All posts under Reviews

CD Review: Angels & Demons

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One Pope is dead and someone is murdering the preferiti, the cardinals in line to be the next Vicar of Christ. Add to the mix a canister of antimatter set to blow up Vatican City and you have the recipe for suspense in ANGELS & DEMONS, the sequel to THE DA VINCI CODE. Ron Howard knows how to make slick, Hollywood films and ANGELS & DEMONS does not disappoint in that department. The location shots around Rome and recreations of the Vatican are visually splendid, rich with art and architecture….

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CD Review: Inside Daisy Clover

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April was a momentous month for film score fans. Andre Previn celebrated his 80th birthday, Kritzerland released his score for TWO FOR THE SEESAW while  Film Score Monthly released a 2-CD set of the composer’s brilliant INSIDE DAISY CLOVER (1965). Based on a novel by Gavin Lambert, Natalie Wood stars as Daisy Clover, an overnight teenage singing sensation in 1930s Hollywood “who fights to keep from being a has-been at 17.”  The film also stars Robert Redford as a charismatic, bisexual movie star, Christopher Plummer as the tyrannical studio head, and…

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CD Review: Alexandra

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Legendary soprano Galina Vishnevskaya will forever be linked with such legendary recordings as Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and Prokofiev’s War and Peace. Her opposition to Soviet rule, along with husband Mstislav Rostropovich, caused headlines around the world. When director Alexander Sokurov was writing the screenplay for ALEXANDRA, he had only Vishnevskaya, who had limited film experience, in mind. “This film is an offering to a great actress, a great citizen of our country…If for some reason she could not make this film, the film simply would not…

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CD Review: Star Trek (2009)

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Let’s get it out of the way right at the beginning. Michael Giacchino’s score for STAR TREK (2009) is not the “instant classic” that Jerry Goldsmith’s STAR TREK – THE MOTION PICTURE was. But then, how could it be? Goldsmith’s score is a work of, dare I say, genius. Not simply a great sci-fi score, but a great film score, period. Every succeeding musical entry in the STAR TREK franchise has been unfairly (yet understandably) compared to Goldsmith’s lightning rod and found wanting. The use of Goldsmith’s main theme for STAR TREK THE NEXT…

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DVD Review: The City

The City

Year by year our cities grow more complex and less fit for living. The age of rebuilding is here. We must remould our old cities and build new communities better suited to our needs. So begins the 1939 documentary THE CITY. First shown at the 1939 World’s Fair, THE CITY was created by the American Institute of Planners to promote the aims of Franklin Roosevelt’s Resettlement Administration as part of the New Deal. Filmed with a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, Ralph Steiner and Willard Van Dyke photographed from the screenplay by Lewis Mumford,…

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CD Review: Master of the World / Goliath and the Barbarians

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I’m not a very impulsive person. Because I like to have my activities planned out, I occasionally miss out on some things if I’m not quick enough. Though I’m always willing to explore, I seldom do so without a recommendation, at least when it comes to purchases (and restaurants). Buying an unheard score is very rare. When I blindly purchased Intrada’s new release of Les Baxter’s MASTER OF THE WORLD and GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS, I shocked myself! I’m not familiar with Baxter’s film work, nor with his popular exotica albums…

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DVD Review: The Reader

The Reader

Guilt. Judgment. Love. Sexuality. Morality. Betrayal. These are the issues and emotions at the heart of THE READER (2008), newly released on DVD. Kate Winslet won a well-deserved Oscar as Hanna Schmitz, a former concentration camp guard who harbors her own shameful secret. David Kross plays the teen who has an affair with her and holds her fate in his hands, while Ralph Fiennes plays him as an adult, forced to deal with that fate. In a dual role, Lena Olin makes an impression as the mother and daughter of one of…

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CD Review: Two for the Seesaw

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A dejected-looking Robert Mitchum wanders the improbably bare New York City streets, feeding pigeons, visiting museums. Uptown, downtown, on the Brooklyn Bridge and in its shadow, in a city of five million people, he is alone. French horns echo on the empty streets, a plaintive trumpet cries out for companionship, strings answer, but the bluesy trumpet takes over with a memorable main theme, evocative of loneliness as few other pieces of music are. [audio:twofortheseesaw.mp3] So begins Andre Previn’s masterful score for TWO FOR THE SEESAW (1962) which was released last week on Kritzerland…

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CD Review: Death of a Salesman / Rashomon

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Back in his days with Bay Cities and Fynsworth Alley, Bruce Kimmel produced albums that no one else would touch, many of which probably didn’t sell worth a damn. Two of my favorites include the complete spoken word album of Michael Frayn’s superb Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen and the notorious 1982 musical flop, A Doll’s Life, with a glorious score by Larry Grossman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Lately, Kimmel has once again made his mark over at his new label, Kritzerland. Whether releasing film scores long desired on CD…

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