luni, 6 iulie 2020

RIP Ennio Morricone

July 6th 2020. A sad sad day for all film and music lovers !
Ennio, il maestro Morricone is no more...
He was 91 (born November 10th 1928). He even conducted a concert in Rome this January !
I wrote a LMA piece on his carrer and influence by the time of too long awaited Oscar and the score of The Hateful Eight  in the Sunete magazine! Time to republish soon.
I saw him with my buddies Andrei & Relu in 2004, live in Budapest.  The Arena Concerto series. 
Saw him again in 2012 in Cannes, at the anniversary projection of restored Once Upon a Time in America.  The best partnership ever, Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone, unmatched even by the Prokofiev-Einsenstein collaboration, or the Bernard Herrmann-Hitchcock, or Nino Rota with Fellini. 
He did great scores for many directors, three for Brian De Palma (Untouchables, Casualties of War, Mission to Mars), three for Gillo Pontercorvo (Battle of Algiers, Burn/Chiemada, Ogro), for Polanski (Frantic), Joffe (the Mission), John Carpenter (The Thing), Warren Beatty (Bugsy), oh so many, and so many perfect brilliant ones. The giallos, starting with the first Argento films, to Spasmo and The Black Belly of Tarantula, gli polizioteschi, from Revolver to les  French -Le Clan des siciliens, to Peur sur la Ville, to Chi Mai in Le Profesionnel, Le Marginal. Last score of his I heard was in Jose Giovanni, Le Ruffian (1983), that I cought-up with last month.
Love his psychedelic score for The Exorcist II  (The Heretic) !!! Love the parodic score for Ochhio a la Pena ! (Buddy Goes West/ Atentie la pana de vultur!), which wierdly he did for Michele Lupo (ans Bud Spencer, and Amidou!). Or the original parodic My Name is Nobody/Mio nome e nessuno.  The beautiful Il Grande Silenzio for Sergio Corbucci. Pop-ish Danger Diabolik for Mario Bava ! And of course the dramatic TV series La Piovra !
Finally after forgiving him of using-remashing up -his music and themes he made some music for his fan, Quentin Tarantino in /for The Hateful Eight. That uncanilly got him his only Oscar of his career ! He got a Honorary one in 2007 after many nominations, first of which only in 1979 (!)  for Malick's Days of Heaven ! Last score for his friend, another T-as in Tornatore, for whom he was an attached composer, for La Corrispondenza, in 2016.  Unarguably he did some of his finest music for Tornatore, from Nuovo Cinama Paradiso to Malena to Legend of 1900.
The most influential film score composer of all time, over 500 films, my favourite film composer and one of the best musicians EVER ! 
“If you scroll through all the movies I’ve worked on, you can understand how I was a specialist in westerns, love stories, political movies, action thrillers, horror movies and so on. So in other words, I’m no specialist, because I’ve done everything. I’m a specialist in music. 
                                                                  Ennio Morricone
Here's a post from Film Stage which contains his best 20 scores -in their opinion -almost agreed
-and here's Rolling Stone Top Ten Morricone scores-even better !
Metallica: R.I.P. Ennio Morricone
Your career was legendary, your compositions were timeless. Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983.
Brilliant composer Ennio Morricone has passed away. A friend and collaborator, his talent was inestimable. I will miss him

marți, 23 iunie 2020

The Double Man (1967)

Dan Slater (Brynner): May I ski with you?

Gina Ericson (Eklund): No.

Dan Slater: Why?

Gina Ericson: Because I prefer to ski alone.

Dan Slater: But, it's safer to ski with someone. It says so in the book.

Gina Ericson: I'm afraid we don't read the same books.

Another one to Catch-up, this one for Franklyn J. Schaffner, whose films I”ve been revisiting lately (Lionheart, The Boys from Brazil, Sphynx). The Double Man is a dark gritty spy thriller that precedes the skiing adventures of James Bond !  It was shot and came out one year before On Her Majesty”s Secret Service (1969). The (aerial) cameraman John Jordan worked on both of them and died tragically during the shoot of Catch 22 in 1969. He was just 44. The skiing is just beautiful and is a major part in the plot, cable car and night skiing and chases, shot of course some on day-for-night.
The Double Man (1967)
Filmed in location in Tyrol in Austria, specifically in the St. Anton resort.
Yul Brynner (CIA”s Dan Slater) plays a double part as in title, the effects are well done, they stand even today.
It's Sweed beauty Brit Ekland”s 1st part in an international important studio film (WB), after After the Fox on which she was put by her hubby, Peter Sellers. Her character is also named Gina, this time not Romantica :), but Ericson.
Clive Revill has a nice a secondary straight part and Anton Diffring is the German antagonist working for the Russians.
Also good atmospheric score by Ernie Freeman, unknown composer to me.
7 ******* out of 10 !
3 1/2 out of FIVE !

luni, 22 iunie 2020

RIP Joel Schumacher

Joel Schumacher, the director of Falling Down (in my book, his best film) died today. He was 80.
He shot a film in Romania, where I was supposed to meet and interview him. It never happened :(
The film, a Gothic horror movie, Blood Creek (aka Town Creek), flopped. I kinda liked it and here's my review !
I kinda liked his first Batman film, Batman Forever, all the comic book colors, and even Val Kilmer. His second one  (Batman & Robin, as we called it, Fatman & Wobin ?) was painful, like crucifiction (pun intended !). B and R killed Batman for over 10 years and now has its place in the kingdom of worst movies ever. Was it so bad ? I don't know, I've seen much worse, it was not a man film, just dumb.
My second favourite film of his is Phone Booth, written by Larry Cohen.  And Tigerland, done before, with the same Colin Farrell. I kinda liked his Phantom of the Opera, which was again massacred by critics and hated by the audiences. He did a good thriller with Nicolas Cage, the snuff themed 8MM and he worked again with Cage on Tresspass (2011), which was his last film, after this he only directed some House of Cards episodes. 
A director of many genres, and former costume designer (The Last of Sheila and two Woody Allen films, Sleeper and Interiots), he rose to proeminence with the so called ”Bratpack” films, St. Elmo's Fire, The Lost Boys and Flatliners. Then he did the John Grisham law thrillers (The client, A Time to Kill), plus some drama with Julia Roberts, and the comedy remake of Cousins. He was at best uneven, maybe picking too much of what he was offered. But he crafted some damn good films, if he would”ve done them in the 50”s, 60”s or 70țs he would”ve been compared with great journeymen directors like Edward Dmitryk, Robert Aldrich, Don Siegel, but he was doing big studio pictures, so called A pix, with ans A Budget and with B sensibilites, and in those smaller ones he succeded best !
Obituary in Variety here . 

sâmbătă, 20 iunie 2020

RIP Ian Holm

Ian Holm is gone. He was 88. Grand English character actor, knighted in 1989 -CBE- and 1998. TV in the 60's, omnipresent in the films of 70's til 2000's.  Great parts, unforgettable, from the android Ash in Alien (1979, breakthrough part, in which he impressed me for life)
Holm, right, with Yaphet Kotto and Sigourney Weaver in Alien.
to the coach in Chariots of Fire (nominated for Oscar for best supporting actor) , to cpt. Philippe D'Arnot in Greystoke, to Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings series. 
Highlinghs:  in Terry Gilliam's Brazil, played Napoleon in Time Bandits and in Emperor's New Clothes, in David Croneberg's films, Naked Lunch & Existenz, sir William Gull in From Hell career high in Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Herafter.
obit in The Guardian. 
video clip of his career on imdb 
Imdb-Sir Ian Holm is one of the world's greatest actors, a Laurence Olivier Award-winning, Tony Award-winning, BAFTA-winning and Academy Award-nominated British star of films and the stage. He was a member of the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company and has played more than 100 roles in films and on television.