All posts under Thomas Newman

Top 10 Film Scores of 2012

Top 10

One of the joys of compiling a year-end list is revisiting film scores that I may have forgotten. With so many scores released over the last 12 months, it’s easy for one or more to slip through the cracks. As usual, some scores that I was sure would make my list didn’t. By all rights, Nick Urata’s sweet and charming RUBY SPARKS would be included, as would Dan Romer and Behn Zeitlin’s Cajun-flavored BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Danny Elfman had a busy year and his scores for FRANKENWEENIE and HITCHCOCK…

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CD Review: Skyfall

skyfall

Only having recently watched all the Eon-sanctioned Bond films (most of them for the first time) and discovering their scores (also for the first time), I didn’t go into the new Bond film/score with any particular expectations other than being an admirer of Thomas Newman and director Sam Mendes. SKYFALL as a film is a thrilling entry in the franchise and a major return to (the new) form after the disappointing QUATUM OF SOLACE. In addition, Mendes and his screenwriters have raised the bar for future entries by creating an exciting thriller…

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The Good German

The Good German

I’ve made no bones about my love of Thomas Newman‘s work. And THE GOOD GERMAN is one of my favorites. The film is director Steven Soderbergh’s interesting, yet ultimately misguided, attempt to film a 1940’s film 60 years too late. Based on Joseph Kanon’s 2001 bestseller, George Clooney stars as a journalist who returns to Berlin in the months following World War II and gets mixed up in political and romantic intrigue with his prewar mistress (Cate Blanchett). Much of the pre-release publicity for the film focused on Soderbergh’s gimmick of…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of Thomas Newman

Finding Nemo

There’s no denying that Thomas Newman is one of the finest film composers working today. Along with father Alfred, uncles Lionel and Emil, cousin Randy, and brother David, film music runs in his blood. But with an instantly recognizable style filled with interesting orchestrations and exotic instrumentations, Newman has carved out a niche all to himself. With 10 Academy Award nominations to his name, Newman remains embarrassingly Oscar-less. But like the other members of that talented musical dynasty, Newman’s music has more to do with quality than awards recognition. While you…

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Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Based on the first three books of the popular children’s series, LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS follows the Baudelaire orphans–Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken) and Sunny–as they are shunted from one odd relative (Billy Connelly) to the next (Meryl Streep), while the cunning Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) nips at their heels, in the hopes of inheriting their enormous fortune. The story is dark and twisted and thoroughly entertaining. The humor is most decidedly black with Sunny, the baby who has a tendency to bite things and speaks in…

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Dead Already

American Beauty

As the world faced a new millennium, it took a British theater director, Sam Mendes, to expose the dirt and secrets beneath the white pickets fences and manicured lawns of suburbia with his the Oscar-winning AMERICAN BEAUTY. With its slick direction, acerbic screenplay by Alan Ball, and pitch-perfect performances by Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, the film also boasts a now-classic score by Thomas Newman. Alternating between percussive sounds (tablas, kim-kim drums, bird calls), exotic instrumentations (Appalachian dulcimer, bass tin whistle, ewi, de-tuned mandolin, processed bass flute), and more traditional…

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Define Dancing

walle

“Dancing: a series of movements involving two partners where speed and rhythm match harmoniously with music.” One of the many joys of watching a Pixar film is the elegance of the animation. While other animated films, especially those that are computer generated, come across as flat and two-dimensional, the artists at Pixar have a unique talent for making truly breathtaking, cinematic images. One of those magical moments is the “dancing” scene from WALL-E (2008). According to director Andrew Stanton’s DVD commentary, originally the sequence was staged to a Bing Crosby recording…

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Fish In My Hair!

findingnemo

Moving on from toys, bugs and monsters, Pixar went under the sea and snagged a big fish with FINDING NEMO (2003). This delightful film tells the tale of a young clownfish, Nemo (Alexander Gould), who gets caught by deep sea divers off the coast of Australia, and his father (Albert Brooks), who must brave the ocean depths to find him. As usual in Pixar films, the supporting cast vocal work is top-notch with special kudos to Ellen DeGeneres’ hysterical Dory, a fish with short-term memory loss. One of the most beautiful of…

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