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publicist

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Everything posted by publicist

  1. Peeked in yesternight. A corporate abomination, as expected, but when Warwick Davis properly enters in episode 2, there's a light comic spirit that lifts it. He probably had a hand in his own dialogue/scenes and they just should have made a small-scale series about a bumbling sorcerer's apprentice (Disney+ refers to him as 'dwarf builder'!) . All the rest is dreadful LOTR leftovers. The score has not many moments to shine, but when it does, it's fair-to-good JNH (Maleficent meets Jungle Cruise, perhaps).
  2. That makes it sound like a David Arnold Bond score, which is not a recommendation by any means. It's all familiar, for sure, but it's constructed in such a sturdy way and creatively embellished at exactly the spots where it would make a difference that i would point this out as old school mastery that just vanished with composers of this generation. By the way, someone on FSM linked to this bummer one-hour interview with Goldsmith from 1977. The interviewer sounds like an 11-year-old hammering Goldsmith with National Enquirer-like zest, asking hard-hitting questions á la 'You like more Europe or you like more America?'. Goldsmith is remarkably polite and composed by his standards, but begins every answer with an incredulous 'What (*the fuck*) are you talking about?'
  3. My honest pick as Best Soundtrack Release 2022 is, to my own surprise, Goldsmith's 'Hollow Man', Intrada Edition. You need affinity for high-grade thriller and suspense textures to really *get it*, but the thematic and motivic base are laid out in very clear terms, so it's no elusive rocket science. Science though, it is, and the lilting 'Explorers'-vibe combined with the slithery sensuality of the 'Basic Instinct' years plus a good splash of harsh, modernistic spikiness - clearly the biggest surprise of 'Hollow Man' - makes for a thrilling combination. My fairly pronounced respect for this score's finesse back in 2000 didn't prepare me for the depth and detail of the whole thing. It's truly pearls before swine considering the rotten product it was conceived for, so i guess it was as much a love letter to favourite director Paul Verhoeven (on his last Hollywood legs back then) as well as a final lion's roar from the maestro himself, who surely saw the end of the rope in terms of his career. Be that as it may, the lack of fan favourite checklist material (love theme, theme-driven action set piece, more love theme etc.) is also HM's USP. In fact, the score's most dreary when Goldsmith gets the old crashbang chestnuts out in the final half an hour: the composer even bemoaned this on the dvd commentary he recorded, basically acknowledging that his only real music interest lay in getting the movies three complex transformation sequences right, all of them in the first half of the movie (in a discussion panel with director Phil Alden Robinson for whom he scored 'The Sum of all Fears' 2 years later, Goldsmith visibly sighed in relief when Robinson agreed to leave a big action scene unscored for better effect, 'Ahh, one fight less!'). For those who 'know the score' i just marked the before-unreleased cues that enriched the content of the original album for me immeasurably, and for fans of Goldsmith's more populist material there's the revised 'Big Climb', which bangs up the fairly mundane original version to a sizzling degree (this is what additional material always should offer in terms of value!). 04. Chasing Isabelle (2:04) 08. I Liked It (1:41) 09. The Buttons (Revised) (3:28) 11. Not Right (4:50) 15. I Can’t See Him (4:31) 19. He’s Here (3:13) 20. Dead Dog (1:31) 24. No Code (4:05) 25. Find Him (Revised) (4:55) CD 2 Complete Score (Continued) 01. Wet Attack (Revised) (1:23) 03. The Big Climb (Revised) (3:09) 12. Broken Window (Revised #1) (2:53) 17. Wet Attack (1:10)
  4. I can't speak for general audiences, but to me the simple fact that this particular director has paraded his pet themes in remarkably open fashion through his whole filmography makes such a naked biographical spell-it-out an afterthought at best, at worst an inflated ego trip. But then, it's the same director who found 'The Post' a thoughtful comment on Donald Trump's America.
  5. 'The Nightcomers' is a favourite, it's lively and combines Fieldings detached intellectual style (think Alex North) with warm pastoral english-countryside cues and faux-classical cues (knowing Fielding, it probably is based on a classical source, though i don't know which).
  6. Interesting, that makes his final decision fit my old theory that he often uses Williams as the last safefguard on the soundtrack - when he's afraid the 'masses' (whoever they may be) are either confused or don't get it. Which Williams probably does with clenched teeth in some of the cases. The whole movie stinks, it's completely disproportioned in favour of eloquent speechifying and instead of dealing with the victims, the reality of slavery and systemic racism, he boils it down to 'courtroom drama', 'moralizing monologues' and - well-tempered - 'political outrage'. That the few gripping scenes dealing with the Amistad slaves themselves got in is a minor miracle.
  7. Federico Jusid's surprisingly good score for a new tv series that just came out. A revisionist Western drama with Emily Blunt about a woman seeking revenge on the man she blames for the death of her son. It's a curious recall of the edgy intricacy of Goldsmith's 60's westerns (think of an updated 'Hour of the Gun') in spots, especially with the prominent featuring of prepared piano and the driving string triplets, coupled with a broader theme full of european melos, which could also grace a modern setting (which gets a surprising, for a tv series. that is, workout in the 8-minute 'Soon has Come' cue). And with hardly 30 minutes in length it avoids the usual stillstand that befalls so many of the longer recent releases.
  8. The movie is a pious abomination and Williams' ever-present score strengthens its shortcomings immeasurably. But i'm kinda interested if the african material gets more spotlight here, it's the only reason to get this. 'Amistad' has an awful scene etched forever into the annals of movie awfulness: Djimon Hounsou, sitting in the dock with his band of fellow prisoners, has secretly learned english (and read the holy bible, what else) suddenly gets up and shouts 'Give us free!' to the movie-astonishment of the frocked present whites. On cue, a huge chorus swells into a molto-vibrato edification of the main theme while the camera lovingly feasts on the whole embarrassment. And it would be embarrassing even for an old Bible movie from the 50s. Unbelievable.
  9. The theme from 'Knives Out', Part 2 in its harpsichord-flavored playfulness seems like modernized Marple-Goodwin - the general dreariness of current mainstream scoring makes this a very welcome anomaly indeed. Unfortunately, the complete score can't keep up and meanders along (like part 1) - but reduced to 15 minutes (first quarter, last quarter) it's still a nice year-end highlight.
  10. Elfman in a time capsule. It's not bad, but apart from 'Mars Attacks' his circus stuff never held much appeal for me and this makes no exception.
  11. Many people had a great time, but that was because it wasn't painful and slyly acknowledges that aging catches up with dumb jocks, too. Cameron may use 'plots' and 'stories', but they never seem touched by human hands, they are part of the machinery. The last Cameron movie i really liked was 'True Lies' (and that was probably because of Jamie Lee Curtis and Bill Paxton...and that those rousing effects really meant something back in 1994).
  12. Jeff Bridges is too interesting an actor to pass on this, even if it's in the dreaded 'Homeland' genre. Former CIA agent Dan Chase secretly absconded thirty years ago and has lived self-sufficiently and under the radar ever since. But one day his dark past catches up with him when a hit man shows up and tries to kill him. He realizes that the only way he can find peace in the future is to face his past. John Lithgow is his old acquaintance, the FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, and he is in on the hunt. Several women enter the story at various points, and their contributions will make the most crucial difference to the story. Pitched at the loudness level of current tv storytelling and not particularly innovative in itself (which is to say it's competently made), the story has intriguing turns that rise way above the low-IQ level of something like 'Homeland'. Veteran actors like Bridges and John Lithgow know important scenes when they are coming, and they (and others) make the most of it (Bridges remains more of a cypher, though). So what remains is that within these limitations, it is a recommendation. I don't know if the decision to make a season 2 out of this material is reason enough to celebrate (or wish they would make formats fitting their stories, not building 5 floors on top of a bungalow, like these additional seasons often feel).
  13. Now we finally have it, the oft-requested dump of expository filler material to complete 'L. A. Confidential', a move that Goldsmith's wisely compiled 30-minute album eschewed. It's an oddity: a rare case of a really good movie that also catched on with audiences, but the lean material demanded hard-boiled restraint. Goldsmith just hadn't to do a lot, in sharp contrast to the many bad pictures he was scoring.
  14. https://open.spotify.com/album/1w3u4kuJ8SzccCpuiWMNMi?si=CVh3PGGwQlmuJ82qOrrxGg Pretty good Netflix-Elfman for a mystery drama by Noah Baumbach - a novel adaptation (from the mid-80's) that vacillates between marriage drama, disaster movie, action cracker and paranoia study (the translation from book to movie didn't fly with many critics). The music is really good and in Elfman's somewhat more reflective and measured late style. The 'genre bender' described above can also be made out in the music, but here it has a rather invigorating effect. Next to the usual choir-and-wonder stuff it is especially the 'relationship' scoring where Elfman's reflective writing adds (longer string-and-woodwind cues like 'Duel Lecture' or 'Terribly Sad Moment' may not be musically that exciting, but you can tell there's not a wasted note which is usually sign of someone who really knows what he's doing). 'The Son' is supposed to be written by Hans Zimmer, but truth to be told, it's completely empty of any of his (or anyone else's) characteristics - it's 20 minutes of wafting (it could be used as background for hospital recovery rooms without offending too many). I will point out brevity as a surprising addition for this (maybe) last addition to the Spielberg/Williams catalogue. Taking a backseat to Spielberg's mother's piano fixation (she was a rather virtuoso pianist with talent), Williams contributes not much more than the occasional sweet, sometimes rhapsodic editorial comment. There is an underdeveloped (due to its shortness) sense of poignant depth in the scoring of the scenes relating to, i guess, the mother (Mitzi's Dance, Reverie, Reflections, The Letter) - either the movie afforded Williams not more space to musically explore it or Spielberg just didn't want to make a divorce drama, take your pick. But with all this out of the way, all you really need to 'get' 'The Fabelman's is the ultimate 'Journey Begins' cue, which encapsulates in Williams's elegant style not only a summation of his own themes plus a short bouncy introduction that surely is to be read as kind of ironic comment on his collaboration with Spielberg (the movie ends right when the kid leaves for Hollywood), but also a short excerpt of a Haydn sonata. Knowing Willliams deep affection for Haydn, Bach & Co., i think the recordings of the classical cues to be worked into the movie might have secured his personal satisfaction in this project (when he says his goal is to preserve the music of the ages, i believe him).
  15. That's an easy one: it was a short alert GoldsmithTM motif that would cut through a barrage of sound effects and effectively sold the typical action beats of the 90's (note that it is often used a the beginning of transitions to big locations). For super-economic Goldsmith, it was clear that he would use it in much more widespread fashion as narrative device, because that's how he approached scoring. It worked really best in 'Air Force One', all the others could have done without it. To claim 'Ice Chase' is boring as fuck in light of what action music has become in the last 25 years is ridiculous, though.
  16. The number of woodwind solos alone give me hope for the future of film music. Thank god they didn't include an action scene, because then i'd have immediately lost it again.
  17. It was not *his* decision, anyway. Eventually, all this semantic beating-around-the-bush just conceals the simple fact that this very short and rather inconspicuous score doesn't invite much discussion. To frame it in a bigger context, Spielberg's movie feels like something that would be a perfect fit for one of the current streaming providers (whatever he may preach about communal experiences), and the music is like a last whisper of Old Hollywood, namely what modern viewing habits allow to remain of it. Which is neither good nor bad, just a statement that the editorializing scoring approach Spielberg brought back into the mainstream and which allowed composers a big playground (and this board to exist) is on the verge of extinction. I can live with that, but i'm also surprised that i feel more urge to make myself familiar with a Marvel score (Wakanda Forever) than with a Spielberg/Williams one. Go figure!
  18. The phrasing suggest others don't, but i don't think that is the case. Cruise (here and elsewhere) is the only one who still knows how to make a mid-size blockbuster that not only rouses, but also scores a few points by hinting that the dumb jocks of the original movie gained some wisdom after 1986. What i'm saying is that TP:M is remarkable in its avoidance of all the possible missteps. As for Cameron, only god knows. And we, in a few weeks.
  19. Don't even remember those movies (filmic cannon fodder), as far as Williams goes (who had the unenviable legacy duties): - all the concert pieces (not that there were many) - a handful of cues per film, i. e. the finale from 'Force Awakens', 'Ach-To island', 'Canto Bight' and 'The Fathiers' from the second and actually quite a few ones from the most awful of the films by far, 'RoS', starting with the desert chase cue (naturally hardly in the movie) and ending with the more sentimental final farewells Apart from that i'm afraid Williams musical grammar has become so separated from modern cinema mores that there were few moments where movie(s) and score really clicked.
  20. Devoted fans of 'classic' narrative Hollywood may turn away, but Goransson's second Black Panther outing is actually more interesting than the first. The fusion of ethnic music styles, vocals and percussion, with the (occasional) demands of action film scoring makes for an eclectic but engaging listen. And eclecticism is the motto of the day: like Zimmer's 'Power of One', 'Lion King' (partly) or 'Black Hawk Dawn' (i even spotted some of Marco Beltrami's 'Soul Surfer' Maori vocalizing), Goransson uses the movie more as a springboard for ethno-musical world-building than for addressing specific narrative developments, and even when those turn up, they are the weakest part of the score. The result is too long (rule of thumb here: the longer the cue, the lesser it is), but when the gazillions of elements coalesce into their own kind of pop (like in 'Wakanda Forever' or 'Vengeance has consumed us), the score sizzles. And for a Marvel sequel score, that's quite a feat.
  21. Verhoeven always is a winner as interview guest (though his animated engagingness has regressed a bit, no wonder, he's incredible 84 years old now) and his Carolco reminiscing makes me a bit sad the outfit hadn't had a few more years in it. 'The Crusades' is the major loss, of course. As for the 'Starship Troopers' offer, the movie opened late 1997, and Goldsmith scored both AFO and The Edge shortly before that (and had 5 big pictures on his schedule of which US Marshals and Deep Rising both opened in early 1998). Plus, he had his RSNO recording gigs also spread during that year, so it isn't like Kraft maliciously concealed the offer, but just reported him fully booked. And to be honest, 'Starship Troopers' is a great movie, but i'm not sure the world needed another 90-minute nonstop actionfest by JG that desperately.
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