Score: A Film Music Documentary

Documentary maker Matt Schrader bills this as “the definitive look at the craft of film composing,” though he takes a narrow route through the subject, focusing on the symphonic composers who hammer out music cues for big-studio projects. A large cast of industry professionals (nearly all men) sit for talking-head interviews to hail the old masters (Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, Alex North, Bernard Herrmann, Ennio Morricone, Jerry Goldsmith) and single out their most innovative colleagues (Danny Elfman, David Newman, Hans Zimmer). Many speak as if they’re more responsible for the drama onscreen than the directors are, which is usually true because most of the movies they score are terrible. The participants unite in a giant spasm of love for popcorn maestro John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars, Superman), though incredibly there’s no mention of Philip Glass, probably the most influential film composer since Williams but one whose cold rigor flies in the face of the studios’ emotional manipulation.