Movie News

ScoreKeeper's Top Ten Film Scores of 2011!!!

Published at: Jan. 26, 2012, 11:28 p.m. CST

Greetings! ScoreKeeper here officially closing out a rather fruitful year with a list of my top ten favorite scores of 2011. Every year my due diligence is tested as my film music radar prowls the field in search of worthy scores to fill those last few coveted spots. This year it was more a matter of whittling down an abundance of worthy candidates. There are a handful of titles I truly loved that aren't making my list. It's a testament to an auspicious year hallmarked by the efforts of supremely talented composers around the world working feverishly to refine their craft. There are more composers writing more music for more film lovers than at any time in the history of cinema. Bellissimo!

As in years past, I am woefully disappointed for not exposing myself to more films. Don't get me wrong, I digested film with a voracious appetite; however, I know there are plenty more I have yet to discover. This article is a testimony of my passion for cinema and an account of the best film music I was honored to experience in the past year.

What surprises me most is that my favorite scores lean a trifle toward the mainstream. My personal tastes and aesthetics propel me in a wide array of directions scouring the earth in search of diamonds in the rough, underdogs, and independent darlings that struggle to compete with their mainstream brethren. This year appears to be different. There was a higher-than-usual allotment of well-crafted, entertaining, and dynamic film scores which happen to be categorized as mainstream. I think that's pretty cool too.

If you wrote, arranged, performed, recorded or mixed music for film in 2011, I sincerely thank you for your efforts. Every one of you should be commended for nourishing the craft I dearly love.

...however, there are nine of you I'd like to commend a little more.

Let's get it on! I present my ten for '11!
 



 

10. UNITED (2011) by Clint Mansell - This is the only score on my list written for a television movie. UNITED chronicles Manchester United's famous "Busby Babes" which held the distinguished honor of being the youngest team to ever win the Football League. In 1958, eight members of the team along with fifteen supporters and journalists were killed when British European Airways flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from an icy runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany.

For composer Clint Mansell, a story of this magnitude and emotional depth is unique. When I first heard the music it immediately thwacked me in the gut. There's pain in every note supported by an overwhelming sense of strength and optimism. That kind of dynamic duality is difficult to rein, but it seems to breathe onto the screen as a single effortless gesture.

Championing a sound uniquely his own, Mansell has rapidly become one of the more eclectic and interesting composers working in film today. His propensity to sidestep pigeonholes inadvertently placed upon him throughout his career has rendered a broad-based assortment of varying projects. With his latest effort, UNITED catapults Mansell to the next level. His music, while remaining simple in its construction, offers multiple layers of emotional complexity. He remains one of the few composers who I can not wait to hear their next score.

The score for UNITED is available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.
 

 


9. THE MAN WHO COLLECTED FOOD (2011) by Daniel Alcheh - What results from the combination of late classical period strings, brooding noir-ish trumpet, grungy nightclub saxophone, baroque harpsichord, and a rainbow of dainty orchestral textures with a quirky black-comedy horror film about cannibalism?

...you get one of the more innovative and eclectic scores for a horror film I've heard in the last decade.

Thirty years ago, cinema was chock-full of fearless filmmakers and courageous composers racing to craft the next bizarre cornucopia of euphonic euphoria the likes of which had not yet been seen nor heard in cinema at that time. Today?...Not so much. After a while the status quo gets painfully trite.

THE MAN WHO COLLECTED FOOD by Daniel Alcheh is amalgam of eccentricity so forthright that no colloquialism can properly express the breath of freshness it infuses into the air. It is so unique and nonconformist that no score in the pantheon of film music comes close to it equal. While functioning wholly outside-the-box, Alcheh's unconventional music choices compliment the narrative with reckless abandon and the radical eclecticism actually gels it together.

The score for THE MAN WHO COLLECTED FOOD was released on CD by Screamworks Records (SWR-11004) and is available for purchase at Screen Archives. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.


 

 

8. RANGO (2011) by Hans Zimmer - I wouldn't categorically place myself amongst the legions of ravenous fans who gourmandize themselves on the music of who is arguably the single most popular and influential film composer on the planet; however, RANGO is good. Real good! As a film music connoisseur who is partial to well constructed and deftly developed themes, it came as a mild surprise that the crown jewel of themes composed in 2011 was penned by Hans Zimmer.

At the heart of this kaleidoscopic score is an infectious theme brought to life by an arsenal of unorthodox instruments including calliope, banjo, whistlers, kazoo, and contrabassoon (an especially brilliant stroke!). What distinguishes this theme from its contemporaries is that it's not merely a single pithy phrase. It's comprised of a lingering full-bodied prime sentence balanced by a consequent B theme of equal proportion and contrasting characteristics. These ambitious A-B phrased themes are an endangered species in cinema.

To acclaim Zimmer's achievement by simply reducing its brilliance to the theme would grossly undermine the overall success of the entire score which is wrought with personality, color, humor, and an acrobatic development of material not heard from Zimmer in a relatively long while. Clever nods to classic western scores of the past including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960) and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) bring a whimsical and nostalgic lifeblood to Zimmer's cutting-edge music.

The score for RANGO was released on CD by Anti Records (ANTI-87141-2) and is available for purchase at Amazon.com. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.

 

 



7. MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL (2011) by Michael Giacchino - The best pure action film since DIE HARD (1988) is also my second favorite movie of 2011. I have not had a more fulfilling cinematic experience in several years and much of its tip-to-tail grab-and-hold-you success stems from an exemplary score by Michael Giacchino.

Even well-composed action scores can be fairly one-note (a bit ironic considering how many notes are jammed into an action score). The rare exception manages to elevate itself by transcending the simple machinations music relies upon in order to effectively underline the action on film. In GHOST PROTOCOL, the responsibility of the music journeys far beyond simply underlining the action which allows composer Giacchino to craft multiple layers within the subtext of the music without compromising its fundamental role. It provides character to the narrative far beyond a typical action score would venture and skillfully amplifies the overall tension when it's most appropriate.

Since it's a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE score one would expect an overt global element to be prominent in the score. Giacchino delivers by taking audience members to each exotic local to experience for themselves the sights, sounds and flavors of every destination. The entire MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise is rimmed with exceptional music; however, Giacchino's latest opus may be the most pure to the aesthetics of the original series. It sports the most interesting modern interpretation of Lalo Schifrin's iconic theme and uses it with expert precision to craft the overall body of the score even when the melody itself is not present.

The score for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL was released on CD by Varèse Sarabande (302 067 128 2) and is available for purchase at Amazon.com. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.

 

 



6. THE INNKEEPERS (2011) by Jeff Grace - I love a good old fashioned ghost story! From my point-of-view as a composer, a traditional ghost story is the crown jewel of the horror genre. It's challenging enough to proficiently juggle all the various components of a typical horror narrative. Mix in the additional layers of emotion that accompany a classic ghost tale and it becomes increasingly more complex.

Jeff Grace manages to flawlessly capture the entire elemental spectrum of THE INNKEEPERS. It's intensely creepy with spasms of sheer terror wrapped in a melancholic blanket giving the film an emotional weight wrought with sadness and solicitude. He even manages to skillfully weave moments of clarity kissed with a subtle hint of wit allowing director Ti West's off-kilter humor to gel seamlessly with the other components. Not since Alejandro Amenábar's score for THE OTHERS (2001) or Fernando Velázquez's score for THE ORPHANAGE (2007) have I been as captivated, moved and bedazzled by a spectral score composed with such artisanal skill.

I've been following Grace's work for several years now and I can attest that he has not composed a mediocre score to date. His work is maturing at an alarming rate as he quietly stakes his claim as the undisputed king of independent film scores.

The score for THE INNKEEPERS will be released on CD on January 31, 2012, by Screamworks Records (SWR12001) and will be available for purchase at Screen Archives. It will also be available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com
 

 

 

5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011) by Alan Silvestri - There was no single score I was more pessimistic about than CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. I'm an ardent admirer of Alan Silvestri and was confident he could work his magic; however, I didn't feel like the studio system would allow the score this film needed to be written. I was wrong.

Silvestri's score is exactly what I was hoping for. It's a throwback pastiche of ultra-nationalistic American war scores bundled in a comic book aesthetic. Crowned with a rousing theme that burrows into your memory, the music is unapologetically overt and kicks your ass if you decide to ever question its intention. Sounds a lot like Captain America doesn't it?

The score for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER was released on CD by Buena Vista Records (D001387402) and is available for purchase at Amazon.com. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.
 

 



4. HUGO (2011) by Howard Shore - There many things to wax lyrical about the score for HUGO. It's easily the finest Howard Shore has composed since THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001-2003) which is arguably the most accomplished achievement in the history of film music. HUGO reunites Shore with his loyal raconteur Martin Scorsese and the result is just short of miraculous.

Shore's elegantly composed music for HUGO is a window into the eyes of a young child who yearns to understand his purpose in the world. It reflects a life wrought with confusion made clearer by the curiosity of mechanical knick-knacks and the challenge of invention. Shore's lilting themes performed on the humble accordion add an appropriate Parisian touch to music exploding with childlike innocence and shadowy sadness. Even the moderately paced tempi are inspired by the clicking of copious clocks which permeate the film.

Shore's greatest gift is his propensity to express vast quantities of narrative material using uncluttered lines of music that are pure and simplistic. He refuses to bog down his creations with ancillary phrases or congested instrumentation detracting from the overall sanctity of the music. He's a master storyteller who doesn't feel the need to yell obnoxiously to get his point-of-view across. What you hear is what you get and that's all you'll ever need.

The score for HUGO was released on CD by Howe Records (HWR007) and is available for purchase at Amazon.com. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.
 

 



3. THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) by John Williams - It's really unfair. The level at which John Williams is composing film music right now is above and beyond what everybody else in the industry dreams of. The only reason this score is not at the top of my list is that the movie fell surprisingly flat for me. That didn't detract from Williams' acrobatic display of compositional brilliance and narrative prowess.

John Williams will be 80 years old next week. He shouldn't be the leading innovator of our field. It should be some young buck pushing out the old guard with newfangled ideas sharpened to a razor's edge with talent beyond the status quo. Alas, as long as Williams is composing it's sure to be another masterpiece.

The score for THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN was released on CD by Sony Classical (88697975882) and is available for purchase at Amazon.com. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.
 

 


2. SUPER 8 (2011) by Michael Giacchino - What amazes me most about Michael Giacchino's music for SUPER 8 is that it's the quintessential Steven Spielberg score, yet manages to evade the musical idiosyncrasies characteristic of John Williams. This may seem like a paradox? How can it sound like a score for a Spielberg film without sounding like John Williams?

The answer lies in the language of cinema. It's the fearless pronouncement of emotion and irrepressible sense of adventure which permeate a Spielberg-inspired plot. Within these cinematic attributes a variety of musical styles can be explored and still evoke the same principle concepts. By staying true to his self, Giacchino was able to use the narrative style of Spielberg rather than the musical style of Williams to craft his own unique score.

A hallmark of this masterwork is an assortment of infectious melodies spearheaded by a sorrowful theme composed for young Joe Lamb's deceased mother. It's woven seamlessly throughout the picture cloaked in a variety of guises until it culminates as a single unrestrained wallop of unbridled emotion when Joe lets go of his precious locket and says goodbye to his mother. When I first experienced this moment in the theater, I felt like I was twelve years old again reliving the magic of a forgotten 80's film. It reminded me where my passion for film originated. For this I am extremely thankful.

The score for SUPER 8 was released on CD by Varèse Sarabande (302 067 101 2) and is available for purchase at Amazon.com. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.

 

 


 
1. THE GREATEST MIRACLE (2011) by Mark McKenzie - Perhaps it's a bit ironic that nestled atop my list of favorite scores of 2011 sits one of the smallest and more obscure films I've ever written about. While I was impressed by much of what mainstream cinema had to offer, my absolute favorite score of the year was discovered in the most unlikely of places. THE GREATEST MIRACLE (EL GRAN MILAGRO) is a computer animated family film produced in Mexico which flaunts a relatively simple narrative saturated with Catholic themes. The entire movie essentially takes place inside a towering cathedral during mass. The audience for this bizarre little film is never in doubt; however, the overt emanation of emotion conveyed through its music with virtuosic precision enchants its patrons regardless of religious affiliation.

It's apparent from the opening frame of the film that the producers allocated an exceptionally large slice of the overall budget toward music than is traditionally applied. You don't often stumble upon films this small sporting such lavishly produced music. It's masterfully composed utilizing a large symphony orchestra, chorus and boys choir. The result is a potent lesson in how a well-crafted score can elevate a film beyond it's relative means.

Mark McKenzie's reputation as a composer may be new to most film music aficionados; however, I guarantee his talents have tickled your ears for decades. McKenzie made his mark on Hollywood as a master orchestrator for composers including Danny Elfman, Bruce Broughton, Basil Poledouris, Randy Edelman, Marc Shaiman, James Newton Howard, Alan Silvestri, and Jerry Goldsmith. As a composer, Mark has done exceptional work for smaller projects including FRANK & JESSE (1995), DR. JEKYLL AND MS. HYDE (1995), and DRAGONHEART: A NEW BEGINNING (2000).

McKenzie's latest opus, THE GREATEST MIRACLE, is an unbelievably gorgeous score constructed from broad sweeping strokes of orchestral color balanced delicately with a beguiling theme worthy of angels in heaven. His commanding orchestral prowess immediately catapults him among the foremost symphonists in Hollywood.

As a non-Catholic, I was flabbergasted how effortlessly the music adhered me to the sentimental core of this film. These are raw emotions and principles of which I can't easily relate outside the sanctity of the movie theater; however, through the unbridled magic of cinema, its efficacious music grants me the ultimate gift of empathy.

Every favorite score has a favorite moment. For me this occurs when the two main characters approach and enter the cathedral. As they walk through the courtyard with heavy hearts, a soaring statement of the primary theme is played in the upper strings while fragments of the melody are echoed by the horns. It's a sumptuous moment reflecting the opulence of the exterior architecture of this magnificent building. Upon entering the church, the music capsizes as the upper strings sustain the harmony while the cellos sing quietly an awe-inspiring yet acquiescent statement of the theme in the upper register. It's a heart-swelling moment that is rarely eclipsed in modern cinema.

Of all Mark's accomplishments, I am not aware of one that surpasses his latest creation. It transcends the sum of its components and represents everything that compelled me to fall in love with film music so many years ago. I hope Mark McKenzie is granted more opportunities to emerge from the shadows of the legends he dutifully served for so many years.

The score for THE GREATEST MIRACLE was released on CD by BuySoundtrax Records (BSXCD 8894) and is available for purchase at Amazon.com and BuySoundtrax.com. It is also available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon.com.
 

 

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Readers Talkback

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  • Jan. 26, 2012, 11:37 p.m. CST

    WTF? No War Horse?!

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Tintin is a fine score, but War Horse is far and away the best score I heard for a movie last year (and makes for a far more satisfying listen on CD). Also liked/loved Source Code (Chris Bacon), Kung Fu Panda 2 / Sherlock Holmes 2 (Zimmer and friends), Rio (John Powell), Puss In Boots (Henry Jackman), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias) and The Artist (Ludovic Bource).

  • Jan. 26, 2012, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Great list!

    by Xenodistortion

    Good to see somebody recognized the Cap score too (I'm looking at you, Oscars!). Silvestri is a bad ass.

  • Jan. 26, 2012, 11:51 p.m. CST

    What no Hanna?

    by thorshammer

  • Jan. 26, 2012, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Hans Zimmer

    by ObnoxiousCamper

    Zimmer is, IMHO, the best film composer at the moment and is a worthy "successor" to John Williams as the king of scores. The problem with Zimmer is that people tend to focus on the scores he composed for action movies (The Rock, Batman, etc...) and think it's all the guy can come up with. Some of his more intimate scores (Hannibal, the da Vinci Code ones, etc...) are amazing work of art.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, midnight CST

    AGREED

    by unkempt_sock

    He gives the top spot to Daft Punk last year, but completely misses the two greatest electropop soundtracks in years. Hanna and Drive. Weak.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Drive and X-Men:First Class

    by mattgil

    Belong on this list some where.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:19 a.m. CST

    I really dug the score for 'Contagion'.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:22 a.m. CST

    Williams will always be the King, but Howard Shore is the guy for me.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    I've loved his stuff all the way back to the early Cronenberg films.

  • Super 8 was robbed of a Best Original Score nomination.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Shore's FLY opera should get a release.

    by Retlaw Kciuq

    Really wanted to see it when I was in LA. Was broke at the time, though. :(

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:33 a.m. CST

    FLY Opera

    by ScoreKeeper

    I'd second that.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:36 a.m. CST

    No War Horse=Everything you just wrote is bullshit

    by darthpigman

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Shore's genre scores are intense.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    The Cronenberg scores(Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly), Silence of the Lambs, Seven: That's some good shit.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:17 a.m. CST

    Bro...

    by master_of_realty

    DRIVE, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, HANNA

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:18 a.m. CST

    No Drive or Attack The Block?

    by ImMorganFreeman

    Shame.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:32 a.m. CST

    No DRAGON TATTOO?

    by ChaosReigns

    The Reznor/Ross score surely has to be one of the year's best. Ditto HANNA & DRIVE. Kudos for including TINTIN though. It's the score that KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL sorely lacked.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:42 a.m. CST

    Thor & X-Men: FC were SO much better than Cap...

    by expert_40

    ... I know this list is subjective... but listen to "Thor Kills the Destroyer" "Earth to Asgard" "Can You See Jane?" from Thor, or especially "First Class" "Frankenstein's Monster" "Sub Lift" or "Magneto" from First Class... Just those few cues are WAY better than anything from Captain America, which I was completely underwhelmed by.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 2:15 a.m. CST

    Surprised the multi-homaging score for THE ARTIST isn't in there.

    by justmyluck

    The only other 2011 OST CDs I purchased were CAPTAIN AMERICA, TINTIN and WAR HORSE. The wallet was opened for FSM, LA-LA LAND and INTRADA's vault work many times instead and, in that respect, 2011 was incredible. Did anyone else find Giacchino's MI:4 score sort of insulting in the way it blasted *ethnic melody* to sell its global locations in bold letters? If you saw a spy movie from Russia, and the background score was something like Yankee Doodle Dandy for scenes in America, it would be pretty risible, no?

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 3:10 a.m. CST

    justmyluck

    by JADSTERSDAD

    No, frankly. Barry was doing that as long ago as You Only Live Twice.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Great selection

    by DrCavor

    Loved the score to Super 8; it was very warm and nostalgic.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Clint Mansell is unusually overlooked

    by Rtobert

    The Fountain, Moon, and Requiem for a Dream - fantastic scores all snubbed at the major Award ceremonies

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 5:08 a.m. CST

    No Attack The Block?

    by timpig3k

    For shame.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 6:01 a.m. CST

    Hey Scorekeeper, did you see this?

    by Iowa Snot Client

    The score for Assault On Precinct 13 was finished in one day. Halloween took three days.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 6:02 a.m. CST

    I meant this...

    by Iowa Snot Client

    Good John Carpenter interview regarding his film scores: http://thequietus.com/articles/07784-john-carpenter-interview

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 7:01 a.m. CST

    Great choices

    by JIMBOCOP

    The ones I've not heard, I'll check out, but why no TREE OF LIFE? Alexandre Desplat is one of those young bucks (well, he's 41, but that's hald John William's age!) you were asking about and his gorgeous music was absolutely central to the experience of the film - my film of the year, in fact.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 7:33 a.m. CST

    No War Horse or Dragon Tat=Reviewer is a pretentious douche

    by proevad

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Super 8 was awesome.

    by shutupfanboy

    The score was amazing and I am glad someone recognized it.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Let's be honest - Zimmer now composes every film score

    by Mephisto the Great

    We used to have Barry, Horner, Goldsmith and a host of other fine composers. Now every other film is a Zimmer-product and, I'm assuming, every other "composer" is him (or a member of his team) under a nom de plume. ;)

  • I was totally caught off guard by it

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 9:29 a.m. CST

    War Horse for me.

    by Stormshadow4life

    Nothing else really stood out too much this year.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Drive was good....

    by Stormshadow4life

    But I only really remember the SONGS in the movie, not the actual score.

  • I give Reznor & Ross major props for their accomplishment with Social Network -- but Dragon Tattoo seemed like a clear step backward to me. It's all ambience, no emotion. And that sterile film really could have used a bit more emotion. </br> And I love how their supporters act like no one's ever made a droning atonal atmospheric score before. Tons of scores like Dragon Tattoo already exist. It's just no one cares 'cause they're unlistenable and weren't put together by rock stars. </br> War Horse on the other end of the spectrum was beautiful, but not particularly exciting to me. I found the emotions of Super 8 more stirring and the energy of Kung-Fu Panda 2 more enticing. </br> Most disappointing score of the year, though? Green Lantern. I couldn't wait to hear JNH tackle a superhero score... sigh...

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Another disappointing superhero score...Patrick Doyle's Thor

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Considering the many exceptional scores Doyle provided for Kenneth Branagh movies back in the 90's, I was excited to hear he would be doing Thor...and came away pretty much CRUSHED that it sounded exactly like a typical "Team Zimmer" score. The only good score composed for any of the current Marvel comic movies was Alan Silvestri's rousing Captain America. It's like hummable heroic themes are literally BANNED from contemporary action films. Growing up, I could hum the Raiders March, the main title to Star Wars, the Gremlins Rag, the Robocop theme (which you can literally sing along with..."His name is Ro-Bo / he is a cop / his name is Rob-Bo-COOOOOOOPPPPPPPPP")...name ONE score composed in the last decade for an action/adventure movie with a theme as iconic as any of those. The last great hero theme I can think of was James Horner's Mask Of Zorro.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Some great scores from 2011

    by Shawn F.

    There was some really nice stuff last year: Tree of Life, Hanna, We Bought A Zoo and the Artist come instantly to mind. But I would have to say the three I have listened to the most over the past couple of months were Drive, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Hugo. I agree with ScoreKeeper in saying it is Shore's best since LOTR.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 10:20 a.m. CST

    The omission of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    by Mickey The Idiot

    Your tastes obviously, but that was the perfect score for the film - sophisticated, ambitious and beautiful - yet it stands up in its own right. However, like so much else in the film, it keeps getting overlooked. And Oscar nom or not, it won't win.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Captain American had a very underwhelming score.

    by Randy

    I don't know what it's doing on this list.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Hugo was just dreadful, but the score was ok.

    by SmokeFilledTavern

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 11:27 a.m. CST

    No Dragon Tattoo?

    by redmule

    Certainly one of the best scores this year.

  • Those older Barry scores also didn't spare British motifs, which established Bond as *Mr. International*. Giacchino's MI:4 score sounded almost American big band, or like his work for THE INCREDIBLES, whereas those Barry Bond scores were definitely more evocative. Basically, a BOND comparison didn't register even though it is there, as you mention, in a literal sense.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 11:58 a.m. CST

    I have kept me eye (ear?) on Michael Giacchino since The Incredibles,

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    and have been impressed by his work, sp. with high profile work like Star Trek. I think he could be our generations Jerry Goldsmith.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Not The Artist?

    by dukeroberts

    The whole thing was music.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:08 p.m. CST

    No Drive, Attack the Block, Dragon Tattoo, Hannah...

    by Dharma4

    Something's off here. -Namaste-

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:24 p.m. CST

    My own top ten.

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    TOP TEN: 01. Captain America (Alan Silvestri) 02. Drive (Cliff Martinez) 03. Soul Surfer (Marco Beltrami) 04. War Horse (John Williams) 05. Hanna (The Chemical Brothers) 06. Hugo (Howard Shore) 07. Rango (Hans Zimmer) 08. The Iron Lady (Thomas Newman) 09. The Adventures Of Tintin (John WIlliams) 10. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (Steve Jablonsky) HONORABLE MENTION: 11. The Help (Thomas Newman) 12. Water For Elephants (James Newton Howard) 13. Thor (Patrick Doyle) 14. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Patrick Doyle) 15. Rio (John Powell) 16. Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (Hans Zimmer) 17. Kung-Fu Panda 2 (Hans Zimmer & John Powell) 18. Super 8 (Michael Giacchino) 19. Source Code (Chris Bacon) 20. Jane Eyre (Dario Marianelli) 21. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (Michael Giacchino + Lalo Schifrin) 22. Tower Heist (Christophe Beck) 23. Johnny English Reborn (Ilan Eshkeri) 24. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows (Alexandre Desplat) 25. The Conspirator (Mark Isham) 26. Girl Wih The Dargon Tattoo (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross) 27. Tree of Life (Alexandre Desplat) 28. Priest (Christopher Young) 29. A Better Life (Alexandre Desplat) 30. J. Edgar (Clint Eastwood) 31. Mars Needs Moms (John Powell) 32. The Debt (Thmas Newman) 33. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias) 34. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Alexandre Desplat) 35. The Three Musketeers (Paul Haslinger)

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:35 p.m. CST

    @mickey the idiot - Tinker Tailot Soldier Spy...

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    I agree that Alberto Igesias' score for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" suited the film well, but to be honest - the entire movie long, in my mind, I kept humming the superior score from "The Good Shepherd" by Marcelo Zarvos and Bruce Fowler. Guess I just wish "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" had something a little more rhythmically thematic to latch on to. Still good though.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CST

    The Miner's Hymn

    by Jason

    May not qualify since the film was shown in 2010, but Johann Johannsson's sublime score was released commercially in 2011. Only score I bought this year, and on LP. A little under the radar and a bit obscure, but worth a listen. Check it out.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:47 p.m. CST

    The Solitude of Prime Numbers

    by Jason

    This Mike Patton score is also very solid.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Thanks Scorekeeper

    by The Bear

    I always enjoy your year-end best. Last year, the only reason I bought "How to Train Your Dragon" score was because you said it was the best of the year. You were right -- great score! This year, though, I was surprised that you incluced "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol." I found it a very disappointing score. Even the cool Mission Impossible theme seemed to go wrong, kind of lackluster. I'll check out the rest, though. Thanks.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:59 p.m. CST

    RE: RANGO

    by Fixxxer

    The RANGO score is indeed great, and you can hear its origins in a track called "Parlay" on Zimmer's score for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END. I believe director Gore Verbinski plays the guitar part on that POTC track, and one has to wonder if recording that piece inspired Verbinski to make RANGO in the first place.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:05 p.m. CST

    banned_of_brothers

    by Fixxxer

    The percussive style of music that Zimmer and his cohorts made popular in the mid-90's (CRIMSON TIDE, THE ROCK, etc.) became the industry standard. James Horner gave an interview around the time of AVATAR's release in which he said movie studios don't want melodic, "classic" film scores anymore -- they want something that propels the action forward, so many films end up with the blandest version of the Zimmer style possible. (See: CLASH OF THE TITANS, IRON MAN.) Zimmer himself rises above the very style he created and is easily the most prolific composer in Hollywood -- GLADIATOR, SHERLOCK HOLMES and INCEPTION are all great -- but thanks to him, most movies these days sound more like CON AIR and less like STAR WARS. Thankfully, Michael Giacchino is bringing melody back.

  • John Barry (The Incredibles) Lalo Schifrin (Mission: Impossible 3, Ghost Protocol & Alias) Jerry Goldsmith (Lost, Star Trek, Super 8) Bernard Herrmann (Lost) Carl Stalling (Ratatouille, Up) George Delerue (Ratatouille) Henry Mancini (Ratatouille, Cars 2) Alberto Iglesias (Up) Thomas Newman (Lost) Burt Bacharach (Cars 2) Akira Ifukube (Cloverfield) John Williams (Sky High, Super 8) Bill Conti Michael Kamen Alan Silvestri James Newton Howard James Horner Danny Elfman Bruce Broughton John Debney David Newman Joel McNeely Edward Shearmur George Fenton Point is the guy actively pay "homage" in just about every score, many times to his contemporaries whom are getting passed over in favor of him. Giacchino's a talent, no doubt, but he has virtually no originality, inovation are particularly destinctive sound outside of the minimalist piano and disending strings punctuacted with a blast of horn and drum which he established on "Lost" (which is in and of itself "inspired" heavily by the avant garde percussion of Jerry Goldsmith's "Planet Of The Apes", the strings of Bernard Herrmann and Michael Kamen and the minalmalist piano from the likes of Thomas Newman, Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard, George Fenton and Bill Conti). But "Lost" is still his most identifiable work and thus far his lagacy. Michael Giacchino is what you call a "Supreme Professional", which is a backhanded complementary way of saying he's a proficient hack. He's not much of an "artist", you never get the sense that he's digging to deep. It's almost like it's all just a big goof to him and as long as he keeps cranking out "homages" he's a happy camper. Giacchino is like the straight Marc Shaiman, except I'm not aware of anyone trying to compare Shaiman to John Williams. Basically, Giacchino is a very good "B"-composer but for some reason he's getting all the "A"-movie jobs.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:19 p.m. CST

    @ the_genteel_gentile TTSS/Good Shep

    by Mickey The Idiot

    Both good scores, but the Iglesias work was so incredibly well woven into the film. And there are themes there, more motifs really, but they never jumped over or swamped the images. It was all of a piece. Bit like Sidney Lumet - most people don't appreciate what a master director he was because his style fitted the work so well.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Shore does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    *It's easily the finest Howard Shore has composed since THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001-2003) which is arguably the most accomplished achievement in the history of film music. * Wow - that's a bold claim... but I do agree that it's a definite contender thanks not just to the quality but the quantity of work Shore produced for the trilogy. Nice to hear that Shore is still going great guns with HUGO and hopefully will produce similarly spectacular work for THE HOBBIT. ps. Sigourney doesn't take it in the ass imho but she definitely looks like she's enjoyed some sapphic sex over the years.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:43 p.m. CST

    War Horse had a very cliched John Williams score

    by Mel

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:44 p.m. CST

    The scores from DH1 and DH2 are greatly under rated

    by Mel

    especially part 1, which I think might have been the best in the series.

  • I need to pick up the Mission Impossible 4 score though. I saw the movie in IMAX and it absolutely rocked. Rango and Captain America both really impressed me too. Giacchino just ran away with it with SUPER 8 in my opinion though. Say what you will about the movie, but this is probably his best score ever.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 2:09 p.m. CST

    I enjoyed the Cap score.

    by whatevillurks

    In particular "Kruger Chase", "Howling Commandoes", "Hydra Train", and "Motorcycle Mayhem". But I also enjoed the score to "the Phantom" so what do I know?

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Did not like how the ending credits of MI:GP did not use "the theme".

    by whatevillurks

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    So you didn't see Melancholia...

    by Herewereyouwish

    orrrr....?

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 4:02 p.m. CST

    War Horse 2?

    by magazoid

    War Horse is suffering from post tramatic stress syndrome, gets into fights with other horses, then try's to shoot himself but can't work gun with hoofs. Very dramatic shit.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Damn, forgot Marco Beltrami's Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    One of his best since Hellboy. A crying shame there was no CD release, only a crummy downoad.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 4:41 p.m. CST

    to not put Drive or Hanna on this list...

    by Buffalo500

    ...shows what a twat this man is. I mean seriously....

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Once again we have the complainers who only like the rock/techno scores

    by starlesswinter7

    In other words, the ones that sound the closest to the music they normally listen to. That doesn't equate a great film score, guys - it just stands out to you because it's nearer your musical taste than traditional orchestral music. I've yet to hear a score like this that actually serves a film's narrative and emotional needs rather than its basic mood.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Lots of great scores

    by ScoreKeeper

    I love top ten lists. Love reading them. Love writing them. No single article catalyzes better conversations than a top then list. As I said in my opening paragraph there were a lot of great scores I loved this past year. I can't have twenty-five scores on my top ten list. I know what's popular. I could've put any number of wildly popular scores on my list to curry favor with the crowd but then I'd be lying to you. That's called selling-out. One of your favorites isn't on my list? Why should you care? You don't need your opinion validated by mine. It's perfectly fine on it's own. I offer you a chance to check out some titles you may not be familiar with. That's what I look for in reading a top ten list. There's nothing more boring than reading a writer's list that looks exactly like mine. I want to read somebody's list that is different. It's a good way for finding cool shit.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 6:05 p.m. CST

    John Williams saved George Lucas's ass!

    by GravyAkira

    Williams score is by far the best thing about the prequels.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Once again I see the score for Jack and Jill was overlooked...

    by soladeo1

    Hipster cowards...

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 6:46 p.m. CST

    John Williams

    by pr0g2west

    May he continue to write strange beautiful music. He is easily the best. Zimmer is great too, but he's more creative with sounds and tones. With Williams, its about the actual music, and he is a master in most genres. You can't play a Zimmer piece on the piano...but Williams' scores are transposable on any instrument...and not to mention memorable. And I believe Williams single handedly made the success for such films as Superman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, E.T., Jaws. Think about these films without that music...are they the same films? And I do believe War Horse score was superior to Tin Tin...But the opening sequence for Tin Tin is the most experimental Williams music i've ever heard.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Giacchino rocks

    by SaunDann

    I'm pretty sure I'm watching Alcatraz mostly for his score. The show is okay, but his score is so great that it brings it up a notch or two.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 7:43 p.m. CST

    Hanna? Dragon Tattoo?

    by JackSlater4

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 9:04 p.m. CST

    Anyone else smell the stinch reeking off Terrence Blanchard's "Red Tails" score?

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    I actually thought the movie itself somewhat exceeded extremely low expectations (meaning it's still bad, but tolerably so). But Terrence Blanchard's score absolutely did it no favors! First off, The film should have been written by someone familar wiht the english language and directed by someone with a vision far removed from George Lucas's. - I'd suggest Edward Zwick or Carl Franklin. And this project was just begging for some James Horner! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUe0YvyGZI4

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 9:38 p.m. CST

    Thanks for bringing up Mark McKenzie

    by RichardLuzT

    I didn't imagine how beautiful the music for that movie could be. And it would have been lost to me... were it not for this article!

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 9:52 p.m. CST

    I really liked John Debney's score for "No Strings Attached".

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Truth.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 1:37 a.m. CST

    @richardluzt: TY, that Mark McKenzie score is gorgeous.

    by justmyluck

    What a shame the animation is shit and the story looks like Christian child brainwashing tripe!

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 4:55 a.m. CST

    Ha ha hah! Scorekeeper listed Captain America

    by Stalkeye

    What's so funny, is after watching the BD in front of my Wife, she says; "The music is so corny"; "duh,duh,duh,duh,da.." Women.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Wait a sec, you omiited Drive?

    by Stalkeye

    The opening theme alone (Nightcall) should have put this film among the top ten.The 80's style synth BGM was a perfect companion piece for this type of Noir-esque classic. Hanna was good as well IMO.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 5:24 a.m. CST

    Mission Impossible 4

    by LawrenceOfArcadia

    "Best pure action film since 'Die Hard'"... You having a laugh? Brad Bird apologists need to reconcile the film was shit. Utter, utter shit. A poorly conceived and even worse executed piece of garbage from top to bottom.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 5:25 a.m. CST

    RE: "Thor & X-Men: FC were SO much better than Cap..."

    by Stalkeye

    I agree with you regarding XMen FC especially thanks in part to Magneto's revenge theme but Thor? It's only saving gracegoes to that Foo Fighter's song; "walk again" other than that, it's completely forgettable.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 5:35 a.m. CST

    Zimmer IS influential just for this alone..

    by Stalkeye

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-w2yr646XU

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Spotify playlist

    by BikerScout

    With the exception of The Innkeepers & The Greatest Miracle, these scores are all on Spotify. I turned them into a playlist. 8 hours of wonderful music. Enjoy! http://open.spotify. com/user/bikerscout/playlist/19svx HHNXMKWOHwFphiPy7 (without the spaces)

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Remember how everyone got so hyped over "Super 8" marketing?

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    And how disappointed everyone was when they realized the film itself had no James Horner "Cocoon" on it? Anyway, the real problem with the movie is that it invested no relevance into it's antagonist. It treated the Alien simply as a MacGuffin. But then for unknown reasons once we look into the creatures eyes, we're supposed to feel pity for it and completely dismiss the all the distruction and mayham (and murder, I would think?) that it wrought. And I understand the kid is trying to get over the death of his mother by I don't see how that fully translates into letting go of a precious memento such as his mother's locket so that it can go stick to watertower...what? The kid's stuff was mostly good though. Kyle Chandler was underutilized. Giacchino was simply okay.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 12:25 p.m. CST

    "Mission Impossible 4" wad a WEAK, underdeveloped and baffling villian!

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    A major component at judging an action movie's greatness and worth. "Die Hard" had motha-lovin' HANS GRUBER!!! I's say Ed Harris' General Hummel in "The Rock" alone puts "The Rock" as being vastly superior to "Ghost Protocol".

  • really need to give up on life.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 2:39 p.m. CST

    proevad: I'm pretty sure he did mean "abortion"

    by Cyrus Clops

    ...which is one of those non-critical criticisms people like to use (like comparing something to "rape") because they think the extreme and vivid description somehow conveys the depth of their disdain. I find as I'm getting older I have less tolerance for empty, pointless criticism like that; every time I see someone say something's "garbage" or "shit," I think, "How about you give me some actual thoughtful analysis of WHY you think that, instead of tossing around a vague, subjective term with no actual support?" I'm to the point where if I see someone post "Movie X was garbage" I immediately just move on because I know it amounts to, "I didn't like it and I'm resorting to an extreme word because I won't or can't articulate why I didn't like it or possibly conceive how someone else could."

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Antonio Pinto's score for Senna...

    by Noddy93

    now THAT'S some good music.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Legitimate question for you, scorekeeper...

    by Batguy

    I'm not trying to pick a fight at all with this question. I honestly just want to know. If you had to rank the score from "The Artist" against all scores from 2011 (that you saw/heard), what number would it rank? To the above poster regarding MI: GP, it seemed to me that the whole film had a slightly tongue-in-cheek vibe, so for the score to have that same approach to the location reveals seemed to work, at least for me. Just my two pennies.

  • Jan. 28, 2012, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Lawrenceofarcadia

    by Batguy

    I heartily disagree about MI: GP. It was one of the most enjoyable movies I saw all year. The action was beautifully orchestrated. Just my opinion.

  • I was entertained by MI:4 for what it was and wasn't taking a shit on it. I would have saved the IMAX format for the whole Dubai section instead of flipping between formats so much but, otherwise, I thought Brad Bird did a solid job.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Justmyluck

    by Batguy

    That's a legitimate point. I never thought you were dogging MI4. Glad you saw it for what it was. I don't think anyone in their right minds would try to do a 4th Mission Impossible and be concerned with anything other than great-looking action, which is where the movie shone. The Dubai hotel sequence was by far the most visually thrilling moment.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Mission Impossible 4 was surprisingly pretty good.

    by Mugato5150

    The best action movie since Die Hard? I wouldn't go that far. Just offhand without thinking about it I'd say Terminator 2, Desperado, Hard Boiled, GoldenEye, The Rock and probably a shit load of others were better action movies but it was pretty damned solid. What it was missing was a solid villain, which is a necessity in any action film. But otherwise yeah, it ranks up there.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Yes of course he left out SUPER 8. Fuck this list!

    by Orionsangels

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 2:59 p.m. CST

    @ mugato5150 - Apocalypto, Face/Off, Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible...

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    True Lies, Speed, Under Siege, Cliffhanger, Passenger 57, Die Hard 2, Die Hard With A Vengenge, Sudden Death, Air Force One, Executive Decision, Broken Arrow, Last Action Hero, Bad Boys, Bad Boys 2, The Island, Con Air, The Transporter, The Rundown, Tears Of The Sun, The Kingdom, Rambo, Casino Royale... Ghost Protocol was really good, but it wasn't THAT good. Even from this past year, never mind that Ghost Protocol had an immediately foregtable villian, Fast Five and Transformers: Dark Of The Moon's action sequences had more satisfying punch and Tintin's were even more clever. But like I said, I do like Ghost Protocol quite a bit, especially the cleverness of it's action sequences. And Brad Bird IS a genius, there's no getting around that!

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST

    War Horse has to be #1

    by Proman1984

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 4:52 p.m. CST

    action films

    by ScoreKeeper

    I don't make off-the-cuff remarks. I thought it about it for two weeks before saying MI:IV is the best pure action film since DIE HARD. Went through IMDB looking for a film I liked more and I dead ended at DIE HARD. All the films mentioned here in the talkbacks...no way. For me, none of them stand up to MI:IV. And for the record TERMINATOR 2 isn't pure action. There's sci-fi elements in it. That's why I used the term "pure action" film.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST

    other scores

    by ScoreKeeper

    I don't comment on where I would rank other scores. After ten does it really matter? Is there a difference between 16 and 17? It's hard enough ranking ten. Having said that, THE ARTIST was good.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Giacchino strikes me as the type of guy who grins coyly while he writes music.

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Like he's performing a magic trick for his parents or something. Just so happens that I prefer the type of composer that weeps ernestly, wringing his hands and gnashng his teeth in fervent pursuit of willing a musical miracle, as if lives depended on it. That's why Giacchino's tunes are so shallow - he's not willing to courageously dig down deep into the ugly recesses of his soul, feeling his way through the darkest and muck in the blind faith that something beautifully original and transendent lie waiting to be torn free. So please everyone stop anointing Giacchino, he's a gifted mimic not a great artist. The way one can discern whom is great from whom is fake is by the originality that greatest manifest. Giacchino has no originality. All artist stand on the shoulders of giants, but Giacchino does nothing but stand and peer down as the truely great ones leap. Until Giacchino remedies and rebukes that airy nonchalance he'll always be strickly B-List, no matter for how many A-Movies he is employed. Michael Giacchino is the Robert Rodriguez of film composing! ...I mean, technically Robert Rodriguez is the Robert Rodriguez of film composing, but the comparison is still apropos. Giacchino's talent deserves respectful aknowledgement not slavish adoration.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Fair enough, Scorekeeper.

    by Batguy

    I appreciate the list. I'll be checking out several of them. Thanks for sharing your selections.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 5:48 p.m. CST

    I don't see...

    by Batguy

    ...how a solid villain is a prereq for great action. I honestly enjoyed MI: GP as much as I enjoy Die Hard. In the end, they're all just opinions...some of them are just better informed than others. (I do not consider myself to be better informed.)

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 6:24 p.m. CST

    What about Up?

    by Batguy

    Up was pretty exquisite. It was sweet, yes, but it was all about a sad old man's pain. I don't think Giacchino is shallow. Not at all.

  • "Up" was plagiarized from Aberto Iglesias' 2001 score for "Sex & Lucia". Up (2009) Michael Giacchino http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaLegF2hAxI Sex & Lucia (2001) Aberto Iglesias http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0DmANsHQZs Most shameful of all is the fact that Giacchino won the Oscar for "Up"! Shallow.

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 7:10 p.m. CST

    A STRONG antagonist is integral for a compelling protagonist and resonant action.

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Great action must be earned through first establishing the direness of the circumstances and the strength of the opposition, thus engaging the emotional sympathies and temperment of an audience by lending necessitated merit and gravitas to the proceedings. The driving force can be trivial but the threat must be real. "To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions." - Isaac Newton's Third Law Of Motion

  • Jan. 29, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Best Soundtrack of 2011 was Batman: Arkham City

    by HyphenatedWords

    After hours of playing Arkham City, I realized that I was humming the music while I was at work or in my car. I couldn't wait to get home not only so I could play the game again, but so I could listen to the music. So, at first I laughed at myself for searching for tracks from a video game score online. I'll go on record as stating that this score is my favorite Batman music, and, reiterating what others have said, it skillfully borrows from the best of Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer. It's an homage and its own masterpiece - like a Tarantino film transcending what it's built upon. Nick Arundel and Ron Fish have composed music that sweeps and boosts, crouches and cracks, soars and hides in the shadows. It seamlessly shifts from action to suspense and drives the player forward. <br><br> Perhaps my admiration for this score is enhanced by emotional association. A movie provides only input to the viewer; a video game involves the player. The adrenaline and endorphins released during key moments - the cool vistas, the amazing gliding, the fearing for life while leaping from a building to avoid machine gun fire, the crouching on a gargoyle in the dark to wait for the perfect takedown - cement the accompanying music to the psyche, so the emotions return by simply hearing the music alone. I wonder how this score would sound to someone who has never played the game.

  • Jan. 30, 2012, 1:12 a.m. CST

    genteel gentile

    by Batguy

    Thanks for the insight into "Up." I'll admit, my respect for Giacchinno damn near evaporated upon hearing these two scores side by side. As for the action debate, I'll concede to your definition, but damn, MI: GP had some dazzling SPECTACLE. I'm going with that.

  • Jan. 30, 2012, 6:07 a.m. CST

    Best Pure Action...True Lies!

    by hulkiest

    A movie MI:III already cannibalized. Sorry, I must strongly disagree with you, Scorekeeper! MI:IV may have been nice to look at and well staged...until that boring, lazy finale which didn't utilize the chaos of Mumbai at all. And let me tell you, India has nothing but security guards. No one, not even Ethan Hunt could just waltz into a parking garage and start crashing cars without anyone noticing. Might as well have set that scene in an old abandoned warehouse. Anyway, nice slick direction, PEDESTRIAN PLOT. Like Sum of All Fears pedestrian, remember? Where a group of non-Arab, non Maoist terrorists, i.e. non-threatening Nazis try to start WWIII? Same movie. The movie had no balls. A decent score, sure. But it offered nothing new, except some welcome visual fluidity. For my money, no pure action movie has topped True Lies in terms of scope, thrills and genuine tension.

  • Jan. 30, 2012, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Dream House by John Debney is GREAT

    by m_prevette

    Maybe the best overlooked score of the year since it was attached to a dud movie. But Debney's score is a homerun, lovely theme, great eerie ghost story music, nice action licks, an excellent finale cue and resolution...a great score that is highly recommended. War Horse had some great moments but I was curiously underwhelmed by the score as a whole. Dragon Tattoo is horrid. That is all

  • Jan. 30, 2012, 9:48 a.m. CST

    nasty in the pasty is a genius

    by Megaforce

    His name is Ro-Bo / he is a cop / his name is Rob-Bo-COOOOOOOPPPPPPPPP") funniest thing I read all day

  • Jan. 30, 2012, 12:08 p.m. CST

    DOn't get me wrong, I thought Ghost Protocol was pretty marvelous!

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    The action sequences were fantastic, I especially appreciated the way nothing came easy, everything was fraught with complications and reversals. My only wish/complaint was that the villian couldn't have been embued with the same amount of motivation, cleverness, intelligibility, nuance, complexity, and entertainment value as those breathtaking action sequences. Well... and I found the lighting in the cinemtography, while perfectly serviceable, to just be kind of pedestrian. But yeah, I still really liked the movie a lot, on the whole.

  • Jan. 30, 2012, 1:57 p.m. CST

    MI:IV

    by ScoreKeeper

    I agree that MI:IV's Achilles' heel was the lack of a strong villainous personality. He was nobody to root for nor against. He was simply the villain; however, I thought every other aspect of the film was right on target. I loved the over-the-top 80's-ish threat of nuclear annihilation and the acknowledgment at the end of the film about all the people oblivious to the fact that they just saved the world. The Burj Dubai sequence is historical. The sand storm was brilliant. The break-ins and break-outs were inspired. I could care less how Mumbai is in real life. The scene in the parking garage was a violence ballet of epic proportion. That film just clicked with me on all cylinders. If it had had a "Hans-Gruber-esque" villain it would have been untouchable. Yes, TRUE LIES is way the hell up there too. I had to give it long considerable thought before saying "MI:IV is the best pure action film since TRUE LIES." In the end I lean toward MI:IV. There's a camp at the end of TRUE LIES that alleviates much of the sense of worry and tension built up throughout the film. MI:IV never quite had that. I was on the edge of my seat with dread the entire film. That's the tipping point for me...that and the score for TRUE LIES is no where near as cool as MI:IV.

  • Jan. 31, 2012, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Agreed scorekeeper!

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    But I do like True Lies better. Then again I also suffer from acute nostalgia. M:I-4 has some humor, but it's definately not meant to be a comedy. Whereas True Lies is totally an Action/Comedy hybrid, and a pretty hilarious one at that. True Lies does have a memorable score, I just wish it wasn't so synthesized. I like a lot of synthesized scores and I like Brad Fiedel, but everytme I rewatch True Lies I find myself wishing the music had the richness of a full orchestra. Obviously if I had my druthers it would have been another Cameron/Horner pairing. Or Cameron/Silvestri pairing, for that matter!

  • Jan. 31, 2012, 2:04 p.m. CST

    MI4 was barely mediocre, stick to music and leave the rest alone

    by golden tribw

  • Jan. 31, 2012, 2:11 p.m. CST

    You really should have seen "The Artist"

    by cookylamoo

    The score had to do the talking for the characters and it was magnificent. Your loss.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 3:30 p.m. CST

    "The Artist" - I'm with Kim Novak!

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    The score on "The Artist" was very pleasant and fun, but when the very best part of the movie, the entire climax, is set to Bernard Herrmann's Vertigo... well, it really puts the rest of the music in the movie in perspective. I get the feeling a bunch of ignorant awards voters are voting "The Artist" in for best score because they have no clue that the astonishing music that picks up that movie and carries it into a whole other class of film was actually written nearly sixty years ago! Might as well have given Kill Bill best score for needle-dropping on Morricone and Bacalav! I really hope Kim Novak's complaints are enough to get a more deserving picture and composer the Oscar for best score. - But we know the Oscars on the whole and that particular award to be a total farce anyway (Santaolalla!). "The Artist" was a very good little movie, very nicely executed. But dispite all the acclaim, I don't find it as being even close to the years best anything (and last year wasn't even all that stong). However because it did so faithfully and lovingly recreate an authentic silent film era, I do think it's certainly worthy of being nominated for its direction, production design and cinematography. Not score - there were many better scores.

  • Feb. 2, 2012, 3:20 p.m. CST

    "Best score of all-time: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." Agreed

    by Ray_Tango

    When the film starts the music just totally transfixes me and you must watch (and listen). Elfman really was incredible then. Still good now, but nothing on the old days. Beetlejuice is pretty incredible too.

  • Feb. 2, 2012, 8:58 p.m. CST

    I don't know if Pee-Wee is my favorite Elfman...

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Although it may well be, but it's totally my favorite Tim Burton movie! I'd say maybe Edward Scissorhands is Elfman's best score.