Latest reviews of new albums:
Lights, Camera… Music!
  • Composed by John Williams
  • BSO Classics / 2017 / 76m

An offshoot of the Boston Symphony Orchestra founded in 1885, the Boston Pops Orchestra (as its name suggests) was formed to perform lighter, more popular music than its big brother.  When it was looking for a new Principle Conductor following Arthur Fiedler’s retirement in 1979, it found one in the form of John Williams, recently established at the time as the world’s most popular film composer.  He remained in the post until 1993, succeeded by Keith Lockhart, who has held the position ever since.  This new album, released on the BSO’s own label, is Lockhart’s tribute to Williams, a collection of recordings of the composer’s film music spanning the 1960s to the 2010s and including several concert arrangements not previously heard on album.

The Land Before Time
  • Composed by James Horner
  • MCA / 1988 / 58m

With Disney in a rut, other companies’ animated movies were more to the fore through much of the 1980s and one of the most successful was Don Bluth’s The Land Before Time.  There have been no fewer than thirteen direct-to-video sequels (the most recent coming in 2016) and a tv show spinoff.  The first film follows a young dinosaur trying to find the Great Valley, an oasis in the middle of general devastation near the end of the cretaceous period, and was a big success at the time.

The Mummy
  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • Back Lot Music / 2017 / 124m

The first film in Universal’s new (well, old, I guess) “Dark Universe” which will be resurrecting many of the famous monsters from their films of many decades past, The Mummy rather improbably stars Tom Cruise as the man who unwittingly discovers the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet and unleashes her wrath on him and, needless to say, the world.  Directed by Alex Kurtzman (only his second film, in fact – he’s better known as a writer and producer and seems to have the helm on this new series), the film looks set to do well for itself at the box office, even if it hasn’t exactly been met with a favourable response from the critics.

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion
  • Composed by George Kallis
  • MovieScore Media / 2017 / 52m

A fantasy film screened at various festivals in 2016 before being released on home video earlier this year, Albion: The Enchanted Stallion tells the story of a 12-year-old girl transported to an ancient kingdom (Albion) and finding she holds the key to saving a whole race, with the help of Albion legends like Jeff Astle and Bryan Robson (OK, there’s a joke that won’t travel well across the Atlantic). 

Wonder Woman
  • Composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams
  • WaterTower / 2017 / 79m

Given that the same comic book characters keep getting the same films made about them over and over again, it’s quite a surprise that when Wonder Woman appeared in Batman v Superman in 2016 it was the first time she’d ever appeared on the big screen.  Now she has her own film, with Patty Jenkins’s movie easily the best-received of the four “DC Universe” pictures to date.  Gal Gadot reprises the role she started last year and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of her in the coming years, with Wonder Woman’s baby presumably appearing in the next film (as you can see from the album cover, she is heavily pregnant during this film).

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Composed by Geoff Zanelli Walt Disney / 2017 / 75m Only one of the Pirates of the Caribbean films may be any good, but that hasn’t stopped all of them being tremendously successful.  Six years have passed since the release of the fourth, and worst, and now here’s the fifth, known as Dead Me Tell […]

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Composed by Daniel Pemberton WaterTower / 2017 / 76m It may have been told a thousand times before, but the story of King Arthur and co has never been told quite as it is in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, with Charlie Hunnam in the title role.  Finally released almost a year […]

Alien: Covenant

Composed by Jed Kurzel Milan / 2017 / 59m Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, wasn’t a particularly well-liked film but its 2012 box office performance was still strong and so Scott returns to the series which he started back in 1979 with a follow-up.  Michael Fassbender returns from the previous film, part of the crew of […]

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Composed by Tyler Bates Hollywood Records / 2017 / 44m I thought James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the more entertaining entries in the Marvel series so far, gleefully refusing to take itself seriously, and audience reaction in general was overwhelmingly positive.  A sequel was inevitable, and Gunn has returned along with […]

Born in China

Composed by Barnaby Taylor Walt Disney Records / 2017 / 64m The seventh in Disney’s series of big-screen nature documentaries aimed at children, Born in China follows the fortune of a snow leopard and her cubs, a golden snub-nosed monkey, a giant panda and her daughter and a herd of Tibetan antelope.  While these types […]

Their Finest

Composed by Rachel Portman Varèse Sarabande / 2017 / 35m A WWII-set romantic comedy, Their Finest stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy and follows a British film crew making a morale-boosting film to cheer people up during the Blitz. 

Power Rangers

Composed by Brian Tyler Varèse Sarabande / 2017 / 78m A reboot of the popular 1990s superhero series for kids, Power Rangers is directed by Dean Israelite and is actually the third movie featuring these characters, some time after the second one.  Reviews have been predictably mixed and the box office probably not strong enough […]

Viceroy’s House

Composed by A.R. Rahman Filmtrax / 2017 / 44m Viceroy’s House is the Upstairs, Downstairs of the Indian partition.  Set in the Delhi palace of Lord Mountbatten in 1947, the film explores the relationships unfolding in the servants’ quarters.  Starring Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson as the English masters and Manish Dayal and Huma Qureshi […]

A Cure for Wellness

Composed by Bejnamin Wallfisch Milan / 2017 / 49m A psychological horror directed by Gore Verbinski, A Cure For Wellness charts the strange goings-on at a Swiss rehab centre.  A box office bomb, it has received little praise except for its arresting visuals. 

Tulip Fever

Composed by Danny Elfman Sony Classical / 2017 / 43m Set in Amsterdam in the 17th century, Tulip Fever tells the story of a painter who falls in love with the married woman whose portrait he is commissioned to paint.  Filmed in the summer of 2014, the film’s release has been postponed numerous times, most […]