CD Review: “Pacific Rim: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Composer: Ramin Djawadi
Release Date: June 25, 2013)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: WaterTower Music

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Pacific Rim” is personally my most anticipated movie of the summer, no question.  Giant monsters and giant robots going head to head, sounds totally EPIC! So when it comes to the score for this film, I was looking for that epic feel. Well leave it to Ramin Djawadi to not disappoint.  You might know his work…he does the music for a very small TV series, you never heard of, called “Game of Thrones” ;-). He really knows how to bring the epic action feel to this music.  When I listen to this score, it really gets me pumped up. It also feels very consistent that I can listen to it on loop and it feels like one long track, which I like. Easily one of my favorite scores of the year!

He has become very good at infusing epic action movies with emotion and heart. This film is massive and the score easily lives up to that rank as well.  For the film’s title theme, Djawadi joined forced with Tom Morello (from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave) to add some killer guitar to the track. In fact it he ended up working on five tracks on this score and they also ending up being my favorite tracks on the whole album.  I love his guitar work on the score, which is not very common for an typical orchestral score. If you are considering seeing this film, I highly recommend this score since it will get you totally pumped and ready. Also I would recommend doing what I did and leaving it on loop since it really gets better and better with each listen.

Track List:
1. Pacific Rim (feat. Tom Morello)
2. Gipsy Danger
3. Canceling The Apocalypse
4. Just A Memory
5. 2500 Tons Of Awesome
6. The Shatterdome
7. Mako (feat. Priscilla Ahn)
8. Call Me Newt
9. Jaeger Tech (feat. Tom Morello)
10. To Fight Monsters, We Created Monsters
11. Better Than New
12. We Are The Resistance
13. Double Event
14. Striker Eureka
15. Physical Compatibility
16. Category 5
17. Pentecost
18. Go Big Or Go Extinct (feat. Tom Morello)
19. Hannibal Chau
20. For My Family
21. No Pulse (feat. Tom Morello)
22. Kaiju Groupie
23. Deep Beneath The Pacific
24. The Breach
25. We Need A New Weapon

CD Review “Man of Steel: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Limited Deluxe Edition”

Composer: Hans Zimmer
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Number of Discs: 2
Format: Limited Edition, Deluxe Edition
Label: WaterTower Music
Running Time: 113 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When you see the name Hans Zimmer, you have to expect an epic and stellar score. The Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning composer is one of the most recognized and respected names in Hollywood. When you think of Superman, you expect an equally epic score. You can thank John Williams for that back in 1978 for the original “Superman” film. Well rest assured since the “Man of Steel” is amazing. When I hear a score and it literally gives me chills when listening to it, that is how I know that I am in love with it. From the moment this starts, I was completely taken back with this score. Easily one of my favorites scores of 2013 so far. Also did I mention that this score almost runs a whopping TWO HOURS!? No joke! If that doesn’t scream epic…nothing does!

This is the first time that he is teaming up with director Zack Snyder. Zimmer is known for his work with directors like Christopher Nolan, Ron Howard and Gore Verbinski. Speaking of two of these directors, Hans is composing the following upcoming films Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger” and Nolan’s “Interstellar”. You also have to give it to Hans Zimmer for taking on a score like this. Since the sound of Superman is so epic and recognizable you want to make sure not to mess it up. But I feel that he did it perfectly.   This score is available in both the standard and deluxe editions.  So why would you you want to upgrade to the deluxe edition? Well one reason… it contains the track “Man of Steel (Hans Original Sketchbook)”, which clocks in at over 28 minutes long. Yes 28 minutes long! This exclusive track is performed solely by Zimmer and is it a fantastic portrayal of how he experimented in order to find the right sound for this score. Easily worth the price of the CD alone!

Believe it or not that is not the only bonus tracks included with the deluxe edition.  There are also an additional seven tracks, including one of my favorites “This is Madness!”.  When a track is called “This is Madness!” you can only expect it to be extremely epic and boy is it! Also the deluxe edition comes in a super cool embossed steel case, and fans will get access to multiple videos showing an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the music. But…wait there is still more…you will also get a chance to download all 24 songs in DTS Headphone: X, which reproduces a cinematic multi-speaker surround sound experience using only the user’s headphones. This is super cool and a must for any fan of film scores. All and all, I will say that this Limited Deluxe Edition is the only way to purchase this score!

Track Listing:
Disc 1:

1. Look to the Stars
2. Oil Rig
3. Sent Here for a Reason
4. DNA
5. Goodbye My Son
6. If You Love These People
7. Krypton’s Last
8. Terraforming
9. Tornado
10. You Die or I Do
11. Launch
12. Ignition
13. I Will Find Him
14. This Is Clark Kent
15. I Have So Many Questions
16. Flight

Disc 2:
1. What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?
2. Man of Steel (Hans’ Original Sketchbook)
3. Are You Listening, Clark?
4. General Zod – Junkie XL
5. You Led Us Here
6. This Is Madness! – Junkie XL
7. Earth
8. Arcade – Junkie XL


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DVD Review “Picture Day”

Actors: Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck, Steven McCarthy, Mark DeBonis
Directors: Kate Melville
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Arc Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

I am usually not a fan of dramatic comedies, but I figured I would give this one a try since it starred Tatiana Maslany. Let’s just say I should have stuck with my gut despite the cast. Tatiana is gaining a lot of steam recently due to her role in BBC America’s “Orphan Black”.  She is ok in this film but she can’t carry the entire film on her own. The story feels like a weak coming-of-age dramedy. I didn’t really end up caring for any things characters and thought they were quite boring. To be quite honest the whole film is quite depressing. Definitely a big pass here!

Official Premise: Forced to repeat her senior year in high school, Claire’s (Tatiana Maslany) reputation is sliding from bad-ass to bad joke. At night, she escapes to would-be rock star Jim (Steven McCarthy), while at school, she bonds with Henry (Spencer Van Wyck), a nerdy freshman she used to babysit. Eventually, Claire learns the difference between sex, intimacy, and friendship.

Arc Entertainment released this film on DVD, which to me is a dying format. Not that Blu-ray would have done anything for this film. The DVD features an Dolby Digital 5.1, which works for the dialogue focused film. There are also no special features included at all which only leads me to be more disappointed for this release. This is Kate Melville’s first film, so I should have given it a little bit of leeway but I just got more and more frustrated as this film progressed. So I wouldn’t wish this film upon anyone is watch, unless you are a die-hard Tatiana Maslany fan.

CD Review “Evil Dead: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Deluxe Extended Edition”

Composer: Roque Baños
Label: La-La Land Records
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Tracks: 17
Running Time: 72 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When it comes horror the scores to me are very important. Without a great score, the film could suffer from missed scare opportunities. For example, the score for the film “Insidious”, by the amazingly talented Joseph Bishara, is one of my favorite horror scores. When it came to the original “Evil Dead”, I was never a die-hard fan of the original score. The films, hell yes, but the score wasn’t too recognizable for me. Well what we get here is easily one of the best horror scores in recent years. It is also the first time in a long time that I have literally jumped when listening to a score and I am not shitting you. Whether or not you like remake, this score should be given as chance since it is fresh, original and very scary.

After listening to this score, I immediately wanted to know more about composer Roque Baños, since I wasn’t that familiar. He has composed for the film “The Machinist”, starring Christian Bale. He is now on my radar since he has created a very thrilling rollercoaster ride of a horror score and delivered something that is worthy have the title “Evil Dead”. Also I wanted to point out that if you have downloaded the CD digitally you are missing out since the actual CD release contains more than 25 additional minutes of music and it definitely worth it. This CD is over 70 minutes and one hell of a listening experience. I felt like that I needed to take a nap…but with the lights on.

The album starts off with a killer opener “I’ll Rip Out Your Soul”, which really gets your attention. I am not embarrassed to say it but it also made my ass jump off my chair when I was listening. In fact just from that I knew that I was going to be in love with the rest of the score. I love the use of sirens throughout as well, it is very scary and reminds me a lot of “Silent Hill”. There is also a lot of chanting, which always adds some great demonic feeling. “Get Me Out of Here” is another one of my favorite tracks. I could listen to it on loop for sure. “Abominations Rising” is gut wrenching and running at 7 minutes is what an exhausting track.

After listening to this score a few times and really getting into it. I also couldn’t help relating to the horror scores of Christopher Young as well. His score to “Drag Me to Hell” has a similar feel, which was also one of my favorites in recent years. But I have to admit that “Evil Dead” takes the cake and kicks that score in the balls. There are some many parts that will have you cringing since it is so intense, angry and loud. I can’t wait to see what Baños comes up with next since he now one of my favorite composers. And I owe him a thank you for giving me the need to sleep with the lights on.

Track Listing:
1. I’ll Rip Your Soul Out 4:50
2. Sad Memories 5:21
3. Don’t Say It, Don’t Write It, Don’t Hear It 4:42
4. Demon Possession (Extended) 4:21
5. Get Me Out Of Here 5:24
6. She Tried To Kill Me 2:31
7. He Won’t Let You Out 2:45
8. Bloody Kiss 2:23
9. Three Ways Of Saving Her Soul 4:02
10. Natalie Hunting 5:34
11. I’ll Do What I Gotta Do (Extended) 8:42
12. Come Back To Me 3:02
13. He’s Coming 3:21
14. Abominations Rising 6:58
15. The Pendant / Evil Tango 3:21
16. The Evil Dead Main Theme 1:41
17. Come Back To Me (Alternate) 2:01

CD Review "Jurassic Park: 20th Anniversary" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

“Jurassic Park: 20th Anniversary”
Original Soundtrack
Composer: John Williams
Label: Universal
Tracks: 20
Running Time: 71 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

With Universal Pictures re-releasing Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” in 3D on April 5, 2013 and word of a greenlit “Jurassic Park 4”, who isn’t thinking about this film. It is not even mentioned or advertised that this is also the film’s 20th anniversary on the promotions of the film. John Williams’ score for “Jurassic Park” was always one of my all-time favorite score…and now it sounds ever better than it ever has. Universal Music Enterprises is behind this digital release with newly remastered music from the film, as well as four bonus tracks. Can it get any better than that? Answer is NO! This score has always sounded amazing but they really amped it up for this new digital release.

The new tracks including “The History Lesson”, “Stalling Around”, “The Coming Storm” and “Hungry Raptor”. They are honestly worth the purchase alone of the CD. They were personally chosen by Williams along with his music editor, Ramiro Belgardt. They went through the master tapes of the film to find new cues that were not released on the original album. How much of a treat is this?. Getting a chance to hear some new Williams compositions from this film is just amazing. The new tracks also feel like they fit right in with the film as well. This is the first time that they are being released for sale. “Jurassic Park” is also part of history since it marks another amazing score from his outstanding 40-year collaboration with Steven Spielberg. I hope he is planning on scoring “Jurassic Park 4”.

Track Listing:
1. Opening Titles
2. Theme From Jurassic Park
3. Incident At Isla Nublar
4. Journey To The Island
5. The Raptor Attack
6. Hatching Baby Raptor
7. Welcome To Jurassic Park
8. My Friend, The Brachiosaurus
9. Dennis Steals The Embryo
10. A Tree For My Bed
11. High-Wire Stunts
12. Remembering Petticoat Lane
13. Jurassic Park Gate
14. Eye To Eye
15. T-Rex Rescue & Finale
16. End Credits
17. The History Lesson
18. Stalling Around
19. The Coming Storm
20. Hungry Raptor


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Affleck's Revenge Complete – "Argo" Takes Best Picture

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since a baby faced Ben Affleck, his voice cracking, accepted the Best Original Screenplay Oscar with Matt Damon for “Good Will Hunting.” Since then, Affleck’s career has had more ups and downs and twists and turns then all the rides at Disney World combined. And when he wasn’t nominated for his outstanding work of directing “Argo” (ironically he went on to win almost every other prestigious directing award, including the BAFTA and the DGA) he became an underdog again. Affleck and company climbed back atop the Oscar mountain last night when “Argo,” which Affleck also produced with Grant Heslov and George Clooney, took home the Best Picture trophy at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Though it seemed to some that “Lincoln” was the favorite, I knew a month ago that the backlash in Hollywood over Affleck not getting the director nomination would help the film cross the finish line first. Remember: actors make up the largest branch of the Academy, which means they have the most votes. And every actor secretly wants to direct. So when one of their own was denied the wagons were circled.

The night saw a few certainties as well as a few surprises. I wonder how many people’s Oscar pool was blown when Christoph Waltz was named Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Django Unchained.” It was Waltz’s second Oscar in three years, having previously won for “Inglorious Basterds.” Like he did then, Waltz thanked the films writer/director Quentin Tarantino, even finishing his speeck with a few lines from the script.

“Brave” was the surprise winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, with the award going to co-directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. The moment had to feel special for Chapman, who was removed from the film during production. The first “I knew it” award of the evening went to Anne Hathaway who won the award as Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables.”

Speaking of “Les Miz,” several members of the cast took to the stage to belt out a medley of hits from the show, resulting in one of the nights prolonged standing ovations. Another was reserved for Dame Shirley Bassey, who showed she still has the pipes as she belted out the theme to “Goldfinger.” Her performance was the highlight of a very tepid salute to the 50th Anniversary of James Bond. The prevailing rumor was that all six actors who portrayed Bond on screen (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig) would appear but alas it didn’t happen. Still, they could have done a lot more then just show a few clips. However, Adele killed when she sang her theme song from the latest Bond epic, “Skyfall.” Later in the show she and co-writer Paul Epworth deservedly won the award for Best Original Song.

Another musical moment occurred when, during the annual “In Memoriam” segment, Barbra Streisand came out to sing the Oscar winning song “The Way We Were” after talking about the man who helped write it, Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away last year. Of course there are always omissions in this segment but two of the biggest I noticed were Larry Hagman and Andy Griffith. I was glad to see that a film critic (the great Andrew Sarris) was included in the montage. Hope for me to one day appear on the Oscar telecast. A tearful Chris Terio thanked Ben Affleck while accepting his Best Adapted Screenplay award for “Argo.” He pointed out that it had been 15 years since Affleck had won his award and thanked him for giving him the same chance he had gotten. Tarantino won his second Original Screenplay Oscar (he also won for “Pulp Fiction”) for “Django Unchained.” In typical QT style he made sure to pay homage to his fellow nominees and declare 2012 the “Year of the Writer!”

The night also saw only the sixth tie in Academy history when Paul Ottison (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Per Holberg and Karen Baker Landers (“Skyfall”) tied in the Best Sound Editing category. I felt bad for first announced winner Ottison because when he asked presenter Mark Wahlberg for the envelope he refused, presumably because he needed to read the names of the other winners. He did give the envelope to Landers but hopefully the Academy will make up another one for Ottison. “Life of Pi” snagged many of the technical awards it was nominated for and took him a major prize when Ang Lee was named Best Director.

Best Actress went to Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” (she also won the Independent Spirit Award in the same category the night before). Best Actor was pretty much a given as Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor to receive (3) Oscars as Best Actor. Of course, in my opinion, this should have been his fourth – his performance in “Gangs of New York” is amazing. Day-Lewis gave one of the evening’s more moving speeches, thanking his co-nominees as well as his wife. It is well known that when he takes a role Day-Lewis pretty much inhabits that character 24 hours a day. He thanked his wife Rebecca who, after 16 years of marriage, has “lived with some very strange men.”

That brought us to the final award of the evening and a surprise presenter when Jack Nicholson turned the “and the Oscar goes to” line over to First Lady Michelle Obama, who made the announcement, proclaiming “Argo’ the years Best Picture.

CD Review "Les Misérables: Highlights From The Motion Picture Soundtrack"

“Les Misérables”
Highlights From The Motion Picture Soundtrack
Release Date: December 21, 2012
Label: Universal
Total Length: 1:05:22

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Here is the issue with album is right in the title: “Les Misérables: Highlights From The Motion Picture Soundtrack”. Highlights is main issue here.  It is really missing just way to much from this film. I actually really liked this film and literally it is 2 hours and 40 minutes of non-stop music performances. This album delivers a very abridged version of it just running over an hour. I feel like we are loosing way too much in this very trimmed version. I mean there are 49 musical numbers in the film and only 20 tracks are available here.  I am sure this album with be a hit like the film itself nonetheless just getting a chance to own “some” of the music but for me…it is just not enough. If are a die-hard fan of the Original Broadway Cast Recording, then be warned this is quite different.  You are either going to love it completely or hate it.

Right from the start with “Look Down”, it is such an epic and amazing track in the film that is cut down to barely even a proper song.  It starts and ends so abrupt that it almost hurts to hear. I have to say though, the best part of this entire soundtrack is Russell Crowe.  That’s right Russell Crowe.  He is the saving factor for this entire soundtrack if not the entire movie.  Anne Hathaway is quite amazing and her version of “I Dreamed a Dream” (with no camera cuts in the film) is nothing short of heart-breaking and stunning.  I love Hugh Jackman and I have seen him on Broadway a few times, so we now the guy can sing.  I know that the director Tom Hopper wanted to make this raw and real but Jackman’s tracks don’t sit right with me.  Maybe his voice isn’t strong enough to hit some notes on these songs.  I feel that he aims to talk his way through some of the lyrics – some not all “Valjean’s Soliloquy” is a great track.

If you are a fan of this film, you will enjoy hearing a few tracks.  Me personally, like I said I have about six songs in a playlist and have been revisiting those over and over.  Since I figure that there are tons are track already missing…so what is the difference.  Most importantly, I want to throw in where the hell is “Do You Hear the People Sing”. How can that song be left out? Wow! Probably the biggest let down of this whole release. No joke, this album only received 3 out of 5 stars due to the fact that Russell Crowe kicks major ass!! You listen to his version of “Stars” and “Javert’s Suicide” and tell me that his voice doesn’t rule.  It is fierce and strong.  I wish the rest of the album turned out like that. I will hold my breath for the complete soundtrack being released.

Track Listing:
1. Look Down – Hugh Jackman
2. The Bishop – Colm Wilkinson
3. Valjean’s Soliloquy – Hugh Jackman
4. At The End Of The Day – Hugh Jackman
5. I Dreamed A Dream – Anne Hathaway
6. The Confrontation – Hugh Jackman
7. Castle On A Cloud – Isabelle Allen
8. Master Of The House – Sacha Baron Cohen
9. Suddenly – Hugh Jackman
10. Stars – Russell Crowe
11. ABC Cafe / Red And Black – Eddie Redmayne
12. In My Life / A Heart Full Of Love – Amanda Seyfried
13. On My Own – Samantha Barks
14. One Day More – Les Misérables Cast
15. Drink With Me – Eddie Redmayne
16. Bring Him Home – Hugh Jackman
17. The Final Battle – Les Misérables Cast
18. Javert’s Suicide – Russell Crowe
19. Empty Chairs At Empty Tables – Eddie Redmayne
20. Epilogue – Les Misérables Cast

CD Review “Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained” – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

“Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained”
Various Artists
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Tracks: 23
Label: Universal Republic

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I have been a Quentin Tarantino fan film since day one.  His films also come with the most interesting music and his soundtracks never let down.  “Django Unchained” is definitely no different. It comes packed with a wide-variety of music and seven tracks of specific dialogue from the film.  I used to love the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack for that same reason.  I love how the music is so perfectly chosen that it also helps describe the type of film that this is.  Since this has the ole’ spaghetti western-style feel, we get some of that feel and then completely on the other side there are rap songs. So there is a little bit for everyone here. And if you know Quentin Tarantino then you will not be disappointed by this soundtrack.

The star of this soundtrack besides Ennio Morricone’s beautiful score tracks is the brand new mash-up of James Brown and 2Pac on the track “Unchained (The Payback / Untouchable)”.  This song is so exciting and gets you completely pumped up.  Honestly, I think this track is worth the purchase of the soundtrack alone.  It is also perfectly placed, of course, after Elisa Toffoli’s very quiet “Ancora Qui”.  This is a like an explosion and it does let up for almost 3 minutes.  I would have loved for it to run more like 6-7 minutes, thank God for loop. Did I also mention that Samuel L. Jackson has some nice dialogue tracks, which takes me pack to 1995 with “Pulp Fiction”…”English motherfucker! Do you SPEAK IT!”.  You will literally want to run out and see this film immediately after listening to this soundtrack or if you’ve seen it, it is a perfect companion to chill out to after watching this film.

Track Listing:
1. Winged – James Russo
2. Django – Luis Bacalov
3. The Braying Mule – Ennio Morricone
4. “In The Case Django, After You…” – Christoph Waltz
5. Lo Chiamavano King (His Name Is King) – Luis Bacalov
6. Freedom – Anthony Hamilton
7. Five-Thousand-Dollar Nigga’s And Gummy Mouth Bitches – Don Johnson
8. La Corsa (2nd Version) – Luis Bacalov
9. Sneaky Schultz And The Demise Of Sharp – Don Straud
10. I Got A Name – Jim Croce
11. I Giorni Dell’ira – Riziero Ortolani
12. 100 Black Coffins [Explicit] – Rick Ross
13. Nicaragua – Jerry Goldsmith
14. Hildi’s Hot Box – Samuel L. Jackson
15. Sister Sara’s Theme – Ennio Morricone
16. Ancora Qui – Elisa Toffoli
17. Unchained (The Payback / Untouchable)- James Brown
18. Who Did That to You? – John Legend
19. Too Old To Die Young – Brother Dege (AKA Dege Legg)
20. Stephen The Poker Player – Samuel L. Jackson
21. Un Monumento – Ennio Morricone
22. Six Shots Two Guns – Samuel L. Jackson
23. Trinity (Titoli) – Annibale E I Cantori Moderni

CD Review “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Special Edition)

Composer: Howard Shore:
Original Release Date: December 11, 2012
Number of Discs: 2
Format: Special Edition
Label: WaterTower Music

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” scores, then I am sure that you do not even need my thoughts for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.  This fits right in line with the past Middle Earth adventure scores from the master composer Howard Shore.  When I saw this film in theaters, I was literally blown away from the score and I am one to keep an eye out for a good score.  I love the blend that this score has between the action and the drama from the film.  I think it really captures the film very well and should leave any fan very satisfied.

The Special Edition of the soundtrack includes six bonus tracks that are not on the regular version. I have to say these tracks actually add quite a bit to the overall score and even include an additional track sung by the Dwarfs – “Blunt the Knives”. Also what is a Peter Jackson film, without an Extended Version? This soundtrack includes seven extended tracks as well. They really add to the scale of the film, especially on the first disc including “An Unexpected Party”.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” sounds unique from “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy while still visiting certain cues that hang on to that special feeling. I found myself smirking and repeating the certain tracks that had that aspect. I have to admit though, ever since watching the trailer over a year ago and hearing the Dwarfs singing “Misty Mountains” in Bilbo’s house. I have been obsessed with that song. It is literally my favorite track on the album that is not a orchestral piece. If you go with this album I highly recommend this Special Edition release for sure!

Disc 1

1. My Dear Frodo
2. Old Friends (Extended Version)
3. An Unexpected Party (Extended Version)
4. Blunt the Knives (Exclusive Bonus Track) – The Dwarf Cast
5. Axe or Sword?
6. Misty Mountains – The Dwarf Cast & Richard Armitage
7. The Adventure Begins
8. The World is Ahead
9. An Ancient Enemy
10. Radagast the Brown (Extended Version)
11. The Trollshaws (Exclusive Bonus Track)
12. Roast Mutton (Extended Version)
13. A Troll-hoard
14. The Hill of Sorcery Howard Shore
15. Warg-scouts Howard Shore

Disc 2:
1. The Hidden Valley
2. Moon Runes (Extended Version)
3. The Defiler
4. The White Council (Extended Version)
5. Over Hill
6. A Thunder Battle
7. Under Hill Howard Shore
8. Riddles in the Dark
9. Brass Buttons
10. Out of the Frying-Pan
11. A Good Omen Howard Shore
12. Song of the Lonely Mountain (Extended Version) Neil Finn
13. Dreaming of Bag End
14. A Very Respectable Hobbit (Exclusive Bonus Track)
15. Erebor (Exclusive Bonus Track)
16. The Dwarf Lords (Exclusive Bonus Track)
17. The Edge of the Wild (Exclusive Bonus Track)

CD Review “Skyfall: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Author: Thomas Newman
Release Date: October 22, 2012
Label: Sony Classical
Tracks: 30
Running Time: 77 minutes

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

2012 brings us the 50th anniversary of 007 James Bond.  When it comes to James Bond, the music have always been so important.  The theme songs are always memorable and epic. But even beyond that the scores have to move along the film with a specific feeling.  This score disappoints quite a bit and doesn’t really scream “Bond…James Bond“. The score does run almost 80 minutes over the 30 tracks but I just wish it was more effective throughout instead of just 80 minutes of dull music. “Breadcrumbs” is the best track on here but that is one because it is a homage to past Bond scores.

Firstly, let’s get the cat out of the bag and point out that Adele’s title track is not on this score.  Right off the bat, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth.  That track would have been a nice kick-off for this album and an incentive to purchase this score.  I understand they want to sell some singles for the track but I would have liked it to also be included here.  Secondly, I am not a fan of Newman’s score at all. He is typically a very well respected composer but I enjoy his scores like “American Beauty” and “The Shawshank Redemption”.  They have this  certain quieter and simple feel but still very epic.  “Skyfall” tries to be epic and ends up just feel like it is trying to hard.

Track Listings
1. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
2. Voluntary Retirement
3. New Digs
4. Severine
5. Brave New World
6. Shanghai Drive
7. Jellyfish
8. Silhouette
9. Modigliani
10. Day Wasted
11. Quartermaster
12. Someone Usually Dies
13. Komodo Dragon
14. The Bloody Shot
15. Enjoying Death
16. The Chimera
17. Close Shave
18. Health & Safety
19. Granborough Road
20. Tennyson
21. Enquiry
22. Breadcrumbs
23. Skyfall
24. Kill Them First
25. Welcome to Scotland
26. She’s Mine
27. The Moors
28. Deep Water
29. Mother
30. Adrenaline

CD Review “Lincoln: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Composer: John Williams
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Label: Sony Classical
Tracks: 17
Running Time: 55 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Lincoln” is composed and conducted by the legendary John Williams, also long time collaborator with Steven Spielberg. I feel that the album really captures the essence of the movie. It is also performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Overall the score itself is very simple, quiet and packs a hell of a finale running 11 minutes. Though within that quietness it has this very epic and inspiring feel. Of course there is also the classic call of music from the period like the drums and fiddle of the Civil War. I did feel like getting up saluting and marching throughout a few tracks.

This is actually the 40th anniversary of duo working together if you can believe it. I have been a fan of Williams’ score and his notable signature is found all over this score for sure. “The Race to the House” contains excerpts arranged and performed by Jim Talyor and is a fun track. “With Malice Toward None” is another great track but I really have a sweet spot for the last track, which is a very sharp piano solo of the track. In another plus, the booklet on the CD really tells a story in itself.  It comes stocked with wonderful shots from the film, as well as a really nice and informative foreword from Steven Spielberg. Overall “Lincoln” is yet another successful collaboration with Williams and Spielberg.  This one will surely spend a few months on my iPhone.

Track Listings
1. The People’s House
2. The Purpose of the Amendment
3. Getting Out the Vote
4. The American Process
5. The Blue and Grey
6. “With Malice Toward None”
7. Call to Muster and Battle Cry Of Freedom
8. The Southern Delegation and the Dream
9. Father and Son
10. The Race to the House
11. Equality Under the Law
12. Freedom’s Call
13. Elegy
14. Remembering Willie
15. Appomattox, April 9, 1865
16. The Peterson House and Finale
17. “With Malice Toward None”(Piano Solo)

Book Review “The Godfather: The Official Motion Picture Archives”

Author: Peter Cowie
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: October 30, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Godfather” is one of the most iconic franchises in the history of cinema. The American Film Institute ranked this masterpiece Number 2 of the “100 Greatest Movies of All Time.” 2012 is the 40th anniversary of the film. “The Godfather: The Official Motion Picture Archives” is a nice look behind-the- scenes to see what it was like to make one of the greatest movies of all time. I remember the first time that I saw “The Godfather” and the effect it had on me as a film buff.

This book contains rare, removable memorabilia from the “Godfather” movies.  Insight also released another similar making-of book this past summer with “The Dark Knight Manual”.  I love the idea of being able to read through a book like it is a scrapbook and not a technical manual. I only wish this book was longer than its scant 96 pages.  I would have liked to see this be a lot longer, especially since it is covering the span of the franchise through its three films.  Overall though fans of the franchise should dig these very creative and unique book.

This book contains many previously unseen behind-the-scene images from the Paramount Archives. I mentioned this book was like a scrapbook and the reason behind that is the 15 removable facsimile documents that were created for this including: a poster publicizing the original film, a special leaflet on the prosthetic teeth worn by Marlon Brando, continuity sheets and a page from Mario Puzo’s novel annotated during the writing of the screenplay.

“The Godfather: The Official Motion Picture Archives” is authored by Peter Cowie, who is a film historian who has written extensively on Francis Ford Coppola’s work. He is the author of over 30 books, including a biography of Francis Ford Coppola. Fans of the series are also going to really enjoy seeing the previously unpublished photos from the set and on-location filming capturing the look and feel of 1970s New York. There are also some really great rare stills from the film’s deleted scenes. If you can get over the length of the book, then you will find that this is definitely the definitive behind-the-scenes guide into the making of this wonderful film.


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CD Review “Cloud Atlas: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Composer(s): Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Label: Water Tower Music
Tracks: 23
Running Time: 78 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I have been following this film since day 1 of its production. I had a buddy of mine that worked on the film, so I have been looking forward to this film very much. I am not surprised to say that this score is easily one of my favorite of the year. I am surprised though with the type of music that was used for this film but…wow does it work so well or what?! “Cloud Atlas” is a long film running just shy of three hours and this album is a nice companion, especially running at a nice 78 minutes.  The album starts off strong and ends even stronger, which is very rare.  This is a must listen!

I was a little nervous originally since there are a lot of hands in the pot with this score being composed by not one but three people including, Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil. Tom Tykwer is also one of the directors of this film and has composed most if not all of his films.  He knows music and really puts a unique touch on this score. This isn’t the first go around though for these composers together they have worked together on numerous films including “Run Lola Run”. So you know that they know how to make a killer score.  “Run Lola Run” was one of my favorite scores in the late 90’s. This is completely different score but really delivers a wonderful experience.

This whole album really works as a whole but some of my favorite tracks are the following: 1. Prelude: The Atlas March, 2. Cloud Atlas Opening Title, 21. Cloud Atlas Finale, 23. Cloud Atlas End Title. I can listen to this tracks on loops for hours and hours and never get tired of them.  I can guarantee you that this album will not be leaving my iPhone for a long time, especially those tracks.  I listen to many, many scores each year and this one is definitely such a pleasure and wonderful blend from this trio of composers.  If nothing else, this makes me want to run out and see this film ASAP!

Track Listings:
1. Prelude: The Atlas March
2. Cloud Atlas Opening Title
3. Travel to Edinburgh
4. Luisa’s Birthmark
5. Cavendish In Distres
6. Papa Song
7. Sloosha’s Hollow
8. Sonmi-451 Meets Chang
9. Won’t Let Go
10. Kesselring
11. The Escape
12. Temple Of Sacrifice
13. Catacombs
14. Adieu
15. New Direction
16. All Boundaries Are Conventions
17. The Message
18. Chasing Luisa Rey
19. Sonmi’s Discovery
20. Death Is Only A Door
21. Cloud Atlas Finale
22. The Cloud Atlas Sextet for Orchestra
23. Cloud Atlas End Title

CD Review “Nick Cave & Warren Ellis Present: Lawless – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Lawless: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Distributed by: Sony Masterworks
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Tracks: 14
Running Time: 39 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis have collaborated on many films including “The Proposition”, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “The Road”. They all seem to have the same feel to each of them, though all unique. The film is based on Matt Bondurant’s 2008 novel “The Wettest County in the World” and that novel was adapted into a screenplay by Nick Cave. The soundtrack is a nice mixture of original songs written by Nick Cave for the movie and performances by Country legends Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris along with Grammy Award winner Ralph Stanley (O Brother, Where Art Thou) and Mark Lanegan from Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are best known for their work in the critically acclaimed rock band, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave and Ellis mixed their original music with innovative vocal under the name of The Bootleggers, which was the band they formed for the project. After listening to this album on loop a few times, I did start to dig it a bit more, but I feel it still runs a little too short for my taste. Nonetheless, it definitely captures the essence of the film very well. It also has a real period feel of country mixed with bluegrass. I would actually recommend listening to it and THEN seeing the film, since it will definitely get you in the mood.

The track from country legend Willie Nelson was actually previously unreleased and packs a mean harmonica. There are two versions of Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat”, one by Mark Lanegan and the other by bluegrass veteran Ralph Stanley. The two new songs that Cave and Ellis specifically wrote for this film was “Cosmonaut” and “Fire in the Blood” featuring versions from Emmylou Harris and Ralph Stanley. The album ends on an instrumental track called “End Crawl, which is a brave move but is a good close.

Track Listings
1. Fire and Brimstone
2. Burnin’ Hell
3. Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do
4. Fire in the Blood
5. White Light / White Heat
6. Cosmonaut
7. Fire in the Blood / Snake Song
8. So You’ll Aim Towards the Sky
9. Fire in the Blood
10. Fire and Brimstone
11. Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do
12. White Light / White Heat
13. End Crawl
14. Midnight Run
15. Midnight Run (Buddy Cannon Mix)


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CD Review “The Dark Knight Rises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Composer: Hans Zimmer
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Label: WaterTower Music
Tracks: 15
Running Time: 43 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Hans Zimmer has worked on every score in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy along with James Newton Howard.  On “The Dark Knight Rises“, he takes this task on solo.  It ended up but being a decent but not outstanding finale score to a fantastic trilogy.  “The Dark Knight” score definitely trumps this one by quite a bit, sort of like the film does as well.  Normally, I really do love Hans Zimmer’s work but overall it is not his best work.  I just don’t see myself spending a lot of time revisiting it like I did with his past work like “Inception”.  Also there were a definitely some mastering and clipping volume issues on a bunch of tracks. Despite my feelings on the album, it is still a big success charting at #7 on the Billboard top 200 making it the first score in over 10 years to break the top 10!

The score runs a very short 43 minutes and the only real notable track is “Rise”.  If the whole album played as epic on this track, then the whole album would have benefited. “Rise” also is the final track on the album and in fact possibly the last Batman track from Zimmer.  The song takes it time getting started but really gets epic and runs a nice 7+ minutes. But it is so good I just wish it was longer.  I do see myself leaving this song on my iPhone for many months to come.  Although not able to be reviewed, there are 3 additional tracks available for download and 2 are exclusive to the CD: “Bombers Over Ibiza (JunkieXL remix)”, “No Stone Unturned (exclusive)” and “Risen From Darkness (exclusive)”.  There is also an Extended Original Motion Picture Soundtrack available but I am not sure how much it could improve the overall score. Overall, if you are a die-hard Batman fan, you might enjoy this final chapter in the trilogy…or at least keep “Rise” on loop.

Track Listings:
1. A Storm Is Coming
2. On Thin Ice
3. Gotham’s Reckoning
4. Mind If I Cut In?
5. Underground Army
6. Born In Darkness
7. The Fire Rises
8. Nothing Out There
9. Despair
10. Fear Will Find You
11. Why Do We Fall?
12. Death By Exile
13. Imagine The Fire
14. Necessary Evil
15. Rise