Carter Burwell seems to have finally appeared on people's radar after years of being the unsung hero of the Coen brothers pictures, thanks to wonderful scores to movies like Carol and Mr. Holmes. His latest for the Coens - Hail, Caesar! - is about a 1950's Hollywood studio fixer with George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson. Burwell promises a fun journey through the land of movies, with sequences changing based on the movies being shown in production, but has stated it's not a comedy, rather a movie about faith, which makes it sound even more intriguing.
Kubo and the Two Strings
In the sea of animated cinema, one of the real standout studios is Laika, who have produced wonderfully individual work with films like The Boxtrolls and ParaNorman using stop-motion animation in conjunction with CG and other techniques. Their new film is the fascinating looking Kubo and the Two Strings, where a young boy must outruns monsters and gods in ancient Japan while looking for his father's magical suit of Samurai armour. Scoring the film is Boxtrolls' Dario Marianelli, whose ability to define places and times through music is second to none. The prospect of a big Eastern adventure scored with the undoubted talent of Marianelli is frankly mouthwatering.
This may not seem like an obvious choice, but action comedy Central Intelligence - starring Dwayne Johnson as a former geek turned CIA agent going to his high school reunion - has not one but two secret weapons: the double-team of comedy top dog Theodore Shapiro (Spy) and dramatist Ludwig Gorannson, who at the end of last year won many plaudits for his brilliant score to Creed. It's a curious partnership - you'd imagine Shapiro would take the more comedic parts while Goransson would score the action, but Shapiro showed with Trumbo that he has more strings than just comedy in his bow. It's not hard to see why this has a lot of potential, and it'll be interesting to see how it comes out.
John Williams may not have been around for Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, having been on vacation to a galaxy far, far away, but he's back with the 'Berg for his adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic story about a little girl and her encounter with a giant (big and friendly). It's prime territory for both the composer and the director, with Dahl's humour an especially good match for Williams' musical wit. The Force Awakens showed that Williams is still able to write incredible music, so together with a Spielberg in top form and a screenplay by the late E.T. scribe Melissa Mathison, it should be bloody f**king great.
Speaking of the land of Luke Skywalker, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be the first live-action movie with the Star Wars name to not be scored by John Williams. Coming onboard in his stead is Alexandre Desplat, who previously followed the maestro's footsteps for the final two Harry Potter pictures, and who also composed a great score for director Gareth Edwards' last movie, 2014's Godzilla. Set before the original Star Wars, the film tells the story of the theft of the Death Star plans, which excitedly gives Desplat the ability to put his own musical mark on the first of the planned spin-offs. It'll be weird to see a Star Wars movie not begin with the usual theme, but Desplat has the chops to make this a must-listen.
Another entry for Theodore Shapiro, here in solo mode for Paul Feig's reboot of the supernatural comedy with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy replacing Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. It's interesting to see what direction Shapiro goes in, with the original film having an iconic score by legend Elmer Bernstein, notably that great quirky main theme. And then there's the infamous theme song - will they bring it back? Either way, Shapiro's Ghostbusters should be a great listen. -CB