Talking with Dara Taylor about ‘The Invitation’ (2022)

Earlier this month I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with composer Dara Taylor about her work on The Invitation, a horror film that puts a modern twist on the vampire story. Taylor studied composition at Cornell independently with Zachary Wadsworth and Steven Stucky. In 2009, she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Music and Psychology. Taylor then received a Masters of Music from New York University in 2011 where she studied Film Music Composition with Mark Suozzo.

I hope you enjoy our interview!

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How did you get connected with the film?

I heard about this film, and I sent in a reel and then I had a really great meeting with Jessica Thompson, the director. And I was able to read the script. It seemed like so much fun to work on the film and with the whole team. So that’s how that happened.

When you read the script, what did you think of the story? Because it’s a bit of a twist on a vampire story, isn’t it?

I think it was a fresh take with the twist that you didn’t necessarily see coming from the script standpoint. So, yeah, it was a really fun ride to read through.

As you were putting together the music, then, knowing that this was a vampire story, were you influenced by any previous vampire stories or films?

I tried not to look too hard into it, because we wanted to start fresh with the visuals and seeing the graphic nature of it, I know we wanted to try and find a way to speak to that Gothic nature but finding ways to modernize it.

How did you go about modernizing it.

Part of it was processing parts of the orchestra and then also adding these really processed and reversed vocals on top that are at the forefront of the score. And also adding just strange elements from found sounds or synthetics and those sorts of things to make it feel a little less traditional.

So speaking of unusual sounds, is there a theremin in the mix somewhere? I was listening to the score earlier and I swear I hear a theremin.

There is no theremin. Actually, there are some other synthetic sounds, there are a lot of vocals and processed vocals that make that sound strange. It depends on which scene or which track you mean, but there are things that are just whistles that by the end of it had this high screaming nature.

That is so awesome because it didn’t feel like vocals.

Yeah, it depends on where it is. It might be a combination of vocals and strings. but yeah, [it’s about] trying to find things that give you that eerie feeling without necessarily going straight to what might be in a traditional horror film.

What people have all known about this music is how it combines the modern sound and the romantic and gothic style. Was that always the general idea going into this? Or did that come about over time?

Um, no, I think it was always the purpose. It’s the purpose in the script, as well as trying to find smooth transitions from romance to horror to the Gothic feel. So it was definitely a thing that we planned on at the beginning and worked to find that balance of a modern gothic romance, or score.

So, are there are other themes then for each of the characters?

Yeah, so there are some themes: Evie has a theme that starts off with a soft acoustic guitar and grows more strident and bold as she does. There’s a theme for Walt, which also acts as a theme for the manor in general. And their mission for having her there.

Then there are a few other motifs. There’s this screaming reverse vocal thing with a lot of distortion in it, which are three vocalists that we recorded here in Los Angeles, and they represent the three brides. So [it’s] this beckoning siren call to Evie, but then there’s also a taunting theme that’s related to that as they toy with her as she’s going through the manor.

Is there any one theme that you would say is the most important or are they all equally important?

I think they all have their importance. But we probably hear the Carfax manor theme the most often and it’s full form. I think the other ones are often interwoven in, but sometimes they’re a little more variations of the theme. Just because they develop the most. Because Evie is the one developing the most during this.

So, I’ve been wanting to ask this, there’s jump scare moments in this movie, right? How does one go about writing music for those. I’ve always been curious how that’s done.

It’s seeing what works best for each moment and whether that’s leading up to the jump scare. A lot of times it’s being pretty violent. And then having both the music and the end of the scare come in, either at the same time, or having the music a half a fraction of a second after the scare, just because light and sound hit you at different times. So it’s jarring for both visuals and sound.

So when you do it, do you watch the film play out and just mark the spot?

Yeah, and sometimes there’s a little trial and error there. Moving it around a few frames at a time to see, okay, it feels like it’s giving it away a little bit here. Let’s try a few frames later. Or oh, now it feels too late. So there’s still a bit of a little trial and error in that regard.

So you said mentioned there’s a whole mix of instruments in this film, synthetic and whatnot. What specifically was used, because you said you modulated the orchestra.

There’s a lot of vocals, a lot of either found sounds or things that are reminiscent of found sounds. There are a lot of bells visually, like the service bells. It’s finding ways to have ethereal ringing bell sounds that make you think of bells to echo back having some sounds that are almost croaky. Because the vampires, they climb on the walls and the ceilings lizard-like. There are instances where we have things that sound like scraping tile, and which speaks to Evie and her love of ceramics. Yeah, so just a bunch of elements that are put together.

Could you define what found sounds are?

So [found sounds] are sounds you’d hear in nature. Or, for example, the sound of you scraping your fingernail, or a tile, or something like that, something that feels very organic and using that for more of a musical purpose.

So not traditional instruments stuff.

Yeah, exactly.

It almost sounds like what foley artists use?

Yeah, so it’s using some of those things, but using them musically, and using the rhythm of something or using the salient note that you might hear from that, and using that in a musical way.

How did working on The Invitation compare with other projects you’ve worked on?

I feel very fortunate to have a lot of variety lately in projects. I mean, [it was] definitely a very different tone than some of the more recent animation or comedy work [I’ve done]. But I love the freedom of finding strange sounds and having that sandbox to play around in. But something that’s very similar between, say, comedy and horror is how important timing is. And choosing moments that should have no music or when music should come in after the scare or after the joke. So that lead up to it. So like fine tuning those timings for the purpose of storytelling, it’s similar between a lot of genres.

You talk about timing, is there any one specific moment where the timing was absolutely crucial?

Actually, the moment when they reveal where the bride is, I suppose that would be it. But there’s not really a big reveal musically. I think we wanted to more feel the dread. But yeah, there are moments, other than the obvious jump scare moments, in terms of tone, and choosing when to change the tone from eerie and unsettling to dark. Like there’s a theme in the beginning where she was watching all these housekeepers being given their assignments and one thing that Jessica Thompson the director and I discussed where we should be eerie and unsettling, because she doesn’t know what’s going on. And then once she leaves the scene, then we can go back into the darker Gothic nature of everything that’s happening, but not to tip our hand too soon and really stay with [Evie] and her discovery.

So musically, you’re dropping hints to the audience, but not to Evie, as it were.

Yeah, yeah. In a way.

That’s cool. Where in the filming process, were they when you came in to do things?

So I was brought on right before they started shooting. And that’s when I started working on a suite of thematic ideas, just throwing everything at the table to see what was working and what wasn’t working. And that was a thing that Jessica [Thompson] specifically requested during production to be able to percolate these thoughts as early as possible.

So the director wanted you in there as early as possible, even before they’d shot anything.

Yeah. So we can all get on the same page.

I’d have to imagine that was very helpful for the process to have so much collaboration.

Yeah, it was great. And working with Jessica [Thompson] was a really phenomenal experience.

Did she give you a lot of feedback then?

Yeah, and it really gave me the license to just think outside of the box. And think of strange instruments and make it a little weird and unsettling.

Since you came in so early, how much time did you have for the actual scoring process?

I guess, from the time where we spotted so they finished, they finished a director’s cut. And we walked through where the music should come in and out and what the tone of that music should be. To the final delivering for the final mix, I’d say there’s probably two and a half months or so. But before then there was a couple of months where it was just working and thinking of ideas and all of that while they were in their editing process.

So I’m curious that as you were working these themes together, what theme, what part ended up coming first?

I started with Evie and Walt’s themes and the melodic structure of those, but then made some slight changes to the instrumentation and how they developed once I was able to see the picture.

Cool. So Evie and Walt are at the center of the whole thing.

Yeah, and then everything else came from from watching it. And the visuals really give you so much.

So now that the movie is out and people can go see it is there any musical detail you’re hoping the audience notices as they’re watching?

In the very beginning theme there’s a scene where one of the previous brides sees the grand piano and the piano wires. And she has to find a specific use for that. And when we see that I play around a lot with the prepared piano, which is like a piano, but things are done to the keys and to the inside to make strange sounds. That’s when I first introduced this instrumentation. And then, and in other instances of like escape and fighting back, I bring back these kinds of prepared piano sounds to harken back to that moment.

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I hope you enjoyed my interview with Dara Taylor about The Invitation. I want to thank Dara for taking the time to speak with me about this film.

See also:

Composer Interviews

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The Princess and the Frog “Friends on the Other Side” (2009)

Well, it’s been a long time since I did one of these, but I thought it was high time I got back to blogging about the amazing songs one can find in Disney’s animated films. And I decided to start with a film that I really should have covered several years ago back when the blog is new and that’s The Princess and the Frog. This 2009 film is an update of the classic tale of a prince turned into a frog, all set in the city of New Orleans.

There were a number of songs I could’ve started with in this film, but I decided to start with my favorite: “Friends on the Other Side.” This is the song that introduces Dr. Facilier, the film’s villain, to the story and sets Naveen’s dilemma (being turned into a frog) into motion. This song has striking similarities to “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid, in that Dr. Facilier is offering Naveen a deal in exchange for what the prince thinks he wants and he uses his magical voodoo powers to make it happen.

Watch for yourself:

Keith David absolutely kills it as Dr. Facilier. Like any good Disney villain, Dr. Facilier oozes charm and menace in equal proportions and this song shows off both sides. Also, like any classic villain, Dr. Facilier cannot STAND to be disrespected, which is made pointedly clear in the beginning of the song:

Don’t you disrespect me, little man
Don’t you derogate or deride
You’re in my world now, not your world
And I got friends on the other side


(He’s got friends on the other side)


That’s an echo gentlemen.
Just a little something we have here in Louisiana
A little parlor trick. Don’t worry.

Sit down at my table
Put your minds at ease
If you relax it’ll enable me to do
Anything I please

I can read your future
I can change it ’round some, too
I’ll look deep into your heart and soul
(You do have a soul, don’t you, Lawrence?)
Make your wildest dreams come true

I got voodoo, I got hoodoo,
I got things I ain’t even tried
And I got friends on the other side


(He’s got friends on the other side)

Now while Dr. Facilier might initially come off as a charlatan (indeed Lawrence accuses him of being as much right before the song starts), what’s coming up with the cards implies that there really is some magic at work here. Note how Facilier twists the images to match everything Naveen seemingly wants (namely, money, which he’s currently cut off from until he gets married).


The cards, the cards, the cards will tell
The past, the present, and the future as well
The cards, the cards, just take three
Take a little trip into your future with me


Are you ready


Now you, young man, are from across the sea
You come from two long lines of royalty
I’m a royal myself, on my mother’s side
Your lifestyle’s high, but your funds are low
You need to marry a lil’ hunny whose daddy got dough
Mom and Dad cut you off, huh playboy?


Eh, sad but true.

And if the similarity to “Poor Unfortunate Souls” wasn’t already clear, that last line above from Facilier to Naveen about the latter being cut off from his money is another callback, because it reminds me very much of the comments Ursula made during her song (Remember her “Pathetic” line?)


Now y’all gotta get hitched but hitchin’ ties you down
You just wanna be free, hop from place to place
But freedom takes green

It’s the green, it’s the green
It’s the green you need
And when I looked into your future
It’s the green that I seen

But it’s this last verse below that really makes things interesting. Dr. Facilier is pulling double duty in this song, as not only is he offering a deal to Naveen, he’s also offering one to Lawrence, Naveen’s butler. Pay close attention to Lawrence’s reactions in this last verse, as it quickly becomes clear that the butler isn’t nearly as loyal as he looks (more like Edgar from The Aristocats than Grimsby from The Little Mermaid if you get my drift).

On you little man, I don’t want to waste much time
You’ve been pushed ’round all your life
You’ve been pushed ’round by your mother
And your sister and your brother.
And if you was married you’d be pushed around by your wife
But in your future, for you I see
Is exactly the man you always wanted to be

Shake my hand, c’mon on boys
Won’t you shake a poor sinner’s hand
(both Naveen and Lawrence shake Facilier’s hands)
Yes…
Are you ready?


(Are you ready?)

One last note, I find it really cool how Dr. Facilier transforms his face to do his voodoo magic. It’s a simple transition but oh so effective. Plus, it makes Facililer ten times scarier. Also, I can’t help but notice the fear on poor Naveen’s face once he’s tied up by the magical snakes, he realizes far too late that he’s in way over his head.


Are you ready?
Transformation Central
(Transformation Central)


Reformation Central
Reformation central!


Transmogrification Central

Naveen:
(As Facilier’s Talisman bites him) Ow!


Can you feel it?

You’re changing, you’re changing,
You’re changing all right
I hope you’re satisfied
But if you ain’t, don’t blame me
You can blame my friends on the other side
Ha, ha, ha


(You got what you wanted)
(But you lost what you had)
(Ohh…Hush!)

It’s really interesting how the film holds off from showing the result of Naveen’s transformation (even though the trailer kind of gives it away). Lawrence’s reaction is really telling: even though he’s basically agreed to betray his master, I don’t think he was expecting THIS. He’s clearly spooked by Facilier’s voodoo and probably wondering something along the lines of “What on EARTH have I gotten myself into??”

And there you have it, my thoughts on “Friends on the Other Side” from The Princess and the Frog. It felt nice to get back to reviewing Disney songs and I can’t wait to do more.

See also:

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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My Thoughts on: Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

I seriously can’t believe I almost didn’t go to see Thor: Love and Thunder in theaters. I meant to see it when it originally came out at the beginning of July, but between work stress and general burnout….well, let’s just say that didn’t happen. And were it any other movie I probably would have just let it appear on Disney+ and checked it out then.

HOWEVER.

I couldn’t let Thor: Love and Thunder pass me by like that because this movie adapts one of my favorite comic book stories, or rather it combines two of my favorite comic stories together. Namely, this movie adapts the story of Gorr the God Butcher and Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor (iconic helmet and all). The instant it was revealed that Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor would be appearing in the MCU, this movie had my full and undivided attention. I am a huge fan of the Mighty Thor and the opportunity to see this character realized on screen was an opportunity I just couldn’t miss. It was worth it too, because Natalie Portman absolutely KILLS it both as Dr. Jane Foster and as the Mighty Thor. I only wish that we could see more of this Thor on screen, but given that the multiverse is now a thing in the MCU…who knows? I won’t complain if we get to see the Mighty Thor again.

Then there’s Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher. Actually let me back up for a moment: the bulk of this movie adapts the God Butcher storyline where Gorr is on a mad quest to kill all the gods and I do mean ALL of them, spurred on after he loses his only daughter and discovers his own gods don’t care about him. The film only loosely adapts Gorr’s story to the film, with some notable changes being made (particularly with Gorr’s ultimate fate) but I found that I liked these changes as the film fully explains them and makes it work in the context of the story. They’re not changing things on a whim, and in the end I found Gorr’s character arc to be immensely satisfying.

But before we got to that end….my god….Gorr has to be one of the most terrifying characters ever encountered in the MCU to date. I thought Wanda in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was the scariest thing ever…nope. It’s close but I have to give the nod to Gorr, he’s downright terrifying. Especially when he’s got that Necrosword in hand. The way he handles it….it just made my hair stand up on end. I’m so glad Christian Bale was convinced to take this role, I can’t imagine anyone doing it better than he did.

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see more of the Guardians of the Galaxy than what we got, but I take comfort in the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is on the way. And who knows, maybe Vol. 3 will pick up where their appearance in Love and Thunder leaves off.

Battle sequences with Gorr aside, I think my favorite part of Thor: Love and Thunder is Omnipotence City where all the gods of the universe can be found. I was a little unsure about Russell Crowe playing Zeus, but within sixty seconds of Zeus opening his mouth I completely understood and approved of the casting because you quickly learn everything you need to know about this version of the god (none of it good). Now, this is a minor spoiler if you still haven’t seen it, but I’m very excited by the notion that Crowe’s Zeus will be appearing in future MCU films, at least I hope that’s what that one post-credits scene implied. But back to Omnipotence City itself: it was beautifully rendered. It’s like….it’s exactly where you’d imagine all the gods would live if they had a single home to go to, it’s like Mt. Olympus on steroids, etc. The point is, it’s beautiful to look at.

One other quick note: I giggled when the acting troupe from Thor: Ragnarok showed up, acting out a scene from that movie no less. I sincerely hope they continue to be a running gag in future MCU films, not just Thor films either, they’re free to appear in any of them as far as I’m concerned.

And finally, I am thoroughly in love with King Valkyrie. I think this is what will finally push me to go watch Thor: Ragnarok (yes, I know, I’m terrible for not seeing that movie yet), because I know that’s where she first appears and I want to see more of her. Seriously though, Valkyrie is an amazing character and I love pretty much every moment she has in the movie (particularly a few of her moments in Omnipotence City).

I’m not sure where Thor’s story goes from here, but the final credit promised that Thor would return so hopefully sometime soon we’ll see what’s next for the God of Thunder. I really hope that at some point Thor finds out that a version of Loki is still alive, that would be a fun reunion to watch.

Let me know what you think about Thor: Love and Thunder in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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Soundtrack News: ‘Samaritan’ Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Available Now

Lakeshore Records released Samaritan—Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring music by Jed Kurzel and Kevin Kiner, digitally on August 26. The pulsating score merges menacing electronics with dark orchestration to provide an ominous backdrop to the vigilante-themed thriller. Samaritan is an MGM film directed by Julius Avery with a screenplay by Bragi F. Schut and starring Sylvester Stallone. The film premieres exclusively on Prime Video globally starting August 26.

Thirteen-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon “Wanna” Walton) suspects that his mysterious and reclusive neighbor Mr. Smith (Sylvester Stallone) is actually a legend hiding in plain sight. Twenty-five years ago, Granite City’s super-powered vigilante, Samaritan, was reported dead after a fiery warehouse battle with his rival, Nemesis. Most believe Samaritan perished in the fire, but some in the city, like Sam, have hope that he is still alive. With crime on the rise and the city on the brink of chaos, Sam makes it his mission to coax his neighbor out of hiding to save the city from ruin.

Says Kiner:

“I’ve always loved collaborating with other composers and my experience with Jed Kurzel has been one of my favorite associations thus far. I believe you will find an extremely unique unorthodox sound as you listen to the Samaritan soundtrack. This is a goal I always set out to achieve when I am composing, but pulling off a truly fresh vibe and palette is easier said than done. I hope you have as much fun listening as we did working on this rollicking ride!”

Track List

01. Samaritan Vs Nemesis

02. Walking Home

03. Cyrus Arrives

04. Graphite Bombs

05. Sam Rescued

06. Beaten and Delivered

07. Back Scar

08. Heist

09. Wall of Sam

10. Car Hit

11. Nemesis Nightmare

12. The Talk

13. Hostage

14. Samaritan Lives

15. War Path

16. Bad Guy

17. Warehouse Battle

18. Wipe City Dark

19. Cyrus Vs Nemesis

20. We Got This

21. Good and Bad

See also:

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My Thoughts on: The Deer King (2022)

*note: This review was originally published on Patreon

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been a fan of anime for years and will take almost any opportunity I can to see it in theaters when the chance arrives. Having not seen an anime movie in theaters since Belle (way back at the beginning of this year), I leaped at the chance to see The Deer King when my local theater announced it was holding a screening. 

The Deer King is adapted from the Japanese fantasy series of the same name by Nahoko Uehashi and takes place in a fictional realm dominated by the Kingdom of Aquafa and the Empire of Zol, the latter having recently taken over the former. As tensions simmer between the two nations, the dreaded Black Wolf Fever breaks out, killing hundreds and threatening to kill many more if the mystery behind it isn’t solved. One of these mysteries revolves around how Van, a near-legendary fighter who once defended Aquafa, was infected by the fever and didn’t die. Neither did Yuna, a young girl who becomes like a daughter to Van. The answers to these mysteries will change many things for both nations.

Let’s start with the good things about The Deer King. First of all, the film is beautifully animated. The character design and backgrounds are all gorgeous. The Deer King was directed by Masashi Ando who previously worked on such films as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Your Name and the Studio Ghibli influence definitely shows throughout the film. Yuna in particular looks like she leapt straight out of a Miyazaki film (and I mean that in a good way). 

The story of The Deer King is….good, but that’s also where we run into one of the film’s big problems. I couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me at first, but as the story progressed toward the end I felt more and more like we were missing a big chunk of the story. One of the film’s primary antagonists barely gets any screen time, and when he DOES appear it’s built up like this big moment and yet the audience has very little reason to care about this character, not to mention they know next to nothing about him or his motivations. Actually there’s several characters and plot points that this flaw applies to. It’s almost like when they wrote the adaptation of the fantasy series, they left out too much when putting the screenplay together. Put simply: vital exposition is missing and I’m sure a director’s cut with said exposition put back in would improve things greatly.

Also, one other thing that bothered me about The Deer King, as much as I enjoyed it, is that I feel like this film doesn’t quite know what it is. The Black Wolf Fever I mentioned earlier is referred to as both a spiritual curse and a real disease in almost the same breath at times, which was pretty confusing to me. Like, most of the time The Deer King feels like a battle against supernatural forces but then at other times it feels like a medical mystery drama. Both are enjoyable, but the way the movie kept flipping back and forth did it no favors.

However, while the story is flawed in its presentation, I did ultimately enjoy it. There are several good morals in The Deer King about letting go of the past, enjoying found family, and sacrificing for those you love. Basically, I’m willing to overlook the flaws and enjoy the overall whole. If The Deer King is playing near you, I recommend going to check it out, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Let me know what you think about The Deer King in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Crimes of the Future (2022)

Note: this review was originally published on Patreon

From the moment I heard about Crimes of the Future, I knew this was a movie I needed to see. Consider the following if you will: this is a film by David Cronenberg (he who gave us The Fly), it stars Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart, AND it’s in the body horror genre. Put all of that together and I couldn’t possibly stay away from this movie.

And what a movie. David Cronenberg has crafted an amazing story that ultimately led me to question everything I thought I knew about what it means to be human. Although, it does take some time for that picture to become clear. Cronenberg tells the story through several threads that don’t weave together into a single picture until midway through the film. And even then, the ending of the story is still left deliberately ambiguous (though I can take a guess as to what it means, I won’t due to wanting to avoid spoilers).

Let me start at the beginning: Crimes of the Future takes place in what is implied to be the near future, in a time when most humans have ceased to feel any level of pain due to what is implied to be an ongoing evolution in humanity. As a result of no one really feeling pain anymore, increasingly elaborate plastic surgeries have become a fashion trend, and it becomes clear throughout the film that people are going to increasingly greater extremes in order to feel something, anything at all. In the middle of this bizarre and yet frighteningly understandable world is “performance artist” Saul Tenser (Mortensen), whose act consists of having the bizarre organs his body randomly generates cut out by his assistant for an audience.

Woven in with this story is the tragic and seemingly unrelated fate of another character (I’m being deliberately vague because, again, spoilers). But as the story goes on, it becomes clear that it’s all connected, and the implications about where the human species is going is mind-bending. Were I not so much in love with the film as it is, I would almost beg Cronenberg for a follow up on the concept because I want to see more of where he’s going with this.

What really interests me apart from the story itself is the setting. When I read a description of this film and it said it was in the “near future”, I envisioned a world that was slightly sleek and shiny. But instead, Crimes of the Future takes place in a world that literally appears to be falling apart. Analog technology is everywhere, there’s no smart phones that I could see, and everything is dirty and decaying. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost say this story is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The only hint that this is in fact the future is the advanced technology used to perform most of Saul’s “performances.” 

Mortensen is amazing as Saul Tenser and I love the chemistry he has with Léa Seydoux, who plays his fellow performance artist. Watching those two interact is one of my favorite parts of the film. The one thing that did disappoint me though was Kristen Stewart, in that I wanted to see more of her in the film. The way the trailer was set up, I thought we were going to see a lot more of her, though I did enjoy the performance she gave.

Despite minor issues, I thoroughly loved Crimes of the Future. It’s a film that will definitely make you think about what it means to be human and where we as a species are going in the future. Is that future good or bad? I feel like Cronenberg definitely leaves the answer to that question up to us viewers. This was the kind of the film where it’s okay to have a less-than-definite ending. 

That’s all I’ve got for Crimes of the Future (I could say more but I don’t want to spoil the entire plot).

Have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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Soundtrack News: Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & The Internet (Soundtrack From the Netflix Series) is Available Now

 Netflix is excited to announce the release of Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet (Soundtrack From the Netflix Series) with music by composer John Dragonetti. The 21-track album is available now on major digital platforms.

Dragonetti created a unique soundscape using an antique piano, creating interesting percussive sounds, as well as an old metal fan, hitting it to create a reverb. Those sounds were the basis for a lot of the drum tracks in the score. Director Brian Knappenberger gave Dragonetti a lot of creative freedom, allowing him to experiment in new and exciting ways.

“A lot of the music doesn’t sound like your usual documentary score. I got a lot of inspiration from music and bands that I’ve loved over the years that aren’t necessarily film music…channeling psychedelic textures with post punk and 80s British synth music,” says Dragonetti.

Director Brian Knappenberger says of the score, “John Dragonetti’s stunning soundtrack for Web of Make Believe is an explosion of musicality that lands us – poignantly – in the sweet spot of this age of chaotic misinformation. Experimental but familiar, it is a drumbeat for humans searching for truth in the technological whirlwind. And like the high note you barely hear at first but becomes more present, there is hope. After all we are emotional creatures stepping into the void of an uncertain future, but it’s going to be okay.”

From Oscar-winning executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind”), this docuseries helmed by acclaimed director Brian Knappenberger (“The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez”) tells harrowing true stories of the internet age.

Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet (Soundtrack From the Netflix Series)

Tracklisting – 

1. I Am Trying to Forgive (2:52)

2. Cheers From the Bazement (Main Title) (1:59)

3. Gored Tutor (1:49)

4. Mod Chip Scam (2:23)

5. Adelina (3:11)

6. Unanswered Questions (2:13)

7. Floppy Disk (Prelude) (1:24)

8. Floppy Disk (2:19)

9. A Name and a Face (3:34)

10. Loving Yourself (1:58)

11. In the Land of Make Believe (3:15)

12. Before You Die (2:43)

13. No School Today (2:32)

14. Death Index Gold (3:15)

15. Caught in a Metal Fan (2:33)

16. Without Any Consequences (0:50)

17. Pleasant Sadness (2:25)

18. The Lull (1:23)

19. I Remember Waking Up (1:06)

20. Star Chaser (2:24)

21. Burning Castle (2:56)

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Soundtrack News: Summering (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Available Now

Madison Gate Records is excited to announce the release of Summering (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by Drum & Lace. Coinciding with the film’s release, the 23-track album is available today, August 12, on major digital streaming platforms.

The evocative score is a mix of real and synthesized voice, layers of lush synths, plucky and resonant bells, and solo strings and piano. The music perfectly captures the feelings and emotion of the last weekend of summer, as well as supports the timelessness that the movie possesses and puts forth.

Drum & Lace, aka Sofia degli Alessandri-Hultquist, is an artist and composer from Florence, Italy. Her music has been described as being genre-fluid and having a “chameleon-like nature” (A Closer Listen), melding together sampled field recordings, lush layers of synths, chamber instruments and electronic beats. She draws inspiration from film music, music concrete and nature to create textural electronica, often blending unlikely sounds with one another. 

“Creating the score for this film and getting to work with this team was so wonderful and felt so familiar from the start – there was little hesitation on my end as to what I thought a good palette could be to help support the picture. Director James (Ponsoldt), editor Darrin (Navarro), and I seemed on the same page from the start, and the way James talked about the film resonated deeply with me,” said Drum & Lace.

About Summering:

As their last summer before middle school comes to a close, four best friends face the uncertainties of growing up and embark on their biggest adventure yet.

Summering was an Official Sundance Film Festival Selection in 2022.

Summering (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Tracklisting – 

1. Summer Lawns (1:28)

2. Last Weekend of Summer (1:26)

3. End of Summertime Girls (4:32)

4. That Can’t Be Real (0:59)

5. Loose Lips Sink Ships (1:58)

6. Burning Lavender (1:44)

7. You Found Him (2:25)

8. This Is on Us (0:52)

9. Your Colors Are Off (1:00)

10. 100 Feet (0:49)

11. Somebody’s Going to See (2:05)

12. Fine, Pick Him Up (0:52)

13. Laters (1:14)

14. Hands Like Leaves (2:01)

15. Who’s There (1:41)

16. He Had A Family (0:54)

17. The Stuff We Used to Say (1:33)

18. A Séance (3:13)

19. Unexpected Visitor (3:35)

20. Where Have You Been (0:51)

21. You’re a Good One (1:27)

22. Murmurations (2:35)

23. Our Tree (2:50)

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Soundtrack News: Thirteen Lives (Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Available Now

Milan Records is excited to announce the release of the Thirteen Lives (Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by composer Benjamin Wallfisch. This 15-track album is available now, on all major digital platforms and the film is available to stream now exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

Golden Globe, BAFTA, 2x Grammy, Emmy and 5x World Soundtrack Award nominated composer Benjamin Wallfisch has worked on over 80 feature films, collaborating with directors including Ron Howard, Ted Melfi, Andy Muschietti, Christopher Nolan, David F. Sandberg, Leigh Whannell, Gore Verbinski, and Denis Villeneuve. His upcoming projects include Ron Howard’s THIRTEEN LIVES for MGM / Amazon and Andy Muschietti’s THE FLASH for DC / Warner Bros.

Thirteen Lives recounts the incredible true story of the tremendous global effort to rescue a Thai soccer team who become trapped in the Tham Luang cave during an unexpected rainstorm. Faced with insurmountable odds, a team of the world’s most skilled and experienced divers – uniquely able to navigate the maze of flooded, narrow cave tunnels – join with Thai forces and more than 10,000 volunteers to attempt a harrowing rescue of the twelve boys and their coach. With impossibly high stakes and the entire world watching, the group embarks on their most challenging dive yet, showcasing the limitlessness of the human spirit in the process.

Wallfisch spent three months working almost daily with director Ron Howard. Of their work together, Howard said:

“Music has always played a vital role in my films, often times serving as a character itself. It was important to us that the music in Thirteen Lives helped us to further embody the Thai culture and create that key element of suspense. My vision for the score was for it to set a tone that was chilling, while also subtle and distinctive. Ben delivers on all those elements, and his score for the film is remarkable. I’m thrilled for audiences to enjoy the experience of listening to it.”

Wallfisch added: 

“The responsibility of finding a musical analogue for this story of unimaginable heroism, without over-dramatizing or trivializing the true events, and of course incorporating the complex and rich musical heritage of the region, was a unique challenge, and one I couldn’t have done without the incredible collaborative spirit Ron has. An honor of a lifetime.”

Some of the finest classical and folk musicians in Thailand were featured in the score, but Wallfisch also hired cello and piano soloists from the UK, as a way to bring two musical cultures together in the spirit of international collaboration that was so essential to the rescue effort.

The score is also at times very experimental, manipulating instruments to make them sound as if they are being warped under water, and with the percussion of the ticking clock being made from samples of the scraping, tapping, and air escape from oxygen canisters, alongside many other unusual score concepts.

THIRTEEN LIVES (AMAZON ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)

TRACKLISTING – 

1. Thirteen Lives (3:51)

2. Tham Luang (2:36)

3. Rain (2:44)

4. Flood (1:01)

5. Dive (3:50)

6. Navy SEALs (3:33)

7. Oxygen (2:15)

8. Prayer (4:18)

9. Track 9 (4:19)

10. First Customer (1:15)

11. White Umbrella (3:23)

12. Everyone Leaves Today (4:35)

13. All But One (2:05)

14. Reunion (3:16)

15. Soh Long Nan (2:53)

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Soundtrack News: ‘Inu-Oh’ Original Soundtrack Available Now

Milan Records has released the Inu-Oh (Original Soundtrack), an album of music from visionary director Masaaki Yuasa’s latest animated feature about a duo of classical Japanese dance theater performers who take medieval Japan by storm when they begin infusing their traditional performances with a taste of glam-rock. 

Available everywhere now, the album features both instrumental score music and original Japanese vocal tracks written by pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and turntablist Otomo Yoshihide. A consummate artist whose experience includes everything from experimental noise music and improvised jazz to contemporary classical and avant-garde pop, Otomo Yoshihide was well-equipped to capture the anachronistic quality of the film’s music, which ranges from traditional score numbers featuring the classical Japanese biwa to modern rock operettas with vocals by Inu-Oh character voice actors Avu-chan (of QUEEN BEE) and Mirai Moriyama.

ABOUT INU-OH

From visionary director Masaaki Yuasa, hailed by IndieWire as “one of the most creatively unbridled minds in all of modern animation,” comes a revisionist rock opera about a 14th-century superstar whose dance moves take Japan by storm.

Born to an esteemed family, Inu-oh is afflicted with an ancient curse that has left him on the margins of society. When he meets the blind musician Tomona, a young biwa priest haunted by his past, Inu-oh discovers a captivating ability to dance. The pair quickly become business partners and inseparable friends as crowds flock to their electric, larger-than-life concerts. But when those in power threaten to break up the band, Inu-oh and Tomona must dance and sing to uncover the truth behind their creative gifts.

INU-OH (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Birth – Otomo Yoshihide
  2. A Thousand Biwa Players – Otomo Yoshihide
  3. Journey – Otomo Yoshihide
  4. Dengaku – Otomo Yoshihide
  5. Masked Creature – Otomo Yoshihide
  6. Growth – Otomo Yoshihide
  7. Encounter – Otomo Yoshihide
  8. Prayer – Otomo Yoshihide
  9. Divine Sword – Otomo Yoshihide
  10. Soliloquy – Inu-oh (CV: Avu-chan)**
  11. Ghosts of the Heike Clan – Otomo Yoshihide 
  12. INU-OH I – Tomoichi (CV: Mirai Moriyama)**
  13. Burial Mound of Arms – Inu-oh (CV: Avu-chan)**
  14. INU-OH II – Tomoichi (CV: Mirai Moriyama)**
  15. The Whale – Inu-oh (CV: Avu-chan)**
  16. Viewing the Cherry Blossoms – Otomo Yoshihide
  17. Sinister Designs – Otomo Yoshihide
  18. INU-OH III – Tomoari (CV: Mirai Moriyama)**
  19. Dragon Commander – Inu-oh (CV: Avu-chan) & Tomoari (CV: Mirai Moriyama)**
  20. Ending Theme – Otomo Yoshihide

**Denotes vocal track

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