I’m currently working on restructuring the content of my website; apologies for the lack of new content. Hopefully I should be up and running with it before the end of May! I hope you’ll return, then, to see what has changed.
SoundWorks is a site that takes a look behind the scenes for the sound and score design of movies.
The goal for the SoundWorks Collection is simple; we are dedicated to profiling the greatest and upcoming sound minds from around the world and highlight their contributions. The SoundWorks Collection was created by Director Michael Coleman in November of 2009 in a partnership with MIX Magazine, several audio focused college schools and programs, and the support of the online sound community worldwide.
The SoundWorks Collection takes you behind the scenes and straight to the dub stage for a look into audio post-production for feature films, video game sound design, and original soundtrack composition. This exclusive and intimate video series focuses on individuals and teams behind-the-scenes bringing to life some of the worlds most exciting projects.
I highly recommend checking out the videos from their Film Sound Profile collection (one of the most developed sections so far), which offers some insight into the sound design of movies like Brave, The Hunger Games, Inception, The Dark Knight, Tron: Legacy, Star Trek and more.
No doubt many have now seen this around, but it’s worth sharing again.
Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, “Paperman.” […] Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction.
Journey is a beautiful and haunting game created by thatgamecompany for the PS3. If you don’t have a PS3 and you have the time to spare I recommend checking out one of the many player-created gameplay videos on YouTube to see just how visually stunning this game is and the way in which the sounds and music enhance the experience. Part of the beauty of the game is that the journey need not be undertaken alone. At each level players may be temporarily connected to one other player, and they have the option of helping each other, travelling together, or going their separate ways. Leaving the level together means continuing the journey together. The other player is never identified and the only communication they have is through in-game ‘singing’. Many people have experienced the feeling of a very strong bond with this unnamed fellow player.
Austin Wintory, the composer, received a Grammy nomination for his work on Journey. And rightly so; it’s a beautiful soundtrack, the entirety of which may be enjoyed on YouTube:
This globetrotting film is, at it’s heart, about family. Just not the most loving kind.
In this, the latest James Bond movie that also marks its 50th anniversary, the plot almost necessarily turns inward on MI6 itself, with the story feeling claustrophobic and very personal. After a harddrive containing the names of undercover agents is lost, and Bond disappears for a while, M herself is targeted as the unhappy focus of a bitter former golden child. Names of the undercover agents will be released every week until M is destroyed, one way or another.
Skyfall’s story is where most of this movie’s strength lies; M is brought to the fore and the movie is as much hers as it is Bond’s. Her past threatens her future, and in so doing throws into sharp comparison the shadow of a younger and more idealistic M with the practical and cynical leader that she is today. However it also signals a shift away from the rest of the films in the Bond franchise. The psychodrama bent makes this one the least Bond-like film I’ve seen, while simultaneously bringing to the fore a side of Bond that we haven’t seen since Connery’s turn in the iconic role.
Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Naomi Harris, and Ben Whishaw all turn in fine performances. No complaints; they each did their part well. The stand out performance for me came from Bérénice Marlohe, who was captivating, stealing all the scenes she was in. By far one of the best Bond girls of the ‘femme fatale’ lineage that I’ve seen. From goddess, to priestess, to sacrifice; she was magnificent. Her strength is all brittle sharp edges presented with a too-wide smile, that makes her mesmerising, and her death regretful. The settings are also given their cinemagraphic love-notes, from a Shanghai that electrifies and excites, to the sultry golden glaw of Macau, the sensible and stately London, and the rolling hills and fog of Scotland. One of the best assassination scenes occurs in neon noir Shanghai, while Macau champions a more traditionally Bond-like fight in a Komodo pit.
As great as the action, acting, story, and scenery were…there was still something about this film that threw me off. At the one moment in the film that I should have felt something, that I so desperately wanted to feel something, I felt nothing. And that was a problem. There’s no doubt this film is tight, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but some vital connection was missing for me. I’m also left with the feeling that the Bond we see at the end of the film has nowhere left to go.
Overall? 7 out of 10.
Recommendation? It’s a Bond film! See it.
Trailer: Official trailer.
Reviews: Box Office, Slate, AV Club, Hello, Tailor
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw
A surprisingly engaging story based on historical events, this movie benefits from having a charming lead in Junichi Okada.
An adaptation of Tow Ubukata’s book, Tenchi Meisatsu is based on the life of Santetsu Yasui (later, Shibukawa Harumi), who was appointed as the first official astronomer during Japan’s Edo period. After his clan lord sends him to join an expedition, mapping Japan using the North Star as a guide, Santetsu Yasui realises that the current calendar is inaccurate and that astronomical events can no longer be accurately predicted. His love of mathematical puzzles, the heavens, and the support of his friends all aid him as he struggles to understand the movements of the heavens.
It’s hard to imagine that a plot based upon the creation of a calendar can sustain an entire film, but it does, thanks largely to engaging actors. The film starts by introducing us to Santetsu Yasui, an affable young Go player with an interest in mathematics and a fascination with the stars. While every other character is secondary (from mathematicians to clan lords and astronomers to imperial advisors), they’re nonetheless portrayed as wholly realised people, whose lives we can imagine beyond the scope of what we see to be just as intriguing as the journey we’re currently on.
The editing is occasionally strange, largely where years fly by without much indication (amusingly enough, considering the focus of the story) and the soundtrack is a little instrusive; they’re small complaints, but they’re enough to hold you back from being as fully immersed and captivated by the story as you could be. Comedic beats are played much better than dramatic ones, but the cinematography is lovely, the sets stunning, and the rest of the editing neat and unobtrusive.
This isn’t an amazing film, but it is a solid historical drama that makes the absolute best of a stellar cast, and a story that needs little embellishment for the translation to screen. Watch it, and you just might find Santetsu Yasui’s enthusiasm and spirt as admirable and indomitable as I did.
Overall? 7 out of 10.
Recommendation? It’ll play just as well on the small screen, so if you miss it in the cinema make a note to check it out on DVD.
Trailer: Full trailer.
Reviews: The Japan Times
Director: Yôjirô Takita
Starring: Junichi Okada, Aoi Miyazaki, Ryuta Sato, Kiichi Nakai, Koshiro Matsumoto, Kamejiro Ichikawa, Takashi Sasano, Ittoku Kishibe, Yu Yokoyama, Dai Watanabe, Akira Shirai
Genre: Drama, Historical