Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The film music of 2010.

Another year of wonderful music come and gone. Well, here goes...

My favorite scores of 2010:

(Danny Elfman - Disney)
Elfman provided a beautiful main theme and exciting music for Tim Burton's watchable-if-confused fantasy.

(Rolfe Kent - Varese)
Kent provided a sweet score for the not-bad romantic drama.

(Christopher Gordon - Lionsgate)
Gordon's full-bodied music made for a promising note on which to start the year.

(Theodore Shapiro - Lakeshore)
Shapiro's off-kilter marching-to-its-own-drummer music is one of the year's great surprises.

(Alexandre Desplat - Varese)
Nothing got under my skin this year as much as Desplat's well-tuned suspense score.

(John Powell - Varese)
Powell's lively, Celtic-flavored score is one of the film's strongest elements.

(Hans Zimmer - Reprise/WaterTower)
A truly impressive score for a Christopher Nolan movie? It was bound to happen.

(Rolfe Kent - Lionsgate)
The underrated romcom benefitted from Kent's fine score, including a buoyant main theme.

(John Powell - Varese)
Powell's return to Mr. and Mrs. Smith territory may well be even better. (P.S. "Going to Cape Horn? Take a Jacket" is my favorite track title of the year.)

(James Newton Howard - Lakeshore)
This adaptation may carry around a negative reputation, but one can't fault Howard's powerful music.

(James Newton Howard - Madison Gate)
Once again this summer, Howard made musical sense of an unfortunate misfire.

(Danny Elfman - Varese)
Can you believe that there was once a time when Elfman's lush, exciting score wasn't going to be in this movie? Me neither.

Other good scores:

Cats and Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore (Christopher Lennertz), Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Theodore Shapiro), The Expendables (Brian Tyler), The King's Speech (Alexandre Desplat), Prince of Parkour...Persia: the Sands of Time (Harry Gregson-Williams), RED (Christophe Beck), Tangled (Alan Menken), The Tourist (James Newton Howard), Toy Story 3 (Randy Newman) and True Grit (Carter Burwell)

Some nice unreleased scores:

Despicable Me - Heitor Pereira & Pharrell Williams
Devil - Fernando Velazquez
Jonah Hex - Marco Beltrami & Mastodon
Morning Glory - David Arnold
The Warrior's Way - Javier Navarrete

My favorite new CDs of 2010:

Batman (Danny Elfman - La La Land): One of Elfman's finest (and most famous) scores receives overdue deluxe treatment.

Black Sunday (John Williams - FSM): A creepy suspense score from Williams, with a pair of terrific themes at its core.

Conan the Barbarian (Basil Poledouris - Prometheus/Tadlow): A welcome (and affordable) re-recording of one of Poledouris's finest scores.

Curse of the Pink Panther (Henry Mancini - Quartet): Mancini's delightful theme for the film's Clouseau surrogate, Clifton Sleigh, is but one enjoyable aspect of this score.

The Flash (Shirley Walker - La La Land) - Walker's exciting music (making copious use of Elfman's delightful theme) makes for a nice companion piece (and prelude) to her career-making "Batman: TAS" scores.

The Goonies (Dave Grusin - Varese): A bouncy main theme leading to exciting adventure music; one of Grusin's best-known scores finally sees a release.

Home Movies (Pino Donaggio - Varese): One of the rare Donaggio comedy scores. Honestly, I don't think I need to say more than that.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (Maurice Jarre - Tadlow): Jarre's sweeping score runs the gamut from Lawrence of Arabia-style grandeur to funky, pounding heroics.

Prophecy (Leonard Rosenman - FSM): Rosenman's exciting score goes a long way in making the goofy horror film seem more serious than it is.

RoboCop (Basil Poledouris - Intrada): I traded up from the Varese CD for the extensive liner notes, but Poledouris's music is just as forceful and catchy as ever.

The Runestone (David Newman - Perseverance): After years of waiting, Newman's last horror score (to date) can be cherished; an exciting work that energized the uneven but entertaining film.

Yellowbeard (John Morris - Quartet): Another release from Quartet (or, as I like to call them, 'I Can't Believe it's Not Kritzerland!') spotlights this appropriately swashbuckling score.

And now for something not terribly different, it's...

My favorite new CDs of 2010...that I don't have a nagging desire to obtain this very minute

Note: These are titles that, for whatever reason (an abundance of copies allowing me to bide my time, an insane sticker price) I may get, but not right away.

Batman Returns (Danny Elfman - La La Land)
Clash of the Titans (Laurence Rosenthal - Intrada)
The Danny Elfman-Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box (Warner Bros.)
Family Plot (John Williams - Varese Club)
First Blood (Jerry Goldsmith - Intrada)
North Dallas Forty (John Scott - FSM)
Red Sonja (Ennio Morricone - Perseverance)
Star Trek V (Jerry Goldsmith - La La Land)
White Dog (Ennio Morricone - FSM)

My favorite pieces of film music:

"Alice Decides" - Alice in Wonderland (Danny Elfman)
"Black Mamba" - Megamind (Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe)
"Dream is Collapsing" - Inception (Hans Zimmer)
"Flying a Tank" - The A-Team (Alan Silvestri)
"The Harvest" - Nanny McPhee Returns (James Newton Howard)
"Last Chance" - Hot Tub Time Machine (Christophe Beck)
"Let's Get Off This Planet" - Predators (John Debney)
"Mistmobile" - Kick-Ass (Henry Jackman)
"Natalie Intro" - Iron Man 2 (John Debney)
"Ostrich Race" - Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (Harry Gregson-Williams)
"Realization and Escape" - Tangled (Alan Menken)
"A Room of Her Own" - Black Swan (Clint Mansell)
"The Truth About Ruth" - The Ghost Writer (Alexandre Desplat)

Unlike last year, I won't be posting a wish list. With all the film music riches that 2010 has seen, I just know that this year will be sure to top it.

I will, however, say this: if a film music CD is to run 75 minutes, it better contain the best goddamn score ever written. As far as I'm concerned, John Debney's Iron Man 2 and Randy Edelman's Leap Year, in spite of some good moments, fall somewhat short.



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