Latest reviews of new albums:
Tokyo Ghoul
  • Composed by Don Davis
  • Shochiku / 2017 / 60m

Based on the Japanese manga series, Tokyo Ghoul is about a pleasant group of individuals – ghouls – who survive by eating human flesh.  They live amongst ordinary humans such as you and I, and nobody knows who they are (except, presumably, for the people whose flesh is eaten by them).  It’s directed by Kentarô Hagiwara and follows someone who is half-human, half-ghoul – and finds himself on the run from both sides (presumably in Tokyo).

Annabelle: Creation
  • Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • WaterTower / 2017 / 49m

Annabelle was about the doll introduced in The Conjuring and a year after the main film got a sequel, now so too does its spinoff.  As its title suggests, it’s about the origins of said doll and, like the previous films in the series, has been phenomenally successful, with a box office return in its first month of over $250m, against its $15m budget.   

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Europacorp / 2017 / 100m (score 71m)

Based on the French comics Valerian and Laureline, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the most expensive European movie ever made.  Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne star as the two lead characters, with support coming from a wide range of co-stars including Clive Owen, Rihanna and Rutger Hauer (what a combination!)  Without big name stars in the lead roles – and with its relatively obscure origins, to non-French audiences at least – it was always going to be a bit of a risk and while it hasn’t been a complete disaster financially, the film has lost a lot of money.

Sneakers
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Columbia / 1992 / 49m

Phil Alden Robinson’s Sneakers is a hugely entertaining caper movie from 1992 with a wonderful cast led by Robert Redford.  He leads a team of security specialists who find themselves caught up in a plot from Ben Kingsley to destabilise the global economy using a new computer hacking device.  It’s a film with great rewatchability and I’m surprised to find that it received only lukewarm reviews when it was released (but was still a big success).

The Dark Tower
  • Composed by Tom Holkenborg
  • Sony Classical / 2017 / 67m

Long in development, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has finally made it to cinemas in 2017, directed by Nikolaj Arcel (J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard having previously been attached).  It ended up being a continuation of the series of novels, incorporating elements from various entries along with some of King’s other works.  Idris Elba takes the lead as the Gunslinger, with Matthew McConaughey as his nemesis The Man in Black.  It has been panned by critics.

Papillon

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Quartet / 2017 / 72m Based on Henri Charrière’s massively successful memoir of life in a French prison camp in Guyana, Papillon can boast the star power of Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman (the former giving one of his finest performances) and Franklin J. Schaffner’s film is an entertaining yarn, albeit one […]

The Emoji Movie

Composed by Patrick Doyle Sony Classical / 2017 / 63m Based on the inspirational true story, it is unlikely that Oscar voters will need to watch another film this year after they see The Emoji Movie, currently setting both critics and audiences alight and almost certainly on course to break Avatar‘s box office records.  It […]

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Composed by Christopher Lennertz Sony Classical / 2017 / 62m After the box office disappointment of The Smurfs 2 in 2013, Sony has rebooted the franchise with Smurfs: The Lost Village, which unlike the previous films is pure animation, without the live action elements.  Starring Demi Lovato as Smurfette, Rainn Wilson as Gargamel and Mandy […]

Dunkirk

Composed by Hans Zimmer WaterTower / 2017 / 60m Christopher Nolan’s latest choice of project surprised many – Dunkirk follows the events of Operation Dynamo in which hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers were almost miraculously evacuated from the town in northern France.  At first it seems quite an about-turn for the director but he […]

War for the Planet of the Apes

Composed by Michael Giacchino Sony Classical / 2017 / 76m The three Planets of the Apes films in the new series confound expectations in many ways: a modern reboot series that’s actually very good; a trilogy where each film is better than the one before it; summer blockbusters that get equal love from audiences and […]

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Composed by Michael Giacchino Sony Classical / 2017 / 68m Only ten years passed between the first of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and the character’s relaunch in The Amazing Spider-Man; five years later, here we are again, with the character back again and now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the reason for the prompt […]

The Book of Henry

Composed by Michael Giacchino Back Lot / 2017 / 51m Coming in between Jurassic World and Star Wars IX for director Colin Trevorrow, The Book of Henry is a much smaller-scale film.  In what sounds like the most cheerful plot ever conceived for a film (spoilers ahead for the rest of this paragraph, but no […]

Cars 3

Composed by Randy Newman Walt Disney Records / 2017 / 50m It may be the least critically-loved series in Pixar’s roster, but Cars is a very lucrative franchise so a third film was probably always likely to be on the cards.  The previous entry was easily the worst film the studio has put out but […]

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, […]

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) […]