James Newton Howard

Nightcrawler

James Newton Howard is best known for his large, layered, cinematic scores for films like Maleficent, Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Hunger Games series. These orchestra driven scores are perfect for epic tales of good versus evil, intense battle scenes and journeys of self-discovery. But in Nightcrawler, Howard seems to have found his more edgy, electronic side, turning in a score that sounds more like something you would expect from a composer like Cliff Martinez – and that’s a good thing. Changing up your musical style not only helps push boundaries, it can also give us great music we may not have otherwise expected from certain composers. Danny Elfman created the quirky music for films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Big Fish, but he also created the dramatic scores for Good Will Hunting and Silver Linings Playbook and action films like Mission Impossible and Planet of the Apes. Randy Newman created the music for some of Pixar’s most popular films like Toy Story, Monster’s Inc., and Cars, but he also created the 1958 styled score for Pleasantville and the 1925 styled score for Leatherheads. John Powell also created the thrilling score for How To Train Your Dragon, a project very different from the pulsating action films he worked on like Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Ultimatum. That leads us back to Newton. Unlike some of the more epic sagas he’s composed, Nightcrawler is rough and dirty, telling the story of tenacious videographer Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who takes to filming gruesome crime scenes around Los Angeles […]

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Aural Fixation - Large

With temperatures on the rise and Comic-Con officially over, there is one place comic book fans can still find solace in the middle of these hot summer months – your local movie theaters. Christopher Nolan is poised to complete his epic Batman trilogy with the highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, set to hit theaters this weekend. Not only will Christian Bale be returning as Gotham’s caped crusader, he will once again be joined by his trusty butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), his business manager/tech wizard, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), and Batman champion, Commission Gordon (Gary Oldman) – to name a few. And in true Nolan fashion, some other faces familiar to the director’s work will help round out this final battle with Inception alums Tom Hardy taking on the villain role as Bane and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as hopeful police officer, John Blake. But Nolan’s affinity for working with those he has before does not stop at the cast. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight composer Hans Zimmer (whose score for Inception was one of the most memorable of 2010) returns to finish out the trilogy as well. While most of us will have to wait until this Friday (or for you late-nighters, Thursday at midnight) to see the conclusion of this heroic tale, Zimmer’s score (now available) takes us there now.

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For those of you who didn’t dig on Tarsem Singh‘s giddy Mirror Mirror, here is what you thought you wanted. Do not expect characters to be joking around or having a good time in Snow White and The Huntsman, as all that fun stuff is simply not cool and edgy enough for this grim universe. Mirror Mirror was for the sophisticated and playful child version of you, while talented commercial director Rupert Sanders‘ dark modern take is for that goth High School you, the person who prefers everything — even the kiddiest of things — to be dragged through an edgy, gritty filter. Dour Snow White and The Huntsman certainly is. In a fifteen minute cliff notes introduction, we’re quickly, and yet slowly, introduced to the reactionary Snow White (Kristen Stewart) as a child. We’re told she’s best friends with a boy named Will, who later pops up as a runner in the competition for most disposable character of the year. We’re told she’s famed for her beauty. We’re told her kingdom is dying. We’re told far too much, while hardly ever being shown. After the death of her sickly mother and the murder of her father she’s banished to a jail cell by the evil Queen: the bird heart-eating Ravenna (Charlize Theron).

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Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

When I look back through this past year, one film easily rises above the rest in the realm of soundtrack: The Dark Knight. The following video gives us a behind the soundboard look at the creation of The Joker’s theme.

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The musical score from The Dark Knight is still getting play on my music list, now it’s going to get a chance at an Academy Award.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
B+


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