Monday 26 September 2016

SPECIAL: Top 10 Movie Composers - Part 3

And the Top 3 are...

3. Brian Tyler

            Brian Tyler is everywhere. Ever since I caught his name in Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, I have just seen his name again and again and again. He also scored for The Expendables series, for the Now You See Me franchise, and also, most of the Fast & Furious films. And while these are not all great films, the music is excellent.
           And, I just have to add, my personal favourite Brian Tyler score is not in the movies. It is, in fact, from a video game. Firstly, I want to mention that he did the music for Need for Speed: The Run (which includes one of the best track I have ever heard in a video game) and also Far Cry 3. But it was his work in Assassin's Creed: Black Flag which remains my personal favourite and it really enhances the game experience. And even to this day, I still like hearing the score once in a while.

Favourite: Assassin's Creed: Black Flag (VG), Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World
Upcoming: Fast 8

2. John Williams

             This name was never going to miss the list. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Superman...who doesn't know the name John Williams?
             And yes, I did say that, to be in this list, the composer must be active recently to be under my radar. Well, firstly, John Williams is still active...with his mos recent work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And secondly, I know I'm not a boy of the 80s, but if there's any film of the 80s that I love to watch, it would be easily the Star Wars films and the Indiana Jones films. And as a kid, I was a super fan of Jurassic Park.
             And I'm not simply mentioning these movies because they're classic greats...but it is because I love the music that comes with these movies - and they are super iconic and super amazing. Arguably the all time best musics of cinematic history - and I love them.
            And for sure, I am thankful that John Williams still decides to do the Star Wars musics...which is one of (among the many) reasons that I can't wait for Star Wars Episode VIII.

Favourite: Star Wars (franchise), Indiana Jones (franchise), Jurassic Park
Upcoming: Star Wars Episode VIII 

1. Hans Zimmer

              And my personal favourite composer is none other than the great Hans Zimmer. And if you're wondering why he stands ahead of the legendary John Williams, the reason lies on my introduction. Hans Zimmer has been so active recently, and all of them are spectacular. John Williams was terrific, but most of his best work lies in the classic franchises. Hans Zimmer keeps on taking new projects recently and all of these has been superb.
             The Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Sherlock Holmes, Madagascar franchise, Kung Fu Panda franchise, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Interstellar, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Lone Ranger & Rush.
            See, I need a whole paragraph just to list his brilliant works, and all those are just the ones that I personally love. And I just want to call out that while Rush is not a blockbuster film, it has a track (Lost but Won) which is my personal favourite of all Hans Zimmer scores...and a lot of them are stunningly spectacular.
            And so Hans Zimmer is the name I want to see the most to score my favourite movies. A musical genius, and a true legend for me.

Favourite: All the films in the second paragraph above...
Upcoming: Inferno, Dunkirk

And there's that for my personal list of favourite composers...
And I hope these amazing people keep on creating more and more spectacular scores for us all to enjoy...

Sunday 25 September 2016

SPECIAL: Top 10 Movie Composers - Part 2

Next up...

8. Steve Jablonsky

            Say what you will about the Transformers films...but the music was great. If anything, the score was the saving grace of the films. Even in Age of Extinction, the movie which some are saying is the worst of them all, I find myself enjoying the score a lot (especially the Lockdown theme). Steve Jablonsky also have some video game scores in his CV...most notably some of the Gears of War games.

Favourite: Transformers: Age of Extinction
Upcoming: Transformers: The Last Knight....what else? ;)

7. Ramin Djawadi

             A lot of the scores I have heard from Ramin Djawadi has a very energetic tone - from Iron Man to Pacific Rim, and even Warcraft. My personal favourite is either the Pacific Rim score of the Warcraft score...and even as both those movies are, well....less than stellar...the music still stands out and makes the film enjoyable as it is. And do you know what, he does the score for that little TV series called Game of Thrones, too.

Favourite: Pacific Rim, Warcraft
Upcoming: The Great Wall

6. Henry Jackman

            Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class. Not only are these excellent films of the past few years, but they are spectacularly enhanced by some great scores by the brilliant Henry Jackman. He has made himself known (to me, at least) in the past few years with these excellent scores...and fortunately for him, they are also brilliant films which I just simply love to watch over and over.

Favourite: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Upcoming: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

5. Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg)

              The first film that come to mind: Mad Max: Fury Road. It is one of the best films of 2015, and it really is the people's favourite (because the Academy or the Golden Globes doesn't think like normal people). And I don't exactly remember what I said in my review, but after watching it again and again, I can easily say that the best thing about the film is the score. One track in particular, "Brothers in Arms" is super spectacular and is a must hear....and even the great video game producer Hideo Kojima chooses to use this music for his super entrance in E3 2016.
              To list down a few more of his works, Tom Holkenborg partnered with Hans Zimmer for Batman v Superman, and even Divergent, which isn't a particularly good film, was made better thanks to Tom's score.

Favourite: Mad Max: Fury Road
Upcoming: Justice League

4. Michael Giacchino

              I was never really aware of Michael Giacchino's name until not too long ago. I think it was Star Trek Into Darkness that got me. But then he went on to do Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World, and then I realize he also did Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. All these are spectacularly brilliant films supported by an equally brilliant score. And he's been so active recently and now everytime I get to see his name in a movie - I get slightly more excited about it.

Favourite: Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Upcoming: Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, War for the Planet of the Apes

Top 3 in the next post...

Saturday 24 September 2016

SPECIAL: Top 10 Movie Composers - Part 1

Great music enhances the cinematic experience of a film...enchancing the intensity of the action, the emotional level of a scene, and immerses you into the world right in front of your eyes...

This list below is a list of my personal favourite composers who have created some of my favourite movie scores...which I love to hear over and over again...

1. Obviously, the list is highly subjective and these are my personal choices.
2. Also, the names that show up will only be basis the movies I have seen...and hence, they would (mostly) have to have been active recently for them to come up under my radar.
3. And finally this is not a representation of the movies themselves. The movies may be bad, but the scores might still be brilliant.

And as there are quite a lot of composers which are indeed under my radar...

Honourable Mentions (in Alphabetical Order):

             There are some names that I cannot manage to include in my Top 10 - and mostly it is because I only like their score in just the one movie or one franchise. But, they did it spectacularly.
            Firstly, I can think of Christophe Beck, who did the score for Ant-Man and Frozen, most notably. But the Ant-Man score is the one I really love...I heard it over and over again and it was brilliant and energetic. But apparently, this is the only notable score I like from Mr Beck.
            Another name that comes to mind is Craig Armstrong. He did the score for The Incredible Hulk and it was superb. I really love it, but apparently that's the only movie I know he did. I'm sure he did others, but nothing else came to my attention (in other words, I don't watch them).
           Next up is Howard Shore. Very simply, he did the score for both the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy. And these are very lovely music...both adventurous and magical, it really takes people into the world of Middle-Earth throughout the course of these Peter Jackson epics.
           John Ottman is another one of similar situation. He did the score for a lot of the X-Men films...and for the better ones, too (X2, Days of Future Past, Apocalypse). And the theme song that he created was excellent, and everytime I hear it, I am taken back to my childhood from when my movie heroes were the mutants of Xavier's school.
             Finally, I also have John Powell, who I like for doing the music for the Bourne franchise. They were spectacular, especially those in The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.

Now, for the Top 10...

10. Alexandre Desplat

           I have, only very recently, realized that Monsieur Desplat did the score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (both parts) - but I cannot give him a lot of the credit for that, because the music has already been done by many others before, and so the core themes didn't actually come from him. However, he did do the score for Godzilla, which was pretty good, and the one for me was The Imitation Game, which has a stunningly beautiful score.

Favourite: The Imitation Game
Upcoming: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

9. Alan Silvestri

             A music legend. Alan Silvestri did the music for some classics like the Back to the Future series, Forrest Gump, etc - however, they were, for the most part, before my time. But, recently, he did the score for Captain America: The First Avenger and more importantly, The Avengers, which was exceptional - especially that theme when we get to see all of the heroes together in a circle. I'm glad it was Mr Silvestri who had the honour of scoring this film. It was a brilliant score for an iconic movie moment.

Favourite: The Avengers
Upcoming: Avengers: Infinity War

Ranks 8 to 4 to come in the next post...

Saturday 17 September 2016


"If you must blink, do it now"

           I wasn't initially too keen to watch this film but the stellar reviews made me think twice. So I ended up checking it out and boy, was it good. The film was brilliant in a lot of ways - it has cool action, a decent story...and more importantly, it did the basics right by setting up the characters well. And the character interactions was another standout positive of this film. There are some minor flaws...but it doesn't take away how great this film is.

          The best thing about this film are easily the characters. The characters of Kubo and his company are introduced brilliantly and are likeable heroes to root for. Kubo's backstory was setup so brilliantly, that even less than 10 minutes in, I can totally feel for Kubo and understand his feelings. When you get a film that does the basics right like this, it is almost guaranteed that audiences will root & care for our protagonist in whatever conflict that follows.

           More than that, this film soon upped their game with some very excellent character interactions (and dialogues) between Kubo and the Monkey and the Beetle. There is a very interesting dynamic between the three and it makes the non-action sequences already super fun to watch - and yes, this is also where a lot of the humour comes through.

           There are some very cool action sequences & effects, too - despite this being a stop-motion animation. And the plot as a whole is pretty decent. And the film definitely has the feels when it comes to the dramatic & touching moments - owing to the brilliant character setup. And even the music is pretty solid, too.

          Unfortunately, this film still has some minor flaws for me. Mainly these would be in some of the minor details of the plot - sometimes they don't make total sense, but also, a scene (or a revelation, rather) - which I shall not spoil - feels a bit too convenient. It works for the story, but it feels way too convenient. 

            Apart from that, there is this one other thing which might not be an avoidable flaw, but in the beginning, the stop-motion is a bit too glaring (and hence, distracting), but once the adventure kicks in, I no longer feel it. In fact, I feel genuinely surprised with a lot of the super cool action sequences (especially those which includes the Sisters), knowing that these are stop-motion animation.

           In the end, this film is a brilliant film in a lot of ways - and especially so when it comes to characters & interactions, which is why the film is always going to keep audiences invested and liking them. There are only some minor flaws, and the film doesn't really have any memorable strong point, but it is indeed a very solid adventure film and a really good watch.

VERDICT: 85/100

           An easy Recommended....

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Looking Forward: OCTOBER 2016

Fortunately, the month of October sees a return of more interesting films, most of which are in the action/thriller genre...

The Girl on the Train (Oct 7-USA, Oct 5-UK, Oct 6-Singapore)

          I was never aware of this film until I saw the trailer. So this film was never in my radar, but now that I've seen the trailer, I am quite intrigued about this film. A mystery thriller with a great cast like Emily Blunt & Luke Evans. I won't be completely anticipating this movie, but for sure...I am curious to see it.

Trailer: (Trailer #1)

The Accountant (Oct 14-USA, Nov 4-UK, Oct 13-Singapore)

            This film has an interesting premise. I like the idea that this person (played by Ben Affleck) has a high affinity with numbers and may hold secrets of some criminal organizations. But the idea I don't buy (yet) is how this person is able to have some excellent combat & firearm skills. Not that I'm doubting a mathematician's ability to fire a gun...but its just that when a character has an outstanding skill on the cognitive side, he usually lacks in the practical/physical aspect.
             Hopefully the film will touch on this, but for now, I still have that common perception that a character don't usually have outstanding skills in both (very contrasting) aspects. That being said, the film looks pretty interesting with a great premise and some great cast, too.

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Oct 21-USA, Oct 21-UK, Oct 20-Singapore)

          The first Jack Reacher film was a bit divisive among audiences. Some of them quite like it, others don't. I'm more of the former. I thought it was rather interesting and cool. I admit that it is too slow-paced, and its not like many other action flicks which are more energetic and fun. But Tom Cruise is a true action hero, and is someone you can never dislike. Between his investigative skills & combat ability, Jack Reacher is an unconventional but cool action hero.
            The first thirty seconds in the trailer of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back shows exactly what makes Jack Reacher cool. And if we see more of that in the film, it would surely be an awesome film. And from the trailers, we see some very exciting action sequences, too. So, this film for me is already worth the price of admission, even if only to see Tom Cruise kick some ass.

Trailer: (Trailer #1)

Inferno (Oct 28-USA, Oct 14-UK, Oct 13-Singapore)

            I didn't need a trailer to sell me this film - I was always going to watch Inferno, anyway. I really enjoyed the movies The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, the previous two adventures of Robert Langdon of the Dan Brown novels. They were excellent thrillers that really kept me at the edge of my seat throughout. I expect this next chapter, which brings back the collaboration of director Ron Howard and lead actor Tom Hanks, to be no different.

Trailers: (Teaser Trailer) (Trailer #1)

Other Movies:

             For those of you looking for a comedy flick, Keeping Up with the Joneses (October 21) sounds like a fun movie to look out for. And it has a good cast, too. Meanwhile, for horror lovers, the prequel to Ouija - aptly titled Ouija: Origin of Evil - comes out on the same day (October 21).
             Finally, the one other movie I am curious about is the crime drama American Pastoral (October 28), which is the directorial debut of one of my favourite actors ever, Ewan McGregor - who also starred in the film itself.

Sunday 4 September 2016


"Each death must look like an accident"

            I have not been watching new films in the theaters for almost a month now...and now that I have, I am not happy with my choice of film. Mechanic: Resurrection is another generic action film. But even generic action films can have a good enough plot, or at least some interesting characters. This movie has neither.

            The plot itself as a whole is very generic and boring. It is as predictable as can be. He falls in love with a woman. The woman gets captured, and now he must do whatever the captors demand. And so he did...and I'm pretty sure you all know how it ends. It is the most predictable and generic of stories. 

          Worse still, is the fact that even the subplots don't really work. The falling in love between Jason Statham's and Jessica Alba's character feels very forced and cheesy. And even the main progression of the plot is dull...doing one mission after the other.

            At least, if these are interesting characters, it would be better. But they're not. The predecessor of this film has one with Ben Foster's character...which is why I like the first film better than this one. If I can say, the most interesting character in this film is Tommy Lee Jones' character...and he's only in it for about 5 minutes...

          The action sequences aren't even that good. They're not bad...but they're not that brilliant, either. In the end, the film isn't that terrible, but it really is not quite interesting enough.

VERDICT: 32/100

          This film, unfortunately, isn't a good cinematic experience, and is most certainly not worth the price of admission. But it might be a good time filler if you happen to chance upon it on Cable TV and have nothing better to do.