Recent Purchases: Episode 8

Hello, my friends! It is time for this long dead series to return to the blog. If you are new, let me explain what the hell this is all about. This show “Recent Purchases” is where I will simply write about how I have bought some new movies/books/CDs/etc. Now that the obvious shit is out of the way, let’s do it!

Movies: Lord of War (2005)
               The Rock (1996)
American History X (1998)
Interstellar (2014) (Sidenote: Actually, my brother got this for me)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

And that’s really it. And by “recent” I mean within the past few months. And with all that said I leave you.

Have a good one!

My Top 15 Movie Theme Songs

conductor

As a guy who watches a good amount of movies I tend to often listen in on the soundtrack. And not necessarily on when you hear a licensed track and go “Oh shit, I know that song!”. I mainly talk about the original score for the movie. You know, the music a composer has spent countless hours writing and conducting. So today I am here to give you my list of favorite theme songs from different movies! Time to lay out the rules!

Rule #1: Same as always, this is my list. If you disagree with something then you can’t complain about it. Maybe you can write a comment on what song you would have included on the list.

Rule #2: Even though some songs are really recognizable as the movie theme song (Example: “Born to be Wild” in the movie “Easy Rider”) I will only include songs that someone has composed.

Rule #3: The song has to truly be recognized as the main theme to make this list. So even though I absolutely love the song “Time” from “Inception” it will not make the cut as it isn’t called or known as the main theme of the movie.

Rule #4: Listen and enjoy!

Ladies and Gentlemen… My Top 15 Movie Theme Songs.

Number 15: River Kwai March – The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

First up on the list is the main theme from a movie I haven’t even seen yet… oops. But I am still putting it here on the list because of how catchy and memorable it is. Whenever I hear it I want to start marching to some place and have this play the entire way. (Sidenote: First time I heard this was when it was in one of my sheet music books a few years ago).

Number 14: Lux Aeterna – Requiem For a Dream (2000)

At number 14 we have this beautiful piece of music composed by Clint Mansell and also happens to be the theme song to the most depressing movie ever. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking adore the movie, it is just depressing. I am also not ashamed to say that it is the scariest movie I have ever seen. Seriously, after I was done seeing the movie I still had chills down my spine and I wanted to go hug something. And this was the perfect theme tune to accompany it. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go cuddle with my dog because of scary “Requiem” flashbacks.

Number 13: Claudia’s theme – Unforgiven (1992)

Next up on the list is the fantastic, beautiful and almost tear inducing theme tune from Clint Eastwood’s final western. Not only does this songs fit perfectly for the movie, but it also happens to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Lennie Niehaus’ composition combined with memories of the fantastic movie it is part of always brings a smile to my face. I mean, that god damn guitar… fantastic, simply fantastic!

Number 12: Intro theme – Fight Club (1999)

You think you would be safe from me talking about “Fight Club”, huh? Well whoop-de-doo, you’re not! This song really catches you off guard the first time you hear when you decide to finally watch “Fight Club”. I know I was at least thrown off guard when I sat there, waiting for the movie to start and then *BOOM, BITCH* it kicks in and I knew I was going for one hell of a ride! Hell, this song just sums up what “Fight Club” is… a big, crazy ride!

Number 11: Main title – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

At number 11 is the metallic, badass and kind of awesome theme tune from the metallic, badass and kind of awesome action/sci-fi movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”. And yes, I know the first “Terminator” movie has the same theme song, but “T2” has the better version (In my opinion). It starts with some heavy bangs, continues with some slow(ish) synth sound and finishes off with some more heavy bangs. But I have an even better description for the song, here we go… DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN!!!

Number 10: James Bond theme – Dr. No (1962)

I will admit, I have not actually seen “Dr. No”. But I can say that I have listened to this song more than a few times trhoughout my life. Why? Because it’s awesome! The brass, the guitar, the… EVERYTHING! It is a classic theme that will live through to the end of days and will get covers and remixes as long as people still exist on this planet. I also like it because it feels very… agent-y. I don’t know how to descrive any other way, it’s just good.

Number 9: Pacific Rim – Pacific Rim (2013)

One of the newer songs on the list. This song combines two things I absolutely love; Epic orchestras with a good amount of string instruments, and guitar. This song wa composed by Ramin Djawadi who you may know from things like “Prison Break” or “Game of Thrones”. And for this song he got help from none other than the Nightwatchman himself… Tom Morello who does the badass guitar stuff. You probably know him from the band “Rage Against the Machine”. Either that or you know him from playing “Guitar Hero 3”. Anyway, this songs is really badass, really epic and really awesome. I want it played at my wedding when I walk down the aisle… I know, I’m weird.

Number 8: Main title – Jaws (1975)

Duuuun DUN, Duuuun DUN… that is all I have to say to scare your butts out of the ocean. This theme is as iconic as a theme tune of a movie can get and it has been mimicked many a time. Also, if you love the movie like I do, this song makes you smile you son of a…!

Number 7: Raider’s March – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Oh if nothing has gotten me any flak yet, this sure as hell will. Putting “Indiana Jones” as low as number 7. But hey, it’s at least still in the Top 10. This song always gets me pumped to go on an adventure and look for ancient treasures in an old temple in an old jungle! But really I would end up looking at rocks and sticks in the woods. But it would still be really fucking epic with this song playing! Also, it is a John Williams track… those are always great and you know it!

Number 6: Main theme – Speed (1994)

This seriously reminds me of how I forgot to put “Speed” in my “Top Action Movies” list. I feel so embarassed. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk. This track, composed by Mark Mancina, is badass, epic and perfectly fits the high speed, high tension action movie it is used in. You also got to love that part early in the song when you have several consecutive hits. I don’t know how to explain it in text, but I hope someone out there knows which part I am talking about! Someone!

Number 5: Gonna Fly Now – Rocky (1976)

Hearing this song makes me want to work out which is weird because I am one lazy son of a bitch. It is also a little weird to have this here because… *sigh*… I have unfortunately not seen “Rocky” yet. I know, slap me all you want, I don’t fucking care. I just know this song is amazing. I even chose it as one of the songs I have as homework to play on my trombone. It is going pretty well so far. But this song composed by Bill Conti is the infamous song that plays during that one scene I know of where Rocky is just working out like crazy to become the greatest boxer ever or something. I should probably see the movie…

Number 4: Theme song – The Rock (1996)

Here we have a movie that I have actually seen (and even reviewed here on the blog *Shameless self-promotion*) and that I really enjoyed. This silly action movie from Michael Bay is one of those action movies that not only had great action scenes but also showed some good emotion, mainly thanks to the amazing score by Hans Zimmer, Harry Gregson-Williams and Nick Glenne-Smith. And this theme tune is what really drives the score home and shows what music can do for a movie. Having parts with some genuine emotion in them, then more action-y bits and some more emotion really helps sell this as a great song.

Number 3: Main theme – Star Wars (1977)

“WHAT THE FUCK, STAR WARS NOT NUMBER 1, I’LL KILL YOU YA LITTLE BITCH!” said the moron in the audience who didn’t read the rules. But come on, “Star Wars” in the Top 3 is still really good if you think about it. I love “Star Wars” as much as the next guy, I’m not lying about that. This theme is as recognizable as can be since it’s been used in 6 official movies, 1 animated movie, 2 animated shows and more video games than I have fingers. So it is really well known. It will probably be used in the upcoming “Star Wars” movies as well and it will never lose it’s popularity. It will also never leave our hearts as it is part of all our childhoods, adulthoods and elderly years.

Number 2: Theme song – Jurassic Park (1993)

While “Star Wars” is John Williams’ most iconic score, I personally prefer “Jurassic Park” over “Star Wars”. At least when it comes to the “main theme song” department. While the “Star Wars” theme was one of the first themes I ever heard that stuck to me, “Jurassic Park” somehow holds a deeper emotional resonance to me. I don’t know why, maybe it is my everlasting love of dinosaurs that brings me back to the movie and it’s main theme song. But I think we can all agree that this song is beautiful and captured our hearts just as fast as the amazing visual effects of the timeless classic simply known as “Jurassic Park”.

Before we go to number 1, here are some honorable mentions (Sidenote: Reason they are honorable mentions is because of me thinking about them AFTER I started the list.
Pink Panther theme (1963)
Axel F – Beverly Hills cop (1984)

Mortal Kombat theme (1995)
Speak softly Love – The Godfather (1972)
Hedwig’s theme – Harry Potter (2001 – 2011)

NUMBER 1: Il Buono, il Brutto e il Cattivo – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Fuckin’ A! This is my number 1 pick for “Favorite Movie Theme Songs”. The epic, the classic and the badass theme from the amazing western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. This song is THE example that shows off the fact that Ennio Morricone is one if not THE best composer ever. Okay, to be fair there are composers up there at his level, if not better. But with this song and even the entire soundtrack to the movie he shows that he IS fantastic. The ocarina, the guitar, the percussion… I just love all of it! There is nothing about this song I dislike (Not that there was anything wrong with the previously mentioned tracks). I absolutely adore this song, let it live on FOREVER!!!

So those were My Top 15 Movie Theme Songs. What are some of your favorites? Leave an answer down below and let me know!

See ya!

 

Movie Discussion: Action movies

Action-Heroes-Bracket

How are you guys? Finally I am back with another movie discussion. Last time I did one I talked about the “logic” of giving Jamie Foxx a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in “Collateral” when clearly he was the main protagonist. But this time we are not really looking at one specific movie but rather a genre of movies. As you can read in the title this is going to be about action movies and what is going on with them. Now let’s quit stalling and get on with it! Time for a movie discussion… about action movies! (Sidenote: I will refer to action heroes as “he” for simplicity in writing).

Action movies as a whole is a genre I gladly watch simply for the expectation and deliverance of high octane entertainment. Seeing a hero (or heroes) solve a problem through any means necessary. But what I have noticed recently is a decline in what makes action movies as awesome as they are not only as simple popcorn entertainment but also as really good movies. Let’s start with one of the main factors of an action movie, the hero. In an action movie you want a hero that is cool, can handle tough situations but yet is vulnerable and relatable in a sense. In most action movie these past 15(ish) years the hero is an invulnerable jacked dude who dodges everything harmful perfectly yet delivers a major smackdown on thebad guys without a single problem. Sure, the scene might be entertaining but since he is so unstoppable it looses its appeal and we will not care for the guy. A few perfect examples of badass action heroes who can take care of trouble yet are vulnerable are John McClane from “Die Hard”, Riggs and Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon” and more recently John Wick in… “John Wick”.

                    A relatable hero is a requirement for a more engaging action movie.
FGKv0lethal-weapon-2keanu-reeves-john-wick

Another thing to take into account in an action movie is… the action (duh!). For one it has to be intense to really get our blood pumping and show how badass it is. Of course I am not saying the action scenes should be shooty-bang-bang and explosions galore, but they need to have a lot of flair and intensity. We need to feel like the action is awesome and we need to know that it means business. I also feel like the action needs to be memorable. And by that I mean it have to sort of dig itself into out memories by being great. Some of the best examples of action scenes that you’ll remember after seeing them (for me at least) include any action scene from “The Matrix”, the badass action scenes from “The Rock”, the awesome highway action from “Speed” and of course every awesome battle in Ridley Scott’s classic action-epic “Gladiator”.

 Memorable action scenes, they are not always easy to make but damn, are they awesome!
gynBNzwyaHKtXqlEKKLioNkjKgNvalentines-day2Speed_movie_poster93-gladiator

 

Next up that I wanted to discuss was something relating to the previous part and that is visibility of the action. What do I mean by that? Motherfucking shaky-cam. Whoever thought it would make every action scene better if they weren’t visible should get a slap in his face! Sure, sometimes it can be used in a way where it actually works in the movie. A good example of where the shaky-cam works are the “Bourne” trilogy, terrific action movies that still has shaky-cam. A few bad examples of shaky-cam however are movies such as “The Hunger Games”, “Alex Cross” and (unforunately) “The Bourne Legacy”. Shaky-cam… stop it!

Great cases of shaky-cam.
The Bourne Identity 2002el_mito_de_bourne-supremacydj.ykamvrxh.400x400-75

     Fucking awful cases of shaky-cam.
ars21344965852_aleks-krossbournelegacy

Now of course I feel like I need to lay down my two cents on something that a lot of people (including me) have complained about when it comes to modern action movies, editing to achieve a certain rating. And what do I mean with that? Well by that I of course mean that they edit the movie and film it to be PG-13. Now that shouldn’t be such a big deal. But when they do it simply to get the movie more accessible to people because Hollywood likes money it kind of pisses me off. Of course I kind of get it with some movies like “The Hunger Games” where they maybe wanted to keep the movie within the intended demographic brought in by the books and the fact that seeing kids murder each other is kind of terrible. But sometimes you wonder “Why the hell is this movie PG-13?”. That is the reaction I got with movies like “Life Free or Die Hard” when the previous movies were rated R and with even more recently than that, “World War Z”. The final one is a fucking action movie with zombies and in zombie stuff we want our blood and gore! Of course I am not saying an action movie needs tons of blood and gore to be great, but watering an obvious originally R-rated movie down to a PG-13? Fuck you Hollywood! Now of course there can also be action movies that are PG-13 as well. Some good examples are “Inception”, “Taken”, the “Dark Knight” trilogy and of couse “Bourne”. PG-13 isn’t that terrible unless it’s used to only make more money… then it is stupid.

The bad side of the coin we call PG-13.
die-hard-4i_am_legend_ver4_xlg

    But there is still a valuable side to this coin.
159192128_35dfae58282Batman The Dark Knight แบทแมน อัศวินรัตติกาลThe Bourne Identity 2002

Rememebr earlier when I said you’d need a vulnerable action hero? Well that isn’t the only thing that is needed when it comes to the actors. You also need an actor who can sell the role to us. They need to give off the feeling of “Yeah I am just a guy kind of like you, but I can do cool stuff too”. It would also be great if they maybe did some of their own stunts. Some prime examples of actors who can sell action roles perfectly who also do their own stunts (mostly) include Keanu Reeves, Harrison Ford and of course, Tom Cruise! These people have dedicated themselves to the action scenes they’ve done and done a lot of their stunts all by themselves. And when you have actors who can’t really do stunts yet they end up in an action movie, that’s one of the reasons we get the previously mentioned shaky-cam. The best example out of the ones I mentioned of actors doing their own stunts is Tom Cruise. The guy does everything by himself and never use a stunt guy (damn, dude). The best example of how awesome Cruise is like that is to look at his infamous scene from “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” where he climbs the Burj Khalifa. That is actually him climbing it, without a stunt guy. Also, in some pictures from the set he has been seen climbing the ourside of a plane because… he is a fucking awesome idiot I guess. I am not saying people should risk their fucking lives like that, but it would be fun to see them do the stunts a bit on their own and not just say “NOPE! Stunt guy, get over here!”.

 Doing their own stunts? Hell yeah!
keanu-reeves-001Indiana_Jones_in_Raiders_of_the_Lost_Arktom_cruise_fotos

Where do I want to get with this? I love good action movies and it is sad to see a lot of not so great ones arrive these days. So I wanted to discuss action movies for that. Let me know what your thoughts on action movies in our modern age are. Also, what is your favorite action movie of all time?

To end this off I will share a link with you guys to a video by awesome youtube movie reviewer Chris Stuckmann where he talks about action movies. He is very good at explaining things and I hope you will enjoy his stuff.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eac0lXfMs9c

See ya!

Movie Review: The Rock (1996)

la_roca_1996_3

Michael Bay is one of those few directors that I don’t know what to say about. On one hand he made some decent movies like “Armageddon” and even the first “Transformers” movie. But on the other hand we have the “Transformers” sequels and “Pain & Gain”. His track record for me is something that have split me when it comes to my opinion on the guy. So now I am checking out one of his more well-received and popular ones. Yeah, people actually seemed to like this. But what does this guy think? Do I like it? Well I’m not telling you, you’re gonna have to read.

Men and women… “The Rock”.

“The Rock” is about an angry (and possibly crazy) marine general by the name of Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris). He has with the help of a rogue squad of military men taken over Alcatraz island and imprisoned the tourists there. He also threatens to send a bunch of missiles filled with incredibly lethal gas towards San Francisco unless he and his troops get 100 million dollars. Of course you would want to take care of that situation if you were part of the FBI, right? But how would you do it? Well in the movie they decide to use a chemical weapons specialist (Nicolas Cage) and a 60-year old ex-con (Sean Connery) together with a team of people to take care of the situation. Why an ex-con? Because at one point he apparently escaped Alcatraz. To be honest… this plot is genius. It is simple in what it is but adds a few more details to it. Let me show you. Basic: Man takes over Alcatraz and threatents to send missiles on San Francisco if he doesn’t get money. Team of people have to stop him. Then they add some more layers to it with for example the fact that the missiles contain lethal gas and that one of the team members once escaped Alcatraz. I find it genius… even though there isn’t too much brain to be found here. I liked it though.

The characters are all interesting in one way or another. Our chemical weapons expert is played by Nicolas Cage, so you know he might act a little nuts every now and then. But by far the most interesting one is John Mason (Connery). Like I said before, ex-con, but he also has some of the best lines in the entire movie. He is also a badass who does badass stuff. Yeah. Overall the characters in the movie are all great and all actors did a great job.

The music was done by several composers. The main ones were Nick Glennie-Smith (Home Alone 3, Lion King 2), Hans Zimmer (Inception, Batman Begins) and Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, 4). The soundtrack consists of epic orchestra and some guitar (yeah!). It really works for the movie and fits perfectly. There was also a little help from Don Harper (Twister) and Steven Stern (The Asassination of Richard Nixon).

The action in this movie is fucking awesome! Yes, a Michael Bay movie with awesome and actually visible action! It does exist! It was fun to watch and the good thing is that there is plenty of it in this movie. The camera work overall was really good. Remember, this was before shaky-cam really existed. Also on a sidenote, this is the second review I’ve done this month featuring “The Rock” (A.K.A Alcatraz, also roll credits).

Like I said in the beginning of the review, this movie was well-received. Might even be Michael Bay’s best received movie. Anyway, time to look at the scores from different sites. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a score of 66%. On Metacritic it has a 59/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars in his review. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best sound.

“The Rock” is a cool, slick and visceral action movie with good acting, good music, a good story and some great action. Time for my final score. My final score for “The Rock” is a 9,73/10 which as you may know gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

Review of “The Rock” is now completed.

Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen. 

Movie Review: Pain & Gain (2013)

Image

Let’s face it, the works of Michael Bay are not mastepieces. “Transformers”, good popcorn material. “Bad Boys”, second verse, same as the first. “Armageddon”, cheesy 90’s fun. “Pearl Harbor”…we don’t talk about “Pearl Harbor”. But he hasn’t done too much bigger-ish things in the last couple of years except for shitty “Transformers” sequels. But then this came into being…”Pain & Gain”, a phrase that is actually kind of true. But after watching it, what did this guy right here think about it? Let’s find out.

Bad boys and bad girls…”Pain & Gain”.

Miami, 1995. Bodybuilder Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is doing some workout on a billboard. Then he runs away because…cops (cue the song “Bad Boys”). Then after a while of running, he gets hit by a car. Then we get a flashback to 1994 about what got him into this mess. He used to work at a gym with Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie). At the gym he meets his new co-worker and friend Paul Doyle (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). These three guys are not happy with their lives, they wanna make more money. So they hatch up a neat plan. A plan that involves kidnapping the biggest douchebag in town who is also rich as fuck (Tony Shalhoub). And they manage that even though they are arguing all the time. They kidnap him, get their money and new lives. Victor Kershaw A.K.A the douchebag gets beaten up and now lives in a crappy house. The other guys live their new lives, trying to adapt to that lifestyle. Honestly, the story didn’t thrill me at all. Not saying it was bad, it just didn’t work out all too well. A lot of times they glorify the use of drugs, alcohol and violence. This movie seriously makes that shit look like a good idea…even more than “Wolf of Wall Street”. But some parts are fairly entertaining, mainly the parts featuring The Rock. Can’t put my finger on why, I just think that. One thing that would have made this movie a little better would have been if they would have made it a little shorter considering a few scenes were boring and unnecessary. It is two hours and ten minutes long…it would have worked out better being like one hour fifty minutes. Otherwise, decent enough story. And oh yeah, this is based on a true story…even though it doesn’t seem like it. And this true story is just something that I read after watching this and felt Michael Bay just glorified it…and that is not cool.

The characters were as in any other Michael Bay movie…I did not give a shit about them. I only cared because I like the actors. Like I previously stated: the only one I kinda liked was The Rock as this ex-convict turned christian. He gave me this sense that he didn’t want everything that went wrong to go wrong…and actually feel sorry about it. I did also like Ed Harris’ character in the movie even though he was…insignificant. He really had not purpose in this movie. Also, every female character in this movie was as in every Michael Bay movie…just there for fan service…nothing else. The only female standing out was Rebel Wilson…and she didn’t even have that much of an important role. So yeah, the characters were meh.

On the musical aspect I kinda liked it actually. Most of the soundtrack is composed by the great Steve Jablonsky (Gears of War franchise among other things). His score was subtle (unlike most of the movie) and almsot a little chilling. Then there were a few licensed songs. Most notably Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”…in a version that sounds like it was a cover of it. And I did not like that too much since I am a fan of the original song.

This movie features several recurring tropes we often see in his movies. Like girls for fan service only, overuse of slow motion, some pyrotechnics and heavy focus on different colors. And while these troped bug me a little…I have to admit, Michael Bay knows how to make a good looking movie, and he proves it right here.

The reception for “Pain & Gain” has been very mixed. Rotten Tomatoes curently holds a ranking of 49% on it. Metacritic gave this a 45/100. There is no Roger Ebert review for this movie…which is fully understandable since it came out circa a week after he sadly passed away. imdb.com has the score of 6,5/10 for this movie.

So based on what I have said about this movie on the story and all other stuff I am giving this movie the score of 6,11/10. And I recommend you to rent it if you want to see it. This is not a bad movie, but it is far from buyable. Like I said, if you wanna see it…rent it…or stream it on netflix if it exists on there.

It was Painful to watch it. But I Gained a new review. (Get it?).

Bye-bye.