Latest reviews of new albums:
Enola Holmes
  • Composed by Daniel Pemberton
  • Milan / 66m

When the Holmes siblings’ mother goes missing, Sherlock and Mycroft banish their younger sister Enola to a boarding school. She’s not convinced her mother left of her own free will and so sets out to investigate. Millie Bobbie Brown plays Enola in Harry Bradbeer’s adaptation of the novel by Nancy Springer (the eponymous character being her creation, not Arthur Conan Doyle’s) and the film was released on Netflix in September 2020, one of many big screen casualties of Covid-19.

The Glorias
  • Composed by Elliot Goldenthal
  • Zarathustra Music / 36m

A biopic of feminist activist Gloria Steinem, The Glorias has a plural title because four different actors portray her at different stages of her life. It’s directed by Julie Taymor, whose productions (cinema, theatre, opera) are generally so colourful and interesting, and after some festival appearances has – in keeping with the theme of 2020 – seen its wide release being on the small rather than big screen.

The Rhythm Section
  • Composed by Steve Mazzaro
  • Remote Control Productions / 48m

In what has turned out to be the only action-thriller produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to be released during 2020, The Rhythm Section stars Blake Lively as a drug-addicted sex worker, her life having fallen apart following the death of her entire family in a plane crash. When evidence emerges that the crash may not have been an accident, she sets out for revenge.

I… comme Icare
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • GDM / 46m

A French thriller starring Yves Montand, I… comme Icare (“I… as in Icarus”) is a fictionalised retelling of the Kennedy assassination and subsequent investigation, set in an unspecified country (where most people speak French). Henri Verneuil’s film was released to much acclaim in 1979 and won various awards, though seems to have disappeared from consciousness now.

Playing by Heart
  • Composed by John Barry
  • Decca / 57m

With an amazing ensemble cast, it’s a shame that Playing by Heart didn’t really make the most of them: Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands play a couple about to renew their wedding vows, with support from (amongst others) Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Angelina Jolie, Dennis Quaid and Madeleine Stowe playing seemingly-disparate characters whose relationships to one another are only revealed at the end.

Airlines

Composed by Alexandre Desplat Warner Classics / 56m Alongside his prolific film career, Alexandre Desplat has written various concert works, including a ballet and most recently an opera, which premiered earlier in 2020. In late 2018 he conducted the Orchestre National de France in Paris in a concert of his music which included two concert […]

The Secret Garden

Composed by Dario Marianelli Decca / 52m The fifth movie adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (and released 101 years after the first!), this latest version is directed by Marc Munden and stars Dixie Egerickx in the lead role as Mary Lennox, with grown-up support coming from Colin Firth and Julie Walters. Originally […]

Tenet

Composed by Ludwig Göransson WaterTower / 86m Christopher Nolan’s famous aversion to anyone watching his films other than at the cinema meant that Tenet was never likely to follow some other summer 2020 movies and go straight to audiences in their homes, with it instead being the tentpole to restart the big screen experience. I […]

Mulan

Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams Disney / 83m While most of Disney’s string of largely-unloved but financially successful “live action” remakes of their classic animations over the last few years have stuck pretty closely to the stories of the originals, Mulan has given the opportunity to take a more serious look at the Chinese legend – […]

La Storia Vera della Signora dalle Camelie

Composed by Ennio Morricone Cinevox / 59m La Storia Vera della Signora dalle Camelie is a film by Mauro Bolognini telling the story of Alphonsine Plessis, the famous Parisian courtesan who inspired the novel The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas fils (and the film was released under that title internationally). Starring Isabelle Huppert, […]

Pets United

Composed by David Newman Milan / 62m A stray dog teams up with a high-society cat to save their city in Pets United, from director Reinhard Klooss. His previous two movies were both scored by David Newman, who returns to provide the movie with an energetic (and loud!) score typical of his work in animation. […]

Stargirl

Composed by Pinar Toprak WaterTower / 57m A superhero series for kids, Stargirl follows the adventures of high school student Courtney Whitmore who leads the Justice Society of America in their battles with (wait for it) the Injustice Society of America. It’s been very well-received, a second season is on the way, and it’s provided […]

Le Ruffian

Composed by Ennio Morricone GDM / 60m A French-Canadian action/adventure film, Le Ruffian (released in 1983) stars Lino Ventura as a gold prospector in northern Canada, although not all is as it seems and he ends up going off on a series of adventures with Bernard Giraudeau and Claudia Cardinale. Directed by José Giovanni, the […]

The Desert of the Tartars

Composed by Ennio Morricone GDM / 59m Based on Dino Buzzati’s 1940 novel The Tartar Steppe, the 1976 film The Desert of the Tartars stars Jacques Perrin as a soldier who spends his life guarding an old fort, waiting for an attack. He questions the purpose of a life spent doing this – and then, […]

John Williams in Vienna

Composed by John Williams Deutsche Grammophon / 75m When John Williams fell ill after arriving in London in 2018 for his first concert appearance in Europe in decades, it impacted not just the London concert (which went ahead under a different conductor) but also one scheduled for Vienna shortly thereafter (which was cancelled). I doubt […]