CD Review: AMALIA soundtrack

AMALA soundtrack | © 2011 Movie Score Media

In Portuguese, the musical form of “Fado” is translated as “fate.” And while soundtrack fans might not be familiar with its mournful tunes, or the acclaimed performer who evolved them for the 20th century, they’ll likely feel for Amalia Rodriguez’s artistically turbulent life upon listening to this lush orchestral score by her countryman Nuno Malo. With his passionate approach for AMALIA and JULGAMENTO (also released by Movie Score Media), Malo is rapidly bringing the technical polish of Portugal’s film scoring scene to the international ear. Perhaps it’s because Amalia herself broadened Fado with an orchestral that Malo concentrates more on […]Read On »

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CD Review: NORTH DALLAS FORTY soundtrack (2,000 edition)

NORTH DALLAS 40 soundtrack | ©2010 Film Score Monthly

One of the more curious composer-to-picture match-ups in the 70’s was throwing John Scott, a genteel English composer renowned for such classically lush scores as ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA and THE COUSTEAU ODYSSEY, into the very macho game of football- and we aren’t talking the Euro definition of guys kicking around a pigskin. Yet it’s exactly that strongly thematic sense of drama that let NORTH DALLAS FORTY make a memorable touchdown as one of America’s better sports films. Credit Canadian director Ted Kocheff, who’d worked with Scott on the equally unlikely Aussie thriller WAKE IN FRIGHT to let the composer make […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T soundtrack

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T. Soundtrack | ©2010 Film Score Monthly

There were some pretty bizarre kids’ movies back in the day like SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. But no now grown-up cult item still has the tuneful catchiness of 1953’s 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T, which stands as the only insane collaboration between uber-serious producer Stanley Kramer, phantasmagorical children’s author Dr. Seuss, and Friedrich Hollaender, a German cabaret composer whose political whimsy would see him sent packing from Nazi land to a Hollywood career. This colorful fantasy about a piano-hating kid’s ultimate bad dream would see Hollaender put Seuss’ wonderful gibberish to melody, resulting in a number of tongue-twisting delights […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE TOURIST soundtrack

THE TOURIST soundtrack | ©2010 Varese Sarabande Records

Forget Johnny Depp. No man is proving to be a more reliable companion to Angelina Jolie’s mysterious allure like James Newton Howard, who turns in his second terrific score for the actress after this year’s SALT. While there’s a surfeit of that film’s ballsy spy action here, THE TOURIST is mostly plying the same kind of luxurious, old-world waters that Henry Mancini and John Barry did when movies like CHARADE and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE were the height of escapist fashion- a throwback appeal that THE TOURIST pulls off with panache. Most of this music is the elegant equivalent of […]Read On »

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CD Review: CLASH OF THE TITANS soundtrack (3,000 edition)

Clash of the Titans Soundtrack | ©2010 Intrada Records

With no offense to Ramin Djawadi’s rock-fueled percussion that accompanied the more-than-manly, 3-D CGI revamp of this year’s CLASH, it’s likely that Laurence Rosenthal’s symphonically lush, hero-making music of the gods was the stuff that played in Perseus’ ears as he slew Medusa and turned the Kraken to stone. It’s an old school style that will also forever identify CLASH for a certain geek generation, for whom no amount of cool computer effects will ever replace Ray Harryhausen’s home-made brand of stop-motion wonder, for whom Rosenthal’s score provided a more than worthy send-off. Now Intrada pays tribute to the alter […]Read On »

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CD Review: BRUC soundtrack

Bruc Soundtrack | ©2010 Movie Score Media

You can likely put the number of Napoleon-ea action scores on a short list, a unique quality that makes the genre open musical territory for Spanish-born (and American-trained) composer Xavier Capellas, who’s handled the scoring chores on such Spanish-funded horror pictures as BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR and FAUST. BRUC carries as similarly unhinged quality as a Catalonian goes Rambo on the Emperor’s assassins who pursue him through the mountainous wilds of Monteressat, giving Capellas the opportunity to unleash heroic hell in one of the more weirdly off-kilter period scores since Joe Lo Duca’s BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF. Here more symphonically traditional adventure […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE BOUNTY soundtrack

The Bounty Soundtrack | ©2010 Buysoundtrax

The idea of having someone else try to re-create the inimitable sound of Vangelis is enough to induce a Vietnam flashback to the infamous New American Orchestra’s “adaptation” of 1982’s BLADE RUNNER, done at the time of the film’s release to cash in on fans’ desperate desire for an official soundtrack that would be twenty-five years in coming. While admirers of his similarly excellent 1984 score to the BOUNTY are still waiting to hear its original tracks release beyond two cuts on Vangelis’ “Themes” CD, Buysoundtrax’ “new” BOUNTY album definitely won’t make the composer’s crew seasick, especially with Dominik Hauser […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE / HORROR EXPRESS soundtrack

Living Dead At the Manchester Morgue (c) 2010 Quartet Records

That isn’t to say that Spanish horror scores from that period were any less terrifying, or funky, as Spain-based Quartet Records is proving with such releases as Waldo de los Rios’ ISLAND OF THE DAMNED and Fernando Garcia Morcillo’s HOWLING OF THE DEVIL. But perhaps none of their soundtracks has a more unique origin than Giluliano Sorgini’s THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE.

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CD Review: POLTERGEIST Special Edition (10,000 Edition) soundtrack

Poltergeist (c) 2010 Film Score Monthly

Certainly one of the loudest, and most exciting horror scores belongs inside the television set of the Freeling family, as installed by Jerry Goldsmith. Though a master of just about every movie genre, horror had provided a creatively malefic voice for Goldsmith. He’d marry Bartok-esque impressionism and old scratch violins for THE MEPHISTO WALTZ, blow on MAGIC’s unbalanced harmonicas and win his only Oscar for chanting THE OMEN’s black mass.

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CD Review: Sword and Sorcery scores (CONAN THE BARBARIAN, RED SONJA, JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS)

Conan Soundtrack | © 2010 Tadlow Records

For baby boomer fantasy fans, there were never better days than the early 80’s when it came to seeing sweaty, near-naked barbarians hacking their way through the Hyborean Age with sex and gore to spare. But in a period that’s fondly remembered for the cheesy likes of ATOR THE INVINCIBLE, YOR, HAWK THE SLAYER and THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER, one film truly took the genre seriously, with all the production polish to spare. And 28 years later, John Milius’ adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s CONAN THE BARBARIAN still remains the king of this genre, whose blood and thunder score by Basil Poledouris remains the one fantasy soundtrack to rule them all.

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