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Apocalypse World War II
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Music from the Batman Trilogy
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Snowpiercer
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Captain America:  The Winter Soldier
Rio 2

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First Impressions

July 1999

 

July 17, 1999

The Deep End of the Ocean 
by Elmer Bernstein

FIR - 7/10

(Milan)

 Bernstein returns to a style that I have missed since To Kill a Mockingbird.  Very soft, innocent, mysterious themes wrapped in the wonder of childhood- this is what makes To Kill a Mockingbird my favorite Bernstein score and what makes The Deep End of the Ocean a similarly enjoyable score.  Interestingly, there are moments that are very similar to John Williams' guitar centered score for Stepmom and George Fenton's Dangerous Beauty.  Not  bad of scores to sound like!  The liner notes are forgettable except they do include some brief comments by Bernstein on his score for the film.


Twister by Mark Mancina

FIR - 7/10

(Atlantic Classics) 

Ok.  So I'm really late on this one!  Having several compilations CDs with excerpts from Mancina's score, I just never got around to getting the original score CD.  To my delight having the score in its CD release- entirety is certainly worth it.  There are heart pounding, action sequences very much in line with Zimmer's Backdraft and also some beautiful moments foreshadowing Mancina's recent work for Return to Paradise.  The only draw back is the electric guitar that rips through a couple tracks.  If it had been just a bit more subdued it would have been tolerable. The show tune from Oklahoma and the William Tell Overture don't fit in too well with the rest of tracks and serve as a mighty big distraction. The liner notes are unremarkable and lack track length information.  The Media Venture tradition is still represented well in this release.  


Coming Soon! by John Beal

FIR - 5/10

(Sonic Images)  

This double CD release contains tons and tons of trailer music composed by composer John Beal over many years.  I must say the first track, "Black Beauty" is my favorite of the whole release.  It bears a close resemblance to Edelman's "Gettysburg."  Another nice piece is "For Sir Charlie" which is Horner's Rocketeer theme for all intents and purposes.  After that much of the CDs take a serious dip in "listenability." Other notable tracks are however: "Alaska," "Ham's Prologue & Epilogue," "Miracle on 34th Street," "I Always Fall in Love with Love," "Pagemaster Trail," "Basic Instinct Theme," and "Ocean Song." Sonic Images never fails to produce high quality sound as well as appealing packaging.  Coming Soon continues that tradition.

July 4, 1999

The Magnificent Seven 
by Elmer Bernstein

FIR - 8/10

(Ryko)  

This Bernstein score is one of the most recognizable western scores of all time.  The score is marked by its high energy and intensity.  At the same time, there are themes that are innocent, reflective, and even playful.  It is one of Bernstein's best scores and began a great run of work with director John Sturges as well as a run of work in western scores.  This is the first release of the original motion picture score and given that, the recording is acceptable although not nearly as crisp as the Ryko's release of The Return of the Magnificent Seven.  One draw back, if compared to Ryko's other recent releases, is that there are no "sound bites" from this film of great lines.  The liner notes are, as expected, fabulous- a fold out "poster" with many great behind the scenes-shots from the set and even the theatrical-poster!   


The Return of the Magnificent Seven 
by Elmer Bernstein

FIR - 6/10

 

(Ryko)  

While representing this sequel film about the saving-seven of the West, this score remained the only representation of Bernstein's marvelous work for the original Magnificent  Seven film for many years.  Bernstein chose to utilize the score from the previous film for the simple reason.  While the film itself paled in comparison to it predecessor, for various reasons, Bernstein's score remains strong and is much cleaner and spacious in its recording.  It is unfortunate that Bernstein did not employ more new themes into this score, considering that he wrote some of his best themes in the sixties and for western films.  While his score helped to infuse the propel the first film, his virtual-duplicate score fails to the same for the sequel.  The images of the first film are too tightly woven with the themes and cues Bernstein originally wrote to be transferred to another film- sequel or not.  Once again, the packaging is great and the fold-out poster blesses anyone who might get a hold of this CD.  Unlike Ryko's release of The Magnificent Seven, they include several audio clips from the film, which is a welcome bonus.  Another of the "enhanced" features of this CD is the original trailer for the film. Such additions as these to film score CD releases certainly make sense since the music, while great in its own right, is one thread in a great tapestry called film.

The Great Escape 
by Elmer Bernstein 

FIR - 8/10

(Ryko)  

Falling between The Magnificent Seven and its sequel came the 1963 hit film and score The Great Escape.  Bernstein's score for this classic WWII flick is just that...classic!  This enhanced CD is full of great little "goodies."   It is a must have if for fans of the movie or Bernstein fans.   Bernstein and director Sturges (The Magnificent Seven) combine again to produce a memorable film and score.  Bernstein is again, like his work for ...Seven, able to combine  powerful, triumphant themes with musical moments of suspense, mystery, and tragedy- and he does so seamlessly.  Once again this Ryko disc holds more than just great music, but a plethora of additional multimedia material which, without leaving the realm of reality, could (and should) be standard issue for film score compact discs!

 

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