When I was a kid it would have been unthinkable to have Christmas without watching movies such as The Wizard of Oz and Miracle of 34th Street and of course White Christmas. In recent years however tastes have altered and the classic Christmas movies of yester year seem to have fallen by the wayside, and there have been very few examples to replace these apart from maybe Home Alone and then in 2003 when along came Elf, the movie was an instant hit and has attained that classic label. The movie is a must watch at Christmas time and its ok to sneak a few snatches of it when its not the festive season as well. It’s a feelgood movie, simple and charming, funny, and sad, but entertaining and enriching.
And part of the film’s success was the incredibly uplifting soundtrack by composer John Debney, I am pleased to say that thanks to the Varese Sarabande music club, we now have the expanded score at our fingertips.
A release that contains forty-four tracks and has over one hour of music included. Debney’s soundtrack is I am sure you will agree one of his best, and the composer seems to throw everything into the mix to create a classic Christmas sound, alongside action cues and highly entertaining comedic flourishes. There is in my opinion no need to review this as I am sure everyone has heard it at some point, and I am also confident that everyone has watched the movie at some point, haven’t you? The score has always been a favorite and now we are treated to this edition with extra music well, all I can say is Merry Christmas folks, who’s up for mince pies and maybe some egg nog. Or maybe the greatest cup of coffee in the world, ask Buddy.
The movie JULIA brings to life the legendary cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans thought about food, television, and even about women. Using never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and cutting-edge, mouth-watering food cinematography, the film traces Julia Child’s 12-year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to become the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose – and her fame – at 50 and took America along on the whole delicious journey.
The musical score is the work of British composer Rachel Portman who has created a veritable banquet of delightful and scrumptious themes to accompany and support the film. Portman has always been a favourite with film music fans all over the world and this her latest score will I know have many of them in raptures as she again fashions haunting themes and beautiful tone poems as well as affecting and effective pieces of music, that not only serve the film but are an absolute treasure away from the images on screen to listen to.
Portman’s wonderfully lyrical and varied soundtrack oozes class and sophistication plus it has to it a lighter and even a slightly quirky side. There is a delicate and intricate persona within the score that becomes instantly endearing, the composer utilising piano, strings, accordion, and woodwind to create exquisite and enchanting compositions. Recommended, it is a sheer delight. Available now from Lakeshore records on all digital platforms.
This weekend seems to be a rather busy one for soundtrack releases, Ghostbusters Afterlife being one of them, the score is by the multitalented Rob Simonsen, who I am so pleased to say has done a great job on the musical side of things, his score has elements of the original music which was composed by the sadly missed Hollywood Maestro Elmer Bernstein.
Right from the get-go we are treated to a piece entitled Trapped, in which the composer utilizes the Ondes Martenot or at least something that resembles the distinct sound that the instruments makes which of course Bernstein utilized originally most notably in Dana’s Theme, but there are far more references to the composing prowess of Bernstein contained within Simonsen’s soundtrack, in fact it is a homage to the work that the vintage composer did on the original movie, Simonsen takes fragments and fleeting phrases of those original themes and integrates them into his own score alongside his music, and successfully fashions an imposing and spectacular soundtrack. It’s like re-visiting Bernsteins music from the original Ghostbusters, but there is so much more for us to hear and savour. At times it’s a little off putting when a composer makes use of themes that were originally written by someone else, but in this case it is really nice to hear and the entire work becomes a rewarding and enjoyable listening experience.
In the track Chess we hear a brief arrangement of the jaunty Ghostbusters theme, and although it is short lived one immediately recognizes it. This theme or variations of it pop up throughout the score, adding not only atmosphere but familiarity and infusing the proceedings with a great sense of quirkiness.
Nice Replica for example is just forty-four seconds in duration, but again one feels at home because it pays tribute to Bernstein’s original score. Yes, there are also just as many Simonsen original pieces within the work, but I must admit it’s the use of those familiar sounding interludes that hooked me, and I know will entertain you also. Recommended.
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