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  • Movie Review: AS ABOVE, SO BELOW

    Entertaining and erudite, although increasingly incoherent

  • Movie Review: THE NOVEMBER MAN

    A spy thriller that seems to have lost some clues in translation

  • Blu-ray review: PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE

    This quirky 1974 Brian De Palma film looks better than ever

  • Exclusive Interview: INTRUDERS show runner Glen Morgan

    The E.P. talks his new series, plus what happened with THOSE WHO KILL

  • Exclusive: MASTERS OF SEX star Caitlin FitzGerald

    The actress talks her complicated role on Season 2 of the Showtime series

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SPOTLIGHT Magnify

CD Review: JOE soundtrack

JOE soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

It might be said that David Wingo’s winning, southern-fried soundtrack for MUD was akin to an artily existential take on Charles Bernstein’s South-ploitation score for WHITE LIGHTNING. But now Wingo ventures once again into the land of valiant, and villainous rednecks with nary a rustic instrumentation in earshot for JOE. Joined by director David Gordon Green’s frequent composer Jeff McIlwain (SNOW ANGELS, THE SITTER), this duo instead hear the dark brew of ambient trouble growing to a boil inside of Nicholas Cage’s ex-con turned reluctant hero. It’s a palpable, unsetting atmosphere of dread that could just as easily serve as …Read On »

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Interview: Robert Rodriguez on El Rey and THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR

Robert Rodriguez and Guillermo del Toro in The Director's Chair | © 2014 El Rey

Plenty of creative people have their own production companies. Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, of EL MARIACHI, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, DESPERADO, GRINDHOUSE, SIN CITY, MACHETE, the SPY KIDS films and more, has been one of the stars of American independent cinema for decades. Rodriguez already has his own Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas. Now Rodriguez has branched out to having his own cable television network, El Rey. El Rey continues to showcase the kinds of movies and TV shows Rodriguez loves – martial arts films, action flicks, reruns of the original STARSKY AND HUTCH and DARK ANGEL – but it also …Read On »

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Composer Brian Tyler gets busy with scoring TEENAGE MUTANTS NINJA TURTLES, EXPENDABLES 3 and INTO THE STORM – Interview

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES soundtrack | ©2014 Atlantic Records

When it comes to musical testosterone, Brian Tyler’s work is the equivalent of a soundtrack Stairmaster playing at top speed. Whether he’s scoring Viking gods, international speed racers or not-so over-the-hill brothers in arms, Tyler’s dynamically percussive rhythms blast multiplex speakers with maximum impact, his mighty cues throttling from one explosive crescendo to the next. But while Tyler’s action-centric scores are all about energetic attitude, he rocks out in a way that shows his old-school understanding for the importance of themes, let alone melody. It’s exactly this dynamic way of incorporating an orchestra with cutting-edge chords that’s made Tyler into …Read On »

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CD Review: MILLION DOLLAR ARM soundtrack

MILLION DOLLAR ARM soundtrack | ©2014 Walt Disney Records

When A.R. Rahman first gained Oscar-winning attention in the western world for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, it was as if some musical pitch hitter had arrived from nowhere, able to capture the exotic rhythms of his heritage via a pop beat as fresh as any album-spinning club kid (despite the fact that this relatively youthful composer-producer had been updating ancient Indian beats for quite some time). It’s a situation that couldn’t have made Rahman a better composer to play the sweet culture clash of a bunch of cricket players from the continent being potentially thrust into major league baseball for this Disney …Read On »

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DEFIANCE show runner Kevin Murphy chats about Season 2 – Exclusive – Part 2

Grant Bowler as Joshua Nolan in DEFIANCE | © 2014 Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

In Part 2 of Assignment X’s exclusive interview with Kevin Murphy, the co-creator/executive producer/show runner of Syfy’s DEFIANCE, he talks about metaphor, Votan races and why he never wants to work with feathers again. AX: At what point did you realize the series was in part a metaphor for human on human interaction? KEVIN MURPHY: I think that was always part of it. I’m as proud of this show as anything I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot of stuff over the years, and I think it’s really a testament to, we were in a supportive environment with a …Read On »

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CD Review: MY NIKIFOR soundtrack

MY NIKIFOR soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media

If you enjoyed the eccentric cimbalom approach of THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL  then you’ll likely want to take a musical room in the addled, artistic mind of this Polish painter. For the stay proves a real, whimsical delight, as heard through composing concierge Bartek Gliniak. Having gotten recognition in his native Poland, this talented musical artist now gets some international soundtrack exposure with the release of his work for this award-winning 2004 film. Embodying a disabled, yet visionary painter who could barely communicate, Gliniak comes up with a memorable, waltzing theme that’s expresses itself through both wry humor and emotion …Read On »

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CD Review: SHIVER soundtrack

SHIVER soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

RE-ANIMATOR‘s Richard Band really got put on the horror map with his big thing for decapitated noggins, which tells you all you need to know about how he ended up in the company of SHIVER‘s headhunting serial killer. Gone is any of that aforementioned film’s Herrmann-esque comedy for this straight-up thriller, to which Band contributes a grimly exciting score. Where budgetary necessity has resulted in many such low-budget horror movies employing a sampled orchestra, Band has certainly turned that sound into a charm that signifies he’s in the eerie house. Twisted bell percussion blends with efficiently emulated strings to give …Read On »

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TV Review: TRUE BLOOD – Season 7 – “May Be the Last Time”

Jim Parrack, Ryan Kwanten, Ashley Hinshaw in TRUE BLOOD - Season 7 - "May Be The Last Time" | ©2014 HBO/John P. Johnson

Stars: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Alexander Skarsgard, Chris Bauer, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Amelia Rose Blaire, Lauren Bowles, Tara Buck, Anna Camp, Nelsan Ellis, Gregg Daniel, Aaron Christian Howles, Noah Matthews, Bailey Noble, Nathan Parsons,  Adina Porter, Carrie Preston, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Deborah Ann Woll, Karolina Wydra, Natalie Hall, Will Yun Lee, Rutger Hauer, Michael McMillian, Shishir Kurup, Riley Smith, Ashley Hinshaw, Shannon Lucio, Marcia de Rousse Writer: Craig Chester, series created by Alan Ball, based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels Director: Simon Jayes Network: HBO, Sundays @ 9 PM Airdate: August 3, 2013 …Read On »

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CD Review: THE SIGNAL soundtrack

THE SIGNAL soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

While I’m dying to hear (let alone see) what composer Nima Fakhrara did for Japan’s live action version of GATCHAMAN (aka BATTLE OF THE PLANETS), I can only imagine that it must have caught the attention of THE SIGNAL – with the result being an eerily pulsing sci-fi score with a strong electric undercurrent. In this paranoid tale, three college students get far worse than they bargained for while chasing down a hacker. As they’re propelled into a sterile, claustrophobic nightmare of mad science where things gone from bad to mind and body-bendingly worse, Fakhara’s score tunes strongly into the …Read On »

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MANHATTAN star Daniel Stern takes on the atom bomb

The cast of MANHATTAN on WGN | © 2014 WGN

In WGN America’s new Sunday night drama series MANHATTAN, the title refers not to New York City but rather to the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. This was the code name for the top secret work of scientists who, during World War II, were racing to create an atomic weapon before the Nazis could beat them to it. While some people depicted in MANHATTAN are historical figures, such as J. Robert Oppenheimer, most of them are characters invented by series creator Sam Shaw. Daniel Stern plays one of Shaw’s original characters, senior scientist Glen Babbit, who is a …Read On »

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