GLORY AT SEA – Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin


Original Review by Alan Rogers

Director Benh Zeitlin’s Glory At Sea is an award-winning short film from 2008 set in a post-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana. It’s a fantastical story of a community coming together, drawing on their spirit, hope and determined faith (their own faith rather than the restrictive faith of the church) to aim for a goal that seemingly is unattainable. Featuring local and little-known actors, Jake (Geremy Jasper) is a man deposited from the sea into the arms of a barely-functioning community who are mourning the loss of their loved ones to the recent storm. Jake is determined to build a raft and return to sea in order to save his lover, Tess (Meggy Tucker), one of the many souls condemned and trapped on the seabed. Jake refuses to believe the community’s preacher when he tells his remaining congregation that their loved ones have been taken by the sea for a reason. [Read more…]

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My Favourite Scores – 1942


  • Kings Row
  • Erich Wolfgang Korngold
  • Varèse Sarabande / 1991 / 48:10

According to Korngold’s son, George, thousands of filmgoers wrote to the composer to express their enjoyment of his score. And listening to this re-recording from Charles Gerhardt/The National Philharmonic Orchestra it is easy to hear what all the fuss was about. Right from the outset, Korngold’s fanfaric theme grabs the attention immediately and for me it is Korngold’s themes and leitmotifs contained in this score that is the attraction.

This version (subsequently, Film Score Monthly have gone on to release the original soundtrack recording – that I have yet to hear) has been arranged as a couple of symphonic suites and the quality of Korngold’s music means that this is not a problem. [Read more…]

ROUGE IN LOVE – George Shaw


Original Review by Alan Rogers

Rouge In Love is a 10-minute YouTube video directed by Evan Jackson Leong and Michelle Phan, starring Michelle Phan who plays a girl visiting Paris where she comes to the aid of an unknown guy who falls at her feet after having been seen fleeing from an unknown peril. What then transpires is the usual boy meets girl, boy loses girl and then boy trying to find the girl again. At its heart, the film is a love story and it calls for an effective, romantic score particularly as – save for one single word – the film has no dialogue. The directors turned to talented composer George Shaw, who succeeds in giving the film an emotional heart with a lushly romantic score for string ensemble and piano that is based around a strong main theme. [Read more…]

CHILLERAMA: ZOM-B MOVIE – Bear McCreary


Original Review by Alan Rogers (First uploaded at maintitles.net)

I don’t really enjoy Jerry Goldsmith’s scores for films such as Gremlins/Gremlins 2: The New Batch and The ‘burbs. I state this straight off because, in my opinion, anyone who appreciates scores such as these that heavily feature Goldsmith’s use of synths will enjoy Bear McCreary’s score for Chillerama: Zom-B Movie. Those who don’t enjoy scores such as this may struggle to truly appreciate what McCreary has tried to do in this score. Director Joe Lynch’s Zom-B Movie is a “wrap-around” segment for the anthology movie, Chillerama, a movie that has recently been doing the rounds at various drive-in movie theatres prior to its release at the end of November 2011 on DVD/Blu-ray. Lynch again turns to composer Bear McCreary (their previous collaboration was for the straight-to-video sequel Wrong Turn 2: Dead End) and, from all accounts they had a whale of a time on a project that fits nicely into the Creepshow, Tales From The Darkside and Twilight Zone: The Movie genre of horror anthology movies. [Read more…]

THE BEAUTY OF A SECOND – Marcus Loeber


Original Review by Alan Rogers

The Beauty of A Second was an online competition that ran over the course of several months towards the end of 2011. Essentially a method to drive interest in Montblanc’s new chronograph watch, the Nicholas Rieussec, people were invited to “seize the moment” and create a one-second video (using any digital format) on any subject so long as the video highlighted the “beauty of a second”. As well as the individual 3300 videos submitted, people were also invited to choose between 2-60 of the videos and create a playlist (which were also judged). As part of the creative process for these playlists, people were invited to choose music from Montblanc’s audio library. The album The Beauty of A Second features 12 cues composed by German composer Marcus Loeber that were used to accompanying many of the video playlists, as well as during some of the internet-based promotional material (“Nicolas Rieussec (Original Theme)”). [Read more…]

My Favourite Scores – 1941


  • Citizen Kane
  • Bernard Herrmann
  • Varese Sarabande / 1999 / 52:45 

This is a difficult choice for this year as there’s not one that really stands out for selection. Herrmann’s score is rightly seen as a landmark score at a time where film in general was being experimented with by innovative directors such as Citizen Kane‘s director, Orson Welles.

I am not expert enough in film history or theory to understand whether Herrmann’s experience in composing for radio put him in good stead for Welles’ directing style for this film, but Herrmann’s use of the short cue that was particularly effective at bridging scenes is a technique frequently in radio. [Read more…]

LE SYSTÈME OCTOGON – Patrice Mestral


Original Review by Alan Rogers

The French documentary film Le Système Octogon is based upon the thesis formedby two investigative journalists (Fabrizio Calvi and Frank Garbely) who suggest that as World War II drew to a close a significant amount of Nazi gold was hidden away only to resurface – after the war had ended – to help fund the German political party, the Christian Democratic Union and to have further wide-reaching influences within political circles over the decades after the war. A major part of the network, the “Octogon Trust” was a front company set up by an arms dealer and it functioned as the channel for this secret funding. Using archive footage from the remnants of war-torn Germany, plus photos and expert interviews, director Jean-Michel Meurice weaves a narrative that describes the extent of this far-reaching corruption and details the role former Nazis and the Nazi finances played in the whole system. [Read more…]