CD Review: THE ARTIST soundtrack

THE ARTIST soundtrack | ©2011 Sony Classical

When it comes to talking about retro scores, you can’t go back any further then the days when there was no music at all – at least when it came to the complete lack of soundtrack on celluloid nitrate was all about the herky-jerky picture. Such were the glory days of silent movies, when music had to do all of the talking. Whether it was a pianist desperately improvising away, or a full orchestra keeping time with reams of rapidly changing melodies, the 1920’s were truly the time when film scoring was king. The fact that so little of these […]Read On »

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Composer Interview: Jane Antonia Cornish brings emotional light to FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN

Jane Antonia Cornish | ©2011 Jane Antonia Cornish

When the recriminations of an intellectual clan’s past collide with a tragedy in their present, familial fireworks are sure to ensue in the finger-pointing fallout. But tender is the musical night in the delicate hands of composer Jane Antonia Cornish, who handles FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN with a gentle, and greatly affecting touch. She also bridges two classical worlds as Dennis Lee’s film segues from past to present, as the beautiful melancholy of piano and violin-driven chamber music meets the progressive rhythms of such modern classicists as Arvo Part and John Adams. It’s an approach that’s entirely apropos for the […]Read On »

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CD Review: 1941 soundtrack (limited 3,500 edition)

1941 soundtrack | ©2011 La La Land Records

It almost never fails that a filmmaker who thinks he’s King of the World will produce at least one box office disaster (if not two) in an otherwise hugely profitable, and sometimes critically distinguished career. Sometimes, said films are of the “movie I really want to make” variety, the kind of “little” picture that the studio gives the director a mulligan on so they’ll do the blockbuster sequel they really wanted in the first place. But even when that personal movie is packed with enough spectacle and explosive hubris to make it anything but an art film, there can still […]Read On »

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CD review: GEARS OF WAR 3 soundtrack

GEARS OF WAR 3 soundtrack | ©2011 Sumthing Else Music Works

After doing an impressive tour of musical duty for Delta Squad, Steve Jablonsky suits up again for the COG squad’s ultimate battle against the seemingly unstoppable Locust horde for the GEARS OF WAR 3 soundtrack. As this brotherhood of war lays waste to the non-human residents of the planet Sera, Jablonsky blasts out huge kill zones of furious percussion to catch every drop of GEARS’ testosterone overload. It’s a rough, raw sound that’s different from the sleeker action workout Jablonsky gave to the bigscreen Autobots this summer, a more rugged symphonic and sampled excitement that’s in synch with flesh and […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE GREAT SANTINI soundtrack

THE GREAT SANTINI soundtrack | ©2011 Film Score Monthly

The tenderness of Elmer Bernstein’s score for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD meets the officious jackboot he’d apply to STRIPES to accompany one of Robert Duvall’s best roles as a marine pilot who wears his full-fury stripes at home. Bernstein was equally adept at dealing with youthful life-lessons and the charge-ahead determination of military hard-asses. And no picture played better to both melodic strengths than the critically decorated GREAT SANTINI, whose score swings from the twinkling of adolescent magic to the roaring military drum force of a blowhard, who nonetheless packs his own hidden heart. The film’s South Carolina location in […]Read On »

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CD review: WARRIOR soundtrack

WARRIOR soundtrack | ©2011 Lakeshore Records

Having scored the inspirational hockey drama MIRACLE and the downbeat cop conspiracy PRIDE AND GLORY for writer-director Gavin O’Connor, Mark Isham’s third step into the ring with the filmmaker combines both the grim and victorious. And the result is a musical WARRIOR that grabs you with surprising subtlety before delivering a knockout foot to the face (this is mixed martial arts after all). For a good while, Isham keeps his drama in a brooding key, full of the fighting brothers’ family resentments and recriminations. But emotion steadily rises to break through the orchestral ice, his heavy strings and brass steadily […]Read On »

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CD Review: TOO BIG TO FAIL

TOO BIG TO FAIL soundtrack | ©2011 Varese Sarabande Records

After doing consistently interesting, small-scale scores for such HBO movies as TAKING CHANCE and YOU DON’T KNOW JACK, Marcelo Zarvos literally takes on his biggest subject for the financial apocalypse that nearly took down the U.S.A.- that is if you believe the bankers who got a zillion-dollar government rescue from the home loan meltdown they caused. But there’s no doubting the urgency that Zarvos brings to the crunching numbers that the freaked financial kingpins are throwing about, a driving, rhythmic mix that makes you picture Jason Bourne leaping over the Wall Street bull in a mad dash to save the […]Read On »

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CD review: UP original soundtrack

UP soundtrack | ©2011 Intrada Records

If Michael Giacchino brilliantly stepped into the shoes of John Barry and Henry Mancini to musically embody a family of superheroes and one rat’s exceptional taste buds, then 2009’s UP was the Disney animated extravaganza where Giacchino’s own, nostalgic voice rang loud and clear to the tune of an Oscar. Where I’ll be in the crotchety, Carl-worthy minority of those who’d want to take a cane to the unabashed cuteness of what awaits an old grumpus and an antically annoying boy scout on top of the forbidden mesa they float to, there’s zero denying the tear-jerking brilliance of UP’s life […]Read On »

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CD Review: MONTE CARLO original soundtrack

MONTE CARLO soundtrack | ©2011 Varese Sarabande Records

For as impressively big as Michael Giacchino can get, it’s often his small, unsung scores that are just as impressive. MONTE CARLO tween chick-aimed romance fits the bill nicely indeed. As opposed to imagining three young women finding their Prince Charmings in a jet set fairy tale kingdom, Giacchino’s alternately delicate lyricism and jazzily prancing rhythms might make you thinking you’re hearing that long-awaited RATATOUILLE sequel wherein the rodent Remy falls in love. It’s a measure of how much Mancini-esque caviar also appears here, with a more-than-healthy seasoning of Burt Bacharach to boot. You’ll definitely know your way to San […]Read On »

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CD review: THE GOLDEN CHILD soundtrack (3,000 limited edition)

THE GOLDEN CHILD soundtrack | ©2011 La La Land Records

After putting out a 3-CD set of Basil Poledouris’ numerous pit stops towards ultimately “fixing” his score for the Kurt Russell classic BREAKDOWN, La La Land goes the troubled creative process one better by releasing a second triple album that charts another Paramount movie’s long road to its final score. This time it’s both John Barry’s elegant, tossed work, along with Michel Colombier’s final, and far funkier soundtrack for Eddie Murphy’s THE GOLDEN CHILD– a far less-regarded star vehicle that’s foremost a winner for soundtrack fans as the discs contrast two disparate musical approaches. Using John Barry’s slow, jazzily elegant […]Read On »

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