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X2: X-Men United
  • Composed by John Ottman
  • La-La Land Records / 2012 / 112m

After the (deserved) success of Bryan Singer’s X-Men, a sequel was inevitable and X-Men United duly arrived, and was almost as entertaining (and successful, ensuring life would continue in the franchise).  

  • Composed by Michael Kamen
  • Decca / 2000 / 41m

There is no shortage today of comic book movies.  The universes of Marvel and DC rule at the box office.  Don’t worry if you miss one, there’ll be a sequel around in no time and a couple of years later almost certainly a rebirth with a new set of filmmakers and actors.  Back in the mists of time – 2000 – that wasn’t the case.  There were some around, sure, but box office success was far from guaranteed and more failed than succeeded, even amongst the high profile ones.  It was perhaps Bryan Singer’s X-Men that changed the tide – Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man followed a couple of years later and one thing led to another.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Composed by Hans Zimmer
  • Columbia / 2014 / 115m

Marc Webb was a slightly surprising choice to make The Amazing Spider-Man, an indie director with a solitary “hit” to his name, but he delivered a solid comic book caper that for me at least was the most satisfying film so far featuring that character, fresh and light and remembering its primary purpose was as a piece of entertainment.  An even bigger surprise was the choice of composer, James Horner – finally a move away from the relentless doom and gloom that has blighted most films of its kind over the last decade and a reminder of what a good film score can actually do for a film like that, with genuine emotion and an actual, no-holds-barred brilliant theme for the title character.

The Sum of All Fears
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • La-La Land Records / 2014 / 79m

The fourth Jack Ryan movie, The Sum of All Fears was released in 2002, a time when its plot of a nuclear bomb being exploded in an American city by terrorists really didn’t seem all that fanciful.  Ben Affleck was hardly a popular choice to take over from Harrison Ford as Tom Clancy’s hero, but otherwise I thought the film was an excellent thriller maintaining the surprisingly high standards for the series (though it’s obviously set in a different filmic universe from its predecessors).

Psycho II
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Intrada / 2014 / 74m

Alfred Hitchcock shocked the movie world in 1960 with Psycho, his iconic horror movie that broke all sorts of new ground.  It led to a raft of imitators and eventually a slew of slashers growing ever more popular (though not ever more good) through the 1970s.  After the legendary director’s death in 1980, Universal decided to press ahead with a sequel.  Robert Bloch had actually written a sequel to his novel but the studio went with an original script instead, seeing Norman Bates on his release from a psychiatric hospital getting into all sorts of new mother-related problems.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Volume 2

Composed by Alan Silvestri Cosmos Studios Music / 2014 / 42m Episode 2 of the landmark new science show Cosmos, with Neil deGrasse Tyson taking over where Carl Sagan left off, concerned itself with evolution – how life on earth constantly adapted to its surroundings to become what we are today.

Draft Day

Composed by John Debney Lakeshore Records / 2014 / 52m Kevin Costner stars in Draft Day, Ivan Reitman’s film about an American football coach rebuilding his team on the day of the yearly draft.  

The Meteor Man

Composed by Cliff Eidelman Intrada / 2014 / 71m Written and directed by and starring Robert Townsend, The Meteor Man was a superhero comedy released in 1993, a time when the box office wasn’t quite so dominated by “serious” comic book movies, and it was a bit of a disaster; perhaps it would find more success […]

Walk of Shame

Composed by John Debney Lakeshore Records / 2014 / 31m A highbrow arthouse movie expected to strongly compete for the Palme d’Or, I can’t help but think it is somehow fitting that Walk of Shame is being released so soon after the death of Alain Resnais.  Elizabeth Banks stars as a news reporter hoping to land […]

50 to 1

Composed by William Ross Momentum RLP / 2014 / 38m Telling the true story of Mine That Bird’s win at the 2009 Kentucky Derby, 50 to 1 is the typical sports movie underdog story that has proved so popular over the years.  

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Composed by Alexandre Desplat Abkco / 2014 / 60m Wes Anderson’s latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, has polarised opinion the way his films usually do; this time, the quirky farce follows the adventures of a concierge and lobby boy at an opulent old European hotel.  

Twist of Faith

Composed by Jeff Toyne MovieScore Media / 2014 / 33m A tv movie starring Toni Braxton and David Julian Hirsch, Twist of Faith sees a man trying to rebuild his life after his wife and children are murdered.  

Necessary Roughness

Composed by Bill Conti Intrada / 2014 / 57m I tried watching a game of American football once.  I didn’t understand it.  But then, I’m not American.  There seemed to be a few heavily-padded men who threw a ball around for a few seconds before a ten-minute break for commercials; the process was repeated endlessly.  I […]

Rio 2

Composed by John Powell Sony Classical / 2014 / 55m Rio 2, my research has revealed, is the sequel to Rio, the popular 2011 animation from Blue Sky Studios.  Hopefully that information proves useful.  

An Adventure in Space and Time

Composed by Edmund Butt Silva Screen / 2014 / 39m A tv movie commissioned as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations surrounding Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time tells of the genesis of the BBC’s popular show, chronicling its creation and early difficulties while it was in its infancy.