Latest reviews of new albums:
First Blood
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Varèse Sarabande / 40m

It may be full of implausible action sequences and its reputation is probably forever sullied by its inferior sequels but First Blood is a surprisingly deep and intelligent thriller examining the sometimes harsh reaction given to returning veterans, in this case John Rambo played by Sylvester Stallone in one of his two most famous roles.

Erica
  • Composed by Austin Wintory
  • Sony / 58m

An “interactive cinematic game”, Erica is essentially a film that the player controls. I can’t help but think of those books I had as a kid where I got to choose what happened next. Holly Earl plays Erica, a girl confronting the death of her father in an occult ritual, and she (and you) explore various supernatural goings-on as she investigates.

Ready or Not
  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • Fox Music / 63m

An action/horror/black comedy, Ready or Not follows a young woman marrying into a wealthy family – with the catch being that all the family members have a night in which they must try to kill her. Hey, it’s a family tradition, so she can’t complain about that. It stars Samara Weaving and has been quite positively received by critics and audiences.

The Dark Crystal
  • Composed by Trevor Jones
  • La-La Land / 41m

It was part of the swathe of fantasy films that appeared in the early 1980s, but what marked The Dark Crystal apart was that it was the first adult-oriented project from Jim Henson (the genius behind the Muppets). And it was a dark film – its story may have not been anything terribly original (Gelflings must restore the crystal that rules the destiny of the people of the world, fighting naughty Skeksis along the way with the help of the nice Mystics) but it certainly was very different for Henson, who with his fellow director Frank Oz crafted a film that proved far more engaging to audiences than its contemporaries like Dragonslayer or Krull. It has retained sufficient popularity for Netflix to broadcast a prequel series, Age of Resistance, in 2019.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold
  • Composed by John Debney and Germaine Franco
  • Paramount Music / 72m

Everything changes when you have children. One thing that’s changed for me is that I hardly ever go to the cinema any more, but one thing’s for certain: I will be going to see Dora and the Lost City of Gold. And my daughter has yet to see a film she hasn’t liked, so she will certainly like it and that means I will like it too. There aren’t any songs on the soundtrack album after the first track so she probably won’t like that, but I do. Steady hand John Debney is joined by Germaine Franco – who worked for many years for John Powell – to provide the old-fashioned symphonic action/adventure score. The album opens with a new version of the irritatingly catchy Dora theme song and Debney and Franco cleverly weave it into their score in various places, in increasingly-creative ways – it’s not exactly a rousing adventure theme though, so that leaves a vacancy for a strong main theme to fill out the Indiana Jones sound the composers were evidently aiming for.

After the Wedding

Composed by Mychael Danna Varèse Sarabande / 45m Based on the 2006 Danish film of the same name, After the Wedding stars Michelle Williams, who travels from Kolkata in India to New York to try to raise some much-needed funds for the orphanage she runs. Director Bart Freundlich turned to Mychael Danna for the music […]

Aladdin

Composed by Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul Disney / 76m The pace of Disney’s releases of “live-action” versions of their animated classics shows no sign of abating. None of them seems to get much traction with critics but so far they have mostly been very lucrative, so I […]

Dark Phoenix

Composed by Hans Zimmer Fox Music / 68m X-Men: The Last Stand was not received well at all in 2006, and after it was rather conveniently erased from the timeline of this film series in a later instalment, the filmmakers had the chance to do it again and so Dark Phoenix was born to conclude […]

Rory’s Way

Composed by Frank Ilfman MovieScore Media / 46m Based on José Luis Sampedro’s classic Spanish novel The Etruscan Smile, Rory’s Way sees an old man (Brian Cox) reluctantly move from the Scottish highlands to San Francisco to stay with his son while he seeks medical treatment only to see his twilight years transform him after […]

The World of Hans Zimmer

Composed by Hans Zimmer Sony Classical / 117m Hans Zimmer went on tour with a small band a few years ago, to the delight of his fans; shortly thereafter his music went on tour again, this time under the name of “The World of Hans Zimmer” and performed with a full orchestra. The former tour […]

Hellboy

Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch Sony Classical / 47m We all remember where we were when the first Hellboy movie came out. The main reason for that is because it was only about a week ago last Tuesday, but that hasn’t stopped the powers that be deciding that it’s time for a new one, so here […]

Captain Marvel

Composed by Pinar Toprak Hollywood Records / 68m It’s taken an embarrassingly long time but we finally have one of these Marvel films focusing on a female character. Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as the eponymous hero and while the plot is basically the same as all the other 683 films in the series, I […]

Cold Pursuit

Composed by George Fenton Varèse Sarabande / 49m In stark contrast to all his other recent films, Cold Pursuit stars Liam Neeson as a wronged man on the hunt for revenge. (The press materials for this album describe him as “Liam Neeson, Taken, Taken 2-3.”) It was all rather overshadowed by the actor’s unfortunate comments […]

Serenity

Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch Milan / 63m I don’t think it’s supposed to be a comedy, but I haven’t laughed as hard at a film as Serenity since the last time I saw the immortal words “Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker” appear on a screen. It’s an extremely strange film starring Matthew McConaughey as a very angry fisherman who […]

Alita: Battle Angel

Composed by Tom Holkenborg Milan / 64m James Cameron was originally supposed to be directing Alita: Battle Angel, adapted from the Japanese comic book series, but of course he ended up working on his Avatar universe and so handed over the directorial reigns to Robert Rodriguez (but remains credited as writer and producer). Alita (played […]