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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

(Just attempting a shot in the arm here.)

1988's Alien Nation told the story of a none-too-distant future, where a race of aliens emigrates to the United States. Working to keep the peace were Sgt. Matthew Sykes (James Caan), a cop who isn't too eager to invite these 'Newcomers' into society and his new partner, George Francisco (Mandy Patinkin) alien.

The score was written editor Curt Sobel, but there was another score composed for the film by Jerry Goldsmith which was tossed out (I don't know why, either).

In addition to being one of a handful of rejected scores in the composer's career, it was also one of his few all-electronic scores. While not one of the Goldsmith masterpieces, it is still an enjoyable work.

(A YouTube user, PetroxExplorer, had posted clips from the film with bits of Goldsmith's score, but they had to be removed. As a fan of this score, I cannot tell you how disappointing this is.)

"Alien Landing" introduces three of the main motifs featured in the score: a sustained two-note idea (most likely for the aliens), low pulsing tones (which, to my ears, sound just like the Technodrome music from the old "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon!) and a warm (possibly love) theme on synth flute. (Ironically, this theme was used in another rejected Goldsmith - Wall Street. It would find a permanent home in The Russia House.)

"Out Back" places the two-note idea over thumping electronics, creating a stunning action cue. Prior to a driving action cue, "Are You Alright?" introduces two electronic nuggets that Goldsmith would, for better or worse, interpolate into later scores: an ascending wailing sound later to be heard in Total Recall, and a sort-of twinkling effect that would feature heavily in Warlock.

"Take it Easy" features the love theme on synthesized sax over dreamy electronics. Amusing neo-classicism earmarks "Jerry's Jam", before getting funky for "Alien Dance". "The Vial" reacquaints us with the two-note idea and throws in pulsating synths.

In "Tow Truck Getaway", the electronics thump away, signalling great urgency...but there's still time for a somewhat comic take on the two-note idea. (This was my favorite of the YouTube clips; someone was trying to plant a bomb in a car, but George, who was in the back seat, tried to foil the criminal. The would-be bomber escaped on a tow truck. The comical music underscored George fumbling for his gun.)

An airy take on the variation of the two-note idea appears in "The Beach", creating an interesting atmosphere. "Tell Them", however, is all about action, with its electronic ostinatos. Everything from synth horns to electronic beeps shows up in "A Game of Chicken", while synth strings and tympani go crazy in "A Nice View".

"Just Ugly" makes for a fine climatic cue with its chaotic electronic layers. "The Wedding" features a full presentation of the love theme, segueing nicely into the end credits.

The Varese Sarabande CD Club was nice enough to put this out a few years ago. Surprisingly, there are several copies still available...and if you do decide to get it, you will be treated to one of the finest, funniest hidden tracks ever.

If you like electronic scores, or are curious to see what film producers are like when they take leave of their senses, do check out Alien Nation. It's pretty good.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"I wanna shake the dirt off of this one-horse town."

(So amazing, I had to create a new tag.)

The placement of the locations might be a tad speculative, unless you've studied every single episode,

(BTW, the line just came to me. I don't remember the episode it came from.)

And, not long after finding this, I find that someone added interactive screencaps to this one. The memories just come flooding back:

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

"You say 'coke', I say 'caine'."

For the first time in I genuinely don't know how long, I went bike riding today.

The feel of traveling up and down the streets was exhilarating...and tiring. I've let myself go too much (I'm not one of those disaster cases one would find on 'Maury Povich'; at a distance, I look pretty thin, but when you get up close, it's pretty noticeable).

I couldn't believe how winded I was when I returned home. The time I took lying on my porch trying to recuperate was just as long as the actual bike ride.

Working in a place where I'm around food all day has definitely taken its toll and I get the sense that a heart attack (this will be number two in my lifetime) is imminent.

BTW, the title of this post is one of my all-time favorite song lyrics from Queen's "Bicycle Race". (I've also taken my real name off the posts. One day, when I'm famous, I don't want to be too haunted by what I've posted here.)


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday is new comic day.

Now, the last time I went shopping for comics in the pouring rain, I pretty much cursed my existence and the situation (though, in my defense, it was sunny when I left the house).

In spite of the unpleasant weather, I had a good time today. I picked up some interesting titles:

American Splendor - No. 3: I pretty much came to this title because of the superb film from a few years back. These issues are basically short stories about the life of (and told from the perspective of) Harvey Pekar. This issue starts with a story from Pekar's childhood. It's ultimately a sad story and, I admit, it took me some time to recover. However, a story about Pekar's medication and the calming powers of a cat makes for a nice antidote.

Galaxy Quest - Global Warning: Essentially based on the 1999 comedy, it pretty much follows up on the promise of the ending...a new GQ series is set to hit the air, just as a ship looks ready to invade Earth. Strong artwork and an interesting story make this a title I'll definitely follow up on.

She-Hulk #31: This is a title I've been missing...literally; in the last few months, every time a new issue has been released, it's been sold out. Utilizing an anime-esque art style, the story told of lawyer-turned-bounty hunter Jen Walters and her scrapes with mutant detective agency X-Factor. Maybe I need to get the issues I've missed, but it's wonderful to have a new issue of "She-Hulk" in my hands again.

Teen Titans Go! - Truth, Justice, Pizza: A collection of early issues of the comic. Some of the lines are a tad cheesy, but fans of the show and comic will enjoy it.

This post reminds me of a feature I've been meaning to start up here. Hopefully, it will be soon.


Friday, August 08, 2008

"Do you swear?" "Every damn day."

Two posts in one day? What black magic is this?!

Anyway, I wanted to see just how often I swear at this blog. Needless to say, I'm a bit surprised:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Online Dating Site

Given that I drop the C-word more often than I'd like around here, I can only assume that this thing is defective...or not coded for such an obscenity. Either way, it's fuckin' weird.


August is the cruelest month?

The other day, I ran across an article proclaiming that August is where studios dump their cinematic leftovers.

For this August, according to them, only Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express look any good. (They do, of course.) The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is among their (and a lot of people's, apparently) must-avoid titles. I'm not saying that TotDE was a classic, but it's a Mummy movie! If you're expecting high art whether or not you've even heard of the first two films, there's just no talking to you.

Even more, they made a list of August-released films from the last 15 years and labelled them 'lousy' and 'halfway-decent'. It's encouraging that the likes of Superbad, The Iron Giant, Matilda and Red Eye were named 'decent'. However, it was not quite as encouraging to see the following classed as 'lousy': Mystery Men, Stardust (did those pinheads even see the film?!), Osmosis Jones (okay, I will concede that the live-action half belongs here), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Hot Rod, Underdog (I'm in a minority, but the film wasn't that bad), Mortal Kombat and Snakes on a Plane (look at the titles of these last two; again, that's what you get for expecting high art).

In all of this, was any thought given to the fact that January is a far worse month to release movies? Let's look at some of the masterpieces to grace the world of cinema: One Missed Call, Fallen, Just Married, Torque, Blood and Chocolate, Darkness Falls, Virus, White Noise, Kangaroo Jack, Along Came Polly, Are We There Yet?, Big Momma's House 2, Hide and Seek, BloodRayne, Primeval, The Hitcher, Epic Movie, Supernova, Teeth (It's a movie about a girl's snatch that mutilates male gentalia. How good could it possibly be?) and Meet the Spartans. A few halfway decent films managed to squeak by in recent years (Glory Road, Last Holiday, Alpha Dog, First Sunday), but, seriously, I'd rather have my film never released at all than released in January.


Friday, August 01, 2008

"Why am I laughing?"

Not a reference to classic FOP, but a brief bit about The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

The reviews (mainly at Ain't It Cool News) have been...not good. Apparently, a moment in the film involves the yetis knocking a guy out and doing sort of a touchdown dance. 'Yetis. Living in the Himalayas. In the 1940s.' (taken verbatim from Moriarty's review).

I really don't think that's gonna be enough to talk me out of seeing the film. After all, you're reading the blog of a guy who didn't mind so much the sillest bits of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...and who considers "This never happened to the other fella." (from On Her Majesty's Secret Service) one of the funniest in-jokes in the history of ever.

I'm not some guy who'll devour anything that's shoved under my nose, but it doesn't take that much to entertain a guy like me. Besides, the first movie has earned more than enough goodwill to, at least, make it a fun time.