Latest reviews of new albums:
Star Trek: Picard
  • Composed by Jeff Russo
  • Lakeshore Records / 67m

I don’t think anybody really believed that Patrick Stewart would start playing Jean-Luc Picard again, least of all in a new tv series, but after all the next generations we’re back with the same generation again as we pick up with the former captain many years after Star Trek Nemesis. He has come to terms with his retirement – until of course it’s time to come out of it and have a new adventure. (But where’s Stuart Baird?)

The Lost Prince
  • Composed by Howard Shore
  • Howe Records / 49m

A light fantasy for children, The Lost Prince is directed by The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius and sees a father and daughter go into a fairytale every night as she falls asleep. Howard Shore only tends to score one movie a year these days and it’s been quite a while since we’ve heard anything light from him, with nine years having passed since Hugo. Go a few years further back and you arrive at the essentially forgotten The Last Mimzy – and this new score is superficially somewhere in the middle of those two, both in terms of style and indeed quality. It is for the most part genuinely light like Hugo and almost continually playful; there are French flavours in the instrumental palette, and some sprightly orchestral jazz which is quintessentially gallic. There are a handful of themes which are heard several times, the opening cue introducing the dominant main theme which is very pretty even if it doesn’t really stick around in the memory for very long.

Bad Boys For Life
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • Sony Classical / 40m

I usually start these things with a little comment about the film, but to be honest the only thing I keep thinking about Bad Boys For Life is that I can’t believe they didn’t save the title for the next instalment, which they could have called Bad Boys Four Life. Oh well, maybe Mr Bruckheimer will contact me for clearly-needed advice next time he needs to name a film. Because I’m annoying, back in the 1990s when all the kids used to say Media Ventures power anthem scores were the greatest thing since sliced bread, I didn’t like them; but as that sound has morphed over time into the generally joyless modern Remote Control action sound which the kids now say is the greatest thing since sliced bread (find a kid and ask him or her – I guarantee this is the case), I started to rather miss it. Well, here it is, back (but probably not for life). Mark Mancina has long since flown the nest and so Lorne Balfe takes the musical reins for the third instalment, with much excitement from people who were kids in 1995 over whether he would bring back Mancina’s theme. Fear not – he doesn’t just bring it back, virtually the whole score is based on it in some way or other.

Dolittle
  • Composed by Danny Elfman
  • Back Lot / 58m

A lavish fantasy, Dolittle is likely to be remembered for generations to come. Playing the title role is Robert Downey, Jr (reportedly paid several thousand dollars for his work) – evidently Johnny Depp was not available – but Danny Elfman was so he’s on hand to provide the music. This is Elfman’s bread-and-butter – a big, colourful, over-the-top fantasy film – he scores one every few weeks. Listeners are not likely to be in for much of a surprise, which I guess is the point – this is orchestrated to the hilt, fast-paced but with numerous warm interludes, twinkles all over the place, magical choir – you know the drill. I’m not sure what new thing Elfman could possibly have to say in this genre any more but (to state the obvious) the reason he keeps getting asked to do them is because he’s so good at them, and the reason he keeps saying yes is presumably because he enjoys doing them.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]