All posts under James Newton Howard

9 Favorite Film Music Moments of 2012

John Carter

*+-For this month’s “9 on the 9th” post, I wanted to focus on the smaller moments from this past year, those momentary thrills that can only be experienced by hearing film music in context of the film. While we all enjoy listening to film music on its own, I believe you have to hear it in its original context to truly understand the intent behind the music. This list does not necessarily represent the “best” scores of the year—I’ll give my take on that in a few weeks—and the scores…

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9 Favorite Presidential Film Scores

Presidential Seal

*+-For all our real-time fascination with the Presidency, audiences usually show very little interest in cinematic portrayals of the Commander in Chief. Perhaps because we have either lived through the period and don’t want to watch it all play out again onscreen, or maybe the era is so far removed that we just don’t care. Whatever the reason(s), these film and TV portraits  provide meaty roles for actors and dramatic stories composers can sink their musical chops into. For this month’s “9 on the 9th,” we visit the Oval Office—real…

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CD Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

snow-white-and-the-huntsman-poster

*+-Snow White sure has come a long way since Disney. From perky but bland cartoon to beautiful but bland live action cartoon earlier this year (MIRROR MIRROR) and now somnambulistic but bland live action corpse thanks to Kristen Stewart, she of the vacant, glassy-eyed, open-mouth school of acting. So it’s no surprise that director Rupert Sanders’s menacing take on the fairy tale—SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN—basically ignores its title and focuses more on Charlize Theron’s evil queen. And what a queen she is—beautiful and endowed with the power to steal youth, all decked…

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Top 10 Film Scores of 2011

top10b

*+-Film Score Click Track readers have had their say, now it’s my turn. I wonder if I’ll look back ten years from now and see 2011 as a turning point in my film music development. This past year, I found myself listening in different ways, with my attention captured by details and intricacies beyond the surface effect of the music. And perhaps I was far more open and receptive to more composers and musical styles than in years past, or maybe it there were other reasons. Of course, the year…

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Readers Poll – Top 10 Film Scores of 2010

top10b

*+-Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote in this year’s readers survey. Over 200 people voted and over 1,600 votes were cast. While I expected certain scores to appear, it was interesting to watch the list form and morph over the voting period. Out of the 201 scores listed, 161 of them received at least one vote. While this list certainly doesn’t match mine (nor should it), there are a couple of overlaps, several scores that didn’t quite make my cut, and a couple that weren’t anywhere close. This…

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The Prince of Tides

The Prince of Tides

*+-In the time-honored tradition of directors ruining good books (see Steven Spielberg and THE COLOR PURPLE), producer/director/star Barbra Streisand insults the audience’s collective intelligence with the 1991 soap opera dud, THE PRINCE OF TIDES. Based on Pat Conroy’s engrossing bestseller, Nick Nolte stars as an unemployed teacher and football coach who travels from South Carolina to Manhattan after his sister (Melinda Dillon) commits suicide.  In the process of exposing his family’s buried skeletons to Savannah’s psychiatrist (Streisand), Tom heals his wounds and falls in love with the good doctor in…

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CD Review: The Last Airbender

lastairbender

*+-The collaboration of James Newton Howard and director M. Night Shyamalan has often brought out the best in the composer, if not the director. And by all accounts, their latest, THE LAST AIRBENDER, based on the hit Nickelodeon animated series, is a particularly excruciating cinematic experience. Though I personally think Shyamalan is a one-hit wonder (with “wonder” being the key word), Howard’s score for his films have always risen above the self-indulgent material. So, even though I had no interest in the film, I was looking forward to Howard’s score….

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