Sunday, June 27, 2010
Out the past week on DVD, was Agora, a historical drama that came and went without much notice. Then there's The Last Station a drama about Leo Tolstoy. Remember Me was also released, starring Robert Pattinson, I'm curious about this one. He actually looks decent in the trailers for this movie. And lastly its Scorsese's Shutter Island. Another one that I want to see and let me guess...its all in the main character's head?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Out on DVD this week is the Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington, next is [REC]2 the sequel to [REC]. Then there's also When in Rome...which looks like a bore and lastly there's the Wolfman, which I had initially planned to see in the theaters but due to the bad reviews...I'll just see it on a rental.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
What makes a good soundtrack? I think its when there's a collection of songs that accompanies the movie well and compliments it. And also when its able to stand on its own despite the film or tv series is good or bad.
The Twilight Saga soundtracks are just one of them. Now with the upcoming release of the Twilight Saga’s Eclipse, comes its soundtrack. Maybe you’ve heard the little thing, that the Twilight Saga soundtracks are actually really good. Its filled with plenty of indie and altenative music from the likes of Muse, Thom Yorke, Ok Go and Death Cab for Cutie and some others you’ve probably never heard off. Definitely some that I’ve never heard off. Its amazing the artists they manage to reel in for the soundtrack and just how great it sounds...some say the soundtracks are the best things to come out of the saga. Sometimes I wonder if this soundtrack actually appeals to the legions of tween and teen girls that are the majority of the Twilight fans, or they just get it because it is Twilight. Whatever the case, give the soundtrack a listen if you still haven’t.
Now one soundtrack that I’ve wanted to listen in full, has always been Garden State, due to all the praise it’s gotten. But since I already have some of the songs on other albums, it'll be such a waste to pay full price for it. Which pretty much has lead me to think, what great soundtracks have I come to listen to, from the world of movies and TV. So here’s a list of favourite sountracks and some of my favourite tunes from them.
500 Days of Summer
I liked how it was used for the opening montage of when Summer and Tom were kids.
(500) Days Of Summer-Music From The Motion Picture
Ally Mcbeal Soundtrack
I used to follow the Ally Mcbeal series and I got the CD back in 1998. And as I was a kid then, I never knew they were all covers save for the one. But I love these songs nonetheless...I think Vonda Shepard did a great job with them, and the songs bring back a lot of memories from the late 90's whenever I listen to them.
Songs From Ally McBeal Featuring Vonda Shepard (Television Series)
I was thoroughly in love with this movie in the late 90's. Still am. Had always love this song, but only checked out the whole soundtrack when I bought it a few years ago. Glad to say, its a pretty good one.
Great Expectations (1998 Film)
Life in Mono by Mono
Grey's Anatomy is one of those TV series that's known to feature some pretty great songs. There's currently three volumes of its soundtrack...the last released in 2007. I wish they would put out more since, I've enjoyed all three. Here's one of my favourites from each of the 3.
It a bunch of classic pop songs revamped into something new and great...that made me want to check out how the original was. This is why it made into my list. One of my favourites is Your Song. I really like that they added the opera bit that made it so soaring and glorious.
The O.C is another TV series that featured some amazing songs. Since it the series came before Grey's Anatomy...it probably set the bar for the TV series with the best soundtrack doesn't it? The O.C has a total of 6 Mixes, 4 of which I own. And here's one of my favourites from each of the 4.
Just amazing songs. Some of the songs were already featured in The Frames and The Swell Season's album prior to Once...so of course they all can stand on their own. One of my favourites is All the Way Down...and I much prefer the version in Once with Glen Hansard on vocals compared to Marketa Irglova on vocals in the Swell Season's first self titled album.
Once: Music from the Motion Picture
The Twilight Saga
All has been said above. Just a bunch of awesome sountrack. And here's one of my favourites from each of the 3.
So those are some of favourites. What other great soundtracks are out there that I’ve yet to have a listen from the world of movies and TV? Suggestions? Or what are your favourites…
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I still haven't read the book. I've been meaning too but just haven't gotten round to it...but I do kinda know part of the ending. So I've been looking forward to the movie adaptation of Never Let Me Go, especially since they've clinched such great actors for the leads. And now the trailer has been released. I think it looks so heartbreakingly good. Hailsham seem soo idyllic and perfect that there's bound to be some secret that its hiding, doesn't it?
Sofia Coppola's new movie Somewhere recently had its first trailer released. Though I'm not really a fan of her most acclaimed movie Lost in Translation, I do like her movies...my favourite being The Virgin Suicides. Her movies are very distinct...from her choice of colours, to the characters, to the music and they all have a dreamlike quality to them. And I'm getting the Lost in Translation vibe from Somewhere...as it once again seem to have a jaded actor and a daughter (Elle Fanning has grown soo much! Soo tall!) character living in a hotel. And even the trailers seem similar. No voiceovers, features very little dialogue from the actual scenes and music that is played prominently.
Monday, June 14, 2010
One of my favourite scenes from my favourite movie. Brilliant, how they really changed up Roxanne into a tango...it just sounded soo good with those spine chilling strings (was it the violins?). And the dance made it even more epic, soo dramatic, sexy, expressive and intense...illustrates very well what was happening with characters.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Frankly I didn’t like it very much the first time I saw it. It didn’t feel very much like a movie. It has I thought this amateurish and indie-ish look about it. Just the camera following two people who meet over music. And the two leads as you might already know aren’t real actors...meaning not actors by profession. That’s not to say they were bad. They’re pretty decent actually…they have better acting than some we’ve seen in the past…but there are moments of awkwardness, of disconnect ness in some of the scenes…one I particularly remember was when the Guy is sitting next to the Girl who is singing this emotionally sad song and playing the piano in an empty studio. He’s supposed to look at her earnestly and longingly, wanting to be that guy in her life and comfort her during her time of sorrow but knowing he has not yet become the person to comfort her the way he wants to…yet Glen’s eyes are awkward, kinda strays, like almost at a lost, as if the camera lingers on him too long. And the music too, except for “Falling Slowly”, which I had already knew and liked prior to the movie, I wasn’t too keen on the rest of them.
But as it was, I was at Borders one day, and I thought I’ll give the soundtrack a second shot…plus I didn’t just wanna have to listen to “Falling Slowly” from the movie. And guess what? Listening to the soundtrack…I loved the music. I didn’t really notice it much before but Glen does sound a bit like Damien Rice, and I love his music…thus this time…actually really listening to the music of Once, I fell for it. Its just soo stripped down and honest and raw…just the kind I love.
So just like the soundtrack I decided to give the movie a second shot…and this time I got it, I really did! It was like seeing it with brand new eyes. The movie is just marvellous. And I know now what was missing from my first viewing. It was the beautiful music, which for some reason, I hardly paid any attention to before. I should have known that with any musical, it is the music that ties the story together, without it, it really is just a half a movie. But it sounds kinda funny to call this a musical…what comes to mind with musicals? Theatrical, costumes, and people breaking into song and dance. But in Once the music just comes on naturally and soo seamlessly. Really come to think of it, Once is like in a league of its own, this is what musicals should aspire to be...having a good story and to not be so contrived with the music aspect. The music and the story in Once comes together amazingly well to tell the simple tale of boy meets girl (and really what chemistry they had!) that is soo raw, heartfelt and bittersweet. This is not typically the kind of movie that gets made…so I’m glad someone pushed for it.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
** Contains Spoilers**
I have the book which I have yet to read. So this "theory" is based on my one viewing of the movie...which means I need to see it again. But I just felt like throwing it out there.
The film concluded with Oskar traveling in a train, and Eli in a trunk. Which pretty much meant that Oskar left home to be with Eli, that he has become her new companion, maybe provider? So is this how Håkan started out? Once also a child, a playmate of Eli. He grows up and Håkan's role in their relationship changes with age but he is still ever so dedicated to her, providing for her and ended up dying to protect her. It sure does look like the path Oskar is going down. What do you think?
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
So I caught Avatar last week at home…on a DVD rental…just would like that to be clear…because I know the fact that I did not watch in a theatre in 3D would undeniably have some impact on how I enjoyed and like the movie. I had actually wanted to see this in the theaters…it would have been my first 3D movie (yes I have not experience this “amazing” 3D technology yet ;) ). But every time I tried to book tickets for the weekends…only terrible seats were left…so I missed my chance. And now ever since Avatar has been released on DVD, my mom has been eyeing the thing…wanting me to get it (she's more interested in watching it than I was)…but I told her no way! Because we’d be paying full price for a crappy empty edition. And since its available for rental we finally finally saw it.
Now I had read several reviews early on, that said Avatar did not really have a strong story, that it was horribly simplistic, science fiction that’s been done a hundred times over…and that it's really was just great in the special effects department…and of course many have rave on the visuals. How technological advance it was…and so forth. My initial thoughts on that was pretty much…what do you expect? It’s a summer blockbuster…they’re never about having a good story…the brainless the better right…its all about things blowing up and the action right? Then the award season rolled in, and Avatar was up for a few, including…an Oscar for Best Picture. So maybe the story didn’t satisfy some critics’ standards…but surely to be nominated for Best Picture…the story can’t be all that bad. Right?
But it is. It is bad. I remember reading somewhere that it was pretty much a carbon copy of Pocahontas…I didn’t really believe it then…but how right the reviewer is! Its totally Pocahontas…just replace the native Americans with blue cat people and that’s it. From the Neytiri's initial curiosity of Jake Sully which kept him alive. To the “lets show this new guy how we live”…to running around Pandora…to the bonding which leads to the two leads falling in love, to the Navi tribe and their love of nature…to the evil company trying to suck Pandora dry off its natural resources…and come on, there’s even the whole “tree of life” thing in Avatar…grandmother Willow anyone? Can’t believe someone is actually watching this thinking it’s a wonderful magical story…And I know I know…the movie probably looked gorgeous in the theaters in 3D…which most likely blinds them to how bland and unoriginal the story actually is. And the characters…is there really any chemistry between Jake and Neytiri…cause I don’t really see it. And oh my…Neytiri has got to be one of the most annoying characters ever! Arghh all she does is hiss and screech…you wonder how Jake fell for her!
And lets get to the visuals…in all its 3D glory. Did it really make people go oooh and ahh? Because at home…on dvd, with a regular size TV…there was nothing spectacular about it. The supposed revolutionary motion capture technique that captures the actors performance more accurately than ever before? And the landscape of Pandora? Don’t get me wrong. It didn’t look awful. Pandora was gorgeous and the Na’vi’s, they looked decent enough…but nope it wasn’t that great. Weren't the Na’vi’s supposed to look and move more naturally than all the CGI stuff we’ve seen previously?…Because honestly I just don’t see it and so I just don’t believe this world that they’re trying to sell to me…and that’s where Avatar fails for me. And also there’s a nagging feeling that I’ve seen all this before, ever since I first saw the trailer for Avatar. Two words. Final Fantasy. Especially the landscape…and some of those sweeping overhead shots of Pandora…don’t you think?
So conclusion. Avatar was a decent blockbuster…it had some pretty shots but that was not enough to hold my attention…I attribute that to the tiresome lacklustre story…that was dreadfully slow moving (they could have cut out a lot…162 was just way too long) and annoying characters…yes I pretty much fell asleep when "The Company" started firing at Pandora (and that was supposed to be the action packed part) and had to continue from there, the next day. Wow…this has definitely been quite a movie rant I’ve done…and well still can’t believe this movie made like 2 billion dollars. Thankfully I did not get the DVD for this. Not likely I’ll want to watch it again…well maybe in 3D just to see if I’d like it better.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Out on DVD the past week is The Blind Side. I don't generally buy into these movies that sell themselves as "Based on an Inspirational True Story" type of flicks...because the story is only worth being told and the films were only made because the real people the story is based on are leading successful lives now. The pessimist in me knows that for most people, no matter how hard they try, no matter much they deserve better, are still in the gutter...so these "Inspirational" stories are more of a rare exception...almost giving a false sense of hope...Anyhow a lot of these movies aren't particular good anyway. But since Sandra Bullock did win an Oscar...I might just see this on a rental. Next is Flicka 2. No really? Was the first Flicka that successful to warrant a sequel? Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief was also released on DVD. This was one of those movies that wanted to be the next Harry Potter...it even had Chris Columbus as the director and had one shot that looked very much like to the first shot of Hogwarts. But Medusa's head look terrible...and I don't imagine kids loving or being interesting in seeing Greek Mythology on screen as compared to witchcraft and wizardry. And finally out on DVD is one of those Disney straight to video type of movies, StarStruck...I'm sure they're aiming for another High School Musical and Camp Rock...how did those even become successful. Atrocious.
Well its Deacon Frost’s death scene that I’ve blogged on in my previous Blade post last year. Its as bad as I remembered it. I mean the whole fight scene prior to the death was actually pretty good…good old fashion sword fighting. Than Deacon’s limbs get cut off…and flesh that looks like cranberry sauce starts to reattaching and regenerating...yes its as bad as it sounds…the cgi used does not age well indeed…looks very very cartoony. But the final punch was the worst. After, Blade stuck a few vials into Deacon’s body, he starts expanding into a big giant blob that looks like a mix of raspberry and Jabba the Hut…and then he explodes. Once again…what a way to go.
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Moulin Rouge was just stunning. Its a feast for the eyes and ears. To think I almost did not watch it…because I simply did not want to watch it…musicals just wasn’t my thing…especially something that looked soo theatrical and over the top as it was. But it was picked by a friend…and I tried so hard to find some other alternative movies to watch…but there was none…So off all of us went to see Moulin Rouge, which was near the end of its run back in I think August 2001 and the theater that was still showing it, was surprisingly (it was the weekend and everything else must also be sold out) packed. So we had the front (or was it second) row seats. Which undoubtedly sucked. So I sat there sulking, sure that I was going to hate the movie.
Wow was I wrong. I pretty much fell for it when the drums rolled and the curtains drew open, and I think the first shot was of Toulouse-Lautrec at the ledge of a Parisian hotel singing Nature Boy “There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy...”. And I was enchanted. Loved every minute of the movie. The costumes, the sets, the story. Everything…and oh the music…of course! Baz Luhrmann took all these classic pop songs and made them work in this fantastical Bohemian tale of freedom, truth, beauty, and love. Sometimes I wonder if he and his co writer Craig Pearce had this amazing story and they somehow found a bunch of songs that fit in it perfectly or did they simply wrote a story around a bunch songs? Which ever, seamless was what it was. Spectacular. Spectacular the movie was indeed.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Seeing Poltergeist: The Legacy being available on DVD here, has gotten me nostalgic and reminded me of some of the great shows I've seen. And you know what, there used to be some great horror/supernatural/paranormal (with some science fiction) drama series in the 1990's. I used to watched plenty of them when I was growing up and now TV land seems to be empty of them. Sure there's Supernatural (but its the CW!) and Fringe(the new X-Files) and some miniseries like Fear Itself. Can't say I really make any effort to watch them. Saw a couple of Supernatural episodes...it is not good! Its basically an excuse to feature a bunch of young pretty actresses as a damsel every week. So really its nothing compared to the stuff we saw in the 90's...right? No wait there was this one series Haunted that aired in 2002 starring Matthew Fox. That was actually good and creepy as it should be. Unfortunately that was cut while shows like Ghost Whisperer gets 5 seasons!
So anyhow... here are just some of the shows that I enjoyed watching some ten plus plus years ago.
American Gothic. This series was just great. And soo very creepy. Good cast too. Gary Cole plays this menacing sinister sheriff that may just be the Devil or the incarnate. Then there's of course Lucas Black as Caleb. He was just good...wasn't he. And this was just one of those good series that got canceled prematurely. Too dark and twisted? I definetely want to see this again.
Millennium. Seeing that this was created by Chris Carter, Millennium pretty much have the same vibe as the X-Files. Featuring this time an ex-FBI agent played by Lance Henriksen who has a unique ability to see the world through the eyes of the criminals he's investigating. The irony is that this series didn't quite live long enough to reach the millennium.
The Outer Limits. Even the the opening credits with the voice over saying "There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture." is creepy. I remember being freaked out by a couple episodes, and I'm sure I watched a lot of the episodes in between my fingers (my hands were covering my face). I still still remember the first episode of the 1995 Outer Limits, where a scientist had taken some Martian bugs (ants?) from his lab and transplant them in his barn to disastrous consequences...horribly disturbing...
Poltergeist: The Legacy. A mix bag of characters including a doctor, an ex Navy Seals, a priest, a psychic and a psychiatrist all live in a pretty isolated castle like mansion. Their purpose, to defend the world against evil and darkness. Interesting characters, interesting story but really I think its the castle like mansion that had me...it just adds weight to the supernatural plot.
The X-Files. Its the X-Files!!! Enough said. And like the Outer Limits I watched a lot of the episodes covering my eyes half of the times. Mulder and Scully. Scully and Mulder. The first few seasons were great and it was never the same when David Duchovny left the show. I mean really this is the show that set the tone for all the paranormal/science fiction series to come.
Now the 90's also had some of Stephen King's miniseries.
The Langoliers. Its about a bunch of passengers on a plane, awaken from sleep to find that everyone has disappeared and the world is no longer as it is.
The Shining. The Shining was once again adapted in 1997. This time into a TV miniseries. I had only watched The Shining movie about 2 years back, so in the past, the only The Shining I knew was this TV series. And yes it scared me...the hotel had a life of its own. Even if it wasn't filled with ghosts...the emptiness of the hotel with no one around for miles, if anything bad was to happen...that was scary.
The Stand. Oh my...I was so young when I first saw this. I can't say I remember much of it...except the image of the crow or issit raven that is so prominent. And I'm sure it was effective in terrifying me, how else would I have remembered watching this series almost 2 decades after? So this is one of those I would want to re watch.
Storm of the Century. I guess Stephen King has a thing about small towns and people in isolated circumstances. This one has a small town trapped in a bad snow storm and a creature that emerges demanding that they'll give him what they want or he will bring destruction to the town. Oh choices choices. Great setting too for a scary horrifying story.
Now sitting here and writing about these series, many of which I've forgotten most of the storylines, other than the very basic of its plots and the fact that I used to like them and watch out for their episodes every week (I don't follow many series now). It kinda makes me wonder if I thought these were good, only because I was very young. Because what would be considered good suspenseful horror/supernatural drama (or just a good show in general) to a 10 year old is significantly different from what would be considered by an adult. It takes so much less to scare a kid right. Maybe I'm just being unfair to the slew of newer shows. But its only just that I've seen so many good stuff over the year, including movies of the genre...that these new TV series pale soo much in comparison. So what do you think? Were some of my picks above really some of the best shows to have aired?