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Filmtracks On Cue

On Cue for June, 2005:

6/30/05 - Mom and Dad Save the World: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "Both composers Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner went through a "phase" of sorts in the early 1990's during which they seemed to enjoy brainless comedy assignments despite little involvement in the genre during the prior decade. Most of the comedies had some basic redeeming quality; in Horner's case, the call was towards the children's genre more than straight comedy. For Goldsmith, with the aid of director Joe Dante, the comedies tended to be aimed more for adults, sometimes with disastrous results. In Hollywood at the time, the straight-to-video market was being diverted in many cases to big-screen releases, often allowing ridiculously awful films to suffer a week in theatres before disappearing. One such entry was the following Warner Brothers disaster that nearly got the ax several times in pre-production, and obviously should have. Mom and Dad Save the World is a sci-fi spoof from Chris Matheson (the son of 50's sci-fi icon and Ray Bradbury collaborator, Richard Matheson) and Ed Solomon..." ** Read the entire review.

6/26/05 - Malice: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "With a high caliber cast and the same stylistically gloomy photography that Gordon Willis provided for the Godfather films, Malice scratches and claws in its attempt to mimic the intellectual complexities of a genuine Hitchcockian thriller. After several revisions by multiple, independent screenwriters, the story for Malice took on a life of its own, with so many convoluted plot lines throughout its length that the film works simply on the basic fact that it keeps you scratching your head during every moment. Despite major logical fallacies, the suspect script is floated by acting of Alec Baldwin (in a fitting role as a surgeon with a God complex), Nicole Kidman (in the latter end of her poofy hair days), Bill Pullman (who actually beats that "hopeless nice guy" stereotype by the end), as well as enjoyable bit roles by Anne Bancroft and George C. Scott. It's no surprise that director/co-producer Harold Becker would utilize the services of veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith for Malice..." ** Read the entire review.

6/23/05 - Dennis the Menace: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "Attempting to continue the enormous fiscal success of Home Alone (one of the top few grossing films of all time back in the early 1990's), producer John Hughes tells a very similarly-themed live action tale of Dennis Mitchell, perhaps the most famous kid in the history of comics. Created by Hank Ketcham and introduced in the newspaper comics in 1951, Dennis has become a favorite in periodicals ever since, and his appearances have expanded to a weekly television series, an animated program, and the 1993 feature film, Dennis the Menace. The film was largely ignored by audiences that had already enjoyed their fill of two Home Alone pictures and identified Dennis the Menace as a recycled old formula. The casting and settings were very well done, often appearing in live action just as you have expected them from reading the comics, but the film suffered from two fatal flaws: first, the slapstick, cruel comedy towards Dennis' neighbor, Mr. Wilson, had already been done..." *** Read the entire review.

6/20/05 - Matinee: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "With the collaboration between director Joe Dante and composer Jerry Goldsmith spanning several decades and including many successful titles, it's easy for Matinee to slip through the cracks. Arguably their least popular project together, Matinee is a film that accomplishes several things at once for Dante: it's a "coming of age" picture for a group of pre-teen youth, it pokes fun at the B-horror film industry of the 1950's and early 60's, and it plays on the fears of nuclear proliferation that were at their height in October, 1962 (the time frame of movie's setting). While the group of young actors is more than sufficient in their roles, it's John Goodman who steals the show as showman Lawrence Woolsey, a character based on the real-life horror movie experimenter William Castle. Attempting to capitalize on nuclear fears and bring the third dimension of film back to theatres, Woolsey debuts a 'movie within a movie' called "Mant" (half man, half ant) and includes drama with a live 'mant' inside the theatre itself at the showing...." *** Read the entire review.

6/17/05 - Angie: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "In a feature film that was originally set to have starred Madonna as the title character, Angie takes Geena Davis instead on a wild ride from New York comedy to larger American melodrama. Adapted from Avra Wing's novel "Angie, I Says," Todd Graff's script is executed on the big screen by director Martha Coolidge, whose involvement with the project would have seemed like an appropriate one given her well-received work on another "woman's coming of age" film, Rambling Rose. The problem with the film, however --and it was greeted with indifference by both critics and audiences-- was the indecision about which direction to take Angie in relation to its genre. The first half of the film is a very funny, almost sitcom-style comedy, taking us on a journey of relational problems with considerable New York flavour. The latter half of the film is much more heavy-handed on the drama, exploring far deeper issues than the first half of the film could possibly foreshadow. It is this twist of focus that either soured the lighthearted mood or saved you from it..." ** Read the entire review.

6/14/05 - The River Wild: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "While the collaboration between composer Jerry Goldsmith and director Curtis Hanson would be best known for yielding the popular L.A. Confidential several years later, their work together began with The River Wild in 1994. If the classic film Deliverance was the guys' late-night, squeal-like-a-pig version of the "city folk go into nature only to discover that man is the true enemy" formula, then The River Wild is the somewhat family friendly mid-day interpretation of the same idea. Instead of Appalachia, the scene this time is Montana, where a former river guide from the area (Meryl Streep) takes her now city-dwelling family on a rafting vacation to her old haunts. Lucky for them, three goons get into another raft and follow the family like a group of predators. Eventually there are hostages, unbelievable and frustrating twists of plot, and ultimately, of course, the need to run the Gauntlet, a particularly nasty portion of river that only professionals can navigate...." *** Read the entire review.

6/11/05 - Bad Girls: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "From the dusty streets of a cliche Old West town, Bad Girls tells us the story of four women who aren't necessary bad, but badly unappreciated. A group of four prostitutes in the unsavory town of Echo City, Colorado are forced to band together to escape local religious fanatics and a hangman's noose after one of them shoots an unreasonable customer. Cody, Anita, Eileen, and Lilly traverse the plains to Texas, where their uncanny knowledge of shooting and explosives comes in handy. They also seem to have the knack for riding horses without upsetting their nicely arranged hair, putting the film into perspective for any confused soul who might have ventured across this amusing spectacle. The babes in the tale are portrayed by a well-known lot of actresses who seem at home in more urban settings (Madeleine Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson, Drew Barrymore, and Andie MacDowell), adding to the film's charm perhaps while also dooming any serious intent it may have had. The problem with Bad Girls turned out to be the attempt by the filmmakers to actually make a serious film of the script..." *** Read the entire review.

6/8/05 - The Shadow: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "Who knows what guilty pleasures lurk in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows... In fact, if there were ever to be the need to identify the ultimate "score of guilty pleasure," then Jerry Goldsmith's The Shadow could be it. The lavish 1994 film suffered from a somewhat incoherent plot (and was thus a total critical flop), but its loyalty to the 1930's setting and the legend of the original radio show (not to mention some outstanding art direction and sound effects editing) have allowed it a limited cult following. Goldsmith's music for the endeavor is the type of score that you'd never know about unless you were there to hear it when it hit the theatres (which was unlikely for most of you, considering its concurrent release with The Lion King). The quirky personality of both the film and score, led by its charge to mimic the very superhero genre it belonged to, caused the pair to be an undeniable romp for suckers of that kind of film...." **** Read the entire review.

6/5/05 - City Hall: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "A political thriller penned in part by Nicholas Pileggi, a New York investigative reporter, City Hall tells the rather gloomy tale of how one side of the law helps the other, and does it without anybody knowing it. The tough workings of an inner city, and all of the unsavory handshakes that exist without the public's knowledge, are the setting for a clash between two characters' ideals. The city here is New York, and the primary characters are the mayor, deputy mayor, and a handful of cops, mafia sorts, and attorneys. Directed by Harold Becker, City Hall exposes the dealings of an administration at its best and worst, with intriguing concepts that the film delivers in one of its many fascinating scenes. But the plotline also sinks the film in the end, between the inclusion of unnecessary story threads and the equally needless addition of a chipper ending on an otherwise darkly realistic picture. Even the strong cast could not salvage City Hall from the depths of box office despair in the early winter months of 1996..." *** Read the entire review.

6/2/05 - Executive Decision: (Jerry Goldsmith) --Expanded Review-- "After spending much of the early 1990's trudging though the less popular fields of children's films and light comedies, Jerry Goldsmith returned with force to the modern action genre in 1995 and 1996. The results of this return to arms were very mixed, varying from highly memorable to merely mediocre. One of the more mediocre ventures was Executive Decision, one of numerous projects for which Goldsmith's usual standard of action writing managed to save the film from total obscurity. At the time, Executive Decision was a largely advertised summer release that --along with Chain Reaction-- failed to add any little new substance to Goldsmith's career. The film touted its portrayal of a stealth aircraft in action, assisting a team of commandos board a hijacked plane full of... you guessed it: crazed Arabs. In this case, there's not only a load of people to save on the plane, but there's also a wicked bomb in its cargo hold that presents a significant danger once the plane crosses over America. The story is familiar, surely..." ** Read the entire review.

Page created 7/6/05, updated 7/8/05. 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.