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Entries in Howard Shore (3)

Thursday
Feb182016

Jóhann Jóhannsson Picks Ten Scary Scores

Glenn here. Was it just me or was Jóhann Jóhannsson’s nomination this year for his original score to Sicarioone of the highlights of the lot? That film didn’t quite take off the way many, myself included, thought it ought to have, but its three nominations are nothing to sneeze at in all honestly for such a prickly, devisive film. Jóhannsson’s nomination, however, sticks out. Not necessarily because of the quality of the work – although, clearly, it’s quite an accomplishment – but because Jóhannsson’s work in the Denis Villeneuve thriller marks such a diversion from his work on The Theory of Everything for which he was also Oscar-nominated. He probably even came close to a win for that on his first try (he did take out the Golden Globe).

It can sometimes get a bit tiresome when the same composers appear year-in-year-out for work that is remarkably similar to their own work. For instance, it was what made the difference between Alexandre Desplat’s The Grand Budapest Hotel being a wonderful nomination and Alexandre Desplat’s The Imitation Game being a bit of a shrug. Let’s be honest, there’s not much to compare within the lush orchestral arrangements of The Theory of Everything and the bone-crushingly intense soundscapes of Sicario and that makes both of his Oscar nominations exciting and makes me anticipate his next work. One hopes that if this Icelander keeps getting high profile gigs that he continues to be as eclectic as these two suggest he can be.

If you have seen the film and heard his work to Sicario then you will guess Jóhannsson knows a thing or two about scary scores. You don’t compose “The Beast” (or the rest of that movie's score for that matter) and not get to boast about that. So when I came across a list of “the best 10 scariest soundtracks” compiled by Jóhannsson, I knew I should share it. There’s horror disco, sinister synths, and legends of the craft. I have included a few of his choices after the jump, but check out Dummy Magazine for the rest as well as his own thoughts on the music.

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Wednesday
Sep162015

TIFF: Journalists at War. "Truth" vs "Spotlight"

On the first day of TIFF last Thursday I saw four consecutive movies from different countries and of different tones entirely that all had a surprise pregnancy reveal scene/shot during their stories. Festivals are funny like that providing you with unexpected throughlines. But sometimes you fully expect the comparisons, if not a schedule that has you watching two similar movies back-to-back. That happened to me with James Vanderbilt's Truth and Thomas McCarthy's Spotlight. Both are journalism pictures with A list casts and both will be gunning for awards honors at year's end. Spotlight is better positioned already with stronger reviews but Truth definitely has its pleasures. While watching them Truth felt more popcorn entertaining but Spotlight is stickier, staying with you afterwards.

Truth vs. Spotlight in 8 categories after the jump...

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Monday
Nov212011

The Family of "Hugo" Cabret

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Hugo a second time at my favorite* NYC theater, the Ziegfeld. It's an enormous "Old Hollywood" feeling place, one of the last of its kind so it couldn't have been a better setting for an all guild screening of a movie that's obsessed with the history of the movies just like Martin Scorsese himself. Let's call him "Papa Scorsese" today since he brought along nearly his entire movie "family" apart from cinematographer Robert Richardson (referred to as "Bob") who Scorsese joked was  'off filming a movie with this new guy called Quentin somebody (?)'

3-time Oscar winners Thelma Schoonmaker and Sandy Powell await their cue © Nathaniel Rogers

Everyone else was there: Legendary art director Dante Ferretti, legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker, legendary costume designer Sandy Powell... well you get the idea...

NOTES FROM THE EVENT 

Dante Ferretti, Art Direction
His job didn't change much in 3D, he revealed. He joked that the room we're sitting in is 3D. It took him six months to build the sets. He and his team built everything: the station, the glass movie house, even Papa Georges's (Ben Kingsley) apartment. With the look of the film they were attempting to base it not on realistic research but on images from the cinema and French cinema of the period specifically.

Ellen Lewis, Casting
She had not seen The Boy With Stryped Pajamas when the casting search for the lead role of Hugo began in New York, London and Los Angeles simultaneously. Someone sent her the movie and she met with Asa Butterfield the first week she was in London.

She added:

Many times, oddly, in casting children you find the child you're looking for in the first week or the last week. I don't know how to explain why."

They decided to have everyone speak in British accents after casting Asa because they didn't want to alter his voice and he was the first actor cast. 

Visual Effects
The visual effects supervisor -- his name escapes me in. Apologies -- had this to say about George Melies as the originator of special effects?

He didn't have anything to refer to besides his own imagination. Before I started the movie I had only seen Voyage to the Moon and I thought it was okay but then I started to really study his films, like that clip where he throws his head up into the stanza of music. That's genius. I had to play it back three or four times to figure out how he did it. He did this in 1905 so I felt rather small."  

Costume recreations, Scorsese joking about budgets and more after the jump.

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