Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Noir City Austin - Day 3: The Dark Corner (1946)/ Night Editor (1946)



Due to work-related needs, I only attended the first double-bill of the day the Noir City Austin 2016.

I want to thank the Film Noir Foundation, Alamo Drafthouse Ritz and Austin Film Society for making this year something I wish I had planned for much, much better.  Because what I was able to attend was absolutely fantastic, well planned and curated.

And, of course, once again thank Eddie Muller for being such a terrific host and guide through the world of film noir, film history and fantastic historian in his own right.  People will be relying on his work for decades to come.

The two films they showed at mid-day were pure film noir, and as had been programmed in the double-bills all series, an A and B picture.  I was a big fan of both of these films, neither of which I'd seen before.  And that's much of the fun of Noir City.  Yesterday I was talking to the guy sitting next to me when he asked if I was a fan of film noir or classic film.  And I said "well, yeah, but, honestly, I hate to claim any expertise.  I feel like no matter how much I've seen, there's an endless amount of content I haven't seen."

The Dark Corner (1946) is a just-post-war private dick film, starring Mark Stevens as a clear nod to the Philip Marlowe type, a sort of rusted Galahad in a fedora who maybe gets too personally involved in his cases.   His Gal Friday is played by a pre-comedienne Lucille Ball, and she's actually sharply witty in this movie, and steals a lot of spotlight from her co-star.  But, as I may have mentioned before, I find "sultry Lucy" kind of an odd concept after spending a lifetime thinking of her as Mrs. Ricardo, but there it is.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Noir City Austin - Day 2: Flesh and Fantasy (1943) / Destiny (1944)



I was intending to pace myself during Noir City Austin, but I wound up getting paced by external forces.  The gameplan for today was to skip the morning shows, sleep in, walk the dogs, go to movies for a few hours in a row, be home around 10:30 this evening.

So, I made it out for the 3:00 - 6:15 double-bill of Flesh and Fantasy (1943) and Destiny (1944), and Jamie had even come to meet me for the 6:45 show of Scarlet Street, but during Destiny, I started getting an upset stomach - which I think was from just a combo of things I ate - and I was all sweaty and clammy and wasn't sure how I was doing, so we went home and I made her watch Criss-Cross instead.

But, man, the double-bill I did catch was pretty terrific, even if Noir Czar Eddie Muller admitted, it wasn't really noir, but more of a rare opportunity to catch a couple of films that aren't really in release anywhere, and that we were watching new prints from Universal.

Flesh and Fantasy (1943) is a fascinating experiment that feels 85% complete, but learning that the film had studio fingerprints all over it explained a tremendous amount.  Essentially three tales hovering between magical realism and pre-Twilight Zone ironic and uncanny, the stories are held together with a studio-created book-ending mechanism of Robert Benchley being read three tales that relate to his current predicament of not being sure whether to believe a dream he had or a gypsy's fortune.

Marvel Watch: We Admit We Watched "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) for the 5 Billionth Time


Oh, FX Network.  I know when you aren't playing some of my favorite shows (Fargo, The Americans, Louie, Baskets...) your other primary job seems to be playing Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) on what seems to be an infinite loop.  You're following the 1990's TBS Raiders of the Lost Ark model, and it worked for them there, and it's working for you here.

I don't always write up or post when I watch a movie on cable, especially if its one I've seen before, especially multiple times, as I usually wander in after the beginning and don't always make it to the end.  But CA: The First Avenger is one that  I seem to turn on as I'm flipping channels, some time will pass and suddenly and I'll realize I'm finding myself watching Peggy Carter talking to Steve about meeting him at the Stork Club as the Flying Wing plunges into the Atlantic.

I wouldn't say this is a perfect movie from a technical standpoint - and the CGI breaks down here and there (even as Skinny Steve still looks seamless to me).  But, man, it works for me.  And not just because of Hayley Atwell (which doesn't hurt).

What's funny is that, oh, gee... I guess back in 2009 when they were talking about this movie getting made, there was all sort of concern that the amazingly savvy audiences of the modern era wouldn't take to Captain America as a character because of something or other about how much smarter we are in the 2010's than we were in the 1940's and that having something to do with being a decent human being no longer being a "relatable" trait for a character.*

Well, the marketing wasn't all there for this movie, and it didn't make a mint, but, boy howdy, the sequels did just fine, it seems.  And we got two good seasons of a spin-off TV show with Peggy Carter, which happened to be one of the few watchable things on network TV in the past couple of years.

Anyway, I dig this movie, and I should probably not just turn it on and leave it on as much as I do, but there you have it.



*I cannot tell you how annoyed I get at the idea that audiences of the modern era are more "sophisticated".  Watching a ton of TV doesn't make you more sophisticated, but it will train you to expect certain things.  I sat through two movies from the 1940's last night with an audience that giggled at anything they didn't understand like a herd of middle-school kids.   The techniques change and symbolism and execution change with technology and perception, but your hip, modern ideas are going to look positively quaint in fifteen years, so, get over yourself, you knobs.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Noir City Austin 2016 - Friday Shows: This Gun For Hire / Fly-By-Night (1942)



This weekend I'm attending the third Austin Film Noir Fest, or, at least, a good chunk of it.  It's going on down at The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on Austin's famed 6th Street.*

It's gonna be interesting but a bit of a marathon as each showing is a double-bill, and there are three showings on each day Saturday and Sunday.

The whole deal is hosted by Film Noir Foundation founder and President, Eddie Muller, whom you may have seen on TCM last summer, in interviews about the film noir genre, or popping up wherever film noir is found.  Muller is a terrific author (from what I've read) - writing scholarly works on the genre.  He also works to promote the preservation of film noir, restoring films and uncovering lost movies.  And, I really think he and the Film Noir Foundation have been responsible for a resurgence and growth in interest in noir beyond the 10 or so films folks name-drop when it comes to noir classics.

This evening's pictures included noir staple (and a personal favorite of mine), This Gun for Hire (1942) and a far lesser known film, Fly-By-Night (1942).   The idea is that each bill is an A and B picture from the same time period in the history of noir, so you can see a growth in the genre's development.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Weimar Watch: Threepenny Opera (1931)



Obviously near-post-silent German film isn't my usual deal, nor Brechtian musical comedy.  The closest I'll get to that is a fondness for Fosse's Cabaret and that I have all of the albums by The Dresden Dolls.  And, you know, Tom Waits and others have carried through the spirit of the movement through to the modern era.

I haven't seen much in the way of G.W. Pabst's directorial efforts, although I'm well aware, from film school, he's one of those names you're supposed to be able to drop.  He was a giant of German cinema in the pre-Nazi days, and brought Louise Brooks out of Hollywood and over to Weimar Germany, and I've seen Pandora's Box.  A contemporary of Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau, going to the pictures in Germany back in the day must have been something.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

In Memoriam Watch: Justice League - The New Frontier (2008)



With the passing of Darwyn Cooke, I had my quick appreciation write-up, and on Sunday, as I was eating my oatmeal and pondering the fact I had to work all afternoon, Jamie pitched watching the animated version of Cooke's comics classic, Justice League: The New Frontier (2008).

For a while there, I was purchasing every single new DVD WB Animation pushed out as DC got into the feature-length animated film business.  These days I limit my actual purchases (my last purchase being Flashpoint, which seemed as good a place to jump off DC Entertainment in many-a-ways), but I have a pretty good run of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Justice League videos.  And, as I type this, why the hell didn't they ever make a Flash movie?  It seems like an obvious fit.

But I don't think I'd actually watched this disk in something like 6 years.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bat Watch: Batman Begins (2005)


I hadn't watched this movie in a few years, but I've got a shelf full of Batman films, cartoons and TV, and on Friday night - in the wake of finishing The Caped Crusade: Batman and The Rise of Nerd Culture, it felt like time to review some Batman again.

Not sure what to watch, I just gave Jamie some options, and she selected Batman Begins.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Signal Watch Reads: The Caped Crusade - Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture (audiobook, 2016)



Here's what I know after reading Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture (2016) - I would love to spend a couple hours at a bar with author Glen Weldon knocking back a couple of cocktails and talking comics.  

The book is a perfect compliment to the sort of discussion we've been having here at The Signal Watch the past few years, from our Gen-X Recollection Project (still ongoing!  Send in your posts!), to trying to contextualize what we see in movies of the past and present as seasoned dorks.  

As a matter of course, I've read a few Superman retrospectives, but very few feel like an honest conversation.  Les Daniels' works read like what they are - honest if fairly sanitary historical accounts of the rise of Superman in all media.  The very-well-selling Larry Tye book felt like a lot of research into something the author felt would move books but for which he had little personal affinity and seemed surprised that Superman wasn't the character he remembered from his years watching The Adventures of Superman.  Author Tom De Haven has the strangest relationship with Superman, having written a full novel re-imagining the character from the ground up (in ways that often seemed far, far off the mark), and then a sort of retrospective that made it clear - he kinda hates Superman.

But aside from Les Daniels and a few excerpts in books like Ten Cent Plague and Men of Tomorrow, I haven't read up as much on Batman.  I actually heard of author Glen Weldon when he put out a book called Superman: The Unauthorized Biography.  I purchased the book, but hadn't read it as I had a stack of books I was making it through.  Still haven't read it, honestly, aside from the first few pages, which had me cackling in recognition of someone who truly knew their Superman.  But, two days after I picked up the Superman book, Weldon announced on twitter his Batman book was coming, and as I'd just finished the Tye Superman book, I figured - I'll just wait for that one.

I really can't recommend Caped Crusade enough.  This is a "run, don't walk" sort of recommendation.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Marvel Watch: Captain America - Civil War (2016)



Let''s be honest - if you're trying to look at Marvel movies as individual installments - you're utterly missing the point.  I suspect you're the sort of person who, while selecting a computer, asks the sales associate what gauge typewriter ribbon this contraption will require.  The strength of the Marvel U is the serial nature and continuity, something more traditional critics seem to balk at, continually expect to flounder, but then engage with once they get down to brass tacks in their discussion of the semi-annual Marvel release.  Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the culmination of the past decade's worth of Marvel studios box office success, tight narrative management, and editorial vision of a shared universe reflecting the best aspects of more than 50 years of Marvel comics.

I should point out right here that I still have not seen Batman v. Superman, so I'll do my best not to make any comparisons between this film and one I haven't seen.  It's not fair to either.

My relationship with the original Civil War comics from Marvel is not a great one.  I loved the art in the main series, but I didn't entirely buy either Cap or Tony suddenly coming to their respective positions, and due to events in recent Captain America comics - Steve had unmasked on camera and said his name directly into a microphone as a sign of strength while confronting terrorists (it was just post 9/11) - I didn't really think it made sense for him to be the standard bearer in the comics for being anti-government management.  After all, Steve has been roughly a government op for SHIELD since his return in the 64' era and getting his own title.

At the series' conclusion, it felt like they took dozens and dozens of comics, from the mini-series to the associated mini-series, to the in-continuity issue tie-in's, to tell a story which only really needed about 5-7 issues to tell.  And, at the conclusion of that series, I dropped Marvel as a line, except for, I think, Black Panther - which I only stuck with for a while longer, and then Cap.  They were headed into doing the same thing over again with another storyline (that Skrull dealy-o), and I just raised my hands and said "I can't afford this, and you need to do this better".

Thus, I was a bit skeptical when Marvel selected Civil War as the basis for its next storyline for Cap following Winter Soldier.  If I was cheered a bit, it was that I felt Winter Soldier was an entirely new story using pieces of the comics (which I'd enjoyed terrifically), maintaining the central conflicts and many of the characters while telling an entirely different story.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Happy Star Wars Day!



Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Last Star Wars Day, I kind of shrugged.  16 years or so of ambivalence regarding Star Wars had drained me of any enthusiasm for the movies.  At most, I think, I mustered a picture of Princess Leia.

On Monday, I hung a print of the above X-Wing image in my office at work.  That's how I roll.

But, hey, The Force Awakens brought me back in to the Star Wars fold, something I, frankly, thought impossible.  I figured that even if I liked it, it'd still feel like something of an echo of something else I used to like.  But, instead, I'm as excited about Star Wars now as I was in college.

So, here's to a Star Wars day I can feel is mine, too!  And to celebrate, here's some artwork promoting the movie!  And, heck, here's to Rogue One, coming soon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Noir City Austin 2016 - Schedule is Up - Come join us for a show!



Noir City returns to Austin at The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on Austin's famed 6th Street!  Dates are May 20, 21 and 22.

I'm going to a bunch of the shows, but I fully expect to be worn out only attending a portion of the full program as each showing is a double-bill.

To see which shows are available, check out the calendar at The Alamo Ritz website.

Right now I have tickets to a whole bunch of the showings, which you can see in the calendar on this site.

I'd spend more time coordinating with you fine people to see who wants to go, but I'm flying out for Atlanta for a conference tomorrow.

I have tickets for Row 3, Seat 20 (and 19 for some screenings so I don't leave Jamie alone all weekend).    

I don't know too many of these movies, which is something I'm pretty excited about.  Always fun to see new things.

Come on down and join us/ me!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Aliens Watch: Aliens (1986) - Director's Cut


It's been a long, long time since I'd watched the Director's Cut of Aliens (1986).  In fact, when I put in my DVD - one of the first DVD's I ever purchased back in The Gay 90's* - I was genuinely surprised to find this was the cut of the film that had been collecting dust on my shelf for...  a while.

It's not that I haven't seen Aliens during that time.  I know I've seen it at least once at the Paramount (with Simon), and it seems like I've seen it at The Alamo in the last decade, so the need to give my disk a spin has not been extraordinarily high, I guess.  It seems like I've watched it at least in parts on cable.

Before the directors cut came out, I had a pretty good idea of what might be in it as I'd read the novelization of the movie back in middle school, and, indeed, meeting Newt's family is in there, but the domestic scene of the novel doesn't play out the same way in the movie - leaving you without that pain point of "here is who we lost".

Frankly, I think the final cut works better than the Director's Cut.  That family that's lost works out better as whatever your imagination conjures rather than a fairly forgettable bunch of folks from central casting.  The themes of motherhood and protecting your brood are crammed down your throat a bit less in the theatrical cut, that product feeling more organic, and the theatrical cut just feels stripped down and sleeker.  Seeing the colony with the same eyes as the Colonial Marines - an unknown place that was filled with unknown people, and something awful clearly happened here - just works better for me than seeing what happened before.  And makes the Aliens, in their way, all that more scary.

But, whatever, that's just my take.  As per the movie, if you've seen it, you have your opinions.  If you haven't seen it and you're over the age of, oh, 13... get on it.



*that's what I'm calling it.  The 1890's don't get all the fun.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Alien Day Watch: Alien (1979)


It had been some time since I'd seen Alien, and I had never seen it on the big screen.  The Alamo Drafthouse was doing double-bills of Alien and Aliens, and then Alien3 and Alien Resurrection.  I showed up for the double-bill, but I've been exhausted all week, and when SimonUK, my movie buddy, announced he'd seen the two movies on 4/26, I felt like I had an out.  So, we watched Alien, grabbed a pint at the bar after skipping out on movie #2, and then I went home for 40 winks.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happy Aliens Day!

So, we're really doing this, huh?

It seems we're gonna now have a sci-fi holiday every few months, this latest being 4/26, in honor of the planet LV-426, where the Norstromo set down in Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror masterpiece, Alien.

I'm not due to watch the movie until a double-bill tomorrow night with pal SimonUK, but see both of the first two Alien movies I shall.


I saw Aliens the first time when I was in middle school when I was at an all-day Saturday academic competition and a parent accidentally put it on a video player in a "relaxation" room.  Something like 4 dozen kids silently agreed not to tell anyone we were watching a Rated-R action/ sci-fi/ horror film so we'd all get a chance to watch an R-Rated movie on someone else's dime.  Jason was there, so I assume it was when I was in grade 6 and he in grade 8.

I loved it.  I still recall that I came home, admitted to The Admiral that I'd seen this rated-R movie that he would totally dig, and we went and rented it, and, indeed, we all dug it together.  I then recorded the film off HBO, and proceeded to watch it a grand total of 32 times in one calendar year.  I could quote it line for line.

Weirdly, I wasn't that interested in Alien.  I finally watched Alien in 8th or 9th grade, and I liked it.  A lot.  But I wasn't much of a horror film guy, and the horror overtones never grabbed me in quite the same way that Ripley v. Alien Queen had captured my young mind.

Kind of an odd thing, in retrospect, that I never thought twice about our lead as a woman the same age as many-a-teacher or mom, who wasn't asked to do the Sybil Danning bit, but was exactly what she was supposed to be.  A competent do-er, the person with a head on her shoulders when the shiznit hit the fan.  And for a long time, when the question would come up "why aren't there more women in action roles" it wasn't that we'd point to Sigourney Weaver as proof that there were, but proof that "yeah, I dunno.  Sigourney Weaver is an exemplar of what an audience finds perfectly reasonable in a movie.  More of that, I think."

But, man, those Giger visuals, the pounding score, the phenomenally envisioned sets...  it's a hell of a movie.  A little startling when you go and watch Them! and realize Cameron more or less ripped off a lot of that movie for his picture, but both still work. Especially when you get that last, unexpected battle with the loader and Alien Queen.

That's the stuff, right there.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Doc Watch: Electric Boogaloo - The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)



I started watching this doc thinking I'd make it maybe 15 minutes in, get bored, and move on with my life.  But, really, my primary complaint about the film is that it seems like it could have run an additional 30 minutes or so, delving into more of the impact of Cannon Films on popular culture and where the movies found their audiences, and not ever felt like it was running long.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014) is exactly what you see in the title.  It's a doc about the rise and fall of the independent movie studio responsible for an ungodly amount of the types of movies suburban kids consumed by the truckload back in the 1980's - particularly when our folks were off doing other things and not paying much attention to what we were watching.  Cannon was responsible for just a tremendous number of movies of all genres, and for a kid back in the 1980's, it was pretty typical to go rent a movie, come home, throw it in the VCR and see the Cannon logo scroll out before you.

The basic hook of the movie is that Cannon was fast, cheap and out of control.  They were making movies fast and furious, producing what they assumed was crowd-pleasing stuff, leaving decorum, taste and craftsmanship behind as they raced to give us an endless supply of films loaded with violence, nudity, ridiculous plots and a way to kill a couple of hours on a Saturday night.  They gave us everything from Breakin' parts 1 and 2 to The Last American Virgin to American Ninja to Bolero to Invasion USA to Masters of the Universe to Over the Top, and dozens and dozens of movies in between.  If you're over the age of 35 or so, it's highly likely you raised yourself on a steady diet of their output running on cable or from the local Mom & Pop video rental shop.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Raimi Watch: Darkman (1990)


I don't believe anyone in the movie actually calls the main character "Darkman", btw

What to say about Darkman (1990)?

It's hard to categorize as "good", and I think my affection for it is rooted in nostalgia and the electric current I got seeing this very, very strange movie when I was 15.  It came out just shortly after I'd moved to Spring, TX, where I'd live from grades 10-12.  I was vaguely aware of a movie called Evil Dead 2 that you were supposed to see, but I hadn't seen it yet, and I'd never heard of Sam Raimi.  I just took Darkman for what I thought it was and what I'm sure the studio brass also thought they had: a royalty-free superhero movie they could make cheaply and quickly to ride on the coattails of Batman (1989) and America's awakening interest in superhero movies about "dark" heroes.

Why Did I Do This? Watch: Can't Stop the Music (1980)



"I can't believe you haven't seen this movie," my boss said to me.  "It's terrible."
And, me, never one to shirk from a challenge, saw that it was, indeed, free on Amazon Prime.
Sigh.
Hubris is always punished, my friends.

To complain about a movie that convinced a group of people to found The Razzies is a somewhat pointless endeavor.  But, yeah, you can absolutely see how this movie would have convinced someone to make sure the ineptitude of the filmmaking got its own special notice.  It's a movie so bad, you kind of feel like maybe you'd go crazy if forced to watch it two or three times in a row - a designation I reserve for a very few films of the Manos: The Hands of Fate variety.

In some ways, it feels like a 1940's Mickey Rooney/ Judy Garland film, as a songwriter (Steve f-ing Guttenberg) and former model (Valerie Perrine) put together an act and put on a show, recruiting their upstairs neighbor (who happens to always dress as a a Native American stereotype) and some guys they know from the disco (a portion of what is to become The Village People).  The old-timey tone may make sense when you find out it was directed by Rosie, the Bounty Towel pitch-lady/ Rhoda's mom/ comedienne who appeared with Mickey Rooney in films, Nancy Walker.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Disney Watch: The Jungle Book (2016)



As kids, most of us caught Disney's post-Walt release of The Jungle Book, based upon the works of famed British writer Rudyard Kipling.  When it comes to Kipling, I have no real opinions.  After all, I've never Kippled.

But thanks to a love for Disney animation and Jamie's deep fondness for the movie, I've seen the 1967 cartoon a number of times.  It's not my favorite Disney animation, and my appreciation for the movie swings between adoration and annoyance, depending upon the sequence.  Balloo = Yes.  Kaa = irritation.

It does have one of the strongest sing-along soundtracks of any of the movies, and is up there with the best when it comes to "Bear Necessities" and "I Want To be Like You", even if the latter is in a portion of the movie I found just kind of confusing as a kid.

But it's also got an underrated villain in Shere Khan.

I've also seen the 1990's Jason Scott Lee version of the movie (but don't remember it in the slightest), and a good portion of a 1942 release, which is much better than you'd guess.

I wanted to be skeptical of this version, but Jon Favreau's name was attached as director.  As goofy and normal as Favreau comes off in his roles and in interviews, he's a smart guy and already turned into as solid a director as you were going to find way back when he put out Elf, and then two Iron Man movies in a row that I quite liked (yes, I like Iron Man 2.  Shut up.).

But, man, that's some tough source material, and these days, when it comes to family entertainment, the forces at work seem to be a mix of risk-averse accountants, shrieking parents groups terrified their kids might find out how things work outside their carefully helicoptered environs and a fear of being seen as anything less than a perfect exemplar of safety first.  The idea of a story taking place in a world ruled by tooth and claw seems like it would catapult this kind of story into the same PG-13 arena as the Marvel superheroes.

The first trailer made me more skeptical than excited, but a very recent trailer that came out maybe a week or two before the film's release turned me around a bit, and, of course, I was cheered by a very positive Rotten Tomatoes score (floating around the mid-90's last I checked).

I'll be honest, I loved this movie.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Today Marks the 81st Anniversary of the Release of "The Bride of Frankenstein"



I've already written plenty about Bride of Frankenstein, but - let's get real - it's one of my favorite movies of all time.  I'm going to talk about it whether anyone cares or not.

The movie was released on April 22nd, 1935.  I've now seen it, probably 16 or 17 times, and every time I watch, like all great movies, I don't just enjoy it, I get something new out of it.  In short, I can't recommend it enough.  And, if you do watch it and don't like it, or if you don't see what I like about it, I'm always happy to chat on the topic.

Yes, the movie is supposed to be funny, so you may feel okay about laughing.  If you ever see Una O'Conner show up in anything, it's okay to laugh.  Yes, the film is supposed to be weird in both the modern and classic sense of the word, and it's generally the uncanny atmosphere of the movie I relish more than anything resembling a scare.  But, yes, it's mildly scary, sometimes, I guess.  And sad.  Only Dr. Pretorius here is having any fun.  Both Frankenstein the Doctor and Being are caught up in a world that torments them despite their better intentions and honest desires.

A complete story in only 80 minutes or so, even if I think you're selling yourself a disservice not watching Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein back-to-back for a good 3 hour movie.

Below are some posters for the picture - not the Mondo posters, many of which I quite like, but the original posters.  And, then, some of photography from stills and the film itself - one of the best visually imagined of the Universal Horror movies - or any movie in any year.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

John Williams Appreciation Post: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Finale)



You're gonna need to block out fifteen minutes for this one.  Sorry.

A few years ago The Alamo Drafthouse was running a series based on a local radio show, "Film Score Focus", where the host of the show came, talked a bit about the score for the movie you were about to see, and I think maybe again afterwards.  The screening we attended was for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

It's a fascinating score, one that saves a movie that could have been terrifying and turns it into a work of wonder.  After all, it's a movie about communicating with beings from another world/ plane/ what-have-you, via the power of music.  We may not have a similar written or spoken language, or other form of communication, but we can peacefully share notes back and forth to show our good intentions.

Host of Film Score Focus, Brian Satterwhite, rightfully pointed out that - if one listens - the score is constantly blending a few things.  Yes, that child-like piano riff we all think of with Close Encounters, but also Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star", which makes itself heard fully at around the 10:50 mark of this clip.

It's a nice bit of work, that.