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Ennio Morricone

The legendary Ennio Morricone has passed away at the age of 91. He brought us some of the greatest film music of all – filled with boundless creativity and unbelievable beauty. He was a genius. Rest in peace, Maestro.

Born on the Fourth of July
  • Composed by John Williams
  • MCA / 57m (score 25m)

Oliver Stone’s moving, harrowing Born on the Fourth of July chronicles the Vietnam experience of Ron Kovic, scarred physically and emotionally by the conflict and facing his demons as he struggles to adapt back to life afterwards. It’s one of the director’s finest films and features an outstanding performance by Tom Cruise.

Hell on the Border
  • Composed by Sid de la Cruz
  • Promo / 32m

Directed by Wes Miller, Hell on the Border tells the true story of Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. Marshal in the West. This was in the 1870s but the depiction of the struggles Reeves faces and the discrimination he must overcome will be depressingly familiar a century and a half later. The score is by Sid de la Cruz (his second film for Miller in less than a year) and is very entertaining, written mostly in a classic western style with a heavy focus on action – the sort of score you could imagine someone like Marco Beltrami writing for a film like this. Occasionally there’s an overtly modern sound in later portions (a synth beat unexpectedly appears in “Bass Reeves Loses a Friend”) but generally the composer treads that line between writing music that isn’t of the period at all, but is appropriate for it.

Thunderheart
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Intrada / 44m

A very fine film, Michael Apted’s Thunderheart stars Val Kilmer as an FBI agent sent to investigate a murder on a Native American reservation. The twist comes from his character having some Sioux heritage, which leads to him becoming increasingly conflicted as he becomes embroiled in the culture.

The Thing
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Quartet / 50m

Now looked upon as a classic, The Thing was laughed out of cinemas when it was released (on the same day as E.T.) in 1982. John Carpenter’s brilliant study of paranoia set in an Antarctic research base sees a life form taking on the appearance of the things (including people) it kills – and the group of American scientists doesn’t know who they can trust and who they can’t.

Apocalypto

Composed by James Horner Holywood / 61m We have become used to having dilemmas on how far we can separate the art from the artist in cinema in recent years following all the horror stories that have emerged about various previously-beloved filmmakers both in front of and behind the camera. Mel Gibson is certainly a […]

Artemis Fowl

Composed by Patrick Doyle Disney / 58m A series of fantasy books for children, Artemis Fowl is about a young criminal mastermind who, in this first in a planned series of films which is likely to end up being a series of one, must rescue his kidnapped father with the help of his faithful dwarf. […]

All the King’s Men

Composed by James Horner Varèse Sarabande / 56m Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer-winning novel All the King’s Men had already been adapted for the big screen in a hugely successful 1949 film – so successful, in fact, that it won the Best Picture Oscar. Sean Penn was itching to play the juicy central role of a […]

Da 5 Bloods

Composed by Terence Blanchard Sony / 62m Spike Lee becomes the latest high-profile director to make a Netflix exclusive movie with Da 5 Bloods, an entertaining adventure about a group of Vietnam veterans returning to the country nearly half a century later to find the body of their fallen comrade – and the gold they […]

Ask the River

Composed by Rachel Portman Node Records / 54m There are so few female film composers for whatever reason, they’re all trailblazers in some way, but Rachel Portman is even more of a trailblazer than most, having been the first woman to win an Oscar for original score and scored a string of high-profile movies especially […]

Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi

Composed by Joe Hisaishi Decca / 132m A double-disc compilation of highlights from Japan’s premiere film composer is nothing new (there have been many over the years) but the arrival of a new one always serves as a welcome reminder of his talents. Of course, he will forever be primarily associated with Studio Ghibli and […]

Scoob!

Composed by Tom Holkenborg WaterTower / 48m They made so many episodes of Scooby Doo – and loads of direct-to-video movies – all of which are essentially the same. An attempt to do a live-action movie was successful enough to bring a sequel but not successful enough that anyone remembers it, and Scoob! started out […]

The Mask of Zorro

Composed by James Horner Sony / 75m An unexpected smash hit, The Mask of Zorro was a thoroughly-entertaining old-fashioned adventure romp starring Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas as older and younger versions of Zorro; Catherine Zeta-Jones was the former’s daughter and the eventual love interest of the latter. Martin Campbell was fresh from the success […]

Once Upon a Forest

Composed by James Horner Fox / 67m Produced by Hanna-Barbera and released by Fox in 1993, Once Upon a Forest is a heavily environmentalist animation originally conceived as a tv project, given more money and bumped up to a theatrical release, then chopped down in length (the film is actually a little shorter than this […]

House of Cards

Composed by James Horner Intrada / 59m Released in 1993 after sitting on the shelf for a couple of years, House of Cards stars Kathleen Turner and Tommy Lee Jones and is about a mother struggling to reconnect with her daughter after her father is killed. It disappeared virtually without trace when it was finally […]