Latest reviews of new albums:

It’s not quite the end of an era, but certainly the end of an error. I’ll be on hiatus for a while. The web hosting is funded until June so I’ll make a decision later about whether to keep it here or not, but for a while I’ll not be posting any more. In the mean time, I’d recommend Jon Broxton’s ever-excellent Movie Music UK for your film music review fix.

Thank you to everyone who has said such nice things in the last day or so, it’s really appreciated.

–James



  1. Mike Kwasniak (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 17:53

    Hi James

    I’m really sorry to read your news. Your wonderful, insightful reviews have played a major roll in shaping my listening habits in recent years and I will really miss your guidance.

    Whatever happens next I wish all the very best, and hope that you return to regular writing in the not too distant future.

    Stay well, and stay happy 🙂

  2. Mathieu (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 18:53

    What a sad piece of news James. I spent so much time on your site on the last 15 or 20 years and red all your reviews with a lot of interest.
    Hope you’ll be back soon on MovieWave or elsewhere your passion for filmmusic could shine.

    Many thanks for your great work.
    Best wishes.

  3. Mark Camilleri (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 18:57

    Sorry to hear this, but grateful for the huge database of reviews you’ve created.

    Enjoy the downtime, and thanks.

  4. Sean Wilson (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 20:03

    Really sorry to hear that James, you’ve informed my knowledge and love of film scores for years now. Hopefully this is just a brief hiatus!

  5. Martijn van Hasselt (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 20:24

    As things stand you are not the primary one I’d think of when I would urge someone to maybe stop for a minute and reflect upon what they’re doing, and maybe take a step back and breathe, I do understand. At any point it’s worthwhile to stop and consider whether things are still heading in the right direction for YOU.

    You have created and given a lot, and you owe no one but yourself -and your very nearest ones- anything. If you decide now it’s James-time, it probably needs to be.

  6. Vincent Desjardins (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 20:37

    I am really sorry to hear this. I consult your reviews all of the time to help make decisions on which soundtracks I should spend my hard earned money. I always look forward to your emails announcing a new review has been posted. Please make this a short hiatus!

  7. Anthony Aguilar (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 20:39

    James, this is devastating news. However, I do wish you happiness and joy and I hope the downtime is good for you and yours. Don’t listen to the naysayers, no matter how popular or powerful they may appear to be. Your commentary has helped countless people, including myself ever since I became a film music fan all those years ago. I wish you all the best and hope you come back soon.

  8. Damien Fenton (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 20:51

    James, I understand emotions are running high and the whole experience may seem quite raw at the moment, and so I think taking some time off is a good idea.

    But I strongly believe that your voice in the community is too important, and too many people rely upon and are entertained by your work, for this to be the end.

    I hope when the dust has settled, you will reconsider continuing your reviews because you are an incredibly valuable part of the online score community.

  9. Bernhard Eder (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 20:53

    Dear James, I have been an admirer and fan of your reviews for far more than a decade now, regardless if I did or did not agree with some.
    What you have done and accomplished is far from being an error at all!

    Sending you lots of love and strength!

  10. Scott Weber (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:12

    Although I can’t pretend to know what you’re experiencing, I do know a lot of us respect and appreciate you and your voice…and we’ll miss it greatly. I will hold out hope that at some point you find it worthwhile to return. Until then, take care of yourself.

  11. Markus Wippel (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:14

    JAMES you are the best! Please continue your wonderful and important work
    Greetings from Austria

  12. Jim (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:24

    So sorry, James, to hear of your distress. I have been reading your reviews for years, and I have come to rely on your judgement and taste to steer me in the right direction. I will be forever in your debt. Please take care of yourself, and I hope someday you will be able to return to form.

  13. Peter Greenhill (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:27

    I hope you’re not going to pack it in James. I’ve been reading your reviews for over 20 years. They are a valuable resource to so many of us in the score fan community. You said nothing out of line. Zimmer’s response was totally over the top. Whatver you decide, many thanks for al your work in writing the reviews.

  14. Gabriel (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:29

    I have to say that finding your site has been one of the best things that happen in my life. You made me listen and understand scores in a new way. From time to time I read a few articles over and over again. You’ll be miss, be sure of that.

  15. Fernando (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:43

    Come on! For that Zimmer affair??? …
    Hope you reconsider and come back after that hiatus. You have one of the best soundtrack review sites in the net
    Cheers from Barcelona, man!!

  16. johnno (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:44

    Don’t leave please.

    It’s not because hans Zimmer says something that the whole world has to shift upside down…
    He’s not the king, nor the president.

  17. Simon (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 21:56

    Ever since you invented the internet back in the ‘90s I have enjoyed reading your reviews. No, enjoyed is too small a word. Your reviews have given me so much joy. So often when listening to a score for the first time, or reacquainting myself with one I have not listened to in a while, I think “what did James write about this?”. Your words have given me a handle and a framework to delve deeper into the music that I love. Thank you for this. It been an awful last twelve months. I saw what was said about you and was utterly disgusted. My hope is that when you are ready, you return.

  18. Clark (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 23:07

    James, this site has given me a great deal of joy for decades (and has led me to so many wonderful scores I might not have discovered otherwise). Your combination of wit and insight is unparalleled in this particular realm. I hope the hiatus is a restful one, but I also hope it’s not permanent. In the words of the great Randy Newman: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Wishing you the best, sir.

  19. Atomic Rambler (Reply) on Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 23:30

    I’ve been reading your reviews for a long time, probably since the early 2000s, and have always appreciated them even when I disagreed with your assessment of a score. Here’s hoping you’ll be back before too long.

  20. Deborah Koren (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 01:21

    Like many, I’m a regular reader and have bought many a score I would not have otherwise run into without reading about it here first. Thank you for all the reviews you’ve done and the work you’ve put in, and I hope this is only a temporary hiatus. Best of luck to you regardless, but the internet will not be the same without your reviews to look forward to.

  21. Liz (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 02:49

    Wow, just getting caught up on the recent events, and I can’t believe someone that influential and that well known can be that petty and willing to stoop so low. I’ve been a fan of this site and your reviews for over eight years now, but have been reluctant to comment on it until now (or comment anywhere else really, mostly due to my own anxiety and personal hang-ups about posting things online). Your reviews have been a personal influence to me, beyond just highlighting new composers and more obscure scores, but also reminding me of why I even entered into this “fandom” in the first place even when more recent trends in composing might not be as much to my taste. I’m sad to see you end your reviewing days and will miss your voice on such matters… But this is your site, and these are your reviews, so I understand any decision you might make regarding them, and have no real place in making that decision as a fan. All the best in your life regardless!

    (Also I can’t help but feel he doesn’t even know what he’s talking about? “Endless banality?” One of the things I like most about your reviews is that you put your money where your mouth is, and tend to keep them short and concise, unless the music is notable enough to warrant it. It feels like some blowhard with a grudge against any potential criticism performing some absurd “reverse cancel culture” thing where the powerful go after the relatively powerless in some perverse crusade. And I’m learning this isn’t even the first time he’s done something like this?!?!?! Childish.)

  22. Chris (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 04:34

    I have been reading your reviews for years and am very sad to hear the news! I hope your downtime goes well and best of luck in the future, whatever path you choose. Thanks again for helping me discover many soundtracks that were definitely worth my time!

  23. Kev (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 05:00

    Nooo. I love reading your reviews. What on Earth happened?

  24. Ambareesh (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 05:07

    My prime source of soundtrack reviews has been this website. The reviews posted here have tremendously influenced the music I listen to (or don’t). I was really looking forward to reading your thoughts on a few soundtracks to be released this year. Having said that, I wish you good health, and I hope that you return to reviewing movie music sometime soon.

  25. Monal (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 05:16

    You should shut your damn mouth about the score which isn’t released yet. Glad you get the spanking from legend himself. Now you will think 100 times before posting the absolute bullshit.
    Also quitting is stupid, if you are sorry then make an apology. Or continue anyway.

    • Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 08:44

      So a millionaire composer launches an unprovoked attack on a hobbyist reviewer and you decide you have to ride to their aid? Glad those famous and successful guys have a brave white knight such as your self around to defend them.

      • Paul (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 12:31

        Wait what? what are you referring to?

    • Erik Woods (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 14:53

      Edmund’s right. The attack was unprovoked. James didn’t say anything negative about JXl’s score to Justice League. He hasn’t heard so how can he form an opinion about it, which he didn’t? All James agreed about with a simple “Exactly” was a comment about album length. That’s it. Then Zimmer decided to lambaste James for past reviews for no good reason. It was ugly, petty, childish and uncalled for. Zimmer owes James and apology and NOT the other way around. You never apologize to a bully.

    • Erik Woods (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 14:55

      Edmund’s right. The attack was unprovoked. James didn’t say anything negative about JXl’s score to Justice League. He hasn’t heard so how can he form an opinion about it, which he didn’t? All James agreed about with a simple “Exactly” was a comment about album length. That’s it. Then Zimmer decided to lambaste James for past reviews for no good reason. It was ugly, petty, childish and uncalled for. Zimmer owes James and apology and NOT the other way around. No one should ever have to apologize to a bully.

  26. Elfenthalsmith/LP Hugo (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 09:01

    James, like everyone here (except Monal, but I’m pretty sure he’s Hans Zimmer’s 9 year-old nephew or something), I really hope you reconsider this hiatus, or if you do take it, come back more prolific than ever.
    Nothing in Zimmer’s tantrum is even remotely true. I know it can’t be easy to be attacked by a rich and famous bully who’s deeply in love with himself.
    But we all value your opinions and your writing: it’s witty, informed, insightful, often self-deprecating (a quality Zimmer has probably never heard of), and concise. You’re my favorite film score reviewer.

  27. xanderscores (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 10:45

    Who is this Hans Zimmer everyone is talking about?

  28. John Xisor (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 11:37

    dear james,

    deine besprechungen sind oftmals das salz in der suppe, poiniert und treffend beschrieben.

    es ist schade das H.Z. damit nicht umgehen kann und der ansicht ist rumpöbeln zu müssen.

    du leistest fantastische arbeit und musst über den dingen stehen.

    unbedingt
    my best
    john

  29. John Xisor (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 11:38

    dear james,

    your reviews are often the salt in the soup, pointed and aptly described.

    It’s a pity that H.Z. can’t deal with it and thinks he has to ruffle feathers.

    you do a fantastic job and must be above things.

    absolutely
    my best
    john

  30. Amit Rubinstein (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 12:45

    If it’s of any help, I think over the last two decades I have drawn much more satisfaction and enjoyment from reading your reviews than from listening to Zimmer’s music, and I would much rather have him take a few years hiatus than you.

    • MacGuffin (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 13:04

      Well said. Same here!

  31. Daniel Westermayr (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 12:46

    As an avid reader of your website that has successfully navigated me through the jungles of soundtracks I feel deeply sorry that this has happened. One might wonder why certain people are not up to criticism. I respect your decision though and can only hope that you either return or keep the page running for the next generation of soundtrack lovers. It’d be sad if all that wisdom was lost.

  32. Marco Ludema (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 13:23

    Godspeed, good sir!

  33. Ian Clark (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 14:02

    Hi James. I’ve had your site on my favourites list for years and always read the reviews with interest. I have never let reviews sway me in what I want to listen to, but it is always interesting to hear another enthusiasts point of view. To be honest, you have reviewed scores that I didn’t know had been released, so that is always a bonus. I have followed what’s been going on via a soundtrack group on Facebook. I hope you change your mind and return to this wonderful website when you feel you can. Going by the comments on Facebook and on your website, it looks like you have plenty of support and appreciation. Looking forward to your return…..

  34. Kalman (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 16:18

    James, please come back and continue to write reviews. I have always liked to read them – even if I disagree with many of them. I keep checking older reviews of scores I have just got acquinted with and also new reviews of scores I’m not familiar with.

    Basically I like both your reviews and most of Zimmer’s scores but he should write music and not get upset because of an opinion and you should write reviews and not get upset because of a composer’s rant.

  35. Vincent (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 16:43

    I haven’t read the whole debacle yet, but will say this: I haven’t read too many of your reviews, but the ones I have read I really enjoyed. Taking a break from anything is fine, but please, please don’t do it on the account of a self-centred composer who’s responsible for a decline in film music writing despite having written some fine scores. And if you ever get bored, write somewhere that he offended you and you’ll have the whole online community behind you in no time. Thank you for the reviews. Don’t let this huge achievement be ruined by Mr D minor.

  36. Ian Simpson (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 17:26

    Saddening news – along with Movie Music UK this has been one of the two main film music review sites I regularly visit, and I’ve often purchased film scores entirely because you gave them five star recommendations and have rarely been disappointed (James Newton Howard’s Signs was the latest example). Our tastes appear to be pretty similar.

    The timing of this is especially curious to me as your latest Hans Zimmer review for Wonder Woman 1984 was very positive (and I agreed, I think it’s the best he’s written for some time). I think Zimmer has been coming into a good run of form of late with his film scores, so it’s a big shame he had to spoil it in this way.

    It’s very understandable that after being on the receiving end of such online behaviour you want to take a hiatus, but I hope that once it boils over you may feel up for doing more reviews again.

  37. Christian K. (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 18:10

    I don’t know what this is all about, but I’d like to return the Hessian goat that I bought on Mr Southall’s recommendation. Its performance has been…zimmerish, so to speak.

  38. Ian Smith (Reply) on Monday 8 March, 2021 at 19:51

    Well I have no idea what has been going on other that what I can gather from the comments, but I must say I am very saddened to learn that this blog is going on an indefinite hiatus.

    Might I suggest you continue the blog and just simply ignore Mr Z’s work entirely from now on, and maybe even delete past reviews of his scores? That way you continue to educate, inform and entertain your readers and Mr Z loses some publicity and a degree of credibility in my eyes at least. This is really quite extraordinary.

    I have been critical of film-makers on my own blog over the years but its always been simply my own opinion and I’d be astonished if they even noticed my existence never mind actually responded unkindly. Since when can someone NOT voice their opinion or point of view? I am shocked and appalled and sincerely hope that you reconsider. There is much more to film-music in general and movie-wave.net in particular than a certain composers music.

    And hey, I really want more episodes of the James Horner Odyssey. I’d really miss not seeing any more of those.

  39. J Chen (Reply) on Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 03:36

    Hello Mr. Southall,

    Incidentally, my first exposure to your site occurred when I read your glowing review of Zimmer’s Wonder Woman 1984 soundtrack. It goes without saying that I am surprised to hear your hiatus may be due to the personal attack you received from Hans himself. While I do not know your general critique of his past work — as all of your previous Zimmer reviews have been deleted — it’s my hope that your decision to remove all critiques of his work was not due to some need for self-censorship. The fact that you somehow managed to poke the bear out of hiding — and not even intentionally, I might add — should be worn as a badge of honor. The fact that you drew anger from the “legend” himself underscores a degree of cache that you carry, and is something I feel you could (and perhaps should) double-down on. Had you chosen to remove all Zimmer reviews and go on hiatus due to mere bullying, it’s my sincere hope that you reconsider.

    In fact, if you’ve been critical of his work in the past, you’re nowhere close to being alone. Even Filmtracks.com (the site I have followed for decades before discovering your site) has been a longtime critic of Zimmer’s work, going so far as to say that Zimmer might be “full of shit” in the way he arrogantly praises his own postmodern, but minimal and droning approach to compositions. Filmtracks has spared no punches and made ZERO apologies. Unless Mr. Zimmer has extended some olive branch to you privately, I think you should do the same and not be bullied into submission in any form whatsoever.

    Wishing you all the best, no matter the length of your hiatus.

  40. Riddhiman (Reply) on Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 05:47

    You are a critic. You critique people’s music. They might hit back but that shouldn’t bother you tbh. And this attack was unprovoked. You let him win by stepping down. Critics dont do this.

    Im saying this because i stumbled over your website only like 6 months back and i thought it was a gold mine. You have been my primary source of movie score criticism; it’ll be impossible for me to switch to any other source. This is really sad for someone only getting into movie scores.

    Anyways, i hope you do return after your hiatus, otherwise a lot of us would miss out on a lot. I respect your decision but hope to see you back again soon.

  41. Stefan (Reply) on Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 09:25

    Dear James,
    your work is absolutely required reading for any film music enthusiast. To think that you will stop posting new reviews is utterly sad.

    Please take your time… and then come back.

    Best regards,
    your constant reader
    Stefan

  42. Rodney (Reply) on Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 20:48

    Very sorry to hear that. Hope you’re feeling okay but just want to say your intelligent, insightful and frequently hilarious reviews have been a constant source of joy over the years and will sorely missed. All the best for the future and sincerely hope this isn’t the last we hear of you.

  43. Glenn (Reply) on Wednesday 10 March, 2021 at 19:16

    Even when I don’t agree with some particular opinion, I appreciate the way you express your views and the passion you have for this niche genre. I hope this is fun for you again after a short break, but if not, life’s too short.

  44. Richard (Reply) on Thursday 11 March, 2021 at 02:59

    Hi James,

    I echo the sentiments of many of the other posters here. Your reviews are insightful, they have been a great source of pleasure for me personally for many years, and they are delightful to read. Of course we’ll support whatever decision you make. If you’ve had enough of dealing with bullies like Zimmer, then so be it. But if writing reviews is something you still find any joy doing, then I say keep doing it!! Let Zimmer go stroke his ego on someone else’s turf (sheesh, what an asshat). But for now, enjoy your break. Be good to yourself and your family, and we all hope to see you back here at some point down the road. Really, dude. You are loved and appreciated – very much so! Be well!

  45. dominique (Reply) on Thursday 11 March, 2021 at 09:42

    stay with us please, james! i visit movie-wave daily for the tha last 20 years and i don´t want to imagine what it would be like without it! your work is so much appreciate by so many people, james!
    nevertheless, thank you so much for everything!
    to be continued…

  46. Kevin (Reply) on Thursday 11 March, 2021 at 14:56

    You really helped influence my love and appreciation for beautiful film scores. Without this site I wouldn’t have half the library I do today. Thank you for sharing your love of great film music with us and I hope you return soon.

  47. Rolf (Reply) on Friday 12 March, 2021 at 21:56

    I will miss your well-written and often humerous reviews as much as all the others. I agreed with many of your opinions and disagreed with some, but that’s a matter of taste. All reviews were a joy to read and I hope you will return and continue to write.

    You removed all the Zimmer reviews. Don’t forget to remove the entries in the “Reviews by composer” index as well. All of the dead links are still there, but you still can see the ratings (stars) you gave the Zimmer scores. Most of these ratings are too high in my opinion anyway.

  48. Andre>>Cape Town (Reply) on Saturday 13 March, 2021 at 01:13

    Just because Donald Tump, and other dictators attack journalists, I presume Zimmer decided to join the fray. You’re a reviewer and allowed to express opinions…and free speech had always been encouraged in Democratic countries. I’ve always been an admirer of your insigtful critiques James, and am certain that you’ll continue reviewing scores after a 3-month break….your DNA will demand it! PLEASE consider publishing some of your reviews in book-form….the book will be essential reading for future film music critics and and lovers of that glorious art form. Zimmer has certainly contributed to the decline of film music scoring that reached a peak when composers such as ROZSA, ALFRED NEWMAN,GOLDSMITH, MORRICONE, DELERUE,HORNER and WILLIAMS wrote music that remains memorable, beautiful and timeless.And once a time, ZIMMER also wrote such music.

  49. StephanH (Reply) on Saturday 13 March, 2021 at 12:37

    Dear James,

    when I read your message, I was stunned and irritated.
    I first had to research what happened.

    Film music is your and our passion. Your reviews were
    always informative, inspiring and gave a lot of stimulation.
    You have been with me for over 15 years.
    Is this supposed to end now?

    Take a break, reconsider your decision and show
    that you can deal with criticism better than obviously other people.

    And come back. Otherwise it would be a great loss
    for the Filmmusic-Community.

    Greetings from Germany

  50. James Southall (Reply) on Saturday 13 March, 2021 at 15:31

    Genuine, heartfelt thanks to everybody who sent supportive messages either publicly or privately. Aside from some trolls on Twitter and Daniel Schweiger, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response.

    I’ll be back later in the year, writing again.

  51. Thomas James (Reply) on Monday 22 March, 2021 at 14:33

    Mr. Southall, I just checked the 200 or so soundtrack/scores that I have on disc and who knows how many digitally, None are from zimmer. Pay him no mind and carry on.

  52. Sean (Reply) on Tuesday 23 March, 2021 at 13:55

    Thank you James. I came for my monthly readup and saw these two hiatus posts. I am sad to see them but happy for you doing whatever’s best and needed. Thanks so much for all these reviews. There’s nothing else quite like this site. I suspect it’s just what everyone who found it needed before they did find it (based on my own experience.) Cheers and all the best.

  53. Cyril C. Grueter (Reply) on Wednesday 31 March, 2021 at 16:24

    Hi James, your site has been my go-to place for super insightful reviews for many many years. I look forward to having you back later in the year!