Tag Archives: film

Soundtrack News: ‘Pleasure’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is Available Now

Milan Records has released PLEASURE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE) by musician, composer, arranger and producer Karl Frid. Karl Frid studied classical music at the Royal College of Music in London with trombone as his main instrument, before making a musical U-turn. He went to study Afro-Cuban music at the CNSEA in Havana, Cuba before finishing his studies in Afro-American music at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Since then he has worked as a full time freelance musician, composer, arranger and producer. His vast knowledge in music ranges from classical and jazz to Latin, hip-hop and pop music.

Available everywhere now, the album includes a mix of both original vocal tracks and instrumentals composed by Frid for the Plattform Produktion / NEON drama, which follows an adult film actress as she navigates the industry in Los Angeles.

Working in close collaboration with writer and director Ninja Thyberg, Frid devised a score that vacillates between sacred opera and hardcore hip-hop, a dichotomy echoing the conflict at the heart of the protagonist’s journey. Frid enlisted Swedish soprano Caroline Gentele to perform on the album’s choral-based songs, and rapper-singer Mapei along with producer Ludvig Klint to write and record the soundtrack’s three original hip hop tracks, the resulting 16-track collection coalescing into a truly one-of-a-kind musical universe befitting the onscreen story.

Of the score, composer Karl Frid had the following to say:

“When I first saw a raw cut of Pleasure, I knew I had to do the score. The female gaze on the working conditions from within this huge industry that no one wishes to speak about, let alone even acknowledge the existence of, was as liberatingly upfront and honest as provoking. I aimed to arrive at a musical universe that was not judgmental or too revealing, a process made in close collaboration with director Ninja Thyberg. The mix of sacred opera, vocalized by Caroline Gentele, and the raw and heavy hip hop beats featuring Mapei, created an interesting juxtaposition – that of the main character’s perception of herself in contrast to how men and society see her. The making of the film and the score has been a long journey and I’m very excited to finally share this music with the rest of the world.” 

PLEASURE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Pleasure
  2. Confutatis
  3. Una Gioia Sempre Viva
  4. My First Porn
  5. Fata Viam Invenient
  6. Una Gioia (feat. Mapei)
  7. Kink Orgasm
  8. Voca Me Cum Benedictus
  9. Ignis Tartari
  10. Oro Supplex
  11. Hard to the Core (feat. Mapei)
  12. Dai
  13. Confutatis in D Minor
  14. Bella & Joy
  15. Good Girl / Bad Girl (feat. Mapei)
  16. Confutatis in C Minor

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 Northman (2022)

*note: there may be minor spoilers for The Northman below

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

There are a number of movies I’ve been excited for already this year and The Northman has been one of them for quite some time. I almost ignored this film until I saw the trailer and realized “Oh, this is the story of Hamlet, but with Vikings.” And it’s true! I read about this film and found out that The Northman is based on an old saga that did in fact eventually inspire the story of Hamlet centuries later.

In case you’re not familiar with Hamlet though, I’ll summarize what the film is about: The Northman is set in the 10th century and follows a Viking prince named Amleth who is spurred on to revenge after his uncle kills his father and seizes the throne, forcing him to flee for his life.  After being trained as a berserker by another group of Vikings, Amleth eventually discovers he is unable to avoid his fate and must pursue vengeance, no matter the cost.

One thing that will hit you straight away about The Northman is how beautiful it all is. The cinematography is exquisite throughout and all of the colors really pop on the screen. I was also struck by all the attention to detail scattered throughout this film: Eggers and his crew really did their homework when they put this story together. All of the details: the jewelry, the clothing, the artwork, and yes even the weapons, it all feels authentic, like something that would really have been found in that era. 

The acting is spot on too. Alexander Skarsgård absolutely nails the role of Amleth and Anya Taylor-Joy is delightful to watch as Olga. I particularly enjoyed the raw ferocity Alexander Skarsgård portrayed on the screen (the fight scenes he’s in are all amazing). Mix all of this in with the amazing musical score and The Northman is easily one of the best films to come out in the first half of 2022.

I also have to give a brief shout-out to all the locations explored in this movie, particularly Iceland where a big chunk of the movie is set. You might expect such barren locales not to be particularly interesting looking but it’s quite the opposite actually. The way Eggers frames each scene, particularly in Iceland, there’s a beauty to be found everywhere that I appreciated as the story went on.

I also have to say I enjoyed the role magic played in the story. And make no mistake, it’s made quite clear that there is magic at work. While certain story elements are attributed to spirits or gods when we (the audience) know it’s actually humans at work, there are other details that make it plain that something not of this Earth is getting involved. We’re never told exactly who or what this is. It could be straight up the Norse gods at work, or it could be pure spiritual power in general. But something otherworldly is moving in this story and the way it is presented is spine-tingling.

If there is one nitpick to make about this movie, it’s that your enjoyment of certain parts of the story may very depending on how well you know Norse mythology. There are multiple references made to Odin and Valhalla, and if you don’t know how those stories are put together (and the role Valkyries play in the mythology) then certain scenes in this movie won’t make much sense to you. However, I should emphasize that you don’t really have to fully understand the Norse mythology to get the movie as a whole, it just helps with some of the finer details if you do.

I can’t emphasize enough that The Northman is worth checking out. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of period dramas or not, this is a story about something everyone can understand: a son seeking vengeance. One thing is for sure, this is a movie you won’t forget any time soon and I’m so glad I went to see it.

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: 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 

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

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

My Thoughts on: Moonfall (2022)

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

In a nutshell: Moonfall is 100% pure dumb fun, but in a really good way.

I knew going in that the plot was going to be batsh*t crazy. I mean, it wasn’t enough to have the moon crashing into the Earth, it’s ALSO secretly an alien spaceship? I just had to see how all of this could possibly fit into a single film and, if you ignore basic physics, it actually tells a pretty decent story. The way I see it, Emmerich came up with the core premise first (the Moon is secretly an alien spaceship) and then spent the rest of his time devising a plot that led up to this reveal because he was so determined to put the idea on the screen. 

This movie managed to stuff every disaster movie cliche into it. And the cheesy dialogue, oh my goodness…the cheesiness is almost unbearable at times, but God help me I loved it. With the world continuing to be a messed up place, sometimes you need a cheesy disaster movie with relatively good special effects to take you out of your head for a little while. And in that regard, Moonfall absolutely succeeds. Yes, the dialogue is pretty spotty, and as I said before, I’m almost certain they ignored the basic principles of physics throughout the film, but it is still enjoyable, despite all that.

One of my favorite parts was the completely unexpected chemistry between Patrick Wilson and John Bradley. There’s almost an “Odd Couple” level of chemistry between them that, once it gets established, works really well.for the remainder of the film. I didn’t expect it at all, but I totally loved it.

The disaster scenes play out pretty much like you’d expect them to, though there actually wasn’t as much as I thought there’d be given that the entire planet is being damaged. The space scenes were pretty well done, though there’s one scene late in the movie that gave me flashbacks to Mission to Mars (2000), and in fact it wouldn’t surprise me to find out this scene was in fact an homage to that film.

All of this is to say that if you want to spend a little time with a dumb fun popcorn movie, go see Moonfall. It’s far from the greatest movie ever made, but I enjoyed it, and really in the end isn’t that all that matters? Beneath all the cliches and cheesiness is a decent story that surprisingly leaves a small door open for a sequel. And you know what? I almost wouldn’t mind seeing a followup to this movie, if only to see what they do next.

Those are my thoughts on Moonfall, let me know if you enjoyed watching the movie or if you watch it at all.

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: Belle (2021)

*note: this review was originally published on Patreon in January

*warning: Minor spoilers about Belle will be discussed below. If you don’t want to know, I highly suggest watching the movie first.

In January I went to see Belle in theaters. This is a movie I’ve wanted to see since last year. In fact, Belle is the reason why I applied to cover the New York Film Festival (though sadly I didn’t get accepted that time).

First, some basic details about the movie before I get into why I absolutely loved it. Belle premiered on July 15, 2021 at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was directed by Mamoru Hosoda whose past films include (but are not limited to): Mirai, Wolf Children, and Summer Wars. The film is loosely based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and, I would somewhat argue, also takes inspiration from Disney’s 1991 adaptation of the fairy tale also.

I’ve rarely found an anime film I didn’t like, but I didn’t expect Belle to completely sweep me off my feet like it did. The animation throughout the film is beautiful, but everything set inside the digital world “U” is drop-dead gorgeous and stunning. I swear the colors pop much more vibrantly during these portions of the story, so much so that when you return to “reality” it feels almost drab in comparison.

And then there’s the story of Belle, my god this story….if I could give all of you one word of warning, do NOT let the fact that this film is loosely (I emphasize LOOSELY) based on Beauty and the Beast temper your expectations about what this film is going to be like. The Beauty and the Beast parallels are only one portion of the overall story, which goes far deeper than I ever dreamed it would. I can’t discuss it in any more detail than that because I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say some serious issues are brought up. You should definitely be prepared to cry before the film is over.

Even more than the animation, I think the music of Belle might be the best thing about it. Now, I should note that my first watch through of Belle was with the English dub, so I haven’t heard the original Japanese yet, but the English dub songs are heartbreakingly beautiful. I wasn’t sure how I would react to this film essentially being a musical (Belle the character has several musical numbers throughout the film) but each song is so beautiful I had no trouble getting lost in the music. The songs are just so beautiful, I’ll have to do a soundtrack review for my blog at some point.

One last thought before my conclusions: I am convinced there are parallels between this film and the 1991 Beauty and the Beast film. Look at the interior of the Castle and the dancing sequence and try to tell me the animators did not take inspiration from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And I don’t mean that in a bad way either, Disney’s adaptation is iconic, it’s flattering that Belle would include an homage or two to that film.

In conclusion, Belle is a masterpiece of animation and could easily be the best film I see this year. I know we’re only just over two weeks into 2022 but I stand by this statement: the bar has been set so high for best film of the year, it’s going to take a while for anything to surpass Belle in my mind.

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

See also:

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