My Thoughts on: Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

*note: this review was originally published for subscribers on Patreon

Oh good lord, where to even start with this movie. I’ve had the better part of a week to think about my reaction to this movie and honestly I’m still struggling to put it into words. So if this review seems a bit more rambling than usual, I apologize for that. It’s just…Everything Everywhere All at Once isn’t your usual movie. It’s…different.

Really different.

Let’s start at the beginning and see if I can make sense of things from there. The plot of Everything Everywhere All at Once, in a nutshell, focuses on a woman named Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), whose laundromat is being audited by the IRS. But when she goes to the IRS office to have the audit done, a series of weird events start happening. Suddenly her husband isn’t her husband, he’s a different version of her husband from another universe. In fact, we find out there are a lot of parallel realities out there in the multiverse. It’s one of the things that makes this movie so dizzying at times, but in the best way possible. 

And why is Evelyn being contacted by an alternate reality? Well, I’ll keep it simple to avoid spoilers, but the gist is that an overwhelming evil is taking over reality one universe at a time and this particular version of Evelyn is the only one who can stop it. To do so, Evelyn will have to harness the power of the multiverse, unlocking abilities that her counterparts in other realities know how to do.

That summary above sounds like it might be pretty complete, but I promise you this is just scratching the surface of what the movie is about. The big thing to understand is that watching Everything Everywhere All at Once will seriously shift the way you think about reality, at least it did for me. There are some deep messages in this film about the ultimate meaning of life and what we can/should/choose to do with our time in this universe. 

On a more shallow level, there’s also a very touching story to be found between Evelyn and her father (played to perfection by James Hong) and between Evelyn and her daughter (Stephanie Hsu). The latter especially gives the performance of a lifetime and next to Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn is one of my favorite parts of the movie. Seriously, the acting performances that are put on in this film….to represent so many versions of the same person across multiple realities….that can’t possibly be easy to do and yet it’s made to look so easy! 

Everything Everywhere All at Once is easily one of the best films I’ve seen this year, and in the past few years if I’m honest. I’m certain new details will jump out to me in future rewatches and I highly encourage everyone to go watch this film if you get the chance.

I know this isn’t as long as reviews I usually do, but I feel like if I go too far into this film than I’ll spoil all of it, and really this is a film that can’t be explained, it must be experienced.

See also:

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)

*note: this review was originally published for subscribers on Patreon

*warning: minor spoilers below for Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Of all the surprises of 2020 (the pleasant ones at least), Sonic the Hedgehog was the most unexpected. I went into that movie with very low expectations and was completely blown away. Consequently, with a larger universe being hinted at, I didn’t hesitate to go see Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in theaters.

Picking up sometime after the events of the first film, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 sees the speedy blue hedgehog struggling to make a life in Green Hills with his adoptive family the Wachowskis. Sonic wants to be a hero, but Tom reassures him that the moment his powers are needed will find him eventually. The moment comes when Dr. Robotnik finds his way back to Earth….along with Knuckles the echidna, who has a long-standing grudge of his own against Sonic.

For the most part I enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (though I viewed the film in less than ideal conditions, i.e. a noisy theater). As with the first film, Jim Carrey’s performance as Dr. Robotnik remained one of the best parts, though I think I liked his performance in the first film slightly more than this one. You really get a feel for how power hungry the mad doctor really is as the film goes on. It’s kind of frightening actually, especially when the film reaches the climax. On a related note, I absolutely loved how Stone went right back to fawning over Dr. Robotnik the instant he returned. Stone is that rare example of a henchman whose loyalty never waivers, even when it’s clear the villain does not care about them.

Idris Elba as Knuckles is my next favorite part of the movie. Knuckles is my new favorite character, even more than Sonic and Tails. Knuckles initially seems poised to be just as much as villain as Dr. Robotnik, but it turns out the echidna is far more complex than he first appears. I’m very excited to see what the spin-off series with Knuckles looks like. One thing is for sure, Idris Elba was the perfect casting choice for Knuckles, his voice fits the character perfectly.

Now, all that being said, this movie does have some significant flaws, ones that I could not ignore. While the main story with Sonic trying to beat Robotnik to the Master Emerald is pretty good, the side plot of the Wachowskis attending a wedding is just…well, it’s kinda dumb and it doesn’t really fit all that well with the rest of the story. But, for that matter….parts of Sonic’s story aren’t that good either. The pace of the story is very uneven and the side plot in Siberia….ugh. I feel like this story could’ve been better fleshed out, or more refined. 

At any rate, at least these bad moments don’t overwhelm the good parts of the film. One other good thing I can say about this film is that the animators have definitely nailed the ability to bring the video game characters to life. The animation on Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails all looks fantastic. And having Colleen O’Shaughnessey reprise her role as Tails in the films, well that’s just cool!

The last thing I want to mention is that the mid-credits scene is definitely worth waiting around for. While I didn’t think it was possible for the story of Sonic to grow any larger once Tails and Knuckles were introduced, this scene definitely proved me wrong. It absolutely sets up a plot for the third film, one that I’ll likely end up seeing in theaters too. All I’ll say is, if you know anything about the plots of the Sonic the Hedgehog games, then this mid-credits scene will make you scream!

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is far from the perfect movie, but I did enjoy it. This series has continued to surprise me and I’m looking forward to rewatching this one.

See also:

My Thoughts on: Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Candyman (2021)

*note: this review was originally published for subscribers on Patreon

Candyman is a film that I originally intended to see in theaters last fall, but ultimately didn’t because I was suffering from severe burnout at the time. Even though I received the movie on blu-ray for Christmas, I still found I wasn’t ready to view the movie….until now that is.

Today, I finally sat down and watched Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, a direct sequel to the original 1992 film. While it’s been close to a year since I watched the original film, this one contains enough references to the original film that if you haven’t seen the original or haven’t seen it recently, it doesn’t hurt your experience with this film. I particularly appreciate the role, however small, that Helen Lyle (the protagonist of the original film) plays in the story. While she never appears in the flesh, her presence is very much felt throughout the film.

And what a film! Set in the modern day, the story follows artist Anthony McCoy as he discovers and delves into the legend of Candyman while seeking inspiration for his art. It seems like a great idea at first, but it quickly turns nightmarish for all involved, as it quickly becomes apparent that, even all these years later, Candyman is still very real (and just as deadly as ever).

I love how the story of Candyman is updated to even more better reflect the ongoing turmoil in our country involving racial tension. What was only hinted at in the original film (re: the inequality between communities) is now confronted almost head on in this one. I also like how the story of Candyman is expanded upon, past the original legend that’s cited in the first film. It doesn’t feel shoehorned in the least and in fact it feels like a very natural part of the story, almost an improvement if that makes sense. In fact, based on how the story ends, I’d almost say there’s room for a sequel.

Anthony’s story arc is particularly heartbreaking to watch, even more than Helen’s in the first film (and that’s saying something). Even though Anthony seems to have the best of intentions when investigating the legend of Candyman, it doesn’t take long for the story to corrupt everything it touches, ripping Anthony’s life apart. Though once he becomes aware of certain story details, I feel like Anthony almost becomes resigned to his fate, while I can’t help but think of how Helen resisted almost to the bitter end before finally inserting herself into the narrative on her own terms. Maybe I’m wrong and I’ll decide otherwise upon rewatch, but that’s how I feel after my initial viewing.

Now, no review from me would be complete without mentioning the film’s music. If you’ve seen the original Candyman, then you’re likely aware that film contains a magnificently haunting score from Philip Glass. Well, while the music for this film is composed by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, it’s clear to my ears that he took inspiration from the original score when putting this music together. And to my delight, when I watched the movie’s credits, it looks like the composer directly cited some of Philip Glass in the music too! If I had to choose, I’d say the original Candyman score is a hair better, but that’s really just nitpicking. The music in this film is beautiful and haunting and really helped to drive the horror in the story home.

Also, since it’s been a while since the film came out, I don’t see the harm in openly discussing the fact that Candyman doesn’t physically appear except in reflections for most of the movie. I understand the explanation that this is because Candyman has become weaker over time, but it also reminds me of a scene in the original movie where Helen sees video footage where she was confronted by Candyman, only no one can see him. This reminded me very much of that.

All of this is to say that this new Candyman was very much worth the wait and I enjoyed it immensely. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly encourage you to do so.

See also:

My Thoughts on: Candyman (1992)

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Soundtrack News: ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ Original Soundtrack Available Now

Decca Records have released the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for Downton Abbey: A New Era, scored by composer John Lunn. The soundtrack retains the distinctive sweeping orchestration and title motifs from the Emmy Award-winning series whilst celebrating the story’s entrance to a new decade with 1930s swinging Jazz and embracing the glitz of early cinema.

Scottish composer John Lunn has received two Primetime Emmy Awards and two BAFTA nominations for his scores for Downton Abbey. Classically trained yet contemporary in attitude, he combines a highly intelligent and sensitive approach with a sound that always hits at the emotional heart of a piece. Other television work includes ITV/PBS’s Grantchester, The White Queen and The White Princess, Shetland, The Last Kingdom and To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters.

Of the new soundtrack, Lunn had the following to say:

 “I’ve been working on Downton Abbey now for over ten years, but this is the soundtrack that I’m probably most proud of. It’s been a joyous return to working with the director Simon Curtis, we had previously worked together on Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, and he seems to bring the best out of me. Along with reworking familiar and well-loved themes, the new storylines have opened up a whole new vista for me.”

Downton Abbey: A New Era Tracklist:

1.    A New Era (focus track)
2.    Kinema
3.    Côte D’Azur
4.    Guy
5.    All Aboard
6.    The Handsome Mr. Barber
7.    Crazy Rhythm (incl vocals by CHERISE)
8.    The Gambler
9.    Le Chapeau De Carson
10.  That I Do Remember
11.  First Draft
12.  Am I Blue (incl vocals by CHERISE)
13.  Then You’re In Luck
14.  Violet Mon Adorée
15.  Good News, Bad News
16.  The Last Farewell
17.  Cortege
18.  Next Generation
19.  Downton Abbey – The Suite

Will you be checking out the soundtrack for Downton Abbey: A New Era?

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 

Soundtrack News: Moon Knight Original Series Soundtrack is Available Now

Hollywood Records has released the MOON KNIGHT Original Series Soundtrack – Music by Hesham Nazih from the latest hit Marvel Studios superhero series on Disney+.

Hesham Nazih is an Egyptian composer best known for his distinguished style that interweaves authentic melodies with contemporary music. Nazih has built a 20+ year artistic career and has under his belt more than 40 award-winning soundtracks of blockbuster films that dominated the Egyptian box-office.

The soundtrack features 33 tracks by the Egyptian composer, who infused a signature Egyptian flavor with a more modern and contemporary sound rather than relying on outdated music tropes from the region. Hesham was also touched by the character of Marc Spector, who has to save the world while struggling with his own mental health issues, and used his score to express the human emotions that words cannot.

When Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life, he discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.

TRACK LIST

1. Moon Knight
2. The Village
3. Village Scales
4. Phone and Elevator Blues
5. Chaos Within
6. Full Moon Fight
7. Storage Locker
8. What Suit?
9. Moonlight Fight
10. Fake Passport
11. She Is Here
12. The Sky
13. The Boat
14. Takes the Body
15. Constellation
16. No Suit
17. The Kiss
18. Eye of Horus
19. Welcome Travelers
20. Weight of Hearts
21. The Cave
22. All Your Fault
23. Open the Door
24. Give Her a Call
25. The Inevitable
26. Humble Disciple
27. Befriending Myself
28. Rise and Shine
29. We Need More
30. New Skillsets
31. I’ll Never Stop
32. Meet My Friend
33. Summon the Suit

Will you be checking out the original soundtrack for Moon Knight?

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 

My Thoughts on: Umma (2022)

*note: This review was originally published on Patreon in March

Umma is set in the countryside where Amanda (Sandra Oh) raises her teenage daughter Chris (Fivel Stewart) completely off the grid. Their seemingly idyllic life is turned upside down when the ashes of Amanda’s estranged mother are delivered to the house. You see, Amanda didn’t have the healthiest relationship with her mother and has spent many years living in fear that she will turn into a copy of her. Things become further complicated as Amanda must also come to grips with the fact that her daughter is rapidly growing up and will soon leave home.

I was intrigued by the concept of Umma because my interest in horror as steadily risen over the past year and I was curious to see what kind of horror story this was. The most interesting part of this film is definitely how the story incorporates Korean spiritual beliefs. 

Unfortunately, while intriguing, I feel like the concept wasn’t nearly as developed as it could’ve been. The story has some interesting beats, to be sure, but it either needed more horror or more mother/daughter drama to really make it click, and it’s just not there. I know horror films don’t have to explain everything that happens, but I feel like Umma could have benefited from a bit more explanation as to how and why certain things were happening, particularly the ghost-related parts.

That being said, while the story is underdeveloped, I can respect the story they’re trying to tell. At its core, Umma is attempting to relay a powerful message about breaking generational cycles of abuse. Sadly, it’s just an attempt, because if Umma had fully hit the nail on the head then this would’ve been a really great horror film with a good message at the center. But instead, it’s just a decent film, and lacking in the horror department to boot.

While Umma isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, I can’t in good conscience recommend going to see it. Other horror films can tell this story better, and I recommend going to see them instead. You can safely skip Umma.

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

See also:

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Talking with Composer Jason Graves about ‘The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes’

I recently had the opportunity to speak with composer Jason Graves about his work on The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes, the third game in The Dark Pictures anthology (the previous entries are Little Hope and Man of Medan). His works include (but are far from limited to):  Dead SpaceAlpha ProtocolTomb RaiderThe Order: 1886Until DawnEvolveDungeon Siege and Far Cry Primal.

The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes was released in October 2021 and sees five characters having to make their way out of a subterranean Akkadian temple crawling with vampiric entities.

Enjoy our conversation about House of Ashes below!

As you composed the other games in The Dark Pictures Anthology, how does House of Ashes compare to its predecessors? What served as your inspiration as you created the music for House of Ashes? 

Each game in The Dark Pictures Anthology has its own stand-alone story and characters. House of Ashes takes place in a few different time periods in Iraq. I’m a big fan of the game and its music being as closely linked as possible, so the score for House of Ashes is very “desert-y,” for lack of a better word. I tried to keep things as simple as possible and strip everything back in terms of instrumentation for the different time periods. So things would feel a lot more pure and classic in the Mesopotamian time period and more filled out and complicated for the current 1990s.

I’m really curious about the Akkadian Temple the characters find themselves in. How did you create music to reflect the atmosphere of the temple ruins? How did you come up with the sound for that environment, in other words?

That was actually the base for the entire score – it’s where everything started and how I tied the entire score together. I literally began with the Prologue – the very first scene in the game. I had an idea to use these bending string sounds, like classical strings but moving around a lot more. I own a bunch of string instruments – violins, viola, a cello and a contrabass. So I tried some experiments recording myself playing all the string instruments multiple times, as if I were moving from seat to seat in a classical string section. Only I was playing every part so many different times it would take 20-25 takes of multiple “me’s” to complete a short phrase on all the instruments.

How much access did you have to early builds of the game as you created the music? I know other video game composers I’ve talked to have mentioned playing through early builds of the game and I was wondering if you did anything similar. Were you given any specific directions for what the game’s music needed to sound like?

I worked very closely with Supermassive Games Audio Director Barney Pratt throughout the entire process. We’ve been working together for more than 10 years now. There’s a lot of conversation that happens before anything is actually written and Barney shares everything that Supermassive works on, whether it’s just prototype animation, scripts, storyboards or initial ideas.

I don’t technically play through the game for The Dark Pictures – honestly it’s more because of all the different story and character branches that these games have. It would be a full time job just playing through them! I prefer to have gameplay captures that I loop in the background as I compose. It gives me the best of both worlds – I can hear how the music is working against a specific scene as I compose and also turn the gameplay off if I want to be more thematically focused and concentrate on just the music. 

What kinds of instruments are included in the mix for House of Ashes? Any notable or unusual instruments? Did the pandemic affect the recording process at all?

Most of the score is live and I performed all the instruments myself. There’s a lot of string-based writing in this score that simply couldn’t have been properly reproduced with MIDI. Barney and I floated options of recording professional musicians but honestly, a large part of this score was based around experiments I made while recording myself (x24) and trying different things.

The score definitely would have had a completely different sound if I were to approach “just another live string recording.” Part of that was a result of the pandemic – there simply weren’t musicians or recording studios available at the time. But I would like to think we would have opted for the same option we chose, regardless of the pandemic, just because it felt like that was the direction the score needed to go in.

How much time did you have to score the game? How did composing for House of Ashes compare to other projects you’ve worked on?

It was actually a fairly compressed schedule, for video games, at least. If memory serves, there were about 2 months to compose the entire score. But it was definitely one of the more challenging scores I’ve worked on, mostly because it was essentially three different scores in one, all broken up evenly into thirds.

As soon as I had finished the Prologue, which was the more ancient, Mesopotamia-era version, all with its own very specific instruments and sounds, it was time to write the music for the 1990’s-era Iraq, which was a completely different set of instruments and sounds. And as soon as that was completed, it was another completely different direction for the music (story/plot spoilers aside). The final third of the score needed to sound different and unique yet somehow related to the music that preceded it.

Usually I can “hit my stride” about halfway through the production of a score, when the unique combination of sounds and textures have solidified and I find my musical footing. Everything comes much easier then – all the creative hard work has been completed! But House of Ashes was a bit of a different beast. As soon as I started getting comfortable it was time to change everything up and rewrite the script. But, honestly, I think that kind of push is the very reason the score sounds the way it does. 

I wanted to give a big thank you to Jason Graves for taking the time to speak with me about The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes. I hope you enjoyed the interview!

See also:

Composer Interviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Soundtrack News: ‘Morbius’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Available Now

Now available from Madison Gate Records comes MORBIUS Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Music by Jon Ekstrand from the latest blockbuster Marvel/Sony superhero film. The soundtrack features 23 tracks by Ekstrand, who researched sounds that bats make and pushed his orchestra to replicate those sounds using instruments throughout the score.

Jon Ekstrand is a Stockholm based Swedish film composer and artist. He began his career under the mentorship of acclaimed sound designer Owe Svensson, where he sharpened his skills at understanding the power of sound and its dramaturgic importance in helping a story realize its potential. In 1998, whilst attending Stockholm Film School, Ekstrand met Director Daniel Espinosa, in which the two formed a tight creative relationship which continues to this day.

Due to the vampiric nature of the infamous Marvel antihero, the Swedish composer was also inspired by classic horror scores by the likes of John Carpenter, leaning in to the character’s monstrous nature rather than creating your expected superhero score.

Directed by Ekstrand’s longtime collaborator Daniel Espinosa, Morbius follows one of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters with Oscar® winner Jared Leto transforming into the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. While at first it seems to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed. Will good override evil – or will Morbius succumb to his mysterious new urges?

TRACK LIST

1. Dr. Michael Morbius

2. Cerro de la Muerte

3. Orphanage

4. A Cure Is Possible

5. Injection

6. Michael Wakes Up

7. The Need for Blood

8. Superhuman

9. Hospital Hunt

10. Research

11. Main Suspect

12. Stairway Escape

13. Milo Leaves

14. Through the Wall

15. Subway Fight

16. Subway Flight

17. Michael Needs a Lab

18. House Search

19. Rooftop Flight

20. Night Hunt

21. Birds of Prey

22. The Rise of Morbius

23. Morbius Flight

You can pick up the soundtrack for Morbius now.

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 

Soundtrack News: The Official Soundtrack for ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is Available Now

A24 has released the long-awaited, massive score by iconoclastic, experimental trio Son Lux (Rafiq Bhatia, Ian Chang, Ryan Lott) for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s critically-acclaimed Everything Everywhere All At Once.

The 49-track album demonstrates the band’s limitless capability, featuring striking collaborations with “indie-rock paragon” (Rolling Stone) Mitski, the legendary David Byrne, a duet with the one and only Randy Newman, and a featured performance with Moses Sumney’s “magnificently eerie” (NYT) vocals. 

Of the album, Son Lux had the following to say:

 “Even though we knew from the moment Daniels asked us to score this film that it would push us in new and unexpected directions, we couldn’t have predicted how much we’d learn from the project. What emerged was our most ambitious undertaking to date, over two years in the making, resulting in two hours of new music. It was an opportunity for us to play, to infuse humor into our work, and to experiment from and beyond our various musical backgrounds.”

Everything Everywhere All At Once is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action-adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman who can’t seem to finish her taxes. The exhilarating, multi-verse fever dream stars Michell Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., James Hong and Jamie Lee Curtis and is in theaters now.

TRACK LIST

  1. This Is A Life (Extended) ft. Mitski, David Byrne
  2. Wang Family Portrait
  3. Very Busy
  4. Vvvery Busy
  5. What Are You Thinking About?
  6. What a Fast Elevator!
  7. Switch Shoes to the Wrong Feet
  8. Nothing Could Possibly Matter More
  9. A Choice
  10. Chapstick
  11. The Fanny Pack
  12. Jobu Tupaki
  13. The Alphaverse
  14. The Mission ft. Nina Moffitt
  15. Deirdre Fight
  16. Waymond Cries
  17. I Love You Kung Fu
  18. My Life Without You 
  19. The Story of Jobu ft. Nina Moffitt
  20. Rendezvous at the Premiere
  21. It’s you… Juju Toobootie ft. Chris Pattishall, Nina Moffitt
  22. Everything Bagel
  23. You’re Living Your Worst You
  24. The Boxcutter
  25. Send Every Available Jumper
  26. Opera Fight ft. Surrija, yMusic
  27. Dog Fight 
  28. Drummer Fight
  29. Plug Fight
  30. Pinky Fight
  31. I Have Been Watching ft. Rob Moose, Nina Moffitt
  32. Somewhere Out There in All That Noise
  33. Jobu Sees All
  34. The Temple
  35. Evelyn Everywhere
  36. Evelyn All At Once
  37. This Is How I Fight
  38. In Another Life
  39. It All Just Goes Away
  40. Clair de Lune (Pied au Piano) ft. Chris Pattishall
  41. Come Recover (Empathy Fight)
  42. Your Day Will Come (Empathy Fight)
  43. Let Me Go
  44. Specks Of Time
  45. This Is A Life ft. Mitski, David Byrne 
  46. Fence ft. Moses Sumney
  47. Now We’re Cookin’ ft. Randy Newman
  48. Sucked Into A Bagel ft. Stephanie Hsu
  49. I Love You

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 

My Thoughts on: The Batman (2022)

*note: this review was originally published on Patreon last month

In a word, The Batman is amazing! I was initially leery about the film running nearly three hours in length. Even though I’ve sat through films that long before (Infinity War and Endgame come to mind), there’s no getting around the fact that three hours is a LONG time to sit and watch a movie. Thankfully, I’m pleased to report The Batman doesn’t really drag at all. Three hours is really a perfect length for the story Matt Reeves is setting out to tell. In fact it reminded me almost of a play or an opera at times, because if you pay attention you can tell where each act ends and the next one begins.

Robert Pattinson makes for an incredible Batman AND Bruce Wayne. I absolutely love that this isn’t the playboy billionaire that we’ve seen in most every incarnation of Batman that’s ever made it to the screen. This version of Bruce Wayne feels so much more….I think the word is realistic? If you went through the trauma of losing your parents, you could easily withdraw into yourself the way Bruce does. Speaking of realistic, I also like how “real” all of Batman’s gadgets feel. They’re not sleek and shiny like some of the past iterations. These feel like they were cobbled together by someone learning as they go, which would make sense given that this is stated to be Batman’s second year of operation in Gotham. It’s not the “bare bones” you might expect from the very beginning, nor is it a well established operation like other films have implied, and I like that.

If I have one nitpick it’s that I wanted to see more of Andy Serkis as Alfred. I really like how Serkis plays the character, and I especially like the stern-but-loving relationship that clearly exists between Alfred and Bruce throughout the film. Hopefully the sequel will let us see more of Alfred. I also really, really liked Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon. I hadn’t realized before going in that he’d been cast for the part but my god he is PERFECT for this role. Wright perfectly balances between trusting Batman and being wary because he doesn’t know who Batman really is. That’s a relationship I really hope gets explored further in the sequel.

Speaking of relationships, I love love LOVED the chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz. The Batman/Catwoman relationship is one of my favorites in comics and it was done so well here. 

Back to the story itself for a minute, I couldn’t understand at first why a few people were comparing The Batman to a horror film…and then I saw the Riddler for the first time in the movie and I suddenly understood. I think we could definitely make the argument that The Batman is a superhero horror film. Certainly many of the segments involving the Riddler felt like they came right out of the depths of the horror genre (there’s one scene that felt like it came right out of SAW) and that’s not a bad thing. Given the twisted villains that can and have appeared in Batman stories in the past, it’s a wonder Batman films don’t dip into horror more often. I still prefer the bowler hat-wearing Riddler from the 1960s TV show, but I did enjoy how he was presented in this film as a part-brilliant/part insane serial killer. 

What really made the Riddler unsettling for me is that, underneath the madness…he has a point. The most twisted thing about this film is that the Riddler is actually trying to do a *good* thing he’s just chosen the most twisted and sadistic way possible to do it, which I suppose makes the Riddler pure Machiavellian (the ends justify the means). That is….that’s how it feels right up until the last twist of the last act. I won’t say more than that, except to mention that I haven’t made up my mind if Reeves included one twist too many in this film, I’m going to need to watch a few more times and see if if plays out the same for me in repeat viewings.

I sincerely hope we see more of Colin Farrell’s Penguin in future films (I know there’s already a series greenlit about the character). If you didn’t know the casting, you’d never know it was Colin Farrell under all that makeup. I hated this look when it was first revealed, but seeing it in context, in the film, it works. The Penguin isn’t quite the suave criminal he’s appeared as in other films or shows, but he clearly has aspirations to being such and that helped the character grow on me throughout the film.

One final character I have to highlight and that’s John Turturro as Carmine Falcone. Turturro’s Falcone drips malice from the moment you meet him, but it’s a subtle kind. You can almost be suckered in to believing that Falcone isn’t that bad a guy, despite being a crime lord, until the last act lays everything bare. 

All of this is to say that The Batman is well worth the three hours you spend in the theaters and is easily one of the best, if not THE best Batman movies ever made (and I do not say that lightly).

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

See also:

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook