Seen any good movies? Or bad ones?

George

The ratio of people to cake is too big.
Fiddler came up this weekend and I learned something new. The film version won several Academy awards in 1971, including "Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score." It is not a surprise that it won even though the Sherman Brothers for Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were also nominated. What was a surprise to me was who received the Academy Award for Fiddler.

John Williams. It was his 4th out of a total 52 nominations, and his 1st of 5 wins.

There is no doubt in my mind that John Williams is going to be considered the greatest composer of our era.
Williams’s contribution to Fiddler was limited to arranging/orchestrating the original Harnick/Bock score (since the film didn’t use the original production orchestrations), and writing some extra background music, the music over the opening titles, and the entre’acte (intermission) music.

He’s known for his bombastic, post-Star Wars orchestral scores, and a little of that goes a long way with me. He’s certainly prolific, and I find it a lot more interesting when he ventures into new territory, like in AI: Artificial Intelligence, which I consider Spielberg’s greatest achievement.

Back to Fiddler, a musical close to my heart. The film was the first grown-up movie I saw, in 1972, and was blown away. My mom got me the cast recording as a gift after my first day of first grade; I was upset because it wasn’t the soundtrack to the movie I’d seen! There’s a superb documentary called Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, which is highly recommended.

 

Art Vandelay

that's a shame
Sort of movie related, the Danny Elfman interview on Mark Maron's podcast was great. He's a really interesting guy, and a music savant. Anyone who hears music in his head (listen to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack) and doesn't read or write music, but can get what's in his head translated to the final product is an off the charts genius. His story about the Batman soundtrack was funny.
 

RetroCOTfan

Well-known member
He’s known for his bombastic, post-Star Wars orchestral scores, and a little of that goes a long way with me. He’s certainly prolific, and I find it a lot more interesting when he ventures into new territory, like in AI: Artificial Intelligence, which I consider Spielberg’s greatest achievement.
Williams has long been my favorite movie composer, not necessarily for the bombast (although he is certainly prolific in that realm), but for his deft use of leitmotif to support and build on the film's characters, themes, places, etc. Listening to a soundtrack that ties all of that together in a way that perfectly complements the film lets me feel like I'm watching the movie, even if I'm just listening to the music while driving in my car.

And the melodies. Oh, those melodies. The man is a master of the melody, whether sweet, sublime, heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, confidence-inspiring, or fear-inducing.

But I also agree - hearing him stretch is always fun. I particularly enjoy finding recordings of his standalone chamber/orchestral works. Things like The Five Sacred Trees or Elegy. Oh, and of course he began his career as a jazz pianist and session musician, going by "Johnny" Williams. There's a jazz label that found and re-issued quite a few of his early (1950s era) jazz recordings, which is fun.
 

George

The ratio of people to cake is too big.
Williams has long been my favorite movie composer, not necessarily for the bombast (although he is certainly prolific in that realm), but for his deft use of leitmotif to support and build on the film's characters, themes, places, etc. Listening to a soundtrack that ties all of that together in a way that perfectly complements the film lets me feel like I'm watching the movie, even if I'm just listening to the music while driving in my car.

And the melodies. Oh, those melodies. The man is a master of the melody, whether sweet, sublime, heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, confidence-inspiring, or fear-inducing.

But I also agree - hearing him stretch is always fun. I particularly enjoy finding recordings of his standalone chamber/orchestral works. Things like The Five Sacred Trees or Elegy. Oh, and of course he began his career as a jazz pianist and session musician, going by "Johnny" Williams. There's a jazz label that found and re-issued quite a few of his early (1950s era) jazz recordings, which is fun.
He is quite prolific, and yes, a master. He paints pictures with music. It's a shame many don't know him beyond his Big Orchestral Moments.
 

RetroCOTfan

Well-known member
He is quite prolific, and yes, a master. He paints pictures with music. It's a shame many don't know him beyond his Big Orchestral Moments.
Agreed - it's the "trap" that all of the exceedingly prolific masters (of whatever medium) face. People know the most popular works, and other gems remain hidden. For example, Elton John is another one of my all-time favorites, and he is so much more than the 2-3 songs the average person would probably name if you asked what he sings. But I guess having a few "hits" that are known by many and a ton of other lower-profile work isn't such a bad legacy to leave.
 

josh

Administrator
Staff member
Cruella: Really surprised on this one. No idea who or how it got greenlit or how it got greenlit by Disney in particular. 20 minutes probably could have been cut. And I know it has nothing to do with the 101 Dalmatians or doesn't really fit her character blah blah but it's been 29 years since I've seen that so... 9/10. Really fun.

Raya and the Last Dragon: Not exactly the target audience on this one, but it was pretty cute even if the story/plot couldn't have been straightforward and the overall "teachable moment" has more holes than this site has updates to make. It's a kids movie right? 6/10 on animation.

An American Pickle: About five minutes of movie stretched into 90. I also watched 70% of this on a redeye flight which is may come into it. It was still nice enough and mercifully short. 4/10

Nomadland: Can't really comment without giving away my main problem with it. But would have just as easily not see it. 3/10

I Care A Lot: This was rated highly when I watched it but it's a 3/10 from me based mostly on the performances.

Probably no rush on "Cruella" but I'd give it 15 minutes and if you still hate it watch it for another 15. But I wouldn't pass it off because you vaguely remember "101 Dalmatians 4" from 20 years ago. It's definitely a popcorn Friday night thing once it's "free" on Disney+. Or you can come over.
 

Not That Josh

Well-known member
Recently re-watched Arrival and I enjoyed it as much as the first time.

I thought about trying to explain what I like about it but I don't know where to start, there's too much.
 

Mrs Darling

Well-known member
Luca was meh. As I expected from the trailers. Really not in the same class as other Pixar movies. And we couldn’t get over how the father character seemed to be a copy/paste from Cloudy w a chance of meatballs.
 

George

The ratio of people to cake is too big.

Summer of Soul (. . . Or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) is a documentary, a record of the 1969 Harlem Culture Festival, unearthed from never before released footage of the historic music festival and directed by Questlove, in his directorial debut.

It’s some kind of crime that this footage (and, largely, experience) has sat dormant for 52 years before reaching an audience, most of whom, myself included, never learned of the festival which it documents. Nevertheless, this is a perfect time capsule film, featuring almost nonstop music performances from some of the most prominent Black artists of the day, interspersed and overlaid with interviews and reminisces of those who performed and/or attended. The joyous music is made more meaningful by the addition of extra layers of social history, context in which the music can be understood. Too numerous to list, the artists all have in common the singular gratefulness of performing for the mostly Black crowd, conveying a searing sense of community and pride.

If you can’t make it to “the show” to see this (and seeing it on a big screen uninterrupted is another joy of this instant classic), it’s also streaming on Hulu.
 
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U

User56767

Guest
We finally caught The Bee Gees documentary and we’re blown away at the group’s ability to succeed in multiple eras and genres. I’d always thought of them as strictly a disco group and how wrong was I? And then after the disco backlash they were a hit-making songwriting team! The only thing I thought was missing was in the late 60s when they had a very Beatles sound, it would have been nice to see what the Beatles were actually releasing at the same time to get a better perspective on whether they were producing music that was original or derivative. A very minor complaint, though. Highly recommended.
 

George

The ratio of people to cake is too big.
We finally caught The Bee Gees documentary and we’re blown away at the group’s ability to succeed in multiple eras and genres. I’d always thought of them as strictly a disco group and how wrong was I? And then after the disco backlash they were a hit-making songwriting team! The only thing I thought was missing was in the late 60s when they had a very Beatles sound, it would have been nice to see what the Beatles were actually releasing at the same time to get a better perspective on whether they were producing music that was original or derivative. A very minor complaint, though. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed it as a “they did this, then they did that, and then…” doc. It hardly scratched the surface of their lives and careers. They deserved a much deeper dive into their lives and careers. It all felt rushed, especially compared to other musician docs (George Harrison and Rush each got 3-1/2 hours, Tom Petty got 4). It’s certainly worth the time, but it left me wanting more.
 
U

User56767

Guest
I enjoyed it as a “they did this, then they did that, and then…” doc. It hardly scratched the surface of their lives and careers. They deserved a much deeper dive into their lives and careers. It all felt rushed, especially compared to other musician docs (George Harrison and Rush each got 3-1/2 hours, Tom Petty got 4). It’s certainly worth the time, but it left me wanting more.
Definitely hard to condense 6 decades into 2 hours, so I agree 100%. But for what it was attempting to do - chronicling the multiple rises and falls - I thought it was very enlightening.

I’m REALLY looking forward to the Peter Jackson Beatles doc coming later this year.
 

Strangeite

Well-known member

Summer of Soul (. . . Or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) is a documentary, a record of the 1969 Harlem Culture Festival, unearthed from never before released footage of the historic music festival and directed by Questlove, in his directorial debut.

It’s some kind of crime that this footage (and, largely, experience) has sat dormant for 52 years before reaching an audience, most of whom, myself included, never learned of the festival which it documents. Nevertheless, this is a perfect time capsule film, featuring almost nonstop music performances from some of the most prominent Black artists of the day, interspersed and overlaid with interviews and reminisces of those who performed and/or attended. The joyous music is made more meaningful by the addition of extra layers of social history, context in which the music can be understood. Too numerous to list, the artists all have in common the singular gratefulness of performing for the mostly Black crowd, conveying a searing sense of community and pride.

If you can’t make it to “the show” to see this (and seeing it on a big screen uninterrupted is another joy of this instant classic), it’s also streaming on Hulu.
I heard about this on NPR the other day, and like you and I, the interviewer was flabbergasted that they knew nothing of this festival.

Plan on watching it this afternoon because it sounds like the perfect way to celebrate the 4th of July.
 

Not That Josh

Well-known member
I heard about this on NPR the other day, and like you and I, the interviewer was flabbergasted that they knew nothing of this festival.

Plan on watching it this afternoon because it sounds like the perfect way to celebrate the 4th of July.

I saw Questlove saying he didn't know about the festival, and he tends to know almost everything.
 
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