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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The film music of 2013.

Okay, I think I've put this off long enough.

My favorite scores of 2013:

(Marco Beltrami - Sony Classical)
Beltrami gets to the heart of Carrie's plight almost as well as Pino Donaggio did once upon a time.

(Alan Silvestri - Sony Classical)
The lively score for the animated feature sparkles with the Silvestri sound of old.

(Roque Banos - La La Land)
A bit too heavy on stingers, but a very beautiful and exciting horror score.

(Brian Tyler - Hollywood)
Tyler enters the Marvel fold with, perhaps, the best score ever written for an Iron Man movie.

(John Ottman - WaterTower)
Ottman provided a lush, lively score for the uneven but entertaining adventure.

(Hans Zimmer - Disney/Intrada)
Zimmer's tribute to Morricone is but one pleasure provided by the unfairly-maligned flop.

(Fernando Velazquez - Quartet)
Velazquez wrote a marvelously spooky score for the ludicrous horror film.

(Brian Tyler - unreleased...sort of)
Tyler got to let his hair down for this driving score to the twisty caper.

(Ramin Djawadi - WaterTower)
Djawadi's varied score for the robots vs. monsters epic may well be one of his best.

(Pino Donaggio - Quartet)
The films of Brian De Palma seem to bring out the best in the composer and this was no exception.

(Thomas Newman - Disney)
The bittersweet biopic benefited greatly from Newman's suitably lovely music.

(Brian Tyler - Disney/Intrada)
Appropriately thundering music for the enjoyable follow-up.

(Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders - Red River)
Engaging score for the zombie romantic comedy with strong (and pleasant) echoes of Rolfe Kent.

More good scores:

American Hustle (Danny Elfman), Epic (Danny Elfman), Escape Plan (Alex Heffes), Frozen (Christophe Beck), The Last Stand (Mowg), Monsters University (Randy Newman), R.I.P.D. (Christophe Beck), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Theodore Shapiro), Star Trek Into Darkness (Michael Giacchino), 2 Guns (Clinton Shorter), White House Down (Thomas Wander & Harald Kloser), The Wolverine (Marco Beltrami) and World War Z (Marco Beltrami)

Special mention: Michael Giacchino's Toy Story of Terror!, a delightful effort that sparkled with the skill of his feature work and greatly enlivened the amusing TV special.

Some great unreleased scores:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - Mark Mothersbaugh
Homefront - Mark Isham
We're the Millers - Theodore Shapiro and Ludwig Goransson

My favorite new CDs of 2013:

Black Beauty (Danny Elfman - La La Land) - This adaptation of the book received one of Elfman's loveliest scores, highlighted by a heartbreaking main theme.

Black Widow/The Star Chamber/The Driver (Michael Small - Kritzerland) - A fascinating primer for those unfamiliar with Small's work.

Cahill, United States Marshal (Elmer Bernstein - Intrada) - Perhaps the most obscure of Bernstein's scores for the Duke, but no less exciting for it.

Crazy People (Cliff Eidelman - Quartet) - A delightful comedy score from the too-infrequently-employed Eidelman, with a wealth of melodic goodness.

Dressed to Kill (Pino Donaggio - Intrada) - From a rapturous main theme to lush romance and urgent suspense, this is one of Donaggio's finest.

Gladiator (Jerry Goldsmith - Intrada) - One of the lesser appreciated rejected scores of Goldsmith's career, with a touching love theme and blood-pumping fight music.

Rising Sun (Toru Takemitsu - Kritzerland) - A most atypical (but captivating) noir score, with special emphasis on woodwinds and Ondes martenot.

The Salamander (Jerry Goldsmith - Prometheus) - Given the film's obscurity, this is like a brand-new Goldsmith score, with a powerful main theme leading the charge.

Those Calloways (Max Steiner - Intrada...or BYU) - One of Steiner's last scores was a musical buffet, greatly enriching the forgotten Disney drama.

Willard (Shirley Walker - La La Land) - One of the more underrated horror remakes of recent memory received one of Walker's best scores; by turns peculiar, touching and ferocious.

New CDs I still haven't gotten because a credit card can only be stretched so far:

Canadian Bacon (Elmer & Peter Bernstein - Quartet)
Flight of the Intruder (Basil Poledouris - Intrada)
Hocus Pocus (John Debney - Intrada)
Once Upon a Time - Season 2 (Mark Isham - Intrada)
Police Academy (Robert Folk - La La Land)
The Relic (John Debney - La La Land)
Rosewood (John Williams - La La Land)
Salem's Lot (Harry Sukman - Intrada)
The Thanksgiving Promise (Bruce Broughton - Intrada)

Seven scores I'm sure I'd have loved had I cared enough to see the films*:

The Book Thief (John Williams)
47 Ronin (Ilan Eshkeri)
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Atli Orvarsson)
Oldboy (Roque Banos)
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Andrew Lockington)
Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
The Place Beyond the Pines (Mike Patton)

* - Okay. This is a little disingenuous, as I own the soundtracks to Mama and Evil Dead, even though I didn't see the films. Seriously though, you couldn't pay me enough to see Mama.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From time to time, I'll run across a piece of film music that takes hold of me and inspires me to craft a scene around it.

This cue, from Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within, is just such a piece, with its driving strings and rising horns that are trademark Elliot Goldenthal.

Admittedly, I don't have anything concrete to put with this music, but it totally conjures an image of a car driving down the road and the people inside planning something big.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Having but a passing fancy for indie movies, I still found much to laugh at in this fake trailer for "Not Another Sundance Movie". Between this and that recent "American Dad" episode, these movies are really taking it on the chin.
Just as funny as the scenes are the critical blurbs, which I dare not spoil for you.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

And the nominees are... doubt very pleased right now. And Thor got to announce them on Thorsday. Tell me this joke isn't blowing up Twitter right now.

- Nine nominees for Best Picture. I've only seen three.

- No one is going to convince me that Despicable Me 2 (which was nominated) is a better film than Monsters University (which wasn't). Nice that The Croods and Frozen were nominated, though.

- The good news is that Roger Deakins is once more a nominee. The bad news is that the unpleasant, hateful-looking film for which he is nominated - Prisoners - will forever be known as an Academy Award-nominated movie.

- Phedon Papamichael, who I've been a fan of ever since Mouse Hunt, earns his first nomination for Nebraska. (The Academy must really love black-and-white.)

- I would've thought for sure that Stuart Dryburgh was a lock for his breath-taking work on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

- Still, this is a moot point, for Emmanuel Lubezki will (not might, not could...will) take home the prize for Gravity.

- Rush and The Butler, once thought of as potential Oscar darlings, were completely shut out. I guess this means no third nomination for Ruth Carter (the latter's talented costume designer).

- Not many people consider Bruce Broughton for writing film scores these days, which is nothing short of a tragedy. Still, it it quite gratifying that he received a nomination for Best Song. Maybe, this will raise his profile somewhat.

- A funny thing this business we call show. Ethan Hawke, star of one of the best-reviewed films of the year (Before Midnight) and one of the worst-reviewed (Getaway) is once again an Oscar-nominee, this time for writing the former.

- I can only imagine that the pickings were slim this year (which is what happens when you favor CGI over stuff you can feel), which would explain a Best Make-Up nomination for Bad Grandpa.

- The Lone Ranger was also nominated in this category, which will go nicely with its Best Visual Effects nomination. In your face, Golden Raspberry Awards, you trend-chasing dingleberries! Worst Picture nomination, my balls.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Food Paradise. Tastiest Places to Chowdown. Man vs. Food.

I've watched all of these shows and salivated over the dishes featured. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found a website that listed the places featured on these programs:



Sunday, January 05, 2014

Winter movie wrap-up.

Another year, another roster of movies.


Paranormal Activity: the Marked Ones - Following the passing of an old woman, a young Hispanic man finds himself targeted by supernatural forces. I guess if you live long enough, anything can happen, like the makers of a Paranormal Activity movie actually buckling down and putting some effort into their work...

Devil's Due - ...and at the other end of the spectrum. Girl gets pregnant. Weird shit goes down. The trailer begins with a guy in an interrogation room. Gee, I wonder how this will all play out.

The Legend of Hercules - The first of the year's two Hercules movies. This one comes from guilty pleasure machine Renny Harlin.

Ride Along - To be worthy of cop Ice Cube's sister, Kevin Hart goes with him on a ride along. Could be good.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - Suggested by the works of the late Tom Clancy, Chris Pine takes on the role of Jack Ryan. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also plays the villain.

The Nut Job - Not quite a remake of Chuck Jones' "Much Ado About Nuttin'". A squirrel plans a break-in to a nut store to replace the nuts he accidentally destroyed.

I, Frankenstein - Okay, here's what I can glean from the trailer: Aaron Eckhart, playing the handsomest Frankenstein's monster ever, tries to save humanity from gargoyle-humanoid deities or something. Oh, and Bill Nighy's in it. Looks to be the first gloriously stupid movie of the new year.

That Awkward Moment - Friends are unsure how to handle the next step in their relationships. Would that I had problems like this...


The LEGO Movie - I wouldn't have though we needed, much less had to look forward to, a movie about Lego characters, but this comes from the creators of "Clone High", so, yeah.

The Monuments Men - Like I said when this was to be released last year, 'A cross between Inglourious Basterds and Ocean's Eleven? Fascinating'. Okay, maybe I didn't say this exact sentence, but it still sounds good.

RoboCop - Not sure we needed this, but what a cast they've assembled.

About Last Night - Not Think Like a Man 1.5, but a remake of a 1986 romantic comedy that was altered from a David Mamet play. From the director of Hot Tub Time Machine and the writer of Bachelorette, so it should be pretty funny.

Vampire Academy - The brothers Waters (the writer of Heathers and the director of Mean Girls) unite for this adaptation of a graphic novel.

Endless Love - Given the reputation of the original, there's nowhere to go but up for this remake, even if it's indistinguishable from most other Pretty White Kids with Problems cinema.

Winter's Tale - Reincarnation may allow a thief to save the woman he's fallen for. As kind of a sucker for stories like this, I think it's worth a shot.

Pompeii - Tries to construct a story of political intrigue and lost love in the days before Mt. Vesuvius laid waste to all in its path. Meh.

3 Days to Kill - A dying Secret Service agent wants to spend more time with his daughter. An experimental drug could help him with that.

The Wind Rises - A look at the man who designed Japanese fighter planes for World War II. Said to be the last film of animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki.

Non-Stop - Looks like Taken meets Flightplan...and, thankfully, unlike the latter film, this doesn't want to pretend it's not an action movie.

Son of God - The Passion of the Christ minus the brutal torture scenes. I have no problem with that.

Welcome to Yesterday - Looks to be to time-travel what Chronicle was to superheroes.


The Grand Budapest Hotel - A wild assortment of characters pass through as a concierge and a bellhop become friends. Wes Anderson's latest...and what a cast.

300: Rise of an Empire - More shirtless dudes, more slow-motion carnage. Wasn't too intrigued the first time out.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman - Hey, as long as it ends with Mr. Peabody firing off a lame pun, I'll be reasonably satisfied.

Need for Speed - And just when you thought the whole 'turning video games into movies' fad was over...

Walk of Shame - Elizabeth Banks must endure a lot of shenanigans on her way to a life-changing interview.

Muppets Most Wanted - A criminal mastermind - who happens to look like Kermit - takes his place, leaving our favorite frog in the slammer. The trailer was a riot.

Divergent - All the box office is going to care about is that a) this film is neither Twilight nor The Hunger Games and b) it only got produced because of those two properties.

Veronica Mars - Kickstarter to the rescue! A film extension of the popular youth detective series.

Bad Words - When I read the script, I totally saw it as a Danny McBride vehicle, but Jason Bateman (making his feature directing debut) looks to be a fine choice.

Stretch - A limo driver must put up with a difficult billionaire. Directed by Joe Carnahan.

The Raid 2 - Who gives a flip about plot? One can only imagine the insanity that will ensue if they try to top the fight scenes in the first movie.

Noah - So Darren Aronofsky didn't want to make The Wolverine, but instead decided to make an epic about Noah and his Ark. Takes all kinds, I guess.

A Haunted House 2 - Didn't see the original, but I'm a little ashamed to admit that I laughed at the trailer for this one. Yeah.


Captain America: the Winter Soldier - This darker-looking follow-up is said to be in the vein of a political thriller. May as well get the kids interested somehow.

Rio 2 - The first film was pleasant enough, but I'm really not sure where they could go with a sequel. Still, it'll be nice to have John Powell back on the scoring stage.

Draft Day - A draft pick could turn this around for Cleveland Browns GM Kevin Costner. Yeah, I'm still a touch bitter about this.

Sabotage - A DEA squad raids cash from a drug cartel...then get killed off one-by-one. Another late-period Schwarzenegger flick that could be fun, though someone crapped the bed in not using the Beastie Boys song in the trailer.

Heaven is for Real - A young boy dies temporarily, but returns to life and the people around him try to deal when the boy expresses what he's experienced.

Transcendence - Cinematographer Wally Pfister (The Italian Job, all of Christopher Nolan's films) steps into the director's chair for this story of a scientist uploading his brain into a computer.

Bears - Disney's annual nature documentary looks at the lives of bears.

The Other Woman - Leslie Mann finds that her husband is cheating on her with Cameron Diaz...then they find that he's two-timing (three-timing?) on them with Kate Upton...then they all team up when he finds another playmate. Okay, does this shit ever happen or is it an invention of the movies? This is crazy.