Saturday, August 16, 2014
In the wake of a disaster that changed the world, the growing and genetically evolving apes find themselves at a critical point with the human race.
Accurate continuation of the sage with great set pieces and effects, but the story drags along without suspense till the predictable finale finally gets started.
The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them.
Heart-wrenching drama with the two male leads giving full force to their characters, on the verge of going over the top.
Halliwell*: "Over-sentimenalized treatment of a fascinating subject, too insistent on leaving its audience feeling good."
Maltin***1/2: "Powerfully affecting true-life story...Williams is superb as the doctor, and De Niro is his match as a patient who awakens from a 30-year coma to deal with life as an adult for the first time."
Rarely Heard: Arnold Schönberg - Begleitungsmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene, Op. 34 (Accompaniment to a Film-Scene)
Arnold Schönberg is, of course, famous (and infamous) for developing his serial twelve-tone technique of composition and founding the Second Viennese School of composers who all utilized the technique. His music was considered 'degenerate' in the Thrid Reich, so he emigrated to the U.S.A in 1934 and he lived in Los Angeles till his death in 1951. As Hollywood was so near he actually considered composing film music and he soon got the opportunity to discuss the option with MGM's Irving Thalberg. Thalberg admired Schönberg's pre twelve-tone composition Verklärte Nacht and said he'd like to hear him compose such "lovely music" for the movies. Arnold Schönberg interrupted him and exclained: "I don't write 'lovely' music"!
He never got the job. Neverthless, strangely enough, the twelve-tone technique would become the prevalent style of Hollywood film music, but was hardly appreciated by a larger audience anywhere else. Although, he was never to write a soundtrack, Schönberg did compose an imaginary one - for a scene in a film that existed only in his mind.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Thursday, August 14, 2014
All-female British band whose D.I.Y. approach and experimental sound defied categorization, influencing everything from indie rock to twee pop. One of the more unusual bands to rise from the British punk explosion of the 1970s, the Raincoats were post-punk before punk's first act had fully played out; they had little interest in the speed or velocity of the Clash or the Sex Pistols, instead embracing a more open and dynamic approach which incorporated purposefully chaotic arrangements that made the members' lack of instrumental experience a virtue rather than a drawback. (Allmusic.com)
In the 1970s I used the German book Rocklexikon (Rock Encyclopedia) as my reference to rock music. They had a list of 100 albums they considered essential for any serious record collection, and I loosely bought those recommendations. Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle from 1968 was one of them. At the time I was quite disappointed and questioned the idea that this is a rock album. Decades later I can appreciate his weird work. Allmusic.com: "In a field where the term "genius" is handed out freely, Van Dyke Parks is the real article. As a session musician, composer, arranger, lyricist, and singer, he's contributed significantly to several decades' worth of inimitable masterpieces credited to other artists, as well as generating two or three masterpieces of his own".
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I've always admired the film composer Danny Elfman, but I missed out on his New Wave band Oingo Boingo founded first as a performance art group in the early 70s. Obviously that was mistake, this song reminds me very much of the Talking Heads and XTC. Towards the end of the 1980s, the band began shifting to a more guitar-oriented rock sound, and away from the use of horns and synthesizers. The band retired after a sold-out farewell concert on Halloween 1995.