Soundtracks

CD Review: DISTANT THUNDER soundtrack

DISTANT THUNDER soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

Old-school Maurice Jarre admirers might have blanched when the composer mostly left behind the orchestra that he’d made his Hollywood name on with the likes of DR. ZHIVAGO to engage in electronic pursuits during the 80s and 90s. Yet his synth explorations yielded some of the composer’s most interesting, and innovative work with the likes of DREAMSCAPE, JULIA AND JULIA and THE MOSQUITO COAST, not to mention Oscar nominations for  WITNESS and GHOST. Now Intrada goes deep into the Vietnam-haunted Canadian woods to discover a near-unknown, computer-fashioned Jarre score with 1988s DISTANT THUNDER, an equally unsung film that brought together …Read On »

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CD Review: JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT soundtrack

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

It’s ironic that January will see La La Land’s full re-release of DEAD AGAIN, an operatically orchestral, knowingly old-school Hollywood score (complete with thundering chorus) for a film that put composer Patrick Doyle and actor-filmmaker Kenneth Branagh on the Hollywood map. For like this movie whose MacGuffin was a reincarnation role-reversal between composer and lover, those fans familiar with Doyle back in his symphonic glory days of CARLITO’S WAY, THE LITTLE PRINCESS and INDOCHINE  would never recognize the electronically slicing, percussively smashing composer he’s become today, especially with JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT. Make no mistake that those thematic, orchestral chops …Read On »

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CD Review: MUPPETS MOST WANTED soundtrack

MUPPETS MOST WANTED soundtrack | ©2014 Walt Disney Records

The best kid’s stuff has always has a wisenheimer appeal to adults, bringing on cuteness that the tykes can enjoy, while working on a completely different satirical level that their parents get a chuckle out of. Such is the lovable balance of sweetness and sarcasm that’s made the Muppets endure through innumerable sequels, a hip factor that goes off the scale when you’ve got Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie re-invigorating a bunch of puppets. MUPPETS MOST WANTED is a singular, happy celebration of self-effacing sarcasm, with songs that are perhaps even more toe-tappingly hilarious and catchy than McKenzie’s first …Read On »

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CD Review: THE LETHAL WEAPON SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION

THE LETHAL WEAPON SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION soundtrack | ©2013 La La Land Records

Among the composers who excelled in the legions of distinctly 80s and 90s action films that had tough guy heroes mowing down hordes of American drug dealers and / or Eurotrash villains, Michael Kamen nailed the sound of two cop franchises that were perhaps so popular because their body count heroes weren’t iron jawed hulks. One featured an NYC detective who always happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, while the other teamed a seemingly crazy lone wolf LA officer with a partner who was more concerned with his home life. So while Kamen’s brassily orchestral, …Read On »

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CD Review: QB VII soundtrack

QB VII soundtrack | ©2013 Prometheus Records

Back in the day, television movies-cum-miniseries weren’t just films for free. They were often multi-night events that tried to rival the big screen for its epic, star-filled scope and serious subject matter, hiring top-flight Hollywood composers and affording them the cinematic resources and creativity to rival their widescreen work. One particular musician who benefitted from the networks’ most prestigious offerings was Jerry Goldsmith, who’d started out with series like DR. KILDARE and THE TWILIGHT ZONE before taking home Emmy wins for THE RED PONY, BABE and MASADA. But it was arguably 1974s QB VII that gave Goldsmith his most stirring …Read On »

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CD Review: THE YOUNG SAVAGES soundtrack

THE YOUNG SAVAGES soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

Taking his place among such be bopin’ jazz artists as Miles Davis (ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS) who were recruited to the far more defined style of film scoring, David Amram made a powerful feature debut in 1961s THE YOUNG SAVAGES, for which director John Frankenheimer took the BLACKBOARD JUNGLE aesthetic to even rawer territory as caring cop Burt Lancaster finds there’s more than meets than eye in a group of racist white toughs killing of a blind Puerto Rican kid. Sure jazz has always been the sound of juvenile delinquency since the late 40s, but leave it to a true …Read On »

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CD Review: AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY soundtrack

AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY soundtrack | ©2014 Sony Classical

The STEEL MAGNOLIAS formula gets an edge in Tracy Letts’ dysfunctional Oklahoma family fireworks. It’s an explosive all-star duel of acting drawls that gets served up with an unexpectedly subtle throw-down soundtrack, serving up a tasty mix of southern rock tunes and evocative scoring. On the first count, there’s a dreamy mix of guitar and strings to Bon Iver’s “Hinnom, TX,” while an unplugged Kings of Leon strums a longing “Last Mile Home.” John Fullbright delivers the blues-rock of “Gawd Above,” while JD & The Straight Shot’s gentle “Violet’s Song” evokes the defiant family ties that bind. Even Sherlock Holmes …Read On »

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CD Review: BONNIE & CLYDE soundtrack

BONNIE & CLYDE soundtrack | ©2013 La La Land Records

Having helped to blast away the ratings for The History Channel’s HATFIELDS & McCOYS with an energetic, rural score (co-composed with Tony Morales) for a post Civil War blood feud, John Debney gets to jump ahead a few decades for more upscale backwoods violence, courtesy of BONNIE & CLYDE. But where them other fightin’ families definitely were lacking in the glamour department, Debney’s musical canvas is increased exponentially by having two jazz age killer kids at his disposal – criminals who wanted to be stars of their own body-splattered “reality” show that made them antisocial media darlings. Debney spectacularly weds …Read On »

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CD Review: CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS soundtrack

CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS soundtrack | ©2013 Activision

Gaining some major percussive action chops under Harry Gregson-Williams’ command with THE NUMBER 23, GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN, David Buckley has emerged in his own, rhythmically exciting right by layering down alternately suspenseful and exciting groove scores as FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, GONE and PARKER. But it’s the video game arena that’s now given Buckley his most expansive, and explosive opportunity with CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS. With the guts and glory franchise taken to its apocalyptic, sci-fi extremes for a Latin American attack that essentially wipes out North America, Buckley brings on guts and glory Armageddon that benefits …Read On »

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CD Reviews: COLETTE and A SINGLE SHOT soundtracks

COLETTE soundtrack | ©2013 Movie Score Media

While he’s not busy re-animating ghouls, killing hags and battling demons in such ragingly entertaining genre scores as HANSEL AND GRETEL WITCH HUNTERS and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS,  Icelandic composer Atli Orvarsson is doing his thing for the arthouse, and revealing even more impressive layers to his talent in the bargain. Indeed, COLETTE counts as one of his most evocative works for this Holocaust-themed score about impossible survival at Auschwitz. While sorrow is very much a part of the powerful emotions that flood COLETTE‘s love story between two inmates, the score, like the film’s characters, isn’t about to give in to …Read On »

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