The latest score CD from Intrada is an expanded, two-disc release of Frank DeVol's exciting adventure score for the original, 1965 film version of THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, with the full 64-minute score on Disc One and alternates and source cues on Disc Two.
The voting closes for the first annual FSMies this Sunday, Feb. 28, at 11:59 PM (PST). Subscribers can click here to vote!
Quartet has announced two new score CDs -- the first release of Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai's score for the 1968 Italian gangster film BANDITS IN ROME (aka Roma come Chicago), starring John Cassavates and Gabriele Ferzetti; and the first release of Riz Ortolani's score for the 1970 thriller L'INVASIONE, starring Michel Piccoli.
Dragon's Domain has announced three new releases -- THE MARK SNOW COLLECTION VOL. 3: SOUTHERN GOTHIC, featuring the composer's scores for two 1994 TV movies, Murder Between Friends and Shadows of Desire; Joel Goldsmith's score for the 1996 comic book adaptation VAMPIRELLA, starring Talisa Soto and Roger Daltrey; and the score for the 1991 children's fantasy ADVENTURES IN DINOSAUR CITY, by Frederic Ensign Teetsel.
CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Alex Hugo - Jerome Lemmonier - Music Box
Bandits in Rome - Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai - Quartet
Flesh Contagium - Daniele Marinelli, Luca Maria Burocchi, Riccardo Adamo - Digitmovies
The Flight of the Phoenix - Frank DeVol - Intrada Special Collection
I Cosacchi - Giovanni Fusco - Digitmovies
L'Invasione - Riz Ortolani - Quartet
Tranquille donne di campagna - Nico Fidenco - Digitmovies
IN THEATERS TODAY
Tom and Jerry, a new animation-live action hybrid feature based on the popular Hanna Barbara/MGM characters, opens in theaters this week. It was directed by Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Ride Along, Shaft), and scored by his usual composer, Christopher Lennertz.
Adventures in Dinosaur City - Frederic Ensign Teetsel - Dragon's Domain
His Dark Materials: Season Two - Lorne Balfe - Silva
The Mark Snow Collection Vol. 3: Southern Gothic - Mark Snow - Dragon's Domain
Vampirella - Joel Goldsmith - Dragon's Domain
The Tattooed Torah - Daniel Alcheh - Notefornote
The Bear (re-issue) - Philippe Sarde - Music Box
I Malamondo - Ennio Morricone - Sugar/CAM
Mondo Cane - Riz Ortolani - Sugar/CAM
The Serpent (re-issue) - Ennio Morricone - Music Box
Ulysse 31 - Denny Crockett, Ike Egan, Shuki Levy, Haim Saban, Seji Suzuki - CSC
THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY
February 26 - Hagood Hardy born (1937)
February 26 - Bernard Herrmann wins his only Oscar, for the All That Money Can Buy score (1942)
February 26 - Richard LaSalle records his score for the Land of the Giants episode “Graveyard of Fools” (1970)
February 26 - Moisey Vainberg died (1996)
February 26 - John Lanchbery died (2003)
February 26 - Ludovic Bource wins the Original Score Oscar for The Artist (2012)
February 26 - Justin Hurwitz
wins Oscars for La La Land
’s score and original song “City of Stars” (2017)
February 27 - The first score Oscar is awarded, to Victor Schertzinger and Gus Kahn's score to One Night of Love; however, Academy policy at the time awards the Oscar to the head of the studio's music department, Louis Silvers (1935)
February 27 - Leigh Harline, Ned Washington, Paul J. Smith
win Best Score Oscar for Pinocchio
February 27 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper's score to A Life of Her Own (1950)
February 27 - Mort Glickman died (1953)
February 27 - Elmer Bernstein
begins recording his score for True Grit
February 27 - Joseph Mullendore records his score for the Land of the Giants episode “Return of Inidu” (1969)
February 27 - Leith Stevens records his score for the Land of the Giants episode “Rescue” (1969)
February 27 - Herbert Don Woods records his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “The Crystals” (1981)
February 27 - George Duning died (2000)
February 27 - Nathan Scott died (2010)
February 27 - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross win the Original Score Oscar for The Social Network (2011)
February 28 - Albert Elms born (1920)
February 28 - Pierre Jansen born (1930)
February 28 - Charles Bernstein born (1943)
February 28 - Loek Dikker born (1944)
February 28 - Mike Figgis born (1948)
February 28 - Edward Shearmur born (1966)
February 28 - Murray Gold born (1969)
February 28 - Armando Trovajoli died (2013)
February 28 - Ezra Laderman died (2015)
February 28 - Ennio Morricone
wins his only “competitive” Oscar, for The Hateful Eight
February 28 - Andre Previn died (2019)
February 29 - Herbert Stothart wins Original Score Oscar for The Wizard of Oz (1940)
February 29 - Mervyn Warren born (1964)
March 1 - Leo Brouwer born (1939)
March 1 - Jose Nieto born (1942)
March 1 - Tony Ashton born (1946)
March 1 - Nino Oliviero died (1980)
March 1 - David Newman begins recording his score for Talent for the Game (1991)
March 1 - John Barry begins recording his score for Indecent Proposal (1993)
March 1 - Laurence Rosenthal begins recording his score for Inherit the Wind (1999)
March 1 - James Horner begins recording his score for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
March 1 - Lucio Dalla died (2012)
March 2 - Marc Blitzstein born (1905)
March 2 - Richard Hazard born (1921)
March 2 - Mario Zafred born (1922)
March 2 - Andrzej Korzynski born (1940)
March 2 - Alfred Newman wins Oscar for The Song of Bernadette score (1944)
March 2 - Larry Carlton born (1948)
March 2 - Ralph Schuckett born (1948)
March 2 - Basil Poledouris
begins recording his score to Big Wednesday
March 2 - Antoni Komasa-Lazarkiewicz born (1980)
March 2 - Serge Gainsbourg died (1991)
March 2 - Recording sessions begin on Toru Takemitsu
’s score for Rising Sun
March 2 - John Debney records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Nagus” (1993)
March 2 - Goffredo Petrassi died (2003)
March 2 - Malcolm Williamson died (2003)
March 2 - Steven Price wins Oscar for Gravity score (2014)
March 3 - Kazimierz Serocki born (1922)
March 3 - Lee Holdridge born (1944)
March 3 - Jeff Rona born (1957)
March 3 - John Williams
begins recording his score for Jaws
March 3 - Leonard Rosenman begins recording his unused score for The Last Hard Men (1976)
March 3 - Peter Ivers died (1983)
March 3 - Basil Poledouris records his score for the Twilight Zone episode “Profile in Silver” (1986)
March 3 - Arthur Kempel died (2004)
March 4 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score for Anthony Adverse wins the Oscar; however, as per Academy policy, the score is awarded to the head of the studio's music department, Leo Forbstein (1937)
March 4 - Lucio Dalla born (1943)
March 4 - Max Steiner wins score Oscar for Now, Voyager (1943)
March 4 - Johnny Mandel records his score for Harper (1966)
March 4 - Leonard Rosenman died (2008)
DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?
BAD HAIR - Kris Bowers*
"When she wakes up, Anna’s got a smooth ‘do and renewed confidence to tackle her workplace challenges, but it doesn’t take long for the bodies to start piling up. 'Bad Hair' slips on cheesy visual effects as Anna’s living hairstyle snakes around her apartment to train the blood of her perverted landlord, and he’s only the first. Set to Kris Bowers’ moody Bernard Hermann [sic] -esque score, the violence of 'Bad Hair' struggles to maintain enough self-awareness to make the demented premise stick; just as often, it plays out like an unironic horror movie that happens to have dopey, self-aware asides, and can’t seem to reconcile those two tones as it descends into its ridiculous middle section."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"Where 'Bad Hair' falters is, yes, weaving so many of these elements into a consistently compelling narrative. Simien is obviously inspired by ‘80s horror movies and is admirably attempting a very big swing. There is a lot to unfurl and it simply takes too long to do it. There is a distinct energy lacking in the first half of the film so that when things go haywire in the third act it feels a bit like a whole new movie has begun (not to mention a number of different endings). It also doesn’t help that Kris Bowers’ period-influenced score sometimes distracts more than assists the proceedings. And then there is Lorraine who has a lot on her, um, shoulders in her first leading role. She’s no doubt a talented actress but is often, to her detriment, overshadowed by her more experienced co-stars this time around."
Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist
"Hair, however, turns out to make a wicked weapon itself. To Simien, the tossing of lock over shoulder is as threatening as flipping open a switchblade. When Anna cedes control to her weave, the tendrils slither, suck blood from wounds, and coil into a noose. In one scene, the strands slide through a locked door as easily as the liquid-metal T-1000 walked through cell bars in 'Terminator 2' Judging from the Cameron-esque thrums that suddenly barge into composer Kris Bowers’ playful score, he seems to have made the connection, plus others including Bernard Hermman’s [sic] 'Psycho' strings and the airy, ethereal melodies of ’70s spooktaculars."
Amy Nicholson, Variety
"Simien and cinematographer Topher Osborn go for lots of insidious low angles, and Kris Bowers' score pumps up the psychological-thriller mood, with occasional flights into high-drama Bernard Hermann [sic] territory, notably when Virgie does her needlework on Anna's tender scalp. Fashion nostalgists also will get a kick out of costumer Ceci's late-'80s outfits, particularly Zora's linebacker-chic power suits. But despite many deliriously enjoyable sequences, this is thin material, only fitfully funny, messily executed and more silly than scary, which makes it bit of a disappointment."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
COME AWAY - John Debney
"'Come Away' evokes memories of 'Radio Flyer,' the equally appalling 1992 child abuse drama where fantasy and cruel reality merged in ways that were shockingly offensive. As in that film, this one is narrated by the adult version of one of the children. The adult Alice (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) tells her own children the story of her upbringing, and how her brother decided one day to abandon the real world for eternal youth in Neverland. We meet young Alice (Keira Chansa), Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and their doomed older brother, David (Reece Yates). The trio run through some gorgeous landscapes playing pirate games while John Debney’s sweet score accompanies them. Special effects suddenly appear, visualizing the children’s imaginations. Reality breaks in when, after defeating some 'pirates' around a real boat he has been forbidden to go near, David slips into the lake and drowns. Or perhaps he’s struck by lightning first, then drowns. I wasn’t completely sure. Since David was showboating for him when tragedy struck, Peter blames himself for his brother’s death."
Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com
FATMAN - Mondo Boys
"There’s a consistent vision for this version of Santa Claus throughout, from the icy spareness of Johnny Derango’s cinematography to Jennifer Stroud’s costume design, which sees Chris Cringle as a flannel-shirt-and-jeans guy rather than someone in a fur-trimmed red suit. The score by Mondo Boys bypasses the film’s attempts at bleak humor and functions solidly in action-movie mode, but it does so effectively."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
GIRL - Dillon Baldassero
"Still, the themes of the film -- the corrosive pain of poverty and intergenerational trauma, the seeming impossibility of breaking the cycle of abuse -- are heady enough to keep it from succumbing to its worst impulses, and Faust’s unflinching grasp on the material never feels pandering. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s always able to escape off-kilter inclusions that seemed pulled from entirely different films, like Dillon Baldassero’s elegant score or a few hammy sequences right out of an exploitation film (don’t miss the scene in which Rourke fires a gun at a hatchet tumbling through the air)."
Kate Erbland, IndieWire
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY - John Debney
"One of the film's producers is John Legend, which means the music is glorious, with a superb score by John Debney and fine songs from Davy Nathan and Philip Lawrence. The singing is superb, especially from Sharon Rose as Joanna Jangle, Anika Noni Rose as the adult Jessica, Cornwell as young Jangle, and Mills as Journey. Key has a lot of fun with a villain song as he tries to promote his own invention, the toy he could never quite get right. "
Neil Minow, RogerEbert.com
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH - Craig Harris, Mark Isham
"Polished in the way that historical sagas, but rarely those about BIPOC, are presented when gatekeepers believe they merit grandeur, 'Judas' is impeccably conceived. Veteran director of photography Sean Bobbitt ('Widows') operates here with his signature classical elegance, the kind that makes you notice streetlights reflected on rained-soaked pavement. There’s also an opaque saturation to the images that further traps them somewhere in between the then and the now. Enlivened with the memorable interjections of Craig Harris and Mark Isham’s jazzy and trombone-heavy score, the movie sonically carries sharp tension with a hint of impeding doom."
Carlos Aguilar, The Wrap
"King also shows a talent for juxtaposition in his transitions between scenes, deploying them to underscore points and to add small moments of ironic humor in this otherwise serious-minded story. (Early on, we see archival footage of Hampton talking about free breakfast for children, before a hard cut to Hoover dramatically declaring, 'The Black Panthers are the single greatest threat to our national security.' Free breakfast! The horror!) His confident direction keeps the camera moving throughout, and the free-jazz score from composers Craig Harris and Mark Isham both suits the period and adds more nervous energy to the already explosive atmosphere in Chicago. The Windy City shown in this film is not one of skyscrapers and an expansive lakefront, but of modest brick dwellings, dingy back alleys, and industrial yards belching toxic smoke into the air breathed by children living blocks away."
Katie Rife, The Onion AV Club
"Though Mark Isham and Craig Harris’ woozy shifting distinctive score teases discord, the filmmakers do not further elucidate O’Neal’s acute psychological anguish. His internal struggle, choosing between his newfound love of Hampton and his worshiping of Roy, even with King’s callbacks to O’Neal’s interview on the docuseries 'Eyes on the Prize,' is muddled. So Stanfield must fight with one hand tied behind his back to inject O’Neal with greater soul searching. Kaluuya, for his part, almost pulls off the thin storytelling. When he speaks, you want to join his rainbow coalition, even if you’re not completely sure what it is. When he proclaims, 'I am a revolutionary,' you feel the revolution, even if what the revolution is isn’t totally communicated."
Robert Daniels, The Playlist
"The film's dazzling use of music weaves deep cuts from the period and spoken word together with a score by avant-garde jazz trombonist Craig Harris and Mark Isham. That distinctive mix is apparent from the opening, which unfolds to shards of atonal brass that establish an uneasy, noirish atmosphere where the suggestion of violence seems to be constantly churning. O'Neal is introduced both in recreated clips from the only on-screen interview he ever gave, for the PBS docu-series 'Eyes on the Prize II,' and as a lanky figure in a trenchcoat and fedora passing himself off as an FBI agent to 'boost' cars."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THE LIFE AHEAD - Gabriel Yared
"By the time Madame Rosa’s harrowing life experience yields a pivotal monologue -- 'It’s when you give up hope that good things happen,' she tells the boy -- it’s almost like she’s cuing the music to swell, and so it does. Still, no measure of contrived storytelling can ruin the appeal of watching Madame Rosa and Momo form their unique connection."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire
"But if there are points in 'The Life Ahead' where the nerves of actor and character may well be reflecting and serving each other, Loren’s turn builds in grace and soulful tenor as the filmmaking submits to its own most old-fashioned, borderline-kitsch instincts, Gabriel Yared’s gelato-thick score and all. Given how Loren has rationed her big-screen appearances over the years, there’s an unavoidable parallel poignancy in watching her Madame Rosa trace over the memories of the life behind that storied stare: Contrary to its title, this is a film steeped in the past, for actor, character and audience alike."
Guy Lodge, Variety
"Ponti's admiration for the neorealist masters of Italian cinema is evident, even if his storytelling leans toward slicker, more predictable melodrama and his emotional exploration is less subtle. That said, there's economy in the use of Gabriel Yared's gentle score."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
RAMS - Antony Partos
LITTLE FISH - Keegan DeWitt
"Through it all, Cooke and O’Connell maintain a natural chemistry, one that’s sweet and playful at first but eventually turns to longing and heartache. Tomlin’s script cleverly revisits key moments in their relationship with Jude and Emma hovering around the edges, correcting each other, making slight tweaks to the color of a dress or who said what witty line to whom. The stars achieve the tricky task of finding the humor that exists alongside the sadness in these scenes. And the gently haunting score from Keegan DeWitt highlights that this is a race against time, albeit one that’s taking place with significant headwinds."
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
"That question lingers over practically every frame of 'Little Fish,' underlining a profound truth that our relationship with another person is, at its core, a collection of shared memories. The film is prone to indie-movie clichés, distilling Jude and Emma’s relationship into a lot of sweeping montages of too-cute romantic moments -- a marriage proposal in a pet shop, a first kiss in line for the bathroom -- all set to Keegan DeWitt’s swelling score. But Hartigan is able to undercut any potential schmaltziness with the subtle suggestion that these beautiful, relationship-defining moments are ultimately constructed by our own minds. As the film rolls on, some of the details of these memories begin to shift -- like the color of a toy army man’s parachute -- reminding us that such instances don’t exist in some hermetically sealed chamber; they’re subject to the ever-shifting lens of each individual’s own personal memory."
Keith Watson, Slant Magazine
"In tone and style, 'Little Fish' (which was set to premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival) feels indebted to emo-sci-fi predecessors such as 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' and 'Never Let Me Go.' Hartigan’s expressionistic closeups and patient, manicured compositions are coated in a patina of muted, overcast magic-hour hues, and set to plaintive orchestral strings. Those aesthetics amplify the material’s overarching atmosphere of ephemerality -- of identity, togetherness and fond remembrances slipping through one’s fingers -- and so too does Tomlin’s scripting, which routinely frames incidents both big and small as examples of people’s desire to cling to that which will inevitably fade away. Jack’s shutterbug profession further speaks to that basic human impulse, and his photographs eventually factor into the plot proper, once his own mind begins exhibiting signs of deterioration."
Nick Schager, Variety
THE MAURITANIAN - Tom Hodge
"But those moments are the closest the script comes to shaping an emotional thread after the fraught farewell from Mohamedou's mother at the start of the film. And given the travesty of justice he has endured, his appearance via video in the concluding courtroom interlude is anticlimactic, though it has more impact than developments with the characters played by Foster, Cumberbatch or Woodley after details of Mohamedou's ordeal become clear. Composer Tom Hodge's score works hard for feeling that just isn't there in the dull writing."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"On the tech side, the cinematography by Steven Arnold is attuned to both the beauty and danger of what nature brings, while the clever production design by Clayton Jauncey makes Colin’s bathroom the locus for multiple pivotal plot points. Despite some tragic events, the jaunty score by Antony Partos reassures that this iteration of 'Rams' remains a comedy."
Alyssa Simon, Variety
*It's kind of impressive that all three critics who referenced Bernard Herrmann in their reviews of Kris Bowers' score for Bad Hair managed to misspell Herrmann's last name.
THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY
Heard: Le fils prefere/Mademoiselle (Sarde), So Fine (Morricone), A Dog's Way Home (Danna), Torn Curtain (Herrmann), Birds of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Pemberton), To Heal a Nation/Proud Men (Rosenthal), Sliver (Shore), The Little Things (Newman), Sunday in the Park with George (Sondheim), Superman (Williams), Symphonies No. 1 & 4 (Ives), Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics (Crosby), The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines/Quest for the Spear (LoDuca), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (various), The Setting Sun (Jarre)
Read: Paper Trails, by Pete Dexter
Seen: I just read that movie theaters in New York City will be allowed to reopen at the end of next week. Selfishly, I hope theaters here in L.A. don't reopen until the vaccine is more widely available.
Watched: The Shaggy Dog ; Fargo ("Before the Law"); Futurama ("My Three Suns"); Torchy Runs for Mayor; Star Trek: Picard ("The End Is the Beginning"); Westworld ("Decoherence"); 7 Men from Now; Get Shorty ("Sins of a Chambermaid"); Generation Kill ("Bomb in the Garden")