Newest Major Reviews:.This Month's Most Popular Reviews: Best-Selling Albums:
. 1. The Lego Batman Movie
2. Fifty Shades Darker
3. Hidden Figures
4. La La Land
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
. . 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 March, 2003:





3/31/03 - The Fury (Limited Edition): (John Williams) "The period of the mid to late 1970's ushered in a heightened popularity for religious, paranormal, and telekinetic horror films. After the immensely popular sequel-spawning classics of The Exorcist and The Omen, director Brian DePalma followed with another outlandish, head-spinning tale, The Fury. The plot of The Fury continued the fad of these kinds of supernatural tales down the path of absurdity, as the stories continued to stretch all reasonable lines of logic. The Fury in particular represented nearly the end of this genre at the time, proving that despite an impressive cast of young and old stars, audiences had seen enough people explode by the mental will of another person. DePalma himself had directed the Hitchcockian film Obsession a few years earlier and employed the great Bernard Herrmann for the project's score. While Herrmann's talents would have been perfect for The Fury, he had unfortunately just passed away at the time, leaving a void in the composing industry for a master horror composer. Having just finished Close Encounters of the Third Kind and living in the limelight of that and Star Wars from the previous year, John Williams..." **** Read the entire review.

3/29/03 - Daredevil: (Graeme Revell) "The public's desire for supernatural heros has once again reached full steam. After Batman, The Shadow, and The Phantom breezed through theaters in the previous decade, the comic-to-screen stars of the early 21st Century have included a resurgent Spider-Man, the X-Men, and now Daredevil, a hero with the twist of having a disability in his real life guise. The Daredevil film did reasonably well in the theatres, but has not gained the illustrious following of the kind that Spider-Man, the X-Men have both experienced, thus causing a Daredevil franchise to be less of an certainty. The score composers for these comic book superheroes have ranged between many of the top names in the industry, often producing at least average, if not enjoyable scores for these films. Graeme Revell is perhaps the most widely seasoned composer to tackle this genre recently, having composed for action and adventure films in a wide range of instrumental and electric sounds. He is an unpredictable composer, sometimes on the verge of brilliance and sometimes performing a balancing act between the strange and the unlistenable...." ** Read the entire review.

3/28/03 - Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams: (Robert Rodriguez/John Debney) "With the Spy Kids franchise being the sole dream of director and producer Robert Rodriguez, it is no surprise that Rodriguez would fill some of the composing duties for the franchise himself. The first Spy Kids film was built on a foundation laid by Rodriguez and Danny Elfman, with several composers from under the roof of Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures business filling out the majority of the score. At the last minute, action and children's film veteran John Debney was brought in to flesh out some orchestrations and write some additional material for that score. The result was a campy but serviceable score for the genre. Spy Kids 2, as Rodriguez states, is a Ray Harryhausen kind of flick, with odd monsters and grand, ancient settings. It reunites the entire primary cast from the first film, though don't expect the same themes to appear this time around. For Spy Kids 2, Rodriguez once again set out to write much of the score himself, and like last time, he asked John Debney to score the remaining half of the film. The Spy Kids films are aimed at the fantasies of kids, and thus the score plays to several cliches in action and thriller music that appeal to kids...." *** Read the entire review.

3/26/03 - Talk to Her: (Alberto Iglesias) "Composer Alberto Iglesias and director Pedro Almodovar may not be household names for American film score collectors, but their collaborations are gaining notice in Europe and Latin areas of the planet at such a rate that you may soon know much more about them. Their work together dates back to 1995's The Flower of My Secret and subsequently include Live Flesh and All About My Mother. Iglesias's career in film composition began in the early 1980's and he has won several international awards for his music since that time. He is also known for his concert arrangements and chamber music, as well as symphonic compositions for large ballet productions. The film Talk to Her has been one of those enigmas that has successfully bridged the oceanic gap between different cultural audiences, and one result of that success is an unceasing popularity for Iglesias' Talk to Her score on album. The film is a dark and sometimes twisted (typical for Almodovar) tale of love, obsession, and loss. It is delivered in a suspenseful, yet romantic setting, traveling down a path that only Alfred Hitchcock has truly mastered. Along the way, the film also exhibits some very obvious and memorable uses of score and song, further heightening the popularity of the music on album...." **** Read the entire review.

3/25/03 - Die Hard (Limited Edition): (Michael Kamen) "You can't help but marvel at the fact that Die Hard somehow worked brilliantly in the end. To fully appreciate the film (and its score), you need to know about the disastrous production story of both. Before audiences rose up and cheered Die Hard into the highest levels of action film excellence, the movie was slated to be a total flop. Previews for the film were so poorly received that subsequent previews for it appeared without Bruce Willis, the star, featured in a single frame. The studio, Fox, was convinced that Die Hard would die an easy, miserable death, and that lack of confidence led to several problems which would effect the score for the film as well. The producer had worked with composer Michael Kamen for Lethal Weapon, and Kamen's exciting new sound --combining the orchestral with rock elements-- was in high demand. Unfortunately, due to the considerable butchering of the final edit of the film as panic set into the last stages of production, Kamen's score was chopped into little bits. Some of his material did not even make the cut, being replaced by cues from John Scott's Man on Fire and James Horner's Aliens...." *** Read the entire review.

3/23/03 - Congratulations to Elliot Goldenthal for his Academy Award win for Frida. Goldenthal's win is considered an upset over the recently favored Elmer Bernstein and Philip Glass. Goldenthal dedicated the award to "bridges" between the people of Mexico and the United States. The song "I Move On" from Chicago was a heavy favorite for "Best Song," but lost in an even greater upset to the Eminem song "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile (the only song not performed at the ceremony). James Horner's The Land Before Time was heard at length during the lifetime achievement award to Peter O'Toole. The obituary tribute this year was highlighted by George Fenton's Dangerous Beauty. Music for the tribute to the 75 best films was original material composed by Mark McKenzie entitled "Blizzard" (to be available on CD in late 2003). To read about past Oscar winners for "Best Original Score," check out the Filmtracks Awards section.

3/21/03 - The Guys: (Mychael Danna) "The first film to be made about the personal tragedy of September 11th, 2001, The Guys is a solemn but rewarding story of a New York City journalist and a NY fire captain who partnered together to write a series of eulogies for the firemen killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. Based upon a play, the journalist and captain form a personal bond and work together to overcome the grief of the event. The film's musical requirements are different than what most people may believe. Instead of being rousingly patriotic or heroic, the story necessitates an individual level of suffering and healing. Thus, composer Mychael Danna was hired to provide an immensely personal score for the film. Danna has been displaying more of his diverse talents in the past year, with the heavily ethnic and religious score for Atom Egoyan's Ararat standing out in 2002 as one of the best efforts of his career. His work for The Guys returns to his more minimalistic tendencies, with only a small ensemble employed for the film...." *** Read the entire review.

3/19/03 - Ocean Men (IMAX): (Cliff Eidelman) "Large scale films and documentaries set on the ocean often present outstanding visuals and boundless opportunities for their soundtracks. Ocean Men is an IMAX documentary released in Germany in late 2001, produced without the knowledge of many core IMAX followers in the United States and the United Kingdom. It offers a fourty-minute glimpse at the trials and triumphs of two of the world's best freedive competitors. Good friends, the two men attempt and succeed in breaking the record of diving to a depth of over 500 feet in the ocean on a single breath. Depsite the film's obscurity, reviews of the film were predominantly positive. Director/cinematographer Bob Talbot, who was experienced in working with underwater filming crews for other ocean-related features, hired Cliff Eidelman to compose the score. Both Eidelman and Talbot had had associations with the Free Willy series, and Eidelman tackles Ocean Men with much of the same formula as he did Free Willy 3: The Rescue. The IMAX documentary genre snapped Eidelman out of his funk in the same way that it has inspired many other composers for decades...." **** Read the entire review.

3/15/03 - Big (Limited Edition): (Howard Shore) "How delightful it is that a film like Big can change so many careers. It was a watershed event for both Tom Hanks and director Penny Marshall, and, to an extent, it helped expand notice for a somewhat obscure composer at the time named Howard Shore. Never expected to be a hit success, Big was the kind of lovable film that grew out of word of month until it stormed through the awards season of 1988-1989, with a wealth of praise spread around to the entire production team. Howard Shore was still leagues away from his blast into the mainstream with the Lord of the Rings films (and several dark thrillers in between). For people who became familiar with Shore mainly due his efforts in that horror and suspense genre (Silence of the Lambs, Crash, Seven, etc), hearing Big may be a surprise. Long-time film music fans have recognized Big, though, as one of the more noteworthy unreleased works on CD in the past twenty years. Shore's creative job of scoring the romance alongside the adaptation of outside music for the most memorable scenes in the film was not lost on many who enjoyed the film...." *** Read the entire review.

3/13/03 - Ice Station Zebra (Expanded Edition): (Michel Legrand) "In the heart of cold war tensions, author Alistair MacLean wrote many of the most popular war and espionage stories of the 1960's and 1970's, a handful of which were translated onto the big screen. While not at all the most successful, Ice Station Zebra was a heroic and entertaining 1968 adaptation to film. Plagued by early production problems, the film eventually became one of the better submarine movies of the Silver Age and beyond, netting Oscar nominations for cinematography and special effects. The choice of composer for Ice Station Zebra was, however, not a composer you would expect at the time. Michel Legrand was known best (and by many people, known only) for his romantic pop and jazz scores, for which he was often nominated for Academy Awards. Legrand, however, was a fan of action films, and he took the task of scoring this large scale action feature with delight and vigor. Because his scores were often for more simple ensembles, he orchestrated all of his own compositions. With seventy-five musicians for this project, Legrand would spend sleepless nights translating his themes and motifs into a score that would stretch from the first to last minute of the film, and every minute in between...." **** Read the entire review.

3/9/03 - Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (Expanded Edition): (John Williams) "Nominated for Academy Awards in both the "best score" and "best song" categories for Home Alone just a year prior, Williams was quick to extend his reputation as an expert sequel artist. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York follows a film that was a departure for Williams. The maestro had not scored a fluffy comedy film in decades, and had become known instead for his serious historical dramas and flighty space-faring adventures. Nevertheless, Home Alone was an enormous success for Williams, not only with critics and the Academy, but with his fans as well. The sensitivity and holiday magic in his score and children's songs in that film were a side of Williams yet unexplored by the composer in his post-Star Wars era. When Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was released in 1992, it was quickly realized that the film is essentially a remake of the original film, but in a different location. The sequel formula was followed with precision, even down to Williams' score. Williams summoned the performers once again, and sent the copyists away with nearly all of the first Home Alone score so it could be easily adapted into the second film...." *** Read the entire review.

3/3/03 - The Quiet American: (Craig Armstrong) "There is no doubt that Craig Armstrong's career is headed in the right direction. The former string arranger for Madonna has composed several very strong scores on his own in recent years and nearly swept the awards scene in 2001-2002 with his coordination and composition of music for Moulin Rouge. The film The Quiet American slipped under the radar in 2002, with only Michael Caine's performance gaining widespread recognition. Set in 1952 Vietnam, this cinematic recreation of the famous novel of the same name shows the intriguing love triangle between two Western men and a beautiful Vietnamese woman in the surroundings of opium, betrayal, and the French Indochina War. The project teamed Armstrong once again with director Phillip Noyce, with whom Armstrong had collaborated to create the chillingly haunting score for The Bone Collector a few years earlier. In an interview, Michael Caine stated that he had told Noyce that he would portray the role of the veteran English journalist only if Craig Armstrong was writing the score for the film...." **** Read the entire review.







Page created 4/2/03, updated 4/3/03. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 2003, 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.