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May/June 2017
6/23/17 Dick Tracy   (Danny Elfman)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you can forgive Danny Elfman for merging a pompous and extravagant superhero theme of Batman heritage with grandiose, George Gershwin-style romance to fill the awkward gaps between Stephen Sondheim songs.
Avoid it... if you expect there to be any continuity in film or on any semblance of an appropriate soundtrack album between the Elfman score and Sondheim songs, their chaotic co-existence primed to make your head spin.
6/12/17 Stanley & Iris   (John Williams)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... only if you are an extremely avid collector of John Williams' softer dramatic techniques and appreciate the very restrained tone of his most conservative character scores for small ensembles.
Avoid it... on especially the earlier album for the score if you have no interest in exercising patience with one of the composer's most underachieving and ineffective scores for an equally disappointing film.
6/2/17 The Black Cauldron   (Elmer Bernstein)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you appreciate massively symphonic and surprisingly serious scores for your animated pictures and have lingering affection for Elmer Bernstein's obsession with the ondes martenot instrument.
Avoid it... if you are accustomed to hearing transparent themes, easy concepts, and mostly bright attitude in your animated film scores.
5/24/17 The Rocketeer   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you grew tired of James Horner's later, more seriously weighty dramatic scores and prefer the unrestrained enthusiasm of his early adventure works, among which The Rocketeer is one of the best.
Avoid it... if the overly-consistent innocence of Horner's soaring themes only serves to remind you of a composer rolling shamelessly in a bed of his own favorite musical constructs.
5/15/17 Seven   (Howard Shore)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... only if you are prepared to be bludgeoned by Howard Shore's menacingly churning and frightfully depressing, growling, bass-heavy score, heard in its only consistent, impactful form during the climactic execution scene.
Avoid it... on the original commercial album if you expect it to contain either of the opening or closing credits songs or any consistent representation of the film's incredibly oppressive mood.
5/10/17 Scream 2   (Marco Beltrami/Danny Elfman)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the 1998 album if you seek just a small but surprisingly adequate taste of the most memorable Marco Beltrami cues from the first two scores in the Scream franchise.
Avoid it... on that 1998 product if you desire a more faithful representation of Beltrami's improved symphonic and synthetic blend for Scream 2 and the associated Danny Elfman music for that film, in which case the 2016 album is the clear winner.
5/7/17 Scream   (Marco Beltrami)
Expanded Review
Buy it... on the 1998 album if you seek just a small but surprisingly adequate taste of the most memorable Marco Beltrami cues from the first two scores in the Scream franchise.
Avoid it... on the longer 2011 product if you expect the stock suspense and horror material from Scream to compete favorably with its contemporaries or, for that matter, its own sequels.
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