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The Illustrious Jerry

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The Illustrious Jerry last won the day on April 18

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    If we're kind and polite, the world will be right.
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  1. First track released from Jonny Greenwood's upcoming Spencer score, which along with Kristen Stewart's performance was the focus of a lot of festival buzz surrounding this film. I like it!
  2. As the buzz around Dune continues, I once again find myself lamenting Jóhannsson's passing. While I appreciate many of Zimmer's textures I ultimately remain unimpressed with the score, and unfortunately we can only wonder what Jóhannsson might have done had he been given the chance to apply his talents to such a promising project. For the longest time the same was thought to be the case for Blade Runner 2049. Jóhannsson was replaced by Zimmer and Wallfisch after Villeneuve decided they needed something closer to Vangelis' original (whether the score we got actually fits that bill is a matter of opinion, but no matter). Whatever music he had begun to work on at that point was never released. Anyway, I was perusing through Jóhannsson's official YouTube channel and what do I find but a recently released album titled Gold Dust, "a selection of unreleased and unused music from a project during Jóhann's career." There's no explicit confirmation as to which film these might have been intended for, but it's cool to imagine how this might have fit into something like BR 2049 (or perhaps even his rejected score for Darren Aronofsky's mother!). Any thoughts?
  3. A carefully curated 77-minute program of George Fenton's score for this 2006 BBC wildlife series is the latest subject for our Discord listening sessions. Each episode focuses on a different environment (i.e., deserts, seasonal forests, grasslands), an approach that ultimately lends itself to a rich and inspiring musical epic with enough scope and scale to match the very landscapes themselves. Fenton captures the sheer awe and wonder of it all with Elgarian majesty, combining soaring flourishes and dense orchestrations to create a wellspring of musical richness. Even the score's locational interludes are some of the most tasteful I've ever heard, especially considering they come right in the thick of time where the wailing woman cliche was plastered over anything and everything remotely exotic or foreign. The expert interplay of cultural sounds add a layer of authenticity and coherence that really transforms the palette in these sections (see the stunning Namibia - The Lions and Oryx, which climaxes with some truly rousing vocals and ethnic winds). There's an overflowing amount of colour and life to every bit of this, and the energetic performance from the BBC Concert Orchestra is nothing short of fantastic. It's been an absolute joy to rediscover this one, as I fondly recall being very attracted to the score when I first saw the series back in 2008 or thereabouts. Although I hadn't really realized just how much of an influence it has had on my tastes until now, I'm fairly confident this is a major touchstone in the development of my admiration for both film and classical music. In any case, it's always exciting to find that something you enjoyed when you were younger not only holds up, but exceeds your expectations the way this does for me. Besides, I really do miss the days when you could expect this level of composition and class from a nature documentary of all things (Fenton's Blue Planet and Frozen Planet entries are similarly excellent). Anyway, the gang really enjoyed what this had to offer: the hymn-like passages of the Prelude and The Snow Geese, the inspired instrumentation of River Predation and The Wolf and the Caribou, the joyous aquatic action pieces like Surfing Dolphins and A School of Five Hundred, the darker off-kilter interjections from The Geladas and Bat Hunt, and the classically-infused eruptions of Iguacu and Mother and Calf - The Great Journey (the main melody is like Elgar's 2nd symphony on steroids). Many thanks to @HunterTechand @Holkofor joining!
  4. To be honest, this is something of a misconception. The ratio of new to old is not at all close to what might have been expected, and in this case the term "tracked music" is a bit of a misnomer. There are only four or five cues dropped straight into the episodes; all other instances are heavily altered or weaved into new music. In fact, if I recall correctly there's only one instance of tracking in the entire second half of the season (Chapter 5's Warm or Cold, the bulk of which was coincidentally unused in the intended episode, opens Chapter 16). Altogether these occurrences don't amount too much in light of my estimation of the unreleased music for Season 2, which rounded out at approximately 80 minutes of new material, and a solid hour of album-worthy highlights should they have seen fit to release anything more. Basically this! Updates to the blog have stalled as of late, but a breakdown of every episode's score, released or not, is something I hope to make available in the next few months for ease of reference. I can't say I disagree with you, and it's obviously not a dig by any means. If anything it's more a testament to just how excellent Season 1 was, because I still feel Season 2's score exceeded my expectations. I recall being very concerned that the pandemic restrictions would spell disaster, but in the end we got plenty of great music and perhaps the single best-scored episode in the show (not to mention some of the finest work of Goransson's career) in Chapter 16. Agreed, I certainly don't think the two albums do the score many favours. I have a playlist of highlights from both volumes, but my preferred presentation would certainly look a lot different had the release model been consistent with Season 1. I don't take any issue with the individual album edits though: The Marshal's Tale, for example, is an excellent combination of cues. Again, I may be grasping for hope here, but I feel like there's still a chance that BoBF could get mini-albums, or at least longer volumes, if only because it's a whole new show with lots of opportunity for starting fresh musically, in a sense.
  5. https://filmmusicreporter.com/2021/09/22/ludwig-goransson-scoring-disneys-the-book-of-boba-fett/ Film Music Reporter publicly confirms the long-held assumption that Ludwig Göransson will indeed be scoring The Book of Boba Fett. Recording began in August, and apparently there aren't any restrictions similar to Mando S2, where the brass were only able to record for the finale cues. So that's good news! There's not a lot we know about the show, as Lucasfilm has done well to keep a tight lid on these Disney+ projects, but I think it's safe to assume that there will be a lot of new ground covered thematically. Here's a reminder of Boba's lumbering motif, which will hopefully develop or become a part of something stronger if it's going to (presumably) carry the show: Otherwise I expect there to be a lot of new music, as I don't imagine there will be too much cause for many of the Mando themes to appear. Can't wait to hear the end credits piece for this one! We can only hope the fact that this is technically a new series will mean they might bless us with weekly OSTs again, but I wouldn't set any expectations. Obviously, the analysis will continue to be updated and added to once the show premieres. Really looking forward!
  6. As is likely evident, the first seven stills are from Paddington (dir. Paul King) and the next twelve are from Paddington 2 (dir. Paul King). Sorry in advance if anyone's webpage is crippled by the abundance of images. These are super sweet family films told with great care and love, but also with IMMENSE creativity. At first glance, they would seem to be greatly inspired and influenced by Wes Anderson, and they certainly are! On the surface, they've got all the trademarks: overhead and tracking shots, extreme close-ups, loads of symmetry, whip pans, different aspect ratios, multiple "Let Me Tell You About My Boat"-esque sequences, stacked ensemble casts, etc. But I think what makes them so attractive and endearing is that they go beyond that superbly detailed whimsical style and reach the very hard-to-pin-down heart that makes those films so special, manifesting it in a way that is not just sincere and genuine, but also wholly unique! Case in point, I love these warm and wonderful movies dearly, and I am very happy knowing that I can always resort to these to brighten my day. These aren't just comfort films...they're hugs.
  7. Hey folks! I made a few updates to The Music of The Mandalorian back in July, including the addition of revised write-ups for Chapter 5 and Chapter 6. These entries are a continuation of the series of posts which began back in April, with similar reviews having already been added for Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4. In addition, the site hosts isolated score videos for notable sequences in Chapters 4, 8, 11 and 16. I hope to do more of these in the future. Of course, for anyone not yet familiar with the score, I recommend glancing through the thematic catalogue, which has been compiled for easy access by several fans of the score over the course of both seasons. As for the remainder of the write-ups and timestamps, I do not expect to chip away at them significantly for some time, as there are still a lot of revisions to be made since they were originally posted nearly two years ago. Wow! Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 will likely take the most time, as my writing on Season 1's two-part finale was particularly extensive. Fortunately, reviews of the two volumes of music for Season 2 are more recent and will be posted promptly thereafter! The goal is to have these entries up in time for the release of The Book of Boba Fett in December. Also, there is what one could call a special feature in the works that I am very excited to share. More on that some other time though! Thanks for reading and cheers!
  8. Teasers for Pablo Larraín's Spencer, whose excellent poster is above, and Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst, have dropped. Coincidentally, Jonny Greenwood scored both of these films. Much anticipated.
  9. I wouldn't normally weigh in on a thread like this, but I must say that I find it rather disconcerting that there's really anything to discuss here. I'm not sure how anyone who finds joy and inspiration in John Williams' music and has thus supported the fantastic work of the expansion labels could ever attempt to present a valid reason in favour of limited releases unless it was out of selfishness. Talk about commercial viability and an added sense of exclusivity (yuck!) all you want, but this is what it really comes down to. It has always bothered me that, in the grand scheme of things, the window to purchase many of these expansions is typically limited to a 5 or 6 year time frame at the most (although some have disappeared in as little as 2 or 3 years, as we have seen). For many releases, particularly JW scores, this period has fallen sometime within the last decade. A constant stream of releases has meant that JWFan has been eating good during this time. However, many of these sets have already gone out of print, or are very near the end of their stock. What about the future JWFans who will have missed out on these? What about the JWFans who are still too young and not financially independent, or those who are not even aware of these releases because they aren't active members of the online film score community? I would think that anyone on this forum would be in favour of ensuring these were made available to them. Whatever fevered value one might find in a particular release being limited is not only void, but just plain false. How can you hold something like the E.T. set in your hands, and as you flip through the liner notes and listen to the climax of The Departure think that the thing that makes it special is the fact that "I'm one of 5000 people who own this"? That's really sad to me. I am a student. I do not have a full-time job. I do not have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to making purchases like these, and while there are certainly many sets I would happily pick up, my collection remains fairly small. To be clear, I could not be more thankful for the sets I do own. E.T., CE3K, Superman, Saving Private Ryan - these are without question some of the maestro's finest works, and the flawless presentations as tirelessly constructed by Mike Matessino and the folks at LLL could not possibly reflect that any better. I was lucky enough to discover JWFan in late 2017. Of course, I had great admiration for John Williams' music prior to joining in January 2018, but my knowledge of the scores and cues and facts that I am now very much familiar with was limited then. Most significantly, I was not even remotely aware of these expanded releases at the time. Obviously, I had already missed a number of them, and in the process of "catching up" this continues to be the case for me. I try to follow the news on the forum and keep up with the relevant threads, but the reality is that I will not be able to pick up majority of these scores while they're still around. I cannot stress enough how immensely grateful I am for the sets that I do own, but my need to prioritize and become especially selective as a result of this scenario admittedly remains frustrating to me, although I have still managed to be smart about what I buy and when. I know our dear friend Mattris has already posted his dissertation, a good indication that a thread is about to go off the rails, but I guess I just need to say that I am ultimately surprised and disappointed by what I can only describe as a certain level of ignorance and, yeah, selfishness inherent in the question this thread poses. Oh well.
  10. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) "I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the world." I've always felt there was an important piece missing from my understanding of Spielberg's filmography. I could never quite figure out what it was, and I certainly didn't expect the answer to come from a film that had already been made. While there remains a handful of holes in my viewing of his work (A.I. being one of them for the longest time), I had long thought it likely that this void might only ever be filled by a new Spielberg project, a coda that had the opportunity to convey something truly and deeply retrospective (The Fablemans perhaps?). Nonetheless, I now realize that this unexplained absence I had once felt was merely an oversight on my part, and has been wholly remedied by what is surely one of the most reflective and rewarding films of Spielberg's career. While many will revisit what may be one of our greatest director's most misunderstood films for its 20th anniversary this year, this was a first time viewing for me. It's hard to articulate the impact inherent in the nature of the material, so I will avoid diving too far into the many philosophical questions the film raises, but the endlessly captivating presentation is perhaps the single finest delivery that one could hope for. Spielberg, Williams, and Kaminski manage to communicate such immensely rich and complicated concepts in perfect synthesis, achieving a pure combination of music and images to create what some have described as "a glimpse into eternity" (such a phrase may read as cheesy hyperbole, but I doubt it has ever been more true). As always, John Williams' contribution is nothing short of masterful. In many ways, A.I. is one of his finest works; a tone poem worthy of the concert hall. Williams' instrumentation is particularly dynamic, with piano, cor anglais, and wordless choir all playing vital roles that stand above comparison in his vast body of work. I'm not skilled enough to wax lyrical about the countless masterstrokes present throughout this score, although I would very much like to be able to. I will say, however, that Abandoned in the Woods is my personal favourite cue, as it splendidly accentuates a heartbreaking scene with equal parts tension and emotion. The way Williams' develops his leitmotifs really lends well to scoring moments such as this, as there is a remarkably effective sincerity to the emphasis his music provides that ultimately marks the argument of manipulation as void. His ability to develop thematic material in this manner has never been more subtle, and yet all of the power that would be expected in a more overt approach is completely retained, if not multiplied, as this fascinating catalogue of motifs weaves together to form one of Williams' greatest tapestries. Janusz Kaminski gets a lot of flack for his work in the early 2000s, with an aesthetic typically defined by bright white lighting and intense bloom. With A.I., however, there's a clear and consistent visual purpose to nearly every scene, solidifying it as a definitive high for Spielberg's longtime cinematographer. DPs and directors can go their whole career without ever coming close to the superb symbolism constantly on display here. For example, the image of David's confused and estranged face framed through the empty eye of his replica (see top left); the same manufactured shell, yet seen through an entirely different set of eyes. Further emphasis on David's multiplicity is made apparent by another striking shot (see top right), with the camera constantly refuting his hopes for human individuality by repeatedly reinforcing that he is still one of many. A dinner scene offers yet another vivid image to dissect (see bottom left): a halo over David echoes the manufacturer's marketing of the boy as "the perfect child", yet it is the same thing that separates him from his adoptive parents in the shot. The depth of these stills alone is unmatched. The lonely and isolated image of David abandoned in the woods (see bottom right) is a lasting one, and it is important to note that it is seen not through the eyes of Monica, but through the soulless reflection of the car's side mirror. There is no other perspective to turn to, as Monica cannot bring herself to look back. I do not possess the ability to unpack in mere words the philosophical wellspring that is so crucial to this wondrously provocative narrative, and while there are certainly several equally valid interpretations to be compared and analyzed, the film ultimately requires a more independent and personal understanding. Nonetheless, there's no doubt in my mind that the efforts of all involved combine to create a truly astounding and transcendent experience. I look forward to seeing how my relationship with this film changes as I grow older, as I'm certain new nuances will come to the fore with age. "Make a wish." "It came true already." NOTE: I wrote about this film two months ago and for whatever reason I never posted about it here. Better late than never I suppose.
  11. My shortened program of Hurwitz's score has been getting a lot of plays lately. The more time that passes, the more I realize just how much I appreciate this as one of the finer entries in recent memory. The album is far from a worthy presentation, as this is a score whose heights are best traversed over the welcome span of half an hour (hence the playlist). And yet even within such a concise timeframe, it is abundantly clear just how well it all clicks. When put to picture, it's immensely serviceable, and as a companion to the production design and photography, it's probably the film's greatest strength. Away from the movie, however, it very much holds up as a fairly regular listen in my rotation. It's really well-scored and the highlights communicate that without a shadow of a doubt. There are three core ideas that hold it all together: the main theme (channeling The Blue Danube in Docking Waltz, as a big outburst in The Landing, and eerily on theremin in Quarantine), the b theme (with energetic strings in Houston, on harp in The Armstrongs, reaching for takeoff in Apollo 11 Launch, and as the ostinato through line in The Landing), and Houston/NASA (throughout the training sequences, also the basis for the End Credits). Each of these are applied and combined in a wide variety of settings to great effect, from the overtly romantic to something closer and more grounded. It's fascinating to think that we hadn't really heard Hurwitz work outside of the jazz/swing/band idiom up to this point. While cues like Planetarium and Epilogue were an indication of strong melodic writing and a wide array of orchestral colours, it was hard to know what to expect. In the end, this score turned out to be a very good confirmation of Hurwitz's promise as a film composer. I'd really love to see him branch out, but it's clear that he's only keen on working with a director he really knows and trusts at this point. All the same, I look forward to Chazelle's next feature, Babylon, as I'm sure it will turn up some interesting results.
  12. The Green Knight Caught this evening last. Lowery's immense confidence is immediately apparent and entirely refreshing. He's completely comfortable leaving ample room for interpretation, requiring the audience to actively develop their own readings of the many striking images and ideas on display. My unfamiliarity with the source text prevents me from being able to speak to the treatment of the Arthurian lore in detail, but in spirit and cadence this particular presentation could not be more true to poetic form. In this way, the film is surprisingly evocative of what some of the very best literature can achieve. Between the slow burn pacing and the camera's precise gaze, the film explores and challenges the concept of a knight's honour with an almost Bergman-esque patience and maturity (perhaps The Seventh Seal is too easy a comparison to make here, but that's where my mind went). There are a few clear stretches where it's ponderousness begins to weigh, as has been observed, but moment to moment it remains engaging. Patel is quite good, as are much of the supporting cast (Sean Harris and Joel Edgerton in particular). Also, the giants in the fog sequence, while probably bearing the least significance on the quest as a whole, was super cool! Hart's score does well to compliment the environment tastefully, but it begins to wear out by the second half due to a fairly constant presence with very little in the way of growth (at least until the ending). After listening to the album, all I can really say is that I wish there had been more in the vein of Christ is Born Indeed and You Do Smell Like You've Been at Mass All Night. Nonetheless, it does the job. The Green Knight's deeply-woven and abundant symbolism offers plenty to mull over, and while this level of ambiguity can often come across as a sign of storytelling weakness or a failed attempt at creating the illusion of some deeper meaning, it is effectively employed as the film's greatest strength (and not surprisingly, the same reason it will prove too challenging for mainstream audiences). In combination with the bold aesthetic, spacious narrative and excellent production design, this makes for a provocative and unique high-art genre piece. Well worth a look.
  13. I’m very much looking forward to this one, and I plan to see it at the cinema early next week! I’ll try to remember to follow up on this. Lowery was the director behind The Old Man and the Gun, one of my favourites in recent memory, and the pleasantly sincere Pete’s Dragon, which is probably the only Disney remake worth your time. I wasn’t as taken with A Ghost Story and I’ve not seen Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, but I remain very interested in what he does next. From what I’ve read, The Green Knight should be right up my alley. Agreed! I also made a list at the beginning of the year, and my level of anticipation is constantly changing. In addition to the ones you mentioned, my personal shortlist includes Dune, French Dispatch, After Yang, Annette, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Memoria, Bergman Island, and Cry Macho, among others. Also been reading good things about The Worst Person in the World and A Hero out of Cannes.
  14. Although I haven't visited the forum in a little while, I have very much been anticipating the premiere of this piece. While it has always been a dream of mine to see Williams conduct live and in-person, listening along on WCRB tonight was still a very special experience of its own. I find that the most meaningful encounters I've had with Williams' music are the ones that are beyond my ability to articulate in words. While these pieces never fail to exude the greatest sense of wonder, inspiration, and passion, I am ultimately left speechless. For the better part of my life I have continuously developed a deep and intimate connection to the maestro's music, but as anyone who regularly immerses themselves in a great artist's work will know, it is easy to become numb to greatness when one is so intensely familiar with it. There has never been any doubt in my mind about my love for John Williams and his music, but I feel it is required to occasionally step back and regain the feeling of discovery that started the journey so many years ago in order to truly grasp it all. This can often be achieved by approaching something old as if for the first time, or by hearing an entirely new piece, one with the opportunity to confidently reaffirm the admiration, appreciation, and immense gratitude that has always been there. For me, hearing the violin concerto tonight has done precisely that. On first listen, the premiere piece ranges from quiet and subtle displays of emotion to vibrant but grounded flashes of the abstract. While I am not particularly familiar with much of Williams' concert repertoire, there are so many touches here that are instantly recognizable as the work of the maestro. Structure is not always of the greatest prevalence, but the more free-flowing nature of the piece allows for a number of particularly ear-catching passages to flower. The slow movement is undoubtedly the highlight, with some of the more yearning angular violin passages, in tandem with the great crescendos and brass swells that emerge thereafter, bearing some strong similarities to A.I. (at least to my ears). It goes without saying that Mutter has an astounding command over the violin, and her talents could not be more perfect in this central role. The energy in the performance is palpable, even on the radio broadcast; a consistently powerful piece played to the fullest extent. Harp and flute play significant secondary roles, with pockets of brass and timpani further establishing the atmosphere. There's a lot to explore and unpack from the very beginning, and while there are stretches that may take some warming up to, it becomes easy to share in Williams' description of "healing and renewal" as the conclusion provides a reflective final touch to what I'm sure will prove to be a very rewarding piece in the coming years. I will never really be able to explain the deeply spiritual effect that Williams' music inherently possesses, nor will I ever be able to comment on how that has then translated into my own life. However, I think I ultimately want to express my admiration for him as not only a composer and an artist, but as an active source of life and joy for me and so many others. On that note, I would also like to further thank the JW Fan community for sharing in this very exciting moment! It means a lot. Cheers!
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