review

Sony Music Entertainment

Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams’s long and fruitful collaboration continues with “Lincoln.”  The prolific Williams draws upon folk styles to create an impression of America’s 16th president.

Simon Fernandez/Wikipedia

This weekend, the latest James Bond film opened and earned over 87 million dollars. Thomas Newman  is the ninth composer in the James Bond series' history, and his score for "Skyfall" is masterful. He has worked with director Sam Mendes as composer before, with "American Beauty" and "Jarhead."

Kino Lorber Films

Fela Kuti is considered the founder of the musical style known as Afropop, which employs a very large band with a jazzy horn section and African rhythms. Kuti is not only a composer, but multi-instrumentalist, human rights advocate and political agitator. 

The Fela Kuti Double Feature Documentary and Concert DVD is hypnotic watching, beginning with the chain smoking Fela introducing himself. 

Courtesy Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Among movie musicals, “Singin’ in the Rain” stands as the greatest of them all. Its nearest competitors, “The Band Wagon” with Fred Astaire, or even Gene Kelly’s “An American in Paris,” produced a year before “Singin’ in the Rain,” are also just as entertaining today as when they were first released six decades ago. But something about “Singin’ in the Rain” gives it a snap that remains timeless.

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

A painter may paint a picture, a composer may write a beautiful melody for solo piano, but in the world of the theater (and here I count motion pictures as well), one person may have a vision, but production is a collaborative art. W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan worked together on a total of 14 comic operas, of which “The Mikado” is far and away the most popular, and arguably the best. Two new releases from the Criterion Collection highlight the work of Gilbert and Sullivan in different ways.

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