Original Review by Alan RogersPanda

Wastelander Panda: Exile (2014) is an unusual beast. The most recent creation of a larger Wastelander story arc, it’s an Australian 6-part series of 10 minute episodes that follows a family of anthropomorphic pandas across a post-apocalyptic world (think Mad Max) in search of a young girl. Isaac (together with his mother and brother) must find this girl to replace the one he killed at the beginning of the story. Children are a great commodity because of their child-bearing potential and, so that the exiled family can return to Legion (the self-contained human settlement from which they were exiled) Isaac must return with a replacement. So, Wastelander Panda: Exile is essentially a story of a violent panda’s quest to kidnap a human child. Director Victoria Cocks has created quite a dark and violent world where the presence of the pandas is played completely straight. The score is composed by Australian Christopher Larkin.

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THE HIDING PLACE – Jared DePasquale

Original Review by Alan RogersThe Hiding Place

The best-selling 1971 book, The Hiding Place, is the true story account of the efforts of the ten Boom family to help their persecuted Jewish friends after The Netherlands is invaded by the Nazis in 1940. The book recounts Corrie ten Boom’s perspective as the family home and business become a hiding place for the refugees. However, they are betrayed, Corrie along with her father, Casper and Betsie, are transported to a series of concentration camps. This review here is related to the American Christian organisation Focus On The Family’s three-and-a-half hour “Radio Theatre” audio drama adaptation based on the best-selling book. Recorded both in the UK and The Netherlands, the drama stars a number of British actors including Wendy Craig, Isla Blair and Alec McCowen and features an impressive score by Jared DePasquale. DePasquale, who studied under Joseph LoDuca in the mid-1990s, is a composer and orchestrator with over 25 years’ experience writing music for numerous projects for film and television and is a regular contributor to the Radio Theatre audio drama series productions. [Read more…]

NAEDELEI – Dan Heflin

NaedeleiOriginal Review by Alan Rogers

Naedelei is a 30-minute drama, written and directed by Dan Heflin, inspired by the German tale of Lorelei, a Siren maiden of the River Rhine who, after being betrayed by her lover, lures unsuspecting men to a watery grave. Transferred to small-town America where there are legends of men being lured to their death by the ghostly figure of Naedelei (Kristin Hunter), the film centres on Ronnie (Doug Noe) who has recently arrived in town for his nephew’s wedding. It’s not long before Ronnie starts having strange dreams that are inhabited by Naedelei and he soon realises that his nephew is in danger from the Siren of the legend. [Read more…]

My Favourite Scores – 1944

Double indemnity

  • Double Indemnity
  • Miklós Rózsa
  • Koch Records / 1997 / 26:26

This is Rózsa at his film noir best – probably. James Sedares & the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s accomplished suite starts off with the well-known title theme that, from the outset of the score, tells the vigilant audience that no-one is going to emerge from the film happily. Although the score is devoid of much “action music”, there are several memorable themes that deliver the required emotional responses: a “full-on” love theme and a restless “film noir-ish” theme/motif. The score oozes many of the trademark sounds that goes to make up the so-called “Rózsa Sound.” [Read more…]

My Favourite Scores – 1943

For Whom the bell Tolls

  • For Whom The Bell Tolls
  • Victor Young
  • Classic Soundtrack Collector / 2013 / 58:49

I first came across Young’s Oscar-nominated score for For Whom The Bell Tolls as an 8-minute suite which was featured on the excellent Koch International Classics CD, “Shane: A Tribute To Victor Young” (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Kaufman). Listening to almost an hour of the original score highlights the quality of Young’s score.

Drawing from a number of influences, For Whom The Bell Tolls also covers a number of different emotions delivering a varied listen. [Read more…]

BY THE WINTER SEA – Jesper Hansen

Original Review by Alan Rogers

A short film set during World War II, director Philips Stevens’ By The Winter Sea follows the progress of Ada (Helen Victor) who leaves her home in London to join the Women’s Land Army, to work on a farm on the Lincolnshire coast. She soon realises that the life of a “Land Girl” is not the one portrayed on the posters but with the help of fellow Londoner and Land Girl Jean (Sarah Whitehouse), she eventually falls in love with her new life. Danish composer Jesper Hansen continues his association with the Lincolnshire-based film production company Red Dog Film and provides a sparse but tender score based around a small ensemble of fiddle and piano with embellishments (e.g., harp, snare drum). The first main component to the score is an Celtic/folk-inspired theme played on solo fiddle (“Main Title – The Journey”). [Read more…]

PHASE 7 – Guillermo Guareschi

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

First-time feature director Nicolás Goldbart’s Argentinian tongue-in-cheek, end-of-the-world thriller Phase 7 focuses on a couple who are quarantined in their apartment block when a deadly worldwide epidemic reaches Argentina. Rather than dwelling on the usual shocks of a deteriorating populous, Goldbart’s film concentrates more on how the band of trapped neighbours cope with their situation. Naturally, after everything starts off so well, tensions between everyone begin to appear as the residents get a bit stir crazy and things get out of control when one of the neighbours starts on a shooting spree. The director wanted a specific sound for the music in the film and asked fellow Argentinian Guillermo Guareschi for a “big synth driven score in the 80s style”. What the composer (a writer of scores for successful Argentinian TV shows and blockbuster films) delivers is a score that would not be out of place alongside the late-1970s/1980s scores of the likes of John Carpenter and Richard Band. [Read more…]