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We’ve got three new CDs from La-La Land Records heading your way!

First up is the next edition in La-La Land’s Expanded Archival Collection, lets all return to Gotham for this two disc remastered and expanded presentation of Danny Elfman’s magnificent score to the 1992 Warner Bros. motion picture blockbuster Batman Returns, starring Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito, and directed by Tim Burton. Composer Danny Elfman (Batman, Mars Attacks, Wanted, Alice in Wonderland) revisits his iconic theme and expertly weaves it into a sumptuous musical experience, bringing to life the film’s breathtaking action and rich emotional and psychological underpinnings. Produced by Neil S. Bulk, Dan Goldwasser and MV Gerhard and mastered by James Nelson from Shawn Murphy’s first generation three-track digital mixes, this limited edition release features more than 30 minutes of previously unreleased music, including alternate cues. The in-depth, exclusive liner notes are by John Takis and the art direction is by David C. Fein. This release is limited to only 3,500 copies, so get them while you can.

Next up is the world premiere release of acclaimed composer James Horner’s (Aliens, Glory, Titanic, Avatar) score to the 1995 Paramount Pictures feature film Jade, starring David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino and Chazz Palminteri, directed by William Friedkin. Previously unavailable in any format, this release of Horner’s erotically charged, Asian-tinged score finally takes its place in his soundtrack canon of notable 1990’s works. 1995 proved to be an especially successful year for Horner, having released scores to such films as Casper, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Jumanji and Balto. This release of Jade now fills the hole in one of his most important years as a composer! Produced for La-La Land Records by Dan Goldwasser and mastered by Mike Matessino from ½ inch Paramount vault materials, this release contains bonus tracks that include Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mystic’s Dream” and the classical piece “Le Sacre du Printemps,” both of which are featured in the film’s score. Exclusive, in-depth liner notes by Daniel Schweiger feature comments from the film’s director, William Friedkin. Art direction is by Mark Banning.

Finally we have another premiere release from composer John Morris’ (Blazing Saddles, Clue, Young Frankenstein) sumptuous orchestral score to the 1986 Orion Pictures feature flim, Haunted Honeymoon, starring Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner and Dom DeLuise, and directed/co-written by Gene Wilder. Produced by Ford A. Thaxton and digitally edited and mastered by James Nelson, this release finally makes available one of John Morris’ most technically spectacular and evocative scores, that’s brilliantly performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Limited to 1,200 copies, this release features exclusive, in-depth liner notes are by film music writer Jeff Bond.

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Our friends over at La-La Land Records have announced three special releases, available at their booth at this years San Diego’s Comic Con. The first of which is John Debney‘s Predators, which skillfully incorporates Alan Silvestri’s iconic themes from the original Predator film. Next is a special two disc set of Danny Elfman‘s Batman, this a Limited Edition of 5,000 units, and features the previously unreleased film version of Elfman’s score, as well as a remastered presentation of the original 1989 soundtrack score, and never-before-released Bonus Tracks. Last but not least, is a Limited Edition of James Horner‘s Krull, which is limited to only 3,000 units, so act fast! All three recordings will be available at www.lalalandrecords.com on July 27th, after Comic Con, but those of you at the Con will be able to get first dibs. In addition to these premiere releases, there will also be special appearances and signings, as well as great deals on other La-La Land Records soundtracks available at their booth, which is located with the Toy Hungry booth, in space #429.

Guest composers will be stopping by the La-La Land booth to greet fans and sign CDs. Newly Emmy Award nominated composer Bear McCreary (Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, Human Target) will kick things off from 4-5PM on Thursday. Visit the La-La Land gang at Comic-Con to find out who will be appearing to sign autographs and when. Also, be sure to  follow La-La Land Records & Darby’s Secret Stash on Twitter for breaking news at Comic Con, including information about special composer guests and signing times!

“Iron Man 2”
a review by Darby O’Gill

A lot of things can go wrong, and often do, when making a comic book movie sequel. But gladly none of those things seem to be happening in Iron Man 2. Most comic book movies, namely the 1990’s Batman sequels, tend to find themselves spreading their stories ridiculously thin when adding way too many new characters to a storyline, but director Jon Favreau somehow manages to avoid this pitfall. Not only does Iron Man 2 work, but it also manages to do so while maintaining it’s fast pace, and it’s very well executed sense of storyline. Even with a handful of new characters being introduced, at no point does the audience, or the storyline for that matter, feel bogged-down by a bunch of origin story telling. I think Iron Man 2 should be the text book example of how to tell complex storylines to an audience without spoon feeding them at the same time.

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., not only finds himself dealing with the U.S. Government wanting the ownership of the Iron Man weapon, but also the fact that the very thing saving his life, could very well be killing him at the same time. If that weren’t enough, the Avenger Initiative has also started to lose their faith in him as a proper hero, and begin to question his future role in the Initiative. Topping it all off, Stark finds himself paying for the sins of his father, and dealing with a new enemy known as Whiplash, masterfully played by Mickey Rourke.

Now I figured with the addition of so many new characters, characters we’ve already met like Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, would become secondary characters; making way for the new ones. But, I’m glad to say this wasn’t the case. Pepper’s character plays just as big of a role, if not bigger, in this film as she did in the first film. Also Don Cheadle’s replacement of Terrence Howard as Lt. Col. James Rhodes was seamless. I really liked Cheadle’s choice to play Rhodey the exact same way that Howard did. It really made the role more about the character, and less about the actor playing the character, which is not something all actors would choose to do. Scarlett Johansson is well under played as the Black Widow, but in a good way. The movie doesn’t rely on her as new eye candy, but rather uses her as needed for the story, which is a refreshing change of pace for movies like this. Which brings us the show stealing performance of Sam Rockwell; I don’t know what else to say other than… Wow! He really does bring his ‘A’ game to his performance as Stark Industries’ rival competitor, Justin Hammer. You’ll see what I mean when you see it. That guy needs to work more! Last but not least, Robert Downey Jr. continues to effortlessly capture the essence of Tony Stark, a role he was clearly born to play.

Is Iron Man 2 better than Iron Man? It’s hard to say. They’re two completely different movies. In the first Iron Man, there is this nice slow story pace that helps to ground the movie, but in Iron Man 2 you hit the ground running and it just feels right. With most sequels it’s easy to say which one is better, but with this one it’s truly is a continuation of the original movie, and feels like they are one and the same. Yes, I do realize that I just contradicted myself by saying they’re completely different and yet the same movie, but it’s true. I really hope all the other franchises out there are paying attention, because this is how it’s done. I think it’s safe to say that the 2010 season of summer movies is officially upon us, and the bar has been set very high thanks to Iron Man 2.

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“A Nightmare on Elm Street”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Okay, let me take a deep breath before we go down this road. Oh yeah, it’s that bad. Here we go; another classic remake that doesn’t work. The only person that’s going to be happy with the new A Nightmare on Elm Street movie, is Robert Englund, because it’s finally going to prove just how important he is to the role of Freddy Krueger. That’s not saying that Jackie Earle Haley did a bad job with the role, he just unfortunately was in a crappy movie with bad cat-man make-up. Also on a side note, I think Christian Bale should have trademarked his gruff-raspy Batman voice, because if he had he’d be rolling in the dough by now. Seriously, does every bad-ass character in a movie these days need a Ricola?

In the new A Nightmare on Elm Street, teenagers start dying in their sleep, and they slowly start to realize the same man is appearing in all their dreams, and is trying to kill them one by one. Now, I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, but I will be talking about a few of the plot points in the next few sentences, so you’ve been warned. *SPOILERS START* Let’s start with Freddy’s back story. He’s no longer a child killer, but rather a possibly unjustly accused pedophile. Sadly this is mostly true, but thanks to some last minute re-shoots, Krueger is now guilty of being a pedophile. Doesn’t that make you feel better? He’s guilty! Hooray! He touched their naughty bits, but never killed anyone. That’s right, Freddy Krueger never killed a kid until he started killing teenagers in their sleep. Really!? If he never killed any kids, then why would he want to start killing them now? Wouldn’t he be trying to have sex with them in their dreams instead? Do I really have to point this shit out? *SPOILER END* This movie really does suck! There are some nice moments, but they are few and far between. The writing is absolutely horrible. It’s full of I say this and you say that dialogue. And at no point do they even try to do anything interesting with the storyline. I think the filmmakers were trying to kill the audience, because I almost fell asleep two times while watching the movie, and I thought the whole idea was to stay awake. Although, death would have at least put an end to Michael Bay’s molestation of my childhood once again. First Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and now A Nightmare on Elm Street. Look, the reason the Friday the 13th and the Halloween movies work when they’re remade, is because the movies’ main characters are big masked killers that don’t talk, where as Freddy Krueger is a personality, and you can’t just replace that. Bottom line, skip this movie! Figured I’d just spell it out for you. Do yourself a favor and rent the originals. The later ones might be a little cheesy, but that’s also half the fun. There’s nothing fun about this new version, it’s just quiet simply a nightmare.

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