Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The movies of 2014.

Saw a lot of movies from 2014. Even managed to crack the 60s. That decision to see movies I'd usually avoid so I'd know the difference between a good one and a bad one paid off in some esoteric way, after all.

10. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Effective continuation of the franchise, with some touching moments amidst the mayhem.

9. Inherent Vice - Twisty noir is rich with 70s atmosphere, full of humorous touches and enacted by a fantastic cast.

8. How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Larger spectacle, stronger humor, more emotion...I'll say it: this flies higher than the original.

7. Bad Words - Jason Bateman directs and sheds his nice-guy stripes in this amusing dark comedy.

6. Big Hero 6 - Obscure Marvel comic becomes a colorful animated feature, with a delightful ensemble of characters.

5. Birdman - Beautifully-acted glimpse into one man descent into (and possible rise out of) madness.

4. Captain America: the Winter Soldier - Exciting mix of superhero movie and conspiracy thriller manages to top the original.

3. The Boxtrolls - Charming stop-motion feature with engaging characters and a surprisingly dark streak.

2. Snowpiercer - One-of-a-kind post apocalyptic actioner; a movie that never stops surprising you.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy - Another obscure Marvel title transmogrified into a rollicking piece of cinema.

And then there's...

Chef - Laid-back but very entertaining story of reconnecting with one's roots.
The Drop - Atmospheric crime drama with fantastic performances and some sharp twists.
Edge of Tomorrow - Basically Groundhog Independence Day, but no less enjoyable for being so.
The Hundred-Foot Journey - Gorgeous French scenery and Indian food; a very affable pairing.
The Interview - Surprisingly hilarious (and expectedly ridiculous) given the controversy.
John Wick - Straightforward revenge pic benefits from a good Keanu Reeves performance and impressive action scenes.
The Lego Movie - Wacky, funny, exciting; no masterpiece, but better than it had any right to be.
Muppets Most Wanted - Silly and funny follow-up with great cameos and catchy songs.
22 Jump Street - Sequel has great fun with its meta aspects and also brings the laughs.
X-Men: Days of Future Past - Bryan Singer makes a strong return to the franchise in this lively installment.

Underrated: Hercules, Let's Be Cops and The Monuments Men

Overrated: The Fault in our Stars (Beautifully acted, generally well-made, but Christ on a Segway, that running time!) The Grand Budapest Hotel (Again, marvelous acting and impressive design...undercut by a maddening desire to turn a Lubitsch pastiche into the freaking Terminator. How am I the only one to see this?), and The Raid: Bernadal (This one hurts, as I enjoyed the first movie and the follow-up has many positives to it - the car chase, the prison fights - but it's two and a half hours long! What's more, certain aspects of the film - hello, Bat Boy and Hammer Girl - tip the scales of violence from 'entertaining' to 'torture porn'.)

Guilty pleasures: Brick Mansions and I, Frankenstein

Didn't think this was so bad: Annie, Maleficent and RoboCop

Kind of a letdown: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sabotage and Sex Tape

The worst movies of 2014:

3. Dumb and Dumber To - Yeah, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels looked shockingly old, but complaining about that is akin to bitching about the character design on "Ben 10: Omniverse" - off-putting, to be sure, but hardly the biggest thing wrong with the project. Mean-spirited, needlessly gross, hideously photographed and depressingly derivative of the original. Not even a few stray pleasures (Harry's new roommate, the callback in the credits) can redeem it. Seriously, this is the best they could do in 20 years?!

2. The Legend of Hercules - Renny Harlin's career has had a couple of solid actioners amidst a field of guilty pleasures. This film doesn't even score in the latter category. If the crappy CGI effects (a Millenium Films trademark) don't get you, the 300 plagiarism will. And what the hell was up with Johnathon Schaech's cornrows?!

1. Winter's Tale - In my Letterboxd review, I noted how similar this was to Hulk (also starring Jennifer Connelly!): in taking its ridiculous story heart attack-serious, unbridled goofiness rises to the surface. Purple prose masquerading as dialogue, the best parents ever sending their baby asea in a model boat, the fact that Russell Crowe's demon is named Pearly Soames, Soames' ultimate fate, Colin Farrell's stupid effing haircut...


My favorite things in movies - 2014:

Archibald Snatcher partakes of cheese in The Boxtrolls, especially at the end

Batman treats his passengers to "real music" - The Lego Movie

The bonding montage of The Interview

Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman investigate a German apartment in Fury

The car chases in Captain America: the Winter Soldier, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and The Raid: Bernadal

The delineation of the money drop in Horrible Bosses 2

Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography for Birdman

The end credits montage of 22 Jump Street

Joaquin Phoenix gets a look at Jena Malone's old picture in Inherent Vice

Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets fixed up in Sin City: a Dame to Kill For

The mouthwatering food of Chef and The Hundred-Foot Journey

The mud fight in The Raid: Bernadal

The night vision fight in Snowpiercer

The opening chase in Brick Mansions

The paintings in Rob Lowe's house in Sex Tape

Quicksilver goes for a jog in the Pentagon kitchen in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Samuel L. Jackson in Captain America: the Winter Soldier and RoboCop

The shot from the point of view of the tank in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

A surprising amount of movies where a bad-ass/jack-ass softens (somewhat) through a burgeoning friendship with a child: Bad Words, The Equalizer, St. Vincent and A Walk Among the Tombstones

Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini in The Drop, especially the latter's 'respect' speech

Ty Burrell in Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Muppets Most Wanted

The visuals of The Book of Life, especially the Land of the Remembered

Holy shit, was that...?

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in Annie
Mikhail Baryshnikov in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Jason Isaacs in Fury
David Patrick Kelly in John Wick
Romany Malco in Top Five
Alison Pill in Snowpiercer
Eric Roberts and Maya Rudolph in Inherent Vice


Random thoughts:

- Will Forte as Abraham Lincoln in yet another Phil Lord/Christopher Miller project? Pretty sneaky, sis.

- One trope I've always been intrigued by: the one F-bomb in a PG-13 movie (it even inspired its own entertaining - if incomplete - supercut:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxqNSYjBO5g). This year saw quite a few examples: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Big Eyes, Non-Stop, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Expendables 3, Get On Up, St. Vincent and perhaps my personal favorite of the year, Hercules.

- From the 'weird!' files: I got a pair of actresses confused this year. It didn't even occur to me until months after the movies in which I saw them in had faded from memory: Mirelle Enos from Sabotage and Miranda Otto from I, Frankenstein. (I blame their similarly constructed names.) Even though Sabotage was less than I expected, one has to admire Enos for taking on a role at a complete remove from her worried wife parts in World War Z and Gangster Squad.

- Despite an amusing (and Razzie-nominated?!) performance by Kiefer Sutherland, Pompeii was a bland actioner assembled from recycled parts. One thing that pissed me off about it: that the characters (and/or the writers) genuinely thought there was time for score-settling battles in the midst of a volcanic eruption.

- The Amazing Spider-Man 2. An electrical engineer doesn't think to wear protective gloves whilst handling an electrical connector...and directly over the naturally-occurring open tank of electric eels. The finale that feels like a "Robot Chicken" sketch come to life...this one, in fact. (Seriously, no one thought to yell at the kid to run away or pull him to safety? "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us", my ass!) That damned web hand! This fucking movie made how much?!

- Seriously, can someone explain what the hell Whoopi Goldberg was doing in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

- I mentioned Get On Up getting stiffed for Oscars and, thinking back, it's not hard to figure why. It's one thing when your lead character breaks the fourth wall while they're, say, atop a ladder peering through a sorority house window. For your lead character to peer into the audience after he just got through slapping his wife around...how big do your balls have to be to allow something like that?

- I'm about to spoil Sex Tape, but who cares, really? One of the copies of the video file ends up in the possession of the son of Jay and Annie's best friends who then proceeds to blackmail the couple for 25 grand. What does this fucking have to do with the price of milk? (And, of course, the little monster's parents don't believe Jay and Annie when they spill the beans.) Were the writers so desperate for a new source of conflict that they decided to reach deep into their asses for it? And then there's that moment at the end where not-Eddie Haskell visits Jay and decides to sweep what happened under the rug because Jay and Annie's son is the only friend he has. I swear to the Almighty, I actually said (but not loud enough to draw attention to myself), "Break his neck!".

- Producers of Rio 2: it's bad enough that the circus freak formerly known as Miley Cyrus is indulged by followers and news outlets the world over, but a "Wrecking Ball" reference? I can't even...

- Trailers give away too much, especially gags. Granted, this is the world today, where nothing can be kept a secret (thank you, Julian Assange), but it's very disheartening to be exposed to bits long before I can see them in a theater. Imagine how much funnier the airbags bit in Neighbors or the (clever) crossover cameo in A Million Ways to Die in the West had been had I not seen them in trailers. (Then again, Doc's reaction to the picture in Inherent Vice - which was also in the trailer - made me laugh, but then, I only saw that trailer once and it slipped from memory until I caught the film. Sometimes, it's better when a gag sneaks up on you.)

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Favorite Scores: The House on Sorority Row (Richard Band)

I can't say it enough, kids: I love film music. The sounds, the melodies, the emotions it arouses. I've had an interest in film music for roughly two decades and, in that time, I've come across a number of scores that I've no qualms about calling my favorites.


Ah, slasher movies. As long as there were teenagers with disposable income in the 1980s, you were sure to find them everywhere: moviehouses, drive-ins, video stores and pay cable. All these years later, it must be said that some were better than others. Sometimes, though, you can put an interesting twist on the same old story.

All the girls of Pi Theta wanted was one last party after graduation. Unfortunately, their housemother wants to shut the sorority house down like she does every year on June 19th. Getting her back with a prank proves to be less than a smart move, as someone offs the girls one by one. It sounds like a typical slasher movie...and it is, in many ways. However, writer-director Mark Rosman proves that his short-lived association with Brian De Palma was not in vain; some stylish touches lift this above the norm.

Given the film's $400,000 budget, it's quite a surprise that Richard Band was able to record music with an orchestra, but thankfully, that proved to be the case. Band's score may well be his best.

The "Main Title" music plays over shots of the girls packing their bags and preparing to depart the sorority house. One would almost expect something a bit more aggressive to play out, but Band treats the scene to a lush sort-of waltz on woodwinds, buoyed by a six-note melody that passes between strings and oboe. The bridge of the cue is also worth mentioning (at 1:19); a surging melody that is as romantic as it is urgent. Only at the track's end, with a sustained note on strings, does the music tip its hand as to the film's genre.

The film does provide a sideways nod to De Palma in its appropriation of Sisters (not to spoil too much, but mad doctor and harmless woman thought to be behind the crimes), as heard in "Slater's Memories" with the earlier score's creepy two-note plucked strings.

This cue also features the score's other main melody, a lullaby on solo voice that is reminiscent of The Amityville Horror, and it's just as evocative. ("Music Box" plays throughout the film, voice and celeste recreating the titular item perfectly.) "Kathy in Attic" continues the mood as Kathy investigates, icy strings and the Sisters motif augmented by bass strings and hints of the music box motif. (A searching motif on strings introduced at 0:50 gets a driving rendition in "Kathy in Horror".)

Still, this is a horror movie and Band does provide a number of cues for the unfortunate ends met by the characters. "Swinging Light Kill" features a creepy scraping noise (perhaps to echo the basement setting) amongst its rumbling orchestral effects, leading to a typhoon of strings and dissonance. (and despite the title, the killer's weapon of choice is a cane). "Jeannie's Flight" throws swirling strings, chattering xylophone and pounding horns at us, effectively conveying someone running for their life.

"Hallucination and Escape" is an entirely odd animal, as our final girl finds herself disoriented (again, spoilers). The cue starts with a twisted electronic version of the music box, leading to a deliberate rendition of the main theme. Voices, strings and low-end piano follow as the hallcinations begin. The music box theme tries to muscle its way through the haze, but the orchestral effects are too overwhelming. Low-end piano, frantic horns and chopping strings abound as she attempts a getaway.

"Kathy in Horror" puts us through the wringer as strings, celeste, horns and voice collide. "Last Hallucination" lulls us into a false sense of safety as the music box motif plays out while Katy awaits the killer. A brilliant bit of misdirection is cued by rising strings as the killer strikes. A wind machine effect overlay works beautifully to obscure the orchestra and heighten the unease.

"Retribution" broods under the surface before swirling strings, celeste, the music box motif and horns whirl around as Katy finally fells the killer. However, it just wouldn't be a horror movie if there wasn't one last sting telling us that the killer ain't quite dead.

The "End Credits" picks up the pace a little for the music box theme, giving it a gorgeous full orchestral treatment before returning to the "Main Title" music.

If the opportunity arises for you to pick this up, do not hesitate. This is what horror scoring is all about.

Availability: It was released by Intrada a good two decades ago. I was lucky enough to find a copy around the turn of the century for a decent price and while (at the time of this writing, anyway) there's a copy for $14.99 at Amazon, there's a good 10-15 minutes of music missing from the CD. Though the album in its current form flows very well, I can't help but want more. As I mentioned, this may well be Band's best score.

Intrada MAF7040D (1993)

Track Listing:
1. Main Title (2:45)
2. Slater's Memories (1:38)
3. Swinging Light Kill (2:23)
4. Kathy in Attic (3:15)
5. Music Box (1:37)
6. Jeannie's Flight (3:12)
7. The Cemetary (1:23)
8. Hallucination and Escaoe (5:55)
9. Kathy in Horror (1:48)
10. Last Hallucination (1:39)
11. Retribution (1:47)
12. End Credits (4:08)
These next few tracks are from The Alchemist:
13. Main Title (2:39)
14. Prologue (2:14)
15. Graveyard Encounter (3:25)
16. Lenora Follows Aaron (1:24)
17. Aaron's Curse (2:08)
18. The Alchemist's Room (4:38)
19. The Incantation (2:17)
20. Aaron's Last Fight (6:49)

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The film music of 2014.

My favorite scores of 2014:

(Dario Marianelli - Backlot)
Vibrant and colorful music for the animated feature, with some interesting orchestrations.
Best tracks: "The Scavengers", "Allergic", "I Was Given to Them"

(Michael Giacchino - Sony Classical)
Far more contemplative than one would expect Giacchino to do with the material, but a fine effort, all the same.
Best tracks: "The Great Ape Processional", "Enough Monkeying Around", "Primates for Life"

(Alexandre Desplat - Abkco)
Desplat's score is rich with Slavic flavor, a nice complement to the uneven but exotic film.
Best tracks: "Mr. Moustafa", "Daylight Express to Lutz", "Canto at Gabelmeister's Peak"

(John Powell - Relativity)
A worthy continuation of the Oscar-nominated original, highlighted by Powell's striking theme for Drago.
Best tracks: "Flying with Mother", "Stoick's Ship", "Two New Alphas"

(Alexandre Desplat - Sony Classical)
Haunting score for the biopic; by turns, powerful, touching and tense.
Best tracks: "The Imitation Game", "Mission", "Becoming a Spy"

(Jonny Greenwood - Nonesuch)
Flowery score for the twisty noir...and is that really an ondes martenot I hear?
Best tracks: "Shasta Fay", "Adrian Prussia", "Shasta Fay Hepworth"

(Tuomas Kantelinen - Lionsgate)
Powerful and exciting; who'd have thought that the lesser of the year's Hercules movies would yield the superior score?
Best tracks: "The Fall of Argos", "Hercules and Hebe", "Taking Back Argos"

(James Newton Howard - Disney)
Howard excels with this lush fantasy-adventure score.
Best tracks: "The Christening", "Aurora in Faerieland", "Maleficent is Captured"

(Joel McNeely - Back Lot)
Throwback Western score is rousing stuff and an ample reminder of McNeely's talent.
Best tracks: "The Shooting Lesson", "Racing the Train", "Captured by Cochise"

(Alexandre Desplat - Sony Classical)
The underappreciated war drama featured a typically strong Desplat effort, earmarked by a jaunty main theme.
Best tracks: "Opening Titles", "The Letter", "Claire and Granger"

(Fernando Velazquez - Quartet)
Full disclosure: Quartet was having a sale and I bought this because of the low price. I know nothing of the film, but Velazquez's music is beautifully bouncy.
Best tracks: "ocho apellidos vascos", "manejanta manejando", "segundo intento de fuga"

(Marco Beltrami - Varese)
Facilitates between introspective cues and (appropriately) chugging action tracks.
Best tracks: "This is the End", "Requesting an Upgrade", "Blackout Fight"

(David Newman - Milan)
I pray for a future when Newman gets to work as frequently as he did in the 80s and 90s, creating lovely, sweeping music as he does for this animated feature.
Best tracks: "Kala and Kerchak", "Tarzan and Jane", "Take Me to the Meteor"

(Danny Elfman - La La Land)
Marvelously evocative score; odd how Errol Morris movies bring out the best in Elfman these days.
Best tracks: "Theme from Unknown", "Himself", "Main Titles"

(Carlos Rafael Rivera - Varese)
Suitably brooding score for the crime drama hints at interesting things for newcomer Rivera.
Best tracks: "Main Titles", "Red Hook", "Kenny in the Basement" <

More good scores:

Bad Words (Rolfe Kent)
Deliver Us from Evil (Christopher Young)
The Giver (Marco Beltrami)
Godzilla (Alexandre Desplat)
Hercules (Fernando Velazquez)
The Hundred-Foot Journey (A.R. Rahman)
Into the Storm (Brian Tyler)
The November Man (Marco Beltrami)
The Railway Man (David Hirschfelder)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Brian Tyler)
Unbroken (Alexandre Desplat)

Some great unreleased scores:

The Drop - Marco Beltrami
The Gambler - Jon Brion & Theo Green
Get on Up - Thomas Newman
Let's Be Cops - Christophe Beck & Jake Monaco

My favorite new CDs of 2014:

Batman: the Animated Series - Vol. 3 (Shirley Walker and co. - La La Land) - More episode scores and more highlights: the Clock King's theme; the delicate main theme of "See No Evil"; "Heart of Steel's" 'Barbara followed by a trash can robot' cue (been waiting a good two decades for this one)...

Delirious (Cliff Eidelman - Quartet) - Delightful music for the soap opera spoof, highlighted by a catchy motif for Jack's creative process.

Her Alibi/Partners (Georges Delerue - Intrada/Quartet) - Two supposed comedies from the 80s with two lovely scores from Delerue. The main themes to both will get stuck in your head.

The List of Adrian Messenger (Jerry Goldsmith - Varese Club) - An exciting fox hunt cue and several catchy motifs earmark this neat score to the all-star mystery.

Shaft (David Arnold - La La Land) - Arnold brought the funk for the underrated reboot, doing for John Shaft what he did for James Bond.

She-Devil (Howard Shore - Music Box) - The dark comedy benefitted greatly from Shore's music; an engaging effort with surprising Herrmannesque undertones.

Solar Crisis (Maurice Jarre - Intrada) - The forgotten sci-fi drama features a lively score by Jarre; sort of a long-lost cousin to Enemy Mine, building to a powerful finale.

Superman: the Animated Series (Shirley Walker et al. - La La Land) - The label is straight up spoiling us at this point. Every bit the equal of the 'Batman' releases. Here's hoping for "Fun and Games" on volume two.

Tourist Trap (Pino Donaggio - Full Moon) - Disregard the bare-bones packaging and just get lost in one of Donaggio's oddest (and best) scores.

Young Sherlock Holmes (Bruce Broughton - Intrada) - Broughton's exceptional music sparkles with excitement and a rich plethora of themes.

Maybe we can form a Kickstarter to get these titles that I missed out on:

Big Top Pee-Wee (Danny Elfman - La La Land)
Critical Condition/Summer Rental (Alan Silvestri - Quartet)
Falling in Love (Dave Grusin - Kritzerland)
Funeral in Berlin (Konrad Elfers - Intrada)
Joseph Andrews (John Addison - Kritzerland)
La Buca (Pino Donaggio - Quartet)
Mandingo/Plaza Suite (Maurice Jarre - Intrada)
The Naked Gun Trilogy (Ira Newborn - La La Land)
A Prayer for the Dying (Bill Conti - Quartet)
Robo Warriors (Richard Band - Intrada)
Sahara (Ennio Morricone - Quartet)
SpaceCamp (John Williams - Intrada)
Titan A.E. (Graeme Revell - La La Land)

A few spare notes...

- Though they weren't good enough to make my lists, I must say that I liked Tyler Bates's Guardians of the Galaxy and Gustavo Santaolalla's The Book of Life more than I expected to, given the noodling around of the latter that led to two (!) Academy Awards and the former with his inability to engage me with anything he'd yet written. Maybe, I should be thanking orchestrator/conductor Tim Williams, who worked on both scores.

- I'm still amazed that a year brought us a Tim Burton movie, an animated movie and a documentary and of Danny Elfman's efforts for those, the score for the documentary would reign supreme.

- Contemporary comedy scores getting respect? This year saw combo score albums for not one, but two modern franchises: Muppets Most Wanted/The Muppets and 22 Jump Street/21 Jump Street. (Though not a franchise, I'm quite heartened that this year will see a release of Henry Jackman's scores for the Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg features This is the End and The Interview.)

- Seriously, I cannot overemphasize how giddy I became at hearing an ondes martenot in Inherent Vice. So few composers (if any) utilize it these days. It's honestly the kind of thing that makes one say, 'I need to hire this Greenwood cat if I ever get to make movies'.

- A Jaume Collet-Serra thriller. A Bryan Singer comic book spectacle. One would think that these two projects would've inspired far more than the aimless noodling that John Ottman delivered for both films last year. Maybe, he was under orders to throw these games or maybe, he's lost his passion for the work, but no matter how it goes, that is no excuse to take it out on listeners. If this crap continues, I shudder to think what X-Men: Apocalypse will sound like.

- I'll be saying more about the film in my 'movies of 2014' post, but I found it weird and off-putting that Hans Zimmer used his comical Max theme for Electro's first night out. Still, it's downright inspired put against other aspects of the film...

- Still rather disappointed that there was not one usage of Stewart Copeland's theme in The Equalizer, not even as somebody's ringtone. To quote William Hurt in A History of Violence, "Howwwww do you fuck that up?!"

This is the part where I'd hope for one of my many Holy Grails to be released this year, but I'm not pushing my luck. Very rarely do I get my wish, so I'm just gonna be pleasantly surprised by what the labels cook up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

During a particularly dead period on my shift, I found myself thinking of the torture scene in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. (My mind goes to weird places. So what?)

It also reminded me that, as of this fall, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang will be ten years old. I wrote about seeing it at the time, but even linking to a long ago post doesn't do justice to what I had then. In that plaza was a movie theater, a record store and a Quiznos, all within spitting distance of each other. You just can't buy memories like that anymore.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Random Thoughts - "Shall we give it to him, folks?"

"Yeah! Let's give it to him!"

- Only seen two nominees for Best Picture...three by tomorrow.

- Despite my hopes, The Grand Budapest Hotel received a Best Picture nomination, but not a nod for Ralph Fiennes. Whatever my misgivings about the film, he was incredible.

- Nothing for Chadwick Boseman's terrific turn in Get On Up (or the movie, for that matter). Pretty much what I said above: flawed as hell movie with a whirlwind performance at the center.

- The Lego Movie was shut out of Best Animated Feature. I'm rather cool with this. A good movie, but not quite the masterpiece that people hold it up to be. I was shocked, however, to find that the three best animated features I saw last year made the cut.

- Alexandre Desplat receiving two nominations for Original Score: The Grand Budapest Hotel (very deserving) and The Imitation Game (local release schedules of arthouse movies being what they are, I'm struggling to play catch-up, but I'm sure it's amazing).

- Absolutely nothing for The Drop. At the least, one would assume a tributary nod for James Gandolfini.

- Maleficent snuck in with a Costume Design nod.

- Despite the fact that I'm a fan of its composer, I'm disappointed that "Everything is Awesome" earned an Oscar nomination. It's hardly one of the best movie songs of the year. (I honestly liked Rio 2's "Poisonous Love", A Million Ways to Die in the West's "A Million Ways to Die" and Muppets Most Wanted's "I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)" much more.) Hell, it's not even the best song in that movie! (Darkness! No parents!)

- Unbroken, which seemed to have Oscar sweep written all over it, was reduced to a few technical nods. (The most important was cinematography and that's all I'll say.)

- Nothing for St. Vincent and yes, before anyone says anything, it did seem to be begging for consideration, but good acting is good acting. In particular, a nomination for Melissa McCarthy would've been a boon for her career. At this point, recognition for playing a normal person can only be a good thing.

- First time nominations for Patricia Arquette, Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Felicity Jones, Michael Keaton, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Redmayne, J.K. Simmons and Emma Stone.

- Bradley Cooper nominated for an acting award for the third-straight year. Is that a record?

- Longtime Wes Anderson cinematographer Robert Yeoman scores his first nomination. A long way from shooting the likes of Dead Heat and The Wizard.

- Nothing for Big Eyes, The Fault in Our Stars, The Gambler or Kill the Messenger, either. Huh.

- Something I only just now figured out: Bruce Banner was nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor this year. How do you like that?

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Friday, January 09, 2015


1979's Island of the Fishmen was purchased by Roger Corman and re-released as 1981's Screamers. The trailer promised that you will see a man turned inside out. Needless to say, the ads (initially, at least) promised more than they could deliver. This trailer was put together by B-movie veteran Jim Wynorski at the beginning of his career.

Funny thing is that this trailer would make a decent movie, with its goopy, gruesome makeup by Rob Bottin (no, seriously) and its urgent music (I have no idea who did it - part of me wants to say Wynorski compatriot Chuck Cirino - but it's good stuff). Would be interested in hearing more about it.

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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Update on the phone situation: haven't heard word one from the owners of the kiosk. I can only assume that the phone is lost to the ages...and maybe it's just as well. The contacts I had can always be inputted to a new phone and the pictures and videos I took (save one picture that I took only days before I lost my phone and I can always retake that) were saved on a flash drive. Perhaps, this is the universe's way of telling me to honor my New Year's resolution to let things go.

Also, I applied for a call center job the other day. I expect to hear back from them on Monday and if I'm successful, I'm gonna find myself juggling two jobs. Not easy, I wager, but if I'm able to pay off my debts faster, I'm all for it. I have credit cards, a car note, rent, a phone bill. When does my money belong to me?

On the creative front: I checked Scriptshadow's open thread for the weekend and someone posted an idea that has me excited for writing a script like I haven't been in an age. I'd say more, but there are thieves out there, even if you think the universe doesn't pay attention to you. I mean, look at my phone.

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