Friday, March 29, 2013

Five great action cues

Because sometimes, you just want to kick ass.
“Anderton’s Great Escape” by John Williams
From “Minority Report” (2002)
It is absolutely astounding the way John Williams has continued to operate at the peak of his creative powers throughout the 2000s. Not only has the maestro shown no drop off in his legendary composing skills, he has continued to thrive and grow as an artist creating several undeniable masterworks along the way including “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001), “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005), that amazing double shot of 2011, the epic “Warhorse” and the jazzy and propulsive “The Adventures of Tintin”.
Even at the age of eighty-one John Williams is still the best living composer of action music, and arguably the second greatest of all time behind Jerry Goldsmith. ““Anderton’s Great Escape” is a wickedly exciting cue with explosive moments expertly weaved in and out of a frenetic and flawlessly constructed musical piece with vertical energy and a rollercoaster motion that never stops. This rousing, show stopper of a cue is in many ways a highlight reel of every John Williams action cue ever composed.

“Clever Girl” by Jerry Goldsmith
From “Total Recall” (1990)
An avante-guard and innovative blend of bold, brassy, percussive action cues and mind expanding electronics, Goldsmith’s wickedly exciting music breathes extra life into every scene it touches. Perhaps the best example of this and the cue that rockets the excitement of both the film and the score is “Clever Girl”.
This thunderous brass dominated cue propels the action forward at a relentless, pounding pace. It is a true musical masterwork that takes action scoring to an entire new level of artistic triumph. Arguably the greatest action score of all time and a rush of euphoric adrenaline guaranteed to make any soundtrack fan’s heart pound with excitement.

“Beth & Nick” by Jerry Goldsmith
From “Basic Instinct” (1992)
Something about director Paul Verhoeven brought out the best in Jerry Goldsmith.
“Basic Instinct” is built around a swirling, spooky, hypnotic main theme introduced in track one, “Main Theme”. It is a haunting and fluid musical texture that immediately draws the listener in to a symphony of dark wonders. The theme is layered in and out of the score at multiple points and on various cues at different tempos of urgency, reminding us of the forbidden femme fatale character who is always in control at every turn. But what makes this classic masterpiece really standout is the innovative and avant-garde action music.
“Beth & Nick” is a furious, explosive, tension filled cue used to score the film’s rough sex scene between Michael Douglas’s and Jeanne Triplehorn’s characters. Like the scene, this cue is wickedly intense, exciting as hell, and pushes the envelope as it leaves us breathless and on the edge of our seat.

“Gotham’s Reckoning” by Hans Zimmer
From "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
There can be no denying that the composer with the greatest influence on modern action music scoring, and arguably film music in general of the past two decades, is Hans Zimmer. Brooding, melancholy, and ultra-cool, when Zimmer is on his game he is as good as anybody in the current generation of composers.
Track three on the soundtrack album “Gotham’s Reckoning” introduces us to the main thrust of action material and Bane’s theme, a riveting blast of percussive and brass fury backed by a chanting choir. There is a glorious, escalating rhythm of primitive fury to this cue that, at least structurally, is reminiscent of John William's exciting action theme for General Grevious from “Revenge of the Sith”.

“Elevator Chase” by Harry Gregson-Williams
From "Total Recall" (2012)
When it game to scoring the picture, it would have been futile to even try to create a score in the mode of Goldsmith’s original. No living composer outside of John Williams has that level of talent and craftsmanship. Wiseman took a different approach, one that was needed to match the brooding chase picture they had created and hired Harry Gregson-Williams to compose a techno-flavored soundtrack. And you know what? It works too.
“Elevator Chase” is an exciting action cue that uses old school influences such as Goldsmith style percussive metering and temp changes and fuses them with a pop oriented throbbing techno set piece. Even for old school soundtrack fans, the “Total Recall” remake offers an album packed with cool action music that makes for terrific workout or driving music.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Goodreads review of "Action Figure"

The following review of "She" is by author Kya Aliana and was originally posted at Goodreads on January 18th 2013. Kya is a phenomenal young talent who has exploded onto the literature scene with two knockout Young Adult horror/suspense novels "Impending Doom" and "Sky Darkness". Her spectacular and highly anticipated third published work "Adrenaline" will be released on March 19th and is must read for anyone interested in exciting, innovative, expertly crafted mystery/suspense by the new creative voice in YA horror fiction.

"When I finished this book, I closed the cover, held it tightly, and caught my breath as I tried to slow my heart. The book starts off with a thrilling, fast paced, adventure that sparks about a million questions in your head that you don't want but NEED answered! And let me tell you, the action does. not. stop! The entire book is thrilling beyond your wildest dreams, sparking more questions, giving more answers as Caterino brilliantly unfolds the plot line.

Caterino pulls off many things that a TON of writers struggle with, such as realistic character development, showing and not telling, sentences you want to quote over and over again because they are so good, and MANY other things. I cannot recommend this book, or this author, enough. James Caterino is ahead of his time and has set a new standard in the noveling/reading community. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who loves to read, write, or both should read this book ASAP!

The excitement simply does not stop in this astounding thriller. It is among the few books that have really gotten my adrenaline pumping and my heart racing. I do not believe I have ever turned pages so fast. A lot of the time when I speed through books, I forget simple things, or feel as though the book needs to be skimmed rather than read. With this book, that was NOT the case! Caterino's writing is so brilliant, so unique and fresh, spoken so well with every paragraph coming to life in my vivid imagination, that I can remember every single detail from every single page!

I can't believe this book hasn't been made into a movie because - and believe me when I tell you - it would make for a freakin' kick ass movie! I can't get over the book - why isn't this more popular? I can't think of ANY one of my friends (especially those who love action) who wouldn't enjoy this book to the umpteenth degree. I urge you to delve deeply into the pages that create this mind blowing novel "Action Figure" and follow Caterino's characters on an adventure that you will NEVER forget!

The way he phrases things is absolutely awe-inspiring. This sentence is on the 2nd page "Reality and hallucination now co-existed in the carousal of imagery, sound and smell that comprised my unstable state." Usually one has to wait 30 or 40 pages for a sentence as striking as that one, but here it is on the 2nd page! And another! And another one after that! They just keep going on throughout the entire book. I'm telling you, you have to read this book! And prepare to sit down for a few hours to go through it because you WON'T be able to put it down, or stop thinking about it, even if you try!

James Caterino is THE voice; the one we should all be reading; the one writers should strive to be as good as; THE voice of YA/thriller fiction. No, just fiction period. It doesn't matter if you are 16 or 87 you WILL love this book! It's for all ages. James Caterino is the man! His writing will take your breath away!"