Saturday, May 29, 2010

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time by Harry Gregson-Williams (Review)


Harry Gregson-Williams doing the score for this movie was the only glimmer of light it ever had. From the looks of it it’s also a safe bet to say that it’s the film’s only saving grace, and indeed it is. Harry Gregson-Williams delivers a lush sweeping adventure score filled to the brim with ethnic flavors and romanticism.


On its surface this is a summer blockbuster adventure score. So we get a nice big adventurous theme to start us off. While it may sound very familiar to Alan Silvestri’s The Mummy Returns theme it definitely holds its own weight. Then we have a second romantic theme, which is I believe the only uncharacteristic part of this score. By that I mean it’s the one thing that doesn’t sound like Harry. It has a Zimmer quality to it and reminds me of Pirates Of The Caribbean. With Jerry Bruckhiemer producing I wouldn’t be surprised if Pirates was used as a temp track at all. Is that theme great? Absolutely! I love it.


The rest of the score is lots of fun and a great ride. I didn’t expect Harry to toss in his signature electronics into the mix, but it works so well. It’s almost as if his score to Kingdom Of Heaven got combined with one of his Tony Scott scores. I’m pretty sure I heard that fantastic Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare menu music percussion in there. There’s also his signature motif. I guess I’ll call it his “Middle Eastern Motif” since he uses it in any score that deals somewhat with a Middle Eastern setting or character. I remember it in Domino most notably and a few others.


In the end this was a fantastic score. It brings us these lush themes and places us right in the atmosphere and setting of the story. His electronic percussion and pulsing strings give it a shot of adrenaline and keeps the energy level high. It’s what summer blockbuster scores are all about. Great fun done in such an amazing and memorable way that can still give you an emotional ride in full Gregson-Williams style.

Shrek Forever After by Harry Gregson-Williams (Review)


Nine years ago the first Shrek was released making it almost a decade of Shrek for us viewers, but for Harry Gregson-Williams the journey has been even longer. The first Shrek score was a collaborative effort between Harry and John Powell, and the result was a magical and fantastic score. John departed from the series and Harry took full control for the second, third and now fourth and final film in the franchise.


The second score was great in my opinion, but the third outing was a disjointed and overall flat experience. I can’t really blame him because they turned Shrek into a lunchbox icon and the entire film was plastered with songs leaving little room for Harry to work a score around. The fourth score I am glad to say is terrific. It holds everything we’ve come to know from Shrek the past decade and sums it up in a tidy fashion while still giving us a great standalone journey.


We have familiar themes and some new melodies (most notably Rumplestilskin’s theme), but Harry creates a comprehensive layering which makes the journey for us a seamless experience. He treats the music seriously so we don’t get a goofy animated score. It’s a great final bow to the series and wraps up a significant chunk of Harry’s career. I think we all can hum the sweet lullaby-esque main theme that opens every Shrek film, and Dreakworks Animation even made it their logo’s fanfare. So, thank you Harry Gregson-Williams for giving us some lovely and breathtaking music for these films over the years. It’s safe to say that the films started to wear thin after Andrew Adamson left the series, but Harry always gave it his A game.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mid-Year Check In: Best Of The Year . . . So Far


Best Movie Of The Year . . . So Far-

How To Train Your Dragon:

Dreamworks struck gold with what is without a doubt the best animated film they’ve put out to date. The characters, the story and the movie overall is fantastic. The production values are also amazing. From the design of the dragons to the lighting and CGI. Roger Deakins was a visual consultant much like he was on WALL-E so the animated cinematography is fantastic. It’s without a doubt the most well rounded experience I’ve had at the movies so far in 2010.


Best Score Of The Year . . . So Far-

How To Train Your Dragon:

John Powell’s score to the film is about 51% of what makes the experience so great. Not only is it his best work to date, but it’s such an emotional experience that you will cherish it forever. The themes and variations create an awe inspiring and inspirational tale of friendship and rising above yourself when everything else in your world weighs you down. It’s beautiful.


Worst Movie Of The Year . . . So Far-

Legion:

Paul Bettany’s rogue angel movie is one of the biggest pieces of trash I’ve ever seen. It’s “Ultraviolet” bad. It all takes place in one location (truck stop in the middle of the desert?), has static one dimensional characters, and the climax is something to laugh at because in the end nothing really happens. It’s terrible.


Worst Score Of The Year . . . So Far-

Legion:

I hate to match my score picks with my film picks, but it’s true. John Frizzel’s score to Legion is terrible. It’s a mash-up of terrible arrangements, headache inducing vocals and no real thematic variation.


Biggest Surprise Of The Year . . . So Far-

Kick-Ass:

Matthew Vaugn’s superhero flick at first looked like a comedy or a parody in a way. The trailers did a terrible job marketing it, but it looked interesting enough to check out. It’s not a parody and while it has its comedic touches it ended up being a very intense emotional experience at the end. The characters are great, the story is too. It has a high contrast look and feel to the whole film. It’s also one of the best things Nicolas Cage has done recently.


Biggest Surprise Score Of The Year . . . So Far-

Robin Hood:

Everyone was waiting to see what Marc Streitenfeld would do with something like this. He’s only ever composed for Ridley Scott, but Scott’s last period epic was Kingdom Of Heaven and that was done by Harry Gregson-Williams. After a series of smaller dramas it was time for Streitenfeld’s first true test, and he passed with flying colors.


Biggest Disappointment Of The Year . . . So Far-

Alice In Wonderland:

Tim Burton has lost his touch. What once made him a unique talent in the film industry has now almost become a joke. While I did enjoy Sweeney Todd I did feel that Charlie & The Chocolate Factory was awful. Alice In Wonderland is along those lines. It’s short, uninspiring and overall quite boring. I felt nothing for any of the characters and Helena Bonham Carter just became annoying by the end of it all. Then when Johnny Depp does that ridiculous dance at the end it makes you plant your face in your palm. Mostly because of the dance beat music that comes out of nowhere. Bring me back to the days of Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands please.


Biggest Disappointment Score Of The Year . . . So Far-

Iron Man 2:

It was expected that Ramin Djawadi would get dumped off the project even though he said he would love to continue. Favreau’s regular John Debney stepped in, and guess what? He did the exact same thing Djawadi did except he dropped any sort of thematic identification for the character. So, no theme, no amazing action cues, no nothing. It’s a plain and boring score that made Iron Man 2 the lackluster experience it was.

Killers by Rolfe Kent (Review)


A few years ago a movie called Mr. & Mrs. Smith came out. It was about two spies that were married to each other, but neither of them new their significant other was also a spy. From that movie a few others in the same veign spewed out. This summer we’re being hit by two of them; Killers and Knight & Day.


The Killers soundtrack features some songs that I could care less about, so let’s move to the second half of the album which is the score by Rolfe Kent. Now, I love Rolfe Kent. So it pains me to say that this score is bad. Then again what were you expecting from an Ashton Kutcher vehicle? The score is a mix-mash of tangos and “romcom” genre toppers. For some reason ever since Mr. & Mrs. Smith hit it seems like every composer just followed in John Powell’s footsteps. Powell scored Mr. & Mrs. Smith with a “tangoesque” espionage filled score that was fresh, fun and hit you in all the right places. It was perfect for the film. Now when you look at movies like this or Duplicity you can see the Powell trend still being followed. It almost makes me curious what Powell will do for Knight & Day.


Anyway, I love Rolfe Kent. I thought his work on Up In The Air was tremendous. He also did additional music on one of my favorite childhood films growing up and that was Tremors. So, yes I do love his music. However, one should stay away from stuff like this.

Don McKay by Steve Bramson (Review)



So, Don McKay is probably a movie you never heard of. It’s dark comedy/thriller that stars Thomas Haden Church as a janitor who flees his hometown after a terrible tragedy. When he returns more than two decades later he tries to rekindle an old romance as the town’s dark nature pulls him in.


The film was only shown in a handful of theaters so naturally not many of heard of it. The film features a score by Steve Bramson, which I must say is excellent. He’s probably most well known for his work on J.A.G, but he’s been composing television since the early 90’s. Don McKay is a score that works in its subtlety. It’s focuses on using solo instruments such as a piano, violin and some electronic drones to create atmosphere. In a way you could say it sounds somewhat like a Thomas Newman score.


What I love is that it’s so simple. I love simple tunes and melodies. They echo much further than the complex over the top stuff most composers do. The score speaks a sense of loneliness and intrigue. It can be vague as it sparks your interest but it’s never boring. Many “small” scores tend to be boring, but I was never bored with this one. It reminded me in ways of Hans Zimmer & Klaus Badelt’s score to The Pledge with a Thomas Newman vibe. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this score. It’s a great experience that’s worth a look.


La Mission by Mark Kilian (Review)



La Mission is a redemption story about a man who is trying to move on from his past, but is tempted by his surroundings. Living in the “barrio” has given him more than enough problems trying to get by, but when he finds out his son is gay he is now tested more than ever in his path to redemption.


The score is by Mark Kilian who has a few notable films under his belt such as the Oscar winning Tsotsi, Rendition and Traitor. For La Mission we get a more ambient experience that is filled with Hispanic and Indian styles. The score is pretty much solo guitar based and that gives beauty in its simplicity. He utilizes vocals in certain tracks to great emotional effect.


The score is quite good. Better than what I was expecting. The only place where it suffers is as a cohesive whole. The tracks don’t really tell a story and they are more or less “atmospheric moments” if that makes any sense. They don’t necessarily progress your feelings or forward any kind of narrative, but they are moments of emotions and in a way they do indeed come together in the end. It’s just not in a way where it will leave a lasting impact. Overall, it’s simple and that’s where it strives. It’s worth taking a look.


The Essential Mike Post Collection by Mike Post (Review)


Mike Post is a household composer name when it comes to classic TV themes. With The Essential Mike Post Collection we get a decent selection of some of his work. While I can’t really comment on this album as a score that tells a narrative it is indeed a great compilation album for nostalgia’s sake.


The man has composed some of TV’s most recognizable opening themes including Law & Order, The A-Team, Hill Street Blues, The Rockford Files and many more.


So, I can’t ever imagine anyone ever riding in the car and putting this album on, but if you’re looking for some of TV’s classic opening themes all in one place then this is a great place to look.

Defendor by John Rowley (Review)



John Rowley’s score to Defendor is a very one dimensional experience. The story is somewhat reminiscent of Kick-Ass in that it’s a comedy about a man who takes to the streets as a vigilante to help the innocent. In that respect the score fits tone-wise.


It’s a bit over the top with a heavy modern vibe. What I liked about it is that Rowley has sort of infused the modern approach with some classical sounding arrangements. “Final Assualt” almost sounds like a modern symphonic movement. However the drum loops and synth mock-ups wear thin as the experience goes along. The score doesn’t seem to build a story. It does the bare minimum to support the narrative, but on it’s own it doesn’t provide anything memorable or worthwhile.


John Rowley is very early in his career and based off what I hear here he does have a sound and a style. It’s just the thematic variation that needs work. Unless you loved the film I can’t expect anyone to approach this blindly.




Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reflections On LOST: A Commentary


[SPOILER WARNING] This article discusses the final episode in explicit detail.


LOST has come to an end. Over the past seasons we witnessed one of the greatest modern fictional stories ever told on one of the greatest mediums of entertainment. The final episode culminates the stories, the events and the moments that we’ve experienced. The final battle between light and dark ignites. The struggle to overcome begins and finding strength and love within the people we love and care for is the only way. And in the end we are reminded that the most important parts of our lives only matter and have worth to us because of the people we surround ourselves with.


My take on the journey’s end is this. The writers slowly introduced us a “sideways” storyline where our characters were living distant, normal and average lives. Lives that suited them. What this storyline turned out to be was an afterlife existence where the roaming souls of our dead characters could find each other and remember everything that their lives were. One by one Desmond brought everyone together by acting as a gatherer of these wandering souls. By touching the ones they loved our characters were instantly reminded of the lives they led. By remembering the lives they lived and why the people they loved were so important they were able to “move on”.


The afterlife existence was created and even though it has no point and place of existence one can suggest that it’s way past from when they died. Some on the island and some off. Parallel moments remind them of their lives such as Claire giving birth to Aaron, Sun having an ultrasound with Juliet and John in a wheelchair. Jack constantly notices his neck is bleeding from the point where the man in black pricked him. The fact that Jack bleeds is a symbol of his martyrdom I think. It’s also no coincidence that his last name is Shepherd.


Not all of our characters get to move on though. If you remember Michael’s soul is still trapped on the island. Characters that were inherently bad were not allowed to leave the island once they passed. So along with Michael I’m sure a few others remained trapped there for eternity. Then there were those who moved on but not with our core group. As Desmond told Eloise that Daniel would be leaving, but not with him. Meaning that we move on with the people who mattered most to us and vice versa. Since Daniel, Miles, Frank, Charlotte and Richard were really not tied so close to our main characters we can assume they moved on with the people they cared for most. Then we have Ben who chose to stay behind. A character who has always had a hard time moving on as he struggled to find purpose, and in the end chooses not to.


From a viewer’s standpoint this finale was probably one of the most emotionally stirring pieces of storytelling I’ve ever experienced. The final 5 minutes or so are so beautiful that words don’t even describe it. In fact even in the show words don’t even describe it. Michael Giacchino’s score is what takes us on our final step all the way to the last frame. Speaking of Giacchino I think anyone who stuck with LOST all the way through has the honor of saying that they witnessed the greatest television score of all time unfold before them. The final episode is evidence of his brilliance and of how essential score is to not only LOST but everything in the mediums of film and television. I will go ahead and say that his score for the final episode is the most beautiful score I have ever heard. Perfect in every way and not a single note wasted. It definitely kept my eyes tearing up for the entire thing, and when that final scene came along and crossed-cut with Jack’s death on the island it was almost too much for me to emotionally handle.


The final scene of Jack stumbling to the very same spot he first awoke on the island is nothing short of brilliant writing. He lies down as he holds the knife wound in his side. He struggles to breath. Vincent appears from the brush. He smiles. He looks back up to the sky between the bamboo. The plane piloted by Frank and carrying the love of his life flies overhead and away from the island. Tears flood his eyes. The scene is cross-cut with him and everyone else in the afterlife existence as his father opens the door and lets the light flood in. The light embraces everyone and Jack is smiling as he sits next to Kate. We cut back to Jack’s eye. The very first frame of the show in the first episode. Only now it’s not opening it’s closing. Fade to black. LOST appears on the screen.


What does it all mean? It’s what the show was about from the very beginning. It was about flawed human beings trying to find their way. The island in all its mythology and supernatural existence was a test that brought them all together. It revealed everything about them and gave them meaning and a purpose they never had. Once Jack’s eye closes we know exactly what’s running through his head. Whether you believe the afterlife actually exists or believe that it was Jack’s last thoughts that brought him to peace upon his death we are left with one idea. That if it weren’t for all the people we love and for those who care for us in our lives then we would be completely lost.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Robin Hood by Marc Streitenfeld (Review)


Marc Streitenfeld is an interesting composer to look at. He started out as an assistant to Hans Zimmer and served as music editor on many of Hans’ scores the past decade. Through Hans is where he met Ridley Scott. After working on 7 films together Hans and Ridley took their separate ways, which some people still wonder about. Honestly, it was most likely a friendly separation than some of the “creative differences” separations you hear about between directors and composers.


Anyway, after the one night stand with Harry Gregson-Williams (his brother's composer) on Kingdom Of Heaven it was Marc Streitenfeld who stepped in. Marc has composed 4 films for Ridley Scott, which brings his total amount of scores to 4. Yes, Marc Streitenfeld has only worked with Ridley Scott (and 1 film with Ridley’s son Jake Scott). So 5 scores total.


Ok, so to the score. This was considered Marc’s true test as a composer since it was his first huge scope film. Does he succeed? Immensely. The score is tremendous as it’s a lush mix of grand orchestrations, subtle intrigue and a dollop of fantastical epic. It’s also 100% Streitenfeld. The man does have a style and it is unique. His sound is unmistakable if you’ve heard his past scores and it manages to flourish here in full glory. The track “Killing Walter” will call to mind Body Of Lies and American Gangster. His German background seeps through here with some of the action cues. I wouldn’t call them reminiscent of anything Zimmer has done, but there is a touch of that good old Zimmer sound especially in the heroic theme of the film and the battle scenes. We have a touch of celtic flavor in here as well.


Overall this is such a colorful score that swells with so much character. Sides of it bring us to the menacing darkness of Godfrey’s character while at other points we have delicate tragedy such as in “Nottingham Burns”. Then the grandiose heroism of the story is interwoven into it. I think the only think lacking is some sort of cohesive emotional journey. While I know the CD isn’t a full representation of the score I can’t help but feel that the score has slight trouble progressing the story as an accompaniment to the narrative. It does the job, but alas won’t leave a long lasting impact on you. I also felt this way while watching the film. Nonetheless, it was fun and entertaining summer fare. It definitely enveloped me and grasped me, but it just missed the mark of being something incredible.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LOST: Season 5 by Michael Giacchino (Review)


People who have stuck with LOST all the way through have witnessed something special. They witnessed THE greatest television score start, develop and ultimately bring us to its emotionally walloping end. When that first episode of the pilot aired it had such a visceral impact because of the music. The danger, the isolation, the hope and the mystery of the entire show flooded into us through Giacchino’s score. It can be intense, it can be tragic, it can be heartwarming but most of all it’s thematically grounded.


Season 5 was an amazing emotional accomplishment, and before seeing the final season I was dubbing it his greatest work on the series thus far. Although now I can say season 6 his is true master brushstroke. In this season the score is heavily influenced with Benjamin Linus’ theme. It pretty much takes its stake as the main theme of the season since so much revolves around that character. Towards the end of the album we get introduced to Jacob's music and some new thematic material while familiar themes pop in and out through the journey.


The only problem I have with these LOST score releases is how they’re mixed and recorded. What we have here on these discs from Season 2 beyond are live recording sessions (season 1 clearly was studio mixed for the final dub). Now again, I don’t know what the decision is behind this but it leads to some distracting “air” in the tracks. By “air” I mean all the sounds of the musicians. You hear rustling, breathing and moving around. For instance at 1:17 in the track “For Love Of The Dame” you get a full blown sniffle from someone. The fact that got recorded in the final mix is kind of mind blowing. Now, I know I’m nitpicking here and these are really minor distractions, but they are distractions nonetheless. If I were sitting and watching a movie and someone was sniffling and rustling behind me I would turn around and tell them to pipe down. Same goes for my score listening experience, except I can’t tell the musicians to stop knocking about.


In the long run the fact that I am listening to another chapter in the greatest television score ever composed makes me forget about the rush mixing job. It’s a must buy and will give your tear ducts a good draining.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Guidelines For The Summer Moviegoer


[WARNING] This article contains strong language


Well, the Summer movie season has kicked off and this is when most people flock to the theaters to see the big studio blockbusters that have been in the works the past 2 years. June will mark my 5th anniversary working at a movie theatre. Over the years I’ve met thousands of strangers who’ve I’ve interacted with for a few seconds each. Some of them memorable in a good way, but most of them memorable in a bad way.


I’d like to help you prevent yourself from becoming “Moviegoer Douchebag Extraordinaire”. My hatred towards people have mostly stemmed from seeing how people act in the movie theatre. So, by following these guidelines you won’t be lumped into the sum of hundreds of thousands of asses that see movies every day.


Box Office:


1. Know what you want to see. It’s a huge bother to have a person holding up a line staring at the movies not knowing what they want to see. Plan ahead, make a choice. Know your movie and time please.


2. Don’t ask us our opinion of the movie you’re about to see. It’s annoying. I’m flattered that you want to know what I think of your poor taste in film is, but you shouldn’t base your movie choice off of what a theater box office cashier says. We have synopses sheets, and we’re happy to let you read them.


3. Using a student ID? Want senior tickets? Need child tickets? SAY SO!! Don’t say “2 for Iron Man 2” and then go “Oh wait, I have my student ID” after I ring your tickets up. People who do that are asses, cause it’s a fucking pain to void your tickets out, reprint them and hand you your dollar back in price difference. Especially when it’s busy. Know what you want, not all tickets are the same!


4. If you just say “two tickets” I’ll give you two to whatever shitty Brenden Fraser movie is playing to teach you a lesson about specificity.


5. Don’t be a sarcastic fucker. “That’ll be $21”. “For 2 tickets? You want my nut sack too?” (Yes, someone actually said that to me). Movies are expensive, get the fuck used to it. Go vent about it to someone else, anyone besides the person selling you tickets behind the glass. We don’t want to hear your jokes or your wise-ass remarks.


Ticket Taker:


1. Don’t give me your receipt. I’ll take that receipt and shove it down your fucking throat. Know the difference between a ticket and a receipt. I know, they’re printed on the same kind of paper. I’m sorry if that confuses you. If enough people complain I’ll start teaching a class for idiots who can’t tell the difference.


2. That tiny hole where we put our half of ticket stubs in is not trash. Don’t stick your trash in that hole or I’ll punch you in the eye.


3. We aren’t hiding the bathrooms from you. Don’t ask where it is. Just look. Just fucking look. It’s one big room. A theatre lobby is not a college campus. It’s quite easy to navigate. Maps are available upon request.


Concession Stand:


1. Don’t you fucking dare ask for fresh popcorn. We pop it fresh all the time. You get what you get. Tough shit. It’s popcorn. “Oh, can I get the popcorn coming out right now?” NO! YOU MAY NOT! Why are you so special that you need popcorn straight from the kettle to your bag? Are you sultan of the corn? Do you belong to the Fresh Popcorn Society? No? So take your fucking popcorn. Butter the shit out of it. And go die from cardiac arrest. It’ll be room temperature by the time you sit down anyway!


2. “Do you have [Insert Candy Name Here]?” “Is it in the display case in front of you?” “No.” “Then no.”


3. Want a refill? Back of the line. Just because you already bought popcorn and soda doesn’t entitle you to a “Skip The Line” pass.


4. “Is this register open?” “Is there anyone standing there?” “No.” “Then no.”


5. FORM SEPARATE LINES! Dealing with people waiting for food is like herding cattle. They’re so stupid. No matter how many times I say “form separate lines” they just huddle back into one huge blob.


6. We’re not a bank. Don’t buy 1 candy and pay for it with a $100. Now I have to hold the line and go get fucking change for your huge ass bill.


7. The signs right above my register are the same all the way down at the end. You won’t find some secret menu item by walking down there, I promise.


8. Again, no wise-ass remarks about the prices. I’ll spit on your food if you do.


9. If you toss your money at me then I’m tossing your change back. Hand it to me like a civilized person.


10. If you hand me a crumpled up wad of dollar bills and expect me to de-crumple it you are shit out of luck. Get a fucking wallet. Or fold your money, like normal people.


11. We’re not psychics. Maybe one day they’ll include mind reading in our training, but not yet. If we can't guess what movie you want to see what makes you think we can guess what soda you want? “Yeah can I get a soda?”. That doesn’t help me. If you say that I’ll just pick a size and soda for you. If you don’t like it then you can take it up with my ass.


In The Theatre:


1. Don’t put your feet up. Especially if there is someone sitting in the row below you and one over. No one likes feet resting next to their head while watching a movie. It’s fucking disrespectful. Also, to the people who take their shoes off and put their feet up. What the fuck?! Where do you think you are? People’s heads rest there you know? So it would be nice not to grind your sweaty ass summer feet into those headrests. I also hate sitting in a seat to find the reclining spring is broken because some jerk broke it by resting his feet on the headrest. Also, just FYI I’ve worked in a theatre for 5 years and have never ever seen a seat been cleaned. Let that sink in.


2. Don’t talk. It’s a simple rule, but people always do. It’s so fucking annoying. Just watch the fucking movie. If it’s boring then leave. Whispering doesn’t help, it just makes you a quieter asshole. Also, don’t act all tough and offended if someone tells you to quiet down when you were clearly talking. It just makes you a bigger asshole that’s about to be kicked out.


3. Texting is just as annoying as a ringing phone. That’s why I sit as close to the screen as I comfortably can. I hate seeing little glowing lights pop up in my field of view. If you text I’ll take your phone and shove it in your ear till it breaks.


4. Get a babysitter. It’s Friday night, I’m seeing this awesome movie I’ve been looking forward to for months and now I have a squirming squeaking child somewhere in the theater. If you wanted to see movies in theaters you should of thought twice before getting knocked up. If you bring your child into a movie while I'm watching it there may be a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.


5. Don’t have sex, cause we will see you. If you’re ever alone in a theatre please don’t take the opportunity, because like I said you’re not alone. If you do choose to have sex then you could at least be nice and wave at all the people watching from the projection booth. This is how it works. We see you having sex, we call on the radio for everyone to come watch. Now everyone is watching you having sex, getting a handjob, blowjob, etc. It is funny for us, but in reality pretty nasty because you’re in a movie theatre.


6. A 16-year old boy seeing Hannah Montana is a red flag. If you’re trying to sneak into an R-rated movie at least be creative and make it fun for us. There is nothing we love more than kicking people out. Especially kids sneaking in. You will get caught, but at least make it fun for us.


7. Pick up your trash. Plain and simple. I understand you will drop food and popcorn. Don’t worry about it. We’ll get that. But people who leave their cups and bags right on their seats are an example of how terrible our society is.


Overall:

Don’t be a cold hearted jerk. Movie theater employees are the hardest working, lowest payed people in retail. I can’t tell you how many times while working till 1am on a Saturday night I was so happy to have someone be polite and respectful to me in the midst of dealing with hundreds of selfish assholes. There’s a huge difference between “Yeah, I want a large popcorn and Coke” and “Could I get a large popcorn and Coke please?”. And actually saying “thank you” versus tossing your cash at me and walking away. So, think for a second and don’t be a mother fucking douchebag! Mkay? Thanks! Bye!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street by Steve Jablonsky (Review)


The one thing I’ve noticed about the horror genres are that they go through fads. We all remember the “PG-13 Japanese Remake Fad” that we all had to endure and suffer. Then we had the “Torture Porn Fad” with the Hostel movies and all the Saw films. Why? Why so many Saw films? Now we’re in the midst of the “Michael Bay Produced Remake Fad” where we’re seeing all of our favorites being remade into crappy studio money making products. The only constant with these Michael Bay produced remakes other than Bay himself is Steve Jablonsky. Steve has scored every one of these things: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Hitcher, Friday The 13th and now A Nightmare On Elm Street.


Now, I love Jablonsky but I can honestly say every one of his horror scores to these remakes have been boring and pretty much not enjoyable. You can call them atmospheric, but you can be atmospheric and still be really good (see Yamaoka’s work on the Silent Hill game franchise).


Here, Jablonsky actually hits a home run after striking out so many times. He delivers a terrific horror score full of brooding strings, chilling vocals and pulsing electronic percussion. There were parts that reminded me of Hans Zimmer’s The Ring, which was without a doubt the last great horror film score composed.


With A Nightmare On Elm Street we get a nice theme that carries us through the film and never leaves us lost in the middle of dreadful ambient scoring, which many of his previous horror scores were. He pays homage to Charles Bernstein who composed the original film’s score, but still makes it a Steve Jablonsky score. Now, the film itself is pure dreck. The only redeeming qualities I found were to be Jablonsky’s score and Jackie Earl Haley doing a pretty decent (if different) Freddy Kruger.


Don’t let your experience from Jablonsky’s past horror scoring attempts deter you from checking this one out. It’s really quite good even if the film itself is pure Hollywood product.


P.S. I'm pretending the track "One More Nap" doesn't exist. Luckily it wasn't used in the film, which is why I'm not too angered by it.

Babies by Bruno Coulais (Review)


Bruno Coulais is a great composer, and while you may not recognize his name he has been composing since the late 70’s. The French composer has also had experience in the documentary genre with his scores to Winged Migration and the recent Oceans.


For Babies the score doesn’t so much act as an emotional backdrop as it does just a backdrop. Little spurts of music here and there, and while it has a character and an identity it never comes into its own. The score release is evident that there was not much music in the final film since the total running time clocks in around 27 minutes, and that counts the song by Sufjan Stevens which was heard in the trailer.


As a standalone experience it fails. It hooks you with its charm, its sound and its warming use of vocals but it never reels you in. Quite honestly, I was listening to it waiting for it to grasp me and then I heard hollow vocals chanting “Agnus Dei”. I realized that Babylon A.D. (which is next alphabetically in my iTunes) had begun playing. I was surprised that the score was already finished.


So, the score has all the charm and character in the world, but goes nowhere with it. It never hooks and feels monotone at times with no real change in the pacing. Maybe this was all the film required, and in the end it is the composer’s job to service the film not the album release. That’s something I always keep in mind, but when I feel no emotional connection to the score I usually tend to forget it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Save An Angel



Save An Angel, by 17-year-old LA high school student Rachel Eskenazi-Gold, is a beautiful and inspiring song about the love of a mother for her child and how each of us can help ease the suffering of women and children around the world. It is the centerpiece of a fundraising campaign for Mother’s Day (May 9th) that will focus on the plight of women and children globally.

The song will be available to download on iTunes beginning Monday, May 3, 2010 in time for Mother’s Day. The money raised from the sales of the song will be distributed by the Remote Control Charitable Foundation, which supports the vital work of these international, non-governmental organizations and charities: the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, mothers2mothers, ENOUGH Project, Human Rights Watch, Aid Still Required, TheCommunity.com and DoSomething.org.

Award winning composers Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe produced the song and were joined by a group of international musicians, all of whom will donate 100% of their royalties from the sale of the single. The artists who have committed their time and talent to this campaign include: Rachel Eskenazi-Gold, singer/songwriter; Lorne Balfe, producer; Hans Zimmer, producer; Martin Tillman, musician; Lili Haydn, musician; Heitor Pereira, musician; Michael Levine; Nico Abondolo; Satnam Ramgotra; filmmaker Rachel McDonald and editor Kevin Klauber. Global distribution of the song will be provided by Ingrooves.

Zimmer first heard the song when he offered his studio to Rachel to record Save an Angel for a community service project. After hearing the song, he suggested bringing in his colleagues to fully produce a song that could be downloaded from iTunes in order to raise money for the organizations.

Quotes:

"This is a song that offers hope and inspiration with its powerful message that one person can make a difference in the lives of the most needy and vulnerable in society. By downloading this song, you show Mom how much she means to you by helping women and children around the world – in her name," said Hans Zimmer.

Rachel Eskenazi-Gold said, “I was inspired to write the song and use it as a fundraising project by the work of mothers2mothers, and other international organizations who help empower, encourage and support women to become independent and help themselves and other women in their communities. To offer women in the poorest villages in Africa, for example, the tools, knowledge and ability to help themselves, to help create a grass roots movement to support families.”

For more information about the Save an Angel Campaign, and to obtain a copy of the song, music video, photos and promotional materials, please contact: Bonnie Abaunza and Tiffany Bordenave at 310-401-6770.

So, do something special. Save an angel.