Posted by Alan Rogers on June 7, 2012
Original Review by Alan Rogers
Goodie is a short drama film released in 2011 from The Red Dog Film Company, a “Community Interest Company”. A family of superheroes saves a community from natural disaster (tornadoes in Lincolnshire) but tragedy strikes the family and the remainder of the film deals with issues such as loss and grief. Young Danish composer Jesper Hansen focuses on the emotions associated with the impact of loss on those left behind (and in some ways, also on those who are dying), and delivers a memorable strings-based score which has, at its heart, an evocative adagio theme for the head of the superhero family.
Scoring for the format of a short film, Hansen’s score does not have the luxury of establishing the film’s musical world with a statement of a title theme. Instead, “The Tornado” jumps straight into the action as we see an overview of the the damage done by the passage of a recent twister, the arrival of the superheroes on the scene and then the rescue of several members of the community. An energetic string ostinato propels the action forward as these events unfold, swelling to a crescendo as the superheroes are enveloped by another tornado and then the orchestra falls quickly away and a calming solo female voice heralds the clearing of the tornado. The following track, “Adagio (For Brace)”, is the highlight track of this short score. Playing as a self-contained piece rather than a cue that follows the on-screen performance, strings (plus the additional of some ethereal wordless female vocals) adds an emotional weight to what could otherwise have been a rather flat scene: the family watches over their figurehead as he lies in hospital, dying from injuries sustained during the final tornado strike. The grave sense of loss the family feels is captured in Hansen’s heartfelt adagio theme. However, a brief statement of this adagio later in the score (“Be A Hero One Last Time”) hints that the theme also represents the strength Brace provides to the family – heightening the sense of impending loss to their previously-stable group. Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Alan Rogers on June 3, 2012
Original Review by Alan Rogers (First uploaded at maintitles.net)
Written, directed and starring Ty Jones, Last Breath seems, at first sight, to be just another torture-horror movie where the protagonists find themselves trapped and at the mercy of a sadistic killer hell-bent on making his captures suffer for 90 minutes or so before killing everyone or being killed themselves (perhaps). However, Jones’ first directorial feature is not all that it seems to be. Released to both popular and critical acclaim in 2010 the film stars the director and Mandy Bannon as Michael and Tina Johnson, a couple whose once-happy marriage has come under severe pressure from various directions and is at risk of collapse. Finding themselves trapped in an abandoned warehouse and being stalked by a “Dark Figure” (Aaron Laue), the film follows the pair as they make a series of choices that will decide both their and their son’s future. A revelatory twist at the end of the film then takes the couple (as well as the audience) down a path that has everyone re-examining the film’s events. Recently made available on Howlin’ Wolf Records as a limited release (limited to 500), Swiss-born composer Vincent Gillioz’s award-winning score to Last Breath highlights how a score that could have been just another run-of-the-mill horror score can be enhanced when a composer has a clear vision for the score and how it interacts with the story.
Gillioz’s task on Last Breath is a difficult one. There is the family drama of the deterioration of Michael and Tina’s relationship plus the horror aspect of the film (their imprisonment and torture by the Dark Figure) which, as it turns out (as the composer explains in the CD’s liner notes), “…is actually an allegory to the [family] drama”. Musically, Gillioz represents family and family values with a piano because of the instrument’s association with the home and the attendant feelings of stability, solidity and warmth. “To The Core” provides one of the most complete statement of Gillioz’s family theme. A single piano gives a heartfelt statement of the family’s theme, highlighting the positive aspects of the family’s relationship. In the same track, Gillioz then highlights the versatility of the theme, taking a 4-note fragment of this theme (played on winds) and building the orchestra up around the fragment, mirroring the complication of Mandy’s family values by intruding revelations. This family theme (full or as a fragment) appears throughout the score whenever the concept of family values (a lifeline to which the protagonists must cling to in order to survive their ordeal?) arises during key moment of the film. Read the rest of this entry »
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