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Entries in Ladyhawke (7)

Friday
Mar282014

Animal Pairs I'm Hoping To See in "Noah" This Weekend

I'm off to see Noah. No, I don't know how or why I missed the critics screenings (boo) but don't tell me which animal pairs get screen time or cameos. I love animals muchly and want lots of screen time for them. Except for maybe mice. Mickey and Minnie aside, I never want to see them and am really pissed that God made Noah take them.

I'm hoping to spot the following couples in the massive march, slither, hop, swim (or wait, maybe he didn't have to worry about the swimming animals?), scurry, swing, and run to the ark.

A full gallery at the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug052013

Burning Questions: Movie Killing Scores?

Michael C. here to take a cue from the Summer movie season and release the first Burning Questions sequel. 

The story goes that at the eleventh hour the original score to Chinatown was deemed a film-ruining disaster and composer Jerry Goldsmith was brought in and given just ten days to write a replacement.  Miraculously, the score Goldsmith delivered turned out to be the quintessential film noir soundtrack. When the AFI listed the 100 greatest film scores Goldsmith’s trumpet-laced masterwork ranked #9. So a happy ending, which is one of the rare times when that phrase can be used in conjunction with Chinatown.

This is a terrific example of the filmmakers having the resources – and more importantly the will – to strive for perfection even if it meant taking a risk late in production. We’ve all heard enough terrible soundtracks to know tales such as this are bound to be the exception rather than the rule. Perhaps commissioning a new score would be too much of a hassle or too big an expense. Maybe the filmmakers in question are blind to the damage the music is doing to their movies. Then there are those unfortunate cases which are merely the victims of their times. Today’s trendy soundtrack is tomorrow’s time capsule punchline.

These musical misfires are the subject of today’s column. A few months back I posted a colum asking for the names of great soundtracks wasted on lousy movies. This time it’s the opposite question: Which scores are movie killers? I’m talking soundtracks that seriously distract and detract from otherwise quality movies. 

I’ll get the ball rolling with these three unfortunate cases that never fail to aggravate me:

Ladyhawke (Score by Andrew Powell)
I chose Ladyhawke as a particularly odious offender, but really, on the subject of disastrous scores, one could simply type “The 80’s” and move on. So many of that decade’s artificial, synth-heavy scores that have aged like rotten fruit, stinking up countless otherwise strong movies. (Manhunter, I’m looking in your direction) Ladyhawke’s music is so bad I wonder if the film would actually work better as a silent film. Or hit the subtitles and play a classical music channel on Pandora. Any random shuffle has got to be an improvement 

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Score by Ira Newborn)
This is also an eighties title, but I think it’s such a uniquely awful case of a score bringing an otherwise terrific comedy to a screeching halt that it deserved to be singled out. Exhibit A on why experimental scores and comedy rarely go together and why you should never, ever mix snippets of the film’s dialogue into the score.

Eyes Wide Shut (Score by Jocelyn Pook)
I have struggled with this title since it came out, but if there is one thing that will always stand between me and fully appreciating this fascinating waking nightmare of a movie it is that godforsaken plink-plink-plink piano score. I can imagine a psycho killer from Hannibal using this music to torture a victim tied up in their basement. Before you say it, yes, I freely admit that this may have been exactly what Kubrick was going for, but even if I believed this to be true (I don’t) it would make no difference. The music is viscerally alienating in a way that bypasses the intellect entirely, like jackhammers or squeaky balloons. Just thinking abou it sets me on edge.

Previous Burning Questions
You can follow Michael C. on Twitter at @SeriousFilm. Or read his blog Serious Film

Thursday
Mar222012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Ladyhawke"

Time for Season 3 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. Wednesday evenings.

from left to right: Goliath, Navarre (Rutger Hauer) and Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer's stunt double)

I thought we'd kick off this season with a personal favorite from the 80s. I use the word favorite emphatically because in many ways, Ladyhawke (1985) is a movie with a confusing relationship to objective quality. It's both great and bad, the score arguing that it's a feature that absolutely should not exist outside of 1985 while the mythic story fights for timelessness. The sound (Oscar-nominated) has wonderful details, maximizing the earthly details of fluttering wings, wolf howls and horse hooves while also embracing the transcendently romantic voices (Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer) but it's marred by jarring score cues that take you out of the action and weird post-production "comedy" vocal work from extras. It feels, at least for its first half, like it's a movie with several authors and endless studio interference from people who didn't believe in a romantic fantasy epic in a time long before fairy tales were hot commodities and sword and sorcery epics were the furthest thing from bankable. So, would you laugh at me if I claimed I thought it was thisclose to being a classic? People are always reediting the Star Wars prequels to try to make them into the movies they should have been but the fantasy with the easiest fix to nudge it from punchline to greatness is Ladyhawke.

The one area where Ladyhawke can lay legitimate claim to greatness without lengthy conditional explanations is in the cinematography of three-time Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro (most famous for Apocalypse Now and various Warren Beatty epics). Many films throughout history have used sunsets and sunrises for their sheer beauty but Ladyhawke's reliance on light is more than vanity; it's storytelling.

Pfeiffer's beauty and Hauer's pain after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar142012

'Hit Me' Baby One More Time

Are you flesh or are you spirit?"

I am sorrow."

Oh cheer up, 'Chelle. "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" returns in exactly one week here at The Film Experience.

Join in on the Ladyhawke (1985) fun by selecting your favorite shot from this 80s fantasy by Wednesday March 21st at 10 PM when we post ours. The movie is filled with beautiful shots with the great cinematographer Vittorio Storaro behind the camera and Rutger Hauer & LaPfeiffer in front of it. We'll link up to all participating entries.

03/21 Ladyhawke (1985)
03/28 Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
04/04 Easter Parade (1948)
... and more to come provided y'all participate.

Tuesday
Mar062012

"Hit Me With Your Best Shot" Season 3 

Ready for Season 3 of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"? 


Newbies take note: each week we pick a movie and we all pick our favorite shots. Consider it a mini blog-a-thon. If you've seen the movie you might already have an idea of the image if you'd choose. If you've never seen it, here's a nudge to do so! Your "best shot" might be the image that most reminds you of the film, the one you think of as the most beautiful, the shot that's the most resonant in terms of the movies theme... anything really since "Best" is in the eye of the beholder. You can post yours and why you chose it on any of your web homes and let me know and we'll link up when we publish on Wednesday evenings at 10 PM. 

Films we've already covered in this series 
1920s The Circus (1928), Pandora's Box (1929); 1930s Tarzan the Ape Man (1932); 1940s The Woman in the Window (1944), Black Narcissus (1947); 1950s A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Night of the Hunter (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), A Face in the Crowd (1957); 1960s Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Psycho (1960), La Dolce Vita (1960); 1970s Eraserhead (1977); 1980s Aliens (1986), Law of Desire and Matador (1986/1987), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986); 1990s Beauty & the Beast (1991), Heavenly Creatures (1994), Se7en (1995), Showgirls (1995); 2000s Bring it On (2000), Requiem for a Dream (2000), X-Men (2000), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Memento (2001), Angels in America (2003), Mean Girls (2004).

SEASON 3 BEGINS ON MARCH 21st

 

March 21st Ladyhawke (1985)
It's Matthew Broderick's 50th birthday and we thought this would be a fun feature to look back on visually. And not just for all the Pfeifferisms but can you believe we've never done a Pfeiffer Pfilm here?
March 28th Bonnie & Clyde (1967) March 26th-30th is WARREN WEEK 
Warren Beatty turns 75 on the 30th. We'll celebrate one of the greatest stars in the Hollywood firmament all week. Which films should we revisit?
April 4th Easter Parade (1948)
We love a musical and this one's timed for the holidays.

MORE FILMS TBA... 

Will you join us this year? If so, spread the word.
This series thrives on several pairs of eyes.