CD Review: THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY

THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY soundtrack | ©2011 Intrada Records

One of the most rollickingly enjoyable crime movies of any age is Michael Crichton’s 1978 historical heist flick THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY which had dapper Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland and a particularly bodice-cous Lesley Anne-Warren ripping off the Crimean War gold from said speeding train. The fourth accomplice who truly helps them get away with the crime of the Victorian century is composer Jerry Goldsmith, delivering what arguably stands as his most elegantly stylish, and fun score of all time. With a score that sounds as much as a locomotive as melodically possible, the thematically driven Goldsmith varies his main […]Read On »

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CD Review: I MELT WITH YOU soundtrack

I MELT WITH YOU soundtrack | ©2011 Lakeshore Records

Forty-something guys behaving badly get a beguiling collection of ‘8o’s era American punk, new wave and English beat songs for an album that plays like a Goth hell version of ST. ELMO’S FIRE. You can practically see the black eye shadow dripping from the emo singers whose music made for the characters’ best years, songs whose guitar-driven angst thankfully took pop b.s. into the rabbit hole for the birth of alt. music a couple of decades ago. Now their brooding, vibrant melodies for addiction, suicidal tendencies and sexual dysfunction make MELT‘s twisted beach get-together anything but a blanket bingo. Effectively […]Read On »

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CD Review: WOLFEN soundtrack

WOLFEN soundtrack | ©2011 Intrada Records

In the late 1970s and super early 1980s, James Horner had been clawing his way up from the low-budget likes of  THE LADY IN RED, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP and BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, giving 110% of his already formidable thematic talent to these enjoyable Roger Corman-produced flicks. It was only a matter of time before Hollywood would notice, and 1981’s one-two Orion Picture horror punch of THE HAND and WOLFEN would deservedly take Horner into the big leagues- even if these two thrillers remain cult items. Smong soundtrack fans, they’ve also been two of James Horner’s most-requested releases. Now […]Read On »

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CD Review: RAPTURE soundtrack

RAPTURE soundtrack | ©2011 Intrada Records

In the early 1960’s, Georges Delerue was well established in Europe for his delicately classical, and distinctly French approach to such dramas as THE SOFT SKIN and CONTEMPT. It was this poetic sound that finally took him to Hollywood by mid-decade, with one of his first English language scores ironically accompanying the French setting of 1965’s RAPTURE. No longer obscure thanks to Intrada’s soundtrack release and the film’s accompanying DVD debut on Twilight Time, RAPTURE is a true revelation in Delerue’s resume of early masterworks. The composer’s voice is immediately recognizable in his use of harps, dulcimers and languid string […]Read On »

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CD Review: DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION soundtrack

DEUS EX soundtrack | ©2011 Square Enix

If you dug the techno sheen of TRON LEGACY then you’ll likely love the vibe of DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION, an impressively atmospheric score that also paints its game grid in hypnotic, neon-sounding colors. Before you cry foul on composer Michael McCann for trying some unfair light cycle move on Daft Punk, know that DEUS EX was generated even further back, making McCann’s to-the-second technological wash of eerily pulsating samples and electronics that much more futuristically impressive. Having composed the ruthless spy suspense for SPLINTER CELL: DOUBLE AGENT, McCann gives DEUS EX’s industrial operative a propulsive sense of mission as […]Read On »

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CD Review: REAL STEEL soundtrack

REAL STEEL soundtrack | ©2011 Varese Sarabande Records

If there was one film whose high concept promised a TKO, then it was having the director of the disastrous PINK PANTHER redo make the movie version of the old Hasbro toy Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots- as channeled through the father-son corniness of THE CHAMP. But like its junkyard automaton, REAL STEEL shouldn’t have been counted out, as this Hugh Jackman effects vehicle has not only proven to be one of this year’s most entertaining box office winners, but has also delivered a truly unique Danny Elfman genre score that’s all about the musical rope-a-dope as opposed to a […]Read On »

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CD Review: TRADING PLACES soundtrack (2,000 edition)

TRADING PLACES soundtrack | ©2011 La La Land Records

An old fogey named Elmer Bernstein became the new (and perhaps unwitting) king of youth comedy scores when filmmaker John Landis had the idea that the composer’s straight-laced, old Hollywood approach would be ideal to play the classically pompous academia who did their best to make sure Faber College had no fun of any kind. The keg smash of 1978’s ANIMAL HOUSE made Bernstein into The Man in more ways than one, tuning his often brassy approach to the height of wealth-spoofing irony- an approach that would pay huge dividends for both men ten years later with TRADING PLACES. Of […]Read On »

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CD Review: JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN soundtrack

JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN soundtrack | ©2011Varese Sarabande Records

If  Christophe Beck does his musical all to pump up the frequently inept robbers of TOWER HEIST  into master criminals, then Ilan Eshkeri has the even mightier job of turning Rowan Atkinson’s catastrophically inept 007 wannabe into a super agent who’ll out-Bond Connery for JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN. Eshkeri outfits himself with the comedy secret agent score checklist of a swaggering main theme, trademarked fuzz guitar, rocking exotica for the luxurious locations he’ll fight through, and lush, John Barry-esque strings, for the sinister villains and lovemaking he’ll have to endure. It’s a jacket that’s been to the cleaners many times by […]Read On »

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CD Review: GREMLINS soundtrack

GREMLINS soundtrack | ©2011 Film Score Monthly

If you were among the generation that saw one great genre film after the other in the early ’80’s, perhaps no signature theme signaled these pictures’ often seditious spin on kid-friendly formulas than the sweet whistling of Gizmo and the cackling, rambunctious jazz rag of what would pop out of that furry little fella if you fed him after midnight. It’s taken nearly three decades for those little devils’ music to fully metamorphose, but at long last, Jerry Goldsmith’s full score to GREMLINS is finally here to create hilariously menacing havoc. While Goldsmith was famed for scoring the far more […]Read On »

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Interview: STRAW DOGS composer Larry Groupe takes aim at the Peckinpah classic

Composer Larry Groupe | © 2011 Larry Groupe

We might primally root for him to take down a bunch of barbaric English yahoos. Yet as Sam Peckinpah’s violent parable STRAW DOGS more than pointed out in 1972, there’s little glory to be had by a seeming milquetoast in the middle of a home invasion. You could imagine the same reaction of a composer tasked with re-scoring the action that Jerry Fielding so memorably wrote for that iconic picture. But like the broken-spectacled mathematician who proves himself a he-man in the face of impossible odds, Larry Groupé weathers the potential brickbats, boiling oil and bullet to successfully score his […]Read On »

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