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May/June 2016
6/26/16 10 Cloverfield Lane   (Bear McCreary)
All New Review
Buy it... if you appreciate surprisingly intelligent psychological horror scores that balance their discomforting passages with lyrically enticing moments of accessibly tonal suspense.
Avoid it... if you are the type to over-analyze your film scores, because there are enough intentionally counterintuitive choices made by Bear McCreary here to potentially leave you somewhat dissatisfied with his approach.
6/18/16 Back to the Future Part III   (Alan Silvestri)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the chronologically-ordered, 2015 expanded set if you've always loved the themes from the original Back to the Future score but were discouraged by the simple regurgitation of them in the first sequel; they are explored more intelligently in this final entry.
Avoid it... if you seek the tight cohesion, overwhelming sense of wonder, and full thematic spectrum of the first score, for Alan Silvestri does lose some of its original themes and, in a few ways, its feeling of magic in his attempt to explore new territory.
6/11/16 Back to the Future Part II   (Alan Silvestri)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the comprehensive 2015 set if you simply can't get enough of the boisterous and lovable adventure themes from the original film, all of which reprised (sometimes too frequently) for similar situations on screen in the sequel.
Avoid it... if you feel no need to complete your trilogy of Back to the Future scores, for the second installment is, outside of some minimal new suspense material for alternate realities, largely redundant and surprisingly poor in sound quality on even the expanded album.
6/5/16 Back to the Future   (Alan Silvestri)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... without reservation if you, like the majority of modern film music collectors, have awaited a proper treatment of Alan Silvestri's fantastic and memorable score on album for decades.
Avoid it... on the 2009 Intrada 2-CD set if you are a casual enthusiast of the film who seeks only the best of the score material to accompany the famous songs on the soundtrack, in which case the original, best-selling album should suffice.
5/26/16 Jaws 2   (John Williams)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you have lost patience with the original Jaws score's famous themes and want to hear them integrated into a strong set of fresh and surprisingly optimistic new ideas from John Williams for this sequel.
Avoid it... if you live and die by the two-note rhythmic motif representing the shark, because Williams applies the idea in less frequent and far less intelligent ways in the sequel.
5/21/16 Jaws   (John Williams)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the impressive 2015 2-CD set if you seek to conduct a definitive study of one of the most effective film scores of all time, or on the immense 2000 re-recording if you want to hear that classic music translated decently into contemporary sound quality.
Avoid it... on all the albums if you recognize, like many John Williams collectors do, that this remains a great score only truly appreciable in the context of the film, a challenging listening experience on album for merely casual entertainment.
5/14/16 Cocoon: The Return   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... only if you are absolutely in love with the music from Cocoon, because this sequel score is largely a regurgitation of nearly every moment from that stronger work.
Avoid it... if you're expecting to hear James Horner take the franchise's sound in a fresh new direction, despite the extensive infusion of more vintage jazz into the equation.
5/9/16 Executive Decision   (Jerry Goldsmith)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the expanded 2016 album if you enjoy all forms of Jerry Goldsmith's brass-led, predictably procedural action music, even if it is highly derivative of his other action works and lacking in many truly engaging instrumental applications.
Avoid it... if you don't need to hear Goldsmith on auto-pilot in a recording that is oddly flat in ambience, and especially avoid the original 1996 product that omitted many of the composer's more nuanced ideas for the work.
5/4/16 Indecent Proposal   (John Barry)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you apologize for even John Barry's most mundane 1980's and 1990's regurgitation in the romantic drama genre, a style of music without any distinctive variation in Indecent Proposal.
Avoid it... if your already sufficient collection of Barry's music negates your need for endless repetition of soft, pleasing phrases and a stubborn adherence to tired instrumental patterns that fail to capture any of the agony, tension, and passion inherent in this film's plot.
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