Atticus Ross

Gone Girl Tyler Perry

Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” opens with a quote from Tony Kushner’s “The Illusion” saying, “Love is the world’s infinite mutability.” David Fincher’s film adaptation also begins with this idea of mutability as he shows us dampened images of the Missouri landscape while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score whispers against it through moderate instrumentation. This subtle and underplayed approach to the music gives the feeling that you are embarking on a slow burn of a journey – which is exactly what happens in the novel and the film. As Gone Girl begins, Reznor and Ross’ music gives a pulse to the toned down, almost bleak surroundings we’re seeing, but never overpowers them. It’s this balance of having the music present while not overly influencing what’s happening on screen that makes Reznor and Ross’ score so successful.

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Atticus Ross

One of the staples of the Los Angeles Film Festival is the festival’s Coffee Talk series which bring together top names in the industry to discuss their craft and offer inside insights on what it is like to be a working director, screenwriter, actor, or composer. This year’s “Coffee Talks: Composers” panel featured The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo composer, Atticus Ross, John Dies at the End and Iron Man 3 composer, Brian Tyler, and Zombieland and End of Watch composer, David Sardy. It was an interesting panel with Tyler and Sardy sharing the experience of composing for big budget films while Ross had avoided some of those studio pressures to pave his own way through the industry. All three have different backgrounds with Ross coming from a band member’s perspective, Sardy a music producer’s perspective, and Tyler from an indie film into big blockbuster perspective, making the moments where the three agreed and disagreed all the more meaningful. Here are 10 things we learned.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie-related link dump written by a guy who is having all kinds of trouble typing at the moment. Look out, all you armchair copyeditors. This one might get a little wld. We begin tonight with the story of the afternoon: Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed that Springfield, Oregon is the basis behind the Springfield where Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie cause trouble. In response, the folks at Gizmodo have used Google Earth to show us What The Simpsons’ Springfield Looks Like in Real Life. The people aren’t yellow, as it turns out.

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Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The folks at the SoundWorks Collection have published yet another one of their excellent exposés on the audible world of Hollywood’s finest products. They’ve long been a bastion of quality exploration into the behind the scenes world of cinema magic. They also talk to some pretty talented people. In this case, they talk The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with the likes of Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Sound Re-recording Mixer Michael Semanick, and Re-recording Mixer, Sound Designer, and Supervising Sound Editor Ren Klyce. These are the folks who have brought a world of sound to the cold, death-filled landscape to David Fincher’s re-adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s popular novel. Because for every dark, broody story about violence against cats and pale women, there must be an industrial soundtrack.

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I have been an advocate of “Trent Reznor, Composer” after being blown away by the score he created for The Social Network last year (along with Atticus Ross) and was excited when I heard they were teaming back up again with director David Fincher for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When the first teaser trailer for the film dropped, set to their pulse-pounding version of “Immigrant Song” (featuring Karen O), I was clamoring to hear more of the “turned up to eleven” sound that seemed like it would permeate throughout the “feel bad movie of Christmas.” Unfortunately, this in-your-face attitude seemed to live in this song alone and did not extend to the rest of the score. After releasing a six-track sampler (which you can download here), I realized this score was going to be much more subdued than their previous collaboration, but I was still intrigued and hopeful of what was to come. After hearing the music in the context of the film during a screening this past week, I couldn’t shake the surprising feeling I had when walking away from it – disappointed.

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This year has brought us back to classic filmmaking from the silent film era with The Artist to the fantasy adventure Hugo, which recalled classic film moments (as The Film Stage rounded up here). The New York Times has even gotten in on the classical score action, drawing on booming horns and frenetic strings to help create horror and unease in their portraits of various actors’ impressions of classic film villains. It is an almost surprising turn in a year that awarded Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s electronic influenced score for The Social Network the Oscar for Original Score and saw electronic duos The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx creating the scores for Hanna and Attack the Block, respectively. Film scoring seemed to be going the way of the electric guitar, swapping out full orchestrations for synthesizers, but as 2011 comes to a close, it seems classic orchestration is not on its way out just yet. Full orchestrations of horns, drums, strings, and wind instruments filled theaters in films like The Artist and Hugo, taking us back to a time when live orchestras would play along with films. Their electronic counterparts tend to turn up the volume (who wasn’t rattled when Reznor and Karen O’s booming “Immigrant Song” in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s teaser trailer came on screen?) while classical scores are able to gain that same power from the sheer number of instruments called upon and layered together. Both work to draw an emotional reaction out of […]

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We all know that music is an important part of the film experience. It helps set the mood and has the power to completely influence a film’s tone. Changing the music, regardless of what is happening on screen, can suddenly alter the feel or perception of a scene. You take the sound out of a horror film (as I explored here) or replace intense score with cheesy pop music (as spoofed in Funny or Die’s mock Drive trailer) and suddenly the fear and the anxiety are taken away. You are less likely to jump at a sudden reveal without the musical jab that goes along with it and watching Ryan Gosling bash a man’s head into a wall goes from unsettling to humorous when set to Enrique Iglesias’ “I Can Be Your Hero.” Back before there was talking in film, music was the only thing to accompany the moving images and was used to not only convey the emotions being acted out on screen, but to also provide all the sound in the film. The Artist does a brilliant job of not only taking us back to a time of full and vibrant orchestrations, but also reminding audiences how different films were then from what we are used to seeing (and hearing) on screen now. In one of The Artist’s first scenes, this difference proven handily when the audience bursts into applause and you do not hear a single clap.

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Academy Awards broadcast. Please join us for our Live-Blog tonight (because we ask nicely), and while you wait for the winners, check out our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. Tonight’s the night! You find out if you will take top prize in your office pool, and, you know, you’ll get to see which fantastic films are most celebrated with little naked statues of gold. If you love the Oscars, hate them, or pretend to hate them while sitting riveted to the broadcast, one thing is clear: tonight is a night to celebrate the best in filmmaking. We love movies. So do you. Tonight we can all celebrate our favorites of 2010 even if they don’t win and even if they weren’t nominated. As for those in the running, they are all beautiful works of art, they’re all winners tonight, they went out on the field and gave 110%…and…yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s get to the winning, right? And the Oscar goes to…

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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