CD Review: JOHN WAYNE AT FOX: THE WESTERNS soundtrack

JOHN WAYNE AT FOX: THE WESTERNS soundtrack | ©2013 Kritzerland Records

The Duke was an icon who meant manliness – and his musical accompaniment was no less rambunctiously muscular, especially when it came to the genre that he made into his own Monument Valley. But while his western scores left no doubt as to The Duke’s vitality, they each did their part to dig out even more unexpected charisma from this drawling hunk of granite, three terrifically entertaining chisels of which are presented on this Kritzerland collection. First up is a score by the composer who proved to be Wayne’s most unlikely saddle mate at strengthening his All-American image, an elfin […]Read On »

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CD Review: SHARKY’S MACHINE soundtrack

SHARKY'S MACHINE soundtrack | ©2013 Varese Sarabande Records

It’s rare when a soundtrack specialty label gives love to what are essentially an all-song albums, a genre that ruled during the 1980s with such releases as BAND OF THE HAND, TUFF TURF and CRUISING. Let’s hope these are but some of the titles that Varese Sarabande might put on their radar, as they’ve recently put out such welcome, song-filled releases out under it like THE IDOLMAKER, ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN and HONKYTONK MAN. But with no offense to those latter two movies’ that featured a star-director known for his love of jazz, perhaps no film used that music […]Read On »

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CD Review: QUAI d’ORSAY and LE BOSSU soundtracks

QUAI d'ORSAY soundtrack | ©2013 Quartet Records

A French composer who should have conquered Hollywood in the 80s with the likes of QUEST FOR FIRE, GHOST STORY and THE MUSIC BOX, but somehow ended up back in his native country, Philippe Sarde has most definitely stayed busy – and with no small amount of creative cleverness in his new score for QUAI d’ORSAY. Director Bertrand Tavernier has given his well-costumed period features a stylistic shot in the arm by adapting this cult comic strip, which gives AMELIE-like absurdity to the adventures of a hapless political speech writer. Yet Tavernier and Sarde don’t so much doff their costume […]Read On »

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CD review: MONSTERS UNIVERSITY soundtrack

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY soundtrack | ©2013 Walt Disney Records

As the composer who first put Pixar on the CG toon map with TOY STORY, Randy Newman has had a gleefully antic time with the company’s armadas of cute playthings and bugs. Perhaps it was because the creatures of MONSTERS, INC. were far more furry friend than fiend that Newman’s Carl Stalling-esque approach stood out for its mischievousness and warmth- his over-the-top toon sound perfect at playing a one-eyed goblin and giant blue beast as big softies. Now Randy Newman gets to return a decade later with Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan in this winningly pleasant prequel that takes […]Read On »

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CD Review: NOW YOU SEE ME soundtrack

NOW YOU SEE ME soundtrack | ©2013 Glassnote

Few Hollywood composers have nailed the rocking rhythm of the orchestral beat like Brian Tyler, whose action scores for such pictures as EAGLE EYE, FAST AND FURIOUS 6 and two EXPENDABLES are all about thematic propulsion, going like jet engines until they orgasmically plateau. But while Tyler’s the go-to guy for fast cars and muscular mayhem, the composer has rarely had the chance to use his rhythmic sound for a humorous action score, one where no one really gets hurt (though his yeoman work on IRON MAN 3 certainly didn’t lack for comedic riffs). Now Tyler’s testosterone at last gets […]Read On »

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CD review: ROSEWOOD soundtrack

ROSEWOOD soundtrack | ©2013 La La Land Records

Beyond exploring other galaxies and ravishingly exotic lands, the urbane composer John Williams has found a rich, melodic vein to mine in the south from THE REIVERS‘ coming of age to CONRACK‘s rural school and the comedy-drama car chase that marked Williams’ first collaboration with Steven Spielberg on THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS. But this Queens’ native’s way of knowing how to wield a guitar, jaw harp and harmonica like a regular good old boy would also show the region at its ugliest in a Florida town called ROSEWOOD, whose white population expelled its black populace during one murderous night. While John […]Read On »

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CD review: THALE soundtrack

THALE soundtrack | ©2013 Movie Score Media

From child vampires to giant trolls and Santa’s naked evil helpers, strange creatures have increasingly been appearing from the Nordic regions. THALE is an especially striking, coccyx-accented young woman to arrive from these hinterlands. And the mystery behind her is played for all of its beautiful eeriness by composers Raymond Enoksen and Geirmund Simonsen, musical creature hunters who’ve yielded stunning findings for this new wave of “fairy tale” horror pictures, whose originality is rapidly putting Hollywood’s genre films to shame. The fiddle seems an indigenous instrument to this isolated, rustic lands of forest and snow, so it’s appropriate that THALE […]Read On »

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CD review: TOO LATE BLUES and THE WORLD OF SUZIE WONG soundtracks

TOO LATE BLUES soundtrack | ©2013 Kritzerland Records

As pretty much the only label determinedly releasing scores from before 1965, if not 1960 at this point, Kritzerland gets extra points for concentrating on the jazz scores of the Mad Men era, not only releasing such stalwarts as Elmer Bernstein (THE RAT RACE), but also such equally worthy composers as Adolph Deutsch (THE APARTMENT) and Andre Previn (TWO FOR THE SEASAW). Now Kirtzerland has released two more wonderful scores that push past 70 minutes of listening with the era’s inimitable swing, one with an Asian accent, and the other packing the true improvisatory heart of the art form. One […]Read On »

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CD review: WORLD WAR Z soundtrack

WORLD WAR Z soundtrack | ©2013 Warner Bros. Records

Sure Marco Beltrami scored the first movie in zombie history that elicited a tear-jerking lump in one’s throat instead of ripping it out. But just because Beltrami did such a great job on the simillarly terrific WARM BODIES, don’t think the guy behind SCREAM, HELLBOY and THE THING has gone all soft and emo on us as WORLD WAR Z shows with music-gnashing global destruction. Imagine ten thousand Ghost Faces piling on top of each other to make mincemeat out of humanity, and you’ll hear the relentless, rhythmic rage that’s made Beltrami the go-to guy for horror scoring. There’s tons […]Read On »

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CD review: AFTER EARTH soundtrack

AFTER EARTH soundtrack | ©2013 Sony Music

They may have started off with the THE SIXTH SENSE. But with one godawful M. Night Shyamalan movie after the next, the one thing you can be assured of is a very good score by his musical enabler James Newton Howard. His scoring always manages to make the absurdity that the director’s fallen into just a bit less goofy, whether it’s using solo violins to embody killer planets for THE HAPPENING or LADY IN THE WATER‘s rapturously symphonic fairy tale. While there’s no surprise that Howard has risen to the challenge with AFTER EARTH, it’s no small help to his […]Read On »

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