Friday, 28 February 2014

Pompeii Score Review

Title: Pompeii
Composer/s: Clinton Shorter
Length: 44 minutes
Track Count: 16 tracks
Year of Release: 2014

2014 has so far delivered it's fair share of crap in the way of film; The Legend of Hercules is one of the worst films I've ever seen, and I, Frankenstein was not a good trip to the cinemas. Yet, despite the films they represent, the scoring world has been in a state of bliss these first few months. Hercules had a pretty awesome score, The Monuments Men had a score from Desplat which was truly brilliant, and now Clinton Shorter, a lesser known composer, delivers a score to a film which will truly be horrific. You may recognize his name from the score to last year's 2 Guns, which had critics divided. After his name was released as the composer for this disaster film, people were obviously quite skeptical as to whether or not he could capture the disaster aspect of the disaster film. Has he proven naysayers wrong with Pompeii; has he delivered something of notable grandeur and emotional depth? I say yes.

Some will certainly call this another stereotypical disaster film score, and they are most certainly correct! Shorter delivers everything with the bombastic tone that we could expect from this genre by now. Yet still, this is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of work, one that certainly has replay value. I would not regret purchasing this album; it's good fun that I enjoyed listening to, and that's all I can ask from a score, to be enjoyable. Shorter delivers his emotional moments here and there, but the score certainly doesn't rest on them. It's all about those huge brass-tastic moments, as seen in pieces such as My Gods and the brilliant Celtic Rebellion. Shorter just seems to let go, and lets the instruments do the talking. The vocals, the brass, the strings, the percussion, they all go together so perfectly, in a crazy, enjoyable way. So much is going on within the battle pieces, that it almost loses it's way. Shorter manages to keep the score centred though, and he keeps it continually progressing. The music written is quite fantastic, despite the fact that it contributes to a growing cliche within disaster film scores.

The first piece, Pompeii, introduces the theme with perfection; highlighted by vocals, a percussion and brass ostinato which is complemented by strings and the rest of the orchestra as the piece wears on. It's a chilling theme, one that will have your breath away, and it ultimately sets the tone for the entire score. There is a considerable lack of that theme, unfortunately, within the rest of the score. The piece Home begins with a higher pitched version of the theme, but apart from that and smaller samples of the theme within longer pieces, it's not really anywhere to be seen. Fortunately, Pompeii is filled to the brim with memorable, hum-worthy riffs, which I absolutely adored listening to. The piece Revenge has another small sample of the theme, and an enjoyable ostinato progression, which makes for some good, loud fun! All and all, despite the lack of presence the theme has, the rest of the score contributes a lot of fantastic phrases, which are certainly to be hummed to in the future!

I don't like to use the word epic too often, yet with Pompeii, I have to; Clinton Shorter has created something truly epic with this score. It's got it's fair share of quality emotional, slow moments, and high-octane action, which blends together for a fantastic, enjoyable, fun listening experience. What more can you ask for?

1. Pompeii*
3. Home
5. Revenge*
6. Enslaved
7. My People Were Horsemen*
8. Milo
9. Celtic Rebellion*
10. The Mountain
11. To The Harbor
12. The End of the World*
14. My Gods
15. I Won't Leave You

Junkie Score: 97.50
Buy or Stream? Buy

Thanks for reading! Here's some links to various accounts:

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Monuments Men Score Review

Title: The Monuments Men
Composer/s: Alexandre Desplat
Length: 1 hour
Track Count: 25 tracks
Year of Release: 2014

Films with huge, star-studded casts have a very up and down history; so many fall down in the wake of things. The Monuments Men is a film directed by George Clooney, starring himself, among other big names in Hollywood, such as Matt Damon and Bill Murray. It's sure to garner some big press with those names on the bill, although the film has opening to mixed reviews. The Monuments Men is an historical drama, and for the scoring of the film, Clooney recruited Alexandre Desplat, of Skyfall, Harry Potter and Argo, a man who has a taste for classical music. Based on his filmography, I'd say it was a fantastic decision to recruit Desplat; the man is a very capable composer, and really delivers when necessary. Despite the little hiccup that was Philomena, a score which didn't impress me, I still reserve hope for the composer here. Let's see if that hope was in good stem!

The Monuments Men is a score that reminds me of Williams in his prime; ripping it up with huge scores that have that bombastic, bold quality that I see in most of his music. The Monuments Men is just that, and a little more! Desplat has infused his usual classical vibe here, that we often see in his other scores. For a film like Argo, I never saw that as working wholeheartedly, whilst here, it works perfectly for the film's World War II setting. I also see a lot of inspiration drawn from Harry Gregson-William's fantastic score for Chicken Run. It has that cheeky feeling to it, for a vast majority of the play time. It's quite enjoyable to listen to!

This is really easy music to sit down and listen to, unlike so many of the scores that are released nowadays, which require your full, undivided attention until the end. The Monuments Men doesn't require any effort; it's just a very simple listening experience. I didn't feel it an effort to go and listen to, as it was so much damn fun! Writing a review on it is even easier! This is one of Desplat's best work, simply because it isn't a grind to get to the other side. Argo was a very well composed score, no doubt about it, yet I found it hard to sit through to the final piece, without pausing the music and leaving it for a while, before returning. I want to find time, on the other hand, to listen to The Monuments Men more often, because it's just so irresistible!

Like so much of Desplat's work, this score is brilliantly composed, as is one of his traits. Every piece is filled to the brim with well placed brass, piano and strings, that all mesh together very well. When the entire orchestra comes out to play, Desplat makes it worthwhile, and it's incredibly satisfying. He enjoys a slow, but steady pace; we see an abundance of emotional, slow pieces, highlighted by some incredible piano solos. My favourite piece on the card, Heilbronn Mine is a slow, but very affecting piano-based piece, which I enjoyed immensely. Nothing is delivered in half measures here; all the themes and material is expanded upon, even within the seemingly short 1 hour long running time. You'd think an hour would be long enough for me, but not in this case! I'd love to hear another hour of the fantastic piano solos! When it comes to the brass, trumpets most notably, Desplat really shines. The brass section sounds so bold and distinct here, and some of the riffs they deliver sound almost as if they've been plucked out of a 60's war score. Desplat has really managed to instill the nostalgia! Desplat as always, has delivered on the composition of the score; it's very well written, and very well performed. 

The Monuments Men is sure to find itself with an award from myself by the end of the year, and rightfully so; The Monuments Men is a bunch of fun, and makes for an incredibly good listening experience. If you want to spend an hour smiling, I'd certainly suggest The Monuments Men!

1. The Roosevelt Mission
2. Opening Titles
3. Ghent Altarpiece
6. Normandy
7. Deauville
9. I See You, Stahl
10. John Wayne
11. Sniper
13. The Letter
14. The Nero Decree
16. Jean-Claude Dies
17. Siegen Mine
18. Claire and Granger
19. Gold!
20. Heilbronn Mine*
22. Altauessee
23. Finale*
24. End Credits 

Junkie Score: 96.41
Buy or Stream? Buy

Thanks for reading! Here's some links to various accounts:

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Game of Thrones (2011-Present) Series Review

Game of Thrones Poster
Title: Game of Thrones
Writer/s: David Benioff, D. B Weiss 
Season/s: 3
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Sean Bean, Jack Gleeson

It's the most wonderful time of the year, my friends! Better than Christmas, certainly, is the return of Game of Thrones, for another season! Being such a huge fan of the show, I simply can't wait for the next season, hitting us in April. In anticipation for the next big season, I decided I'd construct a review on the previous seasons, and how I view them. Well, here you have that very review, in all it's glory!

Game of Thrones is based upon the books written by George RR Martin, a brilliant man, to say the least. At the writing of this review, I've read the first book, and a small amount of the second, and I can say that they are masterful pieces of work; every page fills you with anticipation for the next, and even at quieter moments, the story sticks personal and strong. And, not to mention, the plot twists and notorious deaths! Martin is now quite famous for his killing of popular or minor characters, seemingly out of the blue. Martin manages to leave small hints of someone's fate, without throwing you the bone. Instead, he bides his time, before hitting you over the head with some shocking twist that will leave you crying, laughing or yelling at the book. It's a way of writing that I enjoy; where the characters are always in peril. Now, with all these twists and deaths, it is quite astounding that David Benioff and D. B Weiss managed to convert these huge books into 3 coherent, faithful and intelligent 10 part seasons, all with some brilliant moments. Whilst a few moments and deaths here and there part from the books for a short while, the writers never stray too far from the source material, and that's what really makes Game of Thrones into something of it's own; it's based upon a fantasy book, with huge scale, yet despite those factors that normally would ruin a television series, Game of Thrones certainly is not crippled. It rises to the challenge of creating a haunting, dark, yet grand series, that has spectacle wherever you look. For a television series, that is certainly not a common trait. 

In Game of Thrones, we are thrown into the mythical land of Westeros, a place where kings bicker and war for the throne that lies in King's Landing, the hot capital of the seven kingdoms of Westeros, that lies in the South. King Robert Baratheon sits the throne, after not 15 years ago he rebelled against King Aerys Targaryen II, also known as The Mad King. Robert's right hand man, known as the King's Hand, Jon Arryn, has died, when we appear in Westeros. Robert decides to seek out Lord Eddard Stark, who is Warden of the North, the cold region of Westeros. Robert comes to Stark's home in Winterfell, and asks of him to come down to King's Landing to rule by his side as the King's Hand, and Eddard agrees, after some convincing from his wife Catelyn that he was needed to do some investigating down South, for her sister. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, to the East, Daenerys Targaryen is being married off to a brutal warrior in Khal Drogo, leader of the horse warriors, the Dothraki people. She and her brother, Viserys, intend to take back the Iron Throne in King's Landing; the throne that they were stripped of as Targaryens, by Robert Baratheon. From these points, a plethora of characters, both noble and highborn, and poor and lowborn, attempt to kill and destroy each other, all in the hopes of achieving the crowning glory; the Iron Throne.

On an acting front, 99% of the cast delivers, with a few exceptions at various points. The main character for the first season, Eddard Stark, is played by the great Sean Bean, who is absolutely brilliant. The already deep character that was invented by Martin is given further depth, thanks to Sean Bean's likability. He's incredibly easy to root for, and makes for a wonderful protagonist. Emilia Clark plays Daenerys Targaryen, and for the most part she gives some really awesome performances. There are a few scenes here and there where she lacks range and menace where she is meant to, yet these are outshined by her so many captivating, personal moments. Mark Addy is amazing as King Robert Baratheon, and perfectly encaptures the crude, vulgar man that makes us all laugh so often. Jack Gleeson is the actor who gets barely a mention, despite his wicked, sinister performance as the cruel and evil Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister, whom is heir to the Iron Throne. He really gives one of the best villainous performances I've ever seen; you just love to hate him! Lena Heady, from 300, who plays the plotting and calculating Queen Cersei is wonderful, and Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf, is sublime. His chemistry with Jerome Flynn, who plays Tyrion's companion Bronn, is some of the best that I've ever seen. It's wonderful to watch their witty banter that never seems to get old. The real stars here, to be blatantly honest, are the younger actors. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, the youngest, ratty daughter of Eddard Stark, is incredibly relatable and fun to watch on screen, and gives one of the best performances on the show. Sophie Turner, who plays the frustrating Sansa Stark, gives an equally powerful and brilliant performance, despite her young age. As you can certainly see, Game of Thrones is very much an ensemble piece, and it works entirely in it's favor. No other show on the air right now has a cast near the enormity of Game of Thrones, and it's one of the best aspects of the show. The acting here is truly sublime, for the vast majority of it's running time. 

The locations for the show are immersive and amazing, to add to the already beefed out cast. From Malta to Iceland, the location scouts have certainly succeeded on finding vast, beautiful locations that have all the details fitted out before the crew even arrives. Malta and Croatia serve as two of the many locations that were chosen to serve as backdrops and sets for scenes set in King's Landing, and they both allow us to seemingly drift into this world. They both represent the hot, humid conditions that Martin described King's Landing to be within his books, so on that level, they certainly succeed. When we move to the great ice Wall in the North of Westeros, we get to see the vast landscape of Iceland, which is surprisingly one of the most majestic locations we see in the entire show. All the lighting is well done, and it really conveys that cold, harsh feel that the North is meant to have. The location scouts need to get a pat on the back, because I don't think I've seen such great landscapes and backdrops for television or film, since Lord of the Ring's fantastic New Zealand scenery. That is high praise worth giving.

When it comes to such a large beast of a project like Game of Thrones, it can be incredibly difficult to deal out time towards all the main players in the show; and believe me, there are a damn lot of them. The first season boasts a staggering amount of individual story lines, not all of which directly impact upon the others, which can make for a little bit of confusion as to what's going on with who if we had different writers and directors. Fortunately, the directors and writers all handle the complex task of transferring so many stories into coherent episodes perfectly, and it makes for an interesting television show. We have Daenerys Targaryen over the Narrow Sea, not even on the same continent as our other main characters, and yet she is an incredibly vital piece of the puzzle that makes this story so involving. The rest of the main characters and story lines are spread over a vast area; Jon Snow, the bastard of Eddard Stark, goes to the Wall in the North, which holds out strange magical beings and wildings, all of whom aren't to make passage into the seven kingdoms. From Snow's story line in the most far North of the kingdoms, to Sansa Stark's story line that takes place in the South. All the story lines may be set out over vast distances, yet they still contain some resemblances; all are vying for, or are a big part of maintaining control, order and power over the kingdoms of Westeros. It's all a struggle of power that we witness in Game of Thrones, all of which allow a number of brilliantly diverse, yet similar story lines and goals. Ultimately, it's a brilliant feat that everything has been transferred so well in the scheme of things. If one story line had have lost focus, the entire show could've been ruined. Fortunately, though, Weiss and Benioff have written the show as to not let that happen. It makes for intelligent and captivating story telling that truly works. 

Game of Thrones is a spectacle not to be missed, one that demands your attention, and receives it. It's grand, brilliantly written, vast and acted to perfection. The standard of television fantasy has risen thanks to Game of Thrones, and that is surely for the best. The next season of Game of Thrones is sure to be good, and I truly hope you can tune in!

Junkie Score: 100
Buy DVD or Stream? Buy

Thanks for reading! Here's some links to various accounts:

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (2013) Film Review

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Poster
Title: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Director: Justin Chadwick
Screenwriter: William Nicholson 
Length: 141 minutes
Year of Release: 2013

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is a film directed by Justin Chadwick, and stars Idris Elba, Naomi Harris and Terry Pheto. It's based upon the autobiography of the same name, which looks into most of Nelson Mandela's life, and the struggles he went through to unite his country, no matter the colour of skin.

To begin, I'll start with the biggest negative relating to this film. Ultimately, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom feels like a highlights reel of Nelson Mandela's life. Nicholson, the screenwriter, appears to have tried to cover as much of Mandela's life as possible, despite the consequence that the film may turn out oddly paced. And that's what it really is, thanks to Chadwick's final execution; very oddly paced. The vast majority of the film simply rushes through most of the story. The first 30 minutes or so, fortunately, is well paced, and introduces you to Mandela in his younger days perfectly, and allowed you time to draw close to the character, and feel his triumphs and failures. But it's when he reaches the imprisonment section of his life, that the film's pacing varies. For portions of his 27 year long imprisonment, we have lingering moments which keep to an idea or period of time for more than a few minutes. To begin with, we watch his first few days in prison in their entirety, so as to be introduced to the idea of what Mandela's life will be like for the next great portion of his life. But from there, the whole 27 years simply floats away, and we don't really appreciate the amount of hardship and struggle he has to overcome in those long years. That was the portion I was most interested in seeing, and it seemed to fail my expectations. The rest of the film, after the prison portion, seems to edge out and resume good, solid pacing, but ultimately, the damage has already been done at that point.

I should leave the negatives behind for now, and point out some positives to be had here. Idris Elba as Mandela is a wonderful piece of casting, and he carries the film perfectly. He handles both the charisma and power in Mandela's younger years, to the older, more subtle presence he commands in his later days, and really captures your emotion. He's a very good actor, and this only reinforces that fact. The rest of the ensemble gives solid performances; there simply isn't one that I can downright criticise. Naomi Harris, who plays his wife Winnie Mandela, is very well cast, and gives a very powerful, strong performance on all fronts. Another good performance to be noted was offered from Riaad Moosa, who plays one of Mandela's right hand men, and he gave a small but passionate performance in his supporting role. 

This film, to my delight, didn't necessarily show Mandela as an incredibly calm, brilliant, soft man all of the time. Nowadays, he is considered one of the greatest men who ever lived, and people talk of him as if he was a saint. And yes, he certainly did some incredibly brilliant, wonderful things for his people, yes still, he was a human, and humans don't always act with the best of intentions for everyone. The film portrays Mandela as someone with faults, but yet still a human who can be looked up to by anyone. The first portion of the film, where we see his rise in prominence has him pushing away his first wife and children, so that he could spend more time campaigning. Whilst his work was incredibly important, it does anger you a small amount, seeing this hard working woman having to take all the responsibility for the family, because her husband is so concentrated and driven upon his work. These faults help make Mandela into something less of an idol, and more into someone who we can relate to, and sympathize to. Chadwick captures that vulnerable, human side of Mandela so well throughout the film, despite it's pacing problems, and it makes for a protagonist whom is much more interesting than he could've been.

The production value of the film is impressive, with some very nice set pieces. The replica of the Robben Island prison, where Mandela was held for a vast portion of his imprisonment, is quite spectacular, to say the least. Take a look around the internet, and you'll find that the set designers really tried to create an environment which has the same properties as the actual Robben Island location, and has a hostility about it, something that a prison certainly should incorporate. The camera work is also very good as well. There are quite a few irritating stylistic shots, with sun beaming into the camera, and close up galore, yet these don't detract from the overall spectacular work of the cinematographer, Lol Crawley. By the way, I'm not kidding when I say his name his "Lol," because it actually is! Crawley and Chadwick work together to create a very beautiful, well executed film in the way of production design and camera work. 

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom tries desperately to capture you in it's grasp, and fill you with tears by the end, but unfortunately, it misses that stage by quite a bit. The pacing is mismatched at best, yet Elba's performance as Mandela is mesmerizing, and the writing is still very good. Whilst maybe a little too long, it's a very well made film, and one that has you invested from start to finish.

Junkie Score: 8.0
Worth Admission Price? Yes

Thanks for reading! Here's some links to various accounts:

By the way, I apologise for my lack of posting this last week. My desktop computer's mouse has stopped working, and I'm much too lazy to get off my ass and grab a new one! Expect at most, 1 or 2 more reviews this week, and possibly a catch-up for last week's missed episode of Arrow; I couldn't seem to find it on my iPod, damn it!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Robocop (2014) Film Review

Robocop Poster
Title: Robocop
Director: Jose Padilha
Screenwriter/s: Edward NeumeierNick Schenk, others.
Length: 121 minutes
Year of Release: 2014

Robocop is a film directed by Jose Padilha, and stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Abbie Cornish, and is a remake of the 1987 classic, and explores the origins of Robocop, and how detective Alex Murphy came to don the suit.

To begin, Robocop has a pretty awesome ensemble. Kinnaman is fairly flat as Alex Murphy; he still gives a decent enough performance to pass though. He carries the film well enough; it's just a lot of the film, you don't even root for his character, something that isn't a good thing at all! I'd pin that on Kinnaman, as the dialog isn't that bad. The stand out performance, as expected, is Gary Oldman as the scientist, Dr. Dennett Norton. He's relatable, complex, and Oldman's performance makes him quite likable. Keaton gives a strong performance as well, playing the obligatory multimillionaire Raymond Sellars, as does Samuel L. Jackson, in a much smaller role. One of the biggest let downs, though, was Abbie Cornish as Murphy's wife, Clara. The character is annoying, stupid, and doesn't garner any empathy from yourself, which is down to both Cornish and the writers. In conclusion, for the most part, the ensemble nature of this film was executed very well, with some performances missing the mark.

This film was written by 5 guys, and that obviously posed a problem. The film jumps around in intensity, seriousness and quality, and it's not good! It's as if all the writers got a 25 minute piece of the film that they could contribute to; the problem is that the vast majority of these writer's styles never mixed together to make something truly coherent. The first 45 minutes of this film, the origin story of Robocop, was executed near flawlessly. I enjoyed it immensely, thanks to Kinnaman and Oldman's back and forth, and the pace. Whoever wrote that first portion of the film deserves a pat on the back, because it was very well done, and had me invested in the film properly. Then the film dropped off in the action and dialog department, and became a cliched, boring action film. What did we get to watch Robocop do exactly in the second act of this film? Well, ride around on a motorcycle, and hit guys with a stun gun. The excitement! The film eventually finds itself a main plot line, one which allows Murphy redemption for what happened to him earlier in the film, which is interesting enough. But, at the beginning of the third act, the screenwriter, which ever one it is at this stage, decided to drop the plot line that had been established and concluded much too quickly for my liking, and continue onward with a new mission for Robocop that had my interest lowering by the second. Basically, the film felt, for the most part, incredibly disconnected, and the main plot line, the motivation for Robocop continually changes and modifies over the 2 hour running time; not something that should be happening!

Robocop is famous for action; lots of blood, lots of guns, and lots of one liners whilst shooting those same guns. One of the most criticized decisions surrounding this remake, is the rating; a PG 13 Robocop film?! This is madness! And whilst it's not too much of a problem, it did irritate myself. Robocop finds himself using a stun gun throughout this entire film, for crying out loud! That's right, a stun gun! For fans of the original Robocop, and it's gory, awesome action, you should stay away from this film. Whilst the action is more fast paced and exhilarating, it's not nearly as memorable, and that is a problem when it comes to such a widely known character like Robocop.

There were a few angles within the film which I certainly enjoyed, my favourite being that Murphy continually has to fight the robotic side of him. He doesn't necessarily have control over his body, his mind even, and watching him try and take control of himself, issue himself commands is interesting to watch. With a click of a button, Murphy has barely a slither of thought that translates into actual action. He can't jump around, take control of his own body, go wherever he wants. He has to adhere to this robotic side of him, which is trying to overcome the human side of him. Watching the inner dilemma that is this personal fight between himself and computer is something which I thoroughly enjoyed, and something that was quite well done.

Robocop is a solid watch at the theatre. It's a fun, popcorn flick which doesn't require too much thought. Yet, the plot feels simply too mismatched to pass, and I hated Abbie Cornish here. I didn't have too many hopes for this film, and I was served correct by telling myself this was to be a disappointment.

Junkie Score: 5.7
Worth Admission Price? Yes

Thanks for reading! Here's some links to various accounts:

Friday, 7 February 2014

Robocop Score Review

Title: Robocop
Composer/s: Pedro Bromfman
Length: 54 minutes
Track Count: 25 tracks
Year of Release: 2014

Remakes are in abundance at this point in time; last year we had the disappointing film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, that gave us a stilted performance from Ben Stiller, and an uninteresting story to follow. Yet still, relatively unknown composer, Theodore Shapiro delivered a very beautiful, exciting score which enthralled many, including myself. Carrie and The Lone Ranger were also in the ranks for remakes in 2013, both of which garnered negative reviews. Both, though, produced some very solid scores, the better of the two being the former; Marco Beltrami's Carrie. It seems that despite the lackluster efforts of producers and directors, remakes can produce some fairly adequate, interesting scores. I can certainly remember enjoying Carrie immensely! Robocop is Sony's next remake attempt, and it's set to most surely fail. The modernized version of the 1987 classic has been garnering negative reviews for the past few weeks, and it's release was met with disappointment; despite the fact that no one, certainly not myself at least, was expecting this to actually soar. Despite it's cast, Robocop will surely fail to prove to us, once again, that remakes can turn out well! But, with a cruddy remake, like I pointed out, can come a half-decent score. Composers who have the opportunity to create music for remakes can take inspiration from previous themes, and build upon them. It makes for an easier writing experience, as well as an easier thought process.Pedro Bromfman is a man whom you quite probably haven't heard of before, as didn't I, before listening to this. I was expecting someone like Christophe Beck to step in and helm the production of this score, but alas, that was a misled and silly wish. Bromfman is taking hold of one of the more important scores of the year, so let's see how he did.

The first question that springs to mind when talking about this score would have to be "Is it as good as 1987's Robocop, composed by Basil Poledouris?" The answer to that is a quick and universal "No!" From the first piece, Mattox and Reporters, you can quickly see how the rest of the score is going to pave out; synthesized music, distorted sounds, mixed with a fairly flat orchestral effort. When you have a composer like Hans Zimmer, it works; Zimmer knows how to use artificial sounds to their best effect. Bromfman though, does not! His music is repetitive, boring, and above all else, one dimensional. So much of this score feels like filler; only small portions feel like anything that really stands out above the rest. Sure, there is volume and catchy rhythms and melodies. But these are short and far between, and it makes for a constantly repetitive experience. Every piece feels like it's rehashing itself, over and over again constantly. Sure, it's fine if you want to use osinatos every once in a while, but constantly, all the time? No, you just can't do that! And the synthesizers; they're horrid! I simply can't stand Bromfman's unpredictable, random and irritating use of synthesizers! This partially reminds me of Jukka Rintamaki and Johan Skugge's scores for Battlefield 3 and 4, both scores which I thoroughly despise, the latter being only slightly more bearable. Both had too much a reliance on distorted, artificial sounds, which seemed almost random in the scheme of things. The same can be said for Bromfman's work here; his use of artificial sounds seems incredibly random and strangely placed. Some pieces have small reliance on it's importance, whilst others, such as the dreadful piece Fixing Robocop, dedicate a vast portion of their running time to put towards synthesizers. It's such a badly utilized tool, that Bromfman should certainly stay away from anytime into the future. 

The main theme, performed in Title Card, is an orchestral effort that whilst short, is quite satisfying. It's fun, full of life, and doesn't necessarily rely on them damned synthesizers Bromfman loves! The only problem with the theme, is the fact that it only gets one shining moment in the entire score, which for me, is a big problem! It's a terrific theme, and probably the best few lines of music in the entire score, so the fact that it gets 50 seconds to shine is quite an issue! We do have various other themes that pop up, within Mattox and Reporters, Code Red and If I Had A Pulse, but these are fairly repetitive, and unlike the main theme, have much too many spotlights. This is a balancing issue that should've certainly been noticed by Bromfman and his producers somewhere along the line; the best piece of orchestral work here is a short piece, which will certainly garner more attention and notice than any of the other themes, yet the more linear, boring themes are constantly reused, to give the feeling that Bromfman is starting to lose his inspiration. It's a cock up, anyway you look at it.  

The orchestral effort, to add to the horror that is the synthesized components, is quite abysmal. Again, everything is so incredibly repetitive; Bromfman has to continually replicate every new riff and rhythm he creates, as to make up for running out of ideas. Bromfman occasionally uses his set of brass instruments to create something heroic and vibrant, but these are too far between. For the most part, Bromfman has infused a heavy dose of edgy rock within the score, using electric and bass guitars, and a classic drum set. It's not good, I assure you that! Vallon's Warehouse, the 15th piece on the card, is full of this irritating rock music, which isn't catchy or fun in the slightest. 

The score will occasionally slow down and allow itself breathing room, as seen in the piece If I Had A Pulse. The action riffs ceased for a small while, and Bromfman allowed time for real development in the score as a whole, and it was a pleasant change. Doesn't last very long, of course! Various pieces also instill some quieter, but intense rhythms and beats that don't totally rely on synthesizers. They're Going To Kill Him is one of those pieces, that begins with a quiet but fast paced rhythm, which was a pleasant departure from the repetitive, slow, heavy synthesized music. Of course, the same rhythm made a repeat showing in the next piece, Rooftop, as has happened numerous times within the score! Based on what we received in If I Had A Pulse, I would've like to have seen more quiet music; character driven melodies.  

Bromfman's Robocop is a boring endeavor, which constantly repeats itself and doesn't have many shining moments. Various riffs will surprise and delight, yet these are few and far between. It's best to stay away from this disaster; both film and score.

2. First Day
3. Title Card
7. Made in China
13. If I Had A Pulse
17. They're Going To Kill Him
19. Mattox Is Down
22. Code Red

Junkie Score: 49
Buy or Stream? Stream

>Amazon Purchase<
>Spotify Playlist<

Thanks for reading! Here's some links to various accounts:

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Romeo and Juliet Score Review

Title: Romeo and Juliet
Composer/s: Abel Korzeniowski 
Length: 50 minutes
Track Count: 16 tracks
Year of Release: 2013

Abel Korzeniowski is one of the best composers in the business; his score for 2011's W.E garnered much critical acclaim, as did his physiological score, Escape From Tomorrow, which happened to one of 2013's shining moments. Romeo and Juliet is another outing for the brilliant composer, and this time, he is given a crappy romance film to score for. So what does he decide to do, you may ask. Well, create an emotional, grand, soothing and heartbreaking orchestral effort, that does well to pull at every string possible. So, on that cue, let's jump into this score.

Korzeniowski has opted for a total orchestral score here; nothing artificial. And ultimately, the end result is quite sublime. The string ensemble is the main highlight with Romeo and Juliet. They have a very high edge to them, that will break some, and entrance others. I'm part of the latter group. His use of the powerful set of strings on offer is really what makes this score. There are so many a time in which a piece makes it's way from humble beginnings, to outstanding climax's, all thanks to the power and beauty of the delicate strings. All masterful work. The rest of the orchestra works in perfect harmony, as well. A minimal amount of percussion work is necessary here, as the rest of the orchestra maintains fluent and graceful melodies by themselves, to my surprise. 2013 has been a year of heavy percussion, but this is an exception that pleases the ears. Ultimately, it's down to the relationships between instruments that makes this a pleasantry to behold. Everything works in perfect harmony, to create one moving, beautiful piece of work that can very much be listened to as a complete suite, without any problems.

The main theme is first introduced in our opening piece, Juliet's Dream. It's a quick, steady theme which is performed by a wonderful ensemble of strings, accompanying a beautiful piano. It's certainly simplistic; I've found that is just how Korzeniowski works. He doesn't need to create incredibly intricate, complicated pieces of work. Straightforward works just fine for the man, and it's just the best thing for his themes and scores. This theme benefits from being straightforward, and leans on constantly building volume and intensity, which is enjoyable and interesting to listen to. We don't hear much of the theme for the first half of the score, to my dismay, unfortunately. The piece, Death is my Heir, though, whilst short, expands on the theme and allows for a small showcase. It's a wonderful and pleasant revisit that I'm happy to see. 

Whilst so much of the score is a grand outing, one that doesn't care so much for jeopardy, a good portion of the score is frantic and full of dread. One of my favourite pieces on the card, Come, Gentle Night is full of quick, constant riffs and rhythms that urge on at a fast pace, unlike so much of this score. These changes in pace and rhythm remind me deeply of Escape From Tomorrow; one of 2013's best scores. Korzeniowski never seemed to stop with that score, constantly expanding and delivering over and over again over the short 21 minute span. It was a delight to listen to! When Korzeniowski attempts to change up the constant rhythm and pace, to something less predictable and more involving, he delivers perfectly. The Crypt, Part's 1 and 2 are perfect examples of this, with their humble, sombre and slow beginnings, making their way towards a quicker, unnerving pace. It's a credit to Korzeniowski, that he can combine both orchestral flawlessness for a classic sounding romantic score, and imperfect, brooding themes for a seemingly more dark and dangerous finished product, that doesn't, at first glance, fit a story like that of Romeo and Juliet's. It turns out, though, that it most certainly can, and does.

Romeo and Juliet is a wonderful addition to Korzeniowski's filmography, despite the fact the film itself turned out to be an atrocious piece of work. It's brilliantly composed, smart, emotional, and covers all the bases that a romantic score needs covered, and more

1. Juliet's Dream
2. Forbidden Love
3. Queen Mab
4. The Cheek of Night
5. First Kiss
6. Trooping With Crows
7. A Thousand Times Good Night
8. Come, Gentle Night*
9. Wedding Vows
10. Fortune's Fool
11. From Ancient Grudge
12. Death Is My Heir*
13. Tempt Not A Desperate Man
14. The Crypt, Part 1*
15. The Crypt, Part 2
16. Eternal Love*

Junkie Score: 99.79
Buy or Stream? Buy

Thanks for reading! Here's some links to various accounts: