Newest Major Reviews:.This Month's Most Popular Reviews: Best-Selling Albums:
. 1. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
2. Men in Black: International
3. Dark Phoenix
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2
5. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
. . 1. Gladiator
2. Batman
3. Nightmare Before Christmas
4. Titanic
5. Justice League
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
7. Harry Potter: Sorcerer's Stone
8. Maleficent
9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
10. Edward Scissorhands
. . 1. LOTR: Fellowship/Ring (2018)
2. Beauty and the Beast (Legacy)
3. Predator
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
5. LOTR: The Two Towers (2018)
Filmtracks On Cue

On Cue for December, 2003:

12/29/03 - Cherry 2000: (Basil Poledouris) --Expanded Review-- "What a blast! Every once in a while, you get the impression that composer knows that he's taking a scoring assignment for a horrible film, but doesn't care. One prefect example of this is Cherry 2000, a sci-fi/action B-flick starring Melanie Griffith as a female mercenary in the post-apocalyptic world of robot infiltration and societal disorder. With flashy cars, atrociously dumb dialogue, and futuristic sexuality on the line, the film holds no punches in its sort of Mad Max depiction of future societal brutality. But then again, the film was laughably horrible, perhaps in a semi-intentional way. Its release was limited to begin with, and yet, budding composer Basil Poledouris decided to use the project as his own testing grounds for ideas and unhindered fun. Poledouris, at the time, was best known for his grand, thematically complex scores for sword and sorcery films, from Conan the Barbarian to Flesh + Blood, and Cherry 2000 would be released concurrently with Robocop...." **** Read the entire review.

12/26/03 - Dreamkeeper: (Stephen Warbeck) --All New Review-- "Debuting on ABC in late December 2003, Dreamkeeper is a Hallmark Entertainment film with all the makings of a family-friendly story. It is a tale of generational conflict and understanding, revolving around a trek made by a Native American elder and his grandson from South Dakota to New Mexico for the All Nations ceremony. The rebellious grandson, only making the journey at first because he is evading his local gang (to whom he owes money), listens to the elder's fantastic stories of adventure, humor, and love from the history of their tribe as they travel. The format of the story is similar in ways to Secondhand Lions (released earlier in the same year), which also shifted between locations and times to tell about the days of high adventure from one generation to another. The film was brought to life as a project by Robert Halmi Sr., whose Merlin series on NBC was a spectacular success five years prior, and Dreamkeeper was conceived with the same values of production...." **** Read the entire review.

12/21/03 - Mystic River: (Clint Eastwood) --All New Review-- "The 24th film for Eastwood as a director, Mystic River marks the fourth time he has served as a composer as well. He doesn't often direct movies in which he does not also star, but Mystic River (along with 1997's underrated Midnight in the Garden of Evil) is a notable exception. Dennis Lehane's best-selling 2001 novel "Mystic River" has been best described as a contemporary Shakespearean tragedy set on the mean streets of South Boston. The friendship and gruesome bond that connects three boys and their adulthood counterparts lands them in the middle of a tense murder mystery when one of their daughters is murdered, another one of them is a suspect, and a third is the cop investigating the crime. The film has been hailed as one of the best dramas of 2003, and is likely to serve Eastwood his best chance in the awards season since Unforgiven ten years earlier. While leaving the bulk of the film's workload for the six or seven primary actors to carry, Eastwood takes on much of the rest of the production duties himself, including the composition of the score...." ** Read the entire review.

12/19/03 - Commando (Limited Edition): (James Horner) "By 1985, Arnold Schwarzenegger was determined to take on an acting roll in which he could not only kick butt, but also show a softer side not seen in The Terminator or the two Conan films. It marked the beginning of the series of films that Joel Silver would produce for 20th Century Fox, leading to the Predator and Die Hard franchises. Thus, for the actors (including Alyssa Milano as the daughter of Schwarzenegger's character, John Matrix), the studio, the producer, and even the composer, Commando was an important stepping stone on the path to bigger and better things. This isn't to say that Commando itself was a classic; in fact, despite the larger-than-usual arrays of explosions and locales, the film is nothing more than another simplistic paramilitaristic joy ride... an excuse to show the same building exploding nine different times from nine different angles. Because it was a formula film, even down to the dumb dialogue, two-dimensional characters, and 70's-ish camera placements and editing..." ** Read the entire review.

12/16/03 - Composer Daniel Kolton has sued Universal Studios and others for copyright infringement involving his music for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Young Hercules. According to his attorney, Kolton composed cues for over 100 episodes of these shows and never transferred copyright to the primary, listed composer for the series, Joseph Lo Duca. The awards and royalties for these shows were given to Lo Duca, and Kolton may be eligible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of writers' royalties paid to Lo Duca over the last 7 years by ASCAP. Kolton claims that he "ghostwrote" music for the shows between 1995 and 2000 at the request of Lo Duca, but never received due credit for the music because Lo Duca's name appears alone atop the cue sheets (which is the determinating factor for awarding royalties). Attorney Brian Lee Corber said, "While Universal's record division through the RIAA continues to sue little old ladies and teenagers for copyright violations involving internet downloads, Universal's television distribution division continues to violate copyright and profits on a worldwide basis by using my client's music without permission." The case continues debate about the practice of "ghostwriting," which is increasingly becoming a system of exploitation in the entertainment industry and exists at the heart of a recent lawsuit involving Hans Zimmer and Media Ventures. Voice your opinion about this issue at the Filmtracks Scoreboard.

12/15/03 - Taken: (Laura Karpman) --All New Review-- "In the 2000's, Steven Spielberg has increased his efforts in producing large-scale, epic mini-series for television, and after the great success of Band of Brothers, Spielberg turned his attention to the ultimate story of UFO abductions. Following a spread of alien-related ideas Spielberg explored in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 20-hour mini-series Taken that he produced for the Sci-Fi Channel debuted in November, 2002 and immediately became (at the time) the highest ranked show ever for the channel. Winning an Emmy award for "Best Mini-Series" and answering to a hail of positive reviews from critics, Taken has gone on to rebroadcasts and a DVD set in 2003. In addition to the hype about the series, the score for Taken, written by rising composer Laura Karpman, is also seeing its first separate release to the public at the time of the DVD set's initial offering. The story of the series spans the entire latter half of the 20th Century..." **** Read the entire review.

12/13/03 - 21 Grams: (Gustavo Santaolalla) --All New Review-- "From Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, the Mexican filmmaker who hit the big screen with a big splash due to his Academy Award nomination for Amores Perros in 2000, seems fond of presenting films out of chronological order. Such is the case once again with 21 Grams in 2003, a film that tells the doomed tale of torment and salvation through the lives of three people connected by a single traffic accident. Their lives are presented before, during, and after this connection in a disjointed series of time and location shifts, with the numbing whole of the film brilliantly, but disturbingly painting a glum overall picture. The film spent several weeks just below the mainstream radar late in 2003, but received a decent response from critics and audiences alike. Inarritu's fascination with this disconnected form of storytelling, however, wears thin despite the magnificence of its own concept, and the score is yet another sometimes baffling piece of the 21 Grams puzzle...." * Read the entire review.

12/10/03 - The Gospel of John: (Jeff Danna) --All New Review-- "In the Golden Age of Hollywood, large-scale movies of historical religious origin were like Ben-Hur and The Robe. Even if you weren't in tune with the religious nature of these films, they sustained enough epic action and grand scenery to capture your attention. In today's world of arthouse films, however, we've reached a moment in history when word for word adaptations of religious texts are becoming popular on the big screen. Inherent in this transition are the inevitable discussions and arguments over which translations of gospels to put into live action, and no bigger has interest in this debate been than in 2003 and 2004, when Jesus Christ appears in theatres in more than one widely publicized picture. Most of the attention has gone to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, with its original language presentation and excruciating attention to violent details. Overshadowed by this film, however, is The Gospel of John, director Philip Saville presentation of Christ's teachings with Canadian and British actors..." ***** Read the entire review.

12/7/03 - Timeline: (Brian Tyler) --All New Review-- "Director Richard Donner's films have included a plethora of sequel-inspiring works, from Superman: The Movie and The Omen to the Lethal Weapon series. The Michael Crichton-written Timeline is not likely to be one of them, with the sci-fi/adventure film debuting to only moderately interested audiences. The time travel concept in Timeline involves a secretive multinational corporation (no surprise there) that has invented a method of reverse time exploration, and the characters who test the new technology end up fighting for their lives in the 15th Century when things, naturally, go wrong. The movie seems like a nifty excuse to place tomorrow's technology in the setting of knight and castle warfare, and at the very least, the film is a visual stunner. Both Donner had Crichton projects had been accompanied by the music of veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith over the past twenty-five years, from Coma to Goldsmith's lone Academy Award-winning The Omen...." **** Read the entire review.

12/6/03 - Composer Hans Zimmer is being sued by former associate and friend, composer Jay Rifkin, ending their 30-year friendship and a 15-year professional partnership that produced the creation of the Media Ventures scoring studio enterprise. According to the $10 million breach-of-fiduciary-duties suit, Hans Zimmer has abruptly withdrawn from his co-leadership of Media Ventures and attempted to lure several composers away with him after finishing work on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean. In some cases, this would be a breach of contract for those assistant composers. Furthermore, the suit exposes Media Ventures' "practice of hiring resident composers who 'ghosted' parts of Zimmer's motion picture scores, with Zimmer receiving main-title composer credit and keeping 'the lion's share' of the fees." Rifkin alleges that Zimmer suddenly abandoned their shared Media Ventures business and then smeared Rifkin's reputation while committing "a textbook example of breach of fiduciary duties." In response to claims that Zimmer attempted to isolate Rifkin by tarnishing his professional reputation, Zimmer's attorney has stated that Rifkin is only attempting to steal Zimmer's larger spotlight. A countersuit is expected in the coming weeks. The future of Media Ventures, meanwhile, is in considerable doubt.

12/3/03 - Flesh + Blood: (Basil Poledouris) --Expanded, Updated Review-- "By 1985, composer Basil Poledouris was becoming the master of the Middle Ages in Hollywood's continuing fascination with films about swords and sorcery. The popular acceptance of these brutal depictions of barbarians and magic would begin to taper off by the time Paul Verhoeven's Flesh + Blood blindsided audiences with what would perhaps be the most bloody and gruesome vision of the era to come from Hollywood to date. The story of Flesh + Blood wasn't spectacularly new, although unlike many of the other films to come from that genre, there wasn't one clear-cut hero in the film to follow. Each of the film's primary characters is flawed, leaving the audience to exist as a sort of outside observer while witnessing massive sieges, bloody battles, and conflicting courtship splash across the screen. Perhaps due to the lack of a single superstar in the cast, Flesh + Blood was soon forgotten by audiences, and many critics blamed Verhoeven's blood-spattering realism in the violence for turning audiences away...." **** Read the entire review.

Page created 12/31/03, updated 1/1/04. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 2003-2004, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio ( "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.