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5. LOTR: The Two Towers (2018)
Filmtracks On Cue

On Cue for January, 2004:

1/27/04 - The Academy Award Nominations have been announced for the February, 2004 Oscar ceremonies. The nominees for best score are Danny Elfman for Big Fish, Gabriel Yared for Cold Mountain, Thomas Newman for Finding Nemo, James Horner for House of Sand and Fog, and Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Shore is an extremely heavy favorite to win the award after sweeping "Best Score" and "Best Song" at the Golden Globes just a few days ago. His song, "Into the West" is also nominated for the Oscar. Missing from the expected nominees are Randy Newman for Seabiscuit (ineligible) and Hans Zimmer (perhaps hindered by bad press due to his Media Ventures lawsuits) for The Last Samurai. James Horner's nomination comes along with the success of the film, and score fans will likely scratch their heads when considering that his other three scores of the year (and The Missing in particular) were stronger. This marks the first time in almost a decade that John Williams is not nominated in the category (due his lack of a scoring project in 2003). If any of the other composers can challenge Shore this year, it would be Thomas Newman as the darkhorse candidate. Share your thoughts on the nominations at the ScoreBoard Forum...

1/25/04 - Angels in America: (Thomas Newman) --All New Review-- "A popular production on the live stage, Angels in America is a story of religion and humanity that HBO pumped over $60 million into before debuting the six-hour show over two nights in December of 2003. Set in 1985, the story follows the trials of several gay men in Manhattan who are dealing with their in and out of the closet experiences during the first onslaught of AIDS. Their personal stories occupy one half of the overarching theme, with the element of Christian religion weaving strongly through the other half. The political and religious landscape suggests a Reagan era in which God has abandoned Heaven and humanity, and several right-wing, Mormon, or otherwise heavily religious influences in the film are offered in stark contrast to the seedy world of gays and AIDS in the mid-80's. Directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, and a considerable secondary cast, the film's success with audiences was split much along the same lines as original responses to the play...." ***** Read the entire review.

1/22/04 - Punch-Drunk Love: (Jon Brion) --All New Review-- "In an attempt to take his career down the road to serious audience consideration, Adam Sandler stars a film by director Paul Thomas Anderson, who brought us Boogie Nights and Magnolia. It involves an inept salesman who gets caught up in a phone sex extortion scheme while attempting to woo the love of his live, and if that premise alone seems strange enough, then we'll just leave it there. While the film was generally regarded as a visually spectacular effort, Anderson's writing for the picture left much to be desired, and the film put off just as many critics as it confused audiences. Punch-Drunk Love is in a musical limbo area, not demanding a score of any one particular type of Hollywood norm, and what Anderson ended up requesting was an approach similar to that of Magnolia, for which Aimee Mann had written cultishly popular song material. In its progression, Punch-Drunk Love plays in an old musical formula..." * Read the entire review.

1/20/04 - Gigli: (John Powell) --All New Review-- "It's hard to imagine which reason is the most substantial cause of this film's legendary status: it's own hideousness, or the fact that it displayed two pop-culture stars who were heating up the sheets together. In Hollywood, you usually get a film loved by critics and hated by audiences, vice versa, or, if a studio hits the jackpot, both groups love the film. It's not often that a project flunks both public opinion and critical evaluation to such a fantastic level as Gigli (pronounced Zs-eally as part of a pun in the film), but the film seems to have become so well-known for its poor quality that it could likely make some 'top-100 worst films of all time' lists right off the bat. The incomprehensible plot follows a loveable henchman/hitman with feelings (sense a problem right there, don't ya?) who is tasked with kidnapping a mentally retarded kid so that his boss can extort money from a federal prosecuter. The catch is that his boss also has a curvaceous lesbian (...lesbian?) watch him to make sure that all goes well, and, well, you know who plays whom...." ** Read the entire review.

1/17/04 - At the request of Footlight Records, Filmtracks is updating our advisory regarding a negative ordering experience with their store last month. To clarify, the unfilled order was not due to any fraudulent intent by Footlight; in fact, upon complaint, the company was courteous and eager to resolve the issue. Concerns regarding Footlight's customer service remain, however, because the company uses an AOL account as its only method of e-mail communication. As has been widely publicized, AOL refuses mail from (warning, tech term ahead) servers utilizing an unresolving reverse DNS, and as a side effect, this action by AOL can also cause their clients' (such as Footlight's) outgoing mail to be bounced back to them as well. In this case, therefore, neither the store nor the client could e-mail each other. Footlight was aware of this problem, but even upon a voice message request, the company never contacted us (the customer) by phone until we registered a complaint by snail mail. This unfortunate situation is an important issue for AOL users to consider. Because of AOL's faulty, overzealous spam filters, they cause massive amounts of incoming spam with false headers to be bounced back to servers like Filmtracks (sometimes in excess of 500 per day). Thus, a server such as Filmtracks' must, in order to stop those 500+ false bounces per day, block about 50% of all legitimate e-mail from AOL customers to Filmtracks too. So if you use AOL for business reasons, we strongly advise changing e-mail services to another provider. Read more...

1/16/04 - Rough Riders: (Peter/Elmer Bernstein) --Expanded Review-- "In a venture to the great plains of the television genre, director John Milius tells the tale of the G Troop's heroics as their rough riding groups helps establish the U.S. as a major world power during the Spanish American War. As a TNT film, the project would be very well funded, and a significant budget for the score was allotted. The vast locations in the Southern U.S. and Cuba, as well as the extended scenes of riding, would make Rough Riders a film that would require a large-scale Western score, complete with a significant presence of themes in a number of different purposes. While Hollywood legend Elmer Bernstein turned down an inevitable offer to score the picture himself, his son Peter picked up the assignment and sought to create a Western score in his own style and voice. His intent was to blaze into new musical territory, quickly pointing out that he didn't want to retread on previous Western material, and especially that of his father...." *** Read the entire review.

1/15/04 - 6 Degrees of Separation: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "For Fred Schiepsi's film adaptation of the Broadway play of the same title, a talented cast of actors was assembled to portray this intelligent culture comment piece. The film's drama and comedy are carried by its dialogue, and the role presented Will Smith in an unusually smart and sophisticated light. The score by Jerry Goldsmith would have to mirror all of the snobbish, elitist attitudes that the film presents at its core, making a cultural statement of its own. Goldsmith responded by composing a short, though snazzy tango and sparingly intermingling it with urban jazz throughout the film. In the finished product, the music suffices to create the atmosphere of the upper-class environment (and some have argued that it did so brilliantly). But in the same way the Fierce Creatures would function a few years later, the score for 6 Degrees of Separation is a piece that nearly gets lost in the mix when compared to the dialogue in the film...." * Read the entire review.

1/11/04 - Point of Origin: (John Ottman) --All New Review-- "Returning to the small screen in 2002 for the first time in many years, John Ottman's feature film compositions have existed for projects all over the map. For Point of Origin, Ottman would turn to the Ray Liota/John Leguizamo HBO film at the request of his friend and associate Tom Sigel, director of the film and a fellow crew member on The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil. The film wasn't glorious in the reception it received, but its plot, inspired by a true story, was intriguing enough for Ottman to snatch up the scoring assignment with great anticipation of psychological avenues that could be developed in the music. The film plays with the audience as it tells the story of an arsonist in Southern California who is setting retail stores on fire for his ego; meanwhile, an accomplished fire investigator in the area is tracking the criminal, visualizing how the fire was started and giving his department a psychological profile of the arsonist. The detective writes about these experiences using a typewriter..." *** Read the entire review.

1/10/04 - Calendar Girls: (Patrick Doyle) --All New Review-- "Imagine how the calendar and the film would have been different had it not been for all of those tastefully placed flower arrangements! The Nigel Cole film, Calendar Girls, based on the real life story of Women's Institute gang of gals over 40 posing nude for a calendar to raise money for a local hospital, is a feel-good story produced by Touchstone/Buena Vista (yup, the Disney folks), so you know it'll be innocuous. Perhaps its predictable level of fluffiness has kept many visitors away from the theatre on this one, although the film has done well in international mainstream venues. After circulating around European cinemas for most of the latter half of 2003, the film opened in limited areas initially in the United States just before the cutoff for Academy Awards consideration. The cast of elegant British actresses over the age of 40 holds the project together with snazzy one-liners and an abundance of heart that we last saw, ironically, in The Full Monty, although it should be noted that Calendar Girls is a much more tame endeavor...." *** Read the entire review.

1/6/04 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: (Steve Jablonsky) --All New Review-- "Now that a survivor of the famous mass murder case has stepped forward to update the public's morbid curiosity about this true historical event, producer Michael Bay decided to bring another 'inspired by' version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the big screen. The August, 1973, killing spree left over thirty people dead, and the film follows the story of five particular youths who stumbled upon the famed Hewitt house and encountered Leatherface, the chainsaw-wielding butcher who wore his victim's flesh and was supposedly gunned down eventually by police. All around, it's one of those grim situations that beg for continued teenie horror flick treatment, and this one sells itself beyond all of the others by roughly following a true event. The director of the project, Marcus Nispel, made it clear from the start that he wanted a score that was "dissonant, atonal, subliminal, and disturbing"... not to mention that it had to be written and recorded in a very short time period and was to be restrained to a very small budget...." * Read the entire review.

1/4/04 - Secret Weapons Over Normandy: (Michael Giacchino) --All New Review-- "Continuing his successful career writing large-scale orchestral music for video games, Michael Giacchino stays within the familiar stomping grounds of the World War II era battle scenario games. It's difficult to figure which fact about this situation is more fascinating: the prolific popularity of video games in this specific genre and era of history, or Giacchino's steady production of action music for them. His association with the Medal of Honor series came to an abrupt halt when he followed most of the games' creators out the EA doors and took better opportunities at Activision and LucasArts, and it's a tad funny that the Medal of Honor association isn't mentioned once in the thousands of words of documentation all over the Secret Weapons Over Normandy score album. Most recently, Giacchino finished the game score for Call of Duty and translated his music from the television series Alias into a gaming companion of its own...." **** Read the entire review.

1/3/04 - Music for a Darkened Theatre: Volume I: (Danny Elfman) --Expanded Review-- "Even the biggest fans of Danny Elfman will admit that the composer has produced some strange music in his career. This compilation of early Elfman film and television music, covering 1985 to 1990, serves up a healthy dose of vintage Elfman material, much of which difficult or impossible to find in other commercial form. A second volume of "Music for a Darkened Theatre" would feature samplings of Elfman scores mainly from 1991 to 1996 on two CDs. Fifteen years after the fact, you cannot say that Elfman's music has followed a distinct pattern as he has matured in the role of film music composer. But in 1991, all one would have to do is listen to Edward Scissorhands and Music for a Darkened Theatre: Volume I to see an early pattern. From the rock elements of Oingo Boingo, Elfman was on a course in 1990 to vault himself into the stars of orchestral soundtrack legends, with Batman CDs alone flying off of music store shelves in record numbers...." *** Read the entire review.

1/1/04 - Filmtracks is issuing an advisory regarding two soundtrack specialty stores that do business online. Since the early days of this site, we have ordered albums for review and enjoyment through all of the major soundtrack specialty outlets. We recently experienced nightmares, however, when attempting to order through two specialty outlets: Super Collector and Footlight Records. Problems with Super Collector seem to prevail in that store's reputation, and Filmtracks is now among a lengthy list of customers who have placed orders at their store in 2003 and never heard from them again. Comically, if you attempt to call their toll free line, you hear a notice stating that you will be charged for the call. More disturbing is Footlight Records, from which we placed an order and also never heard from the store again. In this case, though, Footlight eventually claimed to be out of stock on a collectible item we had ordered. In reality, they had cancelled our order at the original price and proceeded to sell the rest of their stock on this item for significantly higher prices to other customers several days later. This business practice indicates either fraudulent intentions or bumbling stupidity, and as soundtrack fans ourselves, we feel obliged to especially warn other fans of Footlight's actions. Meanwhile, Filmtracks highly recommends the services of the other soundtrack specialty outlets, especially Screen Archives and Intrada.

Page created 1/21/04, updated 1/22/04. 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.