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January/February 2021
2/24/21 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 Varèse Sarabande's extensive, 2-CD expansion of the score in 2017.
2/15/21 The House With a Clock in its Walls   (Nathan Barr)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you appreciate diverse fantasy instrumentation emphasizing treble ranges, this score's resurrection of an authentic Wurlitzer organ impressive in parts but leaving a nagging feeling of incompleteness in its dainty mix.
Avoid it... if you demand a resounding fantasy soundscape for this topic, Nathan Barr's affable and spirited emulation of vintage Danny Elfman music engaging in parts but underplayed in much of its length.
2/2/21 Masters of the Universe   (Bill Conti)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you enjoy the bravado of any ambitious, large-scale variation on Gustav Holst's "The Planets" and John Williams' similar adaptations of the era.
Avoid it... if you hold the music from the original television show true to your heart, for Bill Conti ignores its established themes and offers a hopelessly optimistic score that fails to adequately address the creative range of the concept.
1/24/21 Hider in the House   (Christopher Young)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you don't mind the atmosphere of an extremely understated, mellow, and underwhelming score with shrieking explosions of terror interspersed.
Avoid it... if you consider most generic and mundane suspense scores of muted presence to be lifeless and uninspiring, this one more boring than offensive.
1/17/21 WarGames   (Arthur B. Rubinstein)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you seek a valiant attempt by Arthur B. Rubinstein to capture the somewhat schizophrenic nature of the film's duality, balancing light parody and synthetic pop style with ballsy orchestral mayhem for the threat of nuclear war.
Avoid it... if you have difficulty accepting scores that challenge you with a wide range of technical intellect and melodic constructs instead of simplifying their personality to capture your heart with cohesive ethos.
1/10/21 *batteries not included   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you desire a rough foreshadowing of the balance between vintage jazz and orchestral sensitivity in James Horner's later Cocoon: The Return and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Avoid it... if you expect Horner's cute, uniquely playful tones for the mechanized alien visitors in this film to translate well to album, especially on the exceedingly long 2018 product.
1/1/21 Rio Conchos   (Jerry Goldsmith)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the 2013 Intrada album featuring Jerry Goldsmith's own re-recording of most of the score if you seek an early glimpse at the composer's darker, folksy Western style in pristine digital sound.
Avoid it... on that re-recording if you are a Goldsmith purist interested instead in a superior presentation of the original recording on several other products, regardless of how badly aged its sound may be.
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