REVIEW: “The Ides of March” (***)

Posted by · 7:14 am · August 31st, 2011

Venice Film Festival “I’m not a Christian. I’m not an atheist. I’m not a Muslim. I’m not Jewish. I believe in the American constitution,” intones a spiffily-suited and even fresher-faced-than-usual Ryan Gosling as the opening line of “The Ides of March,” George Clooney’s crisp, diverting and typically (even overly) studious political thriller. Standing at the […]

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In praise of the modern movie soundtrack

Posted by · 7:41 am · August 5th, 2011

I generally try to ignore film opinion pieces I think are fundamentally misguided — à chacun son goût and all that, plus the fact that fighting one mind is generally more trouble than it’s worth — but Ben Walsh’s idle article in The Independent today on the supposed demise of the movie soundtrack does such […]

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Twigs off ‘The Tree of Life’

Posted by · 7:58 am · July 13th, 2011

After two internet-free weeks in the Italian countryside, I’m gradually sifting through recent film news and coming to the conclusion that I chose as good a fortnight as any to drop out of the world. (File “Cars 2” and “Transformers Trois” under Things That Can Wait; ditto the Oscar-motivated fang-sharpening of rival Glenn Close and […]

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My only friend, the end

Posted by · 10:41 am · July 12th, 2011

I’ll make this brief. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” hits this weekend. It will be massive. The devoted will turn out and love it. The sense of grand closure will settle for many. But I’ll just have to cop here at the beginning to the fact that I cannot connect the dots […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘The Tree of Life’

Posted by · 6:30 am · May 6th, 2011

The director: Terrence Malick (USA) The talent: Do you need reminding by this point? The Competition’s most high-profile film stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Jessica Chastain; the name I’m most pleased to see in the supporting cast, meanwhile, is Irish stalwart Fiona Shaw. The technical crew is, obviously, first-class: DP Emmanuel Lubezki, […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Music (Original Score)

Posted by · 10:39 am · February 16th, 2011

Recently the International Film Music Critics Association were the last critics group to offer their (specialized) thoughts on the 2010 film year. The announcement made for an interesting counter to the year in score awardage. And the eventual nominees for Best Original Score reflected, if nothing else, a continued break with tradition. The music branch […]

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Desplat leads International Film Music Critics nods

Posted by · 10:18 am · February 11th, 2011

Alexandre Desplat has enjoyed a brilliant career in U.S. features as of late (on the back of immense talent, naturally).  2010 was a grand year for the composer as he, once again, balanced scoring duties on a number of notable films. Today, the final announcement from the critics awards circuit has landed in the form […]

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In praise of Reznor/Ross

Posted by · 8:44 am · January 19th, 2011

This year’s Best Original Score race really has me at a loss.  I freely admit that I have no idea what will happen there.  Some days I think we’ll get a small surprise like Alexandre Desplat sliding in for his best work this year in “The Ghost Writer,” others I think we could just get […]

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77 scores competing for Oscar, ‘Toy Story 3’ not among them

Posted by · 5:20 am · December 30th, 2010

They may have enjoyed a three-year run of nominations in the category, finally taking the gold with “Up” earlier this year, but Pixar’s hot streak in Best Original Score will not continue at the 2010 Oscars. Although Randy Newman’s “Toy Story 3” score wasn’t ruled ineligible by the Academy — unlike his work on last […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Original Score — Volume II

Posted by · 12:35 pm · November 12th, 2010

A great score can take a film from memorable to unforgettable.  Whether it be Vangelis’s synthesizer on the beach in “Chariots of Fire,” Nino Rota’s haunting waltz from “The Godfather” or John Williams’s blaring, adventurous march from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” scores can elevate amazing images to bring the director’s vision to even greater […]

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10/25 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Desplat honored, Watts and Plame on ‘Game,’ animated feature hopefuls reach 14

Posted by · 8:40 am · October 25th, 2010

• Colin Firth talks royalty and “The King’s Speech.” [Awards Campaign] • Alexandre Desplat named composer of the year. [Variety] • Scott Kraft chats with “Fair Game” star Naomi Watts and subject Valerie Plame. [Los Angeles Times]

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Desplat, Zimmer, Burwell lead World Soundtrack nominees

Posted by · 4:52 pm · August 9th, 2010

The World Soundtrack Awards aren’t quite as authoritative as their lofty names implies — established in 2001 to accompany the annual Ghent Film Festival in Belgium, they are voted upon by an educational organization of film composers dubbing themselves the World Soundtrack Academy. Given their European origins, it’s interesting how much their awards overlap with […]

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Cannes finalizes Competition lineup, jury

Posted by · 8:52 am · April 23rd, 2010

Those who were hoping that the promised additions to the Cannes Competition selection announced last week would bring some added name appeal to a lineup shorter than usual on star auteurs — particularly in the English-language realm — will be disappointed by today’s announcement. Cease your prayers for “The Tree of Life” to show up […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: Composer symposium, part two

Posted by · 1:22 pm · February 26th, 2010

I think everyone who has seen Pixar’s “Up” was utterly taken by the scene “Married Life,” where emotions ran high and three characters were built between images and music.  As Kris mentioned in this morning’s Oscar Guide, composer Michael Giacchino had the full aural attention of the audience for 10 minutes. Speaking to Giacchino, it’s […]

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LA Times shines light on notable 2009 composers

Posted by · 6:56 am · December 9th, 2009

LA Times music critic Todd Martens has posted a useful series of short interviews with the men behind some of the year’s most distinctive film scores. Indeed, it’s group of five names that isn’t too hard to imagine mirroring the year’s eventual Oscar slate: Alexandre Desplat for “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Michael Giacchino for “Up,” Randy […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Original Score — Volume II

Posted by · 7:12 pm · November 19th, 2009

Some categories haven’t had that much renewal since I last reviewed them. Best Original Score is an exception. Principally, this is because the category is very difficult to judge before hearing the scores, not to mention last minute personnel changes (as composers always seem to be the most disposable members of film crews). As I […]

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Alexandre Desplat: Hollywood’s most prolific composer

Posted by · 10:09 am · November 17th, 2009

A quick glance at Alexandre Desplat’s 2009 resume reveals a whopping seven titles.  That’s pretty prolific for someone who offers up quality work each and every time out, rather than coasting on simplicity like a few other hard-working film music composers out there.  This weekend alone there are two films bearing Desplat’s musical signature — […]

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Desplat wins Composer of the Year award

Posted by · 6:02 pm · October 19th, 2009

You’d be hard pressed to disagree that Alexandre Desplat is pretty much at the top of the game in contemporary film scoring. In addition to his genius (“Birth” looks likely to remain my favorite score of the decade), his prolificity is awe-inspiring. This year alone sees the Frenchman’s name on seven features, running the gamut […]

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