IN LIKE FLYNN – David Hirschfelder


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In Like Flynn (2018) is an early-years biopic of actor Errol Flynn. If the portrayal of Flynn’s life in this movie is accurate then his late youth was just as action-packed as his roles in the swashbuckling movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. And David Hirchfelder’s score ably reflects this, creating an entertaining score that’s action-packed and full of adventure. There’s a fantastically catchy theme to open the score, featuring staccato string rhythms alongside strong (but not overly loud) percussion. Although there are snippets of the theme that pop up throughout, the theme is disappointingly underused. The strong rhythms though are a feature of most of the action scoring, with various woodwinds adding a level of colouration to the drive of the percussion.

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THE FARM – Sergei Stern


A couple are on a road trip, passing through the back roads when they stop off at a roadside establishment, are kidnapped and caged up like farm animals. That’s the premise of Hans Stjernswärd’s surreal cannibal horror movie, The Farm (2018). Sergei Stern, a regular composer for the director’s works, supplies the score to a film that is low in dialogue but high in atmosphere.

The main quality from Screamworks Records’ album is the strong presence of sound design that features as part of overall score. Apparently, the composer – who also served as sound designer on the movie – weaves the sounds of the farm (including the cages) with the soundtrack to achieve a seamless bridge between the two. The score opens (and to a lesser extent closes) with a predominantly musical score but the bulk of the remainder of the score is better classed as sound design. [Read more…]

THE CURSE OF THE BLACK LAGOON – Daniel E. Wakefield


The Curse of the Black Lagoon is a low-budget supernatural horror movie. A member of a search team looking for a German wartime submarine somewhere in the Amazon is cursed by a mermaid-like creature and realizes that he must battle with the creature in order to be freed from the curse. Daniel E. Wakefield’s score makes the most of the jungle locations early on using lots of hand drums to signpost the fact that we are in the Amazon, and he augments the tribal rhythms with a lot of simple waves of synth sounds to try to add a sense of tension. The surprisingly languid tribal percussion is further supplemented with low voice rasps and woodwinds but, rather than effecting an emotional response in the listener, the music just seems to be there.

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IL PRIMO RE – Andrea Farri


Italian filmmaker Matteo Rovere’s Il Primo Re (Romulus and Remus: The First King) recounts aspects of the legend of Romulus and Remus and the founding of Rome. Aiming for historical accuracy (ala The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto), the movie attempts to create 800 B.C. (for example, the cast speak a form of proto-Italian) and the score is by composer Andrea Farri, who previously scored several the director’s previous movies.

Overall, the score is one of grit and an all-pervasive brutish energy that seems appropriate for the film’s setting. The opening “Sarò Io Il Fuoco” highlights the score as a whole, featuring strong tribal percussive elements melded with – somehow unusually – strong electronics. [Read more…]

CRY FOR THE BAD MAN – Franko Carino


Franko Carino – DJ and one-time touring musician with rap rock band Limp Bizkit – has turned his hand to composing for film, providing a synth score for the ‘home invasion’ thriller, Cry For The Bad Man. Camille Keaton (I Spit On Your Grave) stars as a widow who has to deal with a trio of violent extortionists who come visiting her in her isolated rural home.

The album opens strongly with a couple of tracks that features strong ostinato patterns with meaty-sounding synths and various subtle tinklings to add some depth (“It Begins”, “Good Evening”). Unfortunately, it’s not long before these Carpenter-esque tracks are replaced with more ambient-heavy efforts and the listening experience gets bogged down in the various meandering synth washes and industrial gratings of the album’s middle tracks (for example, “Getting Ready”). [Read more…]

LA TIERRA LLAMANDO A ANA – Juan Antonio Simarro & Fernando Bonelli


From what little information I can find related to this Spanish short film, the director wanted the music to be a third character. Juan Antonio Simarro and Fernando Bonelli (who also wrote, directed and produced the film) have collaborated in writing a restrained but affecting score worthy of attention.

La Tierra Llamando a Ana (Planet Earth Calling Ana) concerns the importance of communication in the relationship between Ana and Juan and how it’s necessary to listen to what each has to say however bad the subject. For such an intimate story, the composers have limited themselves for most of the playing time to the use of strings and piano, balancing between lovely, tender melodic passages and a fragility that’s never far from the surface. [Read more…]

L’ORDRE DES MÉDECINS – Jonathan Fitoussi


The life of a hard-working doctor, who is usually able to separate his work (where he sees death every day) and life outside the hospital, is thrown into turmoil when his mother is hospitalized which cancer in the same hospital where he works. L’Ordre des Médecins (Breath of Life), the directorial debut of French filmmaker David Roux, features an electronic score from fellow Frenchman, Jonathan Fitoussi.

The musical approach by Fitoussi seems to be to allow what’s happening on-screen to dictate the emotional drive of the movie: the score is very much based in the camp of setting down a musical environment in support of the story. The majority of tracks sets out an idea – usually some sort of pleasant, repetitive synth rhythm [Read more…]