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Subcategories from this category: Uncategorized, 5 Second Movies, Obscurities, Wrestling, Indie Movie Reviews, What's Up?, Top # Lists, Film Review, animated movie review, Movies, Silent Reviews, Trailers & Commercials, Everything Else, Misc Reviews, Funny, Old Blogs, Video Games, Anime, TGWTG Related, Video Reviews, Sports, Comics, News, Thoughts, Animation and 2 other subcategories.

Posted by on in Animation

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Posted by on in Video Games

In this installment, we do it again.  Well, not exactly - the dungeon is varied a little bit, and we even have a surprise fight in the middle of it!  After that, we finally wake up!  Let's take a look at what the future looks like!  Here's a hint: it's not very good.

Special thanks to Michael Black for the awesome title card!

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Video shared by on in Video Games

Thank you for joining me on the FIRST session of Fatal Frame!

You can watch my introduction of this series here: http://youtu.be/gw0SuuHz1bw

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Video shared by on in Music


Hi TGWTG, and welcome to spectrum-pulse, where I take a deeper, more in-depth look into music, movies, art, and culture.

Today, in my 241st review, I talk about Ariana Grande's very transitory sophomore album.

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Posted by on in Film Review

Greetings, fellow movie buffs. Sodapopcorn here, and I’m really sorry for not being on for awhile. It's been a busy week, which was preceded by a very terrible cold. Point is, I didn't have the time, or energy, to be writing. I’m back now, though.

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Video shared by on in Video Reviews

My multimedia breakdown of the Louis CK show "Louie" Season 4 episodes 11 & 12, "In the Woods".

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Something you'll occasionally see showing up in the media of comics are artists attempting to conclude their original work. With so many series being cycled between writers, handed from creator to creator or altered thanks to editorial decree, it's hardly surprising these crop up once in a while. Perhaps the reason they show up in comics the most is thanks to the degree of freedom available. After all, you don't need to spend time worrying about budgets as much as with film and television, the characters don't age and you can even evoke memories of a previous era by simply altering the art style.


Previous examples include the sadly short-lived X-Men Forever by Chris Claremont (which unfortunately ended with oh so many loose ends) and even George Lucas' original plans for Star Wars. Given just how often his saga styled plotlines were cut short, it's no real surprise Simon Furman returned with one last hurrah for the original Transformers comics.


Skipping Generation Two entirely, Regeneration One directly follows on from where the original Transformers comics left off, barring a slight time-skip. Set several decades after the Decepticons' apparently final defeat by the Last Autobot and Unicron's destruction, Cybertron is at peace. Under the rule of the Autobots, the world has been rebuilt and life flourishes once again. However, that peace is soon to be cut short. Under Soundwave, groups of disgruntled neo-Decepticons have been forming, ready to begin the Great War anew. Even as the first shots are fired, few realise just where this war will lead to, or what things are slowly awakening once more.

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Posted by on in Misc Reviews

Cosplay. The practice of dressing up as one’s favorite character in a comic book or movie, and wearing such costumes to conventions to show off your geek love. For a long time, cosplaying has been seen as that weird dress up thing that your strange shut-in neighbor from down the road does from time to time because he’s a weird nerd and he goes to those weird nerd conventions for nerds because NERDS!!!!! But in the past few years as cons have become more regularly accepted and attended and comic book movies and “geeky” shows become more popular, cosplaying has been put into a new spot light where it is seen as less weird and more interesting and cool. 

SciFi (I will always write it this way! DEAL WITH IT!!!) Channel saw this new gain in attention and decided to use it. Now, SciFi was already breaking some ground in geekdom with its reality show “FaceOff” which looks into the world of makeup and creature design, so why not look and something else like cosplay. But instead of it being a reality competition in the usual sense, the format is more of a film crew following a cosplayer as he or she goes to cons and competes in competitions. Less work for them, more money for them right! So from that, “Heroes of Cosplay” was born!

But very quickly it became apparent that many the cosplayer was not happy about this show.

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Posted by on in Movies

Tagged in: snowpiercer
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Posted by on in Top # Lists
I've always liked movie music, but I'm pretty sure Michael Kamen's score for Disney's The Three Musketeers (1993) was what got me to love it.  Until this movie, I don't think I fully appreciate how a film's musical score can affect the energy and mood of a scene, although I was definitely aware of it.  Sometimes the score can be the best thing about some movies...and later on, I learned that sometimes it's the only good thing about certain films, even some I used to like.  (In case you're wondering, no, the Disney Three Musketeers movie doesn't fall into this category of bad movies with good music.  I think it's a good, way the hell under-rated movie with excellent music.  In fact, it used to be my all-time favorite film.)


Maybe it's just me, but I feel like there's been more widespread appreciation of film music these past couple of decades.  True, film music has been honored at the Academy Awards since the 1930s, and commercial soundtracks of movie scores have been available for a long time.  However, collectors and special editions of soundtracks seem to be a bit more common, going back to the special edition CDs of the Star Wars soundtracks that came out in 1997 (when the movies were re-released in theaters with new effects).  Concerts featuring film music are more common, and numerous venues such as Wolf Trap in Virginia screen movies with a live orchestra and chorus providing the music.  Classic FM, a British classical music station, regularly plays film music (in fact, earlier today, they released the results of their annual Movie Music Hall of Fame contest).  There's even more scholarship on film music out there, such as Doug Adams's in-depth exploration of Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings score, or Emilio Audissino's recent book on John Williams's body of work.  (I highly recommend both works - Audissino's book not only has an excellent overview of Williams's work, but also of the history of film music and the changing perception towards it.)

  

However, films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and most of the movies John Williams has scored are masterpieces of filmmaking in their own right.  They're deservedly popular with audiences and critics alike, and equally iconic and beloved as the scores that accompany them.  Unfortunately, sometimes a composer will come up with a similarly brilliant score for what turns out to be a bad movie.  Such music becomes unfairly overlooked by people who might have enjoyed hearing it if only the movie it came from had been better.  So to give some of these overlooked musical scores some attention, here is my personal Top 10 list of favorite movie scores that were far better than the movies they came from.

My sorting criteria for this list is exclusively based on how much I enjoy the music, rather than how bad I thought the film it came from was.  I'm also not going to go over each and every single track on a soundtrack, although I may highlight certain tracks that stand out.  I'm sure I don't need to clarify that this list is not a criticism of the composers themselves or their works - just the opposite, in fact.


10) The Crimson Pirate (1952), by William Alwyn



Burt Lancaster was a great actor, except when it came to swashbucklers.  Put him in a political thriller like Seven Days in May (1964), and he's superb.  Put him in a costumed adventure movie, and he's a bore (except for his acrobatics, which I admit are impressive).  However, he wasn't the only thing wrong with The Crimson Pirate,  which suffered from a clumsily plotted storyline and an over-the-top hokeyness to it.  (Also, I've never forgiven this movie for its lack of swordfighting.  What the hell kind of pirate movie doesn't have a swordfight in it?!)  Fortunately, Alwyn's score manages to inject quite a bit of life into what was otherwise a(n unexpectedly) tedious movie to get through.  The gypsy-flavored theme has a lot of energy to it, and we get to hear a rousing orchestral version of "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?"  I'd love to hear that done with "High Barbary" one day. 


9) Clash of the Titans (1981), by Laurence Rosenthal



There's a lot to admire in this movie, particularly Ray Harryhausen's visual effects (even if I did hate that stupid owl with a burning passion), but I can't bring myself to call it good.  The lifeless acting from Harry Hamlin and Judi Bowker, our two leads, really hurt this film, and the first half is kind of dull.  It picks up steam when we get to the monster battles, but by then, the movie's really struggling to keep me engaged.  None of this kept me from really enjoying Rosenthal's magnificent sweeping score.  It promises grand, light-hearted fantasy adventure with its use of strings and chimes during the main theme.  The menacing music during Perseus's battle with Medusa stands in sharp contrast, and does a wonderful job of enhancing the sinister mood.


8) The Patriot (2000), by John Williams



The American Revolution plods into life in Roland Emmerich's formulaic war/revenge movie that took me three tries to get all the way through (Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger's weak performances don't help matters).  Still, John Williams doesn't let us down with a solemn, majestic score.  The main theme builds slowly; it opens with a beautiful fiddle (?) solo backed by gentle guitar before transitioning into a full string section, and then we get a grand military march with brass, drums, and piccolos.  The action scene music, such as "Facing the British Lines" is vintage Willaims, unmistakable with its chords and use of brass and strings together.  The track "Martin vs. Tavington" emphasizes percussion and rhythm rather than melody - not quite as catchy as "Duel of the Fates," but effective as hero-villain showdown music.  Wasting a score like this on a film this mediocre is downright criminal.


7) Beowulf (2007), by Alan Silvestri
 


I've defended this movie's interesting take on the Beowulf tale (especially co-writer Neil Gaiman's "Who was Grendel's father?" approach), and I like a lot of the performances, but that doesn't mean I'll let it off the hook for its cinematic shortcomings.  As a movie, it felt very incomplete, leaving me wanting much more from the story and characterizations.  Alan Silvestri's Beowulf score, however, is perfectly suited for the character, heavy on brass and percussion combined with modern synthesized sounds, with chanting in Old English in the background (I assume they're the opening lines from the original poem).  The music from the main titles is pure bad-ass, painting the picture of an unrelenting, unstoppable warrior hero of a bygone age on the warpath, and may the gods help anyone in his way. 


6) The Private Lives of Elizabeth & Essex (1939), by Erich Wolfgang Korngold



It's hard for me to pin down what exactly this movie did wrong, even after seeing it twice.  It's a lavish production with some interesting characters, and Bette Davis's performance is fantastic (not to mention how she was transformed into Queen Elizabeth I).  Errol Flynn's performance, however, was uneven, much to my disappointment, and there was just something about the plot and story structure that didn't work.  I have no such complaints about Korngold's score, with its gorgeous strings and majestic brass themes that play over the opening credits.  In contrast to the solemnity of the opening music is the triumphant Essex March, which is a lot of fun to listen to.


5) The Phantom (1996), by David Newman



Based on Lee Falk's still-running newspaper comic that began in 1936, The Phantom belongs alongside Batman & Robin and The Spirit (the latter of which was also scored by David Newman, sadly) as among the worst comic book movies ever made.  I'll admit that a dynasty of jungle men fighting piracy in purple spandex isn't the easiest concept to successfully adapt to the screen, but the filmmakers should either have tried harder or left The Phantom the hell alone.  Newman's music, as with other entries further down this list, succeeds in capturing the fun and spirit of an old-fashioned adventure movie more than the movie itself.  It mixes synthesized sounds, intense percussion, and deep chanting with traditional strings and brass.  "The Phantom's Theme" is just friggin' awesome, fitting for either a comic book or swashbuckling hero (it helps that The Phantom is both).  Part of it was used in teaser trailers of The Mask of Zorro (1997), a much better film than this one. 


4) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), by Michael Kamen



I've had a lifelong fascination with Robin Hood lore (as I'm sure you know if you've followed my blog for any length of time), and I used to like this movie a lot - I guess I've just outgrown it.  There are parts of it that are still entertaining, such as Alan Rickman's scenery buffet of a performance, some of the snarky banter and one-liners, and Michael Kamen's music.  The score, especially the overture, evokes a sense of swashbuckling adventure and romance that is absent from this surprisingly morose, joyless film (at least when it focuses on our hero instead of the villains or more colorful supporting characters).  Likewise, "The Escape to Sherwood" and "The Final Battle at the Gallows" are also fun to listen to, and far more thrilling than the action scenes they accompany.  (This score actually made the Classic FM Hall of Fame list I mentioned earlier, and it's a well-deserved honor.)


3) Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), by Jerry Goldsmith



Sadly, there were a lot of Jerry Goldsmith movie scores (including for other Trek films, particularly The Final Frontier) that were serious contenders for this list, which is unfortunate for a composer of his caliber.  His score for the very first Star Trek movie is one of the prominent examples of a beautiful score being wasted on an unworthy movie.  First and foremost, this is the movie that gave us the now-classic Star Trek theme that would be used for numerous other movies and the Next Generation series, with a unique opening fanfare that unfortunately hasn't been used in any other Trek score.  (Part of me wonders if the overly long scene of the refitted Enterprise's introduction was an excuse to show off Goldsmith's score as much as the ship itself, and that same part of me can't fault them for that.)  We're also introduced to the "Klingon Battle Theme," which would reappear in other Goldsmith-scored Trek movies.  "Total Logic" and "V'Ger Flyover" have an eerie, other-worldly vibe to them, courtesy of a variety of synthetic sounds.  In contrast, "Ilia's Theme" evokes the passion for exploration and discovery that Star Trek is supposed to be all about.


2) Batman Returns (1992), by Danny Elfman



This is another movie that I used to really like (I originally wrote enjoy, but I don't know if I ever went that far - it's hard to enjoy a movie with such a bitter and gloomy tone to it).  As an adult, I'm no longer able to get past the disjointed storyline, lack of Batman, and the aforementioned cynicism.  The score is probably Danny Elfman at his best, beautifully conveying the melancholy and tragedy the rest of the film is unsuccessfully aiming for.  Elfman's score for the first Batman (1989) had more of a comic book feel to it, laced with a playful campiness at times alongside the more emotional or grand themes.  There's some of that here, especially in the "Batman vs. The Circus" track (which makes great use of not only the heroic Batman theme, but also frantic, fast-paced percussion).  In contrast, "Selina's Transformation" and The Penguin's funeral music in "The Finale" are grim and melancholy, with nothing campy about them.  I also like the music in the scene where The Penguin is making his speech to his penguin troops (it makes sense in context - sort of) - a slow, menacing march, and then after a brief fanfare, the tempo rapidly increases.  If only the rest of the movie was able to move me the way this music was.

And coming in at #1...

1) Cutthroat Island (1995), by John Debney


I swear I hadn't intended to start and end this Top 10 list with pirate movies - it just happened to work out that way.  Anyhow, Cutthroat Island is a horrible film in every way, but by God, John Debney's score is among the most fun film music to listen to that I've ever heard.  There's so much energy and life in this music, more than worthy of comparison to one of Korngold's swashbuckler compositions or one of John Williams's Indiana Jones scores (it's not better than these other works, but definitely worthy of standing alongside them).  You can't listen to "Morgan's Ride," the main title, without getting the mother of all adrenalin surges. The choir in the background might be a bit over the top, but I'm always having too much fun getting caught up in the rest of the music to care.  The two-disc edition of this soundtrack is hard to find, but so worth it.

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