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.
THEIR FINEST is a film about people making a movie, well a propaganda film about Dunkirk, it is typically a little British stiff upper lip and has to it a poignancy and a slightly sweet aura and is certainly amusing throughout. Its clever storyline oozes an atmosphere that is at times inspiring, highly patriotic and romantic. The focus of the storyline is upon a couple of young people who are working on the film and via their working relationship become involved romantically. It also gives the watching audience a very rare insight into a part of the war effort between 1939 and 1945 that is rarely given the spotlight, which is that of the ministry of information. The film also has an emotive side that shows us the efforts of an ageing film star Ambrose Hilliard played wonderfully by the excellent Bill Nighy, who is coming to terms with the fact that he is no longer leading actor material and must settle for lesser roles. In my opinion the movie seemed a little too condensed and maybe would have come over better as a four or five-part series for television, nevertheless it is entertaining and enjoyable. The music is by British born composer Rachel Portman, who has over the past few years written some of cinemas most beautiful musical scores. THEIR FINEST is in my humble opinion one of the composers most touching and emotive works and one that mirrors some of her most popular scores such as THE CIDER HOUSE RULES ,the score opens with a slightly upbeat and invigorating piece entitled CATRIN GOES TO MINISTRY, strings open and lead throughout with the composer adding to the mix a flute solo which introduces the fabric of the theme whilst being bolstered and supported by the string section, although short lived this cue establishes itself fairly swiftly and also is an introduction for much of what follows, track number two, I,D MISS YOU is a slower more subdued piece for solo piano, it is a delicate and fragile sounding piece which purveys an atmosphere that is brimming with emotion, melancholy and poignancy. These two opening themes are present throughout the entire work, with the composer presenting them in various arrangements and guises, keeping them fresh and vibrant on each outing. There are also some nice patriotic set pieces within the score and these for me recalled the style of Walton on occasion, especially in NANCY STARLING PARTS 1 AND 2. Overall this is thus far this year one of the best film scores I have heard, I recommend that you check it out.
The music for STILL LIFE is the work of acclaimed British composer Rachel Portman, her melodies and themes have always attracted the attention of film music collectors and critics alike. She in my opinion like Debbie Wiseman and more recently Pinar Toprak and Annette Focks has the ability to create beautifully harmonious music and also has the talent and expertise to write wistful, dramatic, exciting and emotive music that fits perfectly any scenario that might occur in film. STILL LIFE is certainly no exception to the many other film scores that she has written in the respect that is a wonderfully touching and highly poignant and emotional work which serves the movie it is written for but also has life away from that movie and stands alone as just music that can be listened to for pure pleasure and enjoyment. The way in which the composer is economic with the music within the movie seems to lend much to its storyline creating an intimacy and also a melancholic and unassuming atmosphere which gives the images on screen greater meaning, emotion, depth and dramatic impact. Written for a handful of instruments, i.e., harp, guitar, piano, clarinet, violin and a small ensemble of strings etc rather than a large symphony orchestra the composer treats the listener to an abundance of haunting themes that stay with them long after the compact disc has finished, based around a simple but effective central theme which Portman skilfully uses as a foundation to the remainder of the work, serving up the core composition in various guises and on each outing is successful in creating something that is vibrant, entertaining and melodic.
“STILL LIFE” which is a film by Uberto Pasolini centres on various aspects of life, love and also the hereafter. A Meticulous and organized to the point of obsession council worker, John May wonderfully portrayed by actor Eddie Marsan is responsible for locating the next of kin of people who have died alone. When his department is destined to become the target of cuts and is to be downsized May, has to increase e his efforts on the final case he is involved with, which leads him to a journey that will allow him to begin to live his life finally. Although Portman’s score is relatively brief in duration running for just 38 minutes, it has a surprising impact and presence to it; it is a work that I know fans of the composer will adore and also is a work that although meagre in the quantity department is huge when it comes to quality. This release from Kronos is the labels 50th title and is a welcome and bright addition to their varied and already glittering catalogue.
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