December Sun – A Web Comic

March 2, 2009

Fancast – sortof like Hulu, just, well… no, it actually is just like Hulu

Filed under: 3,film music,free,movies — admin @ 11:17 am

So I looked over the selection of shows and films at Fancast, and can’t help but notice that this site seems, more or less, just like Hulu, with the same format: you can find some tv shows or lackluster movies, and you can watch them with some ads tossed in. I’ll admit, I like the convenience of this new system, and hope that it picks up and the selection improves, but like Hulu, the selection of shows and films is just mediocre to me.

In fact, looking over the film selection of both sites, I can’t help but be reminded of my year working at ‘Family Video’ as a video store clerk, and the time spent reshelving one bad film after another. Even today, I can’t walk around Blockbuster without seeing so many films that just hold no interest whatsoever to me. I don’t know what the intended audience was for some of these films, but there they sit, gathering dust. And now there they are again, online for free (with minimal commerical interruptions)

But amongst the forgettable turkeys of Fancast, they do have an interesting and slightly-obscure Sean Connery film called ‘The Russia House’ which I’ve posted a link to below (hopefully, unlike Hulu, they won’t take this film down anytime soon! What’s the point of offering to embed films from your site if you’re just going to take the film down again, Hulu?) Anyhow, ‘Russian House’ features a head-spinning plot, lots of terse board room meets, NO actual violence, some unfortunate profanity, and a remarkable Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack, blending elements of jazz with rich, romantic strings. If for no other reason, check out the film for the music by the late, great Goldsmith.

February 28, 2009

Rocky IV and an excellent sample of Vince Dicola’s music

Filed under: 3,film music,music — admin @ 12:05 am

While I regard ‘Rocky IV’ as one of the silliest films ever made, it does feature one remarkable element, and that’s the music of Vince Dicola. The electronic score that he offered for this film is just incredible, and I wish that there was more of this available on CD.

Here’s one of my favorite musical clips from Rocky IV: Rocky is in Russia somewhere, he’s just had the pep talk with Apollo’s coach (can’t remember his name) and then he’s off for his first day of training, running through the snow, chopping trees, pulling sleds and stuff. The opening music for this scene, as Rocky scopes the landscape, is just so good. Vince Dicola did a great job with this.

Here’s the clip:

Rocky IV, and Transformers:The Movie, are two excellent scores by Vince Dicola. I honestly know of nothing else that he’s done, but these two really stand out to me.

February 18, 2009

‘G.I. Joe – the Movie’ Teaser Trailer

Filed under: 3,doctor who,film music,movies — admin @ 9:13 am

I’m not sure what to think of the G.I. Joe film being made. From the very brief trailer online, it looks like this film has some potential, but it also looks like, in the very brief play time of this video, that there is lots and lots and lots of CGI, one of my least favorite things in a film.

I thought it was cool to see a brief second of what appeared to be Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow fighting with swords, but the computer-animated Eiffel Tower falling over just looked goofy, as did some of the CG-enhanced action sequences.

Christopher Eccleston as the villain is a strange casting choice. I still sort of see him as the brooding 9th regeneration of Doctor Who, so I can’t help but wonder if seeing him in this film will be like watching a rogue timelord causing world calamity. Actually, I can’t help but wonder if he’s going to end up as Cobra Commander or Destro or someone at some point later in the film.

To be honest, growing up, I was never a big fan of G.I. Joe, and instead preferred the cartoons with super-heroes, or transformers. With G.I. Joe, the few times I’d check it out, I never understood, even at a young age, how each side could shoot millions of laser blasts at one another and yet only cause vehicle damage, with no actual casualties. Boom! A tank blows up, right as the occupants jump out. I know it was a kid’s show, so they weren’t going to show brutal military fatalities, but all the same, even at a young age, that element of the show always seemed silly to me.

Maybe this film will be an improvement over that. Maybe not.

February 13, 2009

The People vs. George Lucas

Filed under: 3,film music,george lucas,john williams,star wars — admin @ 12:08 am

I think that this is just awesome. It’s a film about people’s gripes with George Lucas.

What I’d love to see in this, which probably won’t be addressed, is how Lucas totally ruined the music of John Williams in two of the prequel, ‘Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’, by the constant reuse of his music, cut and pasted from other unrelated films. ‘Attack of the Clones’ featured music lifted from ‘Phantom Menace’, whereas ‘Revenge of the Sith’ featured music taken not only from ‘Phantom Menace’, but also from ‘Empire Strikes Back’(!)

To fans of Williams, this was a huge disappointment of the prequel films, hearing the same music cut-n-pasted into the film again, but I can’t imagine that this is going to be a big enough concern to be addressed in the film. More than likely, it’s Jar-Jar that will be one of the biggest rants. Sometimes it seems like I’m the only one who notices the issue with the music, but I can’t help but speak out about this. To me, the music is one of the most principle things of the Star Wars films. When I found out about the new prequels, one of the things I was most excited about was the new John Williams score, not necessarily that there would be a younger Obi-Wan and Anakin character in the film.

And to it’s credit, the score for ‘Phantom Menace’ is remarkable, and doesn’t have a lot of cut-n-pasting (although it does feature some reused music, such as the ‘leaving Naboo’ musical clip, which seems to resurface a few more times in the film, as well as in ‘Attack of the Clones’). But it’s only when you get into ‘Clones’ and ‘Sith’ that the reuse of music is constant. If you’re a fan of the music, and you’re sitting in the theater watching these films for the first time, you can’t help but pick up the fact that the SAME music has been recycled back into the film again. And instead of being treated to an all-new musical score, Lucas is just feeding back more of the same music again.

I can’t imagine that this was John Williams’ idea to keep reusing musical material like this, and I can’t understand how Lucas, supposedly having a genuine appreciation of Williams and his music, wouldn’t notice the blatant reuse of all the music and say, “Whoa, let’s give John some more time, to write some more music for this sequence.” I have a suspicion that Lucas devoted more time to the computer animation department than to the crafting of the music, but this is just speculation.

Even more remarkable to me is that Spielberg allowed the same practice to take place with the ‘Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull’ film. Spielberg has worked with Williams on dozens of films, and yet he didn’t notice, or care, that music was being cut and pasted from other, older Indiana Jones films and used for Crystal Skull?

I’m trying to see this through the eyes of the producer: there is going to be a demographic of film-goers (albeit a small demographic) who want to see a film largely for it’s music, not necessarily it’s acting, story, or anything else. And instead of just taking the stance of, “I will, for whatever creative reason, copy and paste music from a different film”, I’d be more along the lines of thinking: “let’s give the composer more time to write his music”, or, worse, case, “Let’s find another composer with a similar sound who can score these scenes in the film where the music is lacking (due to our delayed computer animation department or whatever)”. The final product would be far more rewarding, and there wouldn’t be a sense of reheating and reserving the same music again.

Well, whatever. I think this is probably the last time Williams will score a Star Wars or Indiana Jones film, so this won’t happen. But what a rotten way to cap off the legacy, with having your music recycled.

February 12, 2009

“4 Film Favorites: Superman”

Filed under: 3,film music,movies,superman — Tags: — admin @ 12:33 pm

I just found the “4 Film Favorites: Superman” at Target, for around $9. Not bad considering you get all 4 films bundled together, with a couple extras on each disk, too.

I’ve been rewatching some of these, with ‘Superman I’ being the best, ‘Superman II’ decent, ‘Superman III’ laughable, and ‘Superman IV’ being atrocious yet entertaining (and it’s worth noting that Superman III and IV, for all of their massive faults and silliness, still trump ‘Superman Returns’ any day of the week.) The constant of all of these, that keeps them so watchable, is Christopher Reeve. It’s like, no matter how ridiculous the story, the special effects, the other actor’s acting, etc, Christopher Reeve just makes the film good. Everything about him just looks like Superman.

I’ll probably write some reviews of these along the way. This collection is good for the price.

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