Latest reviews of new albums:
Elephant
  • Composed by Ramin Djawadi
  • Walt Disney / 61m

While he became known for his pulsating modern scores to big action films (and a certain tv series), the first time I came across Ramin Djawadi was for a score for a film set in South Africa called Beat the Drum. He was co-credited with Klaus Badelt (higher up the ladder at Remote Control at the time – which should perhaps be a cautionary tale to those occupying that position now) and it was a beautiful, tender score which made me look forward to his future. He went off in a very different path, and I’ve liked some of what he’s done along the way, but all these years later I think I finally have the music I’ve been waiting for – the wonderfully uplifting Elephant, for Disney+. (I honestly don’t have a clue what it’s about – vampire bats is my best guess.)

Lev Yashin: The Dream Goalkeeper
  • Composed by George Kallis
  • Moviescore Media / 43m

A biopic of the legendary footballer Lev Yashin, goalkeeper for the Soviet national side as well as Dynamo Moscow from 1950 to 1970, The Dream Goalkeeper follows his life from the humblest of beginnings to worldwide fame. Composer George Kallis has tackled Russian movies previously – this is his third, in fact; the Moviescore Media label has championed his work for a number of years and I always enjoy hearing it. This is another fine one – full of melody, the sort of big spirit you expect to hear in a sports movie score but also plenty of emotion.

Battle Beyond the Stars
  • Composed by James Horner
  • BSX / 71m (score 43m)

It’s extraordinary really that James Horner – a gentle, shy man – began his film music career by working for Roger Corman. But that was his route into the mainstream and the film that really did it for him was Battle Beyond the Stars – it directly led to him being hired for Star Trek II and the rest was history.

Where the River Runs Black
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Varèse Sarabande / 45m

It’s that age-old tale, told once again – a young boy is separated from his tribe when his half-human, half-dolphin mother is murdered by people trying to exploit the forest, and when he goes to the city years later he recognises a local politician as the killer. Enough already, Hollywood – give us something original.

Fukushima 50
  • Composed by Taro Iwashiro
  • Universal / 48m

Fukushima 50 is a dramatisation about the workers who stayed behind to prevent the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima plant in Japan becoming an even greater nuclear disaster. It was released in early March 2020 in Japan and would no doubt have become very successful had it not been for the pandemic.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Composed by James Horner Intrada / 52m Much of the power of John Boyne’s wonderful book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – a child’s eye view of the holocaust – comes because the reader is discovering the true horrors of the situation in line with Bruno, the young son of a German officer. Over […]

The Invisible Man

Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch Backlot / 50m Elisabeth Moss stars in the contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man, playing a woman whose abusive husband apparently dies – but then she becomes convinced he is stalking her and (spoiler alert) may have become invisible. It did good business before becoming one of those movies […]

Glory

Composed by James Horner Virgin / 43m By far Ed Zwick’s best film, Glory is a moving film following the African American 54th Regiment during the American Civil War. Matthew Broderick (who is not now, nor was in 1989, African American) plays the commanding officer Colonel Shaw with an excellent cast also including Denzel Washington, […]

A Beautiful Mind

Composed by James Horner Decca / 71m Loosely based on his life, A Beautiful Mind tells the story of John Nash, a genius mathematician who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. In the film he’s played (brilliantly) by Russell Crowe, deciphering codes while working at the Pentagon during the Cold War, becoming increasingly convinced he is being […]

Emma

Composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge and David Schweitzer Backlot / 63m According to Wikipedia, this film is actually called Emma. with a period at the end to signify that it’s a period piece. While this will disappoint those who thought Jane Austen’s novel was set in a dystopian future where (say) a pandemic is just starting […]

Onward

Composed by Mychael and Jeff Danna Walt Disney / 62m Two boys get a chance to spend a few minutes with their late father in Onward, Pixar’s latest. But they have to go on a magical quest to do it. Along the way, they connect with each other in the traditional Pixar way -it’s a […]

The Call of the Wild

Composed by John Powell Hollywood Records / 67m It’s a sanitised take on Jack London’s vintage novel but the latest (of many) big-screen retelling of The Call of the Wild is a decent family adventure film. Much of the criticism seems to have centred on the CGI – it moves in unnatural ways, the hairs […]

Sonic the Hedgehog

Composed by Tom Holkenborg Paramount / 43m He’s been delighting video game players for so many years it’s always been a bit of a mystery why the remarkable true story of Sonic the Hedgehog has never been told in film. Well, finally a new generation can learn about the blue hedgehog and the remarkable story […]

Star Trek: Picard

Composed by Jeff Russo Lakeshore Records / 67m I don’t think anybody really believed that Patrick Stewart would start playing Jean-Luc Picard again, least of all in a new tv series, but after all the next generations we’re back with the same generation again as we pick up with the former captain many years after […]

The Lost Prince

Composed by Howard Shore Howe Records / 49m A light fantasy for children, The Lost Prince is directed by The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius and sees a father and daughter go into a fairytale every night as she falls asleep. Howard Shore only tends to score one movie a year these days and it’s been quite […]