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Friday, June 22, 2012

Not a Good Summer Friday Opening for Films

Not a good day for the opening of films! Let's see we have "Honest Abe" wielding an ax in order to kill vampires. It might be pretty good, if you can wrap your head around one of our past presidents killing monsters instead of delivering his famous speech that starts with "Four Score and Seven Years ago". 

Then we have an a young red-headed Irish lady wielding a cross bow, in the film "Brave". In this she is very independent, and not "lady like” and it kills her mother that she wants to find a man she really loves to marry. As opposed of being set-up because back in the dark ages (LOL) women were chosen the man they would marry. Cute I am sure, but a video rental maybe. 

No way on "Men in Black III", just not a fan of the franchise. So, I think we may go with "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World", which stars Steve Carell and Kiera Knightly (she just looks like an alien to me sometimes - watch her in "A Dangerous Mind" and you will know what I mean). Not much left that I have not seen, such as "Prometheus" with Charlize Theron and another film with her acting in the same way "an ice cold witch", "Snow White and the Huntsman". Anyone who comes across a film that they like, that is in the theater, let me know.

I am, however looking so forward to seeing the new "The Amazing Spiderman", with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It’s so darned cute, because they are a couple in "real life". Just like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, from those infamous vampire films - The Twilight series, which they are one of my guilty pleasures. Okay, it’s true I know way too much about pop culture. I mean it’s plastered all over the magazines they have set for you to gaze at while you are waiting to pay for you candy bars and such. Anyways, I way digress...I saw the trailer for the Spidey film in 3D whilst waiting with much anticipation for "Prometheus" to start (waiting since the trailer teaser came out in December 2011). I think that perhaps, Andrew Garfield may be even better than Tobey Maguire. Shush don't tell anybody, just joking of course. 

In the end of this ranting and raving about lack of good summer films this week, maybe I will just rent a flick for $1 at the Redbox or check out what is on my que for Netflick streaming. I am thinking that "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”, may not be even screen worthy, and instead a rental for down the road. OH! How I long for "The Dark Knight Rises in July just like the new Spidey film...I guess I will just have to be patient. 

Here are some trailers of the films mentioned:

The Dark Knight:






The Amazing Spiderman:


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The 3 John's of Movie Soundtracks

When I attending Chabot Jr. College in the Bay Area of California, I was trying to decide on an elective. I have always had a love affair with movies, and I saw in the catalog that there was a course, called "Movie Music". I thought that sounds pretty cool, I should check it out. To my surprise, I loved this class! I never really pontificated on how incredibly profound and important musical scores were to a film. After taking this course, I now pay very close attention to the musical score and soundtracks accompanied with a movie. A soundtrack for my standards is very much key to the pace and set up of the mood of a film. The music sets up emotional states, like tension in a horror film, or melodic love songs for a romance in a movie. So join me on musical journey for films.

Once upon a time in a "galaxy far, far away" I fell in love with movie soundtracks. It all started with the love song in which a caped super hero, Superman takes flight with Lois Lane into the night sky. The song is called, "Can You Read My Mind", and to this day, it still makes me tear up inside with its low then high crescendos and incredibly moving sound. The song was so absolutely appropriate to my favorite scene of Superman (1978). At those moments, I too wanted my own "Superman" to fly me away into the sunset, and I was only 8 years old. This eloquent music was composed by the iconic American composer,  John Williams. For this post, I want to take you to an element of film making that I would consider one of the most important to a film's cohesiveness - a film's musical score/soundtrack. I have three favorite movie soundtrack composer's that just so happen to start with the letter "J" and all three incidentally start with the name John. They are the prodigious, John Williams, John Barry, and John Carpenter.

The first composer, of course mentioned above, John Williams was born in 1932, whose father was jazz musician, Johnny Williams. He studied music at UCLA and Juilliard. Williams new from a very young age music would be his calling, since his father was also a drummer for The Raymond Scott Quintet. At age 19 he had composed his first piano composition. He dons 41 Oscar nominations and 5 wins, 18 Grammy wins, and that is just the start of the multitude of awards this artist has achieved in his iconic career. His musicology includes such famous films as Harry Potter Parts 1 and 2, Star Wars (George Lucas), just to name a few. He has collaborated with director Steven Spielberg on all of his films, except for 2, which includes more to William's lengthy list of musical soundtracks, such as themes in the most famous film Jaws, whose music will always make you think of that infamous man eating great white shark, there is Indiana Jones, Schindler's List, and his most recent War Horse. Besides of course, Superman, my other favorite film soundtracks are Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Jurassic Park, also Spielberg films. His music to me is epic and invokes such emotion, thus making a film that much more indelible and timeless. I really could go on and on about this composer and his awe-inspiring music.   "So much of what we do is ephemeral and quickly forgotten, even by ourselves, so it's gratifying to have something you have done linger in people's memories."

Here is a medley of Williams works:


Another film composer, whom I adore is the music of John Barry (1933-2011). When I first discovered his music it was playing in the film, Indecent Proposal (1993), starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore and directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction). It was the story about a rich man, who wants to sleep with a man's wife for one night to the "tune" of a million dollars. I enjoyed the film, but what really touched me was its soundtrack the accompanied it so sweetly with its beautiful melody from the piano. It was the first soundtrack cassette I had ever bought, besides Grease, which is a vinyl. I remember playing this music over and over again in my college days to help me fall asleep, for it relaxed me that much. He is the composer of over 111 movie titles, such as Out of Africa, Diamonds are Forever, Dances with Wolves just to name a few.

Barry was around cinema in the beginnings of his life, for his father was a projectionist and owned several chains of cinema houses in Northern England. He was originally a classic pianist and formed his own band, called The John Barry Seven and had a few hit records. Through his achievements working at various record labels, such as EMI, Barry was discovered by the producers of the film, Mr. No, a James Bond film. He then produced the most famous score "The James Bond Theme" and had many years of collaboration with other Bond films that spanned over 25 years.

Barry has since won 5 Academy awards and 4 Grammy awards. One of which was for the film Somewhere In Time and is one of my other favorites by him.The music and film industry lost an incredible artist when Barry died January, 2011, but his legacy will certainly continue to live on and be timeless.

Here is an article on Mr. Barry and some of his musical scores:



Last but certainly not least of the three composers is my favorite, John Carpenter, the master of horror scores. Not only is Carpenter the creator of horror soundtracks, he is also a director and writer of that genre. I first heard his music when it was playing during a movie trailer for his iconic film, Halloween (1978). In the scene Michael Myers (iconic serial killer) was stalking his sister, Laurie Strode, played by scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis. I remember the music being so completely eerie and accompanied the scenes so appropriately and is one of my most beloved horror films. I was hooked and extremely jealous of my cousins, who were going to see the film that night, but I was too young to go see it. I have since seen this film a multitude of times and it never fails to scare and creep the hell out of me, besides, The Ring (US version). Sometimes even during non-Halloween times, I will get the score in my head and not be able to get it out for hours. It is the most famous score by Carpenter. He has 12 wins and 15 nominations for his films, such as Critics Awards for Halloween and The Fog.

John Carpenter was born in 1948 in Carthage, New York. Carpenter created films in 8mm before even entering high school. He was a student at Western Kentucky University, where his father was the head of the music department. And he also attended USC Film School in Los Angeles.  Carpenter was also in his own band Coupe de Villes which included directors Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Castle. His first short film which was discovered in the archives at USC in 2011 was called Captain Voyeur, which would interestingly reveal elements of his film Halloween. Which interestingly enough Carpenter made $10,000 from his famous creation Halloween.

Official trailer of Halloween:


Some of Carpenter's famous films...The Fog (1980), Escape From New York (1981) The Thing (1982), Escape From New York (1981), The Prince of Darkness (1987) just to name a few.

Here is a little trivia about Carpenter:

His name is in front of the titles of all his films.

He was married to Adrienne Barbeau, who was in his film, The Fog.

He turned down the opportunity to direct Top Gun and Fatal Attraction.

In the 5th addition of "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", two of his films are listed: Halloween and The Thing.

Famous quotes from Carpenter:

"We're a violent country. We always have been. We embrace our individuality and our violence."

"I can play just about any keyboard but I cannot read or write any note."

As you can see, I really enjoy these particular sound track and score creators of film. The score is to me is one of the most important aspects, and ingredient of any film, except of course in a silent one. I am saddened that Mr. John Barry passed away, he is being missed in the film industry, I am sure. So when you are viewing any film, take a listen to the music being played along, to me, it really makes or breaks a film. I hope that this blog entry will pique your interest in the music of film. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Title change of blog...And coming soon!

I was thinking that my blog title was kind of boring and I really enjoy "play on words". So I thought I would follow suit with my own "play on words" with this new title. I like it: SheHasSceneIt

I am going to be blogging next about the family film Dolphin Tale, based on a true story. Then I will be blogging on my other blog, called HorrorSheLuvs about the Paranormal Activity franchise that has been a huge hit for director Oren Peli. Here is the link to my other blog if you love to read about films that are about horror, psychological thrillers, and ghosts or paranormal phenomenon.

It also is a link to my first reviewed horror film of 2012, called The Devil Inside. Enjoy! Its about exorcisms, which to me is a very fascinating phenomenon in and of itself.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Favorite Television Shows at the moment...

I am not usually one to watch a lot of television, so I am pretty picky about which ones I do watch. Here is a current list of what I am watching in no particular order:

FRINGE  FOX network - Considered a science fiction mystery show that is almost like a previously aired one, called The X-Files with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Fringe stars an incredible cast and the shows premise is so intriguing and always fascinating to me. I never get bored with this show. Brief premise...FBI agents investigate crimes or activities that are otherworldly and not "normal". Some of the casts members are Olivia/Faux Livia - Ana Torv, Dr. Walter Bishop/Faux Walter (He "cracks me up" every time), Peter Bishop - Joshua Jackson, and so many more cool characters. These characters are so interestingly matched, well together and each season just gets better and better. Its currently on its 4th season.

Here is a an episode if you have time to watch one.


RINGER CW Network - Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer - T.V. show). She portrays two characters, which are identical twins, named Bridget and Siobhan. Siobhan is presumed dead in a boating accident and her sister, Bridget decides to take over her life, since hers is not going so well. Littered with alcohol addiction and a warrant out for Bridget's arrest, taking over her rich socialite sis's life is not a bad idea, or is it? This show is very much my guilty pleasure that I am highly addicted to. I love Ms. Gellar in the show Buffy and this is quite a switch from her vampire killing days. Great cast and story that keeps you guessing and wanting more every episode. Curious to see how it can keep continuing. It is currently is its freshman season.

Trailer for Ringer:


DOWNTOWN ABBEY PBS - Masterpiece Theater

This Sunday starts its 2nd season of an incredibly engaging time period piece. This show follows the lives of the Crawley family and their relationship to their servants during the start of World War I, which takes place at their mansion, called Downton Abbey. The shows casts many wonderful and talented actresses and actors, such as Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern. This show will keep you captivated at every turn and no interruptions of commercials.If you love all things PBS, this will be no exception. I was hooked from the very first episode and was very sad when it went on break. It currently has a multitude of award nominations, with already 12 wins and 4 Golden Globe nominations.

Here is a promo trailer:


One last show I am enjoying with my entire family is Third Rock from the Sun. Starring John Lithgow and Jane Curtin. It is about a foursome of "aliens" who come down to the planet Earth for a mission and decide to stay indefinitely. It is super funny and that the characters are so naive of course to human ways. It last season was in 2001, but I bought the first season for cheap at Target.

Here is an episode:


I hope you enjoy reading about my favorite current television shows and will maybe watch and enjoy them for yourselves.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

MONSTER - 2003

The film based on the real life events of  convicted and later executed, Aileen Wuornos will leave you wanting to take a very long, hot shower. This American serial killer started off killing men, who had wronged her in some way, and one was based on a brutal rape. She started "hooking" herself at the very young age of 12. Claims she was sexually molested by her grandfather and his friend. As a result of a rape by the former molester, she became pregnant and gave her child up for adoption at age 14.

Charlize Theron, the stunning actress (Young Adult -2011), who portrayed Wuornos and narrated her story did an incredible (understatement) job at slipping into her life of crime and prostitution. In order to look like Aileen, she gained some weight and took on her plain disheveled appearance and demeanor. For me, sometimes it was very hard to look at her transformation. I did not know whether I wanted to hug this abused, drug addicted person or ring her neck for all of the poor choices she made. The only comfort and solace Aileen found was in her lesbian relationship with a girl named, Selby, played by Christina Ricci. Selby was very young and impressionable, who wanted someone to just love and take care of her. Aileen was able to provide for them both, but poorly at that, by her prostitution monies. Later on, Selby would help convict her lover by getting Aileen to confess to her crimes via telephone calls from prison. Selby was then was "let off" by prosecutorial immunity. When Wuornos was convicted of her murderous crimes of seven men between 1989-1990, she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Wuornos's last words before her execution were "Yes, I would just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back, like Independence Day with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I'll be back, I'll be back." She was the tenth woman in the United States to be executed since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment in 1976,[32] and the second woman ever executed in Florida. She died October 2002. That is our justice system for you,  let's have it go through so many appeals it ends up costing the taxpayers a ton of money, in my opinion. 

This film was written and directed by Patty Jenkins. Her vision of Aileen Wuornos was told with much rawness that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Winner of 17 movie awards 13 nominations in 2004, it will make you not wonder at all why Ms. Theron won almost all of them, one of which was an award for the Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress by the National Board of Review. 

I highly recommend this film if you are interested in Criminal Justice or interested criminal psychology or just enjoy a riveting crime drama. At its conclusion, this drama left me feeling somewhat sorry for Wuornos, but felt she deserved the punishment she received.  

Trailer link:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Young Adult 2011

From the director and writer of the smash hit JUNO, Diablo Cody comes the comedic tale of one "popular" high school girl's return to her home town of Mercury, Minnesota. Played perfectly by the lovely and, of course beautiful, Charlize Theron its almost hard to believe she won an Oscar for her awarding winning role of a female serial killer in Monster. Through this character, named Mavis, she dragged me almost kicking and screaming back to the place where she returns in order to "win" back her high school jock boyfriend, Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson). Who now has a new baby and a wonderful free spirited wife, played by Twilight star, Elizabeth Reaser. The fantastic direction by Jason Rietman of such films as Up in the Air and Thank You for Smoking it is no smaller wonder that I enjoyed this film, because both of those films are equally entertaining and thought provoking.

From the moment "sleeping beauty" awakes to her life of writing young adult romance novels and climbs out of bed peeling off yesterday's clothes, you are instantly drawn into an abyss of Mavis's narcissism mixed with depression washed down with lots of hard alcohol. And I mean lots of it. Everyday it seems she passes out and awakes with a hangover, and is constantly getting messages from her boss wondering where her latest book chapters are. There is a great scene with her and a book seller at the local book store about "her" books. As she is trying to write her possibly last edition to her book series, she sees a email with the announcement of Blade's baby. Thus begins her journey back to Mercury and perhaps back into the arms of Buddy. She oozes so much confidence with her tight outfits, loads of make-up and hair pieces that she thinks she can actually "win" over Buddy despite his happy but exhausted family life. Mavis in her very selfish haze is oblivious to her narcissistic ways continues to go after Buddy even at a very important baby naming ceremony back at his home. During a confrontation between Buddy and Mavis in which he asks her to leave, she bumps into Beth and a major scene ensues. I remember thinking I hope this is a major wake up call for Mavis, but it only lasts as long as her sobriety, unfortunately, but realistically I am glad it did not turn into an ending that might otherwise occur with certain stories.

I was really annoyed, but was so transfixed on Mavis's multitudes of eye glares that could freeze you on the spot if you looked at her too long. I remember thinking that it must of been uncomfortable for Ms. Theron's face to keep doing those glances. I am always impressed by Diablo Cody's writing and this character is not different in that we have all probably faced someone like Mavis in our own high school days. I remember running into a few of those myself and stayed as far away from them as possible. There is another character who I thoroughly enjoyed and recognized, which was Matt, a mutual high school friend of both Mavis's and Buddy's. He (Patton Oshwalt) starred in the television show United States of Tara, also created by Diablo Cody as the very quirky best friend of the husband of Tara (Toni Collette). I highly recommend watching this show, by the way. Matt first sees Mavis at a local bar in Mercury that she happens to be drinking at and he immediately recognizes her, because she had her locker next to his in high school. Not surprising is Mavis's lack of recognition, for Matt is not exactly her type of person she would hang out with. However, this duo hangs out quite a lot and Matt plays Mavis's devil's advocate by being brutality honest with her at every turn. The dialogue between them is very tongue and cheek and this very unlikely pair is a delight. I highly recommend this film and give it a 8 out of 10.

Here is the trailer:


Saturday, December 24, 2011


David Fincher, which is the American adaptation to the Stieg Larsson's installment of the Millenium Trilogy novel set. This is a mesmerizing tale of  intrigue, sexual violence, crime solving, cold case set in the freezing  winter in Sweden. First of all, let me just say that I am a huge fan of this director, who has produced such films as my personal favorites, Se7en and Fight Club (I highly recommend for viewing). Last year he directed the critically acclaimed, The Social Network taking us inside of the creators of FaceBook. Fincher has won numerous awards, as well for his cinematic creations. Currently the film has 2 Golden Globe nominations, one for best score and the other for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Rooney Mara, who you will see transforms herself into the lead female character of Lisbeth Salander.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's opening credits is accompanied by the musical score created by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross which is based on the famous song by Led Zepplin called Immigrant Song. I remember when I viewed this movie trailer, the first thing that drew me in was that score, and how it accompanies itself so well to the tale as the camera leads you down, a tree-lined snow covered road that ends to a infamous mansion. It was during those moments, I thought OMG, I have to watch this film and I could not wait!

The casting of this film is impeccable with the acting chops of Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgard, and Rooney Mara, who I found out that she was the ex-girlfriend to Jesse Eisenberg's famous character, Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. She had the look of the girl next door, pretty blonde and highly intelligent. The character of Lisbeth is a very emotionally disturbed, a lets go as far from the grain as I can, person with a multitude of layers that are only scratched at the surface within the first installment in this film. The transformation from butterfly neophile (social butterfly) to the extreme opposite a neophobe in which she takes anti-social to a whole new level. Here is a link about Ms. Mara. http://www.reelz.com/trailer-clips/49876/the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-interview/. and her IMDb link http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1913734/.

Mara fills some pretty big Doc Marten boots, because the first actress to portray Lisbeth is Noomi Rapace, who is a incredible actress in her own right. Currently Rapace is in the film, Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, in which she aides the famous crime solving duo. I will be writing up a review for that soon. Anyways, Mara has to change her hair color, eyebrows, and dons the famous Dragon Tattoo, which honestly I am not sure if she actually got the tattoo for real. It certainly would be a permanent souvenir of her role. In my most humble opinion, Mara kicked some serious ass in this film and having watched the Swedish version, I feel she did just as stunning a performance as Rapace did. You will pleasantly surprised!

Mikael portrayed by Daniel Craig is a incredible actor in his own right having donned the famous character James Bond and can kick ass in any role he takes on. I just saw him in the somber film Dream House with the luminous Rachel Weisz, which was a switch from the action roles he usually portrays. So Mikael the male lead  is a financial journalist who works for the publication Millenium, and in the beginning tries to expose a corporate mogul without success and looses his life savings over it. Lisbeth incidentally runs a very thorough back ground check on Mikael for Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), who wants to hire him for the task of solving the possible murder or disappearance of his niece, Harriet, who has been missing for 40 years.

Mikael of course takes on the case for Mr. Vanger and the plot is afoot. Henrik first takes him on a tour of the grounds in which the Vanger family lives. They are quite the talk of the town of Hedestad, Sweden. To get to the Vanger residence you must drive over a bridge that is shows up in a lot of scenes, because of its importance to the story. Right away when Henrik tells the story of his missing niece, Mikael is drawn in to its many  mysteries and intrigue. This family is no ordinary family, for it is full of many horrible and dark secrets by some of its despicable members. Right away I am pulled into the Vanger family tree and its members are introduced some times confusingly but I finally "get it" by the end.

Whilst investigating this cold case, Mikael decides he needs the aide of someone who can do a more thorough back ground checking of the Vanger family and wants Henrik to employ Lisbeth, the one of course who did his back ground check. The work together incredibly well, almost too well, because Lisbeth starts a sexual relationship with Mikael. I am sure as the other installments are adapted from the other novels we will see their relationship become closer and more complex.

Without giving away to much of the plot and its conclusion, I will just state that the cold case is solved and during so, it keeps you guessing and wanting to solve said case on your own. This film keeps you on your toes and leaves you wanting more. The cinematography was breath taking in its wintry cold scenery, the homes of the Vanger families, and the costume designs are impeccable. I was impressed and this film exceeded pleasantly my expectations and more! I give this film a 10/10 as well as its musical score.

I wish Mr. Fincher  and Trent Reznor best wishes in their nominations for the awards in which I hope they will win, but in my mind, they have already won in so many ways for me.