November 22, 2008

Bourne the next Bond?

In a move that could see the Jason Bourne series becoming Universal's answer to the Bond series, Universal Studios has signed an agreement with the Ludlum estate that gives them exclusive rights to the Jason Bourne character and first look at other Ludlum novels.
This move paves the way for future installment in the lucrative series, starring Matt Damon in the title role, which has already raked in over a billion USD worldwide.

Originally intended as a trilogy, there's a fourth flick in the works at present. Damon reprises his role, while Paul Greengrass (who helmed the last two outings), returns as the director. The as yet untitled film is set for a 2010 release.
Personally, even though I'm more of a Bond fan (especially since Craig's taken over), I also like the Bourne series a lot, and so, really look forward to seeing a whole series of Bourne flicks. That is, only if they can maintain the current (very high) standards....

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November 16, 2008

(Soundtrack) Quantum of Solace

Our Rating: 3.5
Music by: David Arnold

David Arnold really hit his melodic best with Casino Royale. He had really waltzed into John Barry territory with tracks like City of Lovers and Vesper. But, in Quantum of Solace, we see (actually, hear) Arnold doing what he does best-heavily percussive, off-kilter-at-first action cues. In fact, some of the cues appear to be really random and unmelodious on first listen. But then, after repeated listening, themes start emerging amongst all the mayhem. What first seems like one rambling mess, turns into something divine. Especially, after watching the movie, and seeing how well the soundtrack fits it. The way the music's been performed, it complements Daniel Craig's ruthlessness really well. The orchestra pulls hard on the strings, blows hard into the brass, beats the drums black and blue, thus giving the soundtrack a rather edgy, gritty and driven feel.
The album starts off with Time to Get Out, one of the better tracks. Snippets from the Bond theme are mixed with driving percussion to deliver a nice, foot tapping action cue to accompany the amazingly good car chase seen right at the start of the film. This is continued right into The Palio, which gives us more of the same, albeit, in a more frentic manner. The tension of the Palio foot-chase can actually be revisited while listening to this track. Bond in Haiti is a rather dense, but lilting track. On screen, it works well in providing the necessary ambience, but on disc, its 37 second runtime is 37 seconds too long. Sadly, the album contains more of such incidental, crappy tracks in Talamone and Bolivian Taxi Ride. Such 'title card' tracks (in that they are effecive in just conveying what country Bond is at the moment) were better done on the Casino Royale soundtrack.
Pursuit at Port Au Prince is a nice little action piece, but I suspect that 10 years down the line, it'll seem very jaded. The extensive use of electric guitars and repetitve drums firmly cement this track as belonging to this year, as opposed to the timeliness of traditional orchestral music. But, the track is rounded up in a very flamboyant and Bond-like manner, with a rendition of the 'pre-Bond' Bond theme from Casino Royale, which merges into the traditional Bond theme really well. Field Trip also features these two renditions, and is one of the Bond-est tracks on the album.
Night at the Opera features the Dominic Greene theme, which we first heard in Greene & Camille in full glory, performed on an orchestral harp, with army marching band like percussion driving it nicely along.
The better moments of the album come when the Vesper theme from Casino Royale is reprised, like in What's Keeping You Awake, Forgive Yourself and I Never Left. They instill some humanity into Bond's character and help us in understanding what exactly is driving him along. And, let's just face it, the Vesper theme WAS really amazing!
Target Terminated is a generic action cue played out during the aerial dogfight. It effectively combines heavy percussion with fragments reprised from the action cues from Casino Royale, specially the ending, which is a faithful copy of the ending of African Rundown.
By far the coolest reprise of the Bond theme comes in Oil Fields. The track starts off extremely dark and tense, and then about midway through it, we get to hear a rather determined and driven reprise of the theme. In its 2:30 runtime, the track conveys just how much of a bulldog Bond really has become. Gone are the days of the sleek yet hammy Bond, Craig's Bond is going to get his way by hook or by crook.
Sadly, after this, none of the track quite match up, with nothing of note in the next 5 tracks (including the theme song, Another Way to Die) except another reprise of the Bond theme at the end of Perla De Las Dunas. The reprise starts of very softly, gradually gaining volume and momentum, till its rather mute ending.
All in all, this album, though a good compilation of action cues (like the movie it accompanies), doesn't quite match up to its predecessor (again, like the movie it accompanies). Buy it only if you're an avid David Arnold fan...

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Dark Knight snubbed

magazine reports that the soundtrack for Chris Nolan's masterpiece, The Dark Knight, won't be eligible for an Oscar nomination. The score, credited to Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, has been disqualified because too many other people were also listed as composers on the score cue sheets.
Besides Zimmer and Howard, three others were listed as 'composers'-music editor Alex Gibson, ambient music designer Mel Wesson and composer Lorne Balfe. According to Academy rules, for a score to be eligible, over 70% has to be attributed to the principle composer (in this case, Zimmer and Howard). Even though all involved signed a document saying that this was the case, the Academy was left unmoved.
This comes as a real disappointment for me. The soundtrack was one of the most innovative, yet melodic ones I've ever heard, and had that special quality of growing on you each time you listened to it. After an Academy snub for the equally wonderful Batman Begins score (incidentally, because of the same reason), I was really hoping to see Zimmer and Howard get the gold statuettes for The Dark Knight....

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November 1, 2008

Angels and Demons teaser

The first teaser trailer for Angels and Demons is here. Check it out....

Looks pretty impressive, and from what I can gather, Tom Hanks has done away with the crazy-no-sideburns-hairstyle he had in The Da Vinci Code. I just hope the movie's as good as that....

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