Clint Mansell

Stoker

At the beginning of Stoker, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) tells us she can hear things more clearly than most people, a talent that is quickly apparent seeing as every noise and sound in India’s life is amplified. From the crunching sound of an egg shell to the sharpening of a pencil, Stoker‘s sound design seems to take its cues from the opening credit sequence of Dexter, by turning seemingly innocent sounds into violent ones. Stoker’s director, Park Chan-Wook, makes his American debut here, but is well-versed in creating creepy worlds where violence and passion live hand-in-hand. This world is brought to eerie life by composer Clint Mansell, who creates a score that works seamlessly with Stoker’s unique sound design, plus a catchy hip-hop influence from Emily Wells and a new piano duet by Philip Glass. India’s voiceover, which begins the film and explains her unusual talents, is captured in the soundtrack’s first track, “I’m Not Formed by Things That Are of Myself Alone” and bleeds into Wells’ “Becomes The Color,” an upbeat song with a haunting chorus and a deconstructed ending that makes it the perfect introduction to Mansell’s score. His first track, “Happy Birthday (A Death in the Family),” has a light piano refrain that directly mirrors the chorus in “Becomes The Color,” introducing the importance of piano and creating a sense that everything heard (and possibly seen) in this world is simply an extension of something else.

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Aural Fixation - Large

You may have watched, or even just heard of, the slightly strange video featuring Shia LaBeouf and dancer Denna Thomsen that hit the web a few months back. The video features the pair dancing, fighting, and losing themselves to the almost sad sounding piano refrains of Sigur Rós’ “Fjögur Píanó” from the band’s latest album, Valtari. But even though the duo may have been performing to the music, the production was clearly more than a simple music video. Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, the video was directed by Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach) and is one of seventeen videos commissioned by Sigur Rós to be a part of their Valtari Film Experiment. Rather than simply going on tour to bring their latest album to the public, Sigur Rós had various filmmakers and artists take each of Valtari’s tracks and create their own visions inspired by them. Music and images have long gone hand-in-hand, with music used to score a film or images are used to depict the meaning behind a song, but when paired together, their impact becomes even greater. Sigur Rós, a band that has never shied away from experimentation, has taken the first step by creating the music and then released it to be re-imagined by others. Bands usually create music videos to accompany their songs and give fans a greater look at the song’s meaning, but this experiment allows those outside of the band have complete creative control to see what that freedom yields.

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Park Chan-wook is a talented filmmaker who’s never afraid to get experimental and crazy with his work, so film fans have been looking forward to his first English language movie for quite a while. The director’s breakthrough into the world of Hollywood will finally come in the form of a film called Stoker, which stars Mia Wasikowska as a teenage girl who’s forced to reconnect with a strange and probably dangerous uncle after the untimely death of her father. Just hearing that Park has gotten the chance to direct names like Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Jacki Weaver is enough to make Stoker a heavily anticipated release already, but today some new news broke that makes the movie look like even more of a surefire delight. According to Film Music Reporter, composer Clint Mansell has scored the film, and is currently recording its music at Air Studios in London. Mansell has been doing film work for a while, but he’s probably best known as being a longtime collaborator of Darren Aronofsky’s. Their work together has created some of the greatest scores of the last decade or so, with the soundtracks for Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain probably being the high points. Mansell was also responsible for the mellow tones that made up the score for Duncan Jones’ debut film Moon, a track list that surely shows up on a lot of movie score nuts’ top-ten of the 2000s lists. He is also a particular favorite of our own Allison […]

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Aural Fixation - Large

I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite composers perform selections of his work live a few weeks back, and to say it was a magical evening would be an understatement. But before I went completely over the moon (pun!) from the experience, I was given the opportunity to speak with the man himself about the evening, what led him decide to bring his scores to the stage and his process as one of the industry’s most successful and innovative composers. Keep reading for my interview with composer Clint Mansell (Moon, Black Swan, Requiem For a Dream) and keep your eyes (and ears) peeled as it sounds like these live performances may just be the start of a whole new way of experience film scores.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Los Angeles’ Largo at the Cornet is a small venue where even the last row in the house is a good seat. There is no preferential treatment here, no seats sectioned off for “special” guests. In previous trips, I did the non-spoken eye move indicating that the two seats in my row were open to a tall man in a baseball cap (who I later realized was Rainn Wilson) proving that everyone here is equal, we have all gathered for the same reason and that unspoken knowledge makes the link between each person in the room (at least for those few hours) palpable. The man of the hour this particular night even pointed out that while he had put him on the guest list, he was not sure Moon director Duncan Jones had actually made it out only to have Jones confirm his presence by shouting, “I’m right here, mate!” from only a few seats down from me. This layout gives the sense of an intimate and unique experience that makes you feel like the artist is performing from the couch in your living room. There are no backstage passes here or over inflated egos, just a group of people who have come together for a common interest, and on this night it was the music of Clint Mansell.

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Before he taught Mickey Rourke how to wrestle or Natalie Portman how to Adagio, Darren Aronofsky was showing Jared Leto how to shoot up. Requiem For a Dream was the director’s second feature film – Pi came out in 1998 – and his position as an auteur began to grow from there. Some consider Requiem Aronofsky’s best film. Regardless if you find it engaging or grotesque, there’s no denying the man’s direction on the film is something to be appreciated. Even studied. So let’s take a few minutes and hear what Aronofsky had to say about Requiem For a Dream. There’s bound to be wonderful anecdotes about the director skipping with Marlon Wayans down the Coney Island boardwalk or buying ice cream in the Central Park with Jennifer Connelly. Surely this commentary can’t include anything too serious. The movie has a giant refrigerator that dances and sings. It may be gnashing and screaming, but it’s all how you look at it, right? Anyway, let’s get into it. The uppers are about to kick in, anyway.

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The 2011 Gift Guide: Music for Movie Lovers

Welcome to The Holiday Gift Guide, our yearly stroll through all the things you absolutely should have on your Christmas list this year. To begin, we encourage you to strap on your little, tiny headphones, and get ready for more giving suggestions from your favorite Rejects. Do you have a friend or family member on your Christmas list that always has their fingers on the pulse of the music scene, making buying them anything music-related nearly impossible? Have no fear – I turned to the silver screen to find music they may not have heard from movies they might also enjoy. And, as has been the trend lately with popular artists starting to compose for film, I rounded up some current composers and the bands you may not know they started out in. Plus a few artists you may not know who have begun composing for films. This list features movies that came out this year with kick-ass soundtracks as well as albums from artists-turned-composers. If you have someone in your life that is a music lover and into movies, then this is the list for you. And if you are that person, this list may give you some ideas of what to include on your own wish list. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, but merely suggestions to help inspire ideas and give you a jumping off point. And if there is a great suggestion I overlooked, feel free to sound off in the comments and let our […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is many things, including a dark and sexually charged drama, a cautionary tale, and even a horror film of sorts. It’s a study of madness in the guise of obsession, a look at an artist striving for perfection, and a tour de force performance by both the lead character and the lead actress. (Hell, it could even be an unofficial sequel to Mirrors 2.) But for all the beauty and brilliance on display as the film explores the idea of suffering for the sake of art, it fails to find a human heart at the center of the story. We’re dazzled and terrified, but much like beauty itself the effect is only skin deep.

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moon-poster1-header

If you thought that the trailer we showed you yesterday for Duncan Jones’ sci-fi drama Moon was good, wait until you get a load of the new teaser poster that debuted over at Ain’t It Cool News late last night.

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