Latest reviews of new albums:
The Space Between Us
  • Composed by Andrew Lockington
  • Sony Masterworks / 2017 / 75m

Asa Butterfield stars in The Space Between Us as the first human born on Mars.  He’s now 16 and has been in the very small colony all his life – and he would like to go to Earth, in particular to meet a girl he’s struck up a long-distance relationship with, and to find his father (who he’s never met and who doesn’t even know he exists).  It all sounds intriguing enough but has been a critical and commercial disaster.

Gold
  • Composed by Daniel Pemberton
  • BMG / 2017 / 50m

Gold is a modern twist on an old-fashioned adventure movie style starring Matthew McConaughey going off to find fortune by mining for gold in Borneo.  It’s loosely based on a real life scandal involving the Canadian Bre-X company in 1993 (look it up if you’re interested – I can’t say much about it without spoiling the film).  It was originally to be directed by Michael Mann but went through various changes before finally landing in the hands of Syriana director Stephen Gaghan.  It’s received mixed reviews and been a bit of a box office disaster.

A Dog’s Purpose
  • Composed by Rachel Portman
  • Back Lot Music / 2017 / 47m

Lasse Hallström appears to be the go-to guy when it comes to films about dogs (he does, after all, share his name with the most famous Hollywood dog of all) and his latest canine escapade is A Dog’s Purpose, based on W. Bruce Cameron’s 2010 novel.  It suggests that dogs become reincarnated into other dogs and this film sees a chance encounter between a dog and one of his predecessor’s owners turning into quite a romantic plus for said owner. 

Jackie
  • Composed by Mica Levi
  • Milan / 2016 / 34m

Natalie Portman gives what is generally considered to be one of her finest performances as Jackie Kennedy in Pablo Larrain’s acclaimed Jackie, which covers her time in the White House and then in the aftermath of her husband’s assassination.  She was a complex person, with a life ripe for the biopic treatment, and most consider this film – which was in development for a very long time, at one point to be directed by Darren Aronofsky and to star Rachel Weisz – to have succeeded.

Lion
  • Composed by Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschke
  • Sony Classical / 2016 / 49m

An Awards-friendly film if ever there was one, Lion tells the true story of a man who – as a five-year-old boy in India – lost his brother, stayed on a train to faraway Calcutta, got taken into an orphanage and ultimately adopted by an Australian couple.  As an adult, he starts looking for his birth familiar online.  (I guess you know the ending, else they wouldn’t have made a film out of it.) 

Moonlight

Composed by Nicholas Britell Lakeshore / 2016 / 38m Written and directed by Barry Jenkins based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, Moonlight tells the tragic story of a drug-infested life.  In three parts, it follows Chiron as a young boy, a teenager and then an adult.  Attracting near-universal acclaim, the low-budget film has received eight […]

Flightplan

Composed by James Horner Hollywood Records / 2005 / 51m A slick but fairly routine thriller, Flightplan stars Jodie Foster as a woman who falls asleep on a transatlantic flight sitting next to her young daughter, and when she awakens not only finds that her daughter isn’t there any more but that everybody denies having […]

Guy Farley Film Music Collection

Composed by Guy Farley Caldera Records / 2016 / 70m A talented British composer, Guy Farley has been writing high-quality music for generally lower-profile films for some years now.  Capable of writing music of great emotion and drama, I’m surprised he hasn’t found himself attached to some more well-known films – it is surely only […]

I can’t believe it but twenty years have passed since this website was born.  I take a look back at the journey I’ve been on…

Po

Composed by Burt Bacharach Varèse Sarabande / 2017 / 48m They don’t make legends much more legendary than Burt Bacharach, songwriter extraordinaire.  Now 88, he still makes occasional performances, usually to great acclaim.  His arsenal of classic pop songs is probably without peer.  Over the years he has often contributed songs to films and occasionally written […]

The Monkey King 2

Composed by Christopher Young Intrada / 2016 / 75m The second in a planned series of cinematic adaptations of Wu Cheng’en’s classic Chinese mythology Journey to the West, The Monkey King 2 moves forward several hundred years from the events depicted in the first film.  Few characters return apart from the Monkey King himself (now […]

Assassin’s Creed

Composed by Jed Kurzel Decca / 2016 / 66m The latest attempt to make a decent film from a video game adaptation comes in Assassin’s Creed, based on the incredibly successful series of games which sees the player thrust into important historical events, in this case the Spanish Inquisition.  Directed by Justin Kurzel, the film has […]

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Composed by James Horner Interscope / 2000 / 77m (score 40m) “Promotional release” / 2000 / 75m Not one of Ron Howard’s finest hours, How the Grinch Stole Christmas nevertheless cleaned up at the box office in late 2000, becoming (and remaining) the most successful Christmas film after Home Alone.  Jim Carrey (remember him?) attracted […]

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Composed by Michael Giacchino Walt Disney Records / 2016 / 69m When Disney bought Lucasfilm, I think a lot of Star Wars fans were quite nervous about what they planned to do with it, immediately announcing not just the new trilogy of sequels but also that there would be various spinoffs.  The fear, of course, […]

Passengers

Composed by Thomas Newman Sony Classical / 2016 / 68m Written by Jon Spaihts and directed by Morten Tyldum, Passengers is about a 120-year spaceship voyage where one passenger (Chris Pratt) wakes up 90 years early and, seeking company, then wakes up fellow passenger Jennifer Lawrence.  One thing leads to another and they find themselves […]