Latest reviews of new albums:
The Blue Planet
  • Composed by George Fenton
  • Silva Screen / 55m

The BBC had been producing magnificent natural history documentaries for a number of years but The Blue Planet, first shown in 2001, was a bit of a game-changer.  Producer Alastair Fothergill took a coffee table book approach, looking for magnificent visuals that could be turned into engaging “stories” over the course of a series.  With the authority of David Attenborough’s narration, it was close to perfect and engaged audiences around the world, with similarly-scoped shows to follow from Fothergill and the team in the years ahead like Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

The Cloverfield Paradox
  • Composed by Bear McCreary
  • Sparks and Shadows / 75m

The story of this film’s release ended up exciting a lot of people more than the film itself did.  Retrofitted into the Cloverfield universe, The Cloverfield Paradox (originally called God Particle) was to be released theatrically by Paramount.  Like the previous two entries in the series, details were released only very sparsely in the weeks ahead of the apparent release; then suddenly, on the night of the Superb Owl (an American tradition, I’m told) a trailer was shown on television – along with the news that the film was being released immediately on Netflix (who reportedly paid $50m for it).  And released it was, to much fanfare but little acclaim.

  • Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • Varèse Sarabande / 45m

Mully is a documentary about Kenyan philanthropist Charles Mulli: abandoned by his family aged six, he made an improbable rise to head a business empire and then, when he’d made enough money, started giving it all away to help street children.  Nearly 25,000 have benefited so far.  

The Rendezvous
  • Composed by Austin Wintory
  • Varèse Sarabande / 55m

A globetrotting action/adventure film, The Rendezvous takes its cue from the classics of the genre from years gone by.  The two lead characters – played by Raza Jaffrey and Stana Katic – get tangled up in various mysteries as they first try to solve the riddle of her treasure-hunting brother’s death and then find themselves targeted by a doomsday group who think they might hold the key to bringing about the end of days.  Just another day at the office.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Sony Classical / 61m

I don’t think expectations were particularly high for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, so it has come to be seen as a success given its middling reaction.  A sequel to the Robin Williams film, with Dwayne Johnson now taking the lead, the board game takes on a new set of victims.  

12 Strong

Composed by Lorne Balfe WaterTower / 71m To suggest that Hans Zimmer is the most influential film composer of his generation is probably as uncontroversial as it gets; in recent years, particular influence seems to have been exerted by his scores for Christopher Nolan films.  The approach to the Batman trilogy had a large impact […]

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Composed by James Horner La-La Land / 2015 / 78m Telling the true story of the early life of chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, Searching for Bobby Fischer follows the boy as he learns the game from vastly different methods – a tutor who encourages him to play like the legendary Bobby Fischer, and share his […]


Composed by John Powell La-La Land / 2017 / 61m The latest from Ice Age producers Blue Sky Studios, Ferdinand is based on a true story and follows a giant bull whose pacifism leads to him refusing to take part in bullfighting… until he is forced into the ring to fight the world’s greatest bullfighter […]

Tooth and Tail

Composed by Austin Wintory Varèse Sarabande / 2017 / 66m Everyone is at war in Tooth and Tail, a strategy game.  And they’re at war over food: eat, or get eaten.  It is set in the 19th century, which as the history books show was a time of animals all rising up against each other […]

Damnation Alley

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Intrada / 2017 / 34m It was meant to be Fox’s big science fiction release of 1977: the post-apocalyptic Damnation Alley, in which a small group of survivors must traverse the width of America to find sanctuary, battling mutant insects and deranged humans on their way, in the aftermath of nuclear […]

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Composed by Carter Burwell Varèse Sarabande / 2017 / 44m With a great cast led by Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a black comedy in which McDormand plays a mother whose daughter is murdered; unable to solve the case, the local police purchase the three billboards in question to appeal for help.  […]

The Post

Composed by John Williams Sony Classical / 2017 / 40m The story of the so-called Pentagon Papers, and the struggle of the Washington Post and in particular its editor Ben Bradlee when it came to publishing them, seems an unusually important one to be told today.  With Steven Spielberg behind the camera and Tom Hanks […]

The Shape of Water

Composed by Alexandre Desplat Decca / 2017 / 77m An unusual romantic fantasy film, The Shape of Water looks at the relationship between a mute woman who works at a government research facility in Baltimore in the early 1960s, and the subject of the research – a humanoid amphibian discovered in a South American river.  […]

Star Trek: Discovery

Composed by Jeff Russo Lakeshore / 2017 / 53m It felt like we were long overdue a new Star Trek tv show when Discovery was announced – there wasn’t some innate problem with Star Trek which led to ever-reducing viewerships in the previous couple of shows, it was just that they weren’t really very good.  […]

The Haunting

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Varèse Sarabande / 2017 / 74m It is fair to say that of the two cinematic adaptations of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House, Jan de Bont’s 1999 one is the less-favoured.  Indeed, it was absolutely panned on its release, with few reviews finding anything good to say about […]