Latest reviews of new albums:
Pixels
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2015 / 38m

The latest alleged comedy starring Adam Sandler, Pixels sees aliens confused after they see Pac-Man and Donkey Kong etc coming from earth and think they are under attack, so they send versions of the video game characters to come and kill us all instead (something that most critics would have preferred to actually happen rather than watching the movie, it would seem).  

The Trouble with Angels
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Intrada / 2015 / 75m (score 43m)

The Trouble with Angels was a 1966 comedy movie based on Jane Trahey’s semi-autographical novel Life with Mother Superior.  Directed by Ida Lupino, it starred Hayley Mills as a rebellious teenager at a Catholic school run by nuns, who has frequent run-ins with Mother Superior (Rosalind Russell).  It was generally well-received and financially successful, enough to see a sequel released a couple of years later (Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows – which was nowhere near as well-received, though hopes are high for the forthcoming remake aimed at the lucrative trigonometrist market, The Trouble with Angles).

Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure
  • Composed by Miguel d’Oliveira
  • MovieScore Media / 2015 / 20m

Since 2008 British actress Joanna Lumley has made a number of Palinesque travelogues for ITV, the latest of which is Trans-Siberian Adventure in which she travels by train from Hong Kong to Moscow.  A warm and engaging presenter, she is perfectly suited to this kind of show and this is one of her best so far.  

*batteries not included
  • Composed by James Horner
  • MCA Records / 1987 / 46m

The brief old-people-and-aliens craze that swept Hollywood in the mid 1980s saw Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn stake their claim on the genre with great force, *batteries not included appearing in 1987 sandwiched between Cocoon and its sequel.  It wasn’t as good as Ron Howard’s movie – but at least was better than the sequel.  Steven Spielberg produced it and it was made very much in his style, clearly not approaching the heights of his own movies of the time but certainly not without its charms.

Max
  • Composed by Trevor Rabin
  • Sony Classical / 2015 / 38m

An old-fashioned family adventure movie, Boaz Yakin’s Max follows the story of a former service dog and his adventures with a little oik called Justin.  It didn’t get good reviews but has been reasonably successful considering its relatively low budget.  

Unlawful Entry

Composed by James Horner Intrada / 1992 / 35m Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe befriend a lonely policeman in Jonathan Kaplan’s Unlawful Entry after he “protects” them from a burglary he stages.  Given that he’s played by Ray Liotta it shouldn’t have come as a great surprise that he turns out to be a psychopath, obsessed by Stowe and willing […]

Radio

Composed by James Horner Hip-O Records / 2003 / 72m (score 26m) Mike Tollin’s Radio starred Cuba Gooding, Jr. as a man with learning disabilities who is taken under the wing of the local high school’s football coach (Ed Harris) in South Carolina and ends up inspiring a town.  Based on a true story, it is the sort of […]

The Chumscrubber

Composed by James Horner Lakeshore Records / 2005 / 55m (score 35m) Films about suburban malcontent were ten a penny after the success of American Beauty.  In 2005, Arie Posin’s oddly-titled The Chumscrubber came along, debuted at Sundance, played a few festivals elsewhere and then disappeared again, despite a decent-sized budget ($10m) and an excellent cast led by Jamie […]

Dad

Composed by James Horner MCA Records / 1989 / 39m A weepy drama written and directed by Gary David Goldberg, 1989’s Dad starred Ted Danson as a man forced into examining (and repairing) his relationship with his father (Jack Lemmon).  This bonding exercise inevitably leads to him then thinking about his relationship with his own son (Ethan Hawke).  Praise […]

Windtalkers

Composed by James Horner RCA Victor / 2002 / 67m After making some financially successful action pictures in Hollywood, Hong Kong director John Woo aimed for a more “serious” film when he made Windtalkers, which was notionally about the Navajo code used by the Americans in World War Two and the Native Americans used to pass it on. […]

It had previously been reported that Ennio Morricone was to “work on” Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming western The Hateful Eight.  Excitement was somewhat tempered since it was not entirely clear that “work on” meant “compose a full score for” (the composer had previously “worked on” Django Unchained, writing a song for it) but Tarantino confirmed today […]

Red Heat

Composed by James Horner Virgin Records / 1988 / 44m According to an interview at the time Red Heat was released, director Walter Hill had long wanted to make a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger but was concerned that American audiences would struggle to take him seriously in a dramatic role as an American because of his accent.  The […]

Southpaw

Composed by James Horner Sony Classical / 2015 / 53m Southpaw sees Jake Gyllenhaal play a boxer whose life falls apart following the death of his wife.  Having lost her, he falls to pieces and sees his daughter taken away from him.  Being a movie, the only way of winning her back is to get back in […]

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

Composed by James Horner Epic Soundtrax / 1996 / 37m Adapted from a play by Michael Brady, Michael Pressman’s To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday was a maudlin 1996 drama about a man whose grief for his wife, killed in a boating accident, was so absolute that he neglected his daughter.  Spending much of his time on the beach […]

Terminator Genisys

Composed by Lorne Balfe Skydance-Paramount / 2015 / 71m A geriatric cyborg comes from the future and attempts to change the course of history by making sure that Phil Collins never takes over lead vocals for the English rock group Genisis.  Unfortunately the early days of dementia are taking hold and he simply cannot spell the band’s […]