New soundtrack reviews coming!

Hey everyone! There’s something cool coming to Film Music Central: more soundtrack reviews are on the way! First up will be reviews for the soundtracks for Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes. I’m also looking to have my review for Atomic Blonde out this week 🙂

Been really busy with dissertation writing, but thanks for sticking with me and the blog.

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones: an epiphany!

I’m literally vibrating with excitement right now, I realized something today that I should have noticed ages ago, and maybe I’m the last one to make the connection, but I want to talk about it anyway.

So one of the big questions of the series has been who will be the “three heads of the dragon?” This is based on a line that says “The dragon must have three heads” and implies that Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion must have separate riders. Dany was obviously one from the start ever since her dragons were born. Now that Jon’s Targaryen heritage is known (to the audience at least), he’s sure to be the second one, but who is the third? A leading theory implies Tyrion (based on the idea that Aerys, Dany’s father, had his way with Tywin’s wife). But I’m wondering now if the answer hasn’t been under our noses this entire time. What about Gendry?

Yes, I said Gendry. I made the connection about an hour ago as I was reading through the trivia for “Eastwatch.” In it, the authors made mention of the fact that Gendry is actually a cousin to Dany and Jon via his Targaryen ancestor. Considering Robert Baratheon died all the way back in season one, it completely slipped my mind that Robert was part Targaryen, in fact he was a second cousin to Rhaegar due to the fact that his grandmother was Princess Rhaelle Targaryen (a daughter to Aegon V). Being part Targaryen is part of what gave Robert the throne after the Rebellion was over (besides the fact that he killed Rhaegar and Aerys had been killed by Jaime Lannister), since he was related by blood to the royal family, he already had some (distant) claim to the Iron Throne.

The point is, Gendry is part-Targaryen, distantly to be sure, but maybe it’s enough. And keeping this in mind, doesn’t it seem striking that we have THREE known Targaryen relatives (Dany, Jon and Gendry) now? Maybe I’m stretching a bit too far, but at least we know for sure that Gendry is related, Tyrion is only pure conjecture at this point.

That’s my little epiphany, not sure if it’ll bear out, but it seems promising. What do you think? Could Gendry be the third head of the dragon?

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RIP Haruo Nakajima (1929-2017)

If you’ve seen any of the first 12 Godzilla films, then you saw Haruo Nakajima without ever seeing his face. Nakajima was the man inside the suit and brought Godzilla to life. He also portrayed Rodan, Moguera, Varan, Mothra in larval form, Baragon, King Kong and Gaira. Many considered him to be the best suit actor in the history of the Godzilla franchise. He also had a small part in Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, among other films.

Nakajima displayed an amazing talent for bringing the kaiju to life, these are performances that will be remembered for all time. I haven’t seen many of the Godzilla films outside of the original, but I remember being spellbound while watching the king of monsters go on the rampage. Even though I KNEW it was a man in a rubber suit, it still felt so real.

Rest in peace, Godzilla won’t feel quite the same without you.

RIP Glen Campbell (1936-2017)

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News broke a few days ago that legendary singer and songwriter Glen Campbell had passed away after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. It’s sad to lose such a great talent, but the good news is he’s not suffering any longer (Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease).

Rock-A-Doodle “Sun Do Shine” (1991)

Of course my knowledge of Campbell comes from his appearance in the 1991 animated film Rock-A-Doodle where he voices Chanticleer the rooster. It wasn’t until years later that I learned about his career as a singer. He also hosted a variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour from 1969 to 1972 and released over 70 albums. Of those, 12 went gold, 4 platinum and one double-platinum. He won four Grammy Awards and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 (also the year he made his final televised appearance, he’d revealed his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s the year before).

Rest in peace sir, your amazing voice is already missed.

 

Thinking about Game of Thrones S7 E4 “The Spoils of War”: Tell me they didn’t just do THAT!

Note: The review for Atomic Blonde IS coming, I promise

Warning: The following is a rant and also has spoilers for the end of “The Spoils of War”

If you know anything about Game of Thrones then you are fully aware of how “The Spoils of War” ended…after seeing his forces almost completely wiped out by the Dothraki and Drogon, Jaime Lannister, former Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Kingslayer, Kinslayer and the father of the late Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen, grabs a lance and makes a desperate charge for Daenerys, who has landed to pull a scorpion bolt out of Drogon’s shoulder. Tyrion, who is watching from afar, proclaims the obvious: that is brother is a “fucking idiot” and can only watch as Jaime gets closer and closer, only to have his route blocked by Drogon’s jaws as he prepares to incinerate him on the spot. But wait, Jaime is saved by Bronn at the last possible second!! Or WAS he? The very last shot before the screen goes black is that of Jaime sinking to the bottom of the lake, face slack.

Tell me they did not just kill Jaime freaking Lannister by having him drown in a lake weighed down by his own armor? Tell me they didn’t just do that! I know (and most of you know) that there is still a healthy chance that Jaime is going to turn up in the next episode alive and (mostly) well, but let’s face it, until we see him on the screen, there is equally a good chance that he’s dead. I mean this is the same show that killed the Sand Snakes in almost one fell swoop (I know no one really liked them, but the point still stands), Olenna Tyrell, not to mention every other shocking death that’s ever occurred (*cough* Red Wedding *cough*)

The point I’m trying to make is, even though Jaime dying NOW would wreck most of our theories for how Cersei dies, there’s also a twisted way in which his death makes sense. As unhinged as Cersei is now, and in spite of the lack of emotion she shows, how do you think she’d react if she learned that her beloved twin (and in her mind her last surviving family) is dead? It would BREAK her, even more than the walk of atonement did, even more than Joffrey’s death did.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong. I’m praying that at some point in episode 5 we’ll see Jaime Lannister sitting somewhere looking like a drowned rat and Bronn complaining about having to save his ass once again. Of course, if Jaime IS alive, then the question is, is he able to return to King’s Landing or is he a prisoner of Daenerys? I’m kind of leaning toward the latter, even though there’s a more than reasonable chance that Dany will make Jaime dragon food the moment she finds out who he is.

I just really don’t want Jaime to be dead, not now (or ever though I somehow doubt he lives to the end). After everything he’s been through, good and bad (and getting your hand chopped off is pretty damn bad), to go out by drowning in a lake is…rather anti-climatic, don’t you think?

One last note: if he IS dead? I’m going on an epic tirade about the injustice of it all.

This concludes my rant.

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The Masque of the Red Death: “The Dance of Death” (1964)

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“The Dance of Death”

I came across Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death completely by accident several years ago when I was browsing through Netflix for something interesting to watch. While I generally don’t like horror, I do like Vincent Price very much, so I figured a film with Price in it couldn’t be THAT bad, so I gave it a try. The film is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name and tells the story of Prince Prospero (Price), a Satanist who invites several dozen nobles and their wives to stay in his castle while the Red Death ravages the countryside. He promises that as long as they stay inside the castle they are safe, but in reality Prospero knows that everyone is doomed…except for him of course. As he explains to a terrified Francesca (played by Jane Asher, she is a peasant girl that Prospero kidnapped at the start of the film), he (Prospero) has made a deal with Satan himself: in return for delivering all of these souls to Hell via the Red Death, not only will Prospero be spared from the plague, but a high seat in Hell is reserved for him (Prospero has previously denied the existence of God and Heaven and therefore believes that ruling in Hell is the best thing to hope for).

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From left to right: Prospero, Red Death and Francesca

For the film’s final ball scene, Prospero had commanded that nobody was to wear red (as it would be in bad taste). But, unknown to everyone, the living symbol of the Red Death has slipped into the castle and his presence lures Prospero into his Black Room. The Prince mistakenly believes that he is meeting with an ambassador of Satan who has come to “reward” him for his services (a claim the Red Death does not deny until Francesca is safely out of the castle where her lover Gino is waiting for her). As Prospero and the Red Death come back to the dancers, Death announces “It’s time for a new dance to begin…the Dance of Death!”

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Upon these words, the scene of mirthful dancing and partying is changed into a danse macabre. One by one, each pair of dancers becomes coated in red “blood” (the symbol of infection with Red Death) and begin a halting, staggering ballet. It’s never been quite clear to me if they’re already dead or not, but it is an unforgettable scene. I draw this moment to your attention because of the haunting melody that begins with the first transformation. As the camera slides up and down the figure of the first pair, a sad woodwind melody begins. It continues at a leisurely pace as Prospero and Death walk among them (Prospero is amused by all of it). But once Francesca is sent away, Death finally reveals that the Prince is very mistaken in his beliefs as he informs Prospero that “Death has no master.” When Prospero protests that “there is no God (because Satan “killed” him)” Death replies “He (Satan) does not rule alone. And your pact with him will not save you.” Prospero finally reaches out to see the face underneath the mask only to find…his own. As Death had earlier told him “There  is no face of Death, until the moment of your own death.” Seeing his own face reveals that it is Prospero’s time to die, a fate that the Prince tries to flee. And once he starts to run, the leisurely melody turns into an almost frantic march as the dancers swarm Prospero, looks of rage on their bloody faces. And at every opening…there is Death waiting with open arms. Finally, in a lumbering climax, all of the dancers fall dead on the floor, all but Prospero….and Death. Terrified, Prospero flees to the Black Room and locks the door, but Death is already inside. With the Prince cornered, Death delivers one of the most haunting lines I have ever heard: “Why should you be afraid to die? Your soul has been dead for a long time.” And with one touch…Prospero is dead.

This scene remains my favorite of the film, and if you haven’t seen it before, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

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Disturbing Don Bluth #2: The Secret of NIMH: Dragon the (Demon) Cat

Part of the reason it took me so long to get started on this film is I had a difficult time deciding where to start. In fairness, the entire film could be considered one long disturbing moment. But since I had to start somewhere, I decided to go with something easy: Dragon, the unholy possessed demon cat owned by Farmer FitzGibbons.

The Secret of NIMH: Dragon’s first appearance (1982)

Dragon is the first antagonist introduced to the story, and the cat’s entrance is…memorable to say the least. In context, Mrs. Brisby is on her way home after receiving some medicine from Mr. Ages (also an escapee from NIMH, but she doesn’t know that yet) when she comes across a crazy crow (Dom DeLuise) tangled up in some yarn that he was trying to bring back to his nest. Being a nice mouse, Mrs. Brisby decides to help him get free, but when Jeremy (that’s the crow) starts singing about his future “Ms. Right”, she admonishes him to be quiet because “there’s a cat nearby.” And if you haven’t seen this movie before, you might be forgiven for thinking “Oh, it’s a cat, what’s so scary about a cat?”

Take a look at the picture below, and know that Don Bluth can turn ANYTHING into a disturbing terror (also observe Jeremy’s wide-eyed look of terror as he realizes he’s nose-to-nose with a cat):

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Yes, THAT is a cat, but he sure doesn’t look like one does he? Here’s a slightly better view:

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*points up* THIS is a CAT?!?

Dragon is a fat, seemingly mangy farm cat, blind in one eye (that’s the weird blue one, the yellow is his normal eye), and he has a vicious streak a mile wide. What really makes Dragon disturbing besides his appearance? He doesn’t even meow, when he first goes to attack Jeremy, he ROARS like some strange monster!!

This scene (like so many others) messed me up as a kid. It scared me because I’d see Dragon creeping closer and poor Jeremy is just oblivious and the tension build-up is almost unbearable.

I also have to give credit to Jerry Goldsmith’s incredible score (his first for an animated film) for helping to make this scene even more terrifying and disturbing, especially in the build-up to Jeremy coming face to face with Dragon.

While Dragon does appear later on in the film, this is his most menacing appearance by far. But this is nothing compared to other disturbing characters in this story (I’m not sure if I’ll cover The Great Owl next or start in on the rats, Jenner and Brutus are both getting their own sections).

Let me know your thoughts on Dragon, did he scare you when you were younger? Did he disturb you? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

See also:

Disturbing Don Bluth #1: The Secret of NIMH (Overview and Trivia)

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