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Everything posted by Seth

  1. I haven't heard that. Interesting. But yeah, everything about the brass in this score is faultless, from the writing to the performing to the recording and mixing. Perfectly handled.
  2. The more I think about this film the more I like it. It certainly wasn't the sugar-high that TFA was, but I thought it was very satisfying--in a more real way--in the end. I do have some quibbles--the chronology of this trilogy puzzles me, and I don't understand how the crawl could say that the First Order has conquered a large part of the galaxy already, given that this film picks up right at the end of TFA (overlapping it, in fact, depending on how you read the opening space battle). Snoke turned out to be a means to an end (Kylo Ren's further descent) rather than anyone of consequence in hi
  3. Having seen the film and listened to the soundtrack for the first time, I don't think one time through is sufficient to completely absorb either one. After hearing the action music Williams wrote for this one, I really wonder if the streamlined sound of TFA really was more due to how that film was made rather than any independently-made creative decisions. I am stunned that at 85 he was able to write a score this vigorous. That's the best word for it, I think. It's so full of energy and sounds like it could have been written a decade ago rather than this year. The way the score follows every t
  4. Hopefully this won't get lost in all the back-and-forth of the impending release of The Last Jedi, but I was hoping to start a discussion of aspects of Williams' work and approach that might be underrated or not discussed as much as maybe they warrant. The topic was inspired while I was re-watching the Star Wars prequels and noticed his approach to the dialogue scenes. I don't have any other strong examples of his dialogue underscoring close at hand, but his approach to the more talky scenes of these films struck me as unusually strong. One of the ones that stood out most (and always has) is
  5. Yeah, that's one of the worst offenders to me. The music really drives the tension and drama of the heroes escaping, and Lucas destroyed all of that by cutting in the series of shots of Vader leaving Bespin and landing on the Star Destroyer. It's almost like he completely misunderstood why that part of the film works so well--it's the music and the editing that already existed. Didn't need anything. For all the times he's paid lip service to John Williams' contributions to Star Wars, I don't think he really understands or appreciates what Williams did for his films, especially in the prequels
  6. I am quite partial to his take on As You Like It. Beautifully shot, a lovely Doyle score, and a surprisingly endearing performance by Bryce Dallas Howard. You also can't go wrong with As You Like It; I like it and Whedon's equally well for different reasons.
  7. Thor: Ragnarok. I liked it more than I expected and was mainly interested because the trailers looked so bizarre. I thought it was easily the most enjoyable Marvel movie since the first Guardians, even it it does take a while to get going. I found the humor to be more genuine than is typical of Marvel; not quite as snarky as Guardians or as quippy as the Avengers. I have no clue what to make of whatever Cate Blanchett thought she was doing, but the rest of the cast was fine. I enjoyed the dynamic between Thor and Hulk/Banner and thought Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth had a fun rapport. So it
  8. Do I have to pick? Because truthfully, aside from a couple of standout cues in each score, neither interests me much. I think "The Tale of Viktor Navorski" is a truly delightful concert arrangement, and "Jazz Autographs" is one of the most beautiful melodies he has written in this century, just a stunning tune that is emotionally direct without being saccharine or manipulative. I might even call it inspired. The score as a whole is not one I feel compelled to revisit, and I think it's been about 4 years since I listened to it. However, my issues with the score do not extend to the sound qualit
  9. Well, that's certainly part of it for me. He'll be 87 by that point, after all, and I can't imagine a schedule like TFA being any more amenable in the future then it was in 2015. If I'm being honest, I also suspect his working relationship with Abrams wasn't as rewarding for him as it was for Abrams. Williams is too much the gentleman to say overly negative things about his collaborators, but it wouldn't surprise me if the process on TFA probably had too much fluctuation for his liking, especially for a composer who doesn't read scripts and likes to know where a film is going when he starts to
  10. Probably Rosewood. I never owned it prior to the 2 disc set and never connected with it. I also got rid of the original albums for Empire of the Sun and Home Alone after the expansions. In terms of scores by other composers, the last scores I purged were Star Trek (Giacchino), Vertigo, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe those last two make me a philistine, but I don't care. All I need of the Herrmann is the suite anyway.
  11. Aside from the fact that Disney seems to be putting a ton of effort into killing Star Wars through oversaturation, the worst part of this is the fact that it will keep Rian Johnson from doing his own thing. I have seen all of his films and thought Looper was a strong effort that really whetted my appetite for whatever he would do next. And now he is doing this instead of whatever weird thing he might have done next. Disappointing. It further solidifies my decision to check out of new Star Wars after Episode IX, though if Williams doesn't do that one my interest will decrease substantially. J.J
  12. This, hands down. But I also don't watch a lot of TV. It's a shame this doesn't cover the 2000s, because I would have much more to say. Fringe, for instance. A great theme tune and graphics that fit the show perfectly.
  13. I'm really hoping it's a small score--small in length, small in scope, scored for a small ensemble. I hope Spielberg resisted the urge to make this a valorized, idealistic portrait of journalists and instead made a weary, cynical, film as might have been made in the early 1970s. My gut tells me Williams was probably forced to write a noble, vaguely stirring Americana score, but I would love it to instead be paranoid, jazz-inflected, maybe dominated by piano, like something by David Shire. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased to have two new Williams scores coming this year, especially considering h
  14. No one is going to accuse it of being original, but it is certainly well-written and well-acted. And the more technical aspects are strong as well. I don't put much stock in the complaints that it didn't have an orchestral score, because I think the show is a little too slight to support that approach. The synths work just fine.
  15. See, I want to like Duel of the Fates. I just always come away thinking it is some of the least interesting material in a score where the new themes are weak and not applied in anything resembling a consistent manner (though who knows what the cut Williams spotted and wrote to looked like, compared to what was released). Duel of the Fates doesn't have much substance to it, and it isn't developed well at all, because there isn't enough to develop. But yes, The Jedi Steps is probably tied for second-best finale after ESB (the tie is with Star Wars and maybe AOTC).
  16. Good! I want to be surprised. I usually ignore what actors say about movies they are in, but I am starting to believe the Star Wars actors who have said this one is different, shocking, etc. For some reason I don't think they're blowing smoke.
  17. Some days I agree with you on that. It sits in a "gray" area aesthetically, for lack of a better word and that appeals to me. On the matter at hand....TFA feels like a more focused score in terms of how it plays out. It has stronger thematic material (I am convinced that a large part of Rey's appeal is the music), and Williams got a lot of mileage out of that material. In a lot of ways I like the lean approach we got in 2015, but some of the underscore does sound a little anonymous. TPM is very extravagant, but never in an unbearable way. It is a Technicolor score, is the way I th
  18. I don't remember TFA getting this kind of warning before it was rated. To be fair, though, TLJ does look like it will be more intense, comparatively speaking. Regarding the trailer, I found myself wondering if it is intentionally misleading. Surely Rian Johnson and whoever edited the trailer didn't mean to give away what appear to be major plot points. I will say that the look and tone the trailer points to made me wish Johnson was returning for the finale. I don't think it will be boring in any sense.
  19. My guess is that the warning is there because the movie doesn't have a rating yet, and the studio, etc., is trying to give some kind of guidance to people with kids who might be buying advance tickets.
  20. Yes, I know. I was using the label from the liner notes. I've never connected the theme that closely with that arrangement. It has always been "Searching for E.T." to me.
  21. Oops! I was unclear. I meant that my favorite theme is Suburbia or the other one.
  22. Man, that alternate version of Far From Home / E.T. Alone is really interesting. The high tuba writing is a neat texture, but I think it would have been a little out of place in the film. The music that I imagine was intended to underscore the spaceship's departure is too understated, so I understand why the cue was revised, but it has a such a different emotional undercurrent that I would very much like to see a video replacing the existing music with the alternate (and if I knew how I would do it myself). The music as it is in the film is one of finest stretches of underscore he has ever wri
  23. Finally! Someone else who likes that one. I would rather Whedon and his pals do more Shakespeare than have him waste his time on comic book adaptations (yes, I think his Avengers films are mostly garbage; some of the Marvel films I have enjoyed for what they are, but the first Avengers is much overpraised and the sequel is just a waste of time.)
  24. I've always thought E.T. was one of the best-recorded Williams scores, and this edition confirms that for me. It has to be one of the best all-around performances by an LA session orchestra, too. Of course they routinely do really good work, but E.T. feels like music they lived with before it was recorded, rather than just spending a week with it for the scoring sessions. One of the things that really struck me--out of nowhere--on listening to this is how great the percussion sounds, especially the brighter things like triangle and glockenspiel. The brass are present without ever being painfu
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