Blu-ray Review: CURTAINS

CURTAINS Blu-ray | ©2014 Synapse Films

Stars: John Vernon, Samantha Eggar, Linda ThorsonWriter: Robert Guza, Jr. Writer: Robert Guza, Jr. Director: Jonathan Stryker (pseudonym of Richard Ciupka) Suggested Retail Price: $24.95 Distributor: Synapse Films Jensen Farley was a film distributor in the early 1980s that specialized in exploitation films including a handful of forgotten sex comedies (JOYSTICKS), a children’s film (THE LAST UNICORN) and two cult horror films THE BOOGENS and CURTAINS. CURTAINS is the most curious of the two because it’s lay dormant for years, never seeing a decent DVD or Blu-ray release. It also had a troubled production history, taking several years to make …Read On »

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CD Review: BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and TARZAN soundtracks

BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

David Newman’s rocking, rambunctious voice for electronics and the orchestra provided the beat for two cult teen movies from the late 80s – one involving a bitchy clique of “Heathers,” and the other pairing the far more lovable, dunderheaded duo of Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire. While the first picture got a snarky, country-flavored synth beat, the clever, time travelling conceit for BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE afforded Newman the opportunity to energetically combine a full-blast, history-spanning symphony with a rock-pop beat for the Wyld Stallyns’ first quest. It was indeed a truly ingenious stylistic combo as …Read On »

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CD Review: OVERLORD soundtrack

OVERLORD soundtrack | ©2014 Kritzerland Records

While reveling in such mainstream classics and well-known composers as Alfred Newman’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and Dmitri Tiomkin’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, Kritzerland has also shown a penchant for such artier composers as Toru Takemitsu (RISING SUN) and Dana Kaproff  (WHEN A STRANGER CALLS). But of all the unknown gems they’ve put out so far, perhaps none is better timed, or shines amore beautifully than Paul Glass’ OVERLORD, an alternately modernistic and classical score composed for Stuart Cooper’s truly revolutionary war movie about the D-Day invasion, an amazing film which has also now received a blu ray debut …Read On »

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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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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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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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TV Review: TRUE BLOOD – Season 7 – “Fire in the Hole”

Sam Trammell in TRUE BLOOD - Season 7 - "Fire in the Hole" | ©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, Anna Camp, Nelsan Ellis, Gregg Daniel, Aaron Christian Howles, Joe Manganiello, Noah Matthews, Bailey Noble, Nathan Parsons,  Adina Porter, Carrie Preston, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Deborah Ann Woll, Karolina Wydra, Dale Raoul, Jessica Tuck Writer: Brian Buckner, series created by Alan Ball, based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels Director: Lee Rose Network: HBO, Sundays @ 9 PM Airdate: July 6, 2013 TRUE BLOOD’s episode “Fire in the Hole” has a number of genuine surprises – there are …Read On »

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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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Blu-ray Review: BREAKING BAD – THE FINAL SEASON

BREAKING BAD - THE FINAL SEASON Blu-ray | ©2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk Suggested Retail Price:$65.99 Distributor: Sony Home Entertainment For years, critics and fans have been gushing about the brilliance of BREAKING BAD. And while it took me awhile to become a full convert, I have to say, the final eight episodes (technically the second half of Season 5) provided some of the best television last year. Creator Vince Gilligan did an amazing job of paying off EVERYTHING that he set into motion over the course of the series run. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) started off as …Read On »

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