Author Archives: Film Music Central

About Film Music Central

I'm a 28 year old graduate student and I've had a lifelong obsession with film music, cartoon music, just about any kind of music!

New trailer for Black Panther (2018)

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New Black Panther Trailer (2018)

To the delight of movie-goers everywhere, Marvel released a new trailer for Black Panther (2018) today and…wow!! The more I see, the more I definitely want to see this movie when it comes out next year.

I love the visual look of this film, and how Wakanda is this advanced civilization hidden from the world, yet it still retains elements from Africa’s tribal past, it’s all just so…beautiful and wonderful. The cast looks amazing, and you just know Andy Serkis is going to be AWESOME too.

Let me know what you thought of the trailer in the comments below. I’m really sorry those soundtrack reviews haven’t come yet, I’m working on getting my schedule back on track now that my sinus infection (aka the reason I didn’t write much of anything last week) is finally taken care of. I promise those reviews ARE coming. Have a good Monday!

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The new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer is here and OMG what is even happening??

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer #2

It’s finally here! For six LONG months, the Star Wars fandom has been kept waiting for a new, full-length trailer for the upcoming 8th installment in the Star Wars saga.* And last night, it finally arrived! We really should be careful what we wish for, because we got everything we asked for and then some, including more questions than answers!

I’m just going to dive right in and get to the part everyone wants to talk about: WHAT ON EARTH is happening at the end? Because it looks like Rey is talking to Kylo and saying “I need someone (you, Kylo) to tell me my place in all this” and the (seeming) reverse shot has Kylo extending his hand. Now, before we all freak out with “OMG Rey is going to the Dark Side!!”, I do need to point out that this IS a trailer, and trailers are known to splice together footage in ways that can be misleading. It may turn out that Rey isn’t talking to Kylo at all, she could just as easily be talking to Luke (or someone else, who knows?). But then again, it is VERY possible that what we see is exactly what happens and Rey and Kylo are forming a (temporary?) alliance. What I can say for sure is that when the screen went black I nearly screamed at my television because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Now then, back to the rest of the trailer. It was awesome to hear Snoke speak. I’m fairly convinced his words are aimed at Kylo, but as someone pointed out, he could be speaking to Rey as well. And then there’s Kylo’s moment, where he says “The past, kill it if you have to. It is the only way to be what you were meant to become.” The footage of Ren flying in his TIE Interceptor is great (clearly he’s inherited his father and grandfather’s piloting skills, though he’d probably only acknowledge the latter). But as he’s saying this line, the footage of him flying in his colossal space battle is intercut with Leia in her ship, and the way the scene is cut implies that Kylo has located her through the Force and is locked on, his finger on the trigger with the means to kill his mother. And while this too freaked me out, I couldn’t help but notice that Kylo seemed deeply conflicted about the idea (he noticeably swallows like he’s thinking “can I really kill my mother too?”) I don’t personally think Kylo is going to kill Leia; it’s been stated before that Carrie Fisher’s part in the film was NOT changed in the slightest due to her untimely death, and since we know she was supposed to figure BIG in Episode IX, I think that at the very least she will be injured, but not dead (I’m very interested to see how they resolve this in Episode IX).

Based on something Daisy Ridley said during Star Wars Celebration (about how you shouldn’t meet your heroes because they can disappoint you), I was not completely surprised at Luke’s dialogue towards Rey. While the first trailer implied that Luke was training Rey, THIS trailer (to me) implies that after he begins training, he realizes just how powerful Rey actually is and this scares him, to the point that I think he’s going to refuse to train her any further. As he says:

“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then…it does now.”

Given that this line is intercut with Luke’s mechanical hand clawing up through some wreckage before another shot of (what is surely) his Jedi temple burning to the ground, I have to believe that Luke is talking about Kylo Ren, and how he felt his nephew’s raw power and didn’t take it seriously enough at the time. And speaking of power, I love the shot where Rey’s Force meditation cracks the stone around her and Luke’s jaw nearly smacks the ground in shock. I think I’m going to love seeing Luke and Rey onscreen together.

One of the moments that scared me the most is Snoke growling “Fulfill your destiny” and the camera shows us Rey screaming in pain (with Snoke visible in the background). Which begs the question “How, when and WHY is Rey in the clutches of Snoke?” Did she attempt to infiltrate somewhere and get caught? Did she just get captured outright in battle? I can’t wait to find out what’s going on.

The other big moment I want to talk about is when Luke says (presumably to Rey): “This is not going to go the way you think…” That line is loaded with so many layers of meaning. For one, he could just be talking about her training like “What you think is going to happen, won’t happen.” Or, maybe Rey becomes convinced that she can save Kylo from the dark side and Luke is telling her that story won’t go the way she thinks it will. But there’s also a deeper level of meaning that’s directed to US, the audience. We’ve developed all these ideas about how the Star Wars saga will ultimately go, and this could be a subtle way of Rian Johnson telling us that a bombshell twist is coming, and the way we think the story is going to go (i.e. the typical redemption arc for Kylo, Luke or someone) isn’t going to happen at all. Then again I could just be overthinking it, but you never know these days…

Other thoughts:

Where is General Hux? We’ve yet to see him in either the first teaser trailer or this one.

I can’t be the only one who freaked out when Finn confronted Captain Phasma and they started fighting. That is going to be EPIC and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

That Porg is so cute!!! I bet he becomes Chewbacca’s sidekick thingy.

I want to know the context of the moment where Leia is standing by this huge mechanical doorway (in her big cloak outfit looking sad), the long shot is one of my favorites in the trailer.

What is up with the Millennium Falcon flying through what appear to be giant red crystals? Is that the interior of that one planet with the red dust (where the new AT-M6 walkers are seen)?

Listen carefully to the music in the first part of the trailer, the Imperial March is playing in the bass line. Does it mean anything? We’re not sure to be honest…

Thankfully, there is only just over two months to go until all of our questions are (hopefully) answered. I’m happy to report that I’ve secured my ticket and the final countdown has officially begun. Now, what did YOU think about the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Are you freaking out too? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

There will be a lot of soundtrack reviews coming this week, I have plenty of catching up to do. Until next time, have a good Tuesday! (And may the Force be with you).

*Technically Rogue One isn’t part of the saga since it’s a standalone anthology film.

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New Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer drops TONIGHT!

Hey everyone, sorry I disappeared like that last week. Yours truly was ambushed by a not-so-friendly neighborhood flu virus and I’m only just now feeling better. And just in time, because the moment we’ve been waiting close to SIX MONTHS for is finally here! A new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is FINALLY premiering TONIGHT during Monday Night Football. And what’s more, tickets for the movie will go on sale immediately afterward.

I can’t wait to see more details about this highly anticipated film; as soon as that trailer drops I will begin analyzing every piece and letting you know what I think about it.

A soundtrack review of American Made is still coming, along with several other soundtracks (I have a bit of a backlog at present, so things will be hectic for a while). And of course I will be continuing my song-by-song review of Moana (most likely this will resume tomorrow).

I’ve missed life in the blogosphere and it is good to be back! Hope everyone has a good Monday!

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Moana “Where You Are” (2016)

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Considering that I’m a lifelong Disney nerd, I’ve been pretty terrible at catching most of their recent films. I still haven’t seen Tangled (2010, The Princess and the Frog (2009) nor have I seen Frozen (2013) (shocking I know). But when I saw the previews for Moana, I was determined that at the very least I would see THIS one, and boy oh boy, I’m glad I did.

Moana is the first Polynesian Disney Princess and the youngest Disney Princess since Snow White. She is also the first Disney Princess to have no romantic sub-plot in her film whatsoever (which is fine with me).

Moana “Where You Are” (2016)

From the moment I first watched this film in theaters, I fell in love with the soundtrack, which features songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (you know, of Hamilton fame) among others. And the first big song in the film is “Where You Are” which establishes daily life on the island of Motunui. Moana is (at the time) the toddler daughter of Chief Tui and Sina, and in a surreal encounter with the living presence of the ocean, is chosen to someday return the stolen heart of Te Fiti. Unaware of this, her well-meaning parents determine to do their best to raise Moana in such a way that she’ll never want to leave the island. This is the subject of “Where You Are.”

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“Consider the coconut…” One of my favorite lines in the song

In this song, Tui and the others describe how the island provides everything they need for life: coconuts, fish from the lagoon, palm fronds to weave baskets and other materials, and “no one leaves.” The tone of the song is so happy that you almost don’t realize at first that the sentiment of no one EVER leaving is repeated multiple times. But Moana DOES want to leave, or at least, she wants to explore the ocean. But time and time again, her parents are there to head her off and push her back to the island’s interior, where, as she grows into a teenager, she is prepared to take her place as a young chief on the island.

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Moana doesn’t seem particularly thrilled with this, but then she has an encounter with Grandmother Tala (Tui’s mother), who loves the ocean as much as Moana does, and together the two dance like the waves.

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As time passes, Moana begins to finally accept that, while she does love the ocean, she can be happy on Motunui, she doesn’t have to leave, everything she needs is right here “where you are.” And you almost believe her, except for the side glances she still sends over to where Grandmother Tala is still dancing.

I still believe that Moana is one of the few Disney Princesses who is mostly content to remain in their situation for the good of the family (contrast her attitude by the end of “Where You Are” with, say, Mulan, Ariel or Belle). And maybe if things had stayed in the status quo, she really would have been happy. But of course, this is a Disney movie, things NEVER stay in the status quo for very long.

I feel like I haven’t done a Disney series in ages, so I’m happy to finally be starting up again with Moana. I hope you enjoyed reading about (and listening to) “Where You Are,” there is plenty more to come.

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Coming up this week: Soundtrack review of American Made (2017)

Trailer for Coco (2017)

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Coco Trailer (2017)

I know I am so far behind in talking about this upcoming film, but at least there’s still over a month to go before Coco, the latest Pixar film, is released. I’ve seen several trailers and I was intrigued from the very start. The film is based on the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead (where people believe that for one night the spirits of the departed can cross back to the Land of the Living).

In Coco, 12 year old Miguel is confused as to why his family doesn’t permit anyone to play music. This has been the way of things ever since his great-great grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz (the most famous musician in all Mexico) up and vanished one day, never to be seen or heard from again. In an attempt to find out what happened, Miguel inexplicably finds himself transported to the literal Land of the Dead, where he sets off to find Ernesto, but there’s a catch (and it’s a doozy): if Miguel does not return to the Land of the Living by sunrise, he will turn into a skeleton and remain in the Land of the Dead (so basically he will die).

This movie looks beautiful!! The animation is amazing, it’s colorful and the story definitely has piqued my interest. I will definitely be seeing it when it comes out later next month. Will you be going to see Coco? Let me know in the comments below! This week I will be starting a series on the music of Moana (2016).

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Soundtrack Review: Flatliners (2017)

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Just this weekend, Flatliners premiered in movie theaters and was promptly pronounced DOA. The film is a remake of the 1990 film of the same name and it follows five medical students who decide to find out if there is a life after death by “flatlining” (stopping their hearts) for one minute and then being brought back with a defibrillator. While they do indeed find evidence of an afterlife, they also bring unexpected consequences back with them.

Even though this new Flatliners is turning out to be a dud, I thought it would still be interesting to look at the soundtrack which was composed by the 2 time Emmy nominated composer Nathan Barr (for his work on The Americans and Hemlock Grove).

I started with the “Main Title” which, not surprisingly, reminded me very strongly of a fluctuating heartbeat with the heavy drumbeat mixed in with some minimal electronic music. Considering this film centers around people deliberately stopping their hearts, it makes perfect sense to reference heartbeats in the music.

Another track I checked out was “Stop My Heart.” Oddly (at least to me), this track came across as having a very Eastern type of sound, which I found I really liked. I’m not sure if this track covers the moments leading up to the heart beings stopped or what she saw while she was dead, but I thought it was a good piece of music.

And even as I wrote that last part I discovered I was wrong because “Courtney’s Flatline” just took my breath away. This track HAS to cover what she saw during her near-death experience, it is far too triumphant and wonder-filled to be about anything else. There are soaring trumpets, strings, clearly she is seeing something amazing (and I say that without having seen the film). And then, something interesting happens: the music begins to turn “weird.” Given that this is a semi-horror film where something cool turns out to have terrifying consequences, this is probably the part where Courtney sees something scary or her vision turns dark (or something of this nature). This is definitely one of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack (which makes it a shame that the film isn’t doing well, good music is often buried when a film does poorly).

And just to keep things even, I then had to listen to “Marlo’s Flatline” to see if it differed from “Courtney’s Flatline” and if so, how? Well, it’s similar AND different at the same time. The same “weird” music from “Courtney’s Flatline” reappears, somewhat quicker in tempo, but the main difference is that the “triumphant” music from “Courtney’s Flatline” is nowhere to be heard. Clearly Marlo’s experience is darker than Courtney’s (which makes sense, that’s how films like this typically go).

There is definitely some good music in this soundtrack, so if you get the chance, please listen to the soundtrack if you get the chance. Nathan Barr has put in some good tracks here and I really enjoyed listening to them (especially “Courtney’s Flatline.”)

I hope you enjoyed this look into the soundtrack for Flatliners. If you watch the film, let me know what you thought about it (and the music). My thanks to The Krakower Group for making this soundtrack available for review.

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Soundtrack Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

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I grew up loving A.A. Milne’s stories about Winnie the Pooh and his best friend Christopher Robin. In fact, I remember being delighted to learn that Christopher Robin had been a real person (he passed away in 1996). So when I heard that Goodbye Christopher Robin would be looking at the story of how the Winnie the Pooh stories were made, and the consequences for the Milne family, I was immediately interested.

The soundtrack for this film will be released on CD on October 13th and was composed by Carter Burwell (he’s also worked on Twilight, The Bourne Identity and Anomalisa, among others). And I have to say, the soundtrack for Goodbye Christopher Robin has been absolutely delightful to listen to. Let me highlight a few of my favorites for you:

First there was “Tree of Memory”, a beautiful track, with primarily string instruments. It was very soothing, very much what you would expect from a film about the origins of Winnie the Pooh. At the same time, I couldn’t help but notice a minor tone begin to creep in towards the end, which might be hinting at the tension that arises in the Milne family as the fame of the Winnie the Pooh stories brings a LOT of attention their way (the real Christopher Robin eventually grew tired of being associated with those books as he grew older).

“Toys and Stars” was another favorite. It starts with a soft guitar ostinato (repeating melody) that is joined by a flute and a clarinet. It feels like music for a lullaby, and by the end of the track all the instruments come together in this perfect harmony.

“Balloons” is a whimsical track that is very short (only fifty seconds in length) and entirely strings. The melody jumps and skips and then it will flow, and it was very fun to listen to.

The last track I will highlight is “Into the Forest” and this might be my favorite of the bunch. It would be wrong to call it “dark” but it isn’t “happy” either. It begins with an extremely light air of tension that slowly grows as the track goes on. I would love to know the context of this piece as it is very interesting to listen to. If I had to take a guess, since it’s titled “Into the Forest” I almost wonder if someone (maybe Christopher Robin) is lost in the woods? Anything is possible at this point.

This is just a sneak peek into the overall soundtrack, everything I listened to sounded amazing. I definitely recommend picking up this soundtrack when it is released. I hope you enjoyed reading about the music for Goodbye Christopher Robin. My thanks to The Krakower Group for making this soundtrack available for review.

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