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July - December 2017
12/29/17 Thelma & Louise   (Hans Zimmer)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on any of the various score-only album releases if you desire the defiantly beautiful, gospel-laced finale cue to go with the commercially available presentation of the famous "Thunderbird" suite from the score.
Avoid it... if you expect to hear more than eight to ten minutes of truly meaningful material in this work, because outside of the stylish guitar performances and that finale, there isn't much to impress on any full presentation of the short score.
12/24/17 Die Hard   (Michael Kamen)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... only if you are a diehard fan of the movie and seek one of its collectible albums in order to hear the music that Michael Kamen originally intended for the film before the recording was butchered in the final editing process.
Avoid it... if you expect the few moments of memorable, original material you recall from this soundtrack in context to compensate for an otherwise mundane composition and extremely unsatisfying sound quality.
12/20/17 The Haunting   (Jerry Goldsmith)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you seek Jerry Goldsmith's last truly accomplished horror score, overflowing with creepy atmosphere and chilling themes meant to put you at unease rather than outwardly scare you.
Avoid it... if you expect the score to offer the complexity of structure and explicitly frightening bombast of Goldsmith's classic horror scores from decades before.
8/25/17 X-Men: Days of Future Past   (John Ottman)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on either album release if ten minutes of inspired material with the franchise's first sense of thematic continuity is enough to justify an hour or more of dull underscore and derivative bursts of electric guitar-laden action.
Avoid it... if you expect this franchise to finally transcend musically, the concept continuing to languish with singular scores that do little to tie together the complex tapestry of its characters.
8/19/17 Terminator 2: Judgment Day   (Brad Fiedel)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you seek a more technologically advanced variation on some of the ideas primitively expressed in the previous score, including two solid, muscular performances of the franchise's famous title theme.
Avoid it... if you expect to hear anything with the depth of meaning to suggest that a compelling dramatic story is unfolding under the chase on screen, because Brad Fiedel's library of screeching and grinding metallic sound effects over pounding, brutal percussion ineffectively addresses the concept.
7/19/17 The Terminator   (Brad Fiedel)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on either the 2016 Milan or 1994/1995 Edel albums if you seek a comprehensive survey of Brad Fiedel's raw, synthetic score or, conversely, on the original 1991 score and song combination product if you seek all five major songs heard prominently in the narrative and cleverly reflecting upon it.
Avoid it... on any album if you are only casually interested in the effective, but now badly dated music for this film, because there still exists no truly satisfying, comprehensive soundtrack album for this film.
7/9/17 Wolf Totem   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you have always wondered what Dances With Wolves would have sounded like with a James Horner score, this epic and melodic work very much an equivalent to the classic John Barry work in Horner's own musical voice.
Avoid it... if you expect Horner to provide any single ingredient that you have not heard before in his career, a reality that makes this score yet another "name the reference" quiz for this enthusiasts and detractors.
7/2/17 Poltergeist II: The Other Side   (Jerry Goldsmith)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the 2017 Intrada album to rectify the issue of incomplete presentations with prior products if you desire one of Jerry Goldsmith's more noteworthy horror scores.
Avoid it... on the 2013 Kritzerland album specifically if you expect to find significant new material beyond that of the 2003 offering, or if you prefer the greater intensity of the action sequences heard during Goldsmith's first Poltergeist score.
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