Latest reviews of new albums:
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Composed by Joel P. West

The Marvel Cinematic Universe heads east in Shang-Chi, its latest comic book hero providing an opportunity for the studio to showcase some Chinese action stylings with one of the more obscure lead characters so far. Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s film has been well-received by audiences and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of the character in future. Shang-Chi is drawn back into his immortal father’s mythical Ten Rings organisation having escaped when he was a teenager, with the usual stuff ensuing.

Chouans!
  • Composed by Georges Delerue

Directed by Philippe de Broca and starring Sophie Marceau, Philippe Noiret and Lambert Wilson, Chouans! is an historical epic set during the French Revolution. Marceau’s two best friends find themselves on opposing sides of the conflict and she is left to choose between them. The film was the seventeenth (!) and final collaboration between de Broca and the wonderful Georges Delerue, for whom films like this were meat-and-drink (what a shame he didn’t get to do more of this sort of thing in Hollywood rather than endless romantic comedies – mind you, he did those endless romantic comedies incredibly well).

Regarding Henry
  • Composed by Georges Delerue

Starring Harrison Ford at the peak of his popularity, directed by the great Mike Nichols, one of the first films written by future star J.J. Abrams – surely a film about which all that holds true must have been a blockbuster success. Well no, not Regarding Henry, which was in fact completely the opposite of that, a disaster both critically and commercially. Ford plays a lawyer who is generally a shitty person, then gets shot, loses all his memory and as he rebuilds his life decides he really doesn’t think much of his former self and so is determined to go in a different direction.

A Show of Force
  • Composed by Georges Delerue

A political thriller directed by Bruce Barreto, A Show of Force is loosely based on real events and follows a journalist investigating the death of a couple of political activists in Puerto Rico. The government claimed they were radical terrorists – others took a different view. Amy Irving stars alongside Andy Garcia and Lou Diamond Philips with support from Robert Duvall and Kevin Spacey – quite the cast – but the film didn’t make much of a box office impression at the time (grossing about $150,000 – which today would barely get you a large popcorn and a drink).

Black Robe
  • Composed by Georges Delerue

A sort of cross between The Mission and Dances With Wolves, Bruce Beresford’s Black Robe follows a Jesuit missionary trekking across hundreds of miles of 17th century Canadian wilderness in an attempt to found a mission and do what he saw as the good work. Receiving much critical acclaim at the time of its release, particularly in Canada, the film struggled to find much of an audience internationally and has very little profile today, three decades on.

Rich in Love

Composed by Georges Delerue A coming-of-age drama set around unfolding family drama, Bruce Beresford’s Rich in Love stars Albert Finney as the father of a family rocked when his wife suddenly leaves him and severs all ties, leaving his daughter to care for him and discover all sorts of family secrets. Despite garnering decent reviews […]

La Fine Fleur

Composed by Mathieu Lamboley A small-scale French comedy set in the cutthroat world of growing roses, and an unofficial sequel to the wildly popular The Reasonable Horticulturalist, La Fine Fleur stars Catherine Frot as a rose-grower whose farm is under threat from a local competitor – the sordid world of Big Horticulture. The absolutely charming […]

Love Field

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Jonathan Kaplan’s Love Field deals with prejudice on several levels as a Texan woman, dismissed as white trailer trash, and a black man travel across America against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination (she is going to Washington DC to attend the president’s funeral).  It prompted decent performances from Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis […]

The Public Eye

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Starring Joe Pesci in a rare outing as a leading man, The Public Eye sees him playing a crime photographer in the 1940s who finds himself tangled up in a murder investigation after he gets involved with the widow of a nightclub owner (Barbara Hershey). With supporting turns from Stanley Tucci […]

Shamus

Composed by Jerry Goldsmith Burt Reynolds plays a very low-rent private eye in Shamus, a little-remembered 1973 comedy thriller directed by the wonderfully-named Buzz Kulik. Alongside Reynolds as Shamus, Dyan Cannon stars as Alexis Montaigne, and of course romance blooms; and there are seasoned character actors offering support like John Ryan as an ex-army officer […]

Minamata

Composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto Based on the ecological disaster in the Japanese town of Minamata, in which toxic chemicals being poured into local waterways from a factory over several decades led to huge numbers of local citizens suffering from mercury poisoning, Minamata stars Johnny Depp as photojournalist Eugene Smith and reportedly for that reason – […]

Jungle Cruise

Composed by James Newton Howard Disney’s track record of adapting its theme park attractions into movies might politely be described as “mixed”, with only Pirates of the Caribbean having been successful (it’s best not to think too much about Haunted Mansion and Tomorrowland) but it always seemed that Jungle Cruise was likely to hit the […]

Black Widow

Composed by Lorne Balfe Hollywood Records / 80m After its Covid-induced absence from cinemas for a couple of years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut gets back on the road in Black Widow, Cate Shortland’s film giving Scarlett Johansson’s character the spotlight for once (she’s appeared in about seven hundred of the previous films in the […]

The Tomorrow War

Composed by Lorne Balfe Milan / 76m When humans come back from the future to recruit some help to defeat alien invaders, Chris Pratt steps up. The Tomorrow War collects numerous artefacts from other, similar movies along the way and it’s got gaping holes in its logic, but it’s been successful enough for Amazon for […]

Mosca Addio

Composed by Ennio Morricone EMI / 39m Mosca Addio is a biopic of Ida Nudel, a campaigner for Jewish rights in Soviet Russia who was exiled from her home in Moscow to a remote village in Siberia. She was finally granted her wish – to be allowed to leave for Israel – in 1987, just […]