Check out the latest reviews:
Wishin’ and Hopin’
  • Composed by Matthew Llewellyn
  • MovieScore Media / 2014 / 34m

Based on Wally Lamb’s popular short 2009 novel, Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a nostalgic Christmas tale set in New York in 1964.  Narrated by Chevy Chase and starring Molly Ringwald and Annabella Sciorra (and a large cast of children), Colin Theys’s film had a limited cinema release before being shown on US tv recently, to a very enthusiastic reception.  

Penguins of Madagascar
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • Relativity Music / 2014 / 53m

A spin-off from Dreamworks’ popular Madagascar series, Penguins of Madagascar sees the birds go off on a spy romp trying to stop the evil octopus Dave, voiced by John Malkovich.  I believe it is based on a true story.  

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Composed by Howard Shore
  • WaterTower Music / 2013 / 129m

The middle part of Peter Jackson’s bloated adaptation of The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug sees the band of dwarves and a hobbit battling the dragon Smaug to take back the dwarves’ homeland.  It’s nothing like a film, lacking both a beginning and an ending, but to be fair nobody could deny how much middle it has.  Pacing issues from the first movie continue – some parts still seem to go on interminably, others feel like forced addenda to pad out the running time – but the tone issues are somewhat addressed (no forced, flat humour this time).

Interstellar
  • Composed by Hans Zimmer
  • WaterTower Music / 2014 / 72m (regular release)

Christopher Nolan’s latest is his attempt to make a science fiction film of meaning, a 2001 for this generation perhaps, with life on earth reaching its end due to overpopulation and humanity needing to find a new home.  Matthew McConaughey plays a former pilot who leads the way with a small group of scientists, leaving behind his beloved daughter; when she grows up she resents this but ends up working for the remnants of NASA just as her father did.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1
  • Composed by James Newton Howard
  • Republic Records / 2014 / 70m

The first part of the third part of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay part 1 follows the irritating recent trend of splitting popular books into an unnecessary number of films (Harry Potter and even Twilight both also split the final book into two films, and of course The Hobbit is going through its cycle of four thousand parts as we speak).  Unlike most 37-year-old men, I actually really like these books and thoroughly enjoyed the first couple of movies, well made and engaging as they are.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Composed by Alberto Iglesias Sony Classical / 2014 / 78m Ridley Scott is back in historical epic mode for Exodus: Gods and Kings, with Moses (Christian Bale) leading the Hebrews from Egypt.  The film has courted controversy before release because apparently it does not strictly present the truth as reported in the Bible.  

The Imitation Game

Composed by Alexandre Desplat Sony Classical / 2014 / 51m The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the British mathematical genius who cracked the Germans’ codes and played a pivotal part in the Allies winning the second world war, widely considered the father of modern computing and shamefully prosecuted, castigated and chemically castrated in the […]

Assassin’s Creed Unity – Volume 1

Composed by Chris Tilton Ubisoft Music / 2014 / 77m The first installment of the ever-popular Assassin’s Creed franchise developed exclusively for the latest generation of consoles, Unity takes place in Paris during the French revolution and it looks set to continue the series’ success.  

The Homesman

Composed by Marco Beltrami Varèse Sarabande / 2014 / 46m Tommy Lee Jones’s fourth movie as director, The Homesman is a western in which he stars as a drifter taken on to accompany a woman (Hillary Swank) who has to transport three mentally ill women back east for treatment.  Concentrating on examining our helplessness against the vastness of […]

Gorky Park

Composed by James Horner Intrada / 2014 / 79m (score 43m) Adapted from Martin Cruz Smith’s popular novel, Gorky Park follows a Russian policeman’s pursuit of the perpetrator of a triple murder, a pursuit that exposes a web of corruption and intrigue.  Directed by Michael Apted from a screenplay by Dennis Potter, and starring William Hurt, Lee […]

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and Audiomachine Activision / 2014 / 76m 2014’s installment in the Call of Duty video game behemoth is Advanced Warfare, set a few decades in the future when a private army is dictating the direction of the world (as if that would ever happen).  

See No Evil

Composed by Elmer Bernstein Intrada / 2014 / 28m A reasonably well-received but now largely forgotten 1971 movie, Richard Fleischer’s See No Evil saw Mia Farrow play a recently-blinded woman who wakes up one morning unaware that the other members of her family have been murdered during the night.  

Automata

Composed by Zacarias M. de la Riva MovieScore Media / 2014 / 54m Automata is set in a post-apocalyptic future where robots are programmed to obey two laws – not to harm the few remaining humans and not to modify themselves in any way.  Antonio Banderas plays an insurance investigator who discovers that somebody may have done […]

St Vincent

Composed by Theodore Shapiro Sony Classical / 2014 / 36m A comedy-drama written and directed by Theodore Melfi, St Vincent stars the great Bill Murray as a grumpy old man who takes the 12-year old boy who’s just moved in next door under his wing and teaches him the ways of the world – and would you […]

Fury

Composed by Steven Price Varèse Sarabande / 2014 / 67m It’s been quite a year or so for Steven Price, after he was hired to do a few weeks’ work on sound design for 2013’s Gravity, which wasn’t going to have a score.  Not only did it get a score, he got to write it; and […]