Latest reviews of new albums:
Cinema Morricone
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Sony Classical / 97m

Ennio Morricone’s vast catalogue of film music includes every conceivable musical style, from all kinds of classical orchestral through pop and rock and the frankly indescribable. While there are many great attributes to his music that have attracted legions of fans over the years, one thing stands above all others for me – the pure, direct, sometimes gut-wrenchingly beautiful melodies – hundreds, thousands of them. The concept of this album is to strip his music bare, present some of those melodies in the most intimate fashion, arranged for simply piano and flute.

The Two Popes
  • Composed by Bryce Dessner
  • Milan / 53m

A Netflix film examining the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI and his successor Pope Francis, The Two Popes has been acclaimed in particular for its performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce. For the music, director Fernando Meirelles turned to guitarist and occasional composer Bryce Dessner. His gentle score begins with a piece for solo guitar, “Walls”, which suggests things might remain on familiar ground for Dessner, but that’s a bit deceptive – he has written classical compositions in the past and it turns out that there is more to this than that (admittedly lovely) opening piece would suggest.

The Morning Show
  • Composed by Carter Burwell
  • Lakeshore / 51m

The flagship show for the launch of Apple tv+, The Morning Show is a surprisingly nuanced look into #metoo horrors on a tv show. It’s very slick and expensive (the budget for all the Apple products on display must exceed that of some small countries) and not entirely successful, but certainly worth watching. The show nabbed quite a composer, too, enticing Carter Burwell into working on episodic tv for the first time. Frankly a lot of key scenes are underscored with songs so he has to work his way around those to find interesting things to say – he does this to a degree but even this relatively brief album does expose the fact that sometimes his brief was just to write low-key underscore for low-key scenes.

Sordo: The Silent War
  • Composed by Carlos M. Jara
  • MovieScore Media / 72m

Set in 1944, Sordo covers the events of a guerilla uprising against Spanish dictator General Franco. Directed by Alfonso Cortés-Cavanillas and starring Asier Etxeandia, most reviews describe the film as being like a Spanish western.

Little Women
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Sony Classical / 63m

Great news for everyone who loves Little Women but think none of the previous six film adaptations quite did the job, as Greta Gerwig’s new version comes along; but disappointment for those hoping for a Ghostbusters-style gender bend (I guess adaptation number eight might do that). Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson are amongst the little women; Laura Dern and Meryl Streep amongst the big ones.

Toy Story 4

Composed by Randy Newman Walt Disney / 72m Every time a new Toy Story sequel is announced, it’s hard to imagine how they’re going to pull it off, because every film seems to conclude things perfectly. Somehow, they do pull it off. The fourth film is another triumph – this time seeing Woody coming to […]

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

Composed by David Arnold Sony Classical / 22m First published in 1968, The Tiger Who Came To Tea has become a beloved children’s book in Britain and other parts of the world and remains very popular half a century later. Its author and illustrator Judith Kerr died a few months ago while this television adaptation […]

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Composed by John Williams Walt Disney / 77m And so we reach the end (until it starts again). For the third time in my life, I’ve seen the last ever Star Wars movie, this one drawing to a close the adventures of Rey, Finn and Poe and their foe Kylo Ren and a second close […]

1917

Composed by Thomas Newman Sony Classical / 78m After spending a few years concentrating on James Bond, director Sam Mendes has gone in a different direction now with 1917, a WWI movie which follows a pair of soldiers desperately trying to get a message to British troops about an upcoming German ambush (a story apparently […]

Avengers: Endgame

Composed by Alan Silvestri Hollywood Records / 117m With Bananaman, Captain Birdseye and Colonel Sanders all added to the regular Avengers crew, the stakes could hardly have been higher in Avengers: Endgame. Beloved characters die, absolutely never to be seen again at all, buildings are destroyed and Martin Scorsese is foaming at the mouth – […]

Marriage Story

Composed by Randy Newman Lakeshore / 25m Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is a smart and impressive look at the marriage breakdown of a couple who just drift apart, the effect it has on them and their son. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are both good, there is excellent support from a range of familiar faces […]

Frozen II

Songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez Score by Christophe Beck Disney / 130m There have been many direct-to-video sequels to Disney animations over the years but it’s almost unheard of for them to release a sequel theatrically; such was the success of Frozen, it seemed almost unavoidable and so, for the first time in […]

His Dark Materials

Composed by Lorne Balfe Silva Screen / 53m There’s already been one attempt to bring Philip Pullman’s delightful fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials to the screen but the first part, The Golden Compass, was disappointing and so the sequels never made it. Now here comes part two – on the small screen this time, a […]

Frozen

Songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez Score by Christophe Beck Disney / 69m I don’t know how many times you’ve seen Frozen but it’s probably not as many times as I’ve seen Frozen. My daughter was born in 2014 and we probably watched it most days in 2016 and 2017. To be fair, it’s […]

Adults in the Room

Composed by Alexandre Desplat Warner Classics / 49m Greece’s Acropolis Now debt crisis moment, which at one point threatened to destroy the Euro currency, is the focus of Costa-Gavras’s Adults in the Room. It’s based on the book by Yannis Varoufakis, the leather jacket-wearing finance minister who became a bit of a sensation during and […]