Music

CD Review: THE BETSY soundtrack

THE BETSY soundtrack | ©2014 Prometheus Records

John Barry could give even the trashiest movies a sense of rose-smelling class, especially when the pot was boiling over with a stew of upper class behavior involving the usual assortment of sex, murder and business chicanery – as centering around a clean-burning car engine called THE BETSY of all names. Such was the title that author Harold Robbins bestowed to this fun, Mr. Skin-worthy cinematic adaptation of his critically ta-ta’d brand of wealthily randy literature. Sure Barry might have been given a bit of cheese to work with in1978 between this, STARCRASH and GAME OF DEATH. But the big […]Read On »

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CD Review: KANGAROO: THE AUSTRALIAN STORY soundtrack

KANGAROO: THE AUSTRALIAN STORY soundtrack | ©2015 Counterpoint Records

Definitely the silliest title to grace a beyond-manly score, 1952’s KANGAROO was the first Hollywood film to be shot down under, even if its plot of two swindlers after an old coot’s money was a western that could have just as well taken place in Texas (of course minus a few shots of said creatures). Creating a massive orchestral soundtrack that was certainly as big as that state, not to mention a continent, was Sol Kaplan. Best known for his memorably shrill, epically dangerous music for the great STAR TREK episode “The Doomsday Machine,” Kaplan was an especially adventures composer […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE GREAT INVISIBLE soundtrack

THE GREAT INVISIBLE soundtrack | ©2014 Lakeshore Records

Ry Cooder’s ethereal scores merged country-folk guitar with blues rhythms, harmonica joining with rural percussion and eerie atmospheres of synths and metal to create such enticingly regional scores as SOUTHERN COMFORT, THE LONG RIDERS and PARIS, TEXAS – a landmark, often Tex-Med groove that has since been exceptionally taken up by David Wingo in such transfixing Southern Gothic scores asMUD and JOE. While Wingo has put his own melodic stamp on characters inhabiting the deep woods, the composer now chronicles the real deal as he plays one of the most catastrophic events to hit the Gulf of Mexico in the […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE LITTLE MERMAID: THE LEGACY COLLECTION soundtrack

THE LITTLE MERMAID: THE LEGACY COLLECTION soundtrack | ©2015 Walt Disney Records

Disney continues their exceptional series of hard-bound “Legacy Collection” releases with THE LITTLE MERMAID, the 1989 soundtrack, and film that really put the studio back above animated water, netting the fist of many best Song and Score Oscars for the LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS stage duo of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, whose hip energy was sought to awaken the studio from its animated doldrums with this now-classic adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fable – the first fairy tale for Disney since 1955s SLEEPING BEAUTY. What’s interesting about hearing the MERMAID in her complete, symphonic glory is just how […]Read On »

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CD Review: POLLYANA soundtrack

POLLYANA soundtrack | ©2014 Caldera Records

Eleanor H. Porter’s adorable, eternally optimistic sprite has been showing up on big and small screens since 1920, most popularly in Haley Mills’ effervescent form via Disney in 1960, and most recently in 2003 on the U.K.’s ITV. With the character’s roots transported from New England to England proper, it’s only right that a classically-minded composer like Christopher Gunning be giving the musical job of making the sun shine as bright as the little girl’s smile (never mind that he impressively got his start on such bloodthirsty scores as GOODBYE GEMINI and HANDS OF THE RIPPER). Thankfully, Gunning knows how […]Read On »

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CD Review: KING SOLOMON’S MINES (1,000 edition) soundtrack

KING SOLOMON'S MINES soundtrack | ©2014 Quartet Records

They were musical equals in my opinion. Yet for the better part of the careers of John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, it always seemed that the latter was chasing the coattails of the first when it came to picture quality. For if John got Irwin Allen’s THE TOWERING INFERNO, then Jerry received that producers’ dog called THE SWARM. While John flew with SUPERMAN, Jerry remained earthbound in the enjoyably silly company of SUPERGIRL. But perhaps no second-cousin removed picture that Goldsmith got to score was a ludicrously close to aping a way better picture than when it came to comparing […]Read On »

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CD Review: EX-MACHINA soundtrack

EX-MACHINA soundtrack | ©2015 Back Lot Music

28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE writer Alex Garland makes a gradually impressive directing debut in front of the lens with this beautifully appointed, but at-first sterile adult sci-fi picture that gradually builds to end on a memorable high note. And it’s exactly the film’s overwhelming, creepy blankness that co-composers Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury are effectively playing to. It’s an interesting, and impressive dynamic, with Barrow essentially making his scoring debut here after writing tunes that have appeared in such films as TANK GIRL, THE CRAFT and LORD OF WAR, while Salisbury is the more seasoned component with his copious […]Read On »

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CD Review: OLD BOYFRIENDS soundtrack

OLD BOYFRIENDS soundtrack | ©2015 Intrada Records

In one of the more ironic scoring assignments, David Shire was put in the position of scoring his then-wife Talia as a character who sorts her romantic love life out on screen, here playing a psychiatrist who flees her husband, bounding about the county to do some serious self-therapy with a rogues gallery of exes that include the acting likes of Richard Jordan, Keith Carradine and even John Belushi. With the actress capitalizing on her ROCKY role as Adrian to show she had far more range in this and her other star vehicle WINDOWS, one might expect a somewhat treacly […]Read On »

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CD Review: AFTER THE FALL soundtrack

AFTER THE FALL soundtrack | ©2014 Lakeshore Records

Marc Streitenfeld has provided muted, morally ambiguous scores before to oil workers facing off against killer wolves in THE GREY and a professional hitman wanting his pay in KILLING THEM SOFTLY, scores filled with truly interesting “ambiences” and unexpected instrumentation. But perhaps none of Streitenfeld’s experimentally minded scores of this nature hits more weirdly, or more effectively at home than AFTER THE FALL, wherein Wes Bentley’s suburban dad truly goes off the criminal rails to avoid falling into poverty after his firing. Perhaps one way to describe Streitenfeld’s unique work at its most effective here is to imagine Carl Orff […]Read On »

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CD Review: FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD soundtrack

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD soundtrack | ©2015 Sony Classical Music

The beautiful, slow-moving string melodies of English composer Craig Armstrong have made him a favorite when it comes to the many shades of romance. And while he’s had his share of cheerful, kiss-filled endings with LOVE, ACTUALLY and FEVER PITCH, most often it’s his poignant talent for melody that has ripped romance asunder, most often in the company of Baz Luhrmann for MOULIN ROUGE! and THE GREAT GATSBY, Armstrong’s beautiful melancholy couldn’t be better suited than for this latest cinematic trip to Thomas Hardy’s countryside with FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, the story of a woman torn asunder between an […]Read On »

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