Academy Awards 2020: Best Music Nominees

Well howdy there, ladies and gents. It’s me, Markus, taking a breakation from my vacation. For the past two years, some friends and I have been making blog posts about the various Oscar categories, discussing what we think about the nominees and which we think should/will win. And now we’re doing it for the third time. And as with the previous two years, I will be handling the music categories. So, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score

We’re gonna kick off this little post with the best original score nominees. Not much else I can say about that. Y’all know what a score is. So I might as well quit my stalling and talk about the various nominees.

Alexandre Desplat – Little Women (Sample: Plumfield)

The first score we’re talking about is the one for “Little Women”, the latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, brought to the screen by Greta Gerwig. The score was composed by Alexandre Desplat, one of the best composers in the business. And as per usual, he has delivered something pretty spectacular. Often it delves into jovial period piece tunes, the likes we don’t hear much of anymore. But there are also often times where the score goes very mysterious, giving the overall score a really unique vibe when you switch between that and some of the more light tracks. Then there are a few more emotional pieces as well, and those sound great too. Overall, it’s another hit from Desplat.

Randy Newman – Marriage Story (Sample: What I Love About Nicole)

Next up is the score for Netflix dramedy “Marriage Story”, written and directed by Noam Baumbach, scored by Randy Newman… I’m sorry, it’s so weird to see his name outside of “Toy Story”. Anyway, his score for “Marriage Story” almost sounds like it could fit within a Pixar movie. Because there’s such a balance of grounded human drama with an almost fairytale-esque vibe. And while I have not seen the movie yet (don’t kill me), I get the feeling like this score would give it quite an interesting feel. I like it.

Thomas Newman – 1917 (Sample: Tripwire)

The third nominee we’re talking about is Sam Mendes’ recent war epic “1917”, scored by Thomas Newman. For a war movie score, it is surprisingly understated. That’s not saying there aren’t loud, intense tunes here. Just saying that compared to some other war movies, the score never makes itself as big and brassy, often relying on other kinds of instrumentation to create an emotional intensity that is wholly its own. And it is pretty god damn stunning to listen to. I can imagine it being quite effective to hear within the movie itself.

Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker (Sample: Hoyt’s Office)

Next up is the score for “Joker”, a different kind of DC comics adaptation, brought to us by Todd Phillips, and score by Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (who also did the music for 2019’s “Chernobyl” mini-series). And this score sounds like something right out of a horror movie. Not because there are plenty of sudden stings to make your 12-year old cousin jump, but more in how it relies on low, often eerie instrumentation to create an unsettling vibe that will get under people’s skin… it certainly got under mine.

The one and only John Williams – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Sample: Battle of the Resistance)

For our final score today we have the one and only John Williams’ final entry in the long running “Star Wars” franchise. There’s not much to say other than it’s another “Star Wars” score. Lots of loud brass to create an overwhelming feel of grand adventures. I can’t really go more in-depth with it, as everything you can say about a “Star Wars” score has been said a kajillion times before. All I’ll say is that it’s good… because “Star Wars” music is always good.

Who I want to win: Joker.
Who I think will probably win: Little Women or 1917.

Before we move onto our next category, my friend Maddy has sent in a little paragraph about this year’s score nominees I’d like to share with you all:

Score is a very exciting category this year, and I think the two front runners are Joker and 1917. If Hildur Guðnadóttir wins for her Joker score she’ll be the first woman to win in the category, and if Joker is going to win anything I’d be ok with it being this.

And here’s one from Martin:

This would appear to be a straight up battle between Guðnadóttir and Newman. But even 15 nominations later, and after producing a stirring, breath-taking score for 1917, there’s a substantial chance that Newman could lose out yet again. Which begs the question, what has he got to do to end his run without an Oscar?! If she wins, Guðnadóttir will become the first woman to win since the score category became one single category. While Desplat’s score for Little Women was delightful, it’s unlikely he’ll be claiming his third Oscar. The nomination for Williams does feel like a token nomination, and is more of a celebration of his work in general, given that his score for The Rise of Skywalker was, like the film itself, unremarkable. For the “Portals” track, in Avengers: Endgame alone, Alan Silvestri was deserving of a nomination.

Best Original Song

As with all other years, not only do score get nominated for Oscars, but individual vocal tracks do too. Which means we gotta talk about them as well. So here we go.

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away, Randy Newman – Toy Story 4

Speak of the devil and he shall appear, it’s our old buddy Randy Newman doing music for “Toy Story”! If you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed Newman’s vocal tracks from previous movies. And this is another addition to that pile. It’s a fun-sounding song about something way more mature than one expects from an animated film about toys.

I’m Gonna Love Me Again, Elton John & Taron Egerton – Rocketman

“Rocketman” is a movie about Elton John. And it seems like the sir gave us a new song in conjunction with it, sung by him and the film’s star, Taron Egerton. And man, this is some fun shit. This is the kind of stuff I’d love to hear at parties (if I were invited). It’s seemingly about self-love, something we all need a bit more of. Combine that with the funky instrumentation and talented vocalists, and you got yourself one hell of a song.

Stand Up, Cynthia Erivo – Harriet

Cynthia Erivo, talented actress and wonderful singer recently starred in “Harriet”, a movie about former slave Harriet Tubman. Not only did she nab a best actress nomination for her role there, but she also managed to get a nom for best original song. And it’s a well deserved one. “Stand Up” is a beautiful soul song about standing up and being free. It’s a strong tune wonderfully brought to life by Erivo’s great voice and obvious passion for the themes and story.

I’m Standing With You, Chrissy Metz – Breakthrough

“Breakthrough” is a movie that seemingly no one saw, but here we are, talking about its one Oscar nomination. Written by Diane Warren and performed by Chrissy Metz, “I’m Standing With You” is a fairly standard soul/pop ballad that you’d hear in any old drama movie. It’s not bad, if I heard it again I wouldn’t be upset. But it’s not one of those I’m gonna be humming and remembering in a week.

Into the Unknown, Idina Menzel & AURORA – Frozen 2

“Frozen” getting a sequel was never in question. And that sequel getting another Oscar nominated song after… that other one that shall not be named… was also never really in question. And guess what? This is less ear-bleeding than that other one. It’s way less of an annoying earworm. Though while Menzel’s voice is nice to listen to, It’s the instrumentation and background chorals that intrigue me. That shit is great. Yeah yeah, Menzel does a good job, but I like the background stuff more here.

Who I want to win: (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.
Who I think will probably win: Into the Unknown.

Remember Maddy from before? Well, she’s back with some choice words about the original song category:

Best original song is such a dead category this year, with no one song being a stellar stand out (at least in comparison to past years eg Shallow/ Let it Go). I don’t really know which way it will go, but think it will probably be Elton.

And here’s Martin again:

While Rocketman definitely could have got a few more nominations (Costumes and Best Actor), the one nomination it has picked up is likely to end in triumph for the Elton John biopic. As well as her nomination for Best Actress, Cynthia Erivo’s soulful performance of “Stand Up”, probably represents its closet challenger. However, a victory for Elton would be a fitting tribute to a true legend of the music industry.

So those were the music categories for the 2020 Oscars (airing tonight). Who do you want to win out of all of these? And do you have any scores or songs that got snubbed in the nomination process? Frankly I’m sad that the score for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” didn’t get any love by the academy. Anyway, leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

Collaborators:

FiveThreeNinety

Through the Silver Screen

Plain, Simple Tom

Perks of Being Nath

12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Final Part)

We’re finally at the last part of this silly series of mine. It’s been fun for me to contrive reasons for non-christmas movies being christmas movies. And since we started this series with “Star Wars”, we might as well end it with “Star Wars”. *Checks title*. Oh god.

*Deep fucking sigh*. The “Star Wars Holiday Special” is a 1978 CBS tv movie somehow following on from George Lucas’ 1977 smash hit. It’s about the family of Chewbacca, and how they’re waiting for him to come celebrate the holidays with them. And as the creators try to fill out a 90 minute runtime, before that happens, we experience a whole bunch of different skits and music videos supposedly set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. That’s right, it’s a variety show, including people like Art Carney, Bea Arthur, and Jefferson fucking Starship. So let’s get contriving.

Now, right off the bat I imagine you calling humbug on this, since it’s called “Holiday Special”. But let me clear something up, this isn’t about christmas… or hanukkah… or kwanzaa. It’s about Life Day. What’s Life Day? Fuck if I know, it’s some weird wookie holiday made up for this fever dream. But it’s not any actual holiday, so it goes. So what’s my contrivance then? Well, I could use the excuse of it being about a family get-together, which would be the easy way out so I could get this done quickly. But I’m gonna use something else.
So as mentioned earlier, this “Star Wars” thing is inexplicably a variety show, which is contextualized as things that Chewie’s family puts on through various monitors. And none of it is interesting or makes much sense… just like tv programming around the holidays. Sure, on occasion you might catch a decent flick (or in this Special’s case, a Jefferson Starship number), but for the most part it’s just a weird hodgepodge of stuff.

As you probably gathered from this post, I was not a fan. Christmas eve should usually be all about joy and love, but I guess I felt like a bit of misery was in order too.

Happy holidays.

Movie Review: Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

It’s that time of year again… “Star Wars”. The final one… for now. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker”.

The remaining members of the Resistance try to pull off a series of daring plans to try to hopefully finally stop the sinister First Order. It’s the concluding chapter to this new trilogy, that also calls back some (read: a lot) to the older movies. And the story as a whole is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s generally a fun, fast-paced space swashbuckler that does give a satisfying enough ending to the entire Skywalker saga, but looking at the overall thing, it feels ever so slightly paper-thin. And while I don’t need my “Star Wars” to be deep mindfucks in their storytelling, I feel like there could’ve been a bit more put into it, since it’s supposed to, you know, cap off the entire fucking series (AGAIN). But as it stands, while the story disappoints a bit, it’s still entertaining, and I thought the overall ending was pretty good.

The characters in this have earned a shitload of good will over the previous two movies, I’ve fallen in love with them, so that went a long way to me following them here. And while one or two might get some decent-ish enough character conflict, there isn’t too much else to say about that stuff. Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver make for a compelling hero/villain dynamic at the center. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are as enjoyable in their sidekick roles again. All other supporting actors do well enough in their supporting roles too.

As with every mainline entry in this franchise, the score was composed by the one and only John Williams. And there’s no way one can complain about it. From the classic motifs, to some of the ones from the previous two movies, to some new (if indistinguishable) stuff… come on, it’s another “Star Wars” score from the one and only John Williams, you all know it’s good.

“The Rise of Skywalker” was directed by J.J. Abrams, who did a damn good job. The guy knows how to bring energy to a scene, he knows how to a fun and exciting action scene. There’s tons of good action in this that either made my jaw drop or just had grinning like an overexcited child. Yes, I am easy to please when it comes to that kind of stuff… especially when it’s handled as well as it is here. The effects are of course fucking spectacular, and not just the CG, there’s a ton of awesome practical creature effects and such. It’s just a joy to look at.

This movie just came out, so there’s not much data out there (and as y’all know, I am too lazy to edit after the fact). So here’s where we’re at now. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 58% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. And on imdb.com it has no score at all… that’s how early I am.

“Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker” may be slightly disappointing, but I still had a good time with it. It has an okay plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker” is an 8,45/10. So while very flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker” is now completed.

Goodbye for now, Star Wars.

12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 1)

Season’s greetings, ladies and gents. Alright, enough of that holly jolly shit, let’s get down to business. For a few years now, I’ve had this series on my blog where I do twelve shorter pieces starting on December 13th, leading up to December 24th (AKA the date where us in Sweden primarily celebrate christmas). First two years, I did christmas songs. The next two, I did films. Now, for this year, I’m doing films again. However, I’m throwing a monkey in the wrench this year… I won’t use actual christmas movies. Instead I’m just using 12 movies, and I have to contrive a reason as to why I’m mentioning them in a christmas series. Gotta find some way to switch up the monotony, you know. So without further ado… here we go.

As you probably guessed from the image at the top, I am starting this series off with a classic of sci-fi/fantasy cinema. “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, released in 1980, sequel to the 1977 super surprise hit “Star Wars”. It once again follows Luke, Leia, and Han (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford) as they battle against the sinister galactic empire. Most of you probably assume that my contrivance for this is the first act of the movie, which is set on the snow-covered planet of Hoth. And while that adds to it, it’s not my main motivation (twist, motherfuckers). But for my contrivance to work, there will be spoilers. So if you haven’t seen “Empire Strikes Back”, then you’re either lying or you’ve lived under a rock for the past 39 years. So if you don’t want spoilers, go watch it, then come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Dramatic exaggeration of my long wait.

Welcome back. Now, spoilery contrivance time. If you’ve seen this movie, you should know that it’s all about bringing friends and family together, which is also what the holidays are about. First things first: We see Han get reunited with his old buddy Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). It seems slightly tense at first, but then there’s a hug and laughter and offers of refreshments.

And then there’s the family reunion. Later in the movie, we have Luke meeting the spooky looking Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones). They scuffle a bit, Luke gets disarmed (HA!), and that’s when the classic line happens. No… I am your father! Got chills when I rewatched it yesterday, it’s still great. And isn’t it nice to see a boy and his father get reunited? Sure, it’s a bit awkward at first, but somewhere down the cockles of your heart, there’s still a bit of holiday heart warmth to it.

“Empire Strikes Back” is not only a fantastic movie, but also a nice, heartwarming movie about awkward reunions with friends and family. Perfect holiday analogy!

Have a good one.

 

My most anticipated movies of 2019

Hello and happy new year, guys! I’m back from my… two day break. Okay, I wasn’t gone for long, but I’m excited to be writing again. New year, new opportunities, new movies! And it’s that last one that we’re talking about today, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you guys, since this blog is mostly built on movie stuff. So since the year just started, I think it’s only appropriate to talk about some movies that I’m excited for this year. Will all of them be amazing? Probably not. But I’m just looking forward to watching them all, and I thought I’d share some of them here with you today. A few stipulations for both of us here.

Number 1: Please be respectful. I’m asking you to have the exact same opinions as me, I’m fine with disagreement. Just don’t be a dick about it. I’m all for friendly discussion, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Just be nice. This is a friendly space, yo.

Number 2: I’m not gonna talk about movies that had limited releases in 2018 that then get worldwide releases in early 2019. This is for those that have their first release in 2019. Understood? Cool.

Number 3: These are not ranked. These are just a bunch of movies I’m looking forward to a fair bit.

That should be it. Let’s get into the movies.

Glass.

First movie on the list is the first one I’ll probably see in the cinema this year… which would be pretty much unlikely a few years ago. A January movie by M. Night Shyamalan? Ew. But this is something I am genuinely excited about. So spoilers for previous Shyamalan movies, I guess. In 2000, he gave us “Unbreakable”, and it was amazing. In 2017, he gave us “Split”, and it was really good. And at the end of “Split”, it was revealed that it was a secret sequel to “Unbreakable”, which blew my fucking mind. And now we get the culmination of those two movies with “Glass”, and I am really hyped.

Avengers: Endgame

Yes, I talk about a lot of superhero movies. And yes, I am aware that a lot of people are either sick of or just don’t care about them. But you can’t deny that what Marvel has done with their cinematic universe is really impressive. And now we get the ending to it… sort of. It’s the sequel to 2018’s “Infinity War”, and it will be the end for a lot of these actors in this universe. It’s kind of bittersweet. Bring on the endgame.

Captain Marvel

Another superhero origin. This one starring Brie Larson. She’s a good actor. This looks pretty good. Has a stellar cast. It’ll be fun.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

I am a fan of the 2014 “Godzilla” movie, so I was already excited for a sequel. Then it was revealed that some classic monsters would be involved in it, which got me even more excited. Then this trailer came out and showcased some gorgeous imagery, and it got me even more hyped. So yeah, this is one of the biggest ones for me this year.

Star Wars Episode IX
It’s “Star Wars”. The end of this new trilogy. It’s “Star Wars”. How could I not be excited? “STAR WARS”.

Spider-Man: Far From Home
I am a huge Spidey-fan, been for most of my life. And this is a sequel to “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, which I liked a lot. Tom Holland is a fantastic Spider-Man. So I’m excited. Plus, Jake Gyllenhaal.

John Wick: Chapter 3

“John Wick” was one of the biggest surprises of 2014. “John Wick: Chapter 2” was a great sequel. And in 2019 we’ll get the third part in this series. The hype for this one is real.

Knives Out
No footage. No on-set images. All we have is a good director, a star-studded cast, and the vague premise of a murder mystery. And that is enough to intrigue me. Let’s go.

In the Shadow of the Moon
Like with “Knives Out”, we know practically nothing about this. But at least “Knives Out” has a vague premise of what it could be… this one on the other hand doesn’t even have that. So how could I be excited? Well, it has several good actors involved, and it’s directed by Jim Mickle, who I’m a big fan of. I’ll be supporting him any way I can.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

What do you get if you take one of the most star-studded casts even assembled and combine it with the mind of Quentin Tarantino? You get “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. Anything that Tarantino makes, I’m already excited for. But add all those cast members and an interesting setting, and you most likely have my money as well.

Lucy in the Sky
*Starts humming The Beatles*. Oh shit, you’re still here. Right, so what’s this? It’s a sci-fi movie, starring the likes of Natalie Portman, Dan Stevens, Jon Hamm, and Zazie Beets, and it’s written/directed by Noah Hawley, who brought us two of my favorite shows; “Fargo” and “Legion”. That’s all I need. Bring on the weirdness.

The Irishman
Martin Scorsese. Robert De Niro. Joe Pesci. Al Pacino. Bobby Cannavale. Harvey Keitel. Jesse Plemons. Excited yet?

Jojo Rabbit

A World War 2 satire from Taika Waititi? With said Kiwi playing Adolf Hitler? And a good cast surrounding him? Yes please, hell yeah, this is interesting.

So those were a bunch of movies I’m looking forward to. I’m sure more will be revealed throughout the year, but these are my current picks. But I also wanna hear from you guys. What movies are you excited for? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one!

Movie Review: Solo – A Star Wars Story (2018)

Hey, finally a non-christmas movie. Nice to have a bit of variation. Anyway, let’s go on a space adventure, you scruffy looking nerf herders.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Solo – A Star Wars Story”.

The story follows Han (Alden Ehrenreich), a young and determined guy who wants nothing but to get out of the shitty slum life he’s been part of his entire life. And such an opportunity presents itself when he joins a crew of space scoundrels who have been tasked with delivering a very valuable fuel resource to a notorious gangster. So now we have our “Star Wars” prequel. And while the plot here isn’t anything special, I found it to be a bit of fun. As a big fan of “Firefly” and “Cowboy Bebop”, I have a soft spot for these kind of ragtag space misfit stories. In it’s entirety, the plot is just fine, not something I’d put among the all-time greats. But it’s a fun and fast-paced space adventure, and I don’t mind that.

The characters in this are likable, somewhat interesting, and quite entertaining. Alden Ehrenreich plays the young version of Han Solo. In this, Han isn’t quite the jaded smuggler that we know him as in the older movies, but we see hints of that here as he enters the scoundrel life. He’s quite a fun protagonist. And I thought Ehrenreich was really good in the role, he definitely had a lot of that sly charm one would expect from the character. Next we have Woody Harrelson as Beckett, the guy that Han starts working with who sort of becomes his mentor. A hardened badass with a lot of charisma, he’s quite an enjoyable character. And Harrelson is great in the role. Next we have Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra, childhood friend and love interest of Han. And that’s all I’m gonna say, because any further details would technically be spoilers. But she’s an okay character. And Clarke is pretty good in the role. Donald Glover plays the young version of Lando Calrissian, the smoothest son of a bitch in the galaxy. Not much else to say, he’s a smooth-talking, tricky, and clever guy who could charm his way into the heart of a mountain. And Glover is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jon Favreau, and more, all doing well in their respective roles (even if one or two of the characters is less than well-realized).

The score for this movie was not composed by the one and only John Williams. Instead it was done by John Powell. And while there are some familiar themes used throughout, he still brought a lot of his own stuff to it to create one of the best scores of the year. I’m not just saying that because of my love for any piece of “Star Wars” music, he brought his fucking A-game on a fair bit of the tracks here. Yeah, the music here is great.

This movie was directed by Ron Howard, and I think he did a really good job with it. He manages to work with a lot of the typical “Star Wars” visual stylings, while also bringing in some stuff of his own, and even a little bit of old school western. The movie is just well shot and has a nice overall flow here that makes it a joy to watch. And the action here too is a lot of fun. Some good shootouts, a nice fight or two… there’s just a lot of fun to be had with the action here. And I don’t think I need to say anything about the visual effects at this point… it’s fuckin’ “Star Wars”, y’all know that stuff is gonna look great.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not anything special, “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is a damn fine space adventure full of charisma and fun. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/action/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is an 8,86/10. So I’d definitely say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is now completed.

You know what another title for this movie could be? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. *Ba-dum-tss*.

My Star Wars Story

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen and potential space aliens. Today I wanted to do something a little bit different. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and with today (the 4th of May) being Star Wars day, I thought now would be as good a time as any to do it. I’m about to share with you my Star Wars Story. No, not my pitch for a spinoff movie for the franchise, but just my experience(s) with “Star Wars”. Where it began, where it went, and where it is. So let’s just jump into it.

For the cave dwellers who just found out about the outside world, “Star Wars” is a franchise started in 1977 by American director George Lucas with it’s first installment… “Star Wars” (I refuse to call it “A New Hope”). The movie was a smash hit, making all the money, and becoming one of if not the biggest franchise in all of history with sequels, prequels, spinoffs, novels, video games, toys, tabletop games, sex toys (yes really), and so much more. “Star Wars” has pretty much taken over the cultural world, and it’s influence can be felt throughout most media. With that out of the way, time for the bit I originally promised.

The year was 2003. Or 2004, I am a bit unsure on the exact year. But I was six years old. I went to the store with my dad to get some groceries. When we were getting close to the register I had a look at the magazine shelves, which of course both had magazines and a few comic books. I noticed a “Donald Duck” comic there with a weird and interesting cover, and with some odd toy following along with it. I (like the greedy little shit I was) asked dad if we could buy the comic, and he said yes. So it came along with us, and when we got home I asked what this weird stuff with the cover and the toy was. He explained that it was “Star Wars”, and the toy was a small, plastic lightsaber. I, not having seen “Star Wars”, asked what “Star Wars” was. He said it was a movie, and then he went to a shelf and picked up a VHS tape. That tape of course being “Star Wars” (recorded from a TV airing). He sat my butt down, put the movie in the VHS player, and I say for two hours and was in awe of everything I saw. I was engrossed by the music, the characters, the visuals, the visual effects… it was absolutely amazing. It was like having an epiphany. Then of course “Star Wars” became a big thing for me. Luckily for me, we had “Empire Strikes Back”, “Return of the Jedi”, and “The Phantom Menace” (shut up, I was a kid) recorded as well, so I had more movies to watch afterwards.

Few years later, and thanks to the TV and also my friend, I got to see “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” as well (shut up, I was a kid). “Star Wars” was a huge part of my life. I watched all the movies that I could and I played several of the video games. This was more than just some silly sci-fi franchise to me… it was a huge fucking part of my life. As I got slightly older I began seeing the ups and downs of certain parts of the franchise. Most notably was when my friend showed me the animated “The Clone Wars” movie at his place once. I could tell that it wasn’t great. But I also didn’t care fully, because I was simply in love with this franchise.

Another few years go by and I am in high school (around 17 years old). Something has happened. While I haven’t fallen out of love with “Star Wars”, I just haven’t had the same kind of obsessions about it as when I was younger. Admittedly I also didn’t exactly watch the movies much around that age, making my love fade a bit into the background. It’s more or less just gathering dust at this point. Then November 2014 comes around and we get our first trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Now, regardless of your opinion of that movie, you can’t deny that the hype was massive when it was first officially unleashed upon the world with that trailer.

This was big. The first new “Star Wars” movie in nearly ten years (“Clone Wars” doesn’t count). And that’s when something in my head kinda clicked. This franchise that I had grown up with was coming back. A new movie to look froward to… something that I almost never had the privilege of as a kid. It was such a huge thing. My love started reigniting. But there was still something missing…

Skip ahead to late 2015, and “Force Awakens” is finally coming out. I watch it opening night with several friends. That’s when it truly clicked into place for me. The first was the lighter being used. But this was the lighter igniting the candle. It was a great experience. And of course it was made clear that we were getting even more movies in the series. We got the franchise back (and helped it in making all the money), and we were gonna get more movies. It was quite an exciting time to be a fan of this franchise.

So now we go into the present. What are my current thoughts on it all? I still love “Star Wars”. Are we getting close to over-saturation in terms of movies? Maybe a little, but I still look forward to seeing what this franchise will give us. New movies, new games (admittedly from the wrong publisher), new novels, new comics, new shows… so much “Star Wars”. It’s even more stuff for us older fans, and some new, introductory stuff for newer fans who came in through “Force Awakens” and such. It’s really the perfect time to be a “Star Wars” fan. You got your old stuff, and you’re getting some new stuff.

Speaking of “Star Wars”, here’s a link to an episode from last year of the We Have a Hulk podcast (friends of mine) where I, together with some other cool people, take a “Star Wars” quiz. You get to here arguing, voices, noises, and just a bunch of people having fun. I had a lot of fun doing it.

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/wehaveahulk/episodes/2017-05-04T16_49_05-07_00

And that’s about it. I really just wanted to give you my story on how I got acquainted with this amazing franchise, as well as just gush about “Star Wars” in general. So yeah… May the fourth be with you.

Academy Awards 2018: Best Music Nominees

Hello there, ladies, gentlemen, and space aliens. The Oscars are not far away (as of writing it’s less than 24 hours to it), so to celebrate that I have teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers to talk about the various categories, and give our thoughts and predictions on them. When it was time for me to choose, I chose the music categories (which had been lumped into one), because of my undying love of music and occasional analysis of it. I also chose it because I haven’t seen all the movies yet, so this is one I can do from the comfort of my own room (thank you, spotify!). So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score
The first category we’ll go through is best original score, the category celebrating the works of the composers who work so hard to help us get immersed. So here are the nominees.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams.

First up we have the one and only John Williams and his music for the latest entry in the “Star Wars” franchise. And this really has everything that you’d expect from “Star Wars” music at this point. Big brass, tense strings, catchy melodies. And whereas the score for “Force Awakens” was damn good, it doesn’t really hold a candle to “The Last Jedi” (not comparing the movies, just the music). There are throwbacks to the previous movies in the series throughout this score, but none of it feels like forced (HA!) pandering, but rather fun inclusions to make it all feel a bit more connected. But as great as the music here is, I don’t think it has a chance in this Oscar race. Would I be made if it won? No. But we’ve heard these stylings before, and I feel like it doesn’t have the same chance at the gold due to that.

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat.

Our second entry is the score for “The Shape of Water”, the latest weirdness from Guillermo Del Toro. As of writing this, I have not seen the movie, so I can’t comment on how well the music works within the movie. But I can comment on it as it’s own entity, and I can safely say that this score is fantastic. It takes a couple cues from old school John Williams, and even a bit from Wes Anderson’s movies (which is funny considering Anderson has worked with Desplat before). But it does a lot of unique things to give it a really odd, yet beautiful sound that works for this kind of odd love story. I’d say this has a very good chance of getting the Oscar.

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood.

Here we have the score for “Phantom Thread”, the latest movie from Paul Thomas Anderson, and the final movie of actor Daniel Day Lewis. This score relies heavily on piano and various string instruments (violin being the most prominent). It creates an emotionally charged sound that evokes a lot of dramas from the 70s (I notive a little bit of “Godfather” in there). This score has a pretty good chance of taking the Oscar, though I’m not 100% sure if I want it to. I’m a little split on it.

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer.

So here we have a score from one of my favorite composers, for a movie by one of my favorite directors. Yet I have somehow not seen “Dunkirk” as of writing. But what we have here is an intense and very unique score that makes use of not only your typical orchestral sounds, but also a ticking clock and a few other sounds that I can’t identify that easily. But I must say that this sounds fantastic, and it makes me tense up a bit, without the visuals of the movie. Zimmer catches the horrors of war incredibly well with his music, creating a haunting but also beautiful sound that drills itself into my bones and makes me feel like I’m in this horrible situation. So I’d say Zimmer has a good chance at getting the statue.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell.

Hey, finally a movie I’ve actually seen! But yes, the final score nominated for an Oscar is Carter Burwell’s score for Martin McDonagh’s masterful “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. At times sounding like a western, at times sounding like an emotional drama, Burwell’s score perfectly captures the tumultuous journey of Mildred as she tries to get justice for what happened to her daughter. The music follows her arc perfectly, from the badass and cool, to the intimate and emotional. But as much as I love the music of “Three Billboards”, I doubt that it will take the Oscar. Would I be happy if it did? Hell yeah. But nothing about it really says “I can and will grab that Oscar” like some of the other contenders did.

Biggest chance of winning: The Shape of Water.
My pick: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

So those were the original scores. Now moving on to the second half.

Best Original Song
Time for the category that celebrates specific tunes made for the movies we watch. It’s an interesting category that I don’t fully understand the point of, but I won’t say no to a bit of music. So let’s go.

Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens – Call Me By Your Name.

First song on the list is “Mystery of Love”, a song from “Call Me By Your Name”, a movie about sexual discovery rather than identity theft (missed an opportunity there, yo). Written and performed by Sufjan Stevens, it almost feels like something that you’d hear from José González, but with a slightly bigger lean towards the pop side of it all. And I must admit that this song is pretty damn good. As the title suggests, it talks about how weird and mysterious the concept of love actually is. It has an interesting and unique sound that I like listening to. Do I think it has a shot at the Oscar? Hard to say, really. Would I be okay with it winning? Sure. I’m just unsure how the Academy would vote on it. Some songs/movies are easier to pin the chances of than others, and this one’s a bit challenging to pin down.

Mighty River – Mary J. Blige – Mudbound.

Here we have a song from a movie I’ve actually seen. “Mighty River” is part gospel, and part radio ballad. And it strikes a good balance between the two to make a song that is pleasing for the ears while still having an interesting and somewhat unique sound, at least for the current music industry. It also evokes those big, emotional songs you could hear in various movies from back in the day. Like “My Heart Will Go On” or that Faith Hill song from “Pearl Harbor”. So I’d be perfectly fine with “Mighty River” winning… shit, I’d say it’s chances are good.

This Is Me – Keala Settle – The Greatest Showman.

So here we have a pop song from a musical about P.T. Barnum, a man who wasn’t a very good person… but they still decided to make a colorful musical about him and his circus. False depiction of a historical figure aside, how is this song? Pretty good. It’s a very radio-friendly pop song that still manages to elevate that with the help of some solid crescendos and a slightly more old school approach. Do I want this to win? Not really. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but I don’t think it does anything that makes it worthy of that prize. It’s a little bit too… generic, in my opinion.

Stand Up For Something – Andra Day feat. Common – Marshall.

Here we have a song from the Thurgood Marshall biopic “Marshall”. This is a pop song with a good amount of soul thrown into it to create a sound that I really enjoyed listening to. Plus, the lyrics about standing up for a cause are somewhat inspiring, especially when delivered by Andra Day’s gorgeous voice. There’s also a short bit where Common raps, and it’s really good. Do I think this song has a chance? Maybe. It definitely has a foot in the door, but it’s hard to say how much that will help in terms of actually winning. Let’s say the chances are pretty good.

Remember Me – Benjamin Bratt/Kristen Anderson-Lopez/Robert Lopez – Coco.

The final song on the list is “Remember Me (Ernesto De La Cruz)”, a mostly upbeat and energetic song from Pixar’s latest film, “Coco”. The lyrics are good, the the instrumentals are good, it’s very personal to the writers… and it’s sung by the great Benjamin Bratt. Yeah, this is great. I haven’t seen “Coco”, but this song has made me want to check it out even more. The chances for this to win are pretty good, and I wouldn’t be mad if it did. ’tis a good song.

Biggest chance of winning: Mighty River.
My pick: Mighty River.

So those were the original song nominations.

And those were all of the music nominations from the Oscars, and my thoughts on them. But now I wanna hear from you guys, which score/song do you think should/will win? Please leave any and all answers in the comments, I really wanna hear from you guys.

The people I collaborated with on this:

Plain, Simple Tom.

Through the Silver Screen.

Angus McGregor Movies.

QuickFire Reviews.

Fivethreeninety.

Perks of being Nath.

Have a good one.

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

I really don’t have to make up a clever intro for this… it’s fucking “Star Wars”, so let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”.

Set more or less immediately after “The Force Awakens”, the story follows Rey (Daisy Ridley) as she has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and intends to be trained in the Jedi arts by him. Meanwhile, Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Leia (Carrie Fisher, R.I.P), and the rest of the Resistance try to fight off the First Order. So now we have our plot. And is it good? Yes. It asks questions, it answers questions, and it dares tackle some dark subjects that haven’t ever really been talked much about in previous “Star Wars” movies. It is a for the most part a great fucking plot. I say for the most part, because there’s a section of it that, while entertaining, didn’t really do much. Sure, it had a reason to be there (sort of), but in the long run it felt a bit more like filler rather than a sensible plot thread. It didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the plot, but it does bring it down from near perfect to pretty damn good.

The characters here are layered, entertaining, likable, and entertaining. Daisy Ridley returns as Rey, the new hero of the franchise. She’s still kind of naive in how she wants to learn the force and bring back the Jedi order and such. And while naive, she’s still tough, determined, and just so cool. And Ridley is fantastic in the role. John Boyega returns as Finn, the Stormtrooper turned Resistance fighter. He’s funny, he’s cool, he’s charming, and he can be a badass when he wants to. And Boyega is still great. Oscar Isaac returns as Poe Dameron, the best damn pilot in the Resistance. While he didn’t have too much to do in “The Force Awakens”, he got a lot more to do here and he gets a good amount of character development (surprisingly so). And Isaac is fantastic in the role. Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker (and he actually gets to speak this time!). You can tell that he’s older, damaged, and a bit more cynical than he used to be, but he’s still Luke Skywalker. And the stuff they do with him here are pretty great. And Hamill is fantastic here. Adam Driver returns as Kylo Ren, the conflicted force wielder. In the first movie his motivations could feel a bit vague when you step back and think about it, but here you get a much clearer picture on that stuff, and he gets some great development here. And Driver is great in the role. Carrie Fisher (may she rest in peace) returns as Leia, the leader of the resistance. She’s a badass, but she’s also older and not as energetic as she used to be. And she does get some solid dramatic moments throughout. And Fisher is great in the role. Domhnall Gleeson returns as General Hux. He’s over the top and a little bit goofy, but I forgive that as it works for me in this crazy galaxy. So yeah, Gleeson is good(?). Andy Serkis as Snoke… slightly underdeveloped, but it’s definitely a sinister performance. So yeah, great Serkis. New people! Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose, a Resistance mechanic that gets involved more than she would’ve expected after something happens. She’s tough, she’s charming, and she’s cool. And Kelly Marie Tran is really good in the role. Then we have Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo, a high ranking woman who gets brought into the fight. She doesn’t see completely eye-to-eye with certain crew members, giving her an interesting dynamic within the movie. And Dern is great in the role. That’s it for now, as I don’t want to get too in-depth here. But expect some solid supporting performances from people like Benicio Del Toro and Billie Lourd.

The one and only John Williams returned to do the music for this movie, and it’s fucking amazing. Whereas the score to “Force Awakens” was really good, it didn’t bring much new to the table and never stuck out much to me, “The Last Jedi” then picks up the orchestra and says “Let’s make some epic and emotional music that the audiences will love”. And really, the score here is absolutely fantastic.

This movie was written and directed by Rian Johnson and he did a fantastic job. He gives this movie and incredibly unique vibe while still making it feel like “Star Wars”. His direction is sweeping, intimate, and filled with all kinds of epicness to it. And the way he directs action makes it feel heavy-hitting and like there are some actual stakes to it. When the movie wants you to feel like someone/something’s getting it’s shit kicked in, the movie succeeds in doing that. It’s also tons of fun and incredibly badass to watch. This is also a visually stunning movie. Johnson’s direction combined with Steve Yedlin’s cinematography makes this one of the most gorgeous “Star Wars” movies, possibly even rivaling “Rogue One” in that regard. There are seriously shots in this movie that took my breath away with how stunning they were. And yes, the visual effects are fucking amazing, no doubt about that one. And there’s a good amount of humor here, and I laughed quite a bit. Really, this movie is surprisingly funny.

This movie has barely even been released, but so far it has gotten some positive reception (keep in mind that these scores will change as time passes, but I refuse to edit along with these changes). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10.

Is this the best “Star Wars” movie? No. But “The Last Jedi” is still a great fucking movie. It has a damn good plot, great characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/action/effects. I guess my one flaw with it was that one bit I eluded to earlier, though it isn’t a total dealbreaker. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a 9,57/10. So it gets the “PORG OF APPROVAL!”.
ladda ned

My review of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is now completed.

Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher. You are still severely missed.

Star Wars Day Shenanigans

Hello there, ladies and gents of the internet. And before you yell at me for posting a Star Wars day thing several days too late, hear me out. For those that have lived under a rock for the last shitload of years, “Star Wars” is a big religio- I mean, multimedia franchise created by George Lucas. And the fourth of May was Star Wars day, the big day celebrating this amazing religio- multimedia franchise. This year I actually did something special for Star Wars Day. I was a guest on the We Have a Hulk podcast, competing in a Star Wars quiz together with Ben from Nerdschatting and Dave & Lou from Jack & The Geekstalk. Firstly, if you aren’t already listening to the We Have a Hulk pod, what the hell is wrong with you? Go fix that ASAP. Secondly, I had a blast doing that, and if you want to hear my stupid voice try to answer some questions… here you go! Hope you enjoy!

http://www.podbean.com/media/share/dir-jmpik-253f42b

Just thought I’d share this here if you haven’t listened already. Have a good one.