Latest reviews of new albums:
Bicentennial Man
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Sony Classical / 66m

Overly mawkish and sentimental, Chris Columbus’s Bicentennial Man is not well-remembered.  Based on an Isaac Asimov story, it follows the story of a robot (Robin Williams) who is the slave of a wealthy family over an extended period (the length of the period is no surprise to those who know what the title means).  Over time he becomes more and more human-like and it becomes a story about just how human you have to be before you can have human rights.  (And he falls in love, of course.)

Avengers: Infinity War
  • Composed by Alan Silvestri
  • Hollywood Records / 72m

Ten years after Iron Man started it all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe hurtles towards the end of the road for some of this batch of characters in Avengers: Infinity War.  Because they release these films more frequently than most people change their socks, it can be hard to keep up with what’s happening.  This one distinguishes itself from the others by having lots of people fight each other, loads of explosions, self-referential wit – and of course, everyone dies.  Or do they?

Rampage
  • Composed by Andrew Lockington
  • WaterTower / 73m

We’ve all been there – make friends with a gorilla, gorilla gets accidentally turned gigantic and goes all nasty, have to coax it to be friendly again to defeat the giant crocodile and wolf also raging through the city.  Dwayne Johnson plays the man at the centre of it all in Rampage, about which critics are saying “this is… very good!” (a truncated quote from the actual phrase used, “this is not very good!”) 

I Kill Giants
  • Composed by Laurent Perez del Mar
  • Varèse Sarabande / 53m

A children’s fantasy film, I Kill Giants follows the adventures of a teenager called Barbara – who kills giants.  The film actually got decent reviews but barely anybody saw it (according to Wikipedia, its total box office takings in its first month of release have been under $200k).  

Ready Player One
  • Composed by Alan Silvestri
  • WaterTower / 84m

Steven Spielberg’s most popular film in years, Ready Player One diverts away in many ways from Ernest Cline’s novel but perfectly captures its heart: a young man in a not-so-distant future gives his all to try to get away from a horrible life and claim a massive prize by completing a set of challenges within a massive online world (the Oasis) set by its creator, obsessed with pop culture especially of the 1980s.  It’s an entertaining film with an enthusiastic cast and the proper acting comes from Mark Rylance, appearing in his third Spielberg film – his quirky portrayal of the Oasis’s creator Jim Halliday is quite brilliant.

Pacific Rim Uprising

Composed by Lorne Balfe Milan / 76m Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim didn’t break any new ground but it was an entertaining spectacle and I guess its success meant a sequel was inevitable.  There’s no del Toro this time, with tv producer Steven S. DeKnight making his cinematic debut, and all the predictable things happen […]

Wild

Composed by Matthijs Kieboom MovieScore Media / 64m A Dutch nature documentary, Wild follows the life cycle of some animals living in the woods in the enormous Veluwe park in the country.  Many species inhabit the area but the film chooses to focus on three: deer, foxes and wild boar.  (The film may take place […]

Max and Me

Composed by Mark McKenzie Sony Classical / 57m An as-yet unreleased animation which frames a contemporary story of an old man helping a young rebel navigate his way through life against the inspirational story of Father Maximillian Kolbe, the Polish priest whose story of inspiration and bravery while imprisoned at Auschwitz led to him later […]

A Wrinkle In Time

Composed by Ramin Djawadi Walt Disney Records / 76m I not only have a child, apparently I was once a child myself, but I’ve never heard of A Wrinkle In Time despite it apparently being a “hugely popular” children’s book.  It’s directed by Ava DuVernay and its big stars are Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, and […]

The Hurricane Heist

Composed by Lorne Balfe Filmtrax / 42m A heist takes place in a hurricane in Rob Cohen’s latest film, The Hurricane Heist.  When I saw a trailer for it on tv I thought it was going to be a Sharknado-type self-referential tv movie but to my (and everyone else’s) amazement it’s actually a film being […]

Red Sparrow

Composed by James Newton Howard Sony Classical / 76m A spy thriller which seems eerily appropriate at the time I write these words, Red Sparrow stars Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian secret agent trained at the “Sparrow School” which teaches female agents how to seduce their male targets.  Quicker than you can say “#MeToo” she’s […]

Tomb Raider

Composed by Tom Holkenborg Sony Classical / 72m Most films based on video games are cinematic masterpieces and the two Tomb Raider films which starred Angelina Jolie are no exception.  I remember both of them – they starred Angelina Jolie and, oh wait, I don’t remember anything else.  (OK, I remember that bit when she […]

Nostalgia

Composed by Laurent Eyquem Varèse Sarabande / 31m With an amazing ensemble cast featuring Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman and many others, Mark Pellington’s Nostalgia is one of those films that follows various people and the ties that link them together, the connection this time being loss.

Death Wish

Composed by Ludwig Göransson Sony Classical / 55m A remake of Michael Winner’s most famous film, Death Wish sees Bruce Willis step into the role made so famous by Charles Bronson in 1974.  I am writing these words on the eve of the Academy Awards ceremony honouring the best films of 2017; I have little […]

Black Panther

Composed by Ludwig Göransson Hollywood Records / 24 1/2 years (actually 95m) It’s political correctness gone mad: not content with remaking Ghostbusters for women (the horror), we’ve now got The Pink Panther remade for black people.  Chadwick Boseman takes over the Peter Sellers role and Michael B. Jordan has the unenviable task of following Herbert […]