Newest Major Reviews:.This Month's Most Popular Reviews: Best-Selling Albums:
. 1. Transformers: Last Knight
2. Cars 3
3. The Mummy
4. Wonder Woman
5. POTC: Dead Men Tell No Tales
. . 1. Star Wars: Force Awakens
2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
3. Titanic
4. Avatar
5. Nineteen Eighty-Four
6. Gladiator
7. Star Wars: A New Hope
8. Animal Farm
9. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
10. Harry Potter: Sorcerer's Stone
. . 1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. Fantastic Beasts/Find Them
3. Willow
4. The Ghost and the Darkness
5. An American Tail
Filmtracks On Cue


On Cue for May, 2006:





5/30/06 - Stars and Bars: (Elmer Bernstein) --Expanded Review-- "Veteran composer Elmer Bernstein had plenty of scores rejected from films in the last two decades of his career, and it could be argued that worst of all these films was Pat O'Connor's Stars and Bars in 1988. Based on a best-selling 1985 novel by William Boyd, the story involves a depressed, proper Englishman who dreams of becoming a wild American brute. Daniel Day Lewis is terribly miscast as the English art expert living in New York City, dispatched to Georgia to acquire a newly surfaced Renoir painting. Being completely unlearned in American culture, he runs into a series of eccentric people and bizarre misfortunes, and while he may end up losing the painting, his career, and his fiancee, he does gain a new, tougher personality with the help of a scrappy Joan Cusack. The film only grossed $100,000 and suffered a horrible death before it even premiered. Released only on videotape many years ago and gone from the market in any form..." *** Read the entire review.

5/27/06 - Cape Fear: (Bernard Herrmann/Elmer Bernstein) --Expanded Review-- "With his first film after signing a major contract with Universal Studios and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, director Martin Scorsese decided to remake the classic 1962 horror story of Cape Fear. In the original, Gregory Peck was the lawyer and heroic father figure and Robert Mitchum was the criminal who had served time because of what he believed to be a bad defense by Peck. The ensuing battle of nerves and wit between the Hollywood icons made for a classic film of good versus evil. But in Scorsese's darker outlook on life, there can't be any true hero, and in his 1991 remake, everyone from the lawyer to his 16-year-old daughter has demons with which to work. It's more difficult to root for Nick Nolte in the Peck role, and Robert De Niro is far more psychotic than Mitchum ever was as the criminal. What Scorsese had going in his favor was a $35 million budget, cameo roles by both Mitchum and Peck (ironically on opposite sides of their original allegiances)..." *** Read the entire review.

5/24/06 - Frankie Starlight: (Elmer Bernstein) --Expanded Review-- "Not even all the mysticism in the stars could save Frankie Starlight from total anonymity. Based on "The Dork of Cork" by Chet Raymo, the adaptation for the big screen by Raymo and Ronan O'Leary was an anticipated arthouse film released during the awards season in late 1995. Michael Linday-Hogg's film meanders through decades in the lives of a dwarf and his mother, with the modern-day dwarf, a successful but reclusive author, serving out the tale in flashback format. A voice-over narrative tells of the mother's journey from France during World War II to Ireland, where she gives birth to the illegitimate dwarf, and the two eventually settle in Texas, where the dwarf becomes the author and narrator. Woven throughout the film is the dwarf's interest in amateur astronomy, and the constellations are used to draw connections between the seemingly random circumstances of life. The messages work to some degree in Frankie Starlight..." **** Read the entire review.

5/21/06 - Last Man Standing: (Ry Cooder/Elmer Bernstein) --Expanded Review-- "Sergio Leone's 1964 A Fistful of Dollars with Clint Eastwood was an adequate American interpretation of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo from three years prior, though for some reason, director Walter Hill decided to make the same adaptation once again in the 1990's. Hill moves the setting up by another few decades into the prohibition era and, of course, inserts his usual excessive glorification of violence. The "no name man" who walks into 1920's Jericho this time is Bruce Willis, who may very have been perfect for the part, but in the process of destabilizing the truce between two Chicago bootlegging crime organizations in the small town (which leaves a whole lot of logical questions by itself), Willis takes advantage of his independent gunslinger skills to maim and kill people who obviously deserve such an end. And unless you're a fan of Hill's notion that it takes 40 bullets from tommy guns (shown very explicitly) to kill a man..." **/*** Read the entire review.

5/17/06 - Demolition Man: (Elliot Goldenthal) --Expanded Review-- "Aside from the fact that it introduced an innocent Sandra Bullock to many movie-goers, Demolition Man hits nearly every guilty-pleasure button known to mankind. Among the "violations of the verbal morality code," the verbiage of "murder death kill," and a villain named "Cocteau," viewers of Demolition Man are still trying to figure out exactly how to use the three seashells in place of traditional paper ass-wipes. The stupidity of the film is oddly compensated for by its purely tongue-in-cheek zaniness, proving that ridiculously dumb movies can indeed catch you watching them whenever they come on late night cable television (though, of course, violations of the verbal morality code lose all their punch on family-friendly channels). Given how utterly juvenile a film Demolition Man really is, another amusing irony is the assignment of composer Elliot Goldenthal to the task of composing the underscore for the film. Goldenthal is, more than any other contemporary composer..." ** Read the entire review.

5/13/06 - Fried Green Tomatoes: (Thomas Newman) --Expanded Review-- "One of the ultimate tearjerkers ever to be put to screen, Fried Green Tomatoes is a story told in flashback, set in both the 1990's and 1930's and addressing common issues in both periods. The 1930's setting is the attractive one, and the reason Fannie Flag's book ("Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe") was put to screen by Universal and director Jon Avnet. Two young women operate a cafe in a small Alabama town in the '30's, where things are pretty progressive. Whites and blacks have civil relations, and the rednecks that roll down the main street waving guns in the air are shunned as being the village idiots. But complexity exists in the cafe, for there are lesbian undertones to the relationship between its two operators. There's a murder mystery in the past and the salvaging of another troubled woman in the future setting, and one of the film's weaknesses is its inability to switch between times with ease...." **** Read the entire review.

5/10/06 - Emma: (Rachel Portman) --Expanded Review-- "The early 1990's saw a rebirth of adaptations of famous British authors of centuries ago, and none was perhaps as influential on screen as Jane Austen. Following Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and the massive A&E production of Pride and Prejudice, the success of Emma should come as no surprise. Even Alicia Silverstone's Clueless the previous year was a modern adaptation of Austen's "Emma" story, though it doesn't take a genius to know the intended audience of the true adaptations. Austen stories all have the same general idea: several marriages have to be arranged by the end, the leading lady is stubborn and dislikes social conventions, there's ballroom dancing to be done, and the main couple of interest takes the entire story to finally admit their love to one another. For non-Austen fans, these scenarios are just one alien invasion short of a successful story, and unfortunately for those non-romantic folks, the scores for these films aren't much better...." *** Read the entire review.

5/7/06 - Last of the Dogmen: (David Arnold) --Expanded Review-- "There was a law in Montana that was just recently repealed: "Seven or more Indians are considered a raiding or war party and it is legal to shoot them." Perhaps the people who still believed in the validity of that law in the 1990's had seen the movie Last of the Dogmen, though even they should have figured out just how far-fetched the plot of the film really is. Writer/director Tab Murphy's 1995 film presents the idea that it's possible that a handful of Cheyenne dogmen survived the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre and were still miraculously living hidden from modern-day 1995 life in the treacherous mountain regions of Montana. Anyone who's lived in Montana (as of 1995) knows that hippies have hiked into every last square mile of the Rocky Mountains and hugged their trees, not to mention geologists and forest rangers that survey all that territory every day. In short, in an age when there exist little airports and portable toilet cabins..." **** Read the entire review.

5/4/06 - Chaplin: (John Barry) --Expanded Review-- "So much had been known about Charlie Chaplin's movies and the public persona he attempted to enhance in his own autobiography, and yet the significant (and, to some extent, self-imposed) troubles in his personal life went largely undocumented until Sir Richard Attenborough attempted a revealing bio-epic of the early film star in 1992. As to be expected from this sort of Attenborough venture, the film's scope was grand and the acting credits contained a dozen well-known names. In the title role, Robert Downey Jr. (like Chaplin himself, mired in legal trouble) is convincing both aesthetically and in mannerism, and the film is littered with other high quality performances. But the major faults of the film are the pace at which it steams through Chaplin's life, the emphasis on the sex and other turmoil (an encounter with J. Edgar Hoover is invented to explain that a snub of Hoover by Chaplin at a party is a reason why the FBI pursued Chaplin as a Communist during his later days)..." **** Read the entire review.

5/1/06 - The Specialist: (John Barry) --Expanded Review-- "You have to give the filmmakers at least a little credit for figuring out what parts of The Specialist were going to sell with audiences. After all, a film that was originally intended to be a noir thriller ended up relying on Sharon Stone's breasts, Sylvester Stallone's bulging muscles, and a myriad of exploding buildings to retain audience interest. It ended up being an odd collection of different film genres rolled into one dismal package. The cinematography and music had all the dark, seedy atmosphere of a high class thriller from yesteryear, and yet the convoluted plot and unenthusiastic acting (apart from James Woods, of course, who foamed at the mouth in the roll) had B-rated action film nonsense written in every line. The plot involves Stallone as the ex-CIA bombmaker, Woods as his former partner gone bad, Stone as a vengeful foe and friend of both, and Rod Steiger as an unintelligible crime boss. Throw the Miami locale into the equation, and the humid environment steams up the picture..." **** Read the entire review.






Page created 6/1/06, updated 6/2/06. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 2006, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio (www.realaudio.com). "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.