6 items from 2015
Showtime has renewed “Penny Dreadful” for a third season, which, after Sunday’s finale, provokes some mixed feelings. That’s not because the show isn’t great fun to watch, but rather because there was enough poetry in its final chapter that even with numerous loose ends, it frankly wouldn’t have been a bad place to end things. As it was, the season-long story line involving a Satan-worshipping coven paid off handsomely, before scattering members of the central cast in a manner that will require dexterity to reconstitute them. Fortunately, series creator John Logan appears up to the task.
As rich as the season was, it often didn’t seem to be going anywhere with any urgency, with Logan and his splendid cast luxuriating in the florid dialogue and Gothic atmosphere. So it came as something of relief to see the pace quicken and tension rise in the final two episodes, »
- Brian Lowry
There was a brief stir in January when composer Harry Gregson-Williams publicly expressed, via Facebook, his surprise at hearing music he didn’t recognize at the premiere of Michael Mann’s thriller “Blackhat” — and at not hearing a lot of score he did write.
The composer says his Facebook post has been blown out of proportion, but admits it was disappointing to see music he toiled over dropped (or replaced) in the final cut. But, he stresses, that’s just part of the game.
“You win some, you lose some,” he says, relaying his early mentor Hans Zimmer’s comment that you haven’t made it as a film composer until you’ve had a score rejected.
Gregson-Williams is simply the latest in a long line of composers who’ve watched scores tossed out and replaced whole-cloth, partially substituted by pre-existing tracks, or mangled beyond recognition. Mann is notorious for »
- Tim Greiving
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
Amazon is selling the Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray edition at a savings of $200.
The set consists of 15 classic movies:
Rope, Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 version), Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy and Family Plot.
Every film is packed with sensational bonus features.
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- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Eric Lavallee: Name me three of your favorite “2014 discoveries”…
Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum: Plants Can Hear. Atmos. Stumbling Stones in Potsdam.
Lavallee: We read Nikole Beckwith’s Stockholm, Pennsylvania as psychological warfare —— what was the approach in audibly depicting Leia’s longing?
Kroll-Rosenbaum: Stockholm is a nuanced portrait of an incredibly complex situation. The music is full of possibility and openness. It comes in waves and breathes. It was important that the music leave room for interpretation, so that the audience could experience discovery along with Leia. Nikole paints in very clear and purposeful strokes, and the music is designed to be transparent in its motivation.
Kroll-Rosenbaum: There is a range of different kinds of music in the score. There is music that is about the outside, literally and figuratively. I built a harmonic structure out of two chords that sits somewhere between resolution and forward motion. I thought about ancient music, »
- Eric Lavallee
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
6 items from 2015
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