Spacey Film + Soundtrack Reviews

March 3, 2013 | By

'On behalf of all dreamers, I say GO FOR IT!'

In a slightly weird week, we’ve had news of a wealthy Australian intent on building a replica of the Titanic because 1) he wants to and 2) because he can (which isn’t a spacey thing per se, but is an ambitious dream akin to flying to Mars and back in a tourist ship); news of Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist, who wants to send a couple to Mars and back (preferably pre-married, to combat boredom and the toastiness it spawns) because he wants to make it happen while NASA figures out what to tackle next; NASA announcing its plans to build & launch a prototype ship in 2014 so astronauts can venture 15 times farther from Earth’s orbit than the International Space Station in a planned 2021 mission; and Ray Cusick, the creator of the Daleks, Doctor Who’s Pinocchio-rodded nemeses, dying of a long-term illness at the age of 84.

[insert Doctor Who joke(s) of variable tact / lack of tact here]

All of this happens to be an elaborate lead-in to reviews of soundtracks dealing with aspects of space that have come out over the past 2 years and may have fallen below your radar.

The first two come from La-La Land: a deluxe 2-disc set of Ennio Morricone’s score for Roland Joffe’s Manhattan Project drama Fat Man and Little Boy [M] (1989), which may be one of the most perfectly engineered albums of late; and Man with a Mission [M] (2010), the documentary about computer game developer Richard Garriott, and his 2008 flight into space, as scored by Brian Satterwhite and John Constant.

The next set come from Monstrous Movie Music, who continue to mine previously unreleased / long unavailable scores of classic B-movies: Herschel Burke Gilbert’s incredibly atmospheric (and straight-faced) score for the dopey yet fun Project Moon Base [M] (1953), a film for which I’ve also added a DVD review [M] (Corinth / Image); and the premiere CD release of Ferde Grofe’s still-gripping Rocketship X-M [M] (1950), featuring music direction by veteran orchestrator and B-movie composer Albert Glasser.

X-M was originally released by Starlog Records, the creation of Starlog magazine publisher & editor Kerry O’Quinn, whom I interviewed [M] back in 2006 regarding the production of that LP and his unique soundtrack label, which also released The Fantastic Film Music of Albert Glasser, Vol. 1.

Sadly, they never made a follow-up LP, but Vol. 1 still stands on its own as a fun sampler of Glasser’s work. Krizterland released a full-score CD of The Boy and the Pirates (1960), which occupies the bulk of the Starlog LP, but there’s still long unavailable music on that nicely produced LP. I’ve plopped a mobile edition of the original review as well.

Speaking of that interview: if you read the first part, you’ll notice a teaser for Part 2 which has never been published due to a mix of complications, time, and the problem where several LPs needed for related reviews are currently in deep storage. You move a few times, and things get displaced, but what I may do this spring is gather what I can and publish Part II because, well, it has been 7 years, and I kind of would like closure on what was a great conversation with a pioneering soundtrack producer,  and gentleman.

And briefly back to genre soundtracks, the March issue of Rue Morgue magazine is out, and you’ll find a trio of soundtrack reviews by moi: Tom Hiel’s straight-faced Sharktopus (BSX Records), which Anchor Bay released on Blu-ray [M] back in 2011; Monstrous Movie Music’s great combo Brain from the Planet Arous + Teenage Monster by the brilliant and little-known Walter Greene; and BSX Records’ double-bill of Christopher Young’s Hellraiser I and II on a new 2-disc set. Anchor Bay has released both films several times, including a unique boxed set exclusive to the U.K., which I’ll dig into around springtime  as well. Until then, here’s the prior DVD special edition from Anchor Bay.

Coming in the next few weeks will be a review of the (so-far) superb Danish series Borgen: Season 1, which is out in the U.K. on video and throughout the rest of Europe, but (naturally), nowhere here in North America. Smartly written and really well acted, fans of The Killing / Forbrydelsen [M] will see some familiar faces in this far less grim series (but no less cynical). Before that review, however, I’ll have one for The Killing: Season 3, and if still has it in stock, a review of Frans Bak’s excellent score, now on CD.

See, you can buy the CD to the TV series you can’t see and hear because, like, that somehow makes sense in the wonderful world of synergistic media streams.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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