CD Review: WON TON TON soundtrack

WON TON TON soundtrack | ©2014 Kritzerland Records

Neal Hefti was one of the swinging-est composers of the Mad Men era, a musician who put a happy-go-lucky bachelor pad groove into the wet bar of such comedies as SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL, HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE and BAREFOOT IN THE PARK. However, it’s his cool, superhero scoring via Vegas for TV’s BATMAN that remains Hefti’s best-known work among a criminally under-represented discography. Thankfully, Kritzerland comes to the rescue with this two-fer of great scores for box office bombs (whose chances certainly weren’t helped by their way-too long titles). While I can’t attest if 1976s WON TON …Read On »

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CD Review: THE ZERO THEOREM soundtrack

THE ZERO THEOREM soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

When you think back to Terry Gilliam’s latter good old days with THE FISHER KING, TWELVE MONKEYS and arguably FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, the directors’ movies worked so strikingly well by being simultaneously mind-blowing and nightmare-inducing acid trips, unleashing exaggerated performances and imagery that tended to turn the world into a dystopian wonderland. It’s a sad sign of how far Gilliam has fallen since THE BROTHERS GRIMM that BRAZIL and TWELVE MONKEYS have gotten upchucked as THE ZERO THEOREM which equals near insufferability – though not without Gilliam’s seemingly unbreakable visual talent on display. But the one element …Read On »

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CD Review: THE BOXTROLLS soundtrack

THE BOXTROLLS soundtrack | ©2014 +180 Records

With his impressively elegant use of a full, assured orchestra, the Italian-born, English-based composer Dario Marianelli hasn’t had to scavenge for major assignments, as such epically romantic historical scores like ATONEMENT, AGORA and ANNA KARENINA have proven, along with the mythic genre scores for THE BROTHERS GRIMM and V FOR VENDETTA have shown. But even that latter film’s shadowy, dystopian-busting superhero doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of a morally bankrupt (and cheese-obsessed to boot) town like THE BOXTROLLS, its delightful score marking Marianelli’s first venture into perhaps not-so tyke friendly territory.  Laika, the producer-animators of BOXTROLLS have always had …Read On »

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CD Review: FRANK and RUDDERLESS soundtracks

RUDDERLESS soundtrack | ©2014 Lakeshore Records

For all of the rock stadium popularity that a studio polished song soundtrack might have, it’s often the raw tunes of a decidedly unsigned, outsider band that reaches into the heart, or madness-addled brain in a way no Grammy-friendly album can. At their best, these little tune-filled albums can even find appeal with score fans who normally regard songs CDs as heresy, an open-minded listen especially deserving from them for a big-headed bizarro and a garage band finding the power of healing in unthinkably written songs. FRANK is very loosely based on the strange career of England’s Frank Sidebottom, who had …Read On »

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CD Review: DEAD RINGERS, NAKED LUNCH and CRASH soundtracks

DEAD RINGERS soundtrack | ©2014 HOWE Records

Howard Shore made his musical bones on the body horror of director David Cronenberg, a match particularly made in visceral-intellectual heaven with DEAD RINGERS, NAKED LUNCH and CRASH, three scores that show the chilling diversity in what’s arguably the most rewardingly unhinged (and ongoing) collaboration between two creepily-minded auteurs of this dark side of Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock. Now Shore gives this twisted trio a collector’s edition re-mastering, made complete with additional music that truly brings out his music’s mesmerizing power. 1988s DEAD RINGERS marked Shore’s fourth collaboration with Cronenberg for the most realistically disturbing movie the director had …Read On »

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CD Review: MISTER MOSES soundtrack

MISTER MOSES soundtrack | ©2014 Prometheus Records

After doing numerous re-performances of John Barry’s work through the years with LION IN THE WINTER, ROBIN AND MARIAN and an especially spectacular resurrection from the deep of RAISE THE TITANIC, the team of producer James Fitzpatrick, conductor Nic Raine and the now-stellar performers of The City of Prague Philharmonic take another trek with the composer’s sprit into what’s arguably his most successful continent. But where the themes for his furious jungle drumming, sweeping romance and brassy adventure of  ZULU and his Oscar-winning scores to BORN FREE and OUT OF AFRICA can be recalled by audiences the world over, 1965s …Read On »

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CD Review: BAD MILO soundtrack

BAD MILO soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media

Ted Masur is an ass clown in the truest sense of the world with a memorable physical soundtrack debut that poops out his delightfully twisted score for BAD MILO about a monster that emerges from a nebbish’s butt to unleash hell on his master’s tormentors. Packed with devilish fury and eccentricity to spare, Masur’s music is a clever delight as it not only goes rampaging about in Elfman-esque fashion, but channels horror-indie energy into a uniquely comic sound that would be perfect for some Mike Judge movie down the line. There’s lunacy to spare in the off-kilter clocks of a …Read On »

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CD Review: LA BUCA soundtrack

LA BUCA soundtrack | ©2014 Quartet Records

Fans of Pino Donaggio can only visualize Brian De Palma’s frequent suspense music consigliore holding up a butcher knife composed of lush orchestrations for such scores as CARRIE, BLOW OUT and BODY DOUBLE given his work that hits stateside. Undoubtedly, they’ll get a big musical shock if they hear how he’s equally adept at handling the styles of George Gershwin and Stephan Grappelli with the finesse he usually gives to Bernard Herrmann. The latter two are the jazzy partners in musical crime for this Italian comedy that finds a shady lawyer using hook and crook to reverse the record of …Read On »

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CD Review: DRACULA UNTOLD soundtrack

DRACULA UNTOLD soundtrack | ©2014 +180 Records

Between the sword and sorcery that helps seat the GAME OF THRONES to the tongue-sucking plague brought on by THE STRAIN, Ramin Djawadi has been having a hell of a time giving eerily adventurous production value to genre TV. Now with DRACULA UNTOLD, Djawadi gets to unleash a truly epic supernatural score that bat wings its way to the top of his work. Vlad the Impaler gets his most emotionally vulnerable treatment a la that other not-so villainous revisionist movie MALEFICENT the horror springing from the character’s humanity. Djawadi powerfully responds by giving Dracula a memorably bold, darkly heroic theme …Read On »

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CD Review: THE HERO OF COLOR CITY and NINJAGO soundtracks

THE HERO OF COLOR CITY soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

Varese Sarabande continues to diversify to different audiences, in these two cases musically appealing to the younger set. The wee ones, particularly children with a thing for crayons, should enjoy repeated listening to THE HERO OF COLOR CITY. There’s a sweet, gentle enjoyment they’ll find in the songs and score by ex Ziggy Marley drummer Angel Roché Jr and Zoë Poledouris-Roché, who helped her dad Basil cook up an especially important theme for the way-more adult CONAN THE BARBARIAN back in her younger days. Tunes like “Color the World” and “Heave Ho” have cleverly rhyming lyrics and catchy melodies perfect …Read On »

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