Tag Archives: film

Soundtrack Review: The Invisible Man (2020)

The soundtrack for Universal Pictures’ remake of The Invisible Man is now available digitally and will be available on LP starting March 4th, 2020. Starring Emmy Award winner Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), The Invisible Man is a terrifying modern tale of obsession inspired by Universal’s classic Monster character.

Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding. But when Cecilia’s abusive ex, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House), commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turn lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

The film’s score was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch (Blade Runner 2049, IT). He has worked on over 75 feature films and has received Golden Globe®, BAFTA®, two-time GRAMMY® and Emmy® nominations. It was recently announced that Wallfisch will score the New Line/Warner Bros reboot of Mortal Kombat, which is slated for a 2021 release.

Regarding the film’s score, Wallfisch had the following to say:

It was about using silence rhythmically. When there is music, the gestures and sonic attitude are sometimes so left-field and extreme that you almost don’t trust the score’s absence when it’s not there. As a kind of analogue to the presence of Adrian Griffin [the Invisible Man] in the film.

Also, the orchestral instrumentation is deliberately constrained to strings- only so that the musicians were pushed to their max, without the support of a full orchestra. That choice was also an homage to one of my heroes, Bernard Herrmann and one of his masterpieces, the Psycho score.

As the film progresses, Cecilia (Moss) devolves into questioning her every move, then grows into her power. The composer reflected that journey musically as well:

Cecilia’s Theme,’ a simple melody for cello and strings, was written to be a musical reminder of her own sanity, as everything unravels around her,” Wallfisch said. “You only hear it a handful of times in the movie, at key turning points in the story. There is also a piano motif that recurs a few times, something building and insistent, meant to portray the way she still manages to hold on to who she really is, against all the odds, ultimately triumphing.”

Because Wallfisch was tasked with creating musical space for an antagonist who is literally not present, the composer had to factor into his choices for Adrian/the Invisible Man some elements that he’d not previously considered for a villain:

Rather than a melodic theme, we needed a signature sound for Adrian—something that just creeps up on you. The sonic for the Invisible Man himself is entirely electronic, and when it goes full tilt, we tried to push things as hard as they could possibly go.

Knowing that the Invisible Man is characterized by electronic sounds makes listening to the soundtrack very interesting indeed, as his motif truly does creep up on you, appearing when you least expect it. There’s a jarring contrast between the strings of the orchestra and the electronic tones as well, which could be symbolizing how unnatural Griffin’s invisible existence really is (after all humans weren’t meant to be invisible). Also, I can definitely sense the homage to Herrmann with the all-strings orchestra. These days it’s somewhat unusual to get a film orchestra that’s all strings, as it creates a musical dynamic that you don’t hear all that often anymore.

Wallfisch really appears to be ratcheting up the tension with this soundtrack as well, as each track is just full of it. Even the tracks that don’t contain references to the Invisible Man are full of subtle tensions (which you would expect in a horror film), as if the next encounter could happen at any moment. It was enjoyable to listen to, but also more than a little nerve wracking since after a while you come to expect that at some point the Invisible Man sonic will jump in and surprise you.

All in all, the soundtrack for The Invisible Man was quite enjoyable, just from listening to it I’m half tempted to check out the film itself once it arrives in theaters.

TRACK LIST
  1. Cobolt
  2. Escape
  3. He’s Gone
  4. This Is What He Does
  5. We’ve Got That In Common
  6. Make It Rain
  7. Attack
  8. Why Me
  9. The Suit
  10. Asylum
  11. He’s Behind You
  12. House Fight
  13. It’s All a Lie
  14. Surprise
  15. Denouement

Check out the soundtrack for The Invisible Man when you get the chance. And let me know what you think of it (and the film) in the comments below, and have a great night!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack Review: Wendy (2020)

It’s been announced by Milan Records that the original motion picture soundtrack for Wendy will be released on February 28, 2020. It will be released the same day the film comes out, and you can view the trailer for Wendy below:

 

The album features music co-written by Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin. The album is the latest in a series of scoring collaborations for the duo that includes both Zeitlin’s own critically-acclaimed, breakout film Beasts of the Southern Wild as well as additional titles Brimstone & Glory and Mediterranea.

Of the soundtrack, Wendy director and co-composer BENH ZEITLIN has this to say:

We set out to create a score the charges straight at you, with all the energy and reckless abandon of a toddler on a rampage. The themes are meant to feel timeless and cathartic, iconic yet dizzying.  We wanted to take the ragtag back yard orchestra concept from Beasts of the Southern Wild and explode it to new heights.

A single from the new soundtrack, “The Story of Wendy” has been made available already. You can listen to it below:

 

“The Story of Wendy” is a beautiful piece of music. It starts off with some whimsical strings but quickly grows in power, adding in brass and the rest of the orchestra. If this piece is representative of the soundtrack as a whole, then Romer and Zeitlin have indeed taken the story of Peter Pan and Wendy in a completely different direction than anything we’ve seen before (and that’s really not a bad thing). I’m excited to hear what the rest of the soundtrack is like just based on this single track. Romer and Zeitlin really have gone for a timeless feel here as they said, and that’s the type of feeling you want in any story dealing with Peter Pan and not growing up.

Enjoy this sneak peek at the Wendy soundtrack and be sure to check it out when it becomes available on February 28, 2020.

WENDY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Sneak Away
2. Straight On ’till Morning
3. The Haunted Train
4. Into The Night
5. Neverbirds
6. The Mother
7. Never Grow Up
8. The Old Hand
9. Where Lost Boys Go
10. Want To Fly?
11. To Grow Up is a Great Adventure
12. Battle for Mañana
13. I Love My Mother
14. Counting the Days
15. The Story of Wendy
16. Once There Was a Mother

Let me know what you think about “The Story of Wendy” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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My Thoughts on: Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)

In coming to Pokémon 4Ever, I finally reached terra incognita. For while I’d seen the first and third Pokémon movies, and new of the second one, I’d never seen much less heard of  any of the Pokémon films after that (with the possible exception of Arceus and the Jewel of Life, but that’s a story for another day). So I was very excited to sit down and watch this film for the very first time.

And from what I can see, Pokémon 4Ever is a really enjoyable film (with spot-on animation for the most part). The story sees Ash, Misty, and Brock set out to help save Celebi, a Pokémon who functions as the “Voice of the Forest” and has the ability to travel through time. To escape from a hunter, the Pokémon travels to the future, inadvertently bringing along a young boy named Sam with him. Together, Sam, Ash and company must work to save Celebi from forces that are hunting Celebi for the great power he possesses.

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This movie really makes you feel for poor Celebi. I thought watching the first movie was an emotional experience, but this movie takes it to a whole different level. Most of the movie sees Celebi being chased, abused, and otherwise scared out of his mind. And even after the situation is fixed, more enemies appear and make the situation worse. This Pokémon really goes through a beating.

And then there’s Team Rocket. Oh, not Jessie, James, and Meowth. Oh sure, they’re as persistent as always, but they’re nothing compared to Iron Masked Marauder, the Team Rocket Member chasing Celebi. This is the first time I can recall being actually scared of Team Rocket, before watching this film I thought Team Rocket was only meant to be a joke, not to be taken seriously. This film definitely proved me wrong on that count.

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I’m not completely satisfied with this film’s plot twist. While I find it interesting that Sam is revealed to be a young Professor Oak, I’m not sure I’m okay with how the details are worked out. How Oak remembers something that Ash and company haven’t even done yet doesn’t quite make sense to me. Perhaps I’m thinking too hard about it, but the plot details don’t quite mesh and that bothered me quite a bit while I was watching. Also, the CGI of…whatever that thing is that Celebi creates doesn’t quite hold up now that it’s nearly 20 years old. The contrast between it and the surrounding animation is just weird.

Also, is it weird that I was expecting Suicune to talk? Maybe I was spoiled after seeing Entei in the third film, but I was fully prepared for Suicune, as a legendary Pokémon, to have dialogue and it doesn’t, which completely subverted my expectations.

On a final note, the very concept of the Dark Balls is a scary one. It actually reminds me somewhat of Mewtwo’s plan in the first film, only instead of cloning Pokémon that are stronger than the originals, the Dark Balls just corrupt the existing creatures instead.

All in all, I enjoyed Pokémon 4Ever. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is enjoyable, and it was nice to finally move past the first three Pokémon films.

Let me know what you think about Pokémon 4Ever in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Pokemon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 3: The Movie: Entei – Spell of the Unown (2000)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

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My Thoughts on: Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Sonic the Hedgehog occupies what might be a completely unique position in my mind. This is, as far back as I can remember, the first time I’ve ever gone to see a movie because I felt I owed it to the filmmakers to do so. Allow me to explain: remember when the original trailer for this film came out and we were all horrified by Sonic’s appearance? And then, to the shock of all, the studio withdrew the film and actually fixed it? That NEVER happens, and since the studio was so thoughtful as to actually listen to our wishes, I felt I had no choice but to repay them by going to see the film in theaters.

That turned out to be a great decision because Sonic the Hedgehog is a lot of fun! The story doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the comedy is actually pretty funny (that’s saying a lot from me because I’m very picky about the comedy I like). James Marsden made a great foil for Sonic, and aside from one or two awkward moments there really weren’t any moments I didn’t like.

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Aside from Sonic himself (more on that in a moment), my favorite part of this film has to be Jim Carrey. He was made for a movie like this and throws himself into the role of Dr. Robotnik with everything he has. Seriously, Carrey’s performance had me in stitches from the moment he arrived onscreen. If the clearly teased sequel happens, then I really hope we see more of Carrey’s Robotnik.

The other part of the film I really liked is Sonic. I was admittedly doubtful that the speedy hedgehog could ever be realized in a live-action movie, but after overhauling the design it works really well. Sonic looks just enough like his video game counterpart to satisfy longtime fans of the video games, while also looking like a living, breathing creature that found its way to Earth.

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And that leads me to one point that I do have a problem with: the story of how Sonic got to Earth. Now, I understand that the story needs an explanation of how we got to this point, but that prologue feels extremely rushed, with a lot of exposition crammed into what felt like five minutes or less. Perhaps a sequel will delve into this part of the story a bit more, because I have a lot of questions regarding how and why Sonic has his powers and the film didn’t really answer them (I should note I have never played any of the Sonic games). These aren’t the only pacing issues the story has, but it is the part that bothered me the most.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

And speaking of sequels, I am completely excited to see one after seeing the mid-credits scene. When that scene came on, that’s the first time in a long time that I’ve heard a there burst into applause and cheers. They could really be on to something here with a Sonic film franchise and I never thought I’d say this but I want to see what happens next!

Defying my worst fears, Sonic the Hedgehog is a cute movie that makes for a great time. While the story has a few pacing issues, Jim Carrey’s performance as Dr. Robotnik makes up for most of the issues, and the hints of what may come in a sequel leave me eager for more. If you go in with an open mind, you are definitely going to enjoy this movie.

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

See also:

Film Reviews

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Soundtrack Review: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

WaterTower Music has announced that the soundtrack for Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is finally available for purchase. The soundtrack features 27 tracks composed for the motion picture by Daniel Pemberton. He is a multi Golden Globe, Emmy and Bafta Award-nominated composer who has been regularly cited as one of the most exciting and original new voices working in modern film scoring today. Constantly working with some of the most renowned names in the industry Pemberton has scored projects for the likes of Danny Boyle (Yesterday, Steve Jobs), Ridley Scott (All The Money In The World, The Counsellor), Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game), Darren Aronofsky (One Strange Rock), Edward Norton (Motherless Brooklyn), Louis Leterrier (Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance) and Guy Ritchie (The Man From UNCLE, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword).

Regarding the score, composer Daniel Pemberton had the following to say:

One of the best things about writing this score was the fact I felt Harley Quinn as a character would be into anything – I can see her listening to whatever she wants: opera, metal, hip-hop, EDM, rockabilly, gospel, pop. I always felt she didn’t really care for one thing – she’d absorb them all and not give a f*** if anyone thought it was cool or not. So, I felt I’d do that with the music. In the same way she dresses like no one else, pulling disparate styles together to make something her own, I wanted to do the same with the score. Then couple that with a crew of other great larger-than-life characters and the completely unique take on Gotham that director Cathy Yan has created, a world with a kaleidoscopically colorful palate, you have something very special to inspire you.

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And the soundtrack for Birds of Prey truly is an eclectic collection of musical styles befitting the insane mind of Harley Quinn and the twisted world of Gotham. Anyone who describes this soundtrack as being “not much to listen to” really  hasn’t been paying attention. While it’s true that several of the tracks firmly belong to the pop rock genre, others, and I must cite “The Black Mask Club” by name, are more traditional, with an aura of menace generated by the strings.

I’m also a really big fan of the fast-paced electronic music that characterizes the early parts of the films (particularly Harley getting really drunk at the club). It really gets you into Harley’s state of mind, not just in the moment but as a whole. You have to remember that Harley Quinn is a crazy person at the core, and the electronic music fits that part of her perfectly. It’s frenetic, almost manic, and it symbolizes Harley’s insane mind racing along from one idea to the next with little to no concept of the consequences. “Harley Gogo Agogo” is a great example of this idea.

Of course a lot of the soundtrack is just fun to listen to, like “Battle Commences” and “Fight Together.” Pemberton is really skilled at weaving together music that heightens the action on the screen or making potentially dull moments interesting, it’s one of the reasons I like his work so much. There is always something going on in this soundtrack, and in this case that’s a good thing.

Track List

  • Flying High (Birds of Prey)
  • The Fantabulous Emancipation Explosion
  • Harley Quinn (Danger Danger)
  • Birds of Prey
  • Harley Gogo Agogo
  • The Black Mask Club
  • Stolen Diamond
  • Bad Ass Broad (Whistle MF)
  • Lonely in Gotham
  • Black Canary Echo
  • The Bertinelli Massacre (The Huntress Story)
  • Bump It!
  • Roman Sionis
  • Lockdown
  • Bruce and the Beaver
  • Lotus Flower
  • Femme Fatale
  • Breakout!
  • The Bertinelli Revenge
  • I Want To Kill You Because I Can
  • Zsasz Showdown
  • Work Together
  • Battle Commence
  • Fight Together (Birds Of Prey)
  • Founders Pier
  • Roller Vs Rollers
  • The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

I hope this review has inspired you to check out Daniel Pemberton’s soundtrack for Birds of Prey, which is available for purchase now. I certainly enjoyed listening to it, and it proves once again why Pemberton is one of my all-time favorite film composers.

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

See also:

My Thoughts on Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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 Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Oh where do I even START with Birds of Prey?? It’s been almost a full 24 hours since I sat down to see this movie and I’m still wondering how to piece together what I think of this film. At one point, I didn’t think I’d ever be sitting down to watch any kind of follow-up to Suicide Squad (2016), but here I am having done it, and I loved it!

Well, first let’s start with the obvious: Birds of Prey is a fantastic film. I walked out of the theater feeling highly satisfied with the experience. This is the kind of comic book movie that I love, the kind that features the misfits and crazier characters that can be found in these types of films. And Birds of Prey certainly isn’t lacking there: for those who haven’t heard, the story follows a certain Harley Quinn as she embarks on a new life of independence after unceremoniously breaking up with the Joker. There’s just one tiny little hiccup in this plan: now that she’s single, most of Gotham wants Harley dead. And that’s just the beginning of the story, it gets crazier from there.

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You can practically feel the tug between male and female in this movie, with Roman Sionis (and his downright creepy henchman) serving as the epitome of everything that is wrong with the male patriarchy, while Harley and the other Birds of Prey show all the ways things can be awesome when you turn awesome and badass women loose on the world.

The casting for this film is spot-on:

Margot Robbie is the perfect cinematic Harley Quinn (though I will always have a special place in my heart for Arleen Sorkin, the animated Harley from Batman: TAS), and watching her interact with the other “Birds of Prey” is a lot of fun.

Jurnee Smollett- Bell is AMAZING as Dinah Lance (aka Black Canary). Aside from Harley herself, Dinah is absolutely my favorite character in the film, please give her her own movie because I would sit down to watch it. (minor spoiler: the moment where we get to see Black Canary’s power is as awesome as you think it will be).

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a good Huntress, though I almost wasn’t a fan of how she played the character (I have a special place in my heart for Huntress). Though, having had time to think about it, I get why the film does what it did with the character. I will say it might not be what you expect, so keep an open mind when she’s introduced.

Rosie Perez and Ella Jay Basco are a lot of fun to watch as Renee Montoya and Cassandra Cain respectively. With Perez, you really feel Montoya’s frustration as all of these road blocks are placed in front of her. And Basco is just phenomenal. Give her more roles as Cassandra Cain and I will come see the films that include her.

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I would dearly love to watch a movie starring all of these ladies again. I don’t even care what the story is about, I just want to see all of them together again.

And then there’s Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis. Outside of the awesome Birds of Prey, his performance is one of the biggest highlights of the film. He’s terrifying, he’s funny, and my God he’s PERFECT for this movie.

With all of that said, I should add that Birds of Prey is not a perfect movie. It does take a while to get going, and the film’s storyline is a little problematic at times. However, once things really get going, oh man do they ever get going. From the third act onward I was riveted to the screen. The climax of this film was everything I wanted and more. Please, please, please, PLEASE give me more of this in future DC films and I will be a very happy movie-blogger indeed.

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I also can’t review this film without giving Daniel Pemberton’s soundtrack a mention. He’s quickly become one of my favorite film composers and this film features all the reasons why I love his work. The music is quirky and perfectly suited to this madcap story, and it includes a number of song selections that perfectly speak to the themes of man vs woman. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on the soundtrack at some point for a more proper review.

What I’m trying to say is that you really should go see Birds of Prey. It’s a little messy in a few places but the latter half of the film is immensely satisfying and more than makes up for any faults in my opinion.

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

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Thoughts on Suicide Squad (2016)

Film Reviews

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 3: The Movie: Entei – Spell of the Unown (2000)

And now we come to the last Pokémon movie that I know for sure I watched back in the day. I remember sneaking off to watch Pokémon 3: The Movie and being completely enthralled by the story, as I usually am by anime stories.

In summary, Pokémon 3: The Movie centers around the mysterious Unown (pronounced “Unknown”), extremely powerful psychic Pokémon that can bend reality itself to their will. When the Unown are accidentally summoned by Molly Hale, a young girl who has just lost her father (and her mother two years previously), a strange world of crystal and fantasy is created that threatens everything around it if it isn’t stopped.

pokemon-movie-3-screenshot

One thing that jumps out to me right away, especially compared to the first and second films, is the presence of the obviously CGI Unown. Their appearance is almost jarring because of how different they look compared to everything else in the film. Given the mysterious nature of the Unown, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, and the CGI holds up really well given the film turns 20 this year. Also, another thing related to the Unown that I really like is the little “nexus” they develop once they’re fully ensconced in Molly’s home. You know, when they’re all orbiting each other and singing that little song to themselves. It’s almost like they’re working together as a hive mind to obey whoever has summoned them.

Another thing that stuck with me as I watched this film is how deep some of this film’s themes are. I had a sense of this when I first saw the film, but now that I’m two decades older, I think I understand the message even better. If you think about it, at its core Pokémon 3: The Movie centers around grief and the various ways one can handle it. And keeping that in mind, Molly’s actions make perfect sense. If you’re a little girl who has just lost her father and you find yourself in the company of Pokémon who can give you anything you want just by wishing for it, then of course you’re going to retreat into a fantasy world where you don’t have to face the cold reality that your parents are gone. That’s a powerful thing for any movie to deal with, and I think it’s handled fairly well in the end.

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And speaking of altering reality, the crystalline world created by the Unknown is so beautiful, I’d actually forgotten how gorgeous it looked. It’s like a bizarre piece of art that is lovely but deadly at the same time (because there’s nothing that’s actually “alive” out there). Everything, the flowers, the trees, and so on, is preserved in crystal so that it never dies (which also feeds into my earlier point about the movie dealing with a child’s handling of grief).

Finally, I need to talk about Entei. While it’s made plain that this is only an illusion of Entei, he feels perfectly real. A lot of this has to do with Entei’s animation, which absolutely brings him to life on the screen in my opinion. Another interesting note, and one I wasn’t even aware of until I checked the cast notes, is that Entei and Molly’s father are voiced by the same person (which makes so much sense when you remember that Molly views Entei as her father). I love little details like this that make the story so much better every time I watch it.

It was so much fun to watch Pokémon 3: The Movie again, and relive some amazing childhood memories. Let me know what you think about the third Pokémon movie in the comments below and have a great night!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Pokemon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Animated 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