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 November, 2003:





11/29/03 - Sylvia: (Gabriel Yared) --All New Review-- "One really has to wonder why films like this get made, especially when every educated person entering the theatre knows that they will be disturbed and saddened when leaving it. The film is a true, biographical depiction of the marriage between American poet/novelist Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow) and English poet Ted Hughes (Daniel Craig). Anyone knowledgeable about this most famous literary pairing of the 20th Century is familiar with the glorious beginning to their partnership as well as their unceremonious end. In short, after a passionate, but rocky marriage, Hughes leaves Plath (who was quite neurotic to begin with) for another woman, and Plath successfully kills herself by sticking her head in a gas oven, leaving her brilliant writings and two children behind. Hughes would live another 35 years after the 1963 suicide of Plath, and would largely be blamed for her death over the course of his own successful writing career. The film stays true..." *** Read the entire review.

11/26/03 - Alias: (Michael Giacchino) --All New Review-- "One of the most popular television series of the 2000's, Alias is the inevitable idea of a female James Bond in disguise, running around the world under cover for the CIA and other interests. Actress Jennifer Garner won a Golden Globe award for her role as the sleek and tough Sydney Bristow, and the exposure of her rather silly and unsophisticated real life personality only adds to the mystique of her on screen performances. Amid showers of critical praise, Alias has been spawned off into a video game and now a soundtrack of underscore from the series. The album, not missing the opportunity to fill its packaging with pictures of Jennifer Garner from front to back, is being released along with a previous season on DVD, the video game, and the continuation of the show's third season. It's a rare case when the popularity of an action television series demands special treatment of its music, and yet, with the rate at which composer Michael Giacchino is becoming known in the realms of video and television music..." *** Read the entire review.

11/23/03 - Elf: (John Debney) --All New Review-- "In a project perfectly constructed for composer John Debney, Elf is a personality-driven urban fantasy film with plenty of fluff to go around. The story of the human toddler who accidentally ended up in Santa's bag of toys and was adopted by elves at the North Pole doesn't sound like a sure winner, but Elf debuted strongly at the start of the 2003 holiday movie season. As the manchild raised by elves (being a manchild raised by elves is still better than being a manchild raised by Michael Jackson, no?) is re-integrated into urban society, the film follows the comedy of his acclimation until its heartwarming, feel-good conclusion. John Debney seems to find himself involved in countless silly projects such as this, and his comedy skills would lend themselves well to the project. Debney's Snow Dogs the previous year was the most recent adventurous activity for Debney in snowy climates, and his music for the setting is always complete with appropriate holiday percussion...." *** Read the entire review.

11/19/03 - Beyond Borders: (James Horner) --All New Review-- "With three other, concurrent scoring projects set for release in late 2003, composer James Horner's effort for Beyond Borders quickly faded (along with the picture) among competition with his other works. Director Martin Campbell's love story painted on a canvas of the world's ills didn't last long at the box office, failing to make either a political or romantic statement. Despite a publicity campaign that sat actress Angelina Jolie next to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan (perhaps the unlikeliest of combinations) at a screening, the romance and politics didn't mesh on screen, placing Horner's score into the role of choosing which part of the film to accentuate. While some faint hints of Horner's romantic tendencies do shine through his largely electronic and solo-inclined score, his attention seemed to be squarely aimed at capturing the essence of the poverty-struck conditions in the film's locations. Horner collectors will remember his well known collaboration with Campbell..." *** Read the entire review.

11/18/03 - Composer Michael Kamen has died at the age of 55 after suffering from multiple sclerosis for several years, according to his agent. Initial reports point to a heart attack, but further details were not immediately available. Kamen, one of Hollywood's most successful composers, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, but did not go public about the disease until late September of this year. Kamen grew up in Queens, the son of liberal activists. In the late 1960s, he helped found the New York Rock 'n' Roll Ensemble, and in the 1970s, he scored ballets, served as musical director for David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" tour, and began writing scores for film. His major film scores include the Lethal Weapon series, Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Mr. Holland's Opus, and X-Men. Most recently, Kamen scored the HBO series Band of Brothers and this year's Open Range. Filmtracks and all fans of film music extend the best of wishes to all of those who were close to Kamen, and you can discuss his life and career at Filmtracks Scoreboard.

11/16/03 - The Rising Place: (Conrad Pope) --All New Review-- "For the directorial debut of Tom Rice, The Rising Place is a simple love story set in the deep American South during World War II, with themes of racial relations, religious connections, and sorrowful loss. The film is saturated with all that is Americana, combining several different musical requirements into one little piece of history and location. The film passed without much attention in 2002, as did the score. For a long time, Conrad Pope has been orchestrating scores for major composers, including John Williams, but he served notice to the film music community in 2001 that he was hitting the composing business himself in a big way. His score for Pavilion of Women went equally unnoticed by many mainstream fans, however those who had the fortune of hearing it were almost always positive about its orchestral mastery. The Rising Place marks the second score that Pope has experienced on album. It features a strong, Americana effort from Pope, with several songs by Grammy award-winning performer Jennifer Holliday..." *** Read the entire review.

11/13/03 - The Scarlet Letter: (John Barry) --Expanded Review-- "If modern cinematic disasters are to be ranked on a list, this sorry entry would fit somewhere in the middle ranges of that dubious distinction. Accomplished director Roland Joffe decided, for some reason, to film a loose adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel about 17th Century northeast America, complete with witchcraft, adultery, and the harsh realities of immigrant (and womens') life at the time. Critics pounded this film like a drum, with Demi Moore receiving much of the brutal criticism many weeks before the film was even released. Those few people who actually subjected themselves to the film would find two partially redeeming elements: the cinematography and the score. The story of the music for The Scarlet Letter is just as disastrous as the film's overall production. Film scoring veteran Elmer Bernstein was hired to write and record a score, both of which he did. But, as was happening to Bernstein more and more often at the time, his music was rejected..." **** Read the entire review.

11/11/03 - Secondhand Lions: (Patrick Doyle) --All New Review-- "In one of the more eccentric and imaginative endeavors in modern film, Secondhand Lions tells the story of African adventures while set in the cornfields of Texas. As improbable as that concept may seem, the film's storytelling heart allows the imagination of a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) to run wild while listening to the tall tales of youthful adventures in Africa as told by his recently rich, but equally eccentric uncles (Michael Caine and Robert Duvall). While the actual setting of the film is rooted in America's South, the cartoonish adventures span the globe in Indiana Jones fashion, and before production even began on Secondhand Lions, director Tim McCanlies had his heart set upon the services of composer Patrick Doyle to bring out the varied emotions of these travels. Although McCanlies was a fan of Doyle's classics of the past 15 years, the director had chosen to use a Korngold approach of swashbuckling heroics for his temp score...." **** Read the entire review.

11/10/03 - Runaway Jury: (Christopher Young) --All New Review-- "The newest adaptation of a John Grisham novel to the big screen, Runaway Jury is the first venture by composer Christopher Young into Grisham's courtroom dramas. Casual viewers of Grisham stories on screen will probably recall Dave Grusin's style for the Academy Award-nominated The Firm a decade ago, and Young doesn't stray too far from that tested formula. The film was directed by Gary Fleder, whose films often feature the work of composer Mark Isham. While Isham may have succeeded with an adequate score for Runaway Jury, Felder went with Young, who has proven himself versatile in urban thriller settings. The film itself, on the other hand, took many of the wrong turns for Grisham fans. Instead of featuring a landmark court case against big tobacco at the heart of the story, the filmmakers have twisted the bad guys around towards the gun industry. Even with that major change aside, the screenplay suffered from some poor choices in adaptation..." *** Read the entire review.

11/8/03 - Varèse Sarabande: A 25th Anniversary Celebration, Volume Two: (Compilation) --Updated, Expanded Review-- "...With 74 cues, the selections on 'Volume Two' are a tad lengthier and more inclined to represent composers like Cliff Eidelman, Joel McNeely, Mark Isham, Patrick Doyle, and George Fenton. Also featured are several more cues from the original Club series and cuts from more albums that are largely difficult to find on the market. Hidden gems like Richard Harvey's Animal Farm and Conrad Pope's Pavilion of Women are more plentiful on the second set as well. The only cue choice that seems rather odd on the second set is the inclusion of the mundane opening titles of Charlie Mole's Othello rather than the score's explosive end titles of roughly the same length. One interesting factoid about the two sets is the historical lack of James Horner material pressed by Varèse, with only one cue (from Brainstorm on the first set) represented. Completely missing from the sets is David Arnold..." **** Read the entire review.

11/7/03 - Home Alone: (John Williams) --Expanded Review-- "It had been a while since John Williams had composed a score specifically aimed at children --if ever, really-- and when he accepted the assignment of Home Alone from his friend, director Chris Columbus, in 1990, it was an entirely new genre for the maestro. Not only was it exciting for Williams' fans, but the composer tackled it with a refreshing new enthusiasm that carried over into his composition. After a year which included the dramatic, often tense scores for Presumed Innocent, Stanley & Iris, and Always, Williams shed all of that weight and provided the essential Christmas score. Ever since Home Alone first won the hearts of audiences with an outstanding record-producing showing at the box office, Williams' score has been the highest standard for Christmas music from Hollywood. The score and its original title song would be nominated for two Academy Awards..." **** Read the entire review.

11/5/03 - The Star Trek Album: (Compilation/The City of Prague Philharmonic) --All New Review-- "It has been several years since the Silva family of labels released their last major, critically acclaimed sci-fi collection of film music. After the success of their "Space and Beyond" album in 1997, they produced two sequel albums in the series (in 1998 and 2000). Over the course of those three albums, the City of Prague Philharmonic performed nearly every major piece of Star Trek music available at the time, and while most of it appeared on the first album in that series, there were additional piece sprinkled throughout the two follow-up albums. All of these double-CD sets offered interesting performances of the selections, and while some of them were better performed than others, the overwhelming magnitude of available re-recordings from Prague remains staggering. Other labels that have recorded Star Trek music on their various compilations, including the Telarc releases of Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops and Varèse Sarabande releases of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra..." **** Read the entire review.

11/2/03 - Braveheart: (James Horner) --Expanded Review-- "There can be no discounting of the ongoing popularity of the film Braveheart. The Mel Gibson epic, telling a romantic version of the Scottish legend William Wallace and his peoples' fight for territorial freedom, was an outstanding success at its release in 1995, although the true sign of the film's legacy is its continuing almost-cult following many years later. Despite its graphic violence, disturbing methods of killing, and themes of romance lost, the film's quirky sense of humor combined with arguably Gibson's career performance float the legacy with a maddening stream of interest. The same crowds that flock to the film's bandwagon often discover James Horner's score along the way, and these Braveheart junkies have caused Horner's score on two albums to reach phenomenal sales levels." **** Read the entire review. Note: On October 29th, Braveheart passed Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as the most read review ever at Filmtracks. Phantom Menace had held the #1 place since December, 1999. See the top 50 rankings.






Page created 11/15/03, updated 11/16/03. 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.