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May/June 2018
6/23/18 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial   (John Williams)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on especially the 2017 2-CD set if you seek one of the most popular scores in the history of Hollywood, not to mention a triumph that stands among the best of John Williams' masterful works.
Avoid it... if not even the most magical symphonic composition from the height of Williams' career is of any interest to your unusually sour tastes.
6/18/18 RoboCop   (Basil Poledouris)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the later expanded and remastered pressings even if you're content with the earliest albums, for Basil Poledouris' consistently rough but robust action writing is presented in far better light on the newer products.
Avoid it... if you expect to hear the composer's best merging of synthesizers and orchestra in this vintage of Poledouris' exploration of the blend, his concurrent Cherry 2000 far more accomplished in this area.
6/11/18 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow   (Edward Shearmur)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you can immerse yourself in shamelessly high-flying, noir-inspired, patriotic, and massively orchestral adventure scores no matter their predictably relentless level of bombast and optimistic demeanor.
Avoid it... if the genre's music becomes tedious and repetitive for you when it is clearly derived from other superhero scores, especially ones as obvious as those plundered by Edward Shearmur for this rowdy romp.
6/4/18 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
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 makes use of only Horner's previously established techniques and instrumentation, no matter their rearrangement into an effectively impactful package.
5/27/18 Rain Man   (Hans Zimmer)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you want to trace most of Hans Zimmer's enduring and arguably superior output from 1989 to 1994 back to its origin, because Rain Man was the initiation point for a wide variety of the composer's later techniques.
Avoid it... if you are not interested in paying premium prices for the short-printed 2018 album, the only option for hearing Zimmer's likable, optimistic score in a consistent, decent sounding presentation after years of offerings hampered by inferior sources.
5/20/18 The Silence of the Lambs   (Howard Shore)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on either album option if you want to spend an hour looking over your shoulder, because few scores are as consistently unnerving as Howard Shore's morbidly dramatic The Silence of the Lambs.
Avoid it... if you expect this score to accomplish much more than establish a suspenseful mood, for its structures really aren't that complicated when studied apart from the oppressive attitude of their performance.
5/12/18 Rambo III   (Jerry Goldsmith)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you'd be interested in a more emotionally varied and accessibly ethnic alternative to the domineering action material written by Jerry Goldsmith for the previous two films.
Avoid it... if you expect sustained passages of the same superior rhythmic pacing and thematic bombast of Rambo: First Blood Part II in the equivalent action pieces of Rambo III.
5/4/18 Dreamcatcher   (James Newton Howard)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you are loyal to James Newton Howard's sense for tense, ambient suspense in a heavily electronic realm, unnerving textures yielding to dissonant orchestral crashes after every few minutes of stewing, synthetic atmosphere.
Avoid it... on the original 2003 album if you are expecting to hear a satisfyingly representative presentation of the score's music, for several highlights were not available on album until Varese Sarabande's extensive, 2-CD expansion of the score in 2017.
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