Soundtrack News, Reviews, & Release Tally

New Soundtrack reviews:

- Appassionata [M] (Quartet Records), a 2-disc set of Piero Piccioni's riffing on the sultry sexuality and social wrongness from 1974.

- Bad Girls [M] (La-La Land), newly expanded album of Jerry Goldsmith's above-average writing during the nineties, circa 1994.

- Being Human [M] (Silva Screen), featuring music from Season 2 by Richard Wells.

- DC Showcase: Superman / Shazam! - The Return of Black Adam [M] (La-La Land), a fun collection of themes from four episodes scored by Jerry Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn.

- Film Music of Hans Zimmer, Vol. 2 [M] (Silva Screen), the latest 2-disc retrospective with a focus on Zimmer & Company's slightly darker writing.

Self-serving Rue Morgue news:

Rue Morgue's September issue (#115) also features my reviews for Scream (Varese Sarabande CD Club), the first (legal) expanded release of Marco Beltrami score which should've been released 15 years ago; and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Vol. 1 (Varese Sarabande CD Club), a 2-CD set exclusively devoted to Bernard Herrmann's long unavailable soundtracks. Both CDs = awesome, and I'll have more detailed reviews in October, as these are among my favourite CDs of 2011.

Editorial Blather

La-La Land's upcoming release of Alfred Newman's A Certain Smile is part of the label's Sony & Fox association, which I hope will yield more vintage scores in their full, uncut glory. A lot of classic Columbia (owned by Sony) scores remain unavailable, and there's plenty of Fox scores - particularly from the stereo-friendly CinemaScope era - which have never appeared anywhere on CD.

Heston and Snell

A bust of Marc Antony, capturing his unguarded regret after Cleopatra dumped a bowl of Fetuccini Alfredo on the noble Roman's head for pinching a slave's buttocks.

Charlton Heston had played a supporting role in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra on Broadway, and it took about two decades before he could assume Antony himself on film, first in Julius Caesar (1970), and again in Antony and Cleopatra (1972).

Marco who?

Do you know how to use the three seashells? And more important: does it really matter?

That was my reaction back in 1993 when I saw the Demolition Man trailer in theatres for Joel Silver’s latest Kaboom Production, starring Sly Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and two nobodies named Benjamin Bratt and Sandra Bullock.

A Bloody Night for Teens, Boo-Boos Undone, and CHUDS

Once again, little Mary is awoken by the CHUDS.

Just uploaded is a review of Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet [M] (2009), from indie filmmaker Frank Sabatella.

Apparently the Blu-ray release is unique to Canada, courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada, and I’ve detailed the strengths & weaknesses of this gory salute to slasher films, and the disc’s extras. One quick point to make: beautifully robust sound mix; active, detailed, and very fun in a big darkened room.

Career Intersections

Of course this shot is in the trailer. It's inflammoniously glorious!

The Specialist [M] (1994) may not have been a highpoint in the careers of Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Rod Steiger, and Eric Roberts (will you just look at that cast?), but it could be regarded as an important career intersection for the lot, seeing how the production occurred at a time when each person’s career was going through another downshift.

And Justice for All: The Films of Norman Jewison, Part II

'You know, people, it IS okay to laugh a little.'

Last Wednesday marked the only screening of Norman Jewison’s The Thomas Crown Affair [M] (1968), his next film after In the Heat of the Night [M] (1968). It’s still one of the best fluff films ever made, mixing caper, romance, sex appeal, and humour into one slickly designed package resembling a glossy magazine pictorial from the sixties.

Art décor, artifice, and style, all lovingly set to Michel Legrand’s zippiest jazz-pop confection, and the classic song “Windmills of Your Mind.”

Caving with Werner Herzog

Tumak: I see horses. Many horses...
Loana: Always horses, never me. Why does Tumak not see wife Loana anymore? Is it too much sour bear milk? Smoking too much Moary Jane?

Director Werner Herzog likes to travel. He likes to climb mountains, likes to spelunk, and likes to explore things firsthand because the experience of discovering + filming clearly enrich his life, and if you have some affection for the crazy German, there’s a peculiar joy in seeing the prolific filmmaker transfer his sense of wonderment directly to audiences through visuals, and that calming voice that’s part stream of consciousness, part poetry, and contains thought bubbles of mistranslated English which one usually understands (you know what he’s trying to say), but on occasion have no idea what dimension he’s trying to channel to Mother Earth.

George Pan Cosmatos, Part I

'Yo, Marion'

Back when I was in high school, I remember walking towards Wellesley subway station after another soundtrack buying binge (Cheapies, of course), and displayed against the side of a bus stop shelter was the poster for Cobra, the latest action ‘drama’ from Sylvester Stallone, bearing the immortal line “Crime is a disease. Meet the cure.”

It looked glossy, chic, and the dominance of red inferred a lot of blood was spilt within the film. Critics reviled the movie as being sadistic, and it garnered a reputation as one of Stallone’s nastier films (even though he does get creative several times in Cliffhanger).

And Justice for All: The Films of Norman Jewison, Part I

The TIFF Bell Lightbox has been screening several Norman Jewison films as part of a career retrospective, which I believe began sometime in July, though I can’t confirm it’s starting date because the TBL’s website is still kind of a mess of images, bold headers, vague teaser text and thin rectangles, all courtesy of the first graduate to emerge from The Ontario College of Discombobulated & Impractical Art & Design.

With TIFF approaching in less than 3 weeks, it seems unlikely a proper site overhaul will happen soon – last year’s tweak at least displays current daily shows – so maybe the TBL will consider placing a link to an easy-breezy, downloadble version of its mini programme book as a PDF file. Seriously, think about it, because after a year, the site’s still a navigable mess.

Moving on.

To some, Norman Jewison is a controversial figure, not because he’s raised the ire of rogue Asian turnip wranglers or done something rash (like buying up the patent for drought-resistant kudzu berries), but because he’s consistently being lauded as a master filmmaker when his canon features a mixed bag of classics, and not-so-great movies.

Getting Socially Updated & Upgraded


This month KQEK.com’s Facebook page was set up (yes, I caved), and by virtue of its existence, the blog and review sites have to updated to ensure everything is easily linked.

Since 2006, I’ve been using Douglas Bowman’ “Dots Dark” template for Mondomark’s Blogger account, and it was time to upgrade because there was no way to incorporate any social media widgets or plugins.


The Return of The Egyptian (1954)

A cautionary note: Edmund Purdom never experiences this moment in THE EGYPTIAN with miniature Egyptian queens, Babylonian whores, and lower caste barmaids.

Perhaps due to its long periods of unavailability, The Egyptian [M] (1954) has developed cult following among connoisseurs of ancient / Biblical epics, fans of composers Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman, and cineastes with a taste for big budget productions starring iconic silver screen stars Victor Mature, Jean Simmons, and Gene Tierney.

It’s also the film Marlon Brando walked away from because he had issues with the script, its director, and supporting actress Bella Darvi; Bella Darvi herself, a shapely concoction written off by period critics as an incompetent if not wooden, cross-eyed actress, and sometime lover of Fox CEO / Egyptian’s producer Darryl F. Zanuck; and co-star Edmund Purdom, who never clicked with audiences, and disappeared in a series of European genre outings for a few decades.

Women in Prison, Part III: Jungle Warriors (1984)

Apparently in Egypt, when women rebel against male arrogance, they enter a state of ocular bliss.

With the review of Jungle Warriors / Euer Weg führt durch die Hölle [M] (1984) now live, one would think that’s all one can say about WIP films, but Aha! you are mistaken, because this genre is more populous than one would believe.

JW, in fact, isn’t a true WIP film, but a WIJP (Women in Jungle Prison) film – a variant that adds some exotica to already politically incorrect elements, generous moments of cruel nudity, and foliage.

Soundtrack Reviews

No time for blather, just a dry alert of five new soundtrack reviews: Christian Henson's The Devil's Double [M] (Lakeshore Records), Basil Poledouris' Breakdown [M] (3 packed CDs from La-La Land!), Alfons Conde's Viento en contra [M] (MovieScore Media), and from Screamworks / MovieScore Media a pair of horror scores: David Julyan's Heartless [M], and Nathaniel Levisay's Dawning [M].

Oh, and one question: Where the #^%$ did July go?

Mark R. Hasan, Editor
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