Latest reviews of new albums:
Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Composed by Christophe Beck
  • Hollywood Records / 56m

One of the most entertaining of the Marvel movies, Ant-Man was refreshingly free of the bloated feel that dogs a lot of them – just the right blend of wit and action, and at times a pleasingly small-scale feeling (appropriately enough).  Now here’s the sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, with Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly reprising their roles and Peyton Reed returning in the director’s chair.  The film has again attracted positive notices, especially for its sense of fun and general lightness.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • La-La Land / 96m (for the love of god)

Tom Cruise has been playing Ethan Hunt for 22 years now since he made Mission: Impossible with Brian de Palma in 1996.  Each of the next four films was made by a different director, generally in a pretty distinctive way, which has been a really interesting approach to a film series.  That record comes to an end with the previous instalment’s director Christopher McQuarrie returning for a second bite of the cherry in Fallout, though interestingly he has said he wanted to make it in a way that made it seem like he was a different director after all.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • Composed by Michael Giacchino
  • Back Lot Music / 80m

The fifth film in the Jurassic Park franchise is the first not to be directed by Steven Spielberg, Joe Johnston or Colin Trevorrow, with J.A. Bayona stepping into the director’s chair this time around.  The plot is something like “wouldn’t it be a great idea to put a load of humans with all these dinosaurs?” / “oh shit that’s not great after all” and sees most of the cast of the previous film returning, along with series original Jeff Goldblum.  There may be a limit to just how much plot you can put against this scenario, but there’s seemingly no limit to how much people like watching it, and the film’s already gone well over $1bn in box office and the next one is, inevitably, already in development.

Skyscraper
  • Composed by Steve Jablonsky
  • Milan / 75m

Action hero must save his family trapped in a tall tower after it is taken over by terrorists: hmm, let me think.  Nope, can’t think of anything, Skyscraper is an absolutely original thought from Hollywood.  Said action hero is played by Dwayne Johnson – somehow struggling to portray a figure who will stop at nothing to rescue his family – and sees director Rawson Marshall Thurber needing to rely on all the action/suspense tricks he developed on his previous films Dodgeball and Central Intelligence.

Lost in Space
  • Composed by Christopher Lennertz
  • Lakeshore / 72m

Loosely based on The Swiss Family Robinson – but in space – the 1960s tv show Lost in Space was popular in its day and reruns of it (and the other Irwin Allen-produced shows of the day) kept running for a long time thereafter.  An ill-advised feature remake of it in 1998 didn’t do very well, mostly because it wasn’t very good, and a further two decades later comes a Netflix reboot of it.  The ten-episode first season has proven to be very popular and so the show will continue.

Small Soldiers

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Varèse Sarabande CD Club / 76m I love Joe Dante – everyone loves Joe Dante.  I’ve always thought his best two films were Gremlins 2 and Matinée, made consecutively – but neither was a particular success and he found himself working in television for a while afterwards.  His return to bigger […]

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Composed by John Powell Walt Disney Records / 77m A little-known fact about Star Wars is that its French title is Les dents de la mer, which I can tell you translates directly as The War of the Stars.  [*See footnote.] You may wonder why I’m telling you this – well, I’m a follower of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]