Showing posts with label Danny Elfman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Danny Elfman. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Review: "65" is Lean, Mean, and Much Better Than I Expected

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 30 of 2023 (No. 1919) by Leroy Douresseaux

65 (2023)
Running time:  93 minutes (1 hour, 33 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for intense sci-fi action and peril, and brief bloody images
WRITERS/DIRECTORS:  Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
PRODUCERS:  Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, Sam Raimi, Zainab Azizi, Deborah Liebling,
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Salvatore Totino
EDITORS:  Josh Schaeffer and Jane Tones
COMPOSER:  Chris Bacon with Danny Elfman


Starring:  Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, and Nika King

65 is a science fiction action-thriller film from writer-directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods.  The film focuses on a pilot and a young girl who fight for survival after their starship crashes on a mysterious planet.

65 opens on Planet Somaris.  There, a spaceship pilot, Mills (Adam Driver), convinces his wife, Alya (Nika King), that he should take on a two-year space expedition to earn the money needed to treat their daughter, Nevine (Chloe Coleman), who is suffering from a deadly illness.

Later, Zoic Exploratory Charter 3703 is deep into its journey when it is hit by a mass of asteroids and crash-lands on an alien planet.  The Zoic is damaged beyond repair, and Mills discovers that all the ship's passengers, except one, have been killed.  The other survivor is a young girl named Koa (Arianna Greenblatt), and she does not speak the same language as Mills.  Meanwhile, Mills has sent a distress beacon, and he has also discovered that the spaceship's escape shuttle is still functioning.  However, it is 15 kilometers away (a little over nine miles), resting on the side of a mountain.

Now, Mills and Koa must track across an unknown landscape that they discover is home to dangerous and aggressive creatures.  What the duo doesn't know is that this planet is actually Earth 65 million years ago, and the animals are dinosaurs.  Plus, another danger has followed Mills and Koa from space.

Once upon a time, 65 would have been referred to as a “high concept film,” which is a movie with a premise that can be easily pitched or summarized.  65 is written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the duo who wrote the initial story and screenplay that became the 2018 hit film, A Quiet Place, a high concept film.

65 turned out not to be the hit that A Quiet Place was, but I found it to be a hugely entertaining film.  Yes, it shares elements with another film about humans from another planet, crash landing on Earth, After Earth (2013), and also, Pitch Black (2000), which finds humans stranded on a mysterious planet and facing monsters.  Still, Beck and Woods have so tightly written and directed 65 that I found myself enjoying it even when I was questioning its plot and narrative choices.  For instance, the human characters seem surprisingly unsophisticated considering they come from a race that possesses the technology to span the stars.  Also, Mills uses tech that can track objects in space, but it doesn't have a simple translation app?

The intense dinosaur attacks really don't start until after the 38-minute mark of the film, and I think that serves the story well.  First, this gives the directors and the cast the opportunity to gradually depict the growing bond between Mills and Koa.  Secondly, making the audience wait for the baddest and the biggest dinosaurs can create a sense of anticipation that is satisfied when the most awesome “thunder lizards” finally arrive.

Some of 65's plot and action stretches credulity past the breaking point, but this movie is a pop corn thriller that would be a great choice for a movie night.  For families with children, this film is appropriate for teens, but it is a little too dark and violent and has adult subject matter that is a bit much for elementary school age and maybe even middle school age children.  I love it and give it an unqualified recommendation.  I plan on watching it again, and truthfully, I'm curious about the world/universe in which this film is set.  65 is not a 10, but as far as dinosaur movies go, I found it more fun and entertaining than Jurassic Park III (2001) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018).

7 of 10
★★★½ out of 4 stars

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, May 6, 2022

Review: "DOCTOR STRANGE" Sequel is Pure Sam Raimi Goodness

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 28 of 2022 (No. 1840) by Leroy Douresseaux

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Running time:  126 minutes (2 hours, six minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language
DIRECTOR:  Sam Raimi
WRITER:  Michael Waldron (based on the Marvel Comics)
PRODUCER:  Kevin Feige
EDITORS:  Bob Murawski and Tia Nolan
COMPOSER:  Danny Elfman


Starring:  Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez; Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Julian Hilliard, Jett Klyne, Sheila Atim; Ako Mitchll, John Krasinski, Anson Mount, Hayley Atwell, Lashana Lynch, Charlize Theron, and Patrick Stewart

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a 2022 superhero, action, and horror-fantasy film directed by Sam Raimi and produced by Marvel Studios.  It is the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is also a sequel to the 2016 superhero movie, Doctor Strange.  Both films focus on the Marvel Comics character, Doctor Strange, who first appeared in the comic book, Strange Tales #10 (cover dated: July 1963), and who was created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee.  In the new film, Doctor Strange battles to protect the Multiverse and a young woman who can travel through it.

As Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is plagued by dreams in which he finds himself involved with a mysterious young woman.  But life goes on.  Wong (Benedict Wong), Strange's friend and mentor, is now Earth's Sorcerer Supreme.  Also, Stephen's former lover, Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), is getting married, and he is attending the wedding.

During the wedding, an octopus demon wreaks havoc in the neighborhood, and Stephen meets the young woman again.  Her name is America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), and she can travel through the Multiverse by punching doorways through dimensions.  Demonic forces are tracking her, and Strange believes that only the Book of Vishanti can stop these demons.  Dr. Strange turns to an expert for help, the former Avenger, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen).  However, the mastermind behind the attacks on America is quite powerful, and the identity of this attacker is quite surprising.

And things only get worse.  Dr. Strange must face his old adversary, Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) … something called “the Illuminati” … and multiple versions of himself.

I have come across complaints that Marvel Studios' films are formulaic and complaints that the studios' films are not “director-driven” (whatever that means).  Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not like other Marvel films, and at least to me, it seems “director-driven.”

The director of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is Sam Raimi, who is best known for directing Sony/Columbia Picture's first trilogy of Spider-Man films (2002-07).  Before then, Raimi's best known work was the “Evil Dead” trilogy, comprised of Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), and Army of Darkness (1993).  And Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seems like a superhero film built on the aesthetic or, at least, the sensibilities of the “Evil Dead” trilogy.  In fact, this Doctor Strange film is like an Evil Dead movie with the budget of a … well, Marvel Studios movie.  Even more than his Spider-Man films, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the truest Sam Raimi superhero movie to date.

I don't want to spoil much more than I already have, but I can say that the VFX in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not only superb, but also inventive and imaginative.  Of course, the productions values are quite good; once again, I must say that everything looks like it would in a Raimi Evil Dead movie with mega-event, tent-pole film's budget.  Also, Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen give superb performances, especially Olsen.

In spite of what Marvel Studios and Disney may say, however, I am not sure what the impact of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness actually is.  I really like this movie because it really IS a Sam Raimi movie, and I love his movies.  But, is this Doctor Strange film as consequential to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Spider-Man: No Way Home seems to be...?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seems most important because of what it promises – new tomorrows, new worlds, new heroes, new movies … and hopefully more Sam Raimi Marvel movies.  I am thankful that Marvel Studios allowed him to make this movie.  Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is better than the original film, and it is Marvel's weirdest movie to date – a thrill ride of delightful and inspired wackiness.  Plus, it gives some of us what we hoped that the original would – a true dark fantasy/horror Doctor Strange movie.

[Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has one mid-credit scene and one end-credit scene.]

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Friday, May 6, 2022

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Monday, May 10, 2021

Review: "JUSTICE LEAGUE" Sucks, Yet the Republic Survives

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 32 of 2021 (No. 1770) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Justice League (2017)
Running time: 120 minutes (2 hours)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action
DIRECTORS:  Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon
WRITERS:  Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon; from a story by Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder (based on characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics)
PRODUCERS:  Charles Roven, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns, and Deborah Snyder
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Fabian Wagner (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Martin Walsh, David Brenner, and Richard Pearson
COMPOSER:  Danny Elfman


Starring:  Ray Fisher, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Anthony Wise, and Ciarán Hinds (voice)

Justice League is a 2017 superhero film officially directed by Zack Snyder, but completed by director Joss Whedon.  The film is based on the DC Comics superhero team, the Justice League of America, that first appeared as a group in the comic book, The Brave and the Bold #28 (cover dated: March 1960).  Justice League is the fourth film in the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) film series.  Justice League the film sees a group of allies slowly come together to face a threat to Earth.

Justice League introduces a being named “Steppenwolf” (voice of Ciarán Hinds).  Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf and his legions of “Parademons” tried to take over the earth using the combined energies of three “Mother Boxes,” but he was defeated.  In the present, it is two years after the death of Superman (as seen in the film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), and his death has apparently triggered the reactivation of the Mother Boxes.

Now, Steppenwolf has returned to Earth, and although he is unaware of Steppenwolf, Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) knows that something is wrong because he has been battling the scattered Parademons that have been appearing in Gotham City and elsewhere.  Batman also knows that what is happening is too big for him to fight alone, so he has begun the difficult task of finding and recruiting other “metahumans” (superheroes) into a team that can take on the biggest threats to Earth.

Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is familiar with Steppenwolf and is ready to unite.  The new young hero, Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), is more than happy to be part of a team.  However, the mysterious undersea metahuman, The Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), brushes off Batman.  Woman Woman approaches the techno-organic metahuman, Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), whose powers and abilities are constantly evolving, but he also brushes off the idea of joining Batman and Wonder Woman's cause.

Even if Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash can convince Aquaman and Cyborg to join, their powers may not be enough to stop Steppenwolf and the Parademons.  They need Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), but he is dead.  So can this “Justice League” change that?

Zack Snyder's first two films in the DCEU film series, Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), are interesting films.  Man of Steel contains moments of true beauty and is an imaginative and poignant retake on the story of Superman.  Batman v Superman is filled with great moments and has several brilliantly-staged action set pieces.  However, both films are at time foolishly bombastic and bombastically foolish.

Zack Snyder began production on what was to be his third DCEU film, Justice League, in early 2016, but left the film in May 2017 in order to deal with the aftermath of the death of his daughter.  Warner Bros. Pictures brought in Joss Whedon to finish the film.  Whedon is beloved in fandom because he is the creator of the long-running “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” television series.  He also wrote and directed two films for Marvel Studios, Marvel's The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), each of which grossed over a billion dollars in worldwide box office.

Whedon apparently changed the story that Zack Snyder's version of Justice League would have told – to some extent.  I have read that as much as seventy-five percent of the Justice League film that reached movie theaters in late 2017 is the result of Whedon's reshoots of the film.

The result is a film that does not move or sound like either Man of Steel or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, nor does it have the genuine sense of superhero team dynamics, conflict, and melodrama that Whedon's Avengers films have.  Whedon's Justice League is neither bombastic nor foolish.  It is a collection of crescendos that fade away.  Justice League seems like a collection of loosely connected subplots and action scenes taken from another movie and stuck together to make a new blasé movie.

In Justice League, the dialogue is mostly awful.  All the emotions (grief, exhalation, anger, etc.) seem forced or outright phony.  The actors struggle with the mediocre character writing; sometimes, it gets so bad that it seems as if they are struggling to act.  Steppenwolf is a scary villain that is played as comically histrionic.  Also, the film treats the obviously dangerous Paramdemons as nothing more than props to be destroyed by the powers of the members of the Justice League.

There are a few good moments in Justice League.  The revival of Superman and the subsequent battle between the League and the Man of Steel is genuinely intense.  Every time I watch it, my attention is glued to the screen.

Justice League is not a bad movie; it doesn't have the gumption to be good or bad.  It is a movie that is without a heart, and it comes across as nothing more than an assembly line product put out to benefit a movie studio financially.  It certainly was not put out to truly entertain the audiences that wanted to be entertained by it.  Zack Snyder's version of Justice League will make its debut as Zack Snyder's Justice League on the HBO Max streaming service soon (as of this writing).  Perhaps, it would have been better that Justice League been delayed than it be released in 2017 as a mostly flavorless misfire.

4 of 10

Friday, March 4, 2021

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Review: "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" is Magical and Imaginative

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 33 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Running time:  110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence and some language
DIRECTOR:  Guillermo del Toro
WRITERS:  Guillermo del Toro; from a story by Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola (based upon the comic book by Mike Mignola)
PRODUCERS:  Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Mike Richardson, and Joe Roth
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Guillermo Navarro
EDITOR:  Bernat Vilaplana
COMPOSER:  Danny Elfman
Academy Award nominee

FANTASY/ACTION/HORROR with elements of comedy and drama

Starring:  Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Anna Walton, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt, Roy Dotrice and Seth MacFarlane (voice)

In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the breaking of an ancient truce between humankind and the denizens of the invisible realm means Hellboy, the big, red, horned hero, will have to face his toughest challenges to date – save the world and save his relationship with his favorite flammable chick.

In distant, ancient times, there was a war between humans and mythical creatures.  A Goblin built an unstoppable clockwork army for Balor, King of the Elves (Roy Dotrice), but Balor grieved when he saw the carnage inflicted upon humanity by this “Golden Army” of 4900 mechanical fighters.  Balor called for a truce that would allow humans to live in their cities and that would allow the mythical creatures to keep to the forests.  The Golden Army was locked away in a secret location.

Cut to present day, Balor’s son, Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), has returned from exile.  Having never agreed with the original truce between humanity and his father, Nuada sets about reuniting the three pieces of King Balor’s crown, the device that will allow him to raise the Golden Army.  This time, Prince Nuada will not stop the Golden Army until it has destroyed humanity.

Meanwhile, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is having relationship issues with his girlfriend, Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and chafing under a government order that the existence of Hellboy and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development (BPRD) must remain a secret.  When Prince Nuada launches his first attack on the human world, Hellboy, Liz, and their BPRD comrade, Ape Sapien (Doug Jones), a fish-man, must put aside their domestic issues.  Joined by Prince Nuada’s twin sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton), Hellboy and company take on the fight of their lives, but find their job complicated by a strange new special agent, Johann Krauss (voice of Seth MacFarlane), a gaseous being living in a containment suit.

Some filmmakers make movies that seem right out of a dream, one of them being Guillermo del Toro, the brilliant creator of such films as The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth.  Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a sequel to del Toro’s 2004 movie Hellboy; both films are based upon the Hellboy comic books from creator Mike Mignola (who co-wrote this film’s story).  Hellboy II is a daydream, nightmare, hallucination and reverie right out of the deepest parts of minds, which still holds onto the fear of mythical creatures.  Del Toro mixes the gossamer-spun enchantment of a fairytales, the elegant gothic mood of old-school monster movies (especially from Universal Studios), and the kooky, but grand comic book monsters of Jack Kirby to create probably the most vivid and imaginative fantasy film since Lord of the Rings.

Hellboy II certainly has fanboy wit, the kind that will bring in fans of the Hellboy comic books, of comic books in general, and of fantasy and horror films.  Hellboy II, however, is an exercise in old-fashioned monster movie style; even the CGI creatures move like they were created by Ray Harryhausen.  And imagination: this film has imagination to burn.  Every nook and cranny, seemingly every frame of film, and every scene is occupied by fantastical creatures, weird people, bizarre beings.  Del Toro’s film doesn’t just claim that there is a shadowy other world next to ours, existing mostly unseen; Hellboy II brings that world to life.  From a “goblin market” under the Brooklyn Bridge to a giant, green forest god with tentacles and a mantis’ face stomping through New York City, the fantastic is made flesh.  And Hellboy II: The Golden Army is made great.

This film isn’t just another big budget special effects bonanza.  The heart of the film’s narrative is a tale of misfits that can’t hide what makes them bizarre-looking, outsider oddballs.  The public might initially embrace their fantastic looks, but the novelty soon wears off.  Does it make sense to save a world that doesn’t want you in it?  Because it asks this question and because of the way it tries to find answers, Hellboy II takes its place next to such magnificent fairy tale-based fantasy films as The Wizard of Oz and La belle et la bêteHellboy II is certainly among this year’s very best.

10 of 10

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Revised:  Friday, June 12, 2020

2009 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Makeup” (Mike Elizalde and Thomas Floutz)

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and  syndication rights and fees.


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from November 10th to 16th, 2019 - Update #25

Support Leroy on Patreon:

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  Oscar-nominated actor Clive Owen ("Closer") will play President Bill Clinton in "Impreachment: American Crime Story," which will be the third entry in the "American Crime Story" series.

MOVIES - From RollingStone:   This is the story of how Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen ("Melvin and Howard") had surgery and then became a songwriter.

DISNEY - From Variety:  Disney has greenlit Ridley Scott's period drama, "The Last Duel" with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver.

BLM - From BET:  At a Tennessee Popeye's, a white customer called the employees "niggers," and one of them body-slammed her in the parking lot.  See the hilarious video.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  Last night (Wed., Nov. 13th), the fantastic ninth season of "American Horror Story," entitled "AHS 1984," came to an end.  Series co-creator, super-producer Ryan Murphy, talks about this season and the future of "American Horror Story."

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Netflix and Paramount Pictures have reportedly struck a deal so that Netflix could make a fourth installment of the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise with star Eddie Murphy and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

BUSINESS - From Variety:  Emotions run high as the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in Byron Allen vs. Comcast.

COMICS-FILM - From YahooMusic:  Danny Elfman scored the 1989 Tim Burton film, "Batman," but once upon a time producer Jon Peters wanted Elfman to compose the film's score with the late Prince, who did provides songs for the film.  Elfman refused and now, talks about how he thought that he was risking his career at the time.

TELEVISION - From YahooTV:  Jodi Serling is the daughter of the late Rod Serling, who created the landmark and legendary television series, "The Twilight Zone."  Ms. Serling shares some secrets and stories about her father and the series on the 60th anniversary of "The Twilight Zone."

DISNEY - From Variety:  Newcomer Jonah Hauer-King will play "Prince Eric" in Disney's live-action remake of its classic animated film, "The Littler Mermaid."

STREAMING - From Variety:  A reunion special for the beloved NBC TV series, "Friends," is in the early planning stages.  The UNSCRIPTED special would appear in WarnerMedia's streaming service, "HBO Max."

TELEVISION - From ShadowandAct:  We get a first look at HBO's "Lovecraft Country," from Jordan Peele, Misha Green, and J.J. Abrams and is based on the most excellent novel by Matt Ruff.

AWARDS - From Deadline:  Ricky Gervais is returning to host the 77th Golden Globes Awards, Jan. 5th, 2020 on NBC.  It will be his fifth time hosting the awards ceremony, and he says it will be his last.

STREAMING-DISNEY - From Deadline:  This is the launch day (Nov. 12th) of Disney's new streaming service, Disney+.  And, of course, there are a few tech issues.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Paramount Pictures has landed the worldwide distribution rights to Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle's next film, "Babylon," which is due for a limited release December 25, 2021.

SPORTS-LGBTQ - From YahooFinance:  Former Major League Baseball player, Billy Bean, is now an LGBTQ advocate, but talks about his time "living a secret life."

AWARDS - From Deadline:  The 2019 People's Choice Awards were announced Sunday night, Nov. 10th.  "Avengers: Endgame" and Netflix's "Stranger Things" were the big winners.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 11/8 to 11/10/2019 weekend box office is "Midway" with an estimated take of 17.5 million dollars.

From Deadline:  Warner Bros. is looking at about a $20 million dollar loss on its Stephen King adaptation, "Doctor Sleep," which has a soft debut weekend.

MOVIES - From YahooPeople:  Dan Aykroyd said during a radio interview that Bill Murray will appear in "Ghostbusters 2020."

GUILD NEWS - From Variety:  The Writers Guild of America have named more than two dozen of its members to be on a negotiating committee as threat of a Hollywood writers' strike looms for next year.

AWARDS - From Variety:  The nominations for the 2019 / 32nd European Film Awards have been announced.  Winners will be announced Dec. 7th in Berlin.

STREAMING - From Deadline:  The Oscar-winning writer-director Woody Allen has settled his 68 million dollar lawsuit against Amazon.  Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.


From YouTube:  Here is the first official for the upcoming animated Scooby-Doo film, "Scoob," which is due May 15, 2020.


From LATimes:  The American scholar and historian, Noel Ignatiev, died at the age of 78, Saturday, November 9, 2019.  Ignatiev was best known for his efforts to abolish the concept of "whiteness" and to end white racial privilege.  His first book, "How the Irish Became White" (1995), was a sensation.

From Variety:  Holocaust survivor and Academy Award-winning film producer, Branko Lustig, has died at the age of 87, Wednesday, November 14, 2019.  Lustig won two Oscars, one for producing "Schindler's List" (1993) and one for producing "Gladiator" (2000).  During World War II, Lustig was imprisoned in the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Review: "Men in Black: International" is Poo Doo

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 9 (of 2019) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Men in Black: International (2019)
Running time:  114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material.
DIRECTOR:  F. Gary Gray
WRITERS:  Matt Holloway and Art Marcum (based on characters created by Lowell Cunningham)
PRODUCERS:  Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stuart Dryburgh    
EDITORS:  Zene Baker, Christian Wagner, and Matt Willard
COMPOSERS:  Chris Bacon and Danny Elfman    


Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Kayvan Novak and Kumail Nanjiani (voice)

Men in Black: International is 2019 science fiction-fantasy and action-comedy from director F. Gary Gray.  This is the fourth film in the Men in Black (MiB) film series, and the first in a new MiB series that is part reboot and part sequel.  Men in Black: International finds the organization that has always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe searching for a spy working within MiB.

Men in Black: International introduces Molly Wright (Tessa Thompson), an overachiever who, as a child, had an experience with an alien.  This encounter led to Molly discovering the existence of “The Men in Black.”  Molly, after years of searching, has finally found the Men in Black's New York City base.  That earns her a meeting with “Agent O” (Emma Thompson), the head of MiB's U.S. branch, who is impressed by Molly's tenacity.

Molly becomes a probationary MiB agent and is sent to London where she answers to the head of MiB's United Kingdom branch, “High T” (Liam Neeson).  Soon, Molly finds herself partnering with “Agent H” (Chris Hemsworth) on an assignment to protect an alien VIP, the Jababian party animal, Vungus the Ugly (Kayvan Novak).  Vungus' death will spark a hunt for the most destructive weapon ever made and also for a traitor hiding within the ranks of MiB London.

While visiting the IMDb page for Men in Black: International, I discovered a member review of the film that declared, “This movie is politically correct (You've been warned!).”  I don't know what the person who posted this means by “this movie is politically correct.”  Among those for whom “PC” has become a battle cry are malcontents who think fictional characters in popular entertainment must fit their personal tastes and ideals in physical appearance, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, to name a few.  Coincidentally or ironically, the aforementioned review is as unimaginative and as clueless as the movie, Men in Black: International, is.

I don't often hold screenwriters solely responsible for a bad movie, but, by my estimation, screenwriters  Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, are largely responsible for the fact that Men in Black: International is an all-time franchise low in the Men in Black film series.  Everything about the writing is weak:  the flimsy, clumsily convoluted plot; the dull, insipid characters; and the pointless settings.

Chris Hemsworth's Agent H is amiable and forgettable; he is a charming (alien) womanizer, whose charm is about effective as a pretty knick-knack.  When he isn't onscreen, he isn't worth a second thought.  H is like a tepid version of Kevin Beckman, the character Hemsworth played in the 2016 Ghostbusters film.  Tessa Thompson's Molly/Agent M is no better, and M may actually be worse.  It is as if Thompson is not sure if she should play M as a cool and reserved female agent or as a curious and determined investigator of the weird.  The screenplay gives neither Hemsworth nor Thompson enough material from which to fashion a character that is more than a type.  They could not do much more with two characters that barely register above a whisper.

Liam Neeson's face is so frozen that I thought he was healing from a face lift, and his character, High T, is not the kind of magnetic character Neeson normally plays.  An actor who usually brings passion to his performances was like stiff, wet underwear frozen on the clothesline by cold weather.

Men in Black: International does have a few characters that are engaging.  Rafe Spall makes the best of his “Agent C,” an excellent rivalry type character (to H and M) who is largely wasted.  Every time Emma Thompson is onscreen in Men in Black: International, one can only think of the wasted opportunities – great actress, not great material.  Kumail Nanjiani provides some much needed laughs in his voice role as the diminutive alien (and CG creation), “Pawny.”

Men in Black: International's plot, about a threat to MiB, is full of misdirection, that cannot hide an sterile and uninspired plot.  The film manages to make the settings, from New York to London to Marrakesh (why?) to Paris, appear indistinguishable from one another.

I can never forget the unique feelings of joy I felt the first time I saw the original Men in Black (1997), which I have seen in its entirety at least three times.  That film retains its freshness, inventiveness, and its endearing weirdness after repeated views.  The sequels have struggled to capture the original film's sense of something amazing and new.

Men in Black: International may be the start of a new series of MiB films, but it feels too tired and too worn out to be an ignition.  It is clumsy and contrived in its action scenes, which is why I blame the screenwriters.  If director F. Gary Gray is really good at anything, it is in directing action movies and thrillers, and even he can't generate excitement from the hapless blueprint that is this film's script.  Men in Black: International is a bore and a chore to watch.  Yes, there is an occasional good moment here or there, but I was embarrassed that I had convinced two friends to see it with me.

And that title, Men in Black: International, is clunky, too.  Start over... again, Sony.

3.5 of 10

Official "Men in Black: International" trailer is on YouTube.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint syndication rights and fees.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

90th Academy Awards "Original Score" Nominations Race Has 141 Entrants


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 141 scores from eligible feature-length motion pictures released in 2017 are in contention for nominations in the Original Score category for the 90th Academy Awards®.

The eligible scores along with their composers are listed below, in alphabetical order by film title:

“Alien: Covenant,” Jed Kurzel, composer
“All I See Is You,” Marc Streitenfeld, composer
“All the Money in the World,” Daniel Pemberton, composer
“Annabelle: Creation,” Benjamin Wallfisch, composer
“Band Aid,” Lucius, composer
“Battle of the Sexes,” Nicholas Britell, composer
“Baywatch,” Christopher Lennertz, composer
“Beauty and the Beast,” Alan Menken, composer
“The Big Sick,” Michael Andrews, composer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer, composers
“The Book of Henry,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Born in China,” Barnaby Taylor, composer
“The Boss Baby,” Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro, composers
“Boston,” Jeff Beal, composer
“Brad’s Status,” Mark Mothersbaugh, composer
“Brawl in Cell Block 99,” Jeff Herriott and S. Craig Zahler, composers
“The Breadwinner,” Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, composers
“Breathe,” Nitin Sawhney, composer
“Brigsby Bear,” David Wingo, composer
“Brimstone & Glory,” Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, composers
“Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie,” Theodore Shapiro, composer
“Cars 3,” Randy Newman, composer
“The Circle,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Coco,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Cries from Syria,” Martin Tillman, composer
“A Cure for Wellness,” Benjamin Wallfisch, composer
“Darkest Hour,” Dario Marianelli, composer
“Despicable Me 3,” Heitor Pereira, composer
“The Disaster Artist,” Dave Porter, composer
“A Dog’s Purpose,” Rachel Portman, composer
“Downsizing,” Rolfe Kent, composer
“Drawing Home,” Ben Holiday, composer
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer, composer
“Earth: One Amazing Day,” Alex Heffes, composer
“A Fantastic Woman,” Matthew Herbert, composer
“The Fate of the Furious,” Brian Tyler, composer
“Father Figures,” Rob Simonsen, composer
“Ferdinand,” John Powell, composer
“Fifty Shades Darker,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” J. Ralph, composer
“First They Killed My Father,” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, composers
“Get Out,” Michael Abels, composer
“A Ghost Story,” Daniel Hart, composer
“Gifted,” Rob Simonsen, composer
“The Glass Castle,” Joel P. West, composer
“Going in Style,” Rob Simonsen, composer
“Good Time,” Daniel Lopatin, composer
“Goodbye Christopher Robin,” Carter Burwell, composer
“Gook,” Roger Suen, composer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Tyler Bates, composer
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” Atli Ӧrvarsson, composer
“Hostiles,” Max Richter, composer
“Human Flow,” Karsten Fundal, composer
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” Jeff Beal, composer
“It,” Benjamin Wallfisch, composer
“Jane,” Philip Glass, composer
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” Henry Jackman, composer
“Justice League,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Kepler’s Dream,” Patrick Neil Doyle, composer
“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” Daniel Pemberton, composer
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson, composers
“Kong: Skull Island,” Henry Jackman, composer
“LA 92,” Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, composers
“LBJ,” Marc Shaiman, composer
“Lady Bird,” Jon Brion, composer
“Lake of Fire,” Qutub-E-Kripa, composer
“Last Flag Flying,” Graham Reynolds, composer
“The Lego Batman Movie,” Lorne Balfe, composer
“The Lego Ninjago Movie,” Mark Mothersbaugh, composer
“The Leisure Seeker,” Carlo Virzì, composer
“Let It Fall,” Mark Isham, composer
“Life,” Jon Ekstrand, composer
“Logan,” Marco Beltrami, composer
“The Lost City of Z,” Christopher Spelman, composer
“Loveless,” Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine, composers
“Loving Vincent,” Clint Mansell, composer
“The Man Who Invented Christmas,” Mychael Danna, composer
“Mark Felt - The Man Who Brought Down the White House,” Daniel Pemberton, composer
“Marshall,” Marcus Miller, composer
“Mary and the Witch’s Flower,” Takatsugu Muramatsu, composer
“Maudie,” Michael Timmins, composer
“Molly’s Game,” Daniel Pemberton, composer
“Moomins and the Winter Wonderland,” Łukasz Targosz, composer
“The Mountain between Us,” Ramin Djawadi, composer
“Mudbound,” Tamar-kali, composer
“The Mummy,” Brian Tyler, composer
“Murder on the Orient Express,” Patrick Doyle, composer
“My Cousin Rachel,” Rael Jones, composer
“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” Jun Miyake, composer
“Okja,” Jaeil Jung, composer
“Oklahoma City,” David Cieri, composer
“The Only Living Boy in New York,” Rob Simonsen, composer
“Only the Brave,” Joseph Trapanese, composer
“Our Souls at Night,” Elliot Goldenthal, composer
“Paris Can Wait,” Laura Karpman, composer
“Patti Cake$,” Geremy Jasper and Jason Binnick, composers
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood, composer
“The Pirates of Somalia,” Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau, composers
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” Geoff Zanelli, composer
“The Post,” John Williams, composer
“Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” Tom Howe, composer
“The Promise,” Gabriel Yared, composer
“Pulimurugan,” Gopi Sundar, composer
“Raw,” Jim Williams, composer
“Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” James Newton Howard, composer
“Saban’s Power Rangers,” Brian Tyler, composer
“Same Kind of Different as Me,” John Paesano, composer
“The Second Coming of Christ,” Navid Hejazi, Ramin Kousha and Silvia Leonetti, composers
“Served Like a Girl,” Michael A. Levine, composer
“The Shack,” Aaron Zigman, composer
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“Slipaway,” Tao Liu, composer
“Smurfs: The Lost Village,” Christopher Lennertz, composer
“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Split,” West Dylan Thordson, composer
“The Star,” John Paesano, composer
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams, composer
“Step,” Laura Karpman and Raphael Saadiq, composers
“Stronger,” Michael Brook, composer
“Suburbicon,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“Swing Away,” Tao Zervas, composer
“Thank You for Your Service,” Thomas Newman, composer
“Their Finest,” Rachel Portman, composer
“Thelma,” Ola Fløttum, composer
“Thor: Ragnarok,” Mark Mothersbaugh, composer
“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell, composer
“Tickling Giants,” Paul Tyan, composer
“Tommy’s Honour,” Christian Henson, composer
“Trafficked,” David Das, composer
“Transformers: The Last Knight,” Steve Jablonsky, composer
“XXX: Return of Xander Cage,” Brian Tyler and Robert Lydecker, composers
“Victoria & Abdul,” Thomas Newman, composer
“Voice from the Stone,” Michael Wandmacher, composer
“Wakefield,” Aaron Zigman, composer
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Wilson,” Jon Brion, composer
“Wind River,” Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, composers
“Wonder,” Marcelo Zarvos, composer
“Wonder Woman,” Rupert Gregson-Williams, composer
“Wonderstruck,” Carter Burwell, composer
“Year by the Sea,” Alexander Janko, composer

A Reminder List of works submitted in the Original Score category will be made available with a nominations ballot to all members of the Music Branch, who shall vote in the order of their preference for not more than five achievements.  The five achievements receiving the highest number of votes will become the nominations for final voting for the award.

To be eligible, the original score must be a substantial body of music that serves as original dramatic underscoring, and must be written specifically for the motion picture by the submitting composer.  Scores diluted by the use of preexisting music, diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs or any music not composed specifically for the film by the submitting composer, or assembled from the music of more than one composer shall not be eligible.

Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

The 90th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

"Justice League" Soundtrack Arrives on Friday, Nov. 10th

Justice League Soundtrack Available November 10, 2017

Features Original Score by Four-Time Academy Award Nominee and Grammy Award-Winning Composer Danny Elfman

Includes Music from Gary Clark Jr. & Junkie XL, Sigrid, and The White Stripes

First Listen: “Hero’s Theme” by Danny Elfman

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WaterTower Music is proud to announce the November 10, 2017 release of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Warner Bros. Pictures’ epic action adventure Justice League. The album features one of the industry’s most versatile and accomplished film composers, Danny Elfman, who is returning to score a DC Super Hero film for the first time since 1992’s Batman Returns.

    “I’m using the same thematic material that I used back then”
While bringing his celebrated and unique approach to the Justice League score, Elfman also gives DC fans some special familiar moments. Utilizing memorable character themes to tell the musical story, he incorporates and re-interprets iconic music from past films, including John Williams’ Superman theme, Hans Zimmer’s Wonder Woman theme, and his own Batman theme. “I’m using the same thematic material that I used back then,” Danny Elfman told Billboard Magazine. “It never actually went away. We’ve got these iconic bits from our past and that’s part of us, that’s part of our heritage. It just was great fun.”

The soundtrack also features a blistering version of The Beatles’ “Come Together” by electrifying virtuoso guitarist Gary Clark Jr. and Grammy-nominated and multiplatinum producer, musician, and composer Junkie XL; along with Norwegian pop singer/ songwriter Sigrid’s haunting and powerful take on Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows,” and The White Stripes classic “Icky Thump.”

LISTEN: “Hero’s Theme,” by Danny Elfman from the Justice League Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

LISTEN: “Come Together,” by Gary Clark Jr. and Junkie XL from the Justice League Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The 27-track Justice League soundtrack, which includes three bonus tracks, will be released November 10. A two-CD version will be released on December 8, 2017, with a double vinyl edition coming February 9, 2018. The Justice League Original Motion Picture Soundtrack track list is as follows.

All music by Danny Elfman, unless otherwise noted.

“Everybody Knows” - Sigrid
The Justice League Theme - Logos
Hero’s Theme
Batman on the Roof
Enter Cyborg
Wonder Woman Rescue
Hippolyta’s Arrow
The Story of Steppenwolf
The Amazon Mother Box
Cyborg Meets Diana
Aquaman in Atlantis
Then There Were Three
The Tunnel Fight
The World Needs Superman
Spark of The Flash
Friends and Foes
Justice League United
Bruce and Diana
The Final Battle
A New Hope            
Anti-Hero’s Theme
“Come Together” - Gary Clark Jr. and Junkie XL
“Icky Thump” - The White Stripes

The Tunnel Fight - (Full Length Bonus Track)
The Final Battle - (Full Length Bonus Track)
Mother Russia - (Bonus Track)

Over the last 30 years, four-time Oscar nominee Danny Elfman has established himself as one of the most versatile and accomplished film composers in the industry. He has collaborated with such directors as Tim Burton, David O. Russell, Gus Van Sant, Sam Raimi, Joss Whedon, Paul Haggis, Ang Lee, Rob Marshall, Guillermo del Toro, Barry Sonnenfeld, Brian De Palma, and Peter Jackson. Beginning with his first score on Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Elfman has scored a broad range of films, including: Milk (Oscar nominated), Good Will Hunting (Oscar nominated), Big Fish (Oscar nominated), Men in Black (Oscar nominated), Edward Scissorhands, Wanted, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mission: Impossible, Planet of the Apes, A Simple Plan, To Die For, Spider-Man (1 & 2), Batman, Dolores Claiborne, Sommersby, Chicago, Dick Tracy, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, Silver Linings Playbook, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Up next for Elfman is the highly anticipated action adventure Justice League from Warner Bros. & DC.

A native of Los Angeles, Elfman grew up loving film music. He travelled the world as a young man, absorbing its musical diversity. He helped found the band Oingo Boingo, and came to the attention of a young Tim Burton, who asked him to write the score for Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. 30 years later, the two have forged one of the most fruitful composer-director collaborations in film history. In addition to his film work, Elfman wrote the iconic theme music for The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives. He also composed a ballet, Rabbit and Rogue, choreographed by Twyla Tharp; the symphony Serenada Schizophrana for Carnegie Hall; an overture The Overeager Overture for the Hollywood Bowl; Iris, a Cirque du Soleil show at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre; and most recently his first Violin Concerto, “Eleven, Eleven”, for soloist Sandy Cameron, which had its world premiere in Prague with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and its second performance at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Danny Elfman’s “Music From the Films of Tim Burton” had its concert premiere in 2014 at London’s Royal Albert Hall and has continued on with over 60 concert performances in over 12 countries.

Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher star in the action-adventure film Justice League.

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Justice League was directed by Zack Snyder from a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, story by Terrio & Snyder, based on characters from DC Entertainment; Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns produced the film, with Jim Rowe, Ben Affleck, Wesley Coller, Curtis Kanemoto, Daniel S. Kaminsky and Chris Terrio serving as executive producers.

Set for release in 3D and 2D in select theatres and IMAX beginning November 17, Justice League will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Academy Announces Eligible Music for 2016 "Best Original Score" Oscar


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 145 scores from eligible feature-length motion pictures released in 2016 are in contention for nominations in the Original Score category for the 89th Academy Awards®.

The eligible scores along with their composers are listed below, in alphabetical order by film title:

"The Abolitionists," Tim Jones, composer

"Absolutely Fabulous The Movie," Jake Monaco, composer

"The Accountant," Mark Isham, composer

"Alice through the Looking Glass," Danny Elfman, composer

"Allied," Alan Silvestri, composer

"Almost Christmas," John Paesano, composer

"American Pastoral," Alexandre Desplat, composer

"The Angry Birds Movie," Heitor Pereira, composer

"Anthropoid," Robin Foster, composer

"Armenia, My Love," Silvia Leonetti, composer

"Assassin's Creed," Jed Kurzel, composer

"Autumn Lights," Hugi Gudmundsson and Hjörtur Ingvi Jóhannsson, composers

"The BFG," John Williams, composer

"Believe," Michael Reola, composer

"Ben-Hur," Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, composers

"Bilal," Atli Ӧrvarsson, composer

"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, composers

"The Birth of a Nation," Henry Jackman, composer

"Bleed for This," Julia Holter, composer

"The Boss," Christopher Lennertz, composer

"Bridget Jones's Baby," Craig Armstrong, composer

"The Bronze," Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau, composers

"Captain America: Civil War," Henry Jackman, composer

"The Charnel House," Todd Haberman, composer

"The Choice," Marcelo Zarvos, composer

"Collateral Beauty," Theodore Shapiro, composer

"The Conjuring 2," Joseph Bishara, composer

"Criminal," Brian Tyler and Keith Power, composers

"Deadpool," Tom Holkenborg, composer

"Deepwater Horizon," Steve Jablonsky, composer

"Denial," Howard Shore, composer

"Doctor Strange," Michael Giacchino, composer

"The Dressmaker," David Hirschfelder, composer

"Eddie the Eagle," Matthew Margeson, composer

"The Edge of Seventeen," Atli Ӧrvarsson, composer

"Elle," Anne Dudley, composer

"Eye in the Sky," Paul Hepker and Mark Kilian, composers

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," James Newton Howard, composer

"Fences," Marcelo Zarvos, composer

"Finding Dory," Thomas Newman, composer

"The First Monday in May," Ian Hultquist and Sofia Hultquist, composers

"Florence Foster Jenkins," Alexandre Desplat, composer

"Floyd Norman: An Animated Life," Ryan Shore, composer

"The Founder," Carter Burwell, composer

"Free State of Jones," Nicholas Britell, composer

"Ghostbusters," Theodore Shapiro, composer

"The Girl on the Train," Danny Elfman, composer

"Gleason," Dan Romer and Saul Simon MacWilliams, composers

"Gold," Daniel Pemberton, composer

"Greater," Stephen Raynor-Endelman, composer

"Hacksaw Ridge," Rupert Gregson-Williams, composer

"Hail, Caesar!," Carter Burwell, composer

"The Handmaiden," Cho Young-wuk, composer

"Hands of Stone," Angelo Milli, composer

"Hell or High Water," Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, composers

"Hidden Figures," Pharrell Williams and Benjamin Wallfisch, composers

"High-Rise," Clint Mansell, composer

"How to Be Single," Fil Eisler, composer

"Hunt for the Wilderpeople," Lukasz Buda and Samuel Scott, composers

"The Huntsman: Winter's War," James Newton Howard, composer

"Ice Age: Collision Course," John Debney, composer

"Independence Day: Resurgence," Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser, composers

"Indignation," Jay Wadley, composer

"The Invitation," Theodore Shapiro, composer

"Ithaca," John Mellencamp, composer

"Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," Henry Jackman, composer

"Jackie," Mica Levi, composer

"Julieta," Alberto Iglesias, composer

"The Jungle Book," John Debney, composer

"Keeping Up with the Joneses," Jake Monaco, composer

"Kicks," Brian Reitzell, composer

"Krisha," Brian McOmber, composer

"Kubo and the Two Strings," Dario Marianelli, composer

"La La Land," Justin Hurwitz, composer

"Land of Mine," Sune Martin, composer

"Landfill Harmonic," Michael A. Levine, composer

"The Legend of Ben Hall," Ronnie Minder, composer

"The Legend of Tarzan," Rupert Gregson-Williams, composer

"Life, Animated," Dylan Stark and T. Griffin, composers

"The Light between Oceans," Alexandre Desplat, composer

"Lights Out," Benjamin Wallfisch, composer

"Lion," Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka, composers

"The Little Prince," Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey, composers

"Live by Night," Harry Gregson-Williams, composer

"Loving," David Wingo, composer

"Maggie's Plan," Michael Rohatyn, composer

"Me before You," Craig Armstrong, composer

"The Meddler," Jonathan Sadoff, composer

"Midnight Special," David Wingo, composer

"Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," Jeff Cardoni, composer

"Miracles from Heaven," Carlo Siliotto, composer

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," Mike Higham and Matthew Margeson, composers

"Miss Sloane," Max Richter, composer

"Mr. Church," Mark Isham, composer

"Moana," Mark Mancina, composer

"Money Monster," Dominic Lewis, composer

"The Monkey King 2," Christopher Young, composer

"A Monster Calls," Fernando Velázquez, composer

"Moonlight," Nicholas Britell, composer

"Morgan," Max Richter, composer

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2," Christopher Lennertz, composer

"The Neon Demon," Cliff Martinez, composer

"The Nice Guys," John Ottman, composer

"No Letting Go," Alain Mayrand, composer

"Nocturnal Animals," Abel Korzeniowski, composer

"Now You See Me 2," Brian Tyler, composer

"O.J.: Made in America," Gary Lionelli, composer

"Off the Rails," Steve Gernes and Duncan Thum, composers

"The Other Side of the Door," Joseph Bishara, composer

"The Ottoman Lieutenant," Geoff Zanelli, composer

"Ouija: Origin of Evil," Taylor Stewart and John Andrew Grush, composers

"Our Kind of Traitor," Marcelo Zarvos, composer

"Passengers," Thomas Newman, composer

"Paterson," Carter Logan and Jim Jarmusch, composers

"Patriots Day," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, composers

"Pelé: Birth of a Legend," A. R. Rahman, composer

"Pete's Dragon," Daniel Hart, composer

"Po," Burt Bacharach, composer

"Queen of Katwe," Alex Heffes, composer

"Race," Rachel Portman, composer

"The Red Turtle," Laurent Perez Del Mar, composer

"Ride Along 2," Christopher Lennertz, composer

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Michael Giacchino, composer

"Sausage Party," Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz, composers

"The Secret Life of Pets," Alexandre Desplat, composer

"Silicon Cowboys," Ian Hultquist, composer

"Sing," Joby Talbot, composer

"Snowtime!," Eloi Painchaud and Jorane, composers

"Southside with You," Stephen James Taylor, composer

"Star Trek Beyond," Michael Giacchino, composer

"Storks," Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, composers

"Suicide Squad," Steven Price, composer

"Sully," Christian Jacob, composer

"Swiss Army Man," Andy Hull and Robert McDowell, composers

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows," Steve Jablonsky, composer

"10 Cloverfield Lane," Bear McCreary, composer

"10 Days in a Madhouse," Jamie Hall, composer

"13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi," Lorne Balfe, composer

"Trolls," Christophe Beck, composer

"20th Century Women," Roger Neill, composer

"Warcraft," Ramin Djawadi, composer

"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," Nick Urata, composer

"X-Men: Apocalypse," John Ottman, composer

"Zoolander 2," Theodore Shapiro, composer

"Zootopia," Michael Giacchino, composer

A Reminder List of works submitted in the Original Score category will be made available with a nominations ballot to all members of the Music Branch, who shall vote in the order of their preference for not more than five achievements.  The five achievements receiving the highest number of votes will become the nominations for final voting for the award.

To be eligible, the original score must be a substantial body of music that serves as original dramatic underscoring, and must be written specifically for the motion picture by the submitting composer.  Scores diluted by the use of preexisting music, diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs or any music not composed specifically for the film by the submitting composer, or assembled from the music of more than one composer shall not be eligible.

Nominations for the 89th Oscars® will be announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

The 89th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.  The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: "Terminator Salvation" Remains a Fresh Take on the Franchise

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 3 (of 2009) by Leroy Douresseaux

Terminator Salvation (2009)
Running time: 130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language
WRITERS:  John D. Brancato & Michael Ferris
PRODUCERS:  Derek Anderson, Moritz Borman, Victor Kubicek, and Jeffrey Silver
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Shane Hurlbut (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Conrad Buff IV
COMPOSER:  Danny Elfman


Starring:  Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Helena Bonham Carter, Anton Yelchin, Jadagrace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, and Michael Ironside

Terminator Salvation is a 2009 post-apocalyptic science fiction film from director McG.  It is the fourth film in the Terminator film franchise.  The film is set in the year 2018, and focuses on a mysterious man who joins the resistance on the eve of an attack on Skynet, but whose side is he really on?

Seven years after the debut of The Terminator (1984), its sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day arrived in 1991.  It was another 12 years before the third film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) debuted, but only six years later, the fourth film, Terminator Salvation arrives.  This shorter gestation period likely isn’t why Terminator Salvation is good enough to be considered the second best film in The Terminator franchise.

Terminator Salvation finally takes us into the world only hinted at in the other Terminator films – the post-apocalyptic future that finds the remnants of the human race fighting the all-powerful artificial intelligence, Skynet, and its army of man-killing TerminatorsJohn Connor (Christian Bale) is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and the Terminators.  It was his mother that Skynet marked for termination before she could give birth to John, so they sent a Terminator back in time to kill her (as seen in The Terminator).  In Judgment Day, Skynet sent a Terminator back in time to kill a 12-year-old John Connor.

This new film opens in 2018, and John Connor is not in charge of the Resistance.  Connor continues, however, to study his past, through his memories and through the tape recordings his late mother left, as he tries to determine what Skynet’s next move might be.  Then, Connor learns that Skynet has made a human civilian named Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), their top priority for termination.  Reese is a man who is of utmost importance to Connor’s existence, so Connor prepares to launch a rescue mission even if General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) and the Resistance leadership are against it.

Then, Connor meets Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row in 2003.  It seems that Wright’s appearance has altered what John knew the future to be.  Connor and Marcus embark on an odyssey into Skynet central operations in the ruins of Los Angeles, where they discover the truth of Skynet’s diabolical plans.

Any moviegoers that are familiar with the internal mythology of The Terminator films can follow all the twists and turns of this time-bending film franchise… for the most part.  Are there inconsistencies between Terminator Salvation and the original film (let alone the others)?  Yes, there are, but director McG (the Charlie’s Angels films) takes the script for this film (which apparently had at least six writers, if not more) and makes one of those great summer movies that keeps your eyes glued to the screen and just keeps you awestruck with the awesomeness of its action and special effects.  It’s fanboy eye candy.

It’s easy for critics and snobby fans to dismiss McG (whose name is Joseph McGinty Nichol), but in the case of Terminator Salvation, he makes the best use of his actors, getting superb performances out of Bale, Worthington, Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, and Jadagrace.  Plus, McG squeezes the best from the visual effects, special effects, and stunt crews.  When a director harnesses this effort to maximum effect, he can make that kind of action flick that is the Art of the summer movie.

There are times when McG and company stumble over themselves in an effort to both connect Terminator Salvation to the original films (especially the first two) and to be respectful of the originals, somewhat to the detriment of this film.  However, McG has led his cast and creative staff to the promised land of the great action film, one so stuffed with edge-of-the-seat thrills and breathtaking visuals that it won’t soon be forgotten.

8 of 10

Sunday, May 31, 2009

EDITED:  Thursday, November 5, 2015

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Friday, July 17, 2015

George Lucas, Danny Elfman Among 2015 Class of "Disney Legends"

Eight New Disney Legends to Be Honored During D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim

George Lucas, Danny Elfman, Susan Lucci, Andreas Deja and Other Remarkable Contributors To Be Celebrated In A Special Awards Ceremony Hosted By Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger On Friday, August 14.

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Star Wars creator George Lucas, composer Danny Elfman, "All My Children" star Susan Lucci, Disney Animator Andreas Deja and other beloved contributors to the Disney legacy will be named and honored as official Disney Legends during D23 EXPO 2015 at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 14, 2015 in Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The ceremony will be hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, and will include special musical performances.

    “as a personification of Disneyland’s world-famous spirit of friendliness and happiness.”

The Disney Legends Awards program is a 28-year tradition of The Walt Disney Company, and the first Disney Legend was Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), who was honored in 1987. The three-day EXPO provides the opportunity for Disney fans to be a part of the memorable and prestigious event.

“The Disney Legend Award is our highest honor, and we are incredibly proud to recognize these eight talented individuals who have contributed so much to the world of entertainment and the Disney legacy,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “Their vision and dedication to their work have brought joy to audiences around the globe and earned them a place in Disney history.”

The 2015 Disney Legend Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

GEORGE BODENHEIMER, who retired from his role as Executive Chairman of ESPN in May 2014, enjoyed a remarkable 33-year career that began in the company’s mailroom in 1981. Working his way through the ranks, he became executive vice president of sales and marketing in 1996, before being named the network’s fifth president in 1998. He held that role until 2012, when he stepped down from day-to-day operations.

ANDREAS DEJA is a link to Disney’s past and one of the greatest animators of its modern era. Deja is known for his rich portraits of villainy, having animated Gaston for Beauty and the Beast, Jafar for Aladdin, and Scar for The Lion King. He has also brought life to heroes such as mighty Hercules, the precocious Lilo (Lilo & Stitch), regal King Triton (The Little Mermaid), wise Mama Odie (The Princess and the Frog), and loveable Tigger (Winnie the Pooh). In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Winsor McCay Award for his contributions to the art of animation.

EYVIND EARLE, one of the greatest of Disney artists, brought his unique style to a number of memorable projects but perhaps the purest realization of his vision remains the visual styling and backgrounds for the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty. Earle’s career with Disney began in 1951, working on background artwork for Peter Pan. He created the look of the 1953 animated short Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, which won an Academy Award® for Best Short Subject, Cartoons in 1954. His most noticeable contribution, however, remains his work on Sleeping Beauty. The film’s eye-catching look, in its design and backgrounds, is the perfect representation of his unique style.

DANNY ELFMAN provided the songs and score for The Nightmare Before Christmas, for which he also provided the singing voice of Jack Skellington. He also scored several Disney films including Alice in Wonderland, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Dick Tracy, Dead Presidents, Flubber, Good Will Hunting (Oscar® Nomination: Best Score), A Civil Action, Instinct, Frankenweenie, and Oz the Great and Powerful. Elfman also wrote the theme for ABC’s Desperate Housewives and penned the music for the Mystic Manor attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland. His music is featured in Disneyland’s annual Haunted Mansion Holiday. His upcoming Disney projects include Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass.

GEORGE LUCAS, whose Star Wars films made him one of the most successful filmmakers of all time, is also a longtime Disney fan who has left an indelible impression on Disney parks. His first project with Disney was Captain EO, the 1986 3-D spectacular starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, as well as Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril in Disneyland Paris, and two blockbuster Indiana Jones Adventure attractions at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea round out Lucas’ timeless work in conjunction with Disney.

SUSAN LUCCI portrayed Erica Kane on ABC’s fabled soap opera All My Children for 41 years, a role that TV Guide deemed unequivocally the most famous character in the history of daytime television, earning Lucci 21 Daytime Emmy® nominations to which she won the prestigious Emmy for Best Actress to an industry-wide standing ovation on her 19th nomination. Shortly thereafter, she received her Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, presented to her by Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. The iconic actress has also appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and Hope & Faith, as well as Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven. Lucci currently stars in the international hit Lifetime series, Devious Maids, produced by ABC Studios, as the wealthy and effervescent socialite, Genevieve Delatour.

JULIE REIHM CASALETTO, who began her Disney career as a tour guide, became Disneyland’s first Ambassador in 1965—a role created to help Walt, who found it increasingly difficult to attend all the events to which he was invited. As Disneyland’s first Ambassador, she was chosen “as a personification of Disneyland’s world-famous spirit of friendliness and happiness.” She became the template upon which decades of Ambassadors would pattern themselves.

CARSON VAN OSTEN helped bring Disney characters to life in a variety of media, all around the world, for three decades. During Van Osten’s tenure, he oversaw creative content for motion picture tie-in advertising, many Disney publications, and also established some of the first licensing style guides for Disney Consumer Products. The talented artist designed logos for Mickey Mouse’s 50th and 60th birthdays, the Walt Disney Studios logo and water tower design, and the Disneyland Hotel clock tower “Mickey” logo in Paris.

Each honoree receives a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity, and magic they have brought to the Company. Disney Legends Award recipients will also participate in a handprint ceremony at the end of the event, and their bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company’s Burbank headquarters.

Admission to the ceremony will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is included in the price of a ticket to D23 EXPO 2015.

Including this year’s honorees, a total of 257 Disney Legends have been named. Past Disney Legends include Tim Allen, Robin Williams, Julie Andrews, Howard Ashman, Regis Philbin, Annette Funicello, Peter Jennings, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Sir Tim Rice, Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Walters. With the inaugural D23 EXPO in 2009, thousands of Disney fans were able to enjoy the Legends Awards ceremony for the first time. Honorees that year included Robin Williams, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, Tony Anselmo, Bill Farmer, Harry Archinal, Don Iwerks, and Leota Toombs Thomas.

Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are $74 for a one-day adult admission and $54 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $65 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $112 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit

About D23 EXPO 2015
D23 EXPO—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. For the latest D23 EXPO 2015 news, visit To join the D23 EXPO conversation, make sure to follow @DisneyD23 on Twitter and use #D23EXPO.

About D23
The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.

Fans can join D23 at Gold and General Membership levels at and at To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Review: Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz Shine in "Big Eyes"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 25 (of 2015) by Leroy Douresseaux

Big Eyes (2014)
Running time:  106 minutes (1 hour, 46 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
DIRECTOR:  Tim Burton
WRITERS:  Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
PRODUCERS:  Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Tim Burton, and Lynette Howell
COMPOSER:  Danny Elfman
Golden Globe winner


Starring:  Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp, Jon Polito, Delaney Raye, Madeleine Arthur, and James Saito

Big Eyes is a 2014 biographical drama from director Tim Burton.  The film is a dramatization of the complicated relationship between American pop-art painter, Margaret Keane, and her husband, Walter Keane.  Brothers Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein are executive producers on the film.

Margaret Keane is famous for her “big eyes” paintings, which are paintings featuring children as waifs with big doe eyes.  For a decade, Margaret's second husband, Walter Keane, took credit for the paintings because, as he told Margaret, people would take her paintings seriously if they were credited to a man.  Margaret's paintings became hugely popular in the 1960s and earned the couple a large fortune, but Walter became more domineering the more prominence “big eyes” art attained.

Big Eyes opens in 1958 in Northern California.  Margaret Ulbrich (Amy Adams), a painter, leaves her husband and takes her young daughter, Jane (Delaney Raye), with her.  Mother and child arrive in North Beach, San Francisco where Margaret's friend, DeAnn (Krysten Ritter), lives.  One day, Margaret in selling drawings in a local park when she catches the attention of Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), a painter who is also selling his art in the park.

Margaret and Walter marry, and Walter begins to try to sell both their paintings.  People ignore Walter's paintings, but the “big eyes” paintings of his new wife, Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), soon become a sensation.  Walter lies when people ask him and claims to be the creator of the “big eyes” art, and Margaret goes along with him.  The “big eyes” become a sensation, but Margaret cannot truly find peace of mind.  Can she ever break away from Walter and take credit for her work?

When director Tim Burton's 2003 film, Big Fish, debuted, some critics said that Burton had finally made an adult film instead of his usual, a fantasy film.  Big Fish actually had its share of surrealism and eccentricity, like practically all Burton's work.  I think Burton's first adult film was the fanciful biopic, Ed Wood, which was more humorous than dramatic.

One might call Big Fish an adult film, but I found it dull and stiff.  Burton's 2014 movie, Big Eyes, is a drama, and it is similar to Ed Wood in that both movies focus on an outside or cult artist.  Big Eyes simply plays the biographical matter in a straighter fashion than Ed Wood.  In that movie, Ed Wood and his band of merry filmmakers were weirdos (and I'm not saying this in a pejorative manner).  Margaret Keane's art may be weird, but the screenwriters, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and even director Tim Burton take her life seriously.  Their movie is a fictional account of Keane's life that details the path she took to independence and to an awakening.

Since her coming-out-party in the indie film, Junebug, Amy Adams has been one of the best American actresses of the last decade.  As Margaret Keane, she gives one of her best performances, if not her best.  She embodies in herself and shows the struggle of a woman who is trying to break free of everything that holds her back – including herself.  In her face and in her emotions, Adams conveys the trials of the artist trying to claim her own work and of a woman living in an era when the wife must be “the little wifey” and little more.

It is a testament to Christoph Waltz's skill as an actor and a performer that he keeps Walter Keane from being burned in the radiance of Adams' performance.  Waltz makes it impossible to believe much of what Walter says, but he also keeps the fraudulent painter from becoming a caricature.  In his hands, Walter is a fully realized character, which I realized when I noticed that I was sympathetic to him (just a little) by the end of the film.

Big Eyes, which is essentially a low-budget independent film, is Tim Burton's first good movie in a few years.  With Ed Wood 20 years ago and with Big Eyes now, he shows that he sympathizes and identifies with artists who are off the beaten path, but who take their art as seriously as the “elite” artists.  Burton does indeed know how to let the best dramatic actors do some of their best work.  While I like a “serious” film (or Burton's version of it) such as Big Eyes, I do want more Tim Burton movies like Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow, which are both Oscar-winners, by the way.

8 of 10

Thursday, June 11, 2015

2015 Golden Globes, USA:  1 win: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical: (Amy Adams); 2 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” (Christoph Waltz) and “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Lana Del Rey and Daniel Heath for "Big Eyes")

2015 BAFTA Awards:  2 nominations: “Best Leading Actress” (Amy Adams) and “Best Production Design” (Rick Heinrichs and Shane Vieau)