Latest reviews of new albums:
Ghostbusters
  • Composed by Theodore Shapiro
  • Sony Classical / 2016 / 51m

I can’t remember the last time so many people seemed to decide they hated a film without having seen it as much as 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot, which is not just guilty of being a reboot of Ghostbusters, it also features women in the leading roles.  Not hard to understand people’s horror.  As it happens, Paul Feig’s film has been met with generally positive reviews and looks set to do just fine for itself. 

The BFG
  • Composed by John Williams
  • Walt Disney Records / 2016 / 64m

I loved Roald Dahl’s books when I was a young lad and The BFG, published when I was four, was probably my favourite.  There was an animated tv movie in 1989 but I was always a bit surprised that it didn’t have a successful big-screen adaptation (especially given Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has had two, and Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and Fantastic Mr Fox have all had high-profile ones).  It still doesn’t look like it will have had a successful big-screen adaptation because – despite being directed by Steven Spielberg and receiving an enthusiastic response from the critics – this one, with Mark Rylance in the title role, looks set to be something of a box office bomb.

The Secret Life of Pets
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Back Lot Music / 2016 / 52m

Cats, dogs, their battles against humans etc form the basis of The Secret Life of Pets, an animation with an impressive voice cast led by Louis C.K. and directed by Despicable Me‘s Chris Renaud.  It’s got good reviews and looks set to be very successful. 

All the Way
  • Composed by James Newton Howard
  • Decca / 2016 / 54m

Chronicling the presidency of Lyndon Johnson (Bryan Cranston) from the moment he assumed office through to the election he fought the following year, All the Way (the title a play on one of his campaign slogans) has a lot of ground to cover, primarily Johnson’s part in the civil rights movement and his relationship with Martin Luther King (Anthony Mackie). 

Finding Dory
  • Composed by Thomas Newman
  • Walt Disney Records / 2016 / 69m

Content these days to revisit their past triumphs alongside the more original stuff, it was I guess inevitable that at some stage Pixar would go back to the world of Finding Nemo even though it appeared to be an entirely self-contained movie.  They’ve done it by looking at one of that movie’s other main characters, the forgetful Dory, and her quest to find her parents.  Andrew Stanton directs again, and most of the first film’s cast and crew are back; it’s only been out for a short while but is already a huge, record-breaking hit and has garnered very positive reviews, mostly along the lines of “I didn’t think a sequel was needed, but now I’ve seen it I’m very glad it’s been made.”

The Legend of Tarzan

Composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams WaterTower Music / 2016 / 71m The latest in a long line of cinematic adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s classic tale, The Legend of Tarzan stars Alexander Skarsgård as the legendary ape man with Margot Robbie as Jane.  It’s directed by David Yates, who made the last few Harry Potter films, […]

Independence Day: Resurgence

Composed by Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser Sony Masterworks / 2016 / 52m It’s amazing that it’s taken twenty years, really: Roland Emmerich’s mega-hit Independence Day was entirely self-contained, but that’s never been seen a barrier before to producing sequels.  The sequel is Will Smith-less, but otherwise most of the cast are back, including Jeff […]

Independence Day

Composed by David Arnold La-La Land / 2010 / 129m (score 100m) Roland Emmerich’s incredibly successful Independence Day came out in 1996 surrounded by hype and seemed to me to be very much enjoyed by audiences, even as critics were sneering at it.  More pretentious types now seem to have retrofitted a kind of post-modern […]

Flight

Composed by James Horner ASB Records / 2010 / 16m For a James Horner fan, listening to Flight – his rousing, glorious celebration of flying – is a truly bittersweet experience. Flying was one of the great passions of his life, along with composing – but of course it was ultimately what cost him his […]

Now You See Me 2

Composed by Brian Tyler Varèse Sarabande / 2016 / 77m 2013’s slightly odd heist movie Now You See Me, featuring four magicians who seem to be stealing money in bulk and redistributing it from rich to poor, attracted at best mixed reviews but was a big box office hit.  Three years later the first sequel […]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Composed by Steve Jablonsky Paramount Music / 2016 / 69m Jonathan Liebesman’s 2014 reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may not have found much love from critics, but it clearly did from audiences, as its half-billion-dollar box office take confirms; no surprise therefore that a sequel was quickly put into production.  Liebesman wasn’t attached to […]

Warcraft

Composed by Ramin Djawadi Back Lot Music / 2016 / 61m The hugely-popular Warcraft series of video games (and later, more) began back in 1994 when the first game was released, since when it has spawned a devoted army of followers, spawned books, physical games – and now a film.  Films based on video games […]

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Composed by Danny Elfman Walt Disney Records / 2016 / 76m Tim Burton’s 2010 take on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland may have received only mixed reviews but it made an absolute fortune at the box office so I guess it’s no surprise that a sequel has (somewhat belatedly) now arrived. Burton didn’t come back, […]

X-Men: Apocalypse

Composed by John Ottman Sony Classical / 2016 / 76m X-Men: Apocalypse, the ninth film in the series (and the second of 2016, after the rather different Deadpool) sees the original mutant, En Sabah Nur, awaken in the 1980s having been entombed alive in ancient Egypt, and decide he doesn’t much like what humanity has […]

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty

Composed by Scott Glasgow MovieScore Media / 2016 / 61m A reimagined haunted house movie take on the Brothers Grimm fairytale, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty sees a man inherit a large mansion – good news, one would think, except when there’s an ancient curse on it.  Which there is.  The man is convinced a […]