Cloud Atlas OST

CLOUD ATLASCloud Atlas  is one of the films I’ve been most looking forward to watching this year. It’s proving to be a long and frustrating wait though-  an independent production, it was released back in October in the States with a UK release not due until late February this year.  Back last summer, marvelling at the long and intriguing theatrical trailer for the film, that February date was a kick in the solar plexus. Its like a sad return to the bad old days of waiting six months for Star Wars to cross the Atlantic- its funny how used to global releases we have become.  So anyway, a longer wait than usual- funny thing is, the delay has now even turned against the film’s (few) fans State-side  It’s originally planned February DVD/Blu-ray release has been pushed back to June, presumably to protect the theatrical returns of the film globally and to tie-in to a global home video release. So fans of the film over there (few as they are, as the film faired very poorly, something like $27 million all told ) are gnashing their teeth at having to wait a further several months for their Blu-ray.  Well join the club guys, we even haven’t had it at the multiplex yet.

One of the things that caught my attention about the film is it’s soundtrack. Written by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, they are hardly big-name/well-known composers, but I remembered them from their excellent score for Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer, a film Tom Tykwer directed (that I would hope will be on Blu-ray one day, as its a great movie). That score, one of the most noteworthy of the past ten years, was an integral part of that film, no doubt due to the directors involvement in scoring it and word had it that the same could be said for Cloud Atlas, which featured Tykwer sharing directing duties with the Wachowski, er, siblings. Well, I’m a sucker for any film where the music is a big character in a film- its part of the ‘pure cinema’ experience and something rare these days in films where the current trend is for music to be part of the background and hardly noticed. Curiosity peaked, I couldn’t wait for the film to get out over here so ordered the soundtrack on import.

Of course the difficulty for the composers for the Cloud Atlas score is surely the vast spread of time and geographical locations represented in the film. How do they somehow unify all those separate elements, characters and timelines? Well, they do it with two central pieces of score.

Cloud-Atlas-SoundtrackThe film’s two core themes,  “Cloud Atlas Sextet” and the “Atlas March” prove to be central to the film’s narrative arc- in the film, the Sextet is written by a composer during the 1930s segment, but the music contained within this Sextet (an intentionally classical-sounding piece) is reprised in the film as it spans the several generations. I’m not sure how it is done in the film itself, as it apparently spans thousands of years and lives separated by time and space and yet somehow still connected, something like past and future lives of the same soul? (characters are being played by the same actor altered by prosthetics and make-up)- sounds pretty complicated, but hopefully it makes more sense in the film. On the album, which I presume is in chronological order, elements of the Sextet surface in various guises played by different instruments, depicting different characters and time periods.The second core theme, the Atlas March, is a more conventional piece, delicate and fragile, almost a melancholic love theme that weaves in and out of the score much like the Sextet until reaching a triumphant reprise at the films (and albums) conclusion.

The whole score  is richly orchestrated,  gloriously symphonic with some choral and electronic textures added to it. I presume some of the electronics are for the futuristic passages of the film but I guess I could be wrong. There is one piece of music, Death Is Only A Door, with chorus and strings, which is incredibly haunting and I cannot possibly imagine what is going on during the film in that sequence- I just can’t wait to find out. It will be very interesting to see how the score works in the film- it plays well enough as an album but I can see how it might make or break a film with such an apparently convoluted narrative as Cloud Atlas has.  The film had mixed reviews State-side and has been rebuffed/unnoticed during the awards season, but I can see it being a contender for film of the year for me already. It just looks so daring and interesting and unusual, like a breath of fresh air. Certainly, the score is quite remarkable and I doubt I’ll hear anything as bold and refreshing as this all year. Will the film live up to the music? Will just have to wait and see. Not long to go…

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Matrix in 2013

matrixSkipping the tv channels late last night before going to bed, I came upon The Matrix playing on CH5 HD. Haven’t seen any of those films for quite awhile- in fact it was a little disconcerting to notice that the info text had the film dated 1999- you ever feel that you never seem to notice the years going by quite like seeing the dates for movies like that and having a WTF moment? In hindsight, yep, the Matrix films really were awhile ago now (Revolutions, the last of the films,  dates back to 2003) but still, it feels like all that red pill/blue pill hoopla was only yesterday, not between nine and thirteen years ago.

It had me wondering how the films have aged since, and I made a mental note to get out my Blu-ray boxset and give the films a spin sometime soon, see how the films shape up in 2013.  The films have plenty of detractors, its often somehow cool to knock films perceived as ‘cool’ (and certainly the sequels come under fire), but I really quite like all three of them- my favourite one is actually the second film, Reloaded. It always had a Empire Strikes Back feel to it (difficult follow-up to a huge ‘classic’ film, while having to have a ‘cliffhanger/unsatisfying ending’ in order to lead to a third film… yeah, its like Episode 4 all over again).  But say what you like about them, the films had plenty of ideas, plenty of twists and plenty bang for your buck- you paid to see a big movie and you got your money’s worth, and a blockbuster with ideas too.  Those ideas may have been aimed at teenagers (to quote a newspaper review I love, its got “action, fighting, cutting-edge special effects, murderous robots, evil authority figures, an overriding pseudo-conspiracy theory and, most wonderful of all, an ineloquent social outcast who eventually becomes a flying kung fu Jesus“). Its all far superior to the Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean franchises or those Star Wars prequels. I’m somewhat surprised the Wachowski’s haven’t returned to the Matrix since- in some ways its quite impressive we haven’t had a fourth or fifth film thrown at us.

So yeah, really should get around to watching them. It’ll be useful to re-evaluate my belief that Neo is a cyborg (human/machine hybrid)  all along. No, seriously,  think about it- he dies in the first film but is somehow brought back to life (rebooted?), he is uniquely powerful inside the Matrix (which he would be if he was part machine) whilst in  Reloaded he has a power to knock out Sentinels in the ‘Realworld’, something never explained (but would make sense if he was part machine), and in Revolutions he is taken/absorbed by the machines with, yes, almost religious reverence. Watch the films again under the hypothesis that Neo is never just human but was created by the machines as a hybrid and a lot of the odder things in the films make more sense.  Or maybe I sound like I take the films too seriously…

Now that I’ve stopped my Lovefilm rentals, I’m not swamped with so many new films to watch, which should give me a welcome opportunity to watch my pile of older films that I want to  watch again. That’s been scuppered of late due to catching up with Christmas present Blu-rays  and  so many good tv shows being on-  (anyone else finding Ripper Street, American Horror Story:Asylum and Fringe taking up so much of their time? Really, those shows are better than most movies). I always find it interesting to see a film for the third or fourth time after the passage of time. Some films wind up seeming poorer than you remember, while some actually seem to improve with age. Wonder how the Matrix films will shape up. Wonder if I’ll ever really get time to watch them.

Blade Runner VHS

BR VHS1Here’s a blast from the past- my first copy of Blade Runner on VHS. I don’t have a video recorder any more so have no way of playing this thing but I’ll always keep it, even when I eventually bin my old DVD copies of the film. I have a very strong nostalgic connection with this beauty. I’m certainly not one of those strange hardcore collectors that buy multiple copies of the film in the same format from different countries and store them in a garage somewhere forever, but my first VHS copy (widescreen Directors Cut version would follow later) has an affectionate place in my heart. Younger readers will only have a vague memory, if even that, of this archaic technology known as videotape. It was sub broadcast-quality, analogue-based  Standard Definition, and content was in the early days exclusively pan and scan,  as widescreen televisions back then was something unheard of even in Star Trek and 2001:A Space Odyssey.

VHS was an abbreviation for Video Home System, an analogue-based cassette standard developed by JVC (Victor Company of Japan). Back in the late 1970s/early 1980s  the home video market was in its infancy but would revolutionise how people accessed television and film content. Initially very expensive and a niche market, inevitably both hardware and  software was expensive and limited, but as costs were reduced it would gradually explode in popularity. I remember sometime around 1980 a friend of mine’s older brother had a machine with a copy, of all things, of Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. I recall seeing a small section of an up-market department store in town having several films- they came packaged in cardboard slipcases back then, something I believe the US persisted with but over here in the UK we made a transition to plastic hard cases.

BR5There were a number of competing formats back then, the main two being VHS and Sony’s Betamax, in a rivalry that would be repeated many years later with HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Eventually VHS became the format of choice, mainly because the exploding video rental business seemed to prefer the VHS system, which inevitably influenced consumers choice of system.  My family first rented a VHS machine in 1983- the first film we rented was Poltergeist.  I cannot describe to anyone of the current generation how much of a wonder and huge event it was being able to rent a film like that (remember back then we had four tv channels over here and a minimum three-year wait between cinema and (possibly censored) tv screenings of movies so seeing a twelve-month old Spielberg movie ‘On Demand’ as it were, was pretty mind-blowing).

Anyone who remembers those early days will testify to something akin to awe of this amazing technology. Something tactile still lingers in my memory about physically holding  those black plastic cassettes, the film -all those sights and sounds-  on that magnetic tape. Somewhere in  my loft I believe I still have a copy of a video rental magazine from July of that year -it had Tron‘s Bruce Boxleitner on the cover- which had a listing and short summary for every film then available on tape (which might indicate how few films were available back then). As well as summer releases of Tron and Blade Runner, I recall it featured a glowing review of newly-released Escape From New York, highlighting its remarkable stereo soundtrack. As  I recall, I believe VHS actually benefited the ‘look’ of Blade Runner– it certainly looked different then to how it would later on optical disc formats. Colours -particularly reds- were more blown and the smoky, grainy look of the film was accentuated by the low resolution of the tape. Something like how the workprint looks on the Blu-ray set now, only more so.

It would be a while before VHS rental would lead to the sell-through model as we know it today , i.e. actually buying reasonably-priced copies of movies on tape. Back then, you could buy a movie but it would set you back about £70.

Blade VHSMy copy of Blade Runner was back in the earliest days of the sell-through market. Housed in an over-sized hardcase such as would be found in rental stores (the case could be used for both VHS and Betamax formats), this copy of Blade Runner also used the same art direction of the rental copy of the film (note the ’15’ cert that is stickered onto the original artwork- the original release would not have had any certificate info as I believe at the time it wasn’t required on copies of films on home video- the era of the ‘video nasty’ would put paid to that). It’s interesting because the text on the rear of the case  is a carry-over of the publicity used for the films original abortive cinema release, long before the film would become popular and critically acclaimed. It also indicates a time when prospective renters would be given plenty of information on the back of a film’s case to inform them about the film, as they browsed the racks of titles.

“It’s man against machine in a race against time- Los Angeles in the year 2020. Huge neon advertisements illuminate the night sky above the city’s towering skyscrapers. The interiors, however, are murky and dark, the oppressive gloom occasionally relieved by beams of light from a roving spotlight. The majority of Earth’s population has left for outer space with only the misfits and decadent sophisticates left behind to populate the planet. Infiltrating this strange, derelict society are four replicants, laboratory-created creatures who are practically indistinguishable from humans- whose job it is to perform menial tasks in outer space, and who are forbidden, on pain of destruction, to set foot on Earth. These replicants have hijacked a space-shuttle by killing its crew and are now in Los Angeles passing themselves off as humans. It is up to super-cop Harrison Ford to seek them out and eliminate them before they can eliminate him…”

BR3Finally, here’s a picture featuring the alpha and omega of Blade Runner’s home video releases, with my early VHS copy alongside the recent 30th Anniversary Blu-ray edition. Like home video, Blade Runner has come a long way over those 30 years. Owning that VHS copy way back when, I could never have imagined the film receiving a Directors Cut or Final Cut, or a release including those as well as  the workprint and two theatrical versions.  I think in some ways that is why I will always keep that VHS copy of Blade Runner- it was the advent of VHS and the burgeoning home video market that saved Blade Runner. It gained an increasingly cult following as people used home video as an opportunity to discover the film and re-examine it with repeated viewings. Years before, the film would have been largely forgotten and only resurfaced on eventual network screenings; it may have been reappraised eventually, as I believe quality will always win out in the long run, but home video increased the speed of said reappraisal. Those days of feeling like a lone voice singing the praises of a film most had never even heard of seem a long time ago now, and I almost miss those days to be honest -the VHS copy reminds me of those days. Priceless.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

hobbit1When I first heard that Peter Jackson was turning The Hobbit into two movies, knowing how ‘complete’ the extended LOTR films were, I figured maybe it made some sense somehow. But the news that it had since been decided to mutate it into a trilogy of films made me fear the worst. Having now seen The Hobbit, I have to say my fears have been realised. Because this film is not The Hobbit. You could tell The Hobbit in a three-hour movie easily enough, and God knows this long movie is already just shy of three hours, but Jackson isn’t telling us The Hobbit‘s story here.  It’s The Hobbit with lots of LOTR prequel stuff thrown in that is simply unnecessary; so many times during this movie I kept on thinking, ‘hang on, what’s this doing here?’. I know many Tolkien die-hards despise the LOTR films, and can only imagine how much those guys must hate what has been done with The Hobbit. Over the course of three films when watched on disc in four years time as a box set, this may make some sense but Jackson is fooling no-one here if he’s trying to convince us this is an adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Liberties are being taken here. Whether its about giving us more Tolkien or fleecing us for more ticket sales/blu-ray disc releases we’ll just have to wait and see.

There is much to admire in the film. I loved the colour palette, deep reds and golds that reminded me of those wonderful Tolkien calenders the brothers Hildebrandt created in the 1970s. In that respect the film has a ‘look’ perhaps more faithful to the original Tolkien than the LOTR films did with their own muted palette. Martin Freeman is a very fine Bilbo, lending a surprising gravatas to the part. Gollum is always a marvel. You get the feeling McKellen could do Gandalf in his sleep, he’s so perfect as the wizard.

But its a long, long film, and much of the film is simply a collection of the very worst excesses of the LOTR films. The worst CGI tomfoolery of Fellowship‘s Moria is exaggerated during the escape from the goblin kings lair into a videogame platform-game sequence, more Nintendo Super Mario than Tolkien.  When said Goblin King turns up on the bridge to block the escape in a weird reversal of Fellowship‘s  Balrog moment, well, a feeling that I was watching a LOTR compendium surfaced and not for the first time.

Related to the wildly OTT CGI, impossible virtual-camera moves racing down vast canyons and spinning around characters and set-pieces in long single shots just irritate me and take me out of the film. Even in a fantasy move there has to be some grounding of reality? Characters plunge down abyssal falls and rise without hardly a bruise or scratch. Its all very reminiscent of the worse excesses of Jacksons King Kong remake where you could sense he didn’t know when to hold back. Which raises the question- flawed as they may have been, were the LOTR films a lucky accident, in the sense that, like the original Star Wars trilogy, fx limitations actually made them better movies?

(And forgive me for being mildly pedantic, but internal logic begins to stretch credibility- excuse a mild spoiler here by skipping to the next paragraph if you haven’t seen the film yet, but….  at the close of the film our heroes have been rescued, in yet another verbatim reprise of a LOTR moment, by giant eagles who promptly drop our heroes off on a high hill overlooking the remaining long and dangerous trek ahead of them. The question is therefore raised but not answered- why not simply ask the eagles to fly them the rest of the way and get us to the third film already? I mean, there’s still two more films to go. )

I realise I sound very critical of the film. I did quite enjoy it; I certainly enjoyed retuning to Middle Earth, seeing familiar faces, hearing Shore’s familiar score. But it does seem very… well, self-indulgent, as if editing has become a lost art, replaced by wild excess. You can imagine the execs, still flush with the success of the LOTR films, being unable to say no to Jackson’s every whim.

Walking out of the cinema I remarked to my wife; “well, at nearly three hours already, at least there shouldn’t be any extended version this time.”  Wrong, of course. Warners have since announced an intent to release the theatrical cut on disc in May with an extended cut next Autumn prior to the second film.  Well I guess that’s my question answered at the start of all this regards getting fleeced or not.

Dredd (2012)

dreddbluNote I’ve dropped that insane ‘3D’ from the films title that backfired so badly on the film’s theatrical release last September. As I’m someone who read the Judge Dredd strips in 2000 AD back when it all started in 1977, who bought the American reprints and various graphic novels, who even bought a Judge Dredd baseball cap back in the day, I guess I would be considered a dead-cert punter for the movies cinema release, right? Well, if they couldn’t even get me in through the box-office door what chance did they have? Okay, I may be a minority with my apathy for 3D (though the films utter failure makes my minority suspect), but really, the 3D-centric marketing and distribution evidently did it no favours at all.  So here we are several months later with the film’s Blu-ray and DVD release, and we are still stuck with the 3D nonsense, but at least we get a better choice regards seeing the film in 2D.

But the shadow hanging over this release is the shockingly poor box-office returns that this ambitious and, as it turns out, very good movie suffered last year which seem to have nixed any possibility of the mooted trilogy of films panning out. What should have been the first in a trilogy of ever more ambitious movies is just yet another frustrating  ‘what-if’ viewing experience like Michael J Bassett’s Solomon Kane film was a few years ago.  You can sense that a second, bigger and better film should follow it- that this film is sort of ‘proof of concept’ project, a tentative step into the larger world of Judge Dredd. But that second film won’t ever come.  And I’d contend its not the films fault.

Dredd, as the title would infer, is set in a dystopian future, in a  huge crime-ridden metropolis called Mega City One that is surrounded by irradiated apocalyptic wasteland.  Budgetary restrictions limit the films depiction of the city compared to the huge futuristic sci-fi world of the comic, but this actually helps the film regards cementing its sense of reality. I rather think  Dredd‘s Mega City One is an embryonic, formative version of that of the comic. It is pretty much a fascist police state, in which Judges patrol the anarchistic streets on machine-gun equipped bikes. These Judges are cop, jury and executioner, dispensing instant and brutal justice in an attempt to prevent society collapsing into bloody chaos.  In the comic the setting is used as an exaggerated allegory of our own world, with much darkness and twisted humour, and nuances impossible to digest into a 90+ minute movie.

Dredd has a simple plot, in which Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is tasked with  assessing psychic rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) whilst on patrol. Drug lord and  gang leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) is manufacturing and dispensing a virulent new drug called Slo-Mo which, when smoked, heightens its users sense of time. Ma-Ma maintains her lordship of Mega Block Peach Tree Towers as brutally as the Judges in the city beyond, literally skinning alive three of her competitors, but she comes under the attention of Judge Dredd when the bodies of said competitors are reported. Dredd takes  Anderson into the Peach Trees Megablock on a drugs bust. In order to stop Dredd and Anderson taking one of her right-hand men back to the Halls of Justice, Ma-Ma closes down her Megablock, shutting the Judges off from the city and any assistance. What follows is a violent life and death struggle as Ma Ma sets her army of thugs onto them- indeed, Dredd is pretty much one long violent set piece.

dredd_still_11

Its simple, its direct, its violent. Its a wonderful throwback to films like Dirty Harry (which is perfect as that film, and Eastwood’s Harry persona,  was obviously a big influence on the original strip back in the day), and the films of John Carpenter’s glory days such as Escape From New York, complete with a thundering techno score eerily reminiscent of Carpenters own early scores. Anybody who loves those films will find much to enjoy here. Its a kind of movie we don’t see much of anymore.

The film has inevitably attracted some criticism for its violence but I think its simply because its a violence that hurts, and I’d contend that this is preferable to that of most action films nowadays. In most action films we see now, characters are depicted surviving fights and stunts that would rip arms and legs off – its a cartoon videogame-influenced violence with characters as indestructible as Captain Scarlet. I much prefer violence that has a sense of reality- I remember back in 1982 how violent Blade Runner seemed; not because of how much action there was in it, but rather because the action resulted in cuts and bruises and broken bones to the characters to the effect that the audience empathised and felt the violence.

Dredd may be the perfect Judge Dredd movie.  Yes, I guess we’d all like to have seen more of Mega City One as it was in the comic,  but I guess a true depiction of the comic’s world would require a huge sprawling blockbuster budget, and we’ve already seen where that leads with Stallone’s frankly anaemic version some years back. Keeping to a low budget (reported between $35-$45 milllion) allowed the film-makers to stay true to the comics violent, nihilistic tone. That further Dredd films may have indeed managed to show more of the comic’s wider canvas just makes everything regards its financial failure even more depressing. I can only hope, vain as it may be, that Dredd‘s possible success on home video (because there really does seem to be a lot of people like me who were turned off by the original theatrical emphasis on 3D who are buying it on disc now) might result in a rethink regards green lighting another film. Because I’m sure there is a market for future Dredd films- its just that this crazy preoccupation the post-Avatar movie industry has right now, with turning film experiences into amusement rides, has simply got to stop. Its not about the technology and being able to charge the punters more, its about the storytelling.

Word has it that Dredd only got greenlit at all because of the 3D angle, and I firmly believe from my personal experience that, ironically, that is what killed it at the box-office. There is a lesson there but I doubt anyone’s taking stock of it in Hollywood. That’s really the most depressing thing about it all. I’ll say it again- its not about the technology and being able to charge the punters more, its about the storytelling.  Please. 

Amazing Spider-Man

Spider-Man_Comics_Weekly_Vol_1_15I’m not sure how definitive or faithful to the original Marvel comics any of the screen incarnations of our webbed wonder have been. Certainly when compared to the 1960’s cartoon or the 1970’s live-action tv-show, the four feature films that we have so far seen are pretty wonderful, abeit individually flawed. For myself though, as someone who grew up here in the UK in the early 1970’s devouring the weekly reprint comics, I remain unconvinced.

Its probably unfair, but remembering the wonderful Stan Lee/Steve Ditko/John Romita creations, the only truly definitive or authentic Spider-Man would be one set in the 1960’s era in which the comic was originally created and set. It’s an wholly unrealistic expectation on my part – its only natural for the movies to re-imagine the characters and stories for modern-day audiences, just as, I suspect, the contemporary comics have done in the decades since I stopped reading them. I guess in the current comics series Spider-Man exists in a world of internet and mobile phones etc. But for me, Spidey is always a part of that distant age that looks like an episode of Mad Men or a Jack Lemmon ’60s comedy. The whole radioactive spider thing, and the retro charm of villains like Dr.Octopus, the Vulture or The Lizard… its a world away from our modern age, and must be a difficulty for film-makers updating it for today’s audience.  I’d just love to see a 1960s-era Spidey on screen, complete with the waterfront hoods and film-cameras and printed newspapers and women in those lovely short-skirts and bright colours and… well, its a world long-gone now. But it would be a wonderful movie. Imagine an episode of Mad Men with the characters suddenly reacting as Spider-Man swings by the office window, chased by the Green Goblin on his glider. Sounds daft, probably- but to me, that’s how I ‘see’ the definitive Spider-Man movie.

No doubt that’s because the comics I read and loved were set (although at the time,  I don’t think I was actually aware of them being reprints of comics originally made a decade before)  in a 1960s New York; a magical, larger-than-life world a universe away from my Black Country home during the grim 1970’s – just as the original Star Trek show was rocking my world on the tv as it took me away to incredible worlds.   I remember lying awake in bed early on Saturday mornings waiting to hear the newspaper lad push the latest issue of Spider-Man Comics Weekly through the letterbox, and sneaking down the oh-so-creaky stairs without disturbing my parents to pick it up and bring it back to my bedroom and  feverishly devour the latest adventure, and then re-read it again.  I loved those comics.

I guess that’s the weird thing about superhero movies; they are inherently silly comic-strip ideas blown up into these huge  expensive blockbusters that seem to take everything so deadly seriously. In a way, that’s the secret of  Marvel’s current success with these movies- they do take them very seriously and ‘real-world’, not as something to be poked fun at as some earlier superhero films have done.  But translated to modern-day settings the Marvel movies in particular can sometimes feel a little out-of-place to me. The best thing about the final battle of The Avengers is that it reminded me so much of Jack Kirby’s wonderful Fantastic Four strip in which New York was attacked by the mighty  Galactus. That sequence of The Avengers was really like seeing a comic come to life- albeit it was the wrong comic and the wrong super-hero team. But there you go. I guess I sound like one of those Dr Who fans who think the original 1960s shows were the best, or Star Wars fans who prefer the Original Trilogy to the Special Editions (of course those Star Wars fans are quite correct, and I count myself as one of them).  We gravitate to those we grew up with I guess. Maybe there is some truth that modern films and tv shows and comics and other mass media are aimed at a different audience to us. Once you slip past the big 40 you may as well not exist as far as the marketing boys are concerned.

Still, regards the Spider-Man movies, I did quite enjoy the latest incarnation of our webbed wonder,  The Amazing Spider-Man movie, which I saw on Blu-ray over Christmas. Wasn’t really the Spider-Man I read when I was a kid way back when- infact, it was nothing like the comic I read- but it was okay. I think I preferred it to the Sam Raimi films and look forward to seeing where they take the next one now that everything is set-up (why oh why do film-makers feel the need to waste screentime -the Conan remake also springs to mind here- with redundant origin films?).   Oddly, the thing I really enjoyed about it was the James Horner score. Haven’t really heard a great James Horner score in ages; since Titanic he doesn’t get so many gigs or doesn’t need to pay the bills any more. I recall the period of his Brainstorm/Cocoon/Field of Dreams/Glory/Braveheart/Apollo 13 scores with some considerable fondness, and there was something about them in the new Spider-Man film’s score. It gave the film a little heart it otherwise lacked.  I just wonder if they intend to follow the Gwen Stacey arc that the comics did. Man, what they did (in issue 100, was it?) was positively traumatic and would make a great third film in a trilogy. We’ll see.

But I guess I’ll never see the Spider-Man movie of my dreams. It bugs me a little that they felt the need to re-boot the movie franchise so soon (and there’s another rant entirely) and didn’t have the nerve to do something really different, like how a 60’s-set movie would have been.

Anyway, a belated Happy New Year to everyone reading this. Hope to start making more entries here this year. Lets hope for some really great movies/books/tv shows worth writing about, eh?