CD Review: BATES MOTEL and PENNY DREADFUL soundtracks

PENNY DREADFUL soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

Two cable hits have been busy re-inventing everyone’s favorite Mama’s boy and band of Edwardian monster hunters. But leave it to Chris Bacon and Abel Korzeniowski to make these often horrific exploits go down with orchestral elegance. For Bacon, it’s realizing that melodic empathy is the room key to loving Norman Bates as much as his mom, tenderness that suffuses his often beautiful, lush score to BATES MOTEL. Yet the spirit of Bernard Herrmann certainly inhabits this abode, not in stormily gothic (or stabbing) violins, but in BATES‘ long, drifting string lines and sympathetic piano. While there’s effectively uptempo percussion, …Read On »

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CD Review: THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and THUNDERBIRD 6 soundtrack

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and THUNDERBIRD 6 soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s marionette-centric genre shows like JOE 90 and SUPERCAR might have seemed like charmingly ingenious kids’ stuff in other people’s wire-holding hands. Yet it was the couples’ joyful, uncondescending commitment to their literally wooden characters, and ingeniously designed models that made them truly come to flesh and blood life, especially by filling them with the robustly symphonic scores of Barry Gray. Their imaginations truly took off to become the toast of England, and the TV-watching world with their series THE THUNDERBIRDS, which had the Tracy family and their International Rescue roster of rocketships coming to the near-future’s …Read On »

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Blu-ray Review: DOLLS Collector’s Edition

DOLLS Collector's Edition Blu-ray | ©2014 Shout! Factory

Stars: Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Carrie Lorraine, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Bunty Bailey, Cassie Stuart, Stephen Lee Writer: Ed Naha Director: Stuart Gordon Distributor: Shout! Factory Suggested Retail Price: $29.93 When RE-ANIMATOR hit theaters in 1985, it was one of those debut feature films that couldn’t be ignored. Director Stuart Gordon and occasional producing partner Brian Yuzna delivered an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that has become legendary. A wild gory and memorable ride filled with imagination, perversion and a breakout performance by Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West. With over-the-top gore that was so extreme the film couldn’t even garner …Read On »

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The Year in Review: The Best Scores of 2014 – The Runner Ups and Composers To Watch

THE BEST SCORES OF 2014 – The Runner Up’s and Composers To Watch BIG BAD WOLVES  (Frank Ilfman / Movie Score Media) Stop me if you’ve heard the same cinematic tune about a perceived miscreant tied into a chair for all manner of mental, and physical torture to be performed upon him. Thankfully, the Israeli breakout film BIG BAD WOLVES whistles the genre song with smashing black-humored suspense, as captured with a thunderous score by Frank Ilfman, who twists a thrillingly mean symphonic knife as he relentlessly veers between frantic action and sly, Herrmann-esque strings as a set-up for ironic, …Read On »

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CD Review: BLOW OUT soundtrack

BLOW OUT soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

After CARRIE and DRESSED TO KILL, DePalma and Donaggio were at the top of their ersatz Hitchcock-Herrmann game when they took a nihilistic detour into the paranoia-conspiracy territory that fueled such similarly bleak classics as THE PARALLAX VIEW and THE CONVERSATION. But while there was nothing remotely “meta” about those movies’ dark approach, the thrill of any collaboration between this director and composer was in seeing, and hearing just how close their homages could get to the originals and survive, while still being dazzlingly stylish in their own right. On that count, BLOW OUT is a terrific example of being …Read On »

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The Year in Review: The Best Scores of 2014

Marco Beltrami and the SNOWPIERCER soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

THE BEST SCORES OF 2014 AUTOMATA (Zacarias M. de la Riva / Movie Score Media) Scores like A.I. and I, ROBOT have portrayed automatons as having infinitely more soul than their human creators, a purity of electronic spirit that makes them closer to God than any flesh and blood creation. No score has religiously captured that spiritual ghost in the machine with the beautiful, beatific quality of Zacarias M. de la Riva, whose transcendent use of the chorus, and the anguished, spare strings of homo sapien despair merge for a moving requiem to the human race, while signaling the birth …Read On »

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CD Review: THE FRENCH REVOLUTION soundtrack

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION soundtrack | ©2014 Music Box Records

One can only imagine the honor for a French composer to score an epic based on the events that defined his country’s future, and for a small time the ideals of Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité. And it’s in that spirit one can understand the pure, gorgeous passion that Georges Delerue gave to THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. This massive, six-hour, two-part cinematic endeavor was done for the event’s 200th anniversary, starring the English-speaking likes of Jane Seymour, Peter Ustinov and Sam Neill, and ultimately turned into a TV miniseries that’s still unavailable on video in this country. Delerue had certainly done sweeping, …Read On »

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TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 10 – “The Things We Leave Behind”

Kathryn Love Newton as Claire in SUPERNATURAL - Season 10 - "The Things We Left Behind" | ©2014 The CW/Liane Hentscher

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard, Ruth Connell, Kathryn Love Newton, Roark Critchlow Writer: Andrew Dabb, series created by Eric Kripke Director: Guy Norman Bee Network: The CW, Tuesdays @ 9 PM Original Airdate: December 9, 2014 There’s a theme running through the SUPERNATURAL episode “The Things We Leave Behind.” Yes, the show often deals with family, but here it’s not just the Winchesters’ fraternal bond, but also their recollections of John, Castiel (Misha Collins) trying to cope with parental responsibility, and Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) trying to wrap his head around having his mother Rowena …Read On »

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CD Review: GORKY PARK soundtrack

GORKY PARK soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

James Horner’s career was taking off in 1983, due to a dynamic signature sound that often meshed impactful percussion with richly thematic melodies that paid homage to such modern classical Russian masters as Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. So it was fitting that Horner’s music would journey to their Motherland with GORKY PARK, its unique story (by NIGHTWINGS‘ killer bat author Martin Cruz Smith) pitting a Soviet cop against a murderous American capitalist pig, with furry sables as the MacGuffin behind a skinned face triple slaying. One need not dig far to turn up Horner’s usual, impactful suspects with a score that …Read On »

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Movie Review: AMERICAN SNIPER

AMERICAN SNIPER movie poster | ©2014 Warner Bros.

Rating: R Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman, Luke Grimes Writer: Jason Hall, based on the book by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice Director: Clint Eastwood Distributor: Warner Bros. Release Date: December 25, 2014 In AMERICAN SNIPER, Bradley Cooper portrays Chris Kyle, so far the deadliest sharpshooter in U.S. military history. As a Navy SEAL, Kyle made an estimated 160 kills in his four tours of duty in Iraq. As a bare-bones premise, this could have gone any which way. Based on the book by the real Kyle with Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice, Jason Hall’s …Read On »

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