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, January 29, 2013

The film music of 2012.

My favorite scores of 2012:

(Laziness precludes my ability to describe why I loved these scores so much. Just go with it.)

More good scores:
The Avengers (Alan Silvestri), Big Miracle (Cliff Eidelman), The Cold Light of Day (Lucas Vidal), Hitchcock (Danny Elfman), Journey 2: the Mysterious Island (Andrew Lockington), The Lorax (John Powell), The Man with the Iron Fists (The RZA & Howard Drossin), Ruby Sparks (Nick Urata), Seven Psychopaths (Carter Burwell) and There Be Dragons (Robert Folk)

Some great unreleased scores:
The Campaign (Theodore Shapiro)
The Dictator (Erran Baron Cohen/Deborah Lurie)
Fun Size (Deborah Lurie)
Hotel Transylvania (Mark Mothersbaugh)
21 Jump Street (Mark Mothersbaugh)

My favorite new CDs of 2012:

Batman: the Animated Series - Vol. 2 (Shirley Walker and co. - La La Land): Even more terrific episode scores (like the exciting "Shadow of the Bat" and the delightful "Mad as a Hatter"). Bring on Vol. 3!

The Black Cauldron (Elmer Bernstein - Intrada): The complete score. Every theme. Every note. (I didn't even know that there were female voices in this music!)

Hook (John Williams - La La Land): A worthwhile release if only for the climactic Pan vs. Hook swordfight music.

King Kong Lives (John Scott - Intrada): A lovely main theme and immensely enjoyable action music for the laughably pointless sequel. Bonus: no goddamn roaring!

Love at First Bite (Charles Bernstein - Intrada): The underrated vampire comedy enjoys a lively score, courtesy of the unsung (and unrelated) Bernstein.

The Phantom (David Newman - La La Land): Unexpected but welcome expansion of Newman's lush adventure score.

The Shadow (Jerry Goldsmith - Intrada): Finally, one of Goldsmith's finest efforts of the 90s is available. Thrilling music with some terrific orchestrations (those slurring brass effects will never get old).

Star Trek: the Motion Picture (Jerry Goldsmith - La La Land): Maybe, there's too much music here, but still a fantastic presentation of one of Goldsmith's finest scores.

Sunset (Henry Mancini - Quartet): This nearly-forgotten murder-mystery featured one of the last great Mancini scores, highlighted by an rousing main title cue.

2 Days in the Valley (Jerry Goldsmith - Intrada): Despite the awkward sequencing, Goldsmith's flavorful rejected score for the modern noir is well worth having.

Other notable releases from 2012 that I have yet to buy because of my financial woes:

The Barbarian and the Geisha/Violent Saturday (Hugo Friedhofer - Kritzerland)
Batman Forever (Elliot Goldenthal - La La Land)
Bride of Vengeance/Captain Carey, USA (Hugo Friedhofer - Intrada)
China Moon (George Fenton - Quartet)
Condorman (Henry Mancini - Intrada)
Enemy Mine: DE (Maurice Jarre - Varese Club)
Hardly Working (Morton Stevens - BuySoundtrax; Funny story, I ordered this from the label, but they didn't send it. As a soundtrack label, they take some interesting chances, but as a soundtrack retailing outfit, this is but one more example of how these people could fuck up a cheese sandwich.)
Nowhere to Run (Mark Isham - Perseverance)
Once Upon a Time (Mark Isham - Intrada)

The 'Burton/Elfman Music Box' "This'd be a nice collection to have, but are you fucking kidding me with that price?!" award:

Star Trek: the Original Series Collection (La La Land) - Okay, this is a little disingenuous, as I'm not a Trekkie and would therefore have no desire to own this anyway, but it still fits.

My favorite pieces of film music (from scores that didn't make the above lists):

"Bomber Briefing" - Red Tails (Terence Blanchard)
"Bryan and Lenore Are Taken" - Taken 2 (Nathaniel Mechaly)
"A Day in the Life" - Looper (Nathan Johnson)
"Hadley's Lament" - The Cabin in the Woods (David Julyan)
"The Heroic Weather-Conditions of the Universe, Part 5: Lightning" - Moonrise Kingdom (Alexandre Desplat)
"It Ain't Over, Tommy" - Alex Cross (John Debney)
"John and Lori at Work/A Walk in the Park" - Ted (Walter Murphy)
"Late to the Theater" - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Henry Jackman)
"Mind if I Cut In?" - The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer)
"The Mission" - Argo (Alexandre Desplat)
"Poe and Hamilton on the Path" - The Raven (Lucas Vidal)
"The Queen Wants Snow Killed" - Mirror Mirror (Alan Menken)
"Regret" - Men in Black 3 (Danny Elfman)
"The Vault" - Total Recall (Harry Gregson-Williams)

Ten releases I'm hoping for this year:

Amityville II: the Possession (Lalo Schifrin)
Down Periscope (Randy Edelman)
Fatal Instinct (Richard Gibbs)
Gymkata (Alfi Kabiljo)
High Anxiety (John Morris)
Jacknife (Bruce Broughton)
The Slayer (Robert Folk)
Super Mario Bros. (Alan Silvestri)
The Sword in the Stone (George Bruns)
Take a Hard Ride (Jerry Goldsmith)


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today, I saw some guy leave his bike in the vestibule of the store. No lock (that I could see) or anything. I guess he didn't care about it that much.

It was the summer before high school. I was riding my bike (back in the days when I was light enough to do so) near my house. I just set it outside a corner store and went in to buy some snacks. When I came back out, my bike was gone.

Of course, I was upset. I'm not really sure if I had a lock and didn't carry it with me or if I didn't have one at all. A while later, I went home. My father, having found out about the theft, was upset. At the time, I figured it was because my bike had been stolen. Looking back, it was certainly because the money to pay for it had come out of his pocket and so it was that $200 was being pedaled away by some two-bit criminal.

Angry, he had me read one of the books that was on the reading list. However, I'm not sure if it was from the school I just graduated from or the school to which I was heading. The book was "Black Boy" by Richard Wright. Whether the book was pertinent to the situation at hand, or a way for him to blow off steam by having me out of his hair, I don't know.

I vaguely recall the details of the book and one of the aspects of this story that I can remember is that the book never came up again. Ever. Not in any of my high school or college classes.

Why do schools even assign reading lists if the subjects are rarely (if ever) touched upon?

tl;dr - Lock up your bikes and school reading lists are bullshit.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Year's resolutions.

There are things we promise ourselves we'll do every year to improve our lives or our station in life. Surprisingly, so do I. Nothing foolish like 'Cut down on the chocolate' or 'no more self-gratification' because who really keeps resolutions like that? Fucking no one, is who. I'd like to think that I'm capable of keeping these resolutions just fine:

One word: confidence! - Don't have it. Apparently, I need to get it to achieve my goals. I miss the days when things worked out for the least repugnant people. That was once a thing, right?

Move to another town - My folks are driving me nuts. My job is driving me nuts. Well, let's just say it: this town is driving me nuts. What I wouldn't give to make a fresh start in another part of the world with people I don't know and a job where morons wouldn't be drawn into my orbit. Of course, I can't start a new life on hope; it takes money, and how does one obtain money? Robbery? Male prostitution? Pyramid schemes? All good answers, class, but I was thinking of something else, like...

Sell a screenplay - Yes, sell a screenplay. Not plan out a screenplay. Not finish a screenplay (though those two tasks are certainly in the cards). Sell. One's a genre-bender that I'm in the midst of proofing. The other's a low-budget thriller that needs the smallest of tweaks. Hollywood claims to be looking for good scripts. I'm gonna find out.

Learn to play a musical instrument - This was on my list for last year, but I never got around to it. I really would like to, though. Whether in a concert hall or on the street for change, something like this would certainly get people's attention.

Learn to cook - As I mentioned before, I love food and seeing various shows and online articles has planted a seed. Also, this (like the previous entry) could gain me special, female-type attention. (BTW, 'losing my virginity' is not appearing on this list. One must walk before they can run.)

Sell some CDs - I'm too lazy to count, but I own somewhere between 500 and 600 CDs. I don't listen to many of them except on the composer's birthdays, but there are those I've grown bored with and yet, they take up space on my shelf. How I look forward to the time when I don't have to arrange CDs by label in order to have enough room. It seems so long ago when I was able to do that.

Shoot a short film - People do this all the time: getting some people together and slapping a short on YouTube. I've had a video camera for roughly the last five years. If it's not choked with dust by this point, I could get something off the ground. The only question: will this be a fake trailer or just a regular short?

Get a new &!%#&!#$ computer - Let me tell you a little something about the computer I currently have: it freezes up constantly. It runs out of space every week. It's not compatible with Sony Vegas. Clearly, you can see the bind I'm in. Plus, with Best Buy threatening to go out of business, it'd be foolish not to get a new one. (I can say, with certainty, that this resolution will be the easiest of all.)

Well. Let's get to it.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I don't usually complain about work anymore around here (the job hasn't gotten better; it's just that I don't have the energy to post about it). Today, though...well, just read on.

Being a moron magnet is a heavy burden and, as usual, they came out in force: people too lazy to put their empties in the machine, people who assumed that I could read minds and didn't feel like telling me, with words, exactly what they wanted and a supervisor who could fuck up a cheese sandwich (how hard is it to make sure that the bags are in the bins in the machines and tied the right way when they're extracted?).

The straw that broke my back came at around 3:15pm. A woman and her friend came in to return the items she bought. She wanted to by them with her food stamp card instead of cash. I was in the middle of cashing them out when the phone rang. Being the only person in the office, I answered it. The friend starts to get upset, though I can't imagine why. When I get off the phone, she is so indignant. Again, why? Has she lived her whole life without dealing with someone who had to answer a phone call? Has someone never bugged her while she was on the phone? I continue ringing up the items, but her attitude persists. I tell her, "It's not against the law to treat people with respect." She claims I'm not respecting her by answering the phone. Well, excuse me, you fucking cunt, if I can't stop the world to serve you. Of course, this bitch was Black (and don't even try to cry 'racism!'; it's not racism if it's against your own race) and, the next time I see her, I'm Chris Browning her into next week just like I should've done.

I've never been attracted to Black women and that incident clinched it. If you ever see me dating a Black woman, you'll know I've given up on life and my suicide will be imminent.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wild about Oscar.

The nominations are out. Let's get to it.

- My worst ratio in years: I've only seen (and really only had a desire to see) two out of the nine nominees for Best Picture.

+ The nominees for Best Animated Feature are Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! - Band of Misfits and Wreck-It Ralph. I have absolutely no quarrel with this grouping.

- Nothing for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Granted, Ezra Miller was an outside chance for Supporting Actor, but it should've, at least, nailed Adapted Screenplay.

- Nothing for Lawless?! Maybe, the Weinsteins wanted to bet the house on Silver Linings Playbook (which paid off pretty handsomely), but they couldn't have re-released this? (The end of August is kind of a dead zone for movies, even great ones like this.)

+ This might be the last I ever say about it here, but I would've seriously cried tears of blood if Looper chased its WGA nomination with an Original Screenplay nod. The second half sucks noodles. Why am I the only one to realize this?!

- I do, however, have a problem with the fact that the guy who did Funny Games (both versions!) is now a double-Oscar nominee.

? John Gatins earned an Original Screenplay nod for Flight. Quite a long way from the hero of Leprechaun 3. Seriously. Look it up.

+ Despite deserving nominations for Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin) and Editing (I'm still on the fence about the score), Argo didn't seem to be the juggernaut that people were hoping it to be. The unexpected blowback didn't seem to help, either. "Oh, it's overrated!" "Oh, the facts were tampered with!" Why would that matter when you're shitting yourself with panic during the last 20 minutes?! I swear to God, some people...

- That movie about Abraham Lincoln got a bunch of nominations. Surprisingly, it wasn't the one where he kills the vampires. What's up with that?

+ Huh. Just as I anticipated, the two Snow White movies are going head-to-head for Costume Design.

+ I'll be seeing the program of Animated Short Films as I have the last couple of years. So far, the award belongs to the insanely charming "Paperman".

+ The "artsiest Bond ever", Skyfall, earned nominations for Original Score, Song (I barely remember it, to be honest) Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Cinematography (Roger Deakins). If I don't say anything, maybe I won't jinx it.

? Moonrise Kingdom earned an Original Screenplay nod. Kind of a stretch, though I did like the film a good deal.

+ Django Unchained picked up nods for Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Sound Editing and Picture. Very nice.

- As I watched The Dark Knight Rises, I thought, 'This production design is a shoo-in for the Oscars'. Alas.

- PD Nathan Crowley's other film of the year, John Carter, was wholly ignored. Scoff if you like, but it should've, at least, been recognized for Original Score. (Likewise, Rise of the Guardians. Oh, well.)


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

I read a brief bit in the paper (and then online) about how Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone were going to announce the Academy Award nominations on Thursday.

A date wasn't specified, so I can only assume that they meant this in this Thursday this Thursday.

Well, I guess that's something for me to post until my 'film music of 2012' post is ready. Can't wait to react.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Winter movie preview.


Texas Chainsaw 3D - Because it was just a matter of time. From the director of Takers. One question, though: will John Larroquette narrate?

Gangster Squad - The actions of a certain orange-haired pillowbiter got this pushed back from September, but this Mulholland Falls throwback looks quite enjoyable.

A Haunted House - Marlon Wayans and company riff on Paranormal Activity. Eh, why not?

Broken City - NYC mayor Russell Crowe wants ex-cop Mark Wahlberg to investigate if his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones is having an affair. Directed by Allen Hughes...but where's Albert?!

Mama - A young couple takes in a pair of little girls who were a) abandoned in the woods and b) fiercely devoted to their mother, who's dead. Or is she? Yawn. Anyone care to place their bets on how this claptrap ends?

The Last Stand - Criminals en route to Mexico must pass through a small town first. The sheriff? Arnold Schwarzenegger. I smell fun.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters - Somewhere between Van Helsing and Paul W.S. Anderson's game attempt at The Three Musketeers lies this adaptation of the fairy tale. Looks like goofy fun.

Movie 43 - It's way past due for this generation to have an Amazon Women on the Moon of its own, don't you think?

Parker - Adaptation of Richard Stark's novels starring Jason Statham. Sounds like a slam dunk, but advanced word is mixed.


Bullet to the Head - Sylvester Stallone takes on a new partner to catch the guy that killed his old one. Walter Hill (48HRS.) directs.

Stand Up Guys - Crime caper with Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken. Worth a shot.

Warm Bodies - Just your typical zombie-meets-girl, zombie-doesn't-want-to-eat-her-brains story. Again, worth a shot.

Identity Thief - Melissa McCarthy steals Jason Bateman's identity, then he confronts her. If ever there was a comedy trailer that smacked of trying too hard...

A Good Day to Die Hard - For the longest time, I really wanted Christoph Waltz to play a lost Gruber brother. Of course, that could've kept him from Django Unchained, so maybe it's for the best that John McClane and his grown son are hunting Russian terrorists.

Side Effects - The plot according to IMDB: "A woman turns to prescription medication as a way of handling her anxiety concerning her husband's upcoming release from prison." I gotta say, I'm bored already.

Beautiful Creatures - Something about these would-be fantasy franchises seems to attract the cream of the acting crop. This one features Oscar winners Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis. (In my version, she won, okay?)

Safe Haven - Another Nicholas Sparks adaptation, this one starring the girl from Footloose and the dude from Turistas who looks like Johnny Knoxville.

Escape from Planet Earth - Stranded aliens try to find a way off our world. This animated feature looks less stupid than Planet 51, anyway.

Snitch - How far would you go to save your son from prison? Dwayne Johnson decides to be an informant for the DEA.

Dark Skies - A family is beseiged by alien invaders. From the director of Legion and Priest. That about says it all.


Stoker - A remake of Shadow of a Doubt. I guess it was eventual.

21 and Over - The night before a big med school exam, a newly 21 year old and his pals get embroiled in strange stuff. Just what one would expect from the (credited) writers of The Hangover, making their directorial debut.

The Last Exorcism II - So, I'm guessing that the title to the first movie was a misnomer.

Jack the Giant Slayer - "Jack and the Beanstalk" gets a souped-up remake courtesy of Bryan Singer. Looks good.

Admission - College admissions officer Tina Fey meets a young man who may or may not be her son.

Oz: the Great and Powerful - In the spirit of Alice in Wonderland comes this speculative feature on how Oz gained its Wizard. Directed by Sam Raimi.

Hummingbird - Jason Statham is an ex-Special Forces agent who ends up homeless. Okay, didn't Safe have the exact same setup?

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - Rival magicians Jim Carrey and Steve Carell square off. Gotta say that I'm looking forward to this.

The Croods - Cavemen discover an unusual world. Animated feature from the creators of Lilo and Stitch. One question: are the characters supposed to be so ugly?

G.I. Joe: Retaliation - About effing time! This follow-up seems to capture the spirit of the cartoon better than the first movie (which I liked).

The Host - Another story of teenage love and angst from the author of "Twilight". Some people just never learn, do they?

Tyler Perry's Temptation - A marriage counselor having relationship troubles? What are the odds?


The Heat - By far, the less malign of the season's Melissa McCarthy movies, this one pairs her with Sandra Bullock as two mismatched cops.

Olympus Has Fallen - Two Wyatt Earp movies. Two volcano movies. Two revisionist Snow White movies. Now, we have two 'a lone Secret Service agent must protect the President against bad guys' movies. This one stars Gerard Butler as the agent and Aaron Eckhart as the President.

42 - Just in time for baseball season, a movie about the life of Jackie Robinson.

Evil Dead - Yet another horror remake. The redhead from Fun Size and her friends happen upon a book in a cabin and bad shit happens. Is it bad that I barely remember seeing the first movie (or maybe, it was the second)?

Scary Movie 5 - A riff on Black Swan co-starring scandal-magnets Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Malcolm Lee has fallen rather far from Undercover Brother.

Oblivion - Tom Cruise is a one-man clean-up crew on Earth in the far future, but is he really alone? Could go either way for me.

Pain and Gain - Two bodybuilders (Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg) happen upon a murder plot. From the writers of Captain America (very promising) and director Michael Bay (not as promising).

The Big Wedding - Inoffensive all-star nonsense about a family coming together for...a big wedding. In any event, it's nice to see Topher Grace getting work.