Latest reviews of new albums:
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 critics.  The third entry picks up three years after the events of the second, with Caesar and his clan still living in Muir Woods near San Francisco, now confronted by a human military unit led by Woody Harrelson and featuring various apes who have defected in protest at Caesar’s leadership style (or perhaps in protest at him being named after the world’s most popular salad).

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 turnaround this time).  Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts, and starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker.  Michael Keaton plays the villain, Vulture, and Robert Downey, Jr. is on hand as Iron Man, playing the character for the 750th time, a new Hollywood record.

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 more than you can read in the plot summary on any website), Henry is an 11-year-old boy who lives with his younger brother, who is bullied at school, and their single mother.  His neighbour is subjected to child abuse by her father.  Just when he formulates a plan to rescue her from the abuse, he is diagnosed with a brain tumour and dies shortly afterwards.  Sounds like great fun for all the family to enjoy, perhaps in a double-feature with Captain Underpants.

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 the third is finding a lot more favour, moving away from the very odd spy theme back to its roots.  This time round, Lightning McQueen finds himself being overshadowed by Jackson Storm, a new and more technologically-advanced racer… could it be the end of the road for our hero?

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) […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.  […]

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.