Monday, December 31, 2012

12 things I loved about 2012

1) Lana Del Rey

The gangsta Nancy Sinatra meets "Mad Men" artist extraordinaire became one of my new raving obsessions.

2) Anna Hathaway in "The Dark Knight Rises"

3) A new album by my favorite band of all time "Garbage"

4) Everything about "Cloud Atlas", especially the music

5)" Morning Joe" on MSNBC

6) Hearing Carly Rose Sonenclar perform "My Heart Goes On" on "The X Factor"

7) Bane

8) Joseph Gordon Levitt in"The Dark Knight Rises" and...

9) The on-location shooting of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Pittsburgh

10) Pretty much everything about "The Dark Knight Rises"

11) The Kate Beckinsale trilogy of "Underworld: Awakening", "Contraband", and "Total Recall"

12) Forces of evil tried to suppress minority voters to take control of the government so that they could legislate control over a woman's body, pass constitutional amendments against gay people, and return America to the 1890s. And they lost!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

‘Cloud Atlas’ soundtrack soars with epic beauty

Cloud Atlas” is a bold, visionary film adapted from the award winning 2004 novel by David Mitchell. To say that the story is sweeping would be an understatement. The scope of “Cloud Atlas” covers a multitude of historical eras and settings both past and present, all of them interconnected by unforgettable characters and bold philosophical statements.
Such a story and such a film require a monumental musical score if the groundbreaking ambitions of the filmmakers are to be full realized. “Cloud Atlas” has such a score. Like the film, it is a remarkable achievement.
When the “Matrix” directing team decided to embark on their bold creative journey and bring “Cloud Atlas” to the screen, the brought on board “Run Lola Run” director Tom Tykwer to co-direct. It was move that paid off in spades musically because as part of the package Tykwer helped to create the soundtrack for “Cloud Atlas” along with his “Run Lola Run” composers Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek.
A seamless blend of classical homages, orchestral film music, and electronic and techno influences mixed in with various international, ethnic and native influences, “Cloud Atlas” is one of the most eclectic soundtracks you will ever come across. Eclectic and yet shockingly cohesive because all of it is anchored around a sumptuous, fluid, flexible, and emotion packed main theme that can only be described as absolutely gorgeous.
The opening cue of the soundtrack “Prelude: The Atlas March” gives a gentle and haunting introduction to the main theme played on the piano and backed by strings. It sets the emotional timber of the score drawing the listener in with an emotional immediacy that continues to resonate throughout each and every track of this amazing soundtrack.

In track two “Cloud Atlas Opening Title” we get a sweeping variation of this flexible main theme that starts out in minimalistic fashion with a quick-tempo electronic harp rendition of the melody before building into a full on orchestral thrust that conveys the expansive scope of the story. Another creative variation with a Stravinsky flavor follows in “”Travel To Edinburgh” before transitioning into the modernistic concert-style cue “Luisia’a Birthmark”.
The same mode of astonishing creative composing continues throughout the entire soundtrack including the rousing action cue “The Escape” and the heartbreaking “All Boundaries Are Conventions”, a piece of music that will shake your soul to the core.
This is not a soundtrack you just listen to. This is deeply affecting, profound music that will make you feel things you may not have even knew existed inside you. This is movie scoring at its absolute pinnacle.
“Cloud Atlas” ranks alongside John Williams' “Lincoln” and Michael Giacchino’s “John Carter” as the best soundtrack of the year.

Five great underrated Christmas songs

Ready to pull a Marsellus Wallace and go all medieval on someone’s ass the next time you hear "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" or "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" or "Silent Night"? Here are five under the radar and obscure Holiday tunes that might help restore your faith that Christmas music can actually be good music too.

This was the song playing as source music from a radio during the opening credit sequence of "Gremlins" (1984). A sensational Christmas song that along with Jerry Goldsmith’s trademark suburban whimsical cue helps set the tone for Joe Dante’s comedy horror hit.
This Oscar nominated song from the hit movie "Home Alone" (1991) is rarely heard outside the film score community. A terrific theme with great use of choir vocals, it is vintage John Williams. You would have to have had an emotional bypass at birth or be made of granite not to be moved by it.

From" Love Actually" (2003) and composed by Craig Armstrong, this catchy tune is a terrific piece of feel good holiday pop music. This soundtrack is full of great songs including another knockout Christmas tune "All I Want For Christmas Is You" performed by Olivia Olsen.
This moving, magical song from the 1990 David Fosteralbum "The River of Love" not only captures the essence of what the holidays are supposed to be about, it also manages to convey what is hopeful and noble in that complex, conflicted and mostly destructive species known as Homo sapiens.
From the 1992 Muppet version of A Christmas Carol starring the great Michael Caine alongside Kermit , Fozzie The Bear, Beaker and company. The chemistry and pathos the Caine brings to the film helps make this the most charming take on the classic tale yet.