Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tentacoli (Tentacles) Complete Soundtrack by Stelvio Cipriani Now Available for Pre-Order

Screen Archives released news last week of an upcoming release of Stelvio Cipriani's 1977 score for the Italian horror film Tentacoli.  The album is being produced by the Digitmovies label and is slated for a December release.  I'd always heard about the movie (and how awful it was) yet I've always been intrigued by Italian horror scores.  Looking into the music for this film brought many a pleasant surprise.  This music is just too good for the film.  Thoroughly exciting, catchy and totally 70s, this soundtrack is full of harpsichords and groovy melodies as well as some great electronic music.  Cipriani later used some of the music in his scores for cop movies.  This CD release boasts the complete soundtrack release with 16 minutes of unreleased music as well as bonus demo tracks.  I look forward to eventually purchasing it as it will probably be a great conversation piece at get-togethers.  Pre-order from Screen Archives Entertainment.

Original LP cover.  You really can't go wrong with the varied poster artwork for this film.

Screenings: Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

A few weeks ago I had the immense pleasure of seeing Peter Weir's great cinematic enigma at the International House Philadelphia.  Best of all, it was a 35mm projection.  It was my first ever experience of seeing a classic film presented as such.  The film is as troubling as it is beautiful.  Unsettling as it is hypnotizing.  I found that I took no notice of the evidently well worn print and was immersed into the film.  When the lights went down and I heard the initial crackle of the soundtrack coming on, I knew that I was in a visceral experience, something which I shall always champion in these days where digital consumption of the industry has arrived.  I found myself short of breath during the screening, as the weight of the impenetrable, agonizing mystery on screen seemed very real to me.  By the end of the film, with the heartbreaking second movement from Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto playing I felt something I never quite received from contemporary films and that's a sense of timeless endurance.  This was a unique opportunity which I braved cold and dark streets to experience and am glad to have done so.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Adventures of Sarah Grable The Collector #5

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  This picture is a little belated since I had little time to do it.  Just another typical holiday at the Grable household.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Born Today in 1888: Harpo Marx

My all time favorite comedian.  Harpo (Adolf) Marx is the pure instinct side of the Marx Brothers.  Whether he's chasing the women, demolishing a piano, working some strange, white magic or stopping the show with a wonderful harp solo, he's always a joy for me to watch.
Let's not forget the 'Gookie'!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Born Today in 1940: Terry Gilliam

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite directors and possibly one of the most standout visionaries of his generation.  Known first for being a member of Monty Python, and for doing their surreal animations, he went on to direct classics like Brazil (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989) and The Fisher King (1991).  My personal favorite being Baron Munchausen.  At 71 he's still going strong and I hope he continues to make more fantastic pictures.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Adventures of Sarah Grable The Collector #4

Based on a harrowing, true story of my recent visit to Barnes and Noble...

Joel's Top 50 Cinematic Sirens

With Hollywood being a bigger meat market than ever and the standard of beauty being defined by malnourished, untalented, over-tanned, and decidedly plastic-looking young women, it's really makes me weep for those who are growing up in today's world, without the benefit of a market saturated with beauty AND acting ability.

I swear, in a world with guys who drool over the first classless bimbo that walks down the street and young girls who have such great role models (Yeah, kids, you should totally look up to some show-horse who is under the impression that bipolar disorder is not only contagious from a tattoo of someone who's been dead for 50 years, but also that it makes you evil), I could make a sociopolitical argument about how rereleasing old films could seriously better society and younger generations. Not that it's any better with most of the males in the acting world today. Oh, no! It's just as bad! But I better hop off that train of thought, because that's a whole other tangent just waiting to happen...

Now, these musings are neither here nor there in relation to this article, but they were a catalyst of sorts. You see, I was hanging out with a friend once and he happened to say the words "Megan Fox is SO hawt!". Instead of just punching him in the face (which could have resulted the injury of my friend, probable jail time, and admittedly it would have been kind of an overreaction anyway), I decided to write down the first 50 women I could think of that were more attractive and talented than Megan Fox. Now, this article is not that list exactly, seeing as, after having a few minutes to think it over, my list became far too large to practically fit it into essay format. But I did narrow it down a bit, and here's the best of compilation. Without any further ado, here are my top 50 cinematic sirens...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Born Today in 1906: Louise Brooks

Born today was lovely Louise Brooks.  With that deceivingly innocent smile and the crisp helmet of a haircut, she embodied the 20s era in roles such as Lulu in Pandora's Box (1928).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Guide to Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Soundtrack

UPDATE: La-La Land Records and Sony Music have released the entire, complete score, including many outtakes, sought after alternate versions of the classic main theme and even tests of the blaster beam!  Its all on an outstanding 3-disc set, which can be bought from Screen Archives Entertainment here.

For years I've heard many things about Jerry Goldsmith's score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  It was written in 1979 when he had written another masterful science fiction score for Ridley Scott's Alien.  No doubt the score here is a masterpiece, yet its had an, as yet, unfulfilled history in the soundtrack market.  I want to take the time here to write and make note of the different soundtrack releases as well as pointing out those cues unreleased as of now.  So this is for all you die hard fans of this score:

Born Today in 1922: Kim Hunter

Happy birthday to actress Kim Hunter.  Initially famous for winning the Oscar for best supporting actress for playing Stella opposite Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). She was also in the fantastic A Matter of Life and Death (1946).  However, fans of sci-fi, including myself, remember her first and foremost as Dr. Zira in the original Planet of the Apes (1968).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Revisiting Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

When I was growing up I had a very long introduction to Star Trek.  I recall watching a lot of The Next Generation, I remember the Borg, Data, and the rest of the crew.  I even recall getting many of the MicroMachines versions of the ships, including a life size phaser that opened up to reveal a scene.  I knew little if anything about the original series.  My first introduction to Captain James T. Kirk was not through any of the episodes but through the first movie.

Born Today in 1909: Robert Ryan

Happy Birthday today to Robert Ryan, a great, solid actor from the good old days.  I remember seeing him first as the stern military officer from The Dirty Dozen (1963).  He's also famous for The Wild Bunch (1969), but lesser known for the fun romp Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969) where he played the titular role to great effect.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Star Wars in Question: The Decline of the American Film Industry

Back in the day, 1970s American cinema was ripe with fresh, new talent and great vivaciousness.  There emerged some promising directors (and some amazing beards).  The New American Cinema produced some great films such as Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Easy Rider (1969).  Through most of the 70s, there was an unprecedented creative freedom.  Yet that freedom, being exploited by these new directors, had a drawback. 

Born Today in 1928: Ennio Morricone

Today's the birthday of yet another of my favorite composers, the incomparable Ennio Morricone.  He's scored over 200 films from his most famous The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1968) to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982).  His melodies are among the most beautiful ever written.  For this occasion I'd like to share what has to be my favorite composition of his, from Guns for San Sebastian (1968).


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Forgotten Film Scores: Angel's Egg (1985)

What can one say about the many film scores sought after by the fans, or even still, without many fans to begin with?  One of the most heartbreakingly beautiful of these to be neglected is that for Mamoru Oshii's 1985 animated film Tenshi no Tamago (or Angel's Egg).  Recommended to me by a friend, I saw this film earlier this year and it was quite an unsettling experience (full review to come).  Full of Oshii's own meditations on faith and Christianity, Angel's Egg has no shortage of enigmas and ambiguity.  Adding to the aching mystery of the world in the film is music by Japanese composer Yoshihiro Kanno.  From the beginning, the choir from another world enters from the void and fills our ears with a melancholy longing as the full string elegy comes in.  The main theme is very much classical in nature and very much Baroque at times (a harpsichord is even present).  Other pieces in the film are more avante garde (reminiscent of Ligeti) with the strange use of chimes and the piano chords which quickly submerge from beautiful to atonal.  In this way, the score plays out very much like musical quicksand, one may think the score will keep itself grounded is sanity but its only about to play tricks on you.  A CD was released in Japan but is most likely out of print, however, as I always say, a diligent search can yield wonders.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Born Today in 1914: Jonathan Harris

Today's the birthday of one of my favorite actors.  Jonathan Harris, famous for being the vindictive and devious Dr. Zachary Smith in Irwin Allen's Lost In Space (a childhood favorite of mine).  Among fans he is also known for Space Academy and as the toy cleaner in Toy Story 2.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Silence of the Lambs (1990)

About a year ago, I spied the Criterion edition of Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs for 5 bucks. Seeing as it was an out of print edition, that price was very agreeable and I bought it. After it arrived, I unwrapped it, put it on my shelf, and there it sat for a full year. After fathomless badgering from Alex and additional urges from friends to see it, I finally broke down.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Born Today in 1933: John Barry

One of my all time favorite film composers and one of the all time greats.  John Barry composed some of the most memorable film music ever for films such as Dances with Wolves, The Ipcress File and not to mention, a good portion of the Bond franchise.  I was quite sad when he passed early last year, however he left behind more than enough amazing music.  My personal favorite Barry score has and always will be the atmospheric music for The Black Hole (1979).


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On Your Mark (1996)

I'm finally back to writing after a brief hiatus.  Today I wanted to talk about a personal favorite animated short film, which I always return to time and again.  On Your Mark is an animated music video based on a song by Japanese pop singers Chage & Aska.  It was produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by none other than Hayao Miyazaki.