The movie Christmas Break-in is a made for television film that was first screened back in 2018, the musical score is by composer J Bateman (Skinwalker Ranch, Saints and Soldiers), and although this is a kind of low budget affair it’s not a bad little romp, it stars Danny Glover, who is always a delight no matter what he is in. The storyline focuses upon a young girl named Izzy who is a typically energetic 9-year-old.
Overscheduled and as usual running late, Izzy’s parents are unable to pick her up on time on the last day of school before the Christmas break. A blizzard takes hold and complicates the matter even more, but that’s the least of the worries as a pair of bad guys start to put into operation their scheme to rob the school. The school janitor is kidnapped by them, and it’s down to Izzy to save the day. It’s basically a version of the Home Alone scenario, but as I say for a made for TV movie its pretty good, great for the holiday season, the score is a cheeky, infectious and well placed affair the music supporting and augmenting the proceedings, the composer adding his musical commas and full stops to the action to heighten the excitement and give the movie even more pace than it already has.
Plaza Mayor have at last released the score and it is available on digital platforms, the music is filled with melancholy and at times does resemble something that maybe the likes of James Horner or even Alan Silvestri would have penned, give it a listen.
The music for the second season of the TV series Stargirl has now been release by Pinar Toprak is well worth a listen, Toprak, truly deserves to be writing for more big budget motion pictures on a regular basis and in my opinion is one of the best composers writing in Hollywood nowadays.
Her music for Stargirl is a sheer delight, a fusion of symphonic and electronic the composer utilises a plethora of tools and instrumentation to create a work that is totally engrossing and abundantly thematic. Another one for your collection.
Staying with TV and to Warrior season 2, During the Tong Wars in the late 1800s, Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy from China, immigrates to San Francisco and becomes a hatchet man for the most powerful tong in Chinatown. A series that deserves to be watched, I liked it anyway, the music works so well in the series, and is an entertaining entity away from it, there is a spaghetti western style within it that can be detected via the use of guitars and percussion, these nods to the spaghetti genre are mixed with rock sounding flourishes that pop up here and there.
The scores by composers Reza Safinia, and Scott Salinas are a joy to experience, they are highly dramatic and intense, with the composers putting everything into them adding various styles and sounds as the series progresses and develops with more characters being added so to accommodate this the music too develops and grows. There is an operatic feel to the music, and at times it is as if it were composed first, and the series made around it. Impacting and infectious is probably the best way to describe the scores and their role within the series.
The use of classical/Spanish and electric guitar is undoubtedly the foundation of the work, being embellished and further supported by solo trumpet, layered synths, piano, woodwind, ethnic instrumentation, and percussive elements. Entertaining and moreish as in I could not get enough of it, it’s like Santana, meets Morricone. Recommended.
Olivia Coleman seems to be in everything now, a recent Netflix movie is The Lost Daughter, in which Coleman portrays Leda, a middle-aged divorcée devoted to her work as an English teacher and to her two children. When her daughters leave home to be with their father in Canada, Leda anticipates a period of loneliness and longing. Instead, slightly embarrassed by the sensation, she feels liberated, as if her life has become lighter and a lot easier. She decides to take a holiday by the sea and goes to a small coastal town in southern Italy. But after a few days of calm and quiet, things take a a more ominous and menacing turn. Leda encounters a family whose brash presence proves to be unsettling, and at times even threatening. When a small, seemingly meaningless event occurs, Leda is overwhelmed by memories of the difficult, unconventional choices she made as a mother and the consequences of those choices for herself and her family.
The seemingly peaceful tale of a woman’s pleasant rediscovery of herself soon turns into a story of a ferocious confrontation with her unsettled and troubled past. The music for the movie is the work of accomplished composer Dickon Hinchliffe, who has created a score that is intimate and haunting.
The composer opting to fashion melodies via piano and a small ensemble of instrumentation to underline and give greater depth and emotion to Leda’s story. This is a work that literally oozes poignant and affecting themes and nuances, I for one was extremely impressed and pleased by the composer’s approach and his sophisticated and stylish soundtrack give it a listen. Available on digital platforms.
Swan Song is a 2021 American drama, written, directed, and produced by Todd Stephens. It stars Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie, Ira Hawkins, and Stephanie McVay. The music is by Jay Wadley and its an interesting score, largely fashioned by synthetic instrumentation, the composer relays a tense and at times apprehensive atmosphere with what is a sparse soundtrack, the music never seems to develop as in it does not contain lush or grand sounding pieces, instead the effectiveness of the score lies within its subtly and the composers use of sounds and layering of these sounds, its an inventive work no doubt of that and innovative yes definitely. But I have to say I found it difficult to listen to, some pieces being repetitive, but again remember this is music for film not music to dance to or to chill.
Mathieu Lamboley, has written a gorgeous sounding score for the movie, Les Choses Humaines, UK title; The Accusation, which is French made drama, and tells the story of two young people a man and a woman who meet one night and ends with the man being accused of rape, the film examines the way in which the accusation is investigated and treated, and asks the question should the alleged victim of rape be believed no matter what the circumstances and the accused be treated as the guilty party?
The musical score is in a word Glorious, filled with melodies and overflowing with haunting and lilting tone poems that are instantly alluring. It is in my opinion a subtly sophisticated work, the composer utilising piano and string ensemble to create a touching and classy work. I love the way in which the composer integrates the melody of one of the song used in the movie Nature Boy into his score and creates a alternate version with his original music flowing in the background. Pianist and composer, Mathieu Lamboley studied at the Paris music academy where he was granted five diplomas. He composed his first original score at the age of twenty-five and was awarded for Best Original Music at the Aubagne Festival. Encouraged by Hans Zimmer who praised his work during an ASCAP workshop in LA. He has worked on more than twenty films and collaborated with several directors. In 2018, he wrote the critically acclaimed score of Minuscule 2: which was a grand symphonic work in which the composer employed an orchestra numbering nearly one hundred musicians and voices.
For which he was nominated at the World Soundtrack Awards and the IFMCA awards. More recently, he composed the original score for the Netflix Series Lupin, which has become an international hit. His score for Les Choses Humaines is stunning, engrossing, and beautiful.
Also out just in time for Christmas some releases from the Spanish label Quartet, another edition of Zulu by John Barry, and also yet another re-issue of Maddalena by the Maestro Morricone, both scores have been released so many times I have lost count and although these are supposedly different from all previous releases, I am sceptical about both, and I really still cant forgive Quartet for their hashed release of Rome Come Chicago and also the less than quality sound on Feminne Insaziabilli by Nicolai.
But its up to you maybe take a chance on Zulu or the Morricone, if that is you have not already got multiple copies. The label have also re-issued three Pink Panther scores by Mancini in a three CD set, and the emotive score to Il Bidone by the Italian Master Nino Rota which is presented as a double CD release.