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Filmtracks On Cue

On Cue for April, 2004:

4/30/04 - The Joy Luck Club: (Rachel Portman) --All New Review-- "Vaulting to great heights immediately upon its release, Amy Tan's best-selling 1989 novel was destined for similar success in the arthouse film industry. With extraordinary care given to the authenticity of Chinese culture, The Joy Luck Club is, on the surface, a tender tale of a group of Chinese-American women in San Francisco who get together once a week and play mah jong. These gatherings, though, are an opportunity for their children and grandchildren, as well as the audience, to hear fascinating stories about the histories of their families. In flashbacks, their lifestyles in China come alive and awaken the audience to the intricate social structures of China and how those lifestyles have evolved in America. It is a film with a heart that is saturated with women's issues, and thus, it wasn't surprising to see director Wayne Wang allow Rachel Portman into this delicate process. At the time of the film's release in 1993, Portman was not yet recognized internationally as a foremost female composer..." **** Read the entire review.

4/24/04 - Miracle: (Mark Isham) --All New Review-- "'Do you believe in miracles? Yes!' With these words in 1980, viewers of the Olympics in Lake Placid were treated to the event that Sports Illustrated magazine deemed the single greatest sporting event of the 20th Century. With the United States seemingly on the decline in world power, suffering from scandals at home and a hostage crisis in Iran, the U.S.S.R. seemed on the surge with its invasion of Afghanistan and continued control over the Eastern Bloc. The Soviets had dominated Olympic hockey in the 1960's and 1970's, winning four consecutive gold medals leading up to the 1980 games in America. Under the determined coaching of Herb Brooks, a collection of American mutts averaging 21 years of age trained for and won the gold in 1980 (there's not much suspense in the film...). The punctuation of that year's tournament was a spectacular win over the Soviets that was seen, politically, as the turning point of the Cold War. Director Gavin O'Connor, still a newcomer in the industry, took the story of first time screenwriter Eric Guggenheim..." *** Read the entire review.

4/21/04 - The Godfather Trilogy: (Compilation) --All New Review-- "As much as John Williams fans would argue with the claim, no trilogy of film music has had a more significant influence on world-wide audiences than the scores by Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola for the three parts of The Godfather saga. Rota only lived less than ten years beyond his involvement with the first two films for The Godfather, and he recalled in those late years how astonished he was to hear the love theme from the original film performed on so many street corners as he would travel about the city. Indeed, the themes from Rota's two scores are infamous in such a way that the music has touched a grand array of people beyond the usual film music enthusiasts. It also helps that the first two films are also considered among the best of all time, with devoted fans ranging from the saga's own actors to the deposed Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The quality of the music for the films is difficult to qualify from an American perspective...." **** Read the entire review.

4/13/04 - Jerry Goldsmith at 20th Century Fox (Limited Edition): (Jerry Goldsmith) --All New Review-- "In one of the most comprehensive compilation sets ever to be released in the genre of film music, the Varèse Sarabande label has built a 6-CD set based on the vast collection of material written by composer Jerry Goldsmith for films of the studio 20th Century Fox. According to the label, the set is kicking off a year-long celebration of Goldsmith's 75th birthday by Varèse Sarabande (which already announced in late 2003 that they will be releasing an SACD of Goldsmith's rejected Timeline score). Before diving into the debate about the concept of the 6-CD set itself, as well as the circumstances of its release, a summary of its contents may help you decide if it is worth the enormous expense. The set does not include all of Goldsmith's work for Fox (there are six exclusions, with Capricorn One and Sleeping with the Enemy most notable in their absence), but does offer at least one cue (and often many more) from Goldsmith's 39 other projects for Fox to date...." *** Read the entire review.

4/10/04 - Battlestar Galactica (2003): (Richard Gibbs) --All New Review-- "When the original Battlestar Galactica was shown for one doomed season in 1978-1979, it was a clear reaction to biblical space opera that had so overwhelmingly impressed audiences in Star Wars the year before. The show was cancelled partly because of its own cheesiness, partly because of high production costs per episode, and partly for half a dozen other various reasons, and die-hard fans of that series have hoped for years of a reintroduction of Battlestar Galactica in the same way that Star Trek was similarly resurrected on television. Even original production and cast members lobbied for years to give the show a second chance. Finally, in 2003, the Sci-Fi Channel, with a few impressive films under its belt (including resounding successes for their Dune adaptations) took on the challenge of bringing Battlestar Galactica back to life in a three-hour miniseries and subsequent series. This new series comes at the 25th anniversary of the original show..." *** Read the entire review.

4/5/04 - The Big Bounce: (George S. Clinton) --All New Review-- "The stories of writer Elmore Leonard have inspired over 30 feature films over several decades, and it seems that each of those films does its best to capture and extend Leonard's distinct voice onto the big screen. Sadly, most of them are unsuccessful in providing movie-goers with the same delight that the original written stories do, with the film director's own voice (such as Barry Sonnenfeld for Get Shorty, Quentin Tarantino for Jackie Brown, and Steven Soderbergh for Out of Sight, just to mention some recent Leonard adaptations) often pushing the original flavor to a distant corner where only the elaborately designed characters themselves can sometimes project that Leonard genious. Few will argue that Leonard's plots, however, are as attractive as his characters, and The Big Bounce falls into that same description. This remake of a forgotten 1969 adaptation did attract some high acting talent for its often outrageous characters, but outside of a casual 2:00 a.m. television viewing..." **** Read the entire review.

4/3/04 - Traffic: The Miniseries: (Jeff Rona) --All New Review-- "Based on the Academy Award-winning movie of the same name, Traffic: The Miniseries was a three-night cable television film that first aired on January 26th, 2004 on the USA Network. It followed the same structure as the feature film, delving into the lives of seemingly unconnected characters and using the overwhelming power of the drug industry to create ties between them. The television version of the concept, however, did not carry over the powerful acting ensemble or other high-priced talent from the feature film. The series tackles the approach to the drug industry by filming it in a sort of documentary style, offering a news-like glimpse into drug and other trades all around the world. While the central focus of the film continues to be on drug trafficking, Traffic: The Miniseries branches off into weapons and human smuggling as well, stretching in location from Seattle to Afghanistan. The success of the television series is yet to be determined..." *** Read the entire review.

Page created 5/17/04, updated 5/18/04. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 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.