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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Silence of the Lambs Retrospective

"Don't help the man with the broken arm! Don't get in his van! Too late... She does it every time. Which is why this is such a good movie: it really makes us care, and even when we know what's going to happen, we hope it won't."- Edward

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Entries in composers (47)

Friday
Feb052016

Interview: Carter Burwell on Composing "Carol" and "Hail, Caesar!"

Carter Burwell gives great soundtrack. The proof is all around us. His scores are everywhere right now, in movie theaters with Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa and the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar! and in the Oscar mix; his work on Carol brought him his long long overdue first nomination for Best Original Score.

The 60 year-old composer started his music career in the punk scene but after that fateful first collaboration with the the Coens on Blood Simple (1984) he quickly become a film regular. He's composed every Coen brothers score since then with the exception of Inside Llewyn Davis. They aren't the only filmmakers who steadily rely on his gift. He's worked frequently for Bill Condon, Michael Caton-Jones, Spike Jonze, John Lee Hancock, and Todd Haynes among others.

I asked him how he keeps his work fresh with so many projects and how he approached the recent challenges of the "ridiculous" comedy of Hail, Caesar! and the restrained drama of Carol.

Our interview follows after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec282015

"The best kind of music comes from experimentation and messing up" - on Scoring 'Steve Jobs'

Daniel PembertonAs we move towards the Oscars each year the public tendency is to look back and reassess the most interesting contributions to cinema in a given year. From this impulse, a good one we'd argue, top ten lists, "best ofs" and awards traction are born. Though the legendary names of film scoring all seemed to be quite active this year -- even recently absent giants like Morricone and Williams -- some of the most innovative and exciting work was being done by the relative newcomers.

One of the buzziest among them is the 38 year old composer Daniel Pemberton. He made an award-winning name for himself in British television but his feature film work only began in force just a few years ago with highly praised work on the supernatural period drama The Awakening (2011). It's safe to say that 2015 will be regarded as his breakout year. He did stylish rethink work on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and in just a few weeks he'll presumably be at the Golden Globes where he's nominated for his innovative triple-scoring of Steve Jobs

Will an Oscar nomination follow? It's tough to say given the temperament of Oscar's notoriously insular music branch but it would not be undeserved. He recently spoke with The Film Experience about innovation, 80s synthesizers, and how he'll keep it fresh moving forward.

NATHANIEL R: So I'll be up front with you. I find music, particularly scoring, completely mysterious. I can read music and play piano a bit but it feels like a foreign language. How does a film composer even discover their talent for it? 

DANIEL PEMBERTON: I basically started messing around with on the piano when I was very young, and I just started writing music just for fun. And then one day I saved up enough money to buy myself a synthesizer and a tape recorder, and I started making music. Pretty much from that is how I got to here!

NATHANIEL R" But there are so many different careers in music. Did you imagine yourself as this type of composer or did you want to be a rock star when you were young? [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec172015

Oscar's Eligible Original Scores for 2015

Thomas Newman has 12 nominations but has never won. Can this be the year? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (our much obsessed over AMPAS) has released the list of this year's original score contenders. The music branch is one of the most controversial laden in the Academy and they regularly make rulings that make people crazy. This year the most high profile scores that have been disqualified due to pre-existing material are The Revenant and Love and Mercy. Now, a lot of films use pre-existing material  -- particularly if they part of franchises like this year's Creed, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Man From UNCLE, which are all eligible -- it's just a question of "how much?" pre-existing they use. And that's where the annual controversies spring from, as when AMPAS let Babel slide (despite a score that had much much less original music than pre-existing music) and it won the category!

In a strange turn of events given Oscar darling Alexandre Desplat's typical yearly work load, he's not even the most eligible contender this year with only two scores.

The complete list of eligible scores (and more info) is after the jump. I've highlighted 15 my favorites but which are you rooting for? 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec102015

Best Celebrity Reactions to SAG or Globe Nominations

Normally the press release soundbytes involving celebrities being thankful for their nominations are as dull and even more flavorless as an trophy winner reading names from a piece of paper in monotone. It's usually along the lines of "this film is special to us and I am so genuinely grateful. Thank you" So it's worth noting any reactions that display even a little bit of personality or say something more specific. Here are our favorites this year after the jump...

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Monday
Nov022015

Why Isn't 'Cinderella' an Oscar Contender?

Glenn here.

You will no doubt have read – or least seen the headlines – that people are saying that Ridley Scott’s The Martian should be taken very, very seriously as a Best Picture contender. I’ve even seen people claiming it could win, which seems awfully bullish given its hastily rising status in Oscar circles is due almost entirely to the film’s overwhelming success at the box office in the face of a glut of underperforming Oscar players like Steve Jobs. But amid this new wind of blockbuster excitement and the snickers at (contractually obligated) Oscar campaigns for other big-budget, uber-successful movies, there’s one film that has so far gone under the radar in the conversation and ought to be taken far more seriously than it likely will be.

Yes, I mean Cinderella... more after the jump

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Tuesday
Aug252015

Random List-Mania: 40 Best Original Movie Songs of the 1980s

We did this once for the 1990s and you loved it, so here's round two. 

Young Oscar fanatics might not have tripped over this tidbit yet but in the 1980s they were still giving out an award for "Original Song Score" - an old vestige category of the decades when a dozen plus movie musicals arrived each year. Three of these Oscars were handed out in the 1980s for Victor / Victoria (1982), Yentl (1983) and Purple Rain (1984).  None have been handed out since even though it's technically still a category... just not one that they invoke anymore. Though it's a pity they didn't consider giving one to Moulin Rouge! or Hedwig and the Angry Inch for 2001 as the category can also be awarded to "Adaptation Score"

The presence of this category in the early 80s probably explains why Purple Rain and Victor/Victoria had no "Original Song" nominees in their years (why double dip?) but it does not explain why Yentl had nominations in both categories. Because of these films I only allowed myself 2 songs per movie so as not to let these five films hog this entire list.

BEST ORIGINAL MOVIE SONGS OF THE 1980s
Beautiful Song Craft and/or Cheesy Epic Ballads For the Wins
* Oscar nominee | ** Oscar winner 

  1. "Nine to Five"* -Nine to Five (Dolly Parton)
  2. "Le Jazz Hot" - Victor/Victoria (Henry Mancini)
  3. "Purple Rain" - Purple Rain (Prince)
  4. "Into the Groove" - Desperately Seeking Susan (Madonna)
  5. "Xanadu" - Xanadu (Jeff Lynne)
  6. "Fame"** - Fame (Michael Gore & Dean Pitchford)
  7. "When Doves Cry" - Purple Rain (Prince)
    33 more numbers after the jump...

Click to read more ...