REFRACTED GLORY – Bradley Jamrozik & Gabriel Hudelson

Original Review by Alan RogersRefracted Glory

Hummingbirds are amongst the smallest birds in the world and are an ornithological wonder. When hovering in mid-air their wings are beating at typical rates of 50 times per second and one cannot fail to be amazed at seeing how expertly they can control their manoeuvrability, being able to fly backwards as well as upside down. Refracted Glory is a feature-length documentary examining a variety of different aspects of these birds including their biology and the physics of hovered flight. Interviewing a number of scientists, pilots and engineers the documentary’s host, David Rives, examines hummingbirds as being an important example of “intelligent design” rather than evolution. Young composers Bradley Jamrozik and Gabriel Hudelson take on the task of conveying Refracted Glory’s celebration of these small birds. [Read more…]

WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’ – Matthew Llewellyn

Original Review by Alan RogersWishin and Hopin

Based on Wally Lamb’s bestselling novel Wishin’ and Hopin’, Colin Theys’ 2014 film follows Felix (Wyatt Ralff), a 10-year-old boy growing up in small-town Connecticut in the mid-1960s. It’s a nostalgic tale following Felix’s experiences in the lead up to the staging of his school’s Christmas Pageant (an older Felix (Chevy Chase) looks back at events at his Catholic school via narration). However, the arrival of a new substitute, Madame Frechette (played by Molly Ringwald), and a fiery Russian student (Siobhan Cohen) ensure that Felix’s lead up to Christmas will be fraught with problems. For the film’s score, director Theys’ returned to promising young composer Matthew Llewellyn; the director-composer duo had already worked together earlier in 2014 on the horror/thriller Deep In The Darkness. Llewellyn has come to prominence over the last couple of years with the release of two excellent horror scores by Screamworks Records – the aforementioned Deep In The Darkness and another horror effort, Dead Souls (2012, co-composed with Jonathan Bartz). With Wishin’ and Hopin’ Llewellyn moves away from horror and treats the listener to a wonderfully enthusiastic and rich orchestral score, full of warmth, drama and emotion, and peppered with seasonal references as well as some subtle hint of threat. [Read more…]

HAIDER – Vishal Bhardwaj

Original Review by Alan RogersHaider

Indian director Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2014 film, Haider, is an adaptation of the William Shakespeare tragedy, Hamlet. The story’s setting is transferred from the Royal Court of Denmark to the insurgency-hit Kashmir conflicts of the mid-1990s. Upon receiving word that his father has gone missing, poet Haider returns home to find that security forces have detained his father for harbouring militant fighters. The acclaimed film then follows Haider as he seeks revenge on those responsible for his father’s situation whilst, at the same time, becoming reluctantly involved in the politics of the region. In addition to film direction, Vishal Bhardwaj is also a prolific composer who has scored all of his most recent films. As well as penning the music for a number of songs for the film, Bhardwaj has written a tense score for a relatively small musical ensemble featuring piano, strings and rhythmic percussion elements infused with subtle regional instrumentation and ghostly female vocals. Together, the score’s various parts deliver a powerful experience that may concentrate more on the anxiety and unease of the plot than on the action, but which is surprisingly fresh due to the subdued use of the ethnic orchestrations. [Read more…]