
 
"Formally, 'Midnight Traveler' is a languid, poetic film. There are no beats, yet the pacing never slogs. It uses the long spans of time when the family is stuck at one camp or another to turn reflective. Through narration and pleasantly messy tête-à-têtes, Fazili and Hussaini meditate on family, fear, equality, Islam, and the banality of everyday life. Throughout, though, it is hard not to forget that 'Midnight Traveler' is a film of life or death, which Gretchen Jude’s score constantly reminds, and which infuses tension into the narrative’s nooks and crannies."
 
Gary Garrison, The Playlist 
 
"The lack of establishing shots makes it seem like the family is lost in a forest, and the excitement of the initial escape bleeds into the tedium of waiting for the next leg of the trip. Gretchen Jude’s feedback-heavy score is a dull fuzz in the brain, ominous at times but mostly just desolate (and always trying to disguise the rough, consumer-grade audio quality of the phone’s microphone). Bulgaria is inescapable. Hassan’s family feels invisible, but things get so much worse when the wrong people see them. Nargis, who seems like the most level-headed little girl alive, eventually breaks down from the boredom. Her emotional trajectory is a powerfully clear expression of how far they’ve really gone on a trek that’s so much longer than the miles they’ve traveled."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
 
"Despite these lapses, Emelie Mahdavian, a producer and writer of the film as well as its editor, puts together as smooth a story as you can expect given the hundreds of fragments and hours she had to work with. Gretchen Jude’s percussive, electronic score helps hold it all together."
 
Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter 

PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN - Tom Howe

"The question of authorial intent is extremely relevant to 'Professor Marston And The Wonder Women,' writer-director Angela Robinson’s biopic about 'Wonder Woman' creator William Moulton Marston and the two women with whom he shared his life. As a member of the LGBTQ community, Robinson says she made a conscious choice to film the movie in a conventional Hollywood style, rich with period details (fans of ‘30s and ‘40s vintage fashion are in for a treat) but shot and scored with a generic, glossy 'awards movie' sheen. According to Robinson, her intent was to normalize a polyamorous BDSM relationship by treating it just like any other period romance. And indeed, the film is one of the most kink-and poly-positive movies I’ve ever seen, period, let alone one distributed by a major indie like Annapurna. The problem is, Robinson won’t be there to explain her choice to audiences who see the film at their local multiplex."
 
Katie Rife, The Onion AV Club
 
"It all really happened but surely with a lot more passion than writer-director Angela Robinson’s script would have it. 'Wonder Woman''s genesis in bondage play and a willfully naughty attempt to subvert the mainstream deserves a more courageous film than this one, gauzy and overscored. All is not lost: Hall’s braininess remains a treasure, and the movie is stronger when exploring its polyamorous love affair beyond the lasso."
 
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
 
THE SNOWMAN - Marco Beltrami
 
"With each passing minute, it’s increasingly astonishing that Tomas Alfredson directed this. The filmmaker, who showed such care, craft, and style with 'Let The Right One In' and 'Tinker Tailor Solider Spy' is woefully uninspired here. There’s an inattention to detail on every level that’s disheartening; there’s the sense that Alfredson might’ve given up on the movie before it even started. The two credited editors, the legendary Thelma Schoonmaker (likely brought in at the behest of longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese, who mercifully adds his name as an executive producer) and Claire Simpson do what they can to patch things together, but 'The Snowman' leaves motivations and plot threads puzzlingly started and unresolved. The lead performances are not much help either, with Fassbender’s weariness landing on the same single note, while Ferguson never quite sorts out her underwritten yet twisty role. Even Marco Beltrami’s score appears dashed out, all stabbing strings, used to overemphasize the most obvious moments of completely ineffective suspense."
 
Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist 
 
WONDERSTRUCK - Carter Burwell

"It’s easy to see just why two of our greatest working filmmakers, Martin Scorsese and now Todd Haynes, have been attracted to the YA work of author Brian Selznick, who wrote the source material for 'Hugo' as well as 'Wonderstruck,' the illustrated book that Haynes adapts for his new film. They are stories of lonely childhoods and tentative friendships set in resonant periods for both filmmakers, and while the narrative arcs are simple, family-friendly, and unafraid to iterate and reiterate their broad emotional beats, that very simplicity feels tipsy with cinematic potential. And when you have craftsmen such as these behind the camera, the resulting films are positively drunk with love for the medium: 'Wonderstruck' lives in the glory of its filmmaking -- its photography, its costuming, its set design, its brilliantly variegated Carter Burwell score. But really, if Haynes’ last few films have been temples dedicated to the talents of his costume designer Sandy Powell and regular cinematographer Ed Lachman, 'Wonderstruck' might just be the ultimate showcase for his 'Velvet Goldmine,' 'Mildred Pierce' and 'Carol' composer, Carter Burwell. It’s seldom that the potential for score as a storytelling tool has been as thoroughly mined as it is here, but with both the child protagonists being deaf, the music is required not just to carry emotional freight but to communicate plot in a way not seen since the silent era (which the 1920s segment deliberately evokes). Cymbal crashes denote the smashing of glass, sweet, starry twinkles and lush melodies smooth the transitions between the periods and then in the 1970s sections he really gets to let loose. Alongside choice soundtrack cuts from Bowie and Deodato, Burwell adds in noodling electric guitar and twangy funk notes to his classical compositions. It adds zip to chase sequences and texture to street scenes, which unfold against Mark Friedberg‘s vividly imagined production design (the 1920s Hoboken Ferry Port, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal of the 1970s are truly spectacular recreations). As simple and sweet-sad as the film’s emotional core is, the loving detail accorded every aspect of the filmmaking is lavish, maximalist, uncontainable."
 
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

"The film ultimately suffers from an abundance of these little narrative baubles; it’s an overstuffed cabinet of visual themes. The film opens with wolves; shooting stars, movie stars, and Ziggy Stardust are used interchangeably; paper boats float in and out before being forgotten; paper models are kind of a thing before becoming very much a thing in the film’s stunning stop-motion finale. 'Wonderstruck' gestures at a lot, especially between the two narratives, which Haynes flips between with such rapidity that the film isn’t able to find a tonal groove until well past its halfway point. Even the score by the otherwise brilliant Carter Burwell is affected by the whiplash."
 
Emily Yoshida, Vulture 
 
"Still, Haynes mostly sidesteps these issues by letting the two halves work together to tell a whole story. In this regard, Carter Burwell’s score is crucial: The acclaimed composer has crafted minimalist instrumental music that suggests both wonder and fragility. With much of 'Wonderstruck' avoiding conventional dialogue -- Rose is deaf and Ben, thanks to a weird fluke, will lose his hearing during the film -- Burwell’s arrangements need to do a certain amount of the emotional heavy lifting. His score is exquisite, capturing the terror and the wide-eyed excitement felt by two kids venturing into the big city."
 
Tim Grierson, Paste Magazine 
 
"Likewise, Carter Burwell’s score does the same for the city’s people, and the objects by which they’re remembered. The mammoth amount of music he’s written for this movie includes some of his best and most ambitious work to date, from the propulsive wind and piano pieces that flesh out the silent-era melodies to the psych drone that welcomes us back to New York, every note hints that the film is building toward an incredible sense of cohesion."

David Ehrlich, IndieWire 

"The story, adapted by Selznick from his book, follows the journeys of two deaf children separated by 50 years in time. In 1927, 12-year-old Rose (Millicent Simmonds) lives a lonely life in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her dour father (James Urbaniak). Rose’s deafness isolates her from the hearing world around her, and her place of solace is the movie theater where she goes to moon over her favorite actress, Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore). Haynes re-creates scenes from the star’s movies in a loving pastiche of D.W. Griffith’s silent melodramas starring Lillian Gish. As a matter of fact -- aesthetic spoiler ahead -- this whole part of the movie is silent, or at least dialogue-free, its emotion communicated entirely through the black-and-white images, Carter Burwell’s lively orchestral score, and Simmonds’ fiercely expressive face."
 
Dana Stevens, Slate.com
 
"Haynes’ last movie, the rapturously romantic 'Carol,' treated audiences to the gorgeous phantom of 1950s Manhattan. Working with much of the same team that brought that setting to life, Haynes here offers two bygone, meticulously recreated New Yorks for the price of one, then hopscotches gracefully between them. Rose and Ben’s respective impairments (she can’t hear at all; everything is a muffled hum for him) provides license to indulge in some pure visual storytelling, as during the blissfully wordless passage that entwines the kids’ separate frolics through the museum. Much of the film unfolds as a cross-century duet, leaping back and forth through the years, to the tune of another unforgettably aching Carter Burwell score and through the lens of fellow 'Carol' alum Edward Lachman, who knows how to capture the grit and grandeur of the city that never sleeps. Judged just on craftsmanship, Wonderstruck earns its title."
 
A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club
 
"In each case, the immersive visuals are far more compelling than the kids’ overly simplistic stories. Working once again with cinematographer Ed Lachman, costume designer Sandy Powell (who’s also an executive producer on the film) and production designer Mark Friedberg -- all masters -- Haynes recreates two extremely different visions of New York hustle-and-bustle in astonishing, vivid detail. Each section plays like a film that might have come out during their respective eras. The 1927 story is told in grainy black and white without dialogue as a reflection of Rose’s reality; the boldly percussive score from frequent Coen brothers composer Carter Burwell punctuates particular moments in dramatic, unsettling ways."
 
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
 
"If that all sounds exciting, it is -- to an extent. Haynes lends the film an air of childish magic and Carter Burwell’s magnificent front-and-centre score adds energy and character. But there’s also something whimsical, simplistic and ultimately underwhelming about the story that powers this film’s stylistic games -- so much so that you end up forgiving it because it’s 'only' a kids’ movie. There are stretches that feel ho-hum when everything you see and hear tells you that you should be overwhelmed with emotion. It ends up as a sweet-enough movie, and one that’s full of joy and invention -- but also one that feels like a lot of effort has been put into serving a tale that maybe doesn’t fully deserve it."
 
Dave Calhoun, Time Out London
 
"There are few directors better than Haynes at adopting varied voices and vernaculars and then blending them to create something intoxicating and new. As these kids discover New York in their own ways, Wonderstruck switches between the silent-film aesthetics of Rose’s journey (no dialogue, striking angles, bold emotions) and the Seventies stylizations of Ben’s (zooms, fast-cutting, handheld shots, tight close-ups). But the intercutting isn’t clean -- the styles sometimes mix and riff off each other, and there are moments when the film hops time periods not out of any narrative logic, but to pursue a gesture, an image, or idea. The result is as much musical as it is cinematic. Indeed, for lengthy stretches, 'Wonderstruck' plays like a city symphony; the kids’ silent movements are accompanied by Carter Burwell’s dominant score, bouncing from elegant orchestrations to funk fuzz to melodic drones."
 
Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
 
"'Wonderstruck' feels like a magical fairytale, though nothing about it is supernatural. Told partly in color and partly in black and white, the film contains long stretches that are virtually silent, with musical accompaniment (composed by Carter Burwell) that sometimes adds atmosphere, and sometimes punctuates what’s happening on screen, similar to how musical accompaniment worked during the silent-movie era."
 
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
 
"The film’s two time periods are easy to tell apart: The story that takes place in 1927 is filmed in black and white and is wordless, looking and sounding much like a silent movie as we experience the world from Rose’s perspective. The 1977 material is in color and filled with sounds. Haynes captures both periods with remarkable detail. Contributions by cinematographer Ed Lachman, costumer Sandy Powell (also a producer), music supervisor Randall Poster, and original music composer Carter Burwell all add to the distinctive spell cast by the movie. A diorama of the city of New York that serves as the magnificent set-piece for the film’s closing beats is breathtaking, yet the story’s conclusion is more visually arresting than narratively satisfying. However, Wonderstruck’s portrayal of deaf experiences and its adult treatment of childhood mysteries are original, and the way Haynes weaves it all together with gossamer strands gives this movie wings."
 
Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
 
"What the photographs of Ruth Orkin and Saul Leiter were to the painstaking tableaux of 'Carol,' the work of Roy DeCarava might be to these 1920s-set sequences. Haynes’s eye for detail is astringent as ever, and he boldly opts to make Rose’s scenes 'deaf' as well: completely silent beyond Burwell’s punctuating music, itself an exercise in Aaron Copland-esque affect that suggests the music accompanying remastered versions of silent films whose original scores have been lost to the ages. Ben’s crossing into Manhattan depicts a vibrantly seedy city, throbbing with summer heat, ratcheting up tension by dwarfing a newly deaf child in a vast crowd’s anonymizing bustle. Ben makes friends with a kid named Jamie (Jaden Michael), whose father works at the Museum of Natural History; Rose makes a similar trip and Haynes juxtaposes scenes from both storylines, centering on specific exhibits. Eventually, the characters of the 1927 narrative are reintroduced in their late-adult iterations, and the connection between Ben and Rose is made explicit."
 
Steve Macfarlane, Slant Magazine
 
"The plot of 'Wonderstruck,' when described, sounds like the most rhapsodic of fables, blending childlike fantasy and New York City nostalgia to tell a story buoyed by swelling music and intricate visuals. The film follows two kids, a girl in the 1920s and a boy in the 1970s, each navigating the American Museum of Natural History by themselves, and each deaf (the girl born that way, the boy after a recent accident). The museum links them together in some mysterious way, and the director Todd Haynes wants to illuminate that connection for his audience by methodically unpacking this puzzle box. Haynes’s cinematic approach to 'Wonderstruck' is similar to those cabinets: This is a film that feels inert at times despite being crammed with ideas. The 1927 storyline is shot in black and white, mimicking the silent movies of the era, with a swelling orchestral score by the frequent Haynes collaborator Carter Burwell. Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is a young girl apparently besotted with a great actress, Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore), and besieged at home by an imperious father (James Urbaniak), who locks her away out of concern that her deafness puts her in some undefinable danger. She escapes and goes on an adventure in New York, first seeking out Lillian, then finding herself in the Museum of Natural History."
 
David Sims, The Atlantic
 
"Haynes has always been a ravishing visual storyteller, and his seventh feature is as seductively crafted as anything he’s made, with exquisite contributions from invaluable frequent collaborators including cinematographer Ed Lachman, production designer Mark Friedberg and costumer Sandy Powell. Perhaps even more notable here is the work of composer Carter Burwell, who has created distinct musical moods for the narrative’s parallel threads, following the adventures of two runaway deaf kids 50 years apart, with the sounds subtly folded together as their stories intersect. Haynes films Rose’s story in muted black and white, and the great Lachman’s compositions often recall the intricate detail of Selznick’s pencil drawings in the book. Rose’s section also is silent, aside from the lush strains of Burwell’s wraparound score. Ben’s strand, by contrast, unfolds often to dreamy trance rock, or in key early scenes, to David Bowie’s 'Space Oddity' on Elaine’s stereo."
 
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter 

THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAlamo DrafthouseAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena Cinelounge, LaemmleNew Beverly, Nuart, UCLA and Vista.   

October 25
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arena CineLounge]
GRINDHOUSE (Robert Rodriguez, Graeme Revell) [New Beverly]
HALLOWEEN H20 (John Ottman) [New Beverly]
HORROR OF DRACULA (James Bernard), THE TIME MACHINE (Russell Garcia) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
PRINCE OF DARKNESS (John Carpenter, Alan Howarth) [Vista]
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (Richard O'Brien, Richard Hartley) [Nuart]
SEVEN BEAUTIES (Enzo Jannacci), SWEPT AWAY (Piero Piccioni) [Cinematheque: Aero]

October 26
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner) [New Beverly]
THE CRAFT (Graeme Revell) [Alamo Drafthouse]
CRITTERS (David Newman), HALLOWEEN II (John Carpenter, Alan Howarth), LISA AND THE DEVIL (Carlo Savina), RUBY (Don Ellis), NIGHT WARNING (Bruce Langhorne), DEMONOID: MESSENGER OF DEATH (Richard Gillis), THE CRAZIES (Bruce Roberts) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arena CineLounge]
FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Franz Waxman) [Vista]
SATANTANGO (Mihaly Vig) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

October 27
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (Frank Skinner) [New Beverly]
CASPER (James Horner) [UCLA]
DOLEMITE (Arthur Wright) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arena CineLounge]
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (John Williams, Andre Previn), THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda), THE WRECKING CREW (Hugo Montenegro) [New Beverly]
VIRTUE, TWENTIETH CENTURY [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

October 28
DOLEMITE (Arthur Wright) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arena CineLounge]
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Charles Bernstein) [New Beverly]
PHANTASM (Fred Myrow, Malcolm Seagrave) [Arclight Hollywood]
RAINING IN THE MOUNTAIN (Tai King Ng) [UCLA]
STRAIT-JACKET (Van Alexander), BERSERK (John Scott), TROG (John Scott) [New Beverly]

October 29
THE BOOGENS (Bob Summers), SLITHIS (Steve Zuckerman), THE DEADLY SPAWN (Michael Perilstein) [New Beverly]
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Franz Waxman) [Arclight Hollywood]
DOLEMITE (Arthur Wright) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arena CineLounge]
MAD LOVE (Dimitri Tiomkin) [Cinematheque: Aero]
PUMPKINHEAD (Richard Stone) [Alamo Drafthouse]

October 30
THE BROOD (Howard Shore) [Arclight Hollywood]
DOLEMITE (Arthur Wright) [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE EXORCIST [Arclight Culver City]
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arena CineLounge]
FREAKS [Alamo Drafthouse]
THE INNOCENTS (Georges Auric) [New Beverly]
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Johan Soderqvist) [Cinematheque: Aero]
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (Matt Clifford), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE (Christopher Young), UNINVITED (Dan Slider) [New Beverly]
THEM! (Bronislau Kaper), THE TINGLER (Von Dexter) [Laemmle NoHo]

October 31
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Franz Waxman) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (Christopher Komeda) [Arena CineLounge]
HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter) [Arclight Hollywood]
THE HOST (Byung-woo Lee), MOTHER (Byung-woo Lee) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
KWAIDAN (Toru Takemitsu) [New Beverly]
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Charles Bernstein) [Alamo Drafthouse]
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Charles Bernstein), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (Angelo Badalamenti) [Vista]
UNINVITED (Dan Slider), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE (Christopher Young), RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (Matt Clifford) [New Beverly]

November 1
CANE RIVER (Roy Glover) [AMPAS]
GOODFELLAS [Arena CineLounge]
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (John Carpenter, Jim Lang) [Vista]
THE ROOM (Mladen Milicevic) [Nuart]
SNOWPIERCER (Marco Beltrami), BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE (Sung-woo Jo) [Cinematheque: Aero]

November 2
GOODFELLAS [Arena CineLounge]
SEEING RED: STORIES OF AMERICAN COMMUNISTS [UCLA]
THE SKIN I LIVE IN (Alberto Iglesias) [Vista]

November 3
GOODFELLAS [Arena CineLounge]
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (Dimitri Tiomkin) [Vista]
OKJA (Jaeil Jung), MEMORIES OF MURDER (Taro Iwashiro) [Cinematheque: Aero]
REMINISCENCES OF A JOURNEY TO LITHUANIA [UCLA]


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

Heard: Star Trek: Who Mourns for Adonais?/Mirror Mirror/By Any Other Name/The Omega Glory (Fried), Caroline Cherie (Garvarentz), Howard the Duck (Barry/Levay/Dolby)

Read: The Dame, by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake)

Seen: Weathering with You; The Lighthouse; Zombieland: Double Tap; Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; Jojo Rabbit; Blackbeard's Ghost; Atlantics; Queen of Hearts [2019]

Watched: The Cocoanuts, Maniac ("Windmills"), Star Trek ("The Galileo Seven"), Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Tales from the Crypt ("Lover Come Hack to Me")

The first Stephen King novel I ever read (I think -- there's a chance I read Carrie first) was Salem's Lot, which I read during my senior year in high school and loved, not long before CBS premiered the fine Tobe Hooper-directed adaptation, featuring one of my all-time favorite lines of dialogue from filmed horror: James Mason telling David Soul "You'll enjoy Mr. Barlow. And he'll enjoy you." (of course, any line of dialogue can seem like a classic when spoken by James Mason)

I was a big Stephen King fan during much of the 1980s, picking up many of his newest books as soon as they were released in hardback. I can't say that I loved all of them equally, especially as they seemed to get longer and longer for no good reason (Christine had a great setup but lost me by the end, and I thought even the shorter version of The Stand was punishingly long and have never felt the desire to read the "complete" version). I read pretty much all of them through Dolores Claiborne and Gerald's Game, and even picked up the serialized paperbacks of The Green Mile and read them right away.

I'm not sure why it was I stopped making King's books a priority in my reading. Overall my reading slowed down greatly at the start of the new century, when I suddenly had a day job and much less free time, but I think I was already somewhat giving up on King by then.

I was reminded of this while seeing the recent It: Chapter Two, and though I enjoyed the film overall, I think my biggest problem with it was the same problem I had with the earlier film -- I just don't think it's that great a story, and definitely not one that deserves just over five hours of screen time to tell. For me, the best King books are the ones with the strongest stories, like Carrie, The Dead Zone, Misery and Needful Things, while a friend described the second It as a "stuff" movie, and that seems pretty accurate -- the villain is an omnipotent, vaguely defined supernatural force that can do whatever it wants to do based on the needs of the scene, so instead of a clear and genuine menace you just get a lot of "stuff." As Pauline Kael wrote about one of the most popular horror films of all time, "If [Spielberg had] tossed in an earthquake and a batch of giant, mutant ants, they'd make as much sense as anything else in Poltergeist." Early on in It: Chapter Two, there are scenes of gay bashing and spousal abuse that are believable and upsetting enough that nothing supernatural that happens in the next (OMG) two-and-a-half hours is remotely as intense.

I had already written most of this before I sat down to watch Netflix's recent, very loose, ten-episode adaptation of Shirley Jackson's classic The Haunting of Hill House, which had of course been filmed twice before -- very well by Robert Wise in 1963, and very badly (but lavishly) by Jan de Bont in 1999. I was somewhat familiar with the work of director Mike Flanagan but not as much as I would have liked. I enjoyed both Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil (its use of fake old-style "cigarette burns" -- those semi-subliminal circles at the upper right corner of a movie image that signal a reel change on a film print -- was one of my favorite things in movies that year). I really wanted to see his other features, but Before I Wake was a casualty of Relativity Media's collapse (inexplicably, the borderline incoherent The Disappointments Room was released in its place) and ended up on Netflix; both Hush and Gerald's Game ended up as Netflix-only films and haven't even been released on DVD/Blu-Ray.

I was fairly blown away by Flanagan's Hill House. Movies and TV shows don't tend to scare me -- the last time a movie felt genuinely scary to me was Alien on opening night in 1979 -- but Flanagan is expert at directing scary scenes, and overall his elegant visual style is a pleasant change from the mannered angles and excessive cutting of American Horror Story. The ghosts in Hill House are truly unnerving, and one later episode has one of the best jump scares I've ever seen; if I were watching it in a movie theater instead of my living room I probably would have flung my caramel corn across several rows of seats.

But at least as impressive as the supernatural scenes are the "people" scenes that take up the bulk of the minseries, the relationship between the parents and their five offspring, first as children and later as deeply f*****d up adults. The familial relationships may be the sticking point for viewers on the fence about Hill House -- it's hard to think of a horror film or TV series with a more deliberately off-putting group of characters. I can imagine people hate-watching the show, arguing about who they like least -- I was torn between judgmental Shirley and the addict Luke, while others may easily pin their dislike on older brother Steve, who uses his family's tragedy to leverage his writing career. There were episodes where I could only watch a few minutes at a time -- not because it was too scary but because the scenes between the characters were so genuinely uncomfortable. The casting overall is top notch, with an especially brilliant juxtaposition of Henry Thomas as the younger version of the dad with Timothy Hutton as the same character 26 years later (in real life, Hutton is only 11 years older than Thomas).

My only real qualm with the series is its ending -- specifically the last few minutes, where the filmmakers inexplicably try to portray Hill House as not-such-a-bad-place-after-all, after ten hours of convincinngly depicting it as a soul-destroying house of nightmares.

One of my all-time favorite horror films is The Shining, so I am obviously quite intrigued by Flanagan's imminent film of King's own Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep. The fact that Flanagan's film is five minutes longer than Kubrick's epic-length original gives me pause, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

I can't, however, say I'm at all eager to read King's latest novel, after reading this brief description from the LA Times bestseller list:

Children with special skills are abducted in an institution where a sinister staff extracts their gifts through barbaric methods.

It sounds like King has written a "new" version of every young adult novel and film from the last two decades. I can't wait to find out how these new mutants use their darkest minds in a divergent way to become maze runners.

Return to Articles Author Profile
Comments (0):Log in or register to post your own comments
There are no comments yet. Log in or register to post your own comments
Film Score Monthly Online
Buck v Beltrami
Terence Blanchard's Harriet
Iglesias and Glory
Emerging Composers of the 2010s, Part 1
Fallen Order: Joining Forces
Wong's Turn: 2019 Memo to the Academy Music Branch
Alex Heffes: Savanna Songs
The Wingo Report
The Tao of Thiel
Ear of the Month Contest
Today in Film Score History:
November 15
Alexandre Tansman died (1986)
Gianni Ferrio born (1924)
John Williams begins recording his score to The Cowboys (1971)
Jurriaan Andriessen born (1925)
Les Baxter records his score for The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
Luis Bacalov died (2017)
Richard Addinsell died (1977)
Roberto Pregadio died (2010)
Saul Chaplin died (1997)
FSMO Featured Video
Video Archive • Audio Archive
Podcasts
© 2019 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved...