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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Teaser for Annihilation (2018)

Oh wow, I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. It’s the end of September so naturally we’re starting to get teasers of what will be coming early next year (like we’ve already gotten teasers for Black Panther and Ready Player One, for example). Annihilation (2018), directed by Alex Garland, was nowhere NEAR my movie radar until I saw (and then remembered) that Garland also directed Ex Machina (2015), a film that I saw and loved so much that I added it to my dissertation. Take a minute and watch the teaser below:

Annihilation (2018) teaser trailer

I’m not quite sure WHAT all of this is about, but it looks amazing, like in a really good way. And this is all based off a book? I need to read this book, like yesterday!! This is some kind of science fiction film (which is always a good thing), but I can’t figure out if this is taking place on Earth or some other planet. It LOOKS to me like there is some kind of virus (?) or some type of organism that “infects” humans and turns them into plants. This is solely based on what I’ve seen but now I need to find the book and get an idea of this story.

The film releases in February, and I am definitely going to go see it. And after seeing this trailer, I bet you’ll be going to see it too.

Coming up from me will be a soundtrack review for Goodbye Christopher Robin (courtesy of The Krakower Group). Have a good Thursday!

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Thinking about Blade Runner 2049

Well, in just over a week I’ll finally be able to see the sequel to Blade Runner that I’m still not fully convinced should exist (but it does). Everything I’ve seen so far looks intriguing (and I’m so curious to see what Jared Leto’s character is doing), but what worries me is there are still so many ways this film could turn out to be terrible.

For instance, a make or break moment for me is going to be how they resolve the fates of Deckard and Rachael (since their last scene in the Final Cut is abruptly cut off as they get into the elevator to leave). I NEED to know what happened, and if they don’t resolve it to my satisfaction, I’m going to be upset.

Also, I’ve gathered from the trailers that a pretty big twist is coming, and for their sakes I hope it’s worth my time. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but as I said before, I’m still not convinced that this film should exist in the first place (because some films just don’t need sequels). Of course, if this film DOES end up ruining the overall story, I can always ignore it (just like I ignore Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection).

Are you looking forward to Blade Runner 2049? Will you be seeing it next week? Let me know your reasons why or why not in the comments below.

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Ask me Anything!

Since I’ve made it to 400 followers (thanks again, you guys are awesome!), I decided it was time for another round of “ask me anything.” In the comments below, ask me whatever you want (but keep it clean of course) and I will do my best to answer.

Can’t wait to hear your questions, have a good Tuesday!

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Achievement Unlocked: 400 Followers!!

Yes! Yes! YES!! I was teetering on the edge for what felt like an eternity but it has finally happened! Film Music Central has 400 followers and I am over the MOON!! I love reaching these milestones because with each one I feel like I’m that much closer to fulfilling my dream of being a big-time blogger (I mean we all have to start somewhere right?) I could not have gotten nearly this far without all of you wonderful people, so thank you for sticking with the blog, and here’s to the next 100 followers!

As promised, since I reached a new milestone, tomorrow you can “ask me anything” (but keep it clean please) and I will answer 🙂 (I’ll put up a post in the morning announcing as much, just ask your questions in the comments)

Thanks again everyone! 400 followers, WOOHOO!!!!!!

Soundtrack Review: Ben-Hur (1959)

Longtime readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of composer Miklos Rozsa’s film scores. Rozsa (1907-1995) was a titan of film music and his epic score for Ben-Hur (1959) remains a benchmark that few have ever equalled (let alone surpassed).

I am pleased to announce that Tadlow Music is releasing a completely new recording of this 157 minute score on October 3rd, one that will feature previously unrecorded music. The music has been recorded by the City of Prague Philarmonic and is conducted by Nic Raine.

If you haven’t seen the 1959 epic, it is NOTHING like the travesty that came out in 2016 (in fact, forget that movie even exists). The 1959 version of Ben-Hur is still considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, winning a record 11 Academy Awards (a feat that has only been equaled twice and NEVER surpassed) as it tells the story of a Judean prince (played brilliantly by Charlton Heston) whose life is thrown into turmoil at the same time that a strange carpenter begins preaching a new message to the people.

When you listen to this soundtrack, I highly recommend starting with the Overture. While it may seem strange now for a film to have an “overture” like an opera, back in the day it was fairly common for an epic film to start with a musical overture of some kind (there was also intermission music and exit music) that would play as the audience took their seats.

Another track that I absolutely recommend is the “Parade of the Charioteers” (this is usually preceded by a series of fanfares). This is the music that precedes the climactic chariot race (where Ben-Hur and Messala settle their differences once and for all) and is rightly considered one of the greatest sequences ever put on film. Curiously, the race itself has no music, something I’ve talked at length about.

Another track that I must recommend is the music that accompanies the “Lepers!” scene. As I’ve said previously, this scene features some amazing musical work, as Rozsa must convey with music alone that something terrible has happened to Ben-Hur’s mother and sister without the audience actually seeing what it is.

Truthfully, I could recommend this entire soundtrack, as it is a beautiful masterpiece, whose importance to film music cannot be overstated. In fact, parts of the score were used as temporary music for Star Wars (1977) (and it is said you can still hear its influence in certain places). If you want to hear some fantastic music, please pick up this new recording when it comes out in October. My thanks to The Krakower Group for making this information available.

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Soundtrack Review: Teen Wolf (2011-present)

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Teen Wolf is an American television series that airs on MTV (the final season is currently airing). It is loosely based on the 1985 Teen Wolf film and tells the story of Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), a teenager who is bitten by a werewolf and must learn to live with the consequences. The soundtrack is composed by Dino Meneghin, who has worked on the series since its premiere in 2011 (which has really allowed for the musical themes to develop). The soundtrack for Teen Wolf was released on September 15th, so be sure to check it out!

In listening to any television soundtrack, I like to start with the main title. This sets the tone for any series and is usually a good indicator of what you’re going to get (that’s why McCreary’s theme for Constantine is one of my favorites). The main title for Teen Wolf is largely what I expected for a series of this kind: fast-paced, frenetic, a blend of symphonic instruments and electronic sounds, with a firm drum beat as well. I say this is what I expected, but that does not make it a bad thing. This is a show aimed at young adults after all, so the sound is right for that audience.

The next piece I listened to was “Hellhound” and for a few seconds I wondered if the track had been mislabeled. It starts out very soft and quiet, not what you’d expect. And then, out of nowhere, there’s a HUGE crash of drumbeats and you finally have the feeling of something menacing going on. It was still more melodic than I expected for the track title, but I enjoyed listening to it.

Of all the tracks I heard, “Fear Defeated” might be my favorite (with the main title running a close second). The track begins with an eerie sort of sound, followed by a strange clanking noise. I think this might be a mallet dragged over xylophones, or better yet, it may be the xylophone bars themselves clanked together to make a really creepy sound. The music then shifts into a dark and at times triumphant symphonic quality that I really enjoyed listening to. It really felt like the music you might hear in a movie, not a television show.

One thing I’ve taken away from listening to these recent television soundtracks is that the nature of television scoring has really changed from the early years. In some high-quality productions (most notably Game of Thrones), the music is so complex and thematic that it really stands on the same level as film music. But even in smaller (compared to GoT) productions, the music is now more symphonic, more nuanced and I couldn’t be happier. Whether it be television or film, music is often the make or break ingredient in any production.

I hope you enjoyed this short look into the music of Teen Wolf, the soundtrack is available now if you’d like to hear it in full. My thanks to The Krakower Group for making the soundtrack available for review.

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