Latest reviews of new albums:
Red Heat
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Virgin Records / 1988 / 44m

According to an interview at the time Red Heat was released, director Walter Hill had long wanted to make a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger but was concerned that American audiences would struggle to take him seriously in a dramatic role as an American because of his accent.  The solution to this problem was, with hindsight, quite obvious – cast him as a Russian instead and team him up with Jim Belushi in the hunt for a Soviet drug kingpin in Chicago.

Southpaw
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Sony Classical / 2015 / 53m

Southpaw sees Jake Gyllenhaal play a boxer whose life falls apart following the death of his wife.  Having lost her, he falls to pieces and sees his daughter taken away from him.  Being a movie, the only way of winning her back is to get back in shape and back into the ring, one last time…  It’s directed by Antoine Fuqua and was originally conceived as a vehicle for Eminem; the rapper didn’t end up appearing in the film but has contributed to the soundtrack album.

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Epic Soundtrax / 1996 / 37m

Adapted from a play by Michael Brady, Michael Pressman’s To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday was a maudlin 1996 drama about a man whose grief for his wife, killed in a boating accident, was so absolute that he neglected his daughter.  Spending much of his time on the beach near their summer house, the protagonist communicates with the spirit of his late wife, until her sister turns up and tries to set him up with a friend in order to get over himself.  The savage reviews frequently questioned the whole premise – is it so wrong to grieve?  Are the filmmakers seriously trying to get us to cheer along with the woman trying to get him to expunge his wife from his memory?  It seemed ill-advised, to say the least.

Terminator Genisys
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • Skydance-Paramount / 2015 / 71m

A geriatric cyborg comes from the future and attempts to change the course of history by making sure that Phil Collins never takes over lead vocals for the English rock group Genisis.  Unfortunately the early days of dementia are taking hold and he simply cannot spell the band’s name correctly.  Terminator Genisys offers a worryingly plausible plot which will no doubt leave many audience members very nervous indeed.

Pas de Deux
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Mercury Classics / 2015 / 56m (Horner work 28m)

James Horner’s first concert work for over three decades, Pas de Deux is his concerto for violin, cello and orchestra, commissioned by and written for the Norwegian siblings Mari and Hakon Samuelsen.  It premièred in Liverpool in 2014 with Mari (violin) and Hakon (cello) accompanied by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko and the same group then went into the studio to record it for this album, which also features music by Pärt, Sollima and Einaudi.

The Perfect Storm

Composed by James Horner Sony Classical / 2000 / 79m Loosely based on events of 1991 when a fishing trawler was lost in the Atlantic during freak weather conditions, The Perfect Storm starred George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg and was a big box office success on its release in 2000.  Wolfgang Petersen’s second boat movie, it may not […]

James Horner Review Odyssey

Like many others, I was affected by James Horner’s death and touched by the various tributes paid by his friends, colleagues, collaborators and fans. There is little I can do in the way of tribute other than write about his music – and it strikes me that the body of work he developed over his […]

James Horner 1953-2015: “There is no goodbye… only love”

James Horner passed away yesterday at the age of 61.  Long time readers of this website will know that I considered him not just one of the great film composers of his generation, but of any… one of the true titans of his field.  After that great group of unbelievable creativity and talent rose up together in […]

Jurassic World

Composed by Michael Giacchino Back Lot Music / 2015 / 77m What could possibly go wrong with a dinosaur-based theme park?  I know something went wrong before, but definitely everything will be OK this time.  And that has come to pass, with Jurassic World a sedate documentary about an ordinary day at said park, with absolutely nothing […]

LUV

Composed by Nuno Malo Lakeshore Records / 2015 / 49m Sheldon Candis’s 2012 crime drama LUV stars rapper Common as… well, the Wikipedia plot synopsis is so good I need to share it verbatim.  “Uncle Vincent (Common) has recently returned home after eight years in prison determined to straighten out his life by opening a high-end crab shack.” […]

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef

Composed by Bernard Herrmann Kritzerland / 2015 / 55m With the surge in popularity of television in the early 1950s, movie studios had to do something to keep people going to the cinema and so they fell over themselves to introduce ever wider pictures on the big screen.  Twentieth Century Fox’s version was CinemaScope and debuted in […]

The Age of Adaline

Composed by Rob Simonsen Lakeshore Records / 2015 / 58m After suffering a car accident at the age of 29, Adaline Bowman’s life changes.  But her age doesn’t.  She’s stuck at 29 forever.  People come and go; she stays.  

The Longest Ride

Composed by Mark Isham Milan Records / 2015 / 52m Adapted from the novel by Nicholas Sparks, The Longest Ride tells the intertwined love stories of a young couple today, and old man they meet and his own love story from the 1940s.  It’s actually the tenth adaptation of a Sparks novel (he isn’t even fifty yet) to […]

Magic

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith La-La Land Records / 2015 / 43m A well-reviewed psychological thriller, Richard Attenborough’s 1978 movie Magic was written by William Goldman based on his novel.  It starred the great Anthony Hopkins as a mild-mannered ventriloquist, Corky, with a foul-mouthed dummy called Fats representing the flip-side of his dual personality; Ann-Margaret played his love interest, […]

Tomorrowland

Composed by Michael Giacchino Walt Disney Records / 2015 / 74m George Clooney plays a once wide-eyed boy full of hope, now died-in-the-wool cynic in Tomorrowland, Disney’s science fiction movie apparently intended to evoke the old Walt Disney optimism from the era of his utopian dreams of the perfect tomorrow, the 1964 New York City World’s Fair, […]