Newest Major Reviews:.This Month's Most Popular Reviews: Best-Selling Albums:
. 1. Wonder Woman
2. POTC: Dead Men Tell No Tales
3. Alien: Covenant
4. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
5. The Fate of the Furious
. . 1. Star Wars: Force Awakens
2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
3. Titanic
4. Avatar
5. Nineteen Eighty-Four
6. Gladiator
7. Star Wars: A New Hope
8. Animal Farm
9. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
10. Harry Potter: Sorcerer's Stone
. . 1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. Fantastic Beasts/Find Them
3. Willow
4. The Ghost and the Darkness
5. An American Tail
Filmtracks On Cue


On Cue for December, 2000:





12/31/00 - With only one week left until the end of the December Theme of the Month's voting time, John Williams is still leading in both the "best composer" and "best score" categories of the 1990's, including high showings for Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Hook, Far and Away, and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. James Horner is in a solid second place, with three of the top six places going to Legends of the Fall, Apollo 13, and Braveheart. Jerry Goldsmith is a distant third, with only Russia House placing in the top 25. Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman round out the top five composers in the results thus far. You can view the full results and vote one more time before polls close on January 6th: Check it out!. What do you think so far about the "best of the 90s" election? Is Williams really light years ahead of all the other modern composers? Sound off at The Filmtracks ScoreBoard...

12/28/00 - The Fugitive: (James Newton Howard) --All new review-- "Over the years, James Newton Howard has written a plethora of suspenseful action music for the big screen. This Harrison Ford adaptation of the original television series by the same name marked an Academy Award nomination not only for best picture, but also best score. Both the film and its music were embraced publically as well, with the film becoming known as one of the best suspense/drama entries of the decade and spurring a sequel (of sorts). Howard's score went on to sell very well in the consumer market, and is held with high praise by collectors of Howard's music. That said, I don't like the score. The film, however, is among my recent favorites, which presents a problematic crisis for me as an avid score fan. Not often does a favorite film of mine have a score which completely fails to interest me on album. The Fugitive is such a case...." ** Read the entire review.

12/27/00 - Forrest Gump: (Alan Silvestri) "Who can forget the magic and beauty of the main theme of Forrest Gump? Supported by a syncopated line based on an open fifth interval, the piano voices a lyrical, bittersweet melody. The melody bounces along, just as the feather bounces across the screen in the wind, before being taken up by the strings. According to Silvestri, the opening "feather theme" was written with surprising ease. Silvestri related the story of how he watched the opening reel of the film, rushed home to compose the main titles theme that night, and thought he'd "had it made." As it turned out, though, the theme, while perfect for the opening scene, did not fit in with any other scene in the film. The feather theme instead serves as a bookend for the score, in the same way that the feather functions in the film as a metaphor for the vicissitudes of life...." Read the entire donated review.

12/26/00 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: (Cliff Eidelman) --All new review-- "The final installment of the original Star Trek crew represented the pinnacle for the series of feature films following the adventures of the Enterprise. With the franchise reborn on television and the fate of the films in serious doubt (after the horrendous fifth film in 1989), director Nicholas Meyer, who had been responsible for the success of Wrath of Khan in 1982, returned to the series for one final, grand exit. His concern was that the series had repeated too many of the same cliches and motifs over the past few films, causing audiences to lose interest in a series that was essentially beating a dead horse. The story of Star Trek VI was a refreshing display of everything that makes a sci-fi film great: a poetic story, a rousing villain, a frightening new technology, and a crew of heroes fighting as underdogs because of their aging status in a bright new future. Meyer decided that the film should be an ominous tale of betrayal, death, capture, ancient hatred, cloaked deception, and, of course, destruction on a planetary scale...." ***** Read the entire review.

12/25/00 - Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to All! In the spirit of the holidays, Filmtracks thanks all of its readers who have stood alongside this site over the past 4+ years. Eat, drink, and be merry. ...And also check out Brendan Anderson's Filmtracks Christmas Poem on the ScoreBoard!

12/22/00 - Black Beauty: (Danny Elfman) --All new review-- "Marking the height of Elfman's orchestral majesty of the 1990's, Black Beauty would be one of Elfman's last classically influenced, fully-orchestral scores before experiementing with a more minimalist, electronic sound. Still fresh off of critical success for Sommersby and popular success for Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elfman's score for Black Beauty largely unknown because of the film's obscurity and the soundtrack album's disappearance from stores shortly after its release. Some fans of early Elfman scores label this effort as the last of the great, orchestral era for the rising composer, citing it as a parting tribute to Elfman's growing classical talents in front of a full orchestra... talents which would be placed on a back burner by the composer for many years...." **** Read the entire review.

12/21/00 - The 2000 Golden Globe Nominations are out! For "Best Original Score - Motion Picture," there are six nominees: Tan Dun for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Maurice Jarre for Sunshine, Ennio Morricone for Malena, Rachel Portman for Chocolat, Stuart, Wilkinson, and Paxton for All The Pretty Horses, and Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard for Gladiator. The critical front-runners are Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Gladiator. Rachel Portman's score for Chocolat, as well as All The Pretty Horses, will be released on album by Sony Classical on January 9th, 2001. Maurice Jarre's Sunshine was released on album by Milan Records earlier this year.

12/20/00 - Medal of Honor: (Michael Giacchino) "Any CD collector's dream! From the moment you first hear this soundtrack, it will never leave your side. Michael Giacchino shows his talent in this soundtrack, and it is only his second U.S. soundtrack (What we have here is a future John Williams!). Never before have I heard such inspiring, gorgeous, tense, quiet, bombastic, and fast music! This soundtrack uses a good mix of all the classical styles, and every track is sure to bring a surprise around the corner. Although Giacchino is very similar is his music style to John Williams, he tends to use strings more often then Williams. (especially the cellos) It is a rare occasion to find a break in the music that the cellos aren't busy playing their complex music. Giacchino did a downright incredible job on this soundtrack. Every collector should have this CD. Believe me, you will not regret it...." Read the entire donated review.

12/19/00 - Get Carter: (Tyler Bates) "In what could be a breakout effort for its composer, Get Carter is a score that very much mirrors the sharp edge of the motion picture. In a vengeful story of violent action, the film exists along similar lines as other cult, action flicks in the modern setting. In response, Tyler Bates composes a short score that captures the basic emotions of anger, revenge, and madness. The music, as an alternative to regular song placement in the film, is, in reality, a sort of extension of the alternative rock that can be heard on the film's sister album release. Dominated by percussion elements, the score is essentially a series of rhythms and beats that are accentuated where needed to coincide with the action on the screen. To that end, the music in the film functions like a heartbeat that propels the action to each climax, and then yielding to a new rhythm for a subsequent scene..." ** Read the entire review.

12/18/00 - Only You: (Rachel Portman) --All new review-- "Having only begun to introduce her lush, orchestral romance scores to the film score community, it would be Only You that would propel Rachel Portman onto such projects as Addicted to Love, The Cider House Rules, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Her work for Only You caused an international stir that would lead to this score being re-used for everything from mass wedding ceremonies to national beauty pageant competitions. It is the most eloquent example of her mastery at using large string sections of orchestras to portray faith, hope, romance, and ultimately, happiness. Whether or not Portman's style is something you find listenable might depend on how much of a hopeless romatic you are, but nevertheless, Only You epitomizes the style of Portman's music that has become so popular around the world...." ***** Read the entire review.

12/15/00 - Free Willy: (Basil Poledouris) --All new review-- "Remaining as one of Poledouris' hidden gems, Free Willy is a much better than average childrens' adventure score. Many critics of film music, including some professionals, have slammed this score, referring to it as "yawn-inducing" or "overzealous childsplay." These labels are nonsense. For the first two Free Willy films, Poledouris composed a wealth of sensitive and imaginative orchestral music, paving the way for Cliff Eidelman's similarly impressive score to the third film. Fans of Poledouris often associate him with loud, pulse-pounding action scores for movies such as Conan the Barbarian and The Hunt for Red October. You'd be surprised what he can produce, however, when the story is more humble. His Free Willy music is very much of a "family version" of his equally aquatic Red October score...." **** Read the entire review.

12/14/00 - Robocop: Prime Directives: (Norman Orenstein) "Almost fifteen years after Paul Verhoven's introduction of Robocop to the mass popular culture, a new series of four made-for-television films will soon debut, once again featuring Robocop as the cyborg-cop serving the public trust, protecting the innocent, upholding the law, etc, etc, in Delta City. Why beat a dead horse? I can only imagine... but here he is, once again. The four mini-films, entitled "Dark Justice," "Meltdown" (which sounds like something we saw in the first feature film), "Resurrection," and "Crash and Burn," are all scored by Canadian freelance composer Norman Orenstein. With the help of GNP Crescendo, the label most friendly to the sci-fi genre of film scores, portions of all four television film scores will be made available on one CD shortly after the start of 2001..." * Read the entire review.

12/13/00 - The Ultimate Star Trek: (Compilation) "It seems that a new collection of Star Trek themes is produced once or twice every year, each one clamoring over another in order to feature the theme of the newest television or movie release. The pride of each release since early 1999 has been the inclusion of Star Trek: Insurrection, which is, ironically, the theme that is least interesting in recent Star Trek memory. Nevertheless, undaunted by redundancy, the Varese Sarabande label is ready to please those die-hard Trek fans who are grasping to the last, dying breaths of Voyager and wondered when or if there will be another feature film. This compilation isn't much different from others in the genre; it takes performances of all the famous themes by orchestras around the world (well, around the places where musicians' fees aren't astonomical) and arranges them into a pleasant listening order..." ** Read the entire review.

12/12/00 - The Lost Child: (Mark McKenzie) "Scoring once again for a Hallmark Hall of Fame motion picture, Mark McKenzie blesses yet another relatively unknown film with a quality orchestral effort. In this case, the film is Hallmark's 206th, The Lost Child, starring Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl and premiering on CBS on November 19th, 2000, before working its way onto video. It is the story about the initial shock, but eventual joy experienced by a woman who discovers through an Internet search that she is a full-blooded Navajo. McKenzie's score is fully orchestral, and it continues a trend in his career towards scoring family films for television and home video. As to be expected, his music stands a level beyond most other such compositions in its thematic development and performance. As always, he begins with a lovely theme and interpolates it throughout the rest of the score..." *** Read the entire review.

12/11/00 - Courage Under Fire: (James Horner) --All new review-- "Coming off of the extraordinary year in which he had composed Braveheart, Apollo 13, and Legends of the Fall, among others, James Horner suffers a sort of lapse during 1996 and 1997 until Titanic would forever change his career. Horner's score for Courage Under Fire is a compilation of styles that would eventually be developed in his later scores. It was almost as though he was testing a number of thematic and stylistic elements in this score for possible elaboration at a later date. People kind to Horner would label such a score as a "transitional effort" while harsh critics would go so far as to say that this score is perfect evidence that Horner is a hack and overuses his own material. As such criticism pertains to Courage Under Fire, I fit somewhere in between...." *** Read the entire review.

12/9/00 - Hook: (John Williams) --All new review-- "Long after the muddled film became an asterisk in the career of Steven Spielberg and audiences largely forgot about it, John Williams' massive score for the live action Peter Pan adventure continues to outpace many of his other scores in album sales. The disjointed film, jumping from location to location, modern to mythical, caused Williams the burden of composing and establishing several different themes and motifs in the same score. To successfully keep pace with frenetic movement and countless characters of the film, Williams composed an enourmous mass of music for the film, and much of it would resemble several scores that would come for him in the future. Pieces had already been interpreted from Home Alone and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for Hook, and much of the undeveloped material would later blossom in Far and Away, Jurassic Park, and even Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It was almost like Hook was a testing ground for ideas, some of which reaching a spectacular maturity in the score, while others were simply rambling teasers from Williams' pen...." ***** Read the entire review.

12/8/00 - James Newton Howard is the talk of the town these days, and Filmtracks has been receiving nonstop feedback about his works during November. With The Sixth Sense, Dinosaur, and now Unbreakable all building popular momentum this past year, Howard continues to gain more fans. Today, his thematic and action-packed score for Vertical Limit hits the screens, and he has already begun working on next year's pictures. As part of a new agreement with Disney, Howard has finished portions of 2001's Atlantis and will score 2002's Treasure Planet. In the meantime, he is also putting the finishing touches on the romance Unconditional Love and is planning for two additional large-scale scores next year (in addition to Atlantis). To celebrate James Newton Howard's achievements and answer some of your questions about his career, a Filmtracks Howard Tribute has been established, containing biographical information, quotes, and a filmography with links to reviews.

12/7/00 - The Shadow: (Jerry Goldsmith) --All new review-- "Who knows what guilty pleasure lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows... In fact, if there were ever to be the need to identify the ultimate "score of guilty pleasure," then Jerry Goldsmith's The Shadow could be it. It's the type of score that you'd never know about unless you were there to hear it when it hit the theatres. The film itself was a total critical flop. But its quirky personality, led by its charge to mimic the very superhero genre it belonged to, caused it to be an undeniable romp. The film's highlight is its remarkable sound effects, whooshing through a Gotham-like setting with a classical, yet electronic touch. Goldsmith reacted well to both the film's lighter side, as well as the sound effects. His music is overblown and silly, mocking everything from Batman to Lawrence of Arabia with an youthful exuberance not always heard in Goldsmith's darker scores. Just like those who created the wacky story and visuals, you get the sense that Goldsmith had more fun scoring The Shadow than he did for the typical romances and kiddie films he had otherwise been engaged with at the time...." **** Read the entire review.

12/6/00 - The leader in the December Theme of the Month vote is the master himself, John Williams. Hundreds of Filmtracks fans voting for the "best scores" and "best composer" of the 1990's have so far elected Williams in a landslide over James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith for his achievements in the decade. Five of the top fifteen scores elected are Williams' compositions, with Schindler's List and Jurassic Park at the very top. You can view the full results and vote once a week throughout the month of December: Check it out!. What do you think so far about the "best of the 90s" election? Is Williams really light years ahead of all the other modern composers? Sound off at The Filmtracks ScoreBoard...

12/3/00 - The Contender: (Larry Groupé) "A well-known associate of popular new composer John Ottman (and the conductor and an orchestrator of the cult favorite score for Incognito), Larry Groupé has been composing his own scores for films and events for several years. He is credited by many for providing the attractively sharp punch to many of John Ottman's scores of the late 1990s. Many of the industry insiders I have spoken to have mentioned Groupé as a potentially big name in the future of film music. In 1999 and 2000, respectively, Deterrence and The Contender represented two of the largest film scoring assignments that Groupé has landed thus far, with The Contender being the first full, mainstream film for which he could spread his wings. To celebrate Groupé's achievements of the past two years, Citadel Records has released both scores on one lengthy album..." *** Read the entire review.

12/1/00 - The December Theme of the Month is on! With Filmtracks' choices for the best, overrated, and underrated scores of the 1990s featured in the last three Themes of the Month, December is your month to elect your favorites. The "best of the past year" vote, which usually occurs every December, will appear in January, 2001, so that we can celebrate the best of the entire decade past. Please consult the rules and extra information about this vote before proceeding. The vote started November 29th, 2000, and will conclude January 6th, 2000. Manual recounts shall be conducted at the discretion of the Filmtracks Canvassing Board. Vote for the best!.






Page created 12/12/00, updated 12/22/00. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 2000, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio (www.realaudio.com). "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.