Red Sparrow (James Newton Howard)

In 2018, James Newton Howard returned with frequent collaborator, director Francis Lawrence, for the spy thriller "Red Sparrow". The story of a Russian ballet dancer turned spy, JNH turned to the Russian maestros for inspiration, bookending the film with powerful symphonic music that does justice to Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and others. Tchaikovsky was my favorite classical composer as a child, and it actually wasn't till seeing this film that I realized how much my love for cinematic music is influenced specifically by that Russian sound.

The official album art is rather dull, using the inexplicably terrible main poster which awkwardly crops Jennifer Lawrence neck and hairline. Fortunately, later video releases of the film fixed this problem by using a flock of sparrows to cover this transition, which is not only more elegant, and increases the visual appeal--but also reinforces the Hitchockian vibe of the image, with a stronger Saul Bass feel.

The next two covers are variants on the same main image. I'm a sucker for the classic "floating heads" poster design.

Finally, I was inspired by this European box art. So I decided to take the film's IMAX poster, then recreate the effect of the other image, but changing the center overlaid image to a still from the film, of JLaw dancing on stage. I'd never really used the brush effect before, but did my best to try to capture the rough brushed edge feel to matte out the image over the background.

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