Latest reviews of new albums:
Operation Finale
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Sony Classical / 58m

Operation Finale tells the story of the Israeli intelligence service’s attempts to capture the vile Adolf Eichmann (one of the architects of the Holocaust) in South America in 1960.  Directed by Chris Weitz and starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley, the film has received very mixed reviews, with most agreeing it is a worthy and well-acted attempt to tell the story, if a little stodgy. (The events have been told on film before, including 1996’s The Men Who Captured Eichmann which starred Robert Duvall and Arliss Howard and was scored by Laurence Rosenthal.)

King of Thieves
  • Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • Milan / 42m

It only happened in 2015 but King of Thieves is already the third film about the Hatton Garden robbery in London (plus two tv series) – perhaps not surprising given how extraordinary it was, carried out by elderly burglars.  This is the most high-profile of the bunch by far, with Michael Caine leading the excellent cast. 

Papillon
  • Composed by David Buckley
  • BMG / 42m

Franklin Schaffner’s 1973 film of Papillon is a strange but entertaining one, featuring enjoyable performances by Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. The accuracy of Henri Charrière’s memoir on which it is based has always been challenged – and Dalton Trumbo’s screenplay took further liberties.

Crazy Rich Asians
  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • WaterTower / 64m

A romantic comedy based on a best-selling novel might not seem a likely place for a film which may well turn out to be something of a cultural turning point in Hollywood, but that’s exactly how Crazy Rich Asians is being received.  Incredibly (really, virtually unbelievably) it is the first American studio film in a quarter of a century to feature a predominantly Asian-American cast in a contemporary setting (the previous – and indeed only – one being The Joy Luck Club).  Jon M. Chu’s film stars Constance Wu and Henry Golding as a couple who fall in love and all the rest of it and has been very well-received by critics and audiences, with a sequel already in the works (so it definitely won’t be a quarter of a century till the next one).

Christopher Robin
  • Score by Geoff Zanelli and Jon Brion
  • Songs by Richard M. Sherman
  • Walt Disney / 57m

The latest Winnie-the-Pooh film is not like the others: live action for a start, it stars Ewen McGregor as a grown-up Christopher Robin, who has forgotten how to have fun until his childhood bear turns up and reminds him what he’s missing.  (My favourite Christopher Robin anecdote: I was walking past St Paul’s Cathedral in London many years ago and a tour guide was telling his tour group that it had been designed by Sir Christopher Wren – an American tourist asked him incredulously “you mean the guy from Winnie-the-Pooh!?”)

James Horner – The Classics

Composed by James Horner Sony Classical / 64m I enjoyed last year’s Hans Zimmer – The Classics album, which saw a selection of Sony Classical artists offering their takes on various themes by Zimmer, often in radically-altered arrangements compared with the originals.  Zimmer’s music obviously lends itself to such treatments – the melodies can be […]

John Williams: A Life in Music

Composed by John Williams Decca / 50m I suspect that for many generations to come, the most-performed and most-listened to orchestral music of the second half of the twentieth century will be John Williams’s.  His remarkable career has seen him write such high quality music for such successful films for such a long time, alongside […]

The Mummy

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Intrada / 158m (score 91m) I don’t think anyone involved with 1999’s The Mummy could have predicted that it would become such a major success: a lighthearted reboot of the classic Universal monster series, Brendan Fraser starred (I repeat: 1999) as a 1920s archaeological adventurer who – with Rachael Weisz’s librarian […]

A Tribute to Michael Kamen

Composed by Michael Kamen Quartet / 74m My real journey of discovery into great film music began in the mid 1990s, around the same time the internet started taking off.  With most of the great composers I was exploring (Barry, Bernstein, Goldsmith, Morricone, Williams) it was not difficult to find kindred spirits online, espousing their […]

Hans Zimmer – The Classics

Composed by Hans Zimmer Sony Classical / 58m An interesting concept for an album, Hans Zimmer – The Classics offers new arrangements of various pieces by the composer, interpreted by various classical and crossover artists contracted to Sony Classical, accompanied in most cases by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by frequent Zimmer collaborator Gavin Greenaway.  […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]