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 October, 2008:





10/30/08Composer Danny Elfman's Worst Nightmare: Sarah Palin
Filmtracks has never been a site to shun American politics. Partly because Filmtracks has endorsed every Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996 and partly because of positive reviews for music from "amoral films," the site has long been the target of anger from conservative interest groups (mostly the fundamentally religious variety). Veterans of the Scoreboard Forum have seen robotic and predictable retaliatory posts for years. With these facts in mind, the following piece of news is particularly intriguing.

Danny Elfman, one of Hollywood's most popular and successful current composers, has contributed to the formation of a PAC organization called OurGreatestFear.org. Frustrated by the political landscape of America's government during the 2000's, Elfman was specifically driven to action by Republican candidate John McCain's selection of novice Sarah Palin as his running mate. As he states, "Sarah Palin was my worst nightmare."

The composer today posted a fascinating entry in his new blog at The Huffington Post, explaining the circumstances behind his decision to become more involved. He received over a hundred comments on that site within hours, almost all in support of both his music and his political efforts. His entry is entitled "Battling Our Greatest Fear". If you decide to read OurGreatestFear.org, be sure to enjoy the apocalypse cartoon on the "Facts" page.

Filmtracks strongly supports Elfman and his organization. Such initiative warrants both praise and admiration.

[Addendum: the aforementioned apocalypse cartoon seems to have been removed from the site]


10/29/08Backdraft: (Hans Zimmer) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you own several scores from later in Hans Zimmer's career and seek his first, highly successful and enjoyable large-scale merging of an orchestra and choir with his electronics.
Avoid it... if no variant on the extremely masculine tones and simplistic themes consistent to Zimmer's style (from any era in his career) will fit with your preference for subtlety and delicacy.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/28/08An American Tail: Fievel Goes West: (James Horner) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you've ever been curious about what playful mayhem James Horner could stir up when combining the animated and Western genres into one wild score.
Avoid it... if you'd rather not hear Horner adapt Aaron Copland, along with a few others, in extremely obvious fashion.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/27/08High Road to China: (John Barry) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you are a self-proclaimed fan of John Barry's lush and occasionally soaring romance themes and rhythmic action motifs.
Avoid it... if you expect an ounce of originality from Barry in this score.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/25/08Edward Scissorhands: (Danny Elfman) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you don't mind scores that jerk the tears right out of you, for Edward Scissorhands is the most impressively tragic fairy tale score of the digital era.
Avoid it... if subtlety is your preferred method of introspection.
Rating:*****   Read the entire review


10/23/08The Little Mermaid: (Alan Menken) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you are one of the few remaining fans of musicals who hasn't seen this film, because it's main ballad and two calypso songs alone are worth the price.
Avoid it... if you've never been impressed with Alan Menken's arguably superior (and equally awarded) works for the subsequent Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/21/08Batman: (Danny Elfman) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you have any affinity for superhero scores, for Danny Elfman's Batman is among the best ever recorded.
Avoid it... if Elfman's famous theme for the character is too overexposed for your liking, along with some of the passages that reveal the composer's inspirations from others' works.
Rating:*****   Read the entire review


10/19/08Beetlejuice: (Danny Elfman) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you consider yourself a Danny Elfman fan to any degree whatsoever.
Avoid it... if the zany and frenetic scores from very early in Elfman's career are too wild and inconsistent for your tastes.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/17/08The Land Before Time: (James Horner) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you're enamored with James Horner's lyrical orchestral work for the animated children's film genre, because The Land Before Time is the standard by which all his other related scores would be compared.
Avoid it... if you expect the few action cues in the score to rival the rambunctious intensity of Horner's concurrent work for Willow.
Rating:*****   Read the entire review


10/15/08Willow: (James Horner) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you are any fan of superior fantasy and adventure scores that combine orchestral majesty with exotic beauty, for James Horner's Willow is among the best of the digital era.
Avoid it... if you have absolutely no curiosity about the inspiration for most of Horner's self-references later in his career.
Rating:*****   Read the entire review


10/14/08The Ultimate Star Trek: (Compilation) - Expanded Review
Buy it... only if you consider yourself a true fan of the "Star Trek" franchise, for this compilation is among the weakest of the plethora of similar products aimed at you.
Avoid it... if you expect the performances conducted by Cliff Eidelman and Frederic Talgorn to have the same authenticity as those by Jerry Goldsmith, which were already previously available on album.
Rating:**   Read the entire review


10/13/08Space 3: Beyond the Final Frontier: (Compilation) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if five or six outstanding performances amounting to half an hour of material merits the purchase of the whole set.
Avoid it... if you are dissatisfied with the more suspect collection of scores represented on this product compared to the two superior sets that came before in the series.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/12/08Sonic Images: Prime Time: (Compilation) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you do not own any of the Sonic Images label's plethora of television music albums and seek an accurate sampler of the majority of those releases.
Avoid it... if you're contemplating the album due to any specific item you see in its contents, for everything here has been released in fuller form on albums dedicated to each selection.
Rating:**   Read the entire review


10/11/08Mega Movies: (Compilation) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you have enjoyed other modern (post-1993) compilations from this ensemble on Telarc and have a fond place in your heart for their usual array of sound effects.
Avoid it... if synthetic choral accompaniment and an occasional "pop" sound to some cues deters you as much as the often overwhelming sound effects that could conceivably blow out smaller speaker systems.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/10/08The Best of Star Trek: Volume Two: (Various) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you seek the last relevant music from "The Next Generation" to be released, as well as one of the best episodic scores from "Deep Space Nine."
Avoid it... if you are dissatisfied with the lack of attention to the superior action music from the later seasons of "Voyager," for this album does not offer any of those highlights.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/9/08U-571: (Richard Marvin) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you, like many fans of the war genre on film, have traditionally enjoyed all capably robust and thematic scores for submarine thrillers.
Avoid it... if you demand originality in your adventure scores, for Richard Marvin forces several previous scores by other composers (with one bordering on plagiarism) into this otherwise entertaining effort.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/8/08Take a Hard Ride: (Jerry Goldsmith) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you seek the last Western score of Jerry Goldsmith's early career, with a maturation of his melodic sensibilities combined with a twist of the expected Ennio Morricone style for the dying genre.
Avoid it... if you have the four or five highlights from this score on the 1993 SPFM Goldsmith tribute album and weren't impressed with those selections.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/5/08The Nightmare Before Christmas: (Danny Elfman) - Expanded Review, with Additional New Album
Buy it... if you have any doubt whatsoever about Danny Elfman's talents, because his writing and performances in The Nightmare Before Christmas produce one of the most uniquely attractive musicals ever to scare the big screen.
Avoid it... if you expect the Broadway style of songs or light-hearted atmosphere of Alan Menken's musicals for Disney during the same era. Also avoid it on the disgraceful 2008 cover-version album at all costs.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/4/08Galaxy Quest: (David Newman) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you can't resist a really good parody score, especially one of the very few that takes effective aim at the science fiction genre.
Avoid it... if the bright and overly enthusiastic style of David Newman's parody writing lacks the resounding depth and power necessary to make such music worthy of a standalone listening experience.
Rating:****   Read the entire review


10/3/08Amanda: (Basil Poledouris) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you respect the pleasantly conservative dramatic underscores that typically grace the Hallmark-style of films that involve children bonding with animals.
Avoid it... if you expect to hear the more richly melodic, dynamic style that Basil Poledouris provided for Free Willy and other related projects in the same sub-genre.
Rating:***   Read the entire review


10/2/08Unbreakable: (James Newton Howard) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you were enamored with the score to The Sixth Sense and would be interested in a more thematically and instrumentally engaging variation on the same ambient spirit.
Avoid it... if you expect the scores that came from the James Newton Howard/M. Night Shyamalan collaborations of the 1990's to offer the same harmonious appeal as those in the 2000's.
Rating:***   Read the entire review


10/1/08Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying: (Don Davis) - Expanded Review
Buy it... only if you are capable of appreciating one-man orchestras, for Turbulence 2 is a rather mundane desktop computer score that barely lifts off with any interesting and fresh ideas for the genre.
Avoid it... if you have allergic reactions to those awful-sounding synthetic "orchestra hits" that software of the 1990's once produced.
Rating:**   Read the entire review







Page created 10/14/08, updated 10/15/08. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publications). Copyright © 2008, 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.