CD Review: PRANCER soundtrack

PRANCER soundtrack | ©2013 Intrada Records

Holiday cheer is now abounding at Intrada Records with the recent releases of Alan Silvestri’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL and Bruce Broughton’s THE THANKSGIVING PROMISE. But perhaps their most unexpected early present to arrive is Maurice Jarre’s score for 1989s PRANCER. While this tale of a reindeer that may or may not be Santa’s favorite beast of burden might not have the cult cache of “A Christmas Story,” “Prancer” is certainly a chestnut for the cable generation. The star at the top of its feel-good Xmas tree is a truly beautiful score by Maurice Jarre. Then at the height of his …Read On »


CD Review: FROZEN soundtrack

FROZEN soundtrack | ©2013 Walt Disney Records

An iced cornucopia of The Magic Kingdom’s greatest fairy tale hits that reprises the Hans Christian Anderson LITTLE MERMAID magic, FROZEN brims over with cute sidekicks, a dashing hero and the upped ante of two princesses – one with a power that Professor Xavier would admire. It all makes for exactly the kind of pre-teen soundtrack catnip that set the studio’s animated standard for a reason, and is once again delivered at the height of hiply imaginative panache. FROZEN‘s memorable numbers have been co-written by the WONDER PETS duo of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (who also happen to have …Read On »


CD Review: LES VISITEURS soundtrack (750 édition)

LES VISITEURS soundtrack | ©2013 Music Box Records

Where Georges Delerue had earthbound romance aplenty on his resume in both France and Hollywood, the one genre that was practically absent from his resume was science fiction (though the talking cetaceans of DAY OF THE DOLPHIN could count). This makes Music Box’s ultra-limited release of LES VISITEURS a revelation on the musical order of hearing Delerue’s tunes at Devil’s Tower, though one can certainly expect his lush, beautifully flowing melodies instead of tone rows when it comes to welcoming the white suit-clad alien emissaries of this 1980 French TV miniseries. Their world-hopping chase accounts for the harmonica, classical quartet, …Read On »


CD Review: VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET soundtrack

VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET soundtrack | ©2013 Kritzerland

Kritzerland is proving to be the France of retro record labels by being just about the first company to get into the Jerry Lewis soundtrack musical catalogue, first with Walter Scharf’s delightful THE GEISHA BOY and now with the double-header of VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET and THE DELICATE DELINQUENT, two scores that reflect Lewis’ wacky ingenuity. The star often had fun playing off of movie genres, and his chance to indulge in sci-fi tropes is also heard in the absolute delight that composer Leigh Harline has in making hay with aliens-among-us clichés, as particularly heard in The Theremin. Its …Read On »


Interview: SAVING MR. BANKS composer Thomas Newman scores a spoonful of bittersweet sugar

SAVING MR. BANKS soundtrack | ©2013 Walt Disney Soundtrack

Tuxedoed penguins, dancing chimney sweeps, a housekeeper floating in on an umbrella to tame a household of errant children – all accompanied by some of the most memorable songs to grace a Disney movie, let alone any family film in Hollywood via England history. These confections make for the enduring magic that is MARY POPPINS, a movie that’s melodiously synonymous with family warmth. However, the real story behind this heartwarming classic was anything but harmonious, especially when POPPINS decidedly Scrooge-like creator arrived in LA’s magic kingdom like a serving of castor oil – haunted by a childhood that was anything …Read On »


CD Review: The Best Scores of 2013 – The Runners-Up

Brian Tyler / NOW YOU SEE ME soundtrack | ©2013 Glassnote

BEYOND TWO SOULS (Lorne Balfe / Sony Entertainment) Though it’s far more of an interactive movie than it is a video game, the negligible level of first-person shooter ability here doesn’t prevent BEYOND TWO SOULS from being a complete immersive experience, especially with the eerie, and rapturous quality of Lorne Balfe’s score, leveled up with the ace technical and musical production oversight of Hans Zimmer. For a heroine seemingly cursed by her lifelong bond to an invisible entity, Balfe conjures a truly beautiful theme, topped with a female voice that resonates with a wounded emotion that binds this powerfully symphonic …Read On »


CD Review: The Ten Best Scores of 2013

Anthony Gonzalez, Joseph Trapanese / OBLIVION soundtrack | ©2013 +180 Records

THE BOOK THIEF (John Williams / Sony Classical) The kind of unabashedly thematic, and mostly melodic music that’s made John Williams into the most popular film composer of all time is often the sound of innocence itself, an unabated musical youthfulness that he’s also played to ironic effect when dealing with children confronting the unimaginable. Here it’s a genocide that’s heard, but rarely witnessed within a young German girl’s sheltered life during World War 2. Such is the devastating, gentle power that speaks volumes for THE BOOK THIEF‘s score as it encapsulates the innocence, first loves and ultimate shock of …Read On »



THE FIFTH ESTATE soundtrack | ©2013 Lakeshore Records

Where you could have synth keyboards or an orchestra playing computer espionage in the dial-up modem days of WAR GAMES or THE NET, hacking has now grown to become an international enterprise of the hip and politically savvy. And along with these very good looking nerds, the techno thriller genre’s music has evolved into lightning-fast connection combos of trance-industrial rhythms, as often practiced by DJ’s getting their feet wet as film composers. So it’s nice to hear a composer who helped rep a new wave of film music back in the 80s with the oddball likes of BLOOD SIMPLE and …Read On »


CD Review: WE ARE WHAT WE ARE soundtrack

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE soundtrack | ©2013 Milan Records

Those expecting the kind of orchestrally ferocious, percussion-gnashing cannibal family score that usually comes with the rural, inbred territory aren’t going to get the expected soundtrack serving, in spite of one clan’s gruesome steadfastness that WE ARE WHAT WE ARE. The credit for this unusually intelligent, and delicate approach to a genre that splatters both flesh and instruments with equal helter-skelter abandon goes to the collaboration between composer Jeff Grace and director Jim Mickle, who previously collaborated on the apocalyptic vampire fable “Stake Land,” and now has relocated a Mexican meat-eater film for upstate New York with the same brand …Read On »


CD Review: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS soundtrack

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS soundtrack | ©2013 Varese Sarabande Records

Where most Hollywood films do their best to instill some sense of reality into true-life movies, director Paul Greengrass has the ability to make his re-enactments real, which makes it no easy task for the composer to musically capture that sense of cinema verite. Where John Powell did an admirable job of creating an inevitable sense of dread with the ticking time-bomb percussion, Arabic suspense and tragic heroism that would send Greengrass’ UNITED 93 to its awful fate, the director’s new, equally gripping, but far “happier” ending for the true story of CAPTAIN PHILLIPS demands a way more visceral approach, and …Read On »

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