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March/April 2016
4/29/16 Total Recall   (Jerry Goldsmith)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you continue to admire Jerry Goldsmith's top-notch, energetic, cohesive action and fantasy material that is saturated with his trademark rhythmic and instrumental flair of the 1980's and 1990's.
Avoid it... if you prefer an earlier generation of Goldsmith action that didn't rely as heavily on such considerable synthetic accompaniment to the orchestra, the electronics a pivotal component of the fantasy atmosphere in this entry.
4/24/16 The Pagemaster   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the improved 2015 album if there is no limit to your patience with James Horner in his tendency to regurgitate material in his children's scores of the late 1980's and early 1990's.
Avoid it... if you have already tested the waters in Horner's ventures into the animated genre and you found nothing of interest in superior highlights like An American Tail and The Land Before Time.
4/19/16 Home Alone   (John Williams)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on any of its albums if you seek one of the most memorable, purely innocent Christmas scores in the history of film music.
Avoid it... if the hopelessly optimistic, spiritually seasonal nature of John Williams' first cheery children's score reduces it to a once-a-year kind of listening experience.
4/14/16 Dances With Wolves   (John Barry)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the definitive 2015 2-CD set if you are one of the few in a generation to have never before owned the classic symphonic score, John Barry's triumphant crowning achievement while nearing the end of his career.
Avoid it... if you have grown tired of Barry's trademark stylistic simplicity of the 1980's and 1990's, because despite this score's perfect emotional tone for the film, its instrumentation and themes are extremely derivative of the composer's prior work.
4/9/16 Braveheart   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the outstanding 2015 La-La Land set if part of the attraction to this score is your affinity for the film, because the music, despite its derivative nature, is an integral and beautiful piece of the Braveheart tapestry.
Avoid it... if you are a studious and pragmatic collector of James Horner's works and are expecting a unique and powerful experience on the same level of the superior Legends of the Fall and Apollo 13.
4/3/16 The River Wild   (Jerry Goldsmith/Maurice Jarre)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the 2015 2-CD set containing both Jerry Goldsmith and Maurice Jarre's average adventure scores for this film, a fascinating experience of two different, moderately engaging takes on the same picture.
Avoid it... on any album if you are a Goldsmith collector interesting in hearing the most mature versions of all the ideas conveyed by the composer in this score, in which case The Edge is a safer bet.
3/20/16 Filmtracks announces its 2015 award nominees and winners
Filmtracks celebrates the best film music of 2015 with its annual nominees and winners in the categories of "Top Film Scores," "Top Composers," and "Top Film Cues." The nominees for "Top Film Scores" in 2015 are:
Jupiter Ascending  (Michael Giacchino)
Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation  (Joe Kraemer)
Muhammad: The Messenger of God  (A.R. Rahman)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens  (John Williams)
Tomorrowland  (Michael Giacchino)
Visit the 2015 awards section to view the winners (and other categories). For more information about these awards or to view the results from previous years, browse the Filmtracks Awards index page.
3/16/16 Muhammad: The Messenger of God   (A.R. Rahman)
All New Review
Buy it... if you demand your epic religious scores to stomp, wail, coo, and soar with maximum Westernized influence, though the regional ethnic instrumentation remains superior in this otherwise stereotypical romp.
Avoid it... if you are prepared to issue your own fatwa against shamelessly bombastic, mystically loving music that relies upon overwhelming execution values rather than intellectual prowess to bolster what essentially serves as a propaganda venture.
3/12/16 The 33   (James Horner)
All New Review
Buy it... if you cannot resist a sentimental conclusion to James Horner's career that almost appropriately summarizes motific and instrumental ideas from throughout his years.
Avoid it... if no measure of heart and nostalgia will triumph over your analytical inclination to label this score as nothing more than yet another tedious Horner self-referencing exercise.
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