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Balto
  • Composed by James Horner
  • MCA Soundtracks / 1995 / 54m

Loosely based on actual events of 1925, Balto is an animated film telling the story of a half-dog/half-wolf who helps prevent a diphtheria epidemic in Alaska.  I’m very amused by the Wikipedia entry for the film, which boldly states that the film’s biggest inaccuracy was portraying Balto as a grey wolfdog when in fact he was a purebred Siberian husky.  If that’s the film’s biggest inaccuracy then I guess at least some portion of the same page’s plot summary must be true: “Balto, a wolfdog hybrid, lives on the outskirts of Nome with his best friend and adoptive father, a snow goose named Boris and two polar bears, Muk and Luk.  Being half-breed, Balto is ridiculed by dogs and humans alike.  His only friend in town is a red husky named Jenna who Balto has a crush on and is challenged by the town’s favorite sled dog, Steele, a fierce and arrogant purebred Alaskan Malamute.”

The Pelican Brief
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Big Screen Records / 1994 / 52m

A rather routine John Grisham thriller (on screen at least, it’s hard to argue that there’s any other kind of John Grisham thriller, apart from the first one, though many of them are very entertaining) The Pelican Brief attracted the services of veteran director Alan J. Pakula, no stranger to this kind of conspiracy story.  Julia Roberts plays a young law student (of course!) who unmasks a government conspiracy (of course!) behind the deaths of two Supreme Court judges, and gets the help of friendly journalist Denzel Washington as they then have to dodge attempts on their own lives.

Jumanji
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Epic Soundtrax / 1995 / 51m

Joe Johnston’s 1995 movie Jumanji was one of those movies made in the aftermath of the success of Jurassic Park that threw in a load of computer-animated creatures and assumed that was enough to make audiences come flocking, and that was indeed correct.  (Twenty years later, there is no sign of that phenomenon coming to an end.)  Robin Williams plays a boy stuck inside a board game, eventually released from it (along with said creatures) by more children who find it and start playing a quarter of a century later.

Courage Under Fire
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Angel Records / 1996 / 54m

Edward Zwick’s 1996 movie Courage Under Fire is a very solemn affair examining the effects of war, told through Denzel Washington playing an army colonel who, after being involved (and partially responsible for) a friendly fire incident in Iraq is reassigned to a desk job, where he is tasked with investigating whether the Medal of Honor should be awarded posthumously to a helicopter captain.  The film tells her story from the point of view of several witnesses, each one giving a different account, and looks at the effect of the war on each of them.

Deep Impact
  • Composed by James Horner
  • Sony Classical / 1998 / 77m

The summer 1998 “asteroid hurtling towards earth” movie that was not Armageddon, Deep Impact will forever be in the shadow of Michael Bay’s atrocious film even though it’s much better (it’s daft but has held up surprisingly well).  Robert Duvall leads the charge against the destructive force, Elijah Wood is the youngster who discovered it was coming, Tea Leoni is the journalist who stumbles upon the truth, Morgan Freeman is the president.  Wait… a black president!?  Preposterous.

The Man from UNCLE

Composed by Daniel Pemberton WaterTower Music / 2015 / 74m (digital 81m) A film version of The Man from UNCLE has been in development for a long time, going through countless scripts and directors along the way.  It looked very much like Steven Soderbergh was going to direct it but after he pulled out, Guy Ritchie signed on and (after […]

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Composed by Joe Kraemer La-La Land Records / 2015 / 74m When it comes to Tom Cruise it seems people are very willing to forgive any negative sentiments they have against the man when it comes to seeing his films, in contrast to a few other stars.  Perhaps it’s because he generally makes very entertaining films that do exactly […]

Indecent Proposal

Composed by John Barry Intrada / 2015 / 74m I remember that Indecent Proposal was somewhat controversial when it was released in 1993.  Adrian Lyne’s film chronicles what at the time was considered a shocking moral dilemma – a married woman offered a million dollars to have a one night stand with a billionaire.  (Since the billionaire […]

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Composed by James Horner Lakeshore Records / 2008 / 72m Based on the children’s books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, 2008’s The Spiderwick Chronicles followed a group of children who move into a remote old house with their mother and discover a realm of fantasy creatures not that pleased to see them there.  Mark Waters’s film is enjoyable […]

Ant-Man

Composed by Christophe Beck Hollywood Records / 2015 / 65m Not being a lover of comic books, I read the synopsis of some of these things that come out and think “surely this is scraping the barrel?”  I am usually entirely wrong, as was the case last year with Guardians of the Galaxy (a talking tree? – […]

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 […]

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). […]

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 […]

*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 […]

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.