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January/February 2018
2/21/18 The X-Files   (Mark Snow)
Updated Review, With Additional Albums
Buy it... on the comprehensive 2011, 2013, and 2016 4-CD sets spanning all of the seasons of Mark Snow's impressive contributions to the concept if you desire most of the noteworthy and prominent cues heard within the context of the show.
Avoid it... on those pricey sets and instead seek the 1996 single-CD release if you have no interest in the more dynamic, humorous, and strikingly beautiful music from the show's later seasons and instead want the darker, atonal, and atmospheric music from the first three seasons.
2/9/18 Twister   (Mark Mancina)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the vastly superior 2017 album presentation if you enjoy adventurous symphonic/electronic hybrid scores of significant bravado, for Twister is one of the more rousing entries in the disaster genre.
Avoid it... on the badly arranged 1996 album at all costs or if you can never accept the idea of wailing electric guitars interspersed with Aaron Copland-inspired Americana spirit in this context.
2/1/18 Cliffhanger   (Trevor Jones)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you, like most film score fans, are mesmerized by Trevor Jones' most majestic title themes of noble brass and high strings and seek a robust action score to go with that identity.
Avoid it... if you found nothing attractive in Jones' dominant title theme for Last of the Mohicans, a very close cousin to that of Cliffhanger, and be careful to steer clear of the 2011 Intrada album's awkward re-mixing of the score.
1/24/18 Troy   (Gabriel Yared/James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on either available album with James Horner's functional but mundane replacement score only if you have extreme patience with his tendency to recycle his own music, a technique actually made necessary by his last minute rush job for this film.
Avoid it... on the Horner albums completely if you have a chance to somehow obtain the vastly superior rejected score by Gabriel Yared, the momentous crown jewel of his career that has haunted film score fans since its intentional leak to the public by the frustrated composer in 2004.
1/17/18 The Russia House   (Jerry Goldsmith)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you can avoid becoming clinically depressed by the most painfully stylish and longingly beautiful score of Jerry Goldsmith's long career.
Avoid it... if bittersweet music for jazz trio, string orchestra, and snazzy synthetic rhythms are simply too sparse in construct to inspire you.
1/10/18 A Fish Called Wanda   (John Du Prez)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you can't resist the funniest, most effective orchestral sex cue in the history of cinema, for John Du Prez highlights his otherwise breezy and predictable parody score with a Wagnerian humping cue that is alone worth the search for the album.
Avoid it... if less than five minutes of monumental symphonic glory is not worth the badly dated light rock that inhabits much of the acoustic and electric guitar-led romantic and crime caper material that dominates the remainder of the score.
1/4/18 Robot Jox   (Frederic Talgorn)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you smirk when hearing Frederic Talgorn's campy, romantic style of thematic development or the brassy fanfares that often accompany this particular genre's gladiator-like duals.
Avoid it... if the cheese factor in these simplistic B-film scores, including somewhat sparse and imprecise orchestral performances, is just too great to overcome.
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