The latest CD from Intrada is a greatly expanded release of the score for the 1998 sci-fi horror sequel SPECIES II, in which Natasha Henstridge reprised her role as the beautiful alien Sil, with Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger also returning from the original film. The director was Peter Medak (The Ruling Class, The Changeling), and the music was composed by Edward Shearmur.
The label's previously announced release of the Newton Brothers' score for the new miniseries THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR is also now available.
Quartet has announced two new releases -- NEL CINEMA E NELLA CLASSICA, with Pino Donaggio conducting his own concert and film music, including the "New York Suite," which incorporates his music for Blow Out and Carrie as well as the first release of music from one of his most sought-after scores, The Fan; and Dominik Scherrer's music for the series MARPLE, based on Agatha Christie's beloved character.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Bill & Ted Face the Music - Mark Isham - Rambling (import)
Dark: Cycle 3 - Ben Frost - Invada (import)
The Haunting of Bly Manor - The Newton Brothers - Intrada
Species II - Edward Shearmur - Intrada Special Collection
The Trial of the Chicago 7 - Daniel Pemberton - Varese Sarabande
IN THEATERS TODAY
The sci-fi action movie Jiu-Jitsu, featuring Tony Jaa and Nicolas Cage, is supposed to open (somewhere) this week. According to the poster, it has a score by "Adam Dorn aka Mocean Worker."
The Crown: Series 4 - Martin Phipps - Sony (import)
Morricone Segreto - Ennio Morricone - Decca
The Glorias - Elliot Goldenthal - Zarathustra
Jay Sebring...Cutting to the Truth - Jeff Beal - Noteforenote
La ragazza di Trieste - Riz Ortolani - Beat
Spasmo - Ennio Morricone - Beat
News of the World - James Newton Howard - Backlot
Nine Days - Antonio Pinto - Warner (import)
Film Music 1976-2020 - Brian Eno - Astralwerks
No Time to Die - Hans Zimmer - Decca
Gaza Mon Amour - Andre Matthias - Kronos
John Williams in Vienna [CD/BluRay] - John Williams - Deutsche Grammophon
Lolita My Love [stage] - John Barry - Kritzerland
Marple - Dominik Scherrer - Quartet
Nel Cinema e Nella Classica - Pino Donaggio - Quartet
The Shepherd - Arthur Valentin Grosz - Kronos
A Suitable Boy - Alex Heffes, Anoushka Shankar - Silva
Total Recall [re-release] - Jerry Goldsmith - Quartet
The Twentieth Century - George Antheil, Paul Creston, Gail Kubik, Darius Milhaud, Harold Shapero - Kritzerland
Un Sceriffo Extraterrestre...Poco Extra e Molto Terrestre - Guido & Maurizio DeAngelis
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
November 20 - Louis Levy born (1894)
November 20 - David Raksin begins recording his score for Across the Wide Missouri (1951)
November 20 - Kevin Gilbert born (1966)
November 20 - Recording sessions begin for James Newton Howard’s score for Primal Fear (1995)
November 20 - Russell Garcia died (2011)
November 21 - Malcolm Williamson born (1931)
November 21 - Hans Erdmann died (1942)
November 21 - The Best Years of Our Lives opens in New York (1946)
November 21 - Magnus Fiennes born (1965)
November 21 - Don Ellis begins recording his replacement score for The Seven-Ups (1973)
November 21 - Ralph Burns died (2001)
November 22 - Benjamin Britten born (1913)
November 22 - Craig Hundley aka Craig Huxley born (1954)
November 22 - W. Franke Harling died (1958)
November 22 - Carlo Giacco born (1972)
November 22 - Francois de Roubaix died (1975)
November 22 - Fernando Velazquez born (1976)
November 22 - Gil Melle begins recording his score for The Sentinel (1976)
November 23 - Jack Marshall born (1921)
November 23 - Johnny Mandel born (1925)
November 23 - Jerry Bock born (1928)
November 23 - David Spear born (1953)
November 23 - Bruce Hornsby born (1954)
November 23 - Ludovico Einaudi born (1955)
November 23 - The Magnificent Seven opens in New York and Los Angeles (1960)
November 23 - Jean-Michel Bernard born (1961)
November 23 - Ennio Morricone begins recording his score for White Dog (1981)
November 23 - John Scott begins recording his score for Shoot to Kill (1987)
November 23 - Clifford Vaughan died (1987)
November 23 - Irwin Kostal died (1994)
November 23 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Kir’Shara” (2004)
November 23 - Nicholas Carras died (2006)
November 24 - Alfred Schnittke born (1934)
November 24 - Pino Donaggio born (1941)
November 24 - Michael Small died (2003)
November 24 - Kan Ishii died (2009)
November 24 - Harold Faberman died (2018)
November 25 - Virgil Thomson born (1896)
November 25 - Stanley Wilson born (1917)
November 25 - Michel Portal born (1935)
November 25 - Eleni Karaindrou born (1941)
November 25 - Daniele Amfitheatrof begins recording his score for The Last Hunt (1956)
November 25 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for Grand Prix (1966)
November 25 - Raymond Legrand died (1974)
November 25 - Michael Small begins recording his score for The Postman Always Rings Twice (1980)
November 25 - Craig Safan records his scores for the Twilight Zone episodes “The Uncle Devil Show” and “Opening Day” (1985)
November 25 - Nicholas Pike begins recording his score for Stephen King’s The Shining (1996)
November 25 - Chico Hamilton died (2013)
November 26 - Scott Bradley born (1891)
November 26 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for The Killer Elite (1975)
November 26 - Bernardo Segall died (1993)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
BLACK BOX - Brandon Roberts
"These establishing scenes, enhanced by Brandon Roberts' unsettling score and DP Hilda Mercado's nervous handheld camera and murky lighting, are among the movie's best. They show a man traveling into a past both familiar and foreign, with scenes like his wedding day compromised by blurred faces rendering everyone there unrecognizable. There's also a menacing figure, a dark presence already seen in Nolan's nightmares, which announces itself with the sinister sound of something crackling underfoot."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
CHARM CITY KINGS - Alex Somers
"Alex Somers’s ambient score telegraphs the emotional beats, its murmuring doom butting up against a soundtrack of past and present hip-hop hits. 'Charm City Kings' is smart to note that kids like Mouse are from a generation bored by the same songs, and the same stereotypes. Tupac 'died like a million years ago,' he says. As for 'The Karate Kid,' Lamont dismisses it as 'an old movie about a Chinese dude that made a white boy his slave.'"
Amy Nicholson, Variety
DADS - Sami Jano
"But that approach seems baked into the mission statement of 'Dads,' essentially an advertisement for modern, evolved fatherhood, co-produced by Dove, one of the world's largest soap manufacturers (which says it's making donations to the global fatherhood nonprofit Men+Care in conjunction with the movie). 'Dads' was released on Apple TV two days before Father's Day, and is pretty clearly intended something for extended families to watch together after a cookout where dad or grandad presides over the grill. Anything that might ruin the mood ends up in the film's rearview mirror quickly. The editing, by Andrew Morreale, jams caught-on-video slapstick and wry observations together with rapid-fire, reality TV-style cutting, then slows down a hair when the sad parts arrive. Composer Sami Jano italicizes moods to make sure you feel what you're supposed feel at any given moment."
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
EVIL EYE - Ronit Kirchman
"It's also mighty effective in how it depicts the abuse and violence that haunts Usha, and is a lingering threat for Pallavi. Even if it uses some recognizable thriller shorthand -- like a score that sounds like it was pre-made for an in-your-face trailer -- 'Evil Eye' can be equally grounded and claustrophobic. Toxic behavior is eternal, and 'Evil Eye' sincerely depicts both those who do not recognize it, and those who are all too familiar with it."
Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
"Editor Kristina Hamilton-Grobler does an agile job of jumping back and forth across continents and from present to past, as fragments of the disturbing chapter of Usha's younger years come together. Choudhury walks a captivating line between justifiably troubled and hysterically unhinged, with the Dassanis mixing in some stylish visual effects to keep a question mark hanging over her fears. Ronit Kirchman's ominous score is also effective at blurring the line between reality and the red flags of a scarred mind."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
HONEST THIEF - Mark Isham
"Such seemingly complicated characters traveling in such murky circles should be compelling. But everything happens so quickly, and with so little build-up of suspense, that the many shady dealings and double-crosses throughout 'Honest Thief' don’t register as powerfully as they should. There’s nothing to Courtney’s character beyond greed. Donovan provides some substance as the wisecracking, level-headed agent trying to get to the bottom of the case, and there’s an amusing running bit involving the adorably scruffy dog he inherited from his ex-wife in their divorce. But much of what constitutes the meat of the script from Williams and Steve Allrich is generic car chases, fistfights and shootouts, punctuated by an insistent, percussion-heavy score."
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
"Liam Neeson, we’ve been told, has a particular set of skills. One of those skills apparently is picking some movies that stink. 'Honest Thief,' co-written and directed by Mark Williams, is a predictable and slack affair, relying on eerie music, dark sets and smoke to create tension. There is no particular set of skills here."
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press
LOVE AND MONSTERS - Marco Beltrami, Marcus Trumpp
"The creature design team obviously had a good time. It’s a relief to encounter such varied and pleasingly lo-fi monsters in an age when everything else seems to be a riff on the 'Cloverfield' thingamajig. And as slimy, toothy and gross as the creatures often are, Lachlan Milne’s sprightly photography and Marco Beltrami and Marcus Trumpp’s scrupulously generic 'let’s go on an adventure!' score never allow for things to get too dark. It’s all quite forgettable, but in the moment so goodnatured that even the hopeful little 'Hi! We could do a sequel!' hooks carefully planted throughout can’t spoil the fun. In fact, a sequel seems quite an appealing prospect, if we can just, as a civilization, make it our noble, quixotic mission to survive that long."
Jessica Kiang, Variety
MARONA’S FANTASTIC TALE - Pablo Pico
"First, there’s the acrobat Manole (Bruno Salomone), a lithe collection of yellow and red brushstrokes who practices his craft in his attic apartment. Picture the trippy pink elephant scene of 'Dumbo,' which ruptures the otherwise 'realistic' tone of the Disney classic. 'Marona’s Fantastic Tale' takes place almost entirely in such a dreamy musical space, defying linear perspective (the basis of most Western illustration) in favor of something far more freeform and playful. The film interrupts its own narrative at times to send Marona plunging into the pages of library books, or blasting her into outer-space orbit, swept along by Pablo Pico’s gently supportive score."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Evens’ painterly designs are backed by Gina Thorstensen and Sarah Mazzetti’s expressive sets, which create a vivid cityscape Marona has to navigate in her search for a true home. A playful score by Pablo Pico accompanies what is ultimately a touching if downbeat chronicle of a dog who could have been tossed a few more bones in her short, adventurous life."
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
MARTIN EDEN - Marco Messina, Sacha Ricci
"The tense, emotional energy behind Martin’s archetypal European hero’s journey (think: 'Faust,' 'Hamlet') is expressive, dynamic, and experimental at times. Marinelli’s performance is immaculately layered and positions him in the spotlight as the upcoming sensation he is (he took home the Coppa Volpi Prize for Best Actor in Venice for a reason). The music ranges from bright, bouncy piano accompaniment reminiscent of Ryuichi Sakamoto to pop music to throbbing, low-range electronica. The sizzling grain of the 16mm cinematography in concert with the spiraling feral drama conjures a tonal undercurrent of Golden Age Hollywood while still feeling modern and relevant. The tactile sepia and silvery-blue imagery of archival footage that cuts in and out of scenes float between peripheral, historical flashback and tasteful metaphor."
Luke Hick, The Playlist
"After rescuing a drunken nobleman from a beating, Martin Eden (Luca Marinelli) meets the young man’s dainty sister, university student Elena Orsini (Jessica Cressy). The two enter into a courtship despite their class differences. Elena, like most of the women in 'Martin Eden,' finds herself smitten with the handsome, sanguine proletarian; Martin, struck by Elena’s beauty and sophistication, aspires to be like her and throws himself into the pursuit of self-education, eventually resolving to become a great writer. The couple’s romance, captured with intimate closeups and accompanied by a jaunty Europop soundtrack, is rapturous. But Martin’s increasingly provocative ideas throw a wrench in Elena’s dreams of a happily-ever-after."
Beatrice Loayza, The Onion AV Club
REBECCA - Clint Mansell
"Treating 'Rebecca' as a traditional period piece romance-melodrama doesn't go at all far enough. Clint Mansell's score more often than not has nothing to do with what's onscreen. (I have loved his work before, particular his scores for 'Moon' and 'Black Swan,' so this misstep is an anomaly.) When Maxim opens up for the first time about his tragic past, a gentle piano and strings theme plays underneath the scene, completely unconnected to the what's being said. The music creates a slightly nostalgic mood, slightly sad, slightly melancholy. There should be nothing 'slightly' about that important scene. Armie Hammer is on sure ground in the first half, where he has to be charming, breezily rich, romantic, but then seems at sea in the second half, where he has to face the horror of the real circumstances of Rebecca's death. Nobody has a firm grasp on what exactly they are supposed to be playing. There's not a clear enough sense of collective suppression, desires unspoken, sexual/psychological torment so intense it leads to madness. Thomas brings it, but she seems like she's in a different movie."
Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com
"The locations in England and France (standing in for Monte Carlo) are certainly picturesque, and cinematographer Laurie Rose shoots them with stately elegance. But the fear and tension so essential to the story are largely missing from the visuals, more often coming from Clint Mansell's lush score."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL - Brian Deming, Peter Nashel
"For a film that has clearly come together quickly -- in [sic] opens theatrically October 9, goes to streaming on October 13, and then Hulu on October 23, all in time for Election Day -- there’s never a sense that 'Totally Under Control' is a rush job. From the masterful editing by Lindy Jankura ('Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story') and Alex Keipper ('Asian Americans'), which allows us to keep track of the many players across several continents, to the understatedly chilling score by Brian Deming and Peter Nashel ('I, Tonya'), this is a documentary that feels confident and intentional at every turn. It’s a story we need to know now, and it’s an essential warning for future generations."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Dilili a Paris (Yared), War of the Worlds (Williams), Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (Herrmann), The Uninvited (C. Young), Lucy in the Sky (Russo), Queen of the Mist (LaChiusa), Enigma Variations/Pomp and Circumstance (Elgar), Too Old to Die Young (Martinez), David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall (Sedaris), Let Me Sing and I'm Happy (Benton), Memory Takes My Hand (Armstrong), The Good Shepherd (Zarvos/Fowler), The Lion King  (Zimmer), Taps/The Only Game in Town (Jarre), Epic (Elfman), Il Giocattolo (Morricone), Captain Phillips (Jackman), Dracula (Arnold/Price), Mandy (Johannsson), The Babadook (Kurzel), King of the Khyber Rifles (Herrmann), Gemini Man (Balfe), The Amazing Spider-Man (Horner), Mission: Impossible (Elfman) Giant (LaChiusa), Child's Play 2 (Revell), Symphonies 1 & 2 (Hanson), Doctor Who Seasons 1 & 2 (Gold), Minority Report (Williams), Villa Rides!/El Condor (Jarre), Planet of the Apes (Goldsmith), Everything Else (Beside Nothing), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Rosenman), The Humanoid (Morricone), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Goldsmith), Morituri (Goldsmith)
Read: The Divine Invasion, by Philip K. Dick
Seen: I had hopes that Los Angeles movie theaters would re-open by next April at the latest, so I could see No Time to Die and at least some of the Oscar-nominated films, but with the latest coronavirus surges it's hard to say when local theaters will be open again. At least there seems to be a vaccine in our forseeable future...
Watched: The Viking Queen; Life on the Circle Ranch in California ; The Pearl of Death; Star Trek: Discovery ("The Wolf Inside"); The Saphead ; Rome ("Passover"); Up the Sandbox