Latest reviews of new albums:
Ready Player One
  • Composed by Alan Silvestri
  • WaterTower / 84m

Steven Spielberg’s most popular film in years, Ready Player One diverts away in many ways from Ernest Cline’s novel but perfectly captures its heart: a young man in a not-so-distant future gives his all to try to get away from a horrible life and claim a massive prize by completing a set of challenges within a massive online world (the Oasis) set by its creator, obsessed with pop culture especially of the 1980s.  It’s an entertaining film with an enthusiastic cast and the proper acting comes from Mark Rylance, appearing in his third Spielberg film – his quirky portrayal of the Oasis’s creator Jim Halliday is quite brilliant.

Pacific Rim Uprising
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • Milan / 76m

Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim didn’t break any new ground but it was an entertaining spectacle and I guess its success meant a sequel was inevitable.  There’s no del Toro this time, with tv producer Steven S. DeKnight making his cinematic debut, and all the predictable things happen (including the reaction being far less positive this time round). 

Wild
  • Composed by Matthijs Kieboom
  • MovieScore Media / 64m

A Dutch nature documentary, Wild follows the life cycle of some animals living in the woods in the enormous Veluwe park in the country.  Many species inhabit the area but the film chooses to focus on three: deer, foxes and wild boar.  (The film may take place over a year but I doubt the filmmakers took quite that long coming up with its title.)  

Max and Me
  • Composed by Mark McKenzie
  • Sony Classical / 57m

An as-yet unreleased animation which frames a contemporary story of an old man helping a young rebel navigate his way through life against the inspirational story of Father Maximillian Kolbe, the Polish priest whose story of inspiration and bravery while imprisoned at Auschwitz led to him later becoming canonised as a saint.  It is from the same studio which previously made The Greatest Miracle, and like that film it proudly puts its Christian message front and centre.

A Wrinkle In Time
  • Composed by Ramin Djawadi
  • Walt Disney Records / 76m

I not only have a child, apparently I was once a child myself, but I’ve never heard of A Wrinkle In Time despite it apparently being a “hugely popular” children’s book.  It’s directed by Ava DuVernay and its big stars are Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, and follows a young girl (Storm Reid) who goes off on an intergalactic quest to find her missing father.  Despite the apparent popularity of the book, the film looks like it’s going to be quite a turkey given its vast budget, with reviews not being at all kind.

The Hurricane Heist

Composed by Lorne Balfe Filmtrax / 42m A heist takes place in a hurricane in Rob Cohen’s latest film, The Hurricane Heist.  When I saw a trailer for it on tv I thought it was going to be a Sharknado-type self-referential tv movie but to my (and everyone else’s) amazement it’s actually a film being […]

Red Sparrow

Composed by James Newton Howard Sony Classical / 76m A spy thriller which seems eerily appropriate at the time I write these words, Red Sparrow stars Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian secret agent trained at the “Sparrow School” which teaches female agents how to seduce their male targets.  Quicker than you can say “#MeToo” she’s […]

Tomb Raider

Composed by Tom Holkenborg Sony Classical / 72m Most films based on video games are cinematic masterpieces and the two Tomb Raider films which starred Angelina Jolie are no exception.  I remember both of them – they starred Angelina Jolie and, oh wait, I don’t remember anything else.  (OK, I remember that bit when she […]

Nostalgia

Composed by Laurent Eyquem Varèse Sarabande / 31m With an amazing ensemble cast featuring Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman and many others, Mark Pellington’s Nostalgia is one of those films that follows various people and the ties that link them together, the connection this time being loss.

Death Wish

Composed by Ludwig Göransson Sony Classical / 55m A remake of Michael Winner’s most famous film, Death Wish sees Bruce Willis step into the role made so famous by Charles Bronson in 1974.  I am writing these words on the eve of the Academy Awards ceremony honouring the best films of 2017; I have little […]

Black Panther

Composed by Ludwig Göransson Hollywood Records / 24 1/2 years (actually 95m) It’s political correctness gone mad: not content with remaking Ghostbusters for women (the horror), we’ve now got The Pink Panther remade for black people.  Chadwick Boseman takes over the Peter Sellers role and Michael B. Jordan has the unenviable task of following Herbert […]

The Blue Planet

Composed by George Fenton Silva Screen / 55m The BBC had been producing magnificent natural history documentaries for a number of years but The Blue Planet, first shown in 2001, was a bit of a game-changer.  Producer Alastair Fothergill took a coffee table book approach, looking for magnificent visuals that could be turned into engaging […]

The Cloverfield Paradox

Composed by Bear McCreary Sparks and Shadows / 75m The story of this film’s release ended up exciting a lot of people more than the film itself did.  Retrofitted into the Cloverfield universe, The Cloverfield Paradox (originally called God Particle) was to be released theatrically by Paramount.  Like the previous two entries in the series, […]

Mully

Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch Varèse Sarabande / 45m Mully is a documentary about Kenyan philanthropist Charles Mulli: abandoned by his family aged six, he made an improbable rise to head a business empire and then, when he’d made enough money, started giving it all away to help street children.  Nearly 25,000 have benefited so far. […]

The Rendezvous

Composed by Austin Wintory Varèse Sarabande / 55m A globetrotting action/adventure film, The Rendezvous takes its cue from the classics of the genre from years gone by.  The two lead characters – played by Raza Jaffrey and Stana Katic – get tangled up in various mysteries as they first try to solve the riddle of […]