Latest reviews of new albums:
All the Light We Cannot See

I loved Anthony Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See – it very slowly and very delicately tells twin storylines about a young blind girl who moves with her father from Paris to St Malo as Germany occupies France in WWII, and a young German radio engineer who has a lot of doubts about the war – and beautifully culminates in their storylines coming together. Sadly the Netflix adaptation didn’t really do any of this, dumping so much of the build-up that it becomes almost entirely unmoving, which is quite the achievement given the source material.

Night After Night

Say what you will about the films of M. Night Shyamalan, I don’t think there’s any doubt that the eight of them scored by James Newton Howard are made so much better thanks to his contribution. The composer has built up numerous directorial relationships over his long career and enjoys ongoing collaborations with many of them – I think it’s the one with Shyamalan that has inspired him the most, resulting in the very best of him, and it’s a great shame that it appears (for now at least) to have ended.

Life On Our Planet

An eight-part series which tells the four billion year story of life on Earth (couldn’t they have been a bit more ambitious?), Netflix’s Life On Our Planet is produced by Steve Spielberg and the man behind so many great natural history documentaries, Alastair Fothergill, and narrated by Morgan Freeman. It apparently uses a mix of CGI and real footage to tell its story, so I suppose it’s somewhere between Netflix’s Our Planet and Apple’s Prehistoric Planet.

The Burial

The Burial is not just set in the 1990s, it very much feels as if it was made then. A courtroom drama very much like that decade’s various John Grisham adaptations – only this time loosely based on a true story – it features a real Movie Star performance by Jamie Foxx who is completely electric as a lawyer helping funeral home manager Tommy Lee Jones take on the big boys. Everything about it is like a thirty-year throwback, delightfully including its score, by Michael Abels.

The Rock

When you think about “influential scores”, it’s quite interesting (to me, anyway) that they tend to roll off the tongue when you think about the last quarter of a century – The Rock, Gladiator, American Beauty, The Bourne Identity, The Dark Knight – but when you think about it, they really didn’t tend to exist in the same way before that. It’s not like after Star Wars came out and was successful, all of a sudden half of all film scores sounded like Star Wars – you tended to have a load of composers who were quite distinctive and hired because the filmmakers wanted them to sound like themselves and craft music for that particular film that would suit it.

Morricone: Cinema Rarities

Not surprisingly, in the months following the great Ennio Morricone’s passing, various albums were released celebrating his music, most interestingly various re-recording projects of different kinds. Of these, the one most obviously “sanctioned” by his family was Cinema Suites for Violin and Orchestra, with soloist Marco Serino accompanied by the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e […]

The Creator

AI is all the rage at the moment, with high-profile strikes through Hollywood from people afraid of their jobs being taken away, and kids around the world asking ChatGPT to do their homework for them, so Gareth Edwards’s new film about mankind’s battle with increasingly-omniscient AI in the distant future is very timely. I speak […]

Company Business

The penultimate film directed by Nicholas Meyer, Company Business was an unfortunate casualty of timing. A cold war thriller about a CIA/KGB prisoner exchange gone wrong, the film entered production as the Berlin Wall fell and real life was rendering its content immediately irrelevant – rushed rewrites ended up making it seem like a bit […]

A Haunting in Venice

There are many ways to skin a cat. After decades of asking Patrick Doyle to score his films, Kenneth Branagh decided for A Haunting in Venice to go a very different route, turning to one of film music’s hottest properties Hildur Guðnadóttir instead. As film composers they could barely be more different – not just […]

The Gardener’s Apprentice

MOVIE WAVE RECORDS PROUDLY ANNOUNCES A NEW ALBUM RELEASE:THE GARDENER’S APPRENTICE by composer SERVIS D’APARTMENT Album features music by acclaimed new composer – film generating buzz around the world – epic tale spanning generations – music inspired by Tár is already exciting renowned critics

Summer round-up: Barbenheimer etc

2023 will forever be remembered as being the year when – for the first time in the history of cinema – two quite different films aimed at quite different audiences were released on the same day as each other. It is hard to overstate just how hilarious this is and quite understandable why it inspired […]

Deadly Blessing

Wes Craven’s Deadly Blessing was about the only one of his first few films that didn’t go on to become a cult favourite – ironic, given it’s about a cult (well, kind of). A man is murdered after he decides to leave his Amish-type community to marry; his wife and her friends are then left […]

Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves

I thought the latest cinematic attempt to do Dungeons and Dragons was really entertaining, really silly fun. Apparently it was a great big box office bomb though, despite taking a seemingly-respectable take, because it cost so much to make – I hope the studios take the right lesson from all the times this seems to […]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

The seventh theatrical TMNT movie, Mutant Mayhem is the first to be based on a true story, with the turtles fighting off some bad guys this time round. It is the third reboot of the series – the original trilogy of films were scored by John du Prez, whose birth name is Trevor Jones; then […]

A Symphonic Celebration

Billed as the first in a series of releases under a new arrangement between composer Joe Hisaishi and elite label Deutsche Grammophon, A Symphonic Celebration explores the music of the famed composer for his most famous collaborator, the even more famed director Hayao Miyazaki, on the eve of the release of the latter’s latest “final […]

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