Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Boom Operator Reviews "Knowing"

A lot of things were swirling through my head when I first heard that Alex Proyas was stepping back in the ring and putting on his Sci-fi hat. Excitement, anxiety, anticipation....doubt. Ole' Proyas has been coasting on the coolness of The Crow and Dark City since the 90's, so much so that people usually forget about the lackluster I, Robot and Garage Days...but it's hard not to let him do it. Those two movies were just that cool and I was hoping for a return to the dark and gritty style for this new sci-fi flick about earths impending doom. Did I get it? The answer is a resounding "Ehh...not really."

At first I worried that the film's major flaw would be from casting Nicky Cage in the lead role. (if you're a long time reader, you know how much I love Mr. Cage ::sarcasm:: ) However, after actually watching the film I was pleasantly surprised that Proyas used Cage for what he's good for. Being a kind of weak, pathetic, disconnected weirdo...and not the dual-pistol wielding action hero of which he gets cast for WAY too often. Heck, Proyas even capitalized on all that cranial real estate and cast him as an MIT professor, giving way to a legitimate excuse as to why he has such a freakishly large forehead. Score one Proyas.

The film's actual flaws rear their heads in the form of cookie cutter suspense and then the studio blowing their HUGE CGI NUT all over the last 10-15 minutes of the film. was like watching a really drawn out bukkake scene that you got tricked into watching on some friends computer. Or Goatse...or both on a dual monitor display. In 3d. This film actually had me interested and engaged on pure suspense alone with very little going on in the special effects department aside from one very tastefully done airplane crash. That's impressive for a sci-fi movie to do anymore. Why go and waste it by whipping out proverbial CG-Johnson to compete in some weird dick measuring contest with Roland Emmerich?

Also, let's talk about this music for a second. Marco Beltrami teams back up with Proyas from his work on I, Robot for this ridiculously tense string & horn fest. Don't get me wrong, a proper suspense score can really set the mood for a suspenseful thriller. Bernard Herrmann's work with Alfred Hitchcock is probably the most classic example of what some strings can really add to an already suspenseful film. You can NOT, however, rely on a score to add all the suspense to fairly mundane scenes. The music in this film was so constantly tense you'd think that a space alien was about jump through the floor in damn near every scene. Having a beer and watching the news is not that thrilling, please do not score it as such.

With all that said, this movie was telling a pretty decent story, albeit a fairly predictable one, especially with Proyas at the helm. (He's a nut for pasty other-worldy things controlling our fate) I'd actually advise checking this movie out if you don't have anything else to do and want a fairly competent suspense/thriller that isn't another freaking government and/or super spy centric romp. Sci-fi has had a really dry spell as of late, and this wasn't entirely a bad addition to the genre. Kind of an "The Arrival" meets "The Number 23" as a squeal to "The Da Vinci Code" that wishes it were "Pi". Ugh, now I feel like Dennis Miller.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Score Selection: Leprechaun (1993)

Leprechaun (1993)
by Kevin Kiner

Howdy Folks!

'Tis the day o' green beer, stupid hats, clovers, pinches and potatoes. In light of today's festivities I felt we needed a special score selection for today. This Warwick Davis classic features the music of Kevin Kiner who creates a Irish tinged horror score that, while not the most entertaining, fits the film just right. If you've never had the pleasure of sitting down and watching Jennifer Aniston thwart the evil plans of a sadistic, green suited Warwick Davis...then hit the video store right now. It's completely ridiculous, but just entertaining enough to spawn FIVE sequels. If anything it's completely worth it just to hear all the bad puns and limericks about murder...oh and because in a few scenes Warwick runs his little heart out. Ever seen a little person run?'s great. In a completely PC way of course.

DOWNLOAD "Leprechaun Main Theme" by Kevin Kiner via yousendit
DOWNLOAD "Clover's End" by Kevin Kiner via yousendit

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lost But Not Forgotten: Sixty Million Dollar Man (1995)

Howdy Folks,

With all the semi-recent buzz about Stephen Chow directing then not directing but still maybe co-starring in the new Green Hornet film, I figured we'd take a moment to look at one of Chow's little obscure gems. I think it was a smart move for Chow to jump the directorial ship. Sure, Seth Rogen will probably get tons of people in the seats on name sake alone, but now that they've got Michel Gondry on board to tissue paper/cardboard cut out/fag it up direct the film, Chow will get some much needed US exposure, but I know he probably wouldn't get the creative control he would want for it.

But more about THIS movie. Sixty Million Dollar Man is everything you'd expect out of a Chow-flavored comedy romp. Chock full campy special effects, over the top facial expressions, & toilet humor (literally), this film is teaches you some valuable life lessons and has an old lady taking a dump in Chow's mouth all at the same time. Granted he didn't write or direct this one, but it still is very much Chow.

Pick up this out of print gem on DVD from my pal the Negative Cutter

Monday, March 09, 2009

Saturday Score Selection #21 : The Adventures of Captain Future (1978)

The Adventures of
Captain Future
by Christian Bruhn (1978)

Howdy Folks,

This weeks score selection was one I had been sitting on a while. It's the German version of the score to the Japanese television show "The Adventures of Captain Future". Based on stories by Ed Hamilton, this show was a small hit in France. This score is all about some interstellar disco very similar to the tunes you might find in the far more successful "Galaxy Express 999" but I find myself enjoying these tracks far more. So put on your best disco helmet and prepare to ride that rocket all the way to Uranus.

DOWNLOAD "Captain Future" by Christian Bruhn via Yousendit
DOWNLOAD "Hurra, wir fliegen" by Christian Bruhn via Yousendit

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lost But Not Forgotten: Matinee (1993)

Matinee (1993)
dir. Joe Dante

Joe Dante, creator of some of my favorite movies (The 'burbs, Gremilins), made this little under the radar gym back in '93. It's a damn shame this movie is out of print. It got the DVD treatment in 2001 very briefly then vanished completely. Kind of like Dante's career after the 1998 film Small Soldiers. This movie features John Goodman embodying so much of what I miss when I go to the theater anymore. It really captures the true meaning of theater experience, and really tugs on my dreams of wanting to open a independent movie house. Not like those megasprawl movie-plexes that only show the mega hype garbage. One day, damn you...

Anyway, you're lucky my pal the Negative Cutter has your back, and you can pick this little tasty treat up on the cheap over at his website.

ps-I'm working on getting my podcasts back in action real sit tight. Hosting is a pain and a half.