Saturday, 31 January 2015

Birdman OST- Drum score by Antonio Sánchez

Amazing Soundtrack! We haven't listened to such an original soundtrack in years. Drummer Antonio Sánchez tries to make us understand the insanity of the main character Riggan who struggles to be someone in a individualistic society.

Enjoy the insanity of drums!

Do you like it? What are original soundtracks to you?

Friday, 30 January 2015

Big Eyes (3/5, Regular)

A love story Tim Burton style. In its sunniest feature since Big Fish, Burton delivers a colourful and enjoyable film but which lacks of solid dramatic content to really make it great.
This is the story of the melodramatic and sadistic marriage of painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) and her wannabe artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). Set in the US of the 1950s with all the snobbishness and sexism the decade suggests, the couple lose themselves in a degrading and downward spiral deception: Walter taking credit for his wife's work as it grew from small exhibitions to nationwide phenomenon. Suffocated by the shadow of her husband, Margaret decides to take a stand and show her true colours to a world with thirst of sensitivity and tenderness. 

In its 17th film, Burton delivers a film whose characters are strangely grotesque but tender. We recognize many elements which are characteristic of this complex director: a lonely 'wolf' (Margaret K. in this case) strange to the world and to herself that tries to be part of her context, a sexist and boring society affected by snobbishness and greed, a dangerous 'wolf' (Walter K.)who seeks the power to satisfy his deepest desires. We saw that in Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. Those films were powerful and dramatic. Big Eyes lacks that power. 

Being this sadistic lie at the heart of the film, Margaret K. escapes more and more into her art (children with gloomy eyes) and we assist to her alienation. However there is no dramatic development with her paintings specifically. Why does she paint like that? What did she have to say? The film is more about the lack of recognition than the paintings. It is like seeing one side of a coin but not the other one. It could have been brought up and integrated to the Margaret K-Walter K. deception. Also the last 15 minutes are so grotesque that makes you wonder if the actors didn't improvise the scenes to make it a bit more of a comedy. 

Nevertheless the shots are enjoyable and bright. We think sometimes to Big Fish but the dark eyes of the painted children shade the light. Danny Elfman's music is exceptionally discrete: it seems he wanted to be this time behind the red curtains. The film is entertaining and it is never boring: that is one thing you are assured with Tim Burton. However this is a film that will be forgotten. 


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Whiplash (5/5, Very Good)

A movie which increases tension such as a drumming that goes stronger and powerful without dismissing its brutality and also its beauty. A must-see.
Andrew (Miles Teller) is a young wannabe jazz-legend who's trying to prove himself in a competitive music school. His dedication and passion is rewarded when music teacher Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) asks him to join a Jazz band with other students. However Fletcher's method to push his students to perfection is through verbal intimidation, violence and humiliation. Decided to struggle and prove his worth to the tyrannical Fletcher, Andrew's life will face vertigo and the fury of drums will take possession of his humanity to make him become either a 'no one', either a legend.

(Click here for some crazy jazz!)

Second film for young director Damien Chazelle and this one gives a sense of freshness and originality. How many films took the challenge of telling a musician's humanity degradation along with a characterization of the instrument that finally possesses him? How many films were based on drummers? Hard to count. Therefore the story (nominated for the Oscars 2015 as Best Adapted Screenplay) is a great achievement: not only it squashes the classic cheesy relationship of "Mentor-Student" but it adds a Full Metal Jacket style through the personification of Simmons as a cruel perfectionist. This seek for perfection degrades not only the student but also its mentor. Should we loose ourselves in the instrument in order to seek perfection? Should we become 'them'? 

 Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are astonishing in this film. The first has progressed enormously since his acclaimed acting in The Spectacular Now (2013) and J.K. Simmons proved us that he can take a film up on his shoulders. His acting has been worth a nomination for the Oscars 2015. The editing of the film is marvelous: drum solos are not here to entertain our ears but also to push the drama forward. Shots are carefully composed so that we feel the aggressive beat and let it takes us to a certain type of madness. Of course, there's a great care in the soundtrack: drums are prevalent and show how important they are in music, especially with jazz. Tune it, it's worth it. 

Be prepared to be taken by the madness of drums and the savage side of each of us. This film is about that. It's about loosing track of our ourselves and to recover. It is about making a mess with everything. It is about loosing control: this is a drummer's story.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Theory Of Everything (4/5, Good)

This film assumed the challenge of telling the story of scientist Stephen Hawking putting forward the difficulties faced in his marriage. Was it worth it? Definitely.
Biopics are always difficult. Actually there aren't many of them which are brilliant, excepting  A Beautiful Mind and Ray. How can you tell the real story without undermining cinematographic elements such as humor, romance, drama. This film definitely handles its task at its best and harmonises both love story and scientific achievements from Stephen Hawking. 

The film focuses on Stephen Hawking (great acting by Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife Jane (Felicity Jones). She was a PhD student on medieval poetry, he was a doctoral student trying to explain the laws of the universe. A strong love is emerging from their hearts but when it is met, Stephen starts to suffer a disease. He is given two years to live. Wanting to stay by his side, Jane takes care of Stephen until destiny would separate them. However time goes by, a family is made and many questions arise within the couple. Are they made to be together? 

Good cinematography supported by a solid script. Whenever there is darkness, there is light. Whenever there is light, there is darkness. We follow this couple facing peculiar challenges in their destiny and how it affects them.Besides suffering uncommon issues (progressive physical degradation of Hawking) there is honesty in this story. Facing obstacles in life arises doubts and questions. Don't we all? 

This film achieves to tell the remarkable story of this couple, but however from Jane's point of view. We could have expected a more developed story from Stephen and the theme of a bright mind being trapped in a body. We see this latter on his sunny side and we can't explore the dark one. That could be the topic of a new film. Still, buy your tickets for this one! 


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