The film The Sandpiper is best-remembered today for Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow of Your Smile". Its soundtrack CD has 11 pieces on it, ten of which are variations of that one melody. Other than a straightforward version of the theme that features a vocal group, Jack Sheldon's trumpet is prominent throughout much of the haunting score; the one exception to the moody music is the brief R&Bish "Bird Bath" which was used in a nightclub scene. Otherwise this CD's value to listeners depends largely on how much one enjoys "The Shadow of Your Smile".
The soundtrack to Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter boasts an expansive folk/international mix tailored made for the film's atmospheric study of loss and guilt. Featuring original material by Mychael Danna, the disc spotlights the wan vocal talents of Sarah Polley (who also appears in the film and contributes some music and lyrics here) enveloped in lean and ethereal backdrops; the accompaniment comes courtesy of the Toronto Consort and a combo that includes Danna on Harmonium and Kim Deschamps on pedal steel. Also on hand are ney player extraordinaire Hossein Omoumi and flautist Ron Korb, both of whom fit snug on the many Middle Eastern-flavored sides they guest on. In addition to the Danna material, the soundtrack also features numbers by Jane Siberry and the Tragically Hip.
The soundtrack for About Time, the 2013 British romantic comedy from Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis, dutifully reflects its story's time travel premise with a 17-song set of (mostly) previously released selections from the likes of The Killers ("Mr. Brightside"), Groove Armada ("At the River"), Amy Winehouse ("Back to Black"), and Nick Cave ("Into My Arms"). Ben Folds offers up a new, heavily orchestrated version of his sentimental 2001 ballad "The Luckiest," while ex-Dream Academy mastermind Nick Laird Clowes offers up a pair of wistful piano pieces ("Golborne Road" and "The About Time Theme") from his evocative score.
Another of John Barry's smouldering, moody thriller scores (Body Heat etc.), the kind of thing he does with a good deal of charm and edgy romanticism. Naturally for his legion of admirers this will be a most welcome treat, although to be entirely frank it is not one of his most distinctive soundtracks. While it hits all of the expected marks with the required poise and professionalism it also lacks freshness and at times sounds a little too much like recycled material (which with this composer admittedly always remains polished and likeable). Given these general musings and vague criticisms we are still left with a valuable addition to the wealth of John Barry work now available, something that is to be appreciated and I am certainly not complaining. (MWI)
When veteran film composer Mychael Danna entered 2006, he probably thought his tradition-drenched, Renaissance-inspired score to this film about the opening chapter of "the greatest story ever told" would be heard by more people than the quirkier one he wrote for Little Miss Sunshine. But Sunshine was a Best Picture Oscar nominee and this one proved to be just a reasonably popular Jesus story. Recorded in Los Angeles, The Nativity Story score artfully blends native Middle Eastern instruments like Persian and Turkish ney flutes with more traditional pre-Baroque European ones like the viola de gamba, vielle, harp, and recorders. Danna's dual intent seemed to be to ground the story in its geographical roots while also underscoring the power the story had over the Western world in subsequent centuries.
The original soundtrack for Neil LaBute's Nurse Betty features innocent, classic pop songs that capture the sweetly delusional state of the film's title character. Jula De Palma and Pink Martini's versions of the lighthearted standard "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera Sera)" bookend songs like Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool," Ann-Margret's "Slowly," and Della Reese's "Don't You Know," and selections from Rolfe Kent's quirky original score complete this enjoyable companion to one of 2000's most unique films.