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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

At the Filmtracks message board, someone posted a topic asking members to choose a new composer for the major franchises. Some of the people there had some interesting choices, but I think I exhibited the most creativity and elan in picking new composers.

1. Star Trek (Mark McKenzie) - I admit that this flies in the face of one of the post's few tenets - "It can't be a composer that previously worked on the franchise."; McKenzie scored a couple of "Enterprise" episodes. - but the man can deliver all the wonder and excitement the franchise scores demand.

2. James Bond (Terence Blanchard) - One can't help but be excited at what Blanchard could cook up for a Bond movie, especially since one of his scores - the marvelous Inside Man - was, in a roundabout way, compared to a Bond score.

3. The Fast and the Furious (Joel McNeely) - "One last ride", my eye. Based this choice solely on Terminal Velocity. Listen to "Cadillac Freefall" and tell me he wouldn't crush this franchise.

4. Star Wars (Christopher Gordon) - Williams is this franchise, no doubt, but if something happened to him, God forbid, Gordon (Daybreakers) would be truly amazing. Search your feelings. You know this to be true.

5. Transformers (Graeme Revell) - I really believe that Revell could hearken back to his mid-90s heyday on these movies, like Street Fighter, Power Rangers...hey, these are all kid-centric properties blown up into ridiculous movies. Weird that I just now got that.

6. Man of Steel (John Debney) - Admittedly not much of a voice, but Debney has a way with an orchestra that these movies desperately need.

7. Spider-Man (Elliot Goldenthal) - He's been away for too long. I hope that his accident didn't lay him too low to take on a project like this. Plus, these films seem to be cut from the same cloth as the Schumacher Batman movies, so there's that.

8. X-Men (Rolfe Kent) - Because if I don't give him a chance to score a comic book movie, who the fudge will? (Ottman could use some time in the corner after Days of Future Past.)

9. Iron Man (Kevin Manthei) - He's made a foray into superheroing (Justice League: the New Frontier) that, I think, would make him a natural for this.

10. Thor (Debbie Wiseman) - An exciting musical journey as told through orchestra. Miss Wiseman can get it done. (If you don't have Arsene Lupin, how can you even say that you like music?)

11. Captain America (David Newman) - Newman's talents would've done wonders for these movies; just imagine the old-fashioned heroics of The First Avenger (but don't get it twisted; I liked Silvestri's score) giving way to the serious thrills of The Winter Soldier.

12. The Avengers (Richard Band) - Kind of like what I said in #8, except he doesn't even have quirky comedies to fall back on. Family loyalty is a commendable thing...unless you're a talented composer and your brother is Charles Band.

13. The Hunger Games (Hummie Mann) - I said this at FSM's message board a long time ago and it still stands: 'It's shameful that Mann didn't (doesn't?) have as big a career as his scores for the Mel Brooks movies would warrant'. Besides, he could use a big franchise on which to stretch his legs...or any movie, for that matter.

14. Guardians of the Galaxy (Marc Shaiman) - This choice is so outside the realm of conceivability that it has to happen sooner or later. Granted, given his Broadway shows and friendship with Rob Reiner, he's not exactly hurting for work, but still...what if?

15. The Maze Runner (Theodore Shapiro) - Cards on the table, all I know of Shapiro are his comedy scores, but there's more than enough here to suggest a strong talent for drama ("The Naughty Purse" from Dinner for Schmucks) and action (several cues from Diary of a Wimpy Kid...seriously).

16. Halloween (Jeff Grace) - I Sell the Dead points toward an incredible gift for horror. (I could care less about the movies, but I think Grace could elevate them.)

17. Jurassic World (Robert Folk) - Folk has given his all to so many movies (okay, most of them are stupid comedies), and the music has been consistently fantastic. Just let him do this. Don't we owe him at least one good dinosaur movie?

18. Planet of the Apes (Carter Burwell) - The music for these movies is gonna require a lot of percussion. Burwell's scores for Conspiracy Theory and The Jackal show that he can nail it.

19. Fifty Shades of Grey (Brian Tyler) - Dude needs a break from action movies and I'm sure he'd tell you so himself.

20. Avatar (Cliff Eidelman) - Lush scenery and adventure. Remember when Eidelman was the go-to guy for this (Star Trek VI, Christopher Columbus)?

What do you think?

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Adventures of Milo and Otis (Michael Boddicker)

Milo, a cat and Otis, a dog, grow up as the best of friends, but when Milo gets swept down river, Otis sets off to find him. Episodic, but incredibly charming family movie. Not much substance, but hard to resist.

Though the project cried out for a David Newman, Michael Boddicker's synth score has its share of delightful passages and could make for a decent album (it does tend toward repetitiveness in the film, somewhat).

The Adventures of Milo and Otis
composed and performed
Michael Boddicker

1. "Walk Outside" (Main Titles) 1.14
2. Milo Meets Otis/Mischievous Milo 4.50
3. Hide and Seek/Babysitting 3.08
4. The Intruder 2.54
5. Hatching/To the Dock 5.15
6. Boat Trip 2.06
7. Encounter with a Bear 1.57
8. Over the River/Scary Night 2.27
9. Otis Searches/Empty Box/Digging for Lunch 4.40
10. Storm Clouds/Ride from a Turtle 4.41
11. Hopping with a Fox 1.03
12. Road of Wood and Iron 0.56
13. Friendly Wildlife/Sunset/Dreams of Home/Rescue of a New Friend 8.25
14. Fighting for Fish 2.30
15. Shelter 1.29
16. Teasing the Bear 2.25
17. From a Snake to a Pit 1.18
18. Reunited Rescue 2.07
19. Frolic of Friendship/Courting/Winter/Bigger Family 10.17
20. Lost in the Storm/Fish Delivery/Extended Family 6.37
21. Cats and Dogs 0.54
22. "Walk Outside" (End Credits) 2.24

Yes, Boddicker didn't write "Walk Outside", but the soundtrack to this movie would be rather naked without it, I think.


Friday, May 15, 2015

My deepest apologies for not posting anything in a while. Laziness and apathy are a deadly mix, especially when mixed with self-doubt.

I can't promise that I'm working on something big. If and when I post something, it'll likely be the same old shit.

BTW, I submitted an entry for The Writers' Store's 'Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest'. Take one of their loglines and write the first 15 pages of it and maybe, you could win. (My logline choice: "A superhero has a one night stand with her arch enemy and discovers she's pregnant with his child.") The list of the top 10 finalists were just posted and, of course, I wasn't on it, though one of the finalists - who I can only assume chose the same logline - had a most amusing title: Wonder Broad.

Still, as I'm sure I mentioned before, the logline inspired me for the first time in ages. I'm a third of the way through. Here's hoping I get the drive to finish.

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Yep. Welcome to another "This is so going in my blog!" moment.

As part of Free Comic Book Day, before heading out to partake of Avengers: Age of Ultron and the comics of FCBD, I decided to fire up the ol' laptop and watch episodes of some of my favorite animated comic-book based shows. I even drew up a schedule and everything.

I managed to watch all of one episode. It was of "X-Men: Evolution". It was available in all its uncut glory and, tellingly, it's the only show amongst my picks to be available on Netflix. Strangely enough, the other episodes I tried to watch were either crippled by incompetent site management ("Batman: TAS", "Green Lantern: TAS"), sped-up footage to avoid removal ("Fantastic Four") or overzealous ad placement ("Teen Titans"*; it's one thing to interrupt the show to run an online ad, but running an ad on top of the show as it plays should be grounds for immediate castration).

This experience raises a bigger question: Why do so many cartoons fall through the cracks? You'd think something as well-known and critically revered as "Batman: TAS" would be available on a wider platform, like Hulu or Netflix (okay, it's on Amazon Prime, but as God is my witness, I really thought I had to pay to watch it and I am, for lack of a better word, a cheapskate).

I don't pretend to know what exactly goes on in the minds of people who make the big programming decisions, but I can't help but feel like our generation is coming up on a steady stream of gruel with the occasional steak thrown in for variety. (How many cartoons built around the early "Spongebob" episodes where he and Patrick annoy Squidward can there be? A large number, if you know how to search.)

I remember a time when the steak to gruel ratio was a lot more balanced. Funnily enough, most of the cartoons I tried to watch this morning came up in that era. It would've been so nice to revisit the Saturday morning cartoon watching heyday I once enjoyed.

* - It is truly sad that the only real "Teen Titans" I can get on my television is when Boomerang deigns to air "Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo" while that juvenile rip-off dominates Cartoon Network. It's almost like how they were able to delete any traces of "Sheep in the Big City" from existence, likely thinking that if people can't watch it, eventually, they'll forget it ever existed. Cocksucking motherfuckers.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Well, another birthday has come and gone. Thankfully, I was at home to enjoy it.

Having to figure out what to do and what not to do at my job and feeling nervous about a mistake I may have made on a regular day is fine, but to feel like that on my birthday is beyond the pale.

Still, here's hoping to at least another year of feeling things out. I have no problem saying, bluntly, I need the money.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Down Periscope (Randy Edelman)

Rebel naval commander Tom Dodge (Kelsey Grammer) is finally given command of a sub, but it's a rusted wreck left over from World War II. With this ship and a crew of oddballs, can he succeed at wargames and further his career? Nearly twenty years later, this comedy (a sort-of remake of Major League from that film's director, David S. Ward) holds up surprisingly well. There are many laughs among the talented ensemble and Grammer is good in a role quite unlike Dr. Frasier Crane ("Welcome aboard", indeed).

Randy Edelman's score is one of his better works, mostly eschewing the (somewhat distracting) synths that are his trademark and concentrating on orchestra, highlighted by a stirring main theme; almost like his take on the Police Academy march.

Down Periscope
composed and conducted
Randy Edelman

1. Main Titles 2.25
2. Returning to Base 0.14
3. Good News 0.54
4. "The USS Rustoleum" 0.40
5. Visiting Winslow 0.08
6. The Right Man?/"Crew from Hell" (Mark McKenzie) 4.23
7. Lt. Emily Lake 0.41
8. Cleaning up the Stingray 0.27
9. Relocation/Pascal Overboard 1.17
10. Laundry Duty 1.01
11. "Prepare for Dive" 2.29
12. "Down to 5-0-0" 3.46
13. Strategizing on the Orlando 0.31
14. "Prepare to Surface" 1.03
15. Running Lights 1.50
16. First Success 0.28
17. Showing Some Flare 0.49
18. Clumsy Kitchen/"Rig for silent running." 2.49
19. Silent Running 2.16
20. Gas Attack 1.25
21. "Course 0-2-7" 0.55
22. "Fight another day." 1.03
23. Sunrise 0.21
24. Captain Pascal? (Mark McKenzie) 1.13
25. "Attempted mutiny" 0.14
26. Walking the Plank 0.47
27. "Welcome aboard, Sir."/"Bizarre and risky." 9.29
28. The Stingray Surfaces/A Shooting Solution 7.52
29. Victory 1.36
30. Dodge's Promotion 2.30

That a specialty label (Quartet) recently - and finally - put out an Edelman score (Pontiac Moon), I think, augurs well for this one.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

In time for the real show.

Given the raging nostalgia boner in current pop culture, I'm surprised that they haven't done movie recreations featuring the casts of 90s sitcoms. It'd get me to watch the show again. Anyway...

best on-screen duo:
Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley, Begin Again
Rocket Raccoon and Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy
Seth Rogen and James Franco, The Interview
Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson, Let's Be Cops
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, 22 Jump Street

best action sequence:
the elevator fight, Captain America: the Winter Soldier
fighting the Alphas, Edge of Tomorrow
the jailbreak, Guardians of the Galaxy
storming the nightclub, John Wick
the car chase, The Raid: Bernadal

best villain:
Mel Gibson, The Expendables 3
Eva Green, Sin City: a Dame to Kill For
Samuel L. Jackson, Kingsman: the Secret Service
Toby Kebbell, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Liam Neeson, A Million Ways to Die in the West

best breakthrough performance - male:
Rohan Chand, Bad Words
Taron Egerton, Kingsman: the Secret Service
Jaeden Lieberher, St. Vincent
Randall Park, The Interview
Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel

best breakthrough performance - female:
Diana Bang, The Interview
Sofia Black-D'Elia, Project Almanac
Hong Chau, Inherent Vice
Charlotte Le Bon, The Hundred-Foot Journey
Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice

best male performance:
Chadwick Boseman, Get On Up
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Bill Murray, St. Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice

best female performance:
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Scarlett Johansson, Lucy
Angelina Jolie, Maleficent
Melissa McCarthy, St. Vincent
Shailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars

best fight:
Colin Firth vs. the parishioners, Kingsman: the Secret Service
Uko Iwais vs. the prisoners, The Raid: Bernadal
the passengers vs. the soldiers, Snowpiercer
Jonah Hill vs. Jillian Bell, 22 Jump Street
the X-Men vs. the Sentinels, X-Men: Days of Future Past

best kiss:
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Edward Norton and Emma Stone, Birdman
Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, Captain America: the Winter Soldier
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, The Fault in Our Stars
Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Focus

best movie:
Captain America: the Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy

You may or may not notice that 'best comedic performance' is missing. I don't know. Nothing really stood out in the movies I've seen. That's the way it is.