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 February, 2009:

2/28/09Seven Years in Tibet: (John Williams) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if John Williams' most melodramatic and emotionally weighty themes for full orchestral melt your heart with great consistency, for this score contains one of his most majestic ideas of the decade.
Avoid it... if you expect Williams' score to make any substantial attempt to transcend mainstream appeal and adequately merge the Western ensemble with the vocals and percussion of the Tibetan culture.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

2/26/09The Peacemaker: (Hans Zimmer) - Expanded Review
Buy it... on any of its album forms if you appreciate the extremely masculine and often brutal synthetic and organic blend that defines Hans Zimmer's action sound of the era.
Avoid it... on the commercial album if you seek a coherent presentation of the score, for the 2-CD bootleg of the recording sessions paints a far more balanced and impressive picture of Zimmer's concepts for the film.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

2/24/09The Lost World: Jurassic Park: (John Williams) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you want to hear John Williams' most violently brutal, percussively rhythmic score of the digital age, with several propulsive cues of rambling, exotic power.
Avoid it... if you expect this sequel score to make any intelligent use of the classic themes from Jurassic Park, a circumstance that disappointed many fans of the composer.
Rating:***   Read the entire review

2/22/09A.R. Rahman has won the Academy Award...
...for "Best Score" at the 2009 Oscar ceremonies for Slumdog Millionaire. He also won "Best Song" for "Jai Ho" from the same film. These were Rahman's first nominations and wins. This is the fifth consecutive year that a non-American has won the "Best Score" category. Also nominated for 2008 were Alexandre Desplat for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, James Newton Howard for Defiance, Danny Elfman for Milk, and Thomas Newman for WALL·E. Composer Michael Giacchino took his first turn as the orchestra conductor, though he strangely did not conduct excerpts from the scores for the films that won each category (as per tradition). Share your thoughts on Rahman's Oscar wins at the ScoreBoard Forum...

2/21/09Liar Liar: (John Debney/James Newton Howard) - All New Filmtracks Review, Replacing a Donated Review
Buy it... if John Debney's consistent and effective method of scoring physical comedies with robust, enthusiastic orchestral energy never gets old for you.
Avoid it... if the predictability of these scores, despite their thematic cohesiveness and remarkable vibrance in parts, have suffered diminished appeal in the years since Liar Liar was a refreshing new sound.
Rating:***   Read the entire review

2/20/09Kundun: (Philip Glass) - Expanded Review
Buy it... only if you are familiar and comfortable with Philip Glass' tendency to endlessly explore the subtlies of a situation with introspective and subdued rhythms, marginal harmony, and only slight development of motifs.
Avoid it... if you expect anything other than a deeply respectful and minimalistic musical tribute to a troubling period in Buddhist culture.
Rating:***   Read the entire review

2/19/09Gattaca: (Michael Nyman) - Expanded Review
Buy it... only if you have both seen the movie and are familiar with Michael Nyman's distinctly minimalistic classical style for film.
Avoid it... if you expect a traditional science-fiction or suspense score to vividly extend the imagination of the film rather than simply match its dull colors.
Rating:***   Read the entire review

2/18/09Free Willy 3: The Rescue: (Cliff Eidelman) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you want only the best of Cliff Eidelman's work from the late 1990's, for his adaptation of the music for the Free Willy franchise is dramatically mature and thematically rich.
Avoid it... if you can't accept only one minute of Basil Poledouris' famous theme for the first two films, as well as the total abandonment of the vibrant electronic, choral, and orchestral blend of those scores' style.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

2/17/09Flubber: (Danny Elfman) - Expanded Review
Buy it... if you are not daunted by the frenzied, wacky atmosphere of Danny Elfman's vivacious cartoon and comedy music, connecting Flubber to the composer's earliest, zany ventures of the 1980's.
Avoid it... if you'd prefer your sanity left intact and you have no need for wild mambo music with which to irritate nearby dwellers.
Rating:**   Read the entire review

2/13/09Filmtracks 2008 Nominees Announced
For its "Best of 2008" awards, Filmtracks breaks with history and nominates its top five choices of the year without declaring a winner. Because the site awarded no score of 2008 with a five-star rating, none of the many four-star scores (reviewed here or not) deserves to stand equal to previous years' winners of higher quality. In alphabetical order, Filmtracks' choices are:

      The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (James Horner)
      Defiance (James Newton Howard)
      Journey to the Center of the Earth (Andrew Lockington)
      Meet the Spartans (Christopher Lennertz)
      Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Joe Hisaishi)

Filmtracks' survey of almost 200 scores from 2008 (in search of a five-star score) yielded the most disappointing results of any year since the site's opening in 1996. Had it been released theatrically, Joel McNeely's Tinkerbell (which did not receive a substantial album release either) would have replaced Meet the Spartans in the top five. The top composer of 2008 is Danny Elfman (edging Joe Hisaishi), and his score for Hellboy II: The Golden Army is the year's runner-up as an honorable mention in the sixth position.

Filmtracks' nomination of Defiance marks only the second time in the last five years that a Filmtracks nomination has overlapped with an AMPAS Oscar nomination. Last year's Filmtracks winner was Philippe Rombi's Angel. You can view archives of Filmtracks' awards through the last two decades. Tell us what you think of the choices at the Filmtracks Scoreboard!

2/12/09Meet the Spartans: (Christopher Lennertz) - All New Review
Buy it... if you are willing and able to forget that this remarkably entertaining large-scale, historical epic exists in the parody genre.
Avoid it... if any score built upon cliches, no matter their magnificence, is as offensive to you as wailing female vocals that actually contain lyrics about penguin testicles in Greek.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

2/10/09The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: (James Horner) - All New Review
Buy it... if you appreciate James Horner's ability to capture the sense of innocence and curiosity in natural settings with lovely rhythmic progressions for piano, synthetic choir, and other elements of minimal volume.
Avoid it... if you are deterred by the fact that this score still makes use of only Horner's previously established techniques and instrumentation, no matter their rearrangement into an effectively fresh package.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

2/8/09Cinemagic's Jerry Goldsmith Tribute
Despite rumors of the demise of XM Satellite Radio's soundtrack-related channel, Cinemagic, the station is kicking off a weeklong celebration remembering and honoring the life and work of Jerry Goldsmith, who would have turned 80 years old on February 10th. Hosted by Varèse Sarabande's Robert Townson, producer of countless albums of the composer's works, this tribute starts on Monday, February 9 at 4:00 pm EST and will continue each day at the same time. The program will guide listeners on an extensive tour of Goldsmith's career. All five programs will be run consecutively, all weekend long, beginning Saturday, February 14 at 12:01am EST.

This tribute is a positive move for Cinemagic, which has been hanging on by life support over the past half year. Taken off the air last autumn after many years on XM, the station was demoted to a higher channel for its relaunch at the start of 2009. Devoted listeners were disappointed by the removal of the popular process of inserting movie quotes into the interludes in between selections of each film score. Lackluster programming choices have been another concern since the station's return.

Upon the merger of XM and Sirius, customers of the latter company were originally provided with Cinemagic. But after just a matter of days last month, Sirius suddenly dropped the station (thus removing it from Dish Network subscribers as well). With any luck, this collaboration between Cinemagic and Varèse will help boost demand for the channel. There are close to a hundred satellite music stations that still exist between these two companies, and it would be a travesty for soundtracks to be an unrecognized genre should XM decide to eliminate Cinemagic permanently.

Cinemagic is currently located on XM channel 76 and DirecTV channel 822. Sirius and Dish Network subscribers are out of luck.

2/6/09Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea: (Joe Hisaishi) - All New Review
Buy it... if you have only a peripheral appreciation of Joe Hisaishi's career and seek a good time to introduce yourself to some of most pleasant orchestral and choral magic to ever come from the composer's collaboration with Japan's Studio Ghibli.
Avoid it... if you have little tolerance for children's film music that is so hopelessly optimistic that it becomes "catchy," a potentially tedious exercise in feathery fluff.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

2/4/09Journey to the Center of the Earth: (Andrew Lockington) - All New Review
Buy it... if you are a sucker for the rousing swashbuckling adventure scores of yesteryear that require no intellectual thought to appreciate.
Avoid it... if shamelessly optimistic fanfares and harmonic choral majesty are too predictable in any form for your stuffy sensibilities to handle.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

2/2/09The Fifth Element: (Eric Serra) - Expanded Review
Buy it... only if you are fond of the film itself, for Eric Serra's score is nothing more than a frightfully obnoxious and loyal souvenir from an equally insufferable film.
Avoid it... if you refuse to own any reggae, techno, opera, rap, pop, and classical film score (all in one) that explicitly mixes the sounds of a female orgasm into its ranks.
Rating:***   Read the entire review

2/1/09Chicago Hope (TV): (Jeff Rona/Mark Isham) - Expanded Review
Buy it... no matter your affinity for the show, because Jeff Rona's music for the series is among the most elegantly relaxing underscore for any television concept in the digital era.
Avoid it... if you prefer your scores to raise your blood pressure rather than vice versa, and a tasteful mix of sensitive solos over an ambient synthetic bed will only involuntarily put you to sleep.
Rating:****   Read the entire review

Page created 2/20/09, updated 2/21/09. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publications). Copyright © 2009, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio ( "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.