Soundtracks

CD Review: MALEFICENT soundtrack

MALEFICENT soundtrack | ©2014 Walt Disney Records

Genre films have always held a rewarding spell for James Newton Howard, an astonishingly adept, and prolific composer who from his first supernatural score to 1990s “Flatliners” has taken to the thematic majesty of a chorally-powered, symphonic orchestra to both horrifically dark and soaringly heroic effect – both emotional ends of which meet like never before in his magnificent MALIFICENT. For one of the best villain apologist fantasies in many a moon, Howard becomes a sorcerer’s apprentice as he unleashes Disney’s most infamous she-devil in all of her unexpectedly moving might. While he’s accompanied lost civilizations (ATLANTIS), talking thunder lizards …Read On »

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CD Review: WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE? soundtrack (limited edition)

WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE? soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

All the dining metaphors in the world can’t do justice to Henry Mancini’s delicious mystery-comedy score for Ted Kotcheff’s equally delectable 1978 film that took cinematic food porn to new, mouth-watering heights. A composer who knew how to blend suspense, romance and humor with an escapist touch, Mancini starts the ovens rolling with a rollicking, Baroque theme that captures the pomp of haute culture. Eschewing “Pink Panther”-esque jazz in favor of a classical, continental approach, Mancini ooh’s-and-aah’s over the highly edible creations with perky brass and lush strings, while providing an unexpected melancholy bite in his love theme for Jacqueline …Read On »

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CD Review: THE RESCUE soundtrack

THE RESCUE soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

Intrada follows up their release of Bruce Broughton’s classic score to YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES with music for a just slightly more jingoistic youth adventure that’s sure to go down as one of Kim Il Jong’s least favorite entertainments. But for Broughton fans, 1988s Touchstone movie THE RESCUE  is a flag-waving, anti North Korean blast of nutty musical fun from the composer, if only to hear Broughton unfurl symphonic action combos of all-American funk and evil Asian percussion. But then, blasting commies was the rage in a decade that saw Basil Poledouris take down the Russians on U.S. soil for RED …Read On »

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CD Review: THE MACHINE soundtrack

THE MACHINE soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media

Among the wave of big-budget sci-fi scores using the latest in music high-tech to capture a lo-fi mid-80s electric sound, THE MACHINE resurrects the ghost in the synth to notable effect. Making his feature debut after numerous shorts (one tellingly titled THE BRITISH UFO FILES), Tom Raybould nails a hybrid approach between the coldly determined rhythms of John Carpenter, the more ominous sonic masses of Vangelis and the organic tonalities of a gentle, and just as effective piano and guitar. Put these together, and you’ve got an impressive recipe for creating musical artificial intelligence with a heart. Such is the …Read On »

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CD Review: THE GERMAN DOCTOR (WALKOLDA) soundtrack

THE GERMAN DOCTOR soundtrack | ©2014 Quartet Records

While history itself never allowed us the satisfaction of Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death” being brought to justice, that hasn’t stopped the movies from imagining what happened to Joef Mengele during his decades-long sojourn in South America. Now Nazi-friendly Argentina offers their take on this legendarily evil figure with THE GERMAN DOCTOR, which finds the physician brought into the fold of an unsuspecting family, whose daughter he takes a potentially dangerous shine to. But if you’re expecting the rousing Bavarian strains of Jerry Goldsmith’s THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL or the menacing, slithering darkness of Michael Small’s MARATHON MAN, then composers Andres …Read On »

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CD Review: THE FINAL MEMBER soundtrack

THE FINAL MEMBER soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media

Whether it was a mildly horny teen in THE WAY WAY BACK, a guy getting it on with his dream girl through a good number of the (500) DAYS OF SUMMER or a high school senior MacDaddy facing THE SPECTACULAR NOW, Rob Simonsen has scored more than a few films where using one’s penis is of vital importance. The difference with THE FINAL MEMBER  is that it becomes a detachment contest among three particularly giving guys who want to donate their Johnson to the Icelandic Phallological Museum, the preeminent (and only) penis museum on the planet that needs to complete …Read On »

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CD Review: FILTH soundtrack

FILTH soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

Clint Mansell has a rocking way of descending into madness, whether it’s a math savant drilling a hole in his head to solve an impossible equation, having the savior of the great flood become convinced he’s got to sacrifice a first born, or manically playing a bunch of junkies hallucinating their way to hell. Fuel his style of using rhythmically intensifying waves of electric guitar and symphonic psychosis with the drug-addled imagination of TRAINSPOTTING author Irving Welsh, and you’ve got a powerfully unhinged recipe for one very bad Scottish lieutenant in FILTH. The twisted cop’s nationality cleverly accounts for the bagpipes …Read On »

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CD Review: DENNIS THE MENACE soundtrack

DENNIS THE MENACE soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

While he was a maestro of nearly every musical style, the one genre that Jerry Goldsmith never quite seemed to master was straight-up, non-genre comedy, particularly in such oddball scores as THE LONELY GUY, FIERCE CREATURES and MR. BASEBALL. Maybe it was because the melodies got all sentimental when confronted with straight-up romance, as opposed to playing the hijinks of gremlins and psycho neighbors. While he might not have horns, the devilish mischief of 1993s DENNIS THE MENACE does much to rectify the Goldsmith comedy curse, especially since the romance here is giving a yucky kiss to Margaret Wade. DENNIS …Read On »

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CD Review: BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY soundtrack

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY soundtrack | ©2014 Lakeshore Records

Few comedy-minded composers are bridging the gap between the days of future alt. rock and the past’s pop kitsch like Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau, especially when it comes to all-out spoofs that allowed the free for all of jazz, psychedelic and Mexican music in CASA DI ME PADRE or the 70s funk fest and shark love songs of ANCHORMAN 2. But what makes LIVING better, and more challenging is that instead of uproarious pop culture and movie jokes, this scoring duo is tasked with rampaging through regular day suburbia, if still completely jacked up on illicit sex and drugs. …Read On »

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CD Review: UNDER THE SKIN soundtrack

UNDER THE SKIN soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

There are WTF scores. And then there are WTF scores, soundtracks that take an approach so utterly bizarre and unique that their composers don’t seem to have originated from this planet. On that note, someone had better do a major physical examination of Mica Levi, a seemingly come-from-nowhere musician – at least if you aren’t aware of her alternative career in Micachu and The Shapes. But given this young, classically trained artist’s stunning, and startling scoring debut, you just might assume her place of origin is another star system. For how else to describe the sound mass that’s likely what …Read On »

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