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Anne with an E, based on the popular Lucy Maud Montgomery novel Anne of Green Gables, recently premiered on Netflix with some initial hesitation from critics, which stemmed from the uncertainness of how the famous tale was going to be reimagined. Once critics and fans had a chance to indulge in the entire season of Moira Walley-Beckett’s version, now with a rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, they understood that she was just trying to tell her version from the subtext of the novel, more in between the lines. Vanity Fair went on to say, “The interplay between Anne’s dark and light sides makes for a fascinating update.” Assisting Moira in successfully bringing this adaptation to life were Toronto based composers Amin Bhatia and Ari Posner, whom describe their score for the show as Maritime/Celtic on one hand but classical and dramatic on the other. We decided to speak with Bhatia and Posner about musically bringing this beloved Canadian tale to the small screen and what their process was like.
Did you end up with a specific sonic palette to continually draw from for Anne with an E, or did the sound of the show simply keep evolving and expanding as you continued working on it?
We started with a particular sonic palette but as each episode completed editing, everyone in post-production would refine and develop styles and ideas that would extend that palette in all areas: music, sound design, dialogue and mixing.
Did you all work with the Anne with an E sound designers at all? If so, what was your relationship/interaction like?
The show is very intimate and organic. It takes a lot of care and coordination of music, sound effects, dialogue and mixing to support the story without getting in the way of it or of each other. So yes, we were all in constant communication and we all worked together deciding who covers what and when. The famed team Sound Dogs handled the sound design aspects and they were literally down the hall from our studios. Between them and Technicolor’s re-recording mixers Alan DeGraaf and Tom Murray, we all worked together in “building the barn.”
What was the most challenging scene in season 1 for you all to score and why?
Amin – It’s never the one you expect. Some cues you feel will be a challenge and they come together easier than you thought. But others prove to need several rewrites till it works. A scene where Matthew goes to town to buy Anne a dress inspired me to write a waltz for piano and fiddle but repeated tries were just not “masculine” enough for the scene. I had written the cue for Anne when it should have been for Matthew. Finally I had to abandon it and go with French Horn using flute as a small counter-melody. Even then I had too many layers going and we were running out of time. Huge thanks to mixer Alan DeGraaf for helping simplify it by carving out the basic elements and muting others in the final mix. Again proving the old adage that “less is more”.
Ari – I did many rewrites on a sequence where Matthew brings back a new dress for Anne and she walks into her room and sees it for the first time. The showrunner described it to me as if Anne were seeing the sun for the first time in her life…she has never received a gift even remotely as beautiful as this. It was quite a long sequence and I kept taking it to a more touching emotive place rather than joyous…I’m not quite sure why…it was just instinctual. In the end I pulled it all apart and improvised a piano sketch that covered most of the scene. Then with some tweaking and the addition of strings and tin whistle, the cue finally took shape…and just in time too!
What is great about your score is sometimes it is very minimal, yet powerful. Like in episode 2 when Anne arrives back to the house and walking upstairs looking at everything. Was your initial strategy that less is more or did it just end up working out this way?
This was definitely the kind of show where less is more. In many cues the rewrite would be to take out the countermelody or simplify the number of instruments playing at the same time. That particular scene for Anne arriving has motifs and textures from both of us. As Anne walks back into the house music is very solemn with some Celtic overtones, then when she goes upstairs and sees her room we change the music to a more magical ephemeral texture for her sense of wonder.
What would you say the main benefit is to having two composers scoring Anne with an E?
First there’s a practical benefit in that there are two of us to handle the show’s deadlines. We divide up the music workload by storyline and we each handle different parts of the organizational aspects, like meetings, scheduling and emails. When one is deep in writing cues, the other deals with emails and organizing things with production.
Secondly there’s a musical benefit in that each of us have a different style of writing but we overlap in our love for orchestral music and melody. So we’re constantly challenging each other with new themes and progressions that can be passed back and forth for development and variation. It keeps the bar high!
What’s the most important element of your studio? What’s your favorite instrument (real or virtual) to reach for?
It’s not any particular instrument. The most important element is the organization. You have to sort out the palette of instruments to use (and not use) in your computer and you have to ensure you have the right players for the real instruments. Then it all needs to be clear in your mind so that as you are composing and playing all the parts, you know every sound or player needed to write and can orchestrate the cues quickly.
Can you remember the first tv show you saw or the first moment where you actually recognized a show’s score?
Ari – As a kid I was quite captured by the songs and score to Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz. Of course, it was the songs I noticed first, but because the melodies were also woven into the fabric of the underscore, I started to take notice of the less obvious music as well.
Amin – When I was eleven years old I snuck downstairs to watch the TV premiere of Planet of the Apes while my parents were asleep. They we concerned it was too scary for me and they were right. I had nightmares for weeks about apes invading our house…but I was also banging away on the family piano trying to figure out all the motifs from Jerry Goldsmith’s amazing score.
Learn more about the composers here: http://aminbhatia.com/ http://www.arimusic.com/
Photo credit: Scott Murdoch »
Over the last few years, the Royal Albert Hall has become the go-to venue for a remarkable array of film music concerts, be they live orchestra alongside viewings of a movie (such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I was lucky enough to catch last year), blending orchestral pieces with film related music concerts for franchises such as James Bond, or in this case a bevy of classic film score suites composed by the late, great Elmer Bernstein.
One of the signature film music composers of the 20th century, arguably able to stand on a podium with the John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith’s and James Horner’s of this world, Bernstein scored some of the most legendary pictures in Hollywood history, from The Ten Commandments through to Ghostbusters and beyond. Royal Albert Hall, in presenting a »
- Tony Black
Brian Tyler wrote half an hour’s worth of music for “The Mummy” before director Alex Kurtzman even started shooting. The “Fate of the Furious” composer was on the film for a year and a half, ultimately recording well over two hours of music (for a film that only runs 107 minutes) with an 84-piece orchestra and 32-voice choir at London’s Abbey Road.
“There was more music than they could actually put in the theatrical version,” Tyler told Variety from Paris, where he attended the premiere of the Tom Cruise film. “I scored extra themes, backstory, mythology, all sorts of things.” And in an era when so many directors demand scores that avoid memorable melody, Tyler created a score with at least half a dozen identifable themes that intertwine and develop in the classic sense of scores past. Here is an excerpt from Tyler’s exotic-sounding main theme, complete with »
- Jon Burlingame
Jerry Goldsmith was already a veteran film composer with numerous iconic scores under his belt by the time he was enlisted to work on Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). He’d worked in radio and television through the 1950s, contributing music to classic shows such as The Twilight Zone (1959) and Perry Mason (1959) before making the move to film, writing scores for films as diverse in subject matter (and sound) as Stagecoach (1966) and Planet of the Apes (1968) in the 1960s and Chinatown (1974) and The Omen (1976) in the 1970s. Goldsmith’s rich orchestral scores for such films, which were informed and influenced by early 20th century modernist composers, are both experimental and economical in their use and development of thematic material. He explained, “What I really try to do is to take one simple motif of the material for the picture, and a broad theme, and construct it so they always can work »
Ryan Lambie Jun 2, 2017
Hollywood studios occasionally have an uncanny knack of announcing almost identical film projects at the same time. In the 1980s, we had rival police dog movies K-9 and Turner And Hooch. The 90s saw the release of rival eruption movies (Dante's Peak and Volcano), opposing killer space rock pictures (Deep Impact and Armageddon) and duelling insect comedies (Antz and A Bug's Life). We provided a detailed run-down on these rival movies back in 2015.
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Around the year 1989, meanwhile, film producers briefly fell in love with a curiously specific genre: undersea sci-fi horror. Between January 1989 and the spring of 1990, no fewer than five films all came out with a similar theme - DeepStar Six was first, followed by Leviathan, Lords Of The Deep, »
Easily the most mellow of the films of Sam Peckinpah, this relatively gentle western fable sees Jason Robards discovering water where it ain’t, and establishing his private little way station paradise, complete with lover Stella Stevens and eccentric preacher David Warner. Some of the slapstick is sticky but the sexist bawdy humor is too cute to offend . . . and Peckinpah-phobes will be surprised to learn that the movie is in part a musical.
1970 / 1:85 widescreen / 121 min. / Street Date June 6, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Starring Jason Robards Jr., Stella Stevens, David Warner, Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Peter Whitney, Gene Evans, William Mims, Kathleen Freeman, Susan O’Connell, Vaughn Taylor, Max Evans, James Anderson.
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard
Art Direction: Leroy Coleman
Original Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Produced by Sam Peckinpah »
- Glenn Erickson
Taking the slasher genre to both literal and metaphorical new heights, Ridley Scott’s Alien set the blueprint for sci-fi horror. Released nearly 40 years ago, much of Alien’s claustrophobic, isolated dread can be attributed to Jerry Goldsmith’s brooding, almost maniacal score. As Mondo is gearing up to release the 4Lp expanded score, the label recruited Tyler Stout for the art direction. With a cult following and bewitching back catalogue of work, his trademark new retro style is the perfect breeding ground to bring Alien to life.
“The Alien franchise is custom-made for me,” notes Tyler as he reflects on how he got involved in the project. “I’m 40 years old, collect video games and comic books, I’ve worked at three different video rental stores in my life and didn’t have a girlfriend till I was 25, and I married her. I even have the 1979 Kenner Alien toy, »
- Sam Hart
Author: Dave Roper
With Actors, Directors, Actresses and Screenwriters under our collective belt and Cinematographers still to come, we presently turn our eye towards Composers, whose music lends so much to the films they work on.
As with the other lists, credit is given for not merely one or two sterling scores, but rather a consistently excellent body of work with specific stand-out films. To be blunt, this is a trickier prospect than it at first appears. Just because a film is terrific or well-loved doesn’t necessarily mean that the score is itself a standout. We begin with perhaps the most obvious and celebrated film composer of them all…..
Goodness me. The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Long Goodbye, Catch Me If You Can, Star Wars, Close Encounters, Star Wars, Superman, Et, Born on the Fourth of July, »
- Dave Roper
1. A Patch of Blue (1965) For the tender relationship between a blind white girl (Elizabeth Hartman) and the kindly black man (Sidney Poitier) she befriends, Goldsmith wrote a haunting, delicate score featuring piano and harmonica.
2. The Sand Pebbles (1966) Goldsmith’s first epic score, for director Robert Wise’s film about a U.S. gunboat in Chinese waters in the 1920s starring Steve McQueen. He evoked an Asian atmosphere with exotic instruments, and his love theme (“And We Were Lovers”) was recorded by artists from Andy Williams to Shirley Bassey.
3. Planet of the Apes (1968) A landmark in film-music history, this unearthly, Bartok- and Stravinsky-influenced soundscape strongly implied that Charlton Heston and his fellow astronauts were marooned on a far-off planet… when, in fact, they were on Earth all along. »
- Jon Burlingame
When Joe Dante was asked about supporting the effort to secure a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Jerry Goldsmith, the director – who had worked with the respected composer on nine films over 20 years – said he was “flabbergasted” to realize Goldsmith didn’t already have one.
On May 9, the Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer of such classics as “Chinatown,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Patton” and dozens more will receive his star, posthumously, on Hollywood Boulevard just east of Highland Avenue. Goldsmith died in 2004.
Few filmmakers would disagree. Paul Verhoeven, who did “Total Recall,” “Basic Instinct” and “Hollow Man” with Goldsmith, recalls: “Every film was a new adventure, as Jerry was able to adapt to the most diverse narratives and styles. He never repeated himself, always looking for new, »
- Jon Burlingame
Jacqueline Bisset’s in a heck of a fix. Her hubby Alan Alda has been seduced by promises of fame and fortune from creepy concert genius Curt Jurgens, and is responding to weird overtures from Curt’s daughter Barbara Parkins. The pianist’s mansion is stuffed with occult books, and he displays an unhealthy interest in Alda’s piano-ready hands. Do you think the innocent young couple could be in a diabolical tight spot? Nah, nothing to worry about here.
Kl Studio Classics
1971 / Color /1:85 widescreen / 115 min. / Street Date April 18, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95
Starring: Alan Alda, Jacqueline Bisset, Barbara Parkins, Brad(ford) Dillman, William Windom, Kathleen Widdoes, Pamelyn Ferdin, Curt Jurgens, Curt Lowens, Kiegh Diegh, Berry Kroeger, Walter Brooke, Frank Campanella.
Cinematography: William W. Spencer
Film Editor: Richard Brockway
Original Music: Jerry Goldsmith
- Glenn Erickson
By Todd Garbarini
Curtis Hanson’s Academy Award-nominated film, L.A. Confidential (1997), celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and is the subject of an exclusive screening at Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre. The 138-minute film, which stars Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kim Basinger, will be screened on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm.
Please Note: Actress Kim Basinger, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, in addition to the Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild Award for her role as Lynn Bracken, is scheduled to appear in person for a Q & A following the screening.
From the press release:
Part of our Anniversary Classics series. For details, visit: laemmle.com/ac.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
20th Anniversary Screening and Tribute to Oscar-winning writer-director Curtis Hanson
Q & A with Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger
Tuesday, May 9, at 7:30 Pm at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre
Laemmle Theatres »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
A military coup in the U.S.? General Burt Lancaster’s scheme would be flawless if not for true blue Marine Kirk Douglas, who snitches to the White House. Now Burt’s whole expensive clandestine army might go to waste – Sad! John Frankenheimer and Rod Serling are behind this nifty paranoid conspiracy thriller.
1964 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 118 min. / Street Date May 8, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Martin Balsam, Andrew Duggan, John Houseman, Hugh Marlowe, Whit Bissell, George Macready, Richard Anderson, Malcolm Atterbury, William Challee, Colette Jackson, John Larkin, Kent McCord, Tyler McVey, Jack Mullaney, Fredd Wayne, Ferris Webster.
Cinematography: Ellsworth Fredericks
Film Editor: Ferris Webster
Original Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Produced by Edward Lewis
Directed by John Frankenheimer »
- Glenn Erickson
Please note: this review contains a light spoiler, something that's been revealed already in the film's promotion. But just flagging it here in case you've managed to avoid everything so far.
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Prometheus was a lot of things, but one of the things it seldom felt like was an Alien movie. In some respects, this was a positive; rather than offer a straight retread of his 1979 hit, director Ridley Scott went off in another direction - broadening out the Alien universe with tales of humanity’s origins and ancient gods on »
Just recently I was listening to the score for the imminent Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott’s return to the sci-fi horror franchise he inaugurated, and was struck by the plethora of material from Jerry Goldsmith’s original Alien score. Certainly Goldsmith’s work is a classic (although inconsistently treated by Scott in the final edit) but even so I had little reason to expect such a strong presence. Indeed, the application of the theme by Assassin’s Creed composer Jed Kurzel is wonderfully intelligent, bridging the gap between the events of Covenant and Alien via the power of music.
This got me thinking in a broader sense about the music from the wider Alien saga: truly, this is a rare franchise where there isn’t a dropped »
- Sean Wilson
Ryan Lambie May 15, 2017
Prometheus was billed as a prequel to Alien, but it was also a huge departure from that 1979 classic. Where Alien was a streamlined space horror - a ship, a monster, a small and rapidly diminishing crew - Prometheus opened up the franchise's vistas. What was dark and interior became bright and largely exterior; the story of one monster became the story of humanity's origins. In the place of pure astral terror, Prometheus aimed to ask Big Questions: where the Alien came from, where we came from, our species' innate need for religion, meaning and purpose.
How curious, »
“You say you hate Washington’s Birthday or Thanksgiving and nobody cares, but you say you hate Christmas and people treat you like you’re a leper.”
Gremlins plays midnights this weekend (May 5th and 6th) at The Tivoli Theater as part of the Reel late at The Tivoli Midnight series.
It’s Christmas in American picture-postcard town Kingston Falls. Billy Peltzer is given an unusual present; a cute little furry creature called a Mogwai. He is delighted with the gift until he accidentally gets it wet and it quickly multiplies. Worse still is to come when the new creatures are fed after midnight and transform into horribly mischievous Gremlins …
Gremlins (1984) is a fabulous flick, because it somehow manages to be both a sentimental good-natured modern-day fairytale, and an uproariously riotous comic horror film that stomps all over the nice wholesome image of Christmas and small-town America. The script by »
- Tom Stockman
"Music is the one thing that we all understand, that we don't understand." Gravitas Ventures has revealed a trailer for a documentary about the work of composers, titled Score: A Film Music Documentary. This played at film festivals all last year and is opening in theaters this June, which is great news because I've been waiting to see this. The doc profiles the work of composers and also examines how important music is to movies. Featuring interviews with composers including Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Trent Reznor, Rachel Portman, Junkie Xl (aka Tom Holkenborg), Brian Tyler, Thomas Newman, Bear McCreary, Moby, Garry Marshall, Jerry Goldsmith, and lots more. Hoping this goes deep into the art beyond just some chats. Here's the official trailer for Matt Schrader's Score: A Film Music Documentary, from YouTube: This celebratory documentary takes viewers inside the studios and recording sessions of Hollywood's most influential composers to »
- Alex Billington
When you think of movie scores names don’t get bigger than Hans Zimmer. About the only guy who is as big as Zimmer would be John Williams but I would say these two guys completely rule the movie scoring world. My personal favorite is Thomas Newman but there’s no taking away from a guy like Zimmer who is a total legend. Other names that pop up would be Jerry Goldsmith, Bill Conti, James Horner, the list goes on. Anyway, when you think of festivals like Coachella I think the last thing you think of are guys that are famous
- Nat Berman
There’s a sense I get from a lot of late-1970s American films that following the hope of the early 1960s, the anger of the late 1960s, and the despondency of the early 1970s, a lot of people felt that they had one last chance to truly reclaim the spirit of America, which was arguably on the precipice of being lost forever. With the bicentennial came a renewed focus on the foundations of freedom, democracy, and optimism on which the United States was founded, a realization of how far it had fallen from that promise, and how fast that fall seemed to have happened. We can look back now and see that in many ways they were right. A globalized economy pushed the working class to the margins. Government became limited in its capacity to help and unimaginably powerful in its capacity to destroy. Improved legislation for civil rights »
- Scott Nye
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