Soundtrack - Gladiator -Hans Zimmer/Lisa Gerrard – This dramatic instrumental album accompanies one of my favorite movies. It accompanies the movie perfectly, and I’ll freely admit that whether I like a movie often has as much to do with the music as it does the plot or characters. Perhaps I should say that the movie accompanies the music perfectly. Many of my favorites here are those written by Dead Can Dance member Lisa Gerrard, especially Elysium and Now We Are Free, the stirring end-credits tune. Zimmer’s The Battle has some inspired moments, but is too long as a standalone tune. Much of it is a lesser retread of Holst’s Mars: Bringer of War. 4 stars
Soundtrack – Gosford Park – Patrick Doyle – Gosford Park is a movie about a murder during a party at a Victorian-style English manse in the early 20th century. The soundtrack alternates between period vocal-and-piano pieces, performed by one of the partygoers; and somber, minor-key ruminations that lent to the mysterious air of the movie. The trick is that both aspects actually work for me. The latter is more my style, and is no surprise, but the former are fun and engaging as well. 4 stars
Soundtrack - The Last of the Mohicans – Trevor Jones/Randy Edelman – This album has accompanied me through the last half of my life. I can listen to it attentively, as background music, or before bed. I remember the night after I went to my first concert (Smashing Pumpkins), my ears were ringing badly. I listened to it on cassette in my Sony Walkman to try and drown out the noise… but the walkman kept randomly clicking off and reawakening me. And I still listen regularly. Strings are the lead voice for much of the soundtrack, but there’s such a grandeur, drama, and beauty to it, it easily stands among the best soundtracks. 5 stars
Soundtrack – Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring – This is a very pretty album, with memorable themes pertaining to the Shire and the Fellowship, and with a sublime, moving end-credits song, Enya’s May It Be. 3.5 stars
Soundtrack – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – The second installment in the soundtrack series is largely inessential, as it mostly rehashes themes already introduced more expansively in the predecessor. You may remember the editing pace of the Two Towers, at least in its cinema form, was frenetic. The soundtrack is the same; we segue multiple times between different themes in each track, as different characters arrive in the scene. Also, there are too many suspense-sound-effect passages to make it a good listen. The most notable addition here is the beautiful theme of the Rohirrim, but even that isn’t given proper time to develop. 2.5 stars
Soundtrack – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – The third installment is more of the same, but with the notable addition of Annie Lennox’s masterful performance of the credits song, Into the West. 3 stars
Next Up – Various Artists (Part 3 of 5) – pirate songs, a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack, new wave, and sci-fi.