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Filmtracks On Cue

On Cue for February, 2005:

2/27/05 - Jan A.P. Kaczmarek has won the Academy Award for "Best Score" at the 2005 Oscar ceremonies for Finding Neverland. This is the Polish composer's first nomination and win. Also nominated for 2004 were John Williams for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Thomas Newman for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, John Debney for The Passion of the Christ, and James Newton Howard for The Village. Oddly, Bill Conti's theme from the orchestra pit for the ceremonies was Brad Fiedel's Terminator, perhaps as a playful tribute to the new governor of California. Share your thoughts on the Kaczmarek's Oscar win at the ScoreBoard Forum...

2/24/05 - Mulan II: (Joel McNeely) --All New Review-- "There have been some truly terrible products coming out of the sequel division at Walt Disney Pictures over the past eight or so years. The quality of these sequels is so wretched that each one serves as proof that the studio is about profit first and artistry second, draining every last dollar out of any and every original idea that someone else at the studio has conjured in the past. If only Disney would take this money in the sequel division and pump it into fresh new feature films, then maybe the studio would achieve the same quality and respect for its product that it received in the early 1990's. Let us not forget that Beauty and the Beast was nominated for a best picture Oscar. In the string of modern, animated musical features, Mulan came right at the end of Disney's dominance in the 1990's, providing a strong Jerry Goldsmith score and popular Matthew Wilder songs that officially ushered out the Alan Menken era. Most critics would argue to some extent that it's been down the toilet for Disney's quality in the genre ever since..." **** Read the entire review.

2/21/05 - Extreme Prejudice: (Jerry Goldsmith) --All New Review-- "The name of director/producer Walter Hill is synonymous with gritty action of the 1980's, born out of the stylistic genre created by Sam Peckinpah decades earlier and revised for the era of honor exemplified by Rambo and a rash of cops and western films along a similar vein at the time. Like many of the films in this genre, Extreme Prejudice is largely forgotten today, its stars faded and genre largely neglected. Its premise involves a good versus evil battle of torn love and drug trade in a small Texas town on the Mexican border, with the drug lord and Texas Ranger standing firm for their convictions until the obligatory duel of Peckinpah proportions at the end of the film. Relying on the building of suspense through brooding weight and occasional massive bloodshed, Extreme Prejudice added a twist of modern military commandos to the traditional Western setting, updating the genre for Rambo-friendly audiences. Composer Jerry Goldsmith was, of course, no stranger to this genre..." *** Read the entire review.

2/18/05 - Because of Winn-Dixie: (Rachel Portman) --All New Review-- "It has been a few years since composer Rachel Portman returned to the genre of sugar-coated innocence that helped her established her hopelessly optimistic, upbeat styles in the 1990's. Perhaps a stereotypical Portman project from the days of old is Because of Winn-Dixie, a "child befriends dog" film based upon the Newberry Medal-winning children's novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo. In a nutshell, a 10-year-old girl moves with her preacher father (feel-good film regular Jeff Daniels) to a small Florida town where she doesn't know anyone until she adopts a dog (the usual: big, old, ugly, stray) and uses her relationship with the animal to gain acceptance with others in the town and repair her strained relationship with her own father so that he can finally reveal why her mother ran away long ago. It may seem like an "oh, jeez" kind of storyline --certainly movies such as this have been made since the beginning to the industry-- but the premise continues to sell...." *** Read the entire review.

2/15/05 - Man on Fire: (Harry Gregson-Williams) --All New Review-- "A remake of the 1987 Elie Chouraqui film of the same name, 2004's Man on Fire places Denzel Washington in the role previously occupied by Scott Glenn. In the most recent of a string of tense crime and action thrillers, director Tony Scott updates Man on Fire with all the sensibilities of Bruckheimer-style illogic and a super-artsy, often-blurred cinematography that will hopefully someday soon be banned from Hollywood. If you enjoy seeing Washington's enflamed nostrils in close-ups, then Man on Fire was likely entertaining for you; it fared well at the box office, partly due to the fantastic performances by the lead actors, and spurred considerable interest in Harry Gregson-Williams' score. Fitting a similar mold as other Gregson-Williams' collaborations with Scott, Man on Fire has all the edgy, modern urban atmospheres that lead naturally to the rougher, more synthesized angle of Media Ventures projects of the recent past...." ** Read the entire review.

2/11/05 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: (Jon Brion) "By now, you have very likely heard the many praise-filled reviews of Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman's 2004 masterpiece, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and its thought-provoking premise: If you could permanently erase all memories of one person from your mind, would you do it? However, for those unfortunate enough to have missed viewing this splendid film, I will quickly rehash the basic details. The two-hour picture follows the life of the very introverted Joel Barrish (Jim Carrey) and his very extroverted girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who have just hit the abrupt end of a long relationship due to the fact that Clementine has undergone a procedure at the Lacuna Corporation. Lacuna, as Joel soon discovers, offers people the ability to literally delete a person of their choice from their memory. After Clementine suddenly treats him as a stranger and acquires a new boyfriend, Joel then decides that he cannot continue living in his current state of misery..." **** Read the entire donated review.

2/8/05 - A Very Long Engagement: (Angelo Badalamenti) --All New Review-- "With critical praise across the world, A Very Long Engagement is the film adaptation of the Sebastien Japrisot novel about love lost during the height of the first World War. The film reunites director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and lead actress Audrey Tatou from 2001's Amelie and tells the sweeping tale of a young woman who distrusts her government's insistence that her fiancee was court martialed and sent to the front lines of the war for what would likely be certain death. She launches herself on her own lengthy investigation, allowing the audience to live through the trauma of loss with her, and the film's main appeal exists in the scenery that contributed to the film's sizable budget. An arthouse film at its finest, recognition of the merits of A Very Long Engagement have extended to experimental composer Angelo Badalamenti's score for the project. Badalamenti is best known for his collaboration with director David Lynch..." *** Read the entire review.

2/5/05 - Assault on Precinct 13: (Graeme Revell) --All New Review-- "It's not unusual for John Carpenter's original ideas to be remade and adapted into modern projects, and Assault on Precinct 13 is Jean-Francois Richet's attempt to better the formula presented in Capenter's 1976 suspense film of the same name. While the original cult classic built itself on tension and fear, the modern remake has all the fingerprints of culture clashes and Hollywood cliches. That didn't stop the new Assault on Precinct 13 from receiving moderately reasonable critical reviews despite a mad flurry of exposed plot holes, scene contradictions, and ludicrous characterizations. These are, after all, the types of movies in which you expect to see Brian Dennehy and Gabriel Byrne play their stereotypical roles, but you still wish you'd see them somewhere else. With its unrealistic and outlandish premise granted, composer Graeme Revell goes about his business as usual, visiting familiar territory of the action/siege drama. Revell seems to have a good knack..." ** Read the entire review.

2/2/05 - Earthsea: (Jeff Rona) --All New Review-- "Attempting to continue drawing on the massive popularity of recent television hits in the fantasy genre such as Children of Dune and The Mists of Avalon, Hallmark Entertainment and the Sci-Fi Channel bring Ursula K. Le Guin's world of Earthsea to the small screen. Known alternatively as The Legend of Earthsea, the magical, medieval fantasy universe created by Le Guin is comparable in its wizardry and sorcery to J.R.R. Tolkien's lengthier Lord of the Rings tales. The basic premise involves a young, talented, but immature wizard who must do everything from control his own powers to reunite humanity and bring world peace. The plot is familiar to fantasy veterans, as are the creatures, locations, and characters. With material taken from the first two books of Le Guin's classic series, the four-hour Hallmark/Sci-Fi Channel production is ambitious in the amount of material it attempts to squeeze into the series, and still omits plotlines that might disappoint fans of the books...." ** Read the entire review.

Page created 3/10/05, updated 3/11/05. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publishing). Copyright © 2005, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio ( "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.