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Friday, December 26, 2008

Interview with John Ottman on composing the music for, and editing the film, Valkyrie

Written By E. Corrado


When did you find out that you were going to be working on Valkyrie? It was around February or March two years ago. It was a few months after Superman Returns, which I had worked on, and was also directed by Bryan Singer. I work a lot with Bryan, and I usually like to take some time between his projects to work on composing for other movies. Anyway, it was just shortly after Superman, and he called me up, and I asked him why he was calling me so soon after. So he started telling me that there was this little movie he was working on. He told me it was a true story, just a quick in and out thing that wouldn’t take long. Now, here we are and well, it’s amazing what it’s become.


What kind of timeline do you usually have between finding out that you are going to be working on a film, and actually starting on it? It varies. As a composer, sometimes you find out you’re going to be on a project, but then not really start on it until months later. Other times, it’s literally that you’re starting the next day and working feverishly for a few weeks to get it done.


What was it like editing the film and doing the music for it? It’s an all consuming exercise to try to accomplish both tasks. It is very difficult to say the least.


What was it like working on a movie based on true events? It’s a suspense thriller, but you’re kind of hand-tied by history which adds a lot of weight. We had to make sure we were accurate about every single detail, like the insignias on the uniforms. We may not notice if it was off, but there are people who would, so the fact that you have to try to make it accurate to actual events, adds a lot.


What were the biggest challenges working on Valkyrie? One of the biggest challenges was that you realize that since it is based on true events, the majority of people will already know the story. So you have to keep it fascinating and suspenseful when it’s a reality that the ending’s known. The dialogue has to feel suspenseful even when nothing is actually happening, and they are just talking about what they are going to do.


What was your favorite part of working on Valkyrie? That’s a hard question. Probably the final sound mix on the film, because then I know that all of the editing decisions are final.


How does Valkyrie compare to other films that you have worked on? I would say it was the most difficult film for editing so far. It is kind of a different movie, and I like movies like that, but then again it was also a thriller too.


When did you know that you wanted to work with film, and music? I think I always wanted to make movies. I used to record my own radio programs, and make films with the neighbors as actors in them. When I was older, I went to film school, and in the mid-80’s midi technology came out, and I got myself a keyboard and started playing around with it. I started using my friends student films as guinea pigs for music composition, and found out that I had a knack for it. It started out as a hobby, but to make a long story short, I was helping Bryan Singer, whom I knew, edit his film Public Access, and he needed a composer at the last minute, so I did it.


Where did you study music/editing? I was mostly self taught. I played the clarinet when I was younger in marching bands, and I also loved going and watching the symphony in my home town. You learn through lots of trial and error. I also went to USC for film studies, and although there’s not a specific course on it, the film courses are very heavily centered on editing.


Are there any movies that you feel you could have done differently? It’s something that’s always at the back of my head when watching it, because you know what was ‘Option B’. If you look at Close Encounters Of The Third Kind as an example, the director, Steven Spielberg, released a bonus cut of it, and it shows that there are definitely options about how you edit a film. The thing is though, that’s it’s kind of weird to see, because, once a movie’s finished and people have seen it, how you see the movie is how it is. Anything else just doesn't feel the same.


Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. Thank you, and I hope that people will go see this movie, and enjoy it.


One Movie, Five Views thanks John Ottman for taking the time to do this interview.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

To all of our readers, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1 Day to Christmas

The Polar Express

Release Date November 10th, 2004

Rated G


Running Time: 100 min.


Robert Zemeckis (dir.)


Tom Hanks as Hero Boy/Father/Conductor/Hobo/Scrooge/Santa Claus

Leslie Zemeckis as Sister Sarah / Mother

Eddie Deezen as Know-It-All

Nona Gaye as Hero Girl

Peter Scolari as Lonely Boy

Michael Jeter as Smokey/Steamer

Daryl Sabara as Hero Boy (voice)

André Sogliuzzo as Smokey & Steamer (voice)

Jimmy Bennett as Lonely Boy (voice)

Isabella Peregrina as Sister Sarah (voice)

Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak as Know-It-All (voice)

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The Polar Express

Review By John C.


Christmas Past

When The Polar Express opened on November 10, 2004, it changed the way everyone looked at movies. Not only was it in IMAX 3-D, but it also starred Tom Hanks in 6 very different roles, and providing the voices for five of them. This was made possible with the technique of Motion Capture, where an actors motions are recorded, and act as a wire frame for the animation. While it was a break through for the future of filmmaking, the movie met with mixed reviews, only reaching a disappointing rating of 57% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes.


Alot of people found the animation creepy, because the eyes are not quite realistic, but four years later, I don’t think I would change a thing. The animation is perfect, being a little creepy, but also appearing like a dream.


Christmas Present

Since 2005, a Christmas has not gone by when I haven’t watched The Polar Express, and it is probably my favorite Christmas movie. What makes it so special is the way it has a little bit of everything, mixing in elements of all the greatest Christmas stories, while still being totally original. The movie almost seems like a dream, with the hobo and the scene with the dead toys being the nightmare parts that you want to get out of, Smokey and Steamer being the strange parts that you don’t quite understand and Santa’s workshop being the magical part that you wish would come true.


Another thing that makes the film so beautiful is the music. The score and songs by Alan Slivestri, including a duet between Hero Girl and Lonely Boy and the spectacular Hot Chocolate sequence, capture the mood of the film perfectly, being both uplifting and melancholic, it once again proves that movie music is an essential part of filmmaking. People of any age can relate to this truly magical film about the power of believing.


Christmas Yet to Come

Fans of The Polar Express (myself included) are excited to see Robert Zemeckis’ Mo-Cap adaptation of A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge, both young and old and playing the parts of all the ghosts of Christmas. The movie will be released in IMAX 3-D on November 6, 2009, and Robert Zemeckis described it as A Christmas Carol exactly how Charles Dickens envisioned it. As of this time, no footage has been released, but a 3-D trailer will likely be released on May 29, with Pixar’s Up.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2 Days to Christmas

It’s a Wonderful Life

Release Date December 20th 1946

Rated PG


Running Time: 130 min.


Frank Capra (dir.)


James Stewart as George Bailey

Donna Reed as Mary Hatch Bailey

Lionel Barrymore as Henry F. Potter

Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy Baile

Henry Travers as Clarence

Beulah Bondi as Ma Bailey

Frank Faylen as Ernie Bishop

Ward Bond as Officer Bert

Gloria Grahame as Violet Bick

H.B. Warner as Mr. Emil Gower

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It’s a Wonderful life

Review By John C.

When you think of Christmas movies, It’s a Wonderful Life is usually the first one that comes to mind. Whether you like to watch it at the beginning of the season, or right at the end, almost everyone can agree it’s a Christmas classic. Following a depressed man who is led on a journey by his guardian angel showing him what it would be like if he wasn’t there, is a touching story that bares some resemblance to A Christmas Carol. It is impossible not to be moved by the film, which makes it a definitive Christmas classic. If you have never had a copy of the film, now would be a perfect time to add the 2-disc special edition DVD to your collection, so you can watch it for many years to come.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Robert Mulligan (1925-2008)

Director of the classic film To Kill a Mockingbird, died on Saturday December 20, due to heart disease. He was 83. Born on August 23, 1925, in New York, he died at his home in Lyme, Conn. with his wife Sandy Mulligan. The first film he directed was Fear Strikes Out, in 1957, he was nominated for an Oscar in 1962 for directing To Kill a Mockingbird, and the last film he directed was The Man in the Moon, in 1991. He will be missed by many, may he rest in peace.

3 Days to Christmas

A Christmas Carol (Scrooge)

Release Date November 28th 1951

Rated PG


Running Time: 86 min.


Brian Desmond Hurst (dir.)


Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge

Mervyn Johns as Bob Cratchit

Hermione Baddeley as Mrs. Cratchit

Michael Hordern as Jacob Marley / Marley's Ghost

George Cole as Young Ebenezer Scrooge

John Charlesworth as Peter Cratchit

Francis De Wolff as Spirit of Christmas Present (as Francis de Wolff)

Ernest Thesiger as The Undertaker

Glyn Dearman as Tiny Tim

Michael Dolan as Spirit of Christmas Past

Roddy Hughes as Fezziwig

Hattie Jacquesas Mrs. Fezziwig

C. Konarskias Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come

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A Christmas Carol (Scrooge)

Review By John C.

A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim, is arguably the best adaptation of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece ever put to screen. It stays close to the book, and 57 years later, it is still being watched. There are so many different versions of the story, some good and some not, and next year a new version is coming, (more on that later), but the best ones are the one from 1938 with Reginald Owen, this one from 1951, and, yes, the Muppets. A Christmas tradition every year, based on one of the best Christmas stories ever written, go out and watch this movie.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

4 Days to Christmas

Elf

Release Date November 7th 2003

Rated PG


Running Time: 97 min.


Jon Favreau (dir.)


Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf

James Caan as Walter

Mary Steenburgen as Emily

Zooey Deschanel as Jovie

Daniel Tay as Michael

Bob Newhart as Papa Elf

Edward Asner as Santa Claus

Leon Redbone as Leon the Snowman (voice)

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Elf

Review By John C.

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Elf. The premise could have made for an unfunny, stupid Christmas comedy, but the results are far from that. Will Ferrell could have easily played the character of Buddy, a human, who was raised by elves, in a crude and stupid manner, but he creates a character who is both charming and innocent. When he goes to New York to find his human father, he also falls in love with a department store worker (Zooey Deschanel) who is dressed as an elf, and he’s thrilled to have found another human, who shares his love for elf culture. If you have seen the movie than you know what happens, and if you haven’t, go watch it now. Elf is completely enjoyable from beginning to end, making it a modern Christmas classic, that will hopefully be watched and enjoyed for many more years to come.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

5 Days to Christmas

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Release Date December 11th 1992

Rated G


Running Time: 89 min.


Brian Henson (dir.)


Micheal Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge

The Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens

Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit

Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit

Robin the Frog as Tiny Tim Cratchit

Fozzie Bear as Fozziwig

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The Muppet Christmas Carol

Review By John C.

Surprisingly this version of A Christmas Carol with a mostly Muppet cast, starring Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and narrated by Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat, is actually an excellent adaptation of the Dickens classic. Michael Caine is amazing as Scrooge, playing him in all seriousness, even though he is surround mostly by a non-human cast. While it would work as an introduction to the story for kids, (maybe eight and up), it sticks close to the book, so adults will not be disappointed, and might actually enjoy it more than kids. Through and through a Christmas classic, right up there with other classic adaptations of the book.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Interview With Composer William Ross - The Tale Of Despereaux

Written By E. Corrado


When did you find out that you were scoring The Tale Of Despereaux? On this one it was about 2 - 2 1/2 years ago.


What kind of timeline on average do you usually have to score a movie? On a regular feature the process varies as the business keeps changing. It can be 2-3 months, 1 month, or in some emergency situations it can be 1 week.


Do you prefer having more time? That’s a good question - no one’s actually asked me that before. It’s a longer time to sit and worry, but no, I really do like having the extra time to do it especially with producer/writer, Gary Ross. During the process you can talk about what works, and doesn’t work. When you try various things you can edit them later, even though sometimes, it’s best to just go with your first instinct.


What’s it like working on an animated film? There was more time and it was interesting writing to footage that won’t be final footage. There were some cues I’d done that I didn’t get the footage until just before the scoring session. It’s always a work in progress.


What was it like doing The Tale Of Despereaux? Did you read the book beforehand? I remember the book from awhile ago, but there are always ways that they change things to make them work better on screen. I very quickly got the script on this one, which is a nice place to start from.


What were the challenges, if any, that you faced while working on The Tale Of Despereaux, and how does this compare to other films that you have worked on? The emotional challenges are constant because before you start anything, you wake up to blank sheet, or computer file. It was interesting in the sense that it wasn’t a real film to look at when I started. Imagine trying to write to just story boards, where’s in a live action movie, they’ve shot everything, so you know how things will move, the colours, and the camera angles. Sure they may edit it here or there but for the most part it’s close to what you will see on screen. Story boards are nice since you spend some time thinking about it.


When did you know that you wanted to compose and work with music? I grew up playing the piano, but I never really thought about it until college. I realized that what I was heading off to do was not what I really wanted to do, and I love music so that’s what I followed instead.


Did you study music formally? Yes in a lot of different places. I also started studying scores on my own and when you’re doing that, having a teacher really helps because they have a lot more experience than you and can give you their perspective on things. The musical vocabulary of film kind of dates back to orchestral music. It’s kind of like the romantic styles, but it’s so much greater than that, in the sense that when you put extreme dissonance in concert, some people find it difficult to connect emotionally with it, but in a cinematic sense, depending on the movie, it can really enhance the scene, and so it works.


How did you study scores? When I’d hear things that would interest me, I would look at where, and what it was on the score. Unfortunately, you can’t really just go out and buy most film scores. If you’re interested though, Hal Leonard does have a great series of John William’s work called the signature series, and that is a way to look at the orchestral scores of some of the themes from movies like Star Wars, and ET.


What programs do you use when working with the computer? I use Logic Pro 8 as well as ProTools and several other programs.


Are there any scores that you felt you could have done differently? Some seem like to me, the best I could do. Some I would not want to change, like My Dog Skip, which feels almost like it’s just one piece. You do sometimes think ‘why didn’t I make that before that’ and want to change things though.


What was your favorite movie to write music for, and why? ‘Despereaux’ is right up there at the top. Also, My Dog Skip, and Tuck Everlasting. The music really works with those ones, and like I said, My Dog Skip feels almost like it’s all just one piece.


What was your favorite part of doing the music for The Tale Of Despereaux? There is one scene in particular that I really loved. It is the one where Princess Pea is talking to Despereaux. I tried that three different ways, and it was the third way that worked. It was very simple, and it came back to a very simple theme. I thought it was great in the way that it just makes you fly through the scene.


Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. It’s been a pleasure, and I hope that your readers will go out and see ‘Despereaux’ and enjoy the music in it.


One Movie, Five Views thanks William Ross for taking the time to do this interview.

6 Days to Christmas

A Christmas Story

Release Date November 11th 1983

Rated PG


Running Time: 93 min.


Bob Clark (dir.)


Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker

Darren McGavin as The Old Man - Mr. Parker

Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker

Ian Petrella as Randy Parker

Scott Schwartz as Flick

R.D. Robb as Schwartz

Tedde Moore as Miss Shields

Yano Anaya as Grover Dill

Zack Ward as Scut Farkus

Jeff Gillen as Santa Claus

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A Christmas Story

Review By John C.

“You’ll shoot your eye out”, is perhaps one of the most quotable Christmas movie lines, referring to young Ralphie who wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, but is given that retort every time he asks an adult for his most wished about present. The writing of Jean Shepard, who narrates the movie and wrote the source book, In God we trust, all others pay cash, has a storytelling style that could be compared to Toronto writer Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe stories. Very simple, yet so simply funny, being able to find humor in little things, and the perfect deliverance of a line, that will make the whole audience crack up. There is so much to say about A Christmas Story, that to put it simply it’s a Christmas classic, that should not be missed from year to year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

7 Days to Christmas

The Santa Clause

Release Date November 11th 1994

Rated PG


Running Time: 95 min.


John Pasquin (dir.)


Tim Allen as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus

Judge Reinhold as Dr. Neil Miller

Wendy Crewson as Laura Calvin Miller

Eric Lloyd as Charlie Calvin

David Krumholtz as Bernard the Elf

Paige Tamada as Judy the Elf

Jayne Eastwood as Judy the Waitress

Larry Brandenburg as Det. Nunzio

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The Santa Clause

Review By John C.

Before the movie was lampooned with two needless and not very good sequels, The Santa Clause had an interesting and original premise, what would happen if Santa fell off a roof and died? Who would be the new Santa? The idea the movie has, is it would have to be whoever found him and put on his suit. What the original has, that the sequels don’t, is a good heart, likable characters and some moments of real humor. Although it is not up there with movies like Elf, it still stands up as a charming and enjoyable Christmas film, that people of any age can enjoy. Go out and watch this feel good Christmas comedy, and I doubt you will be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

8 Days to Christmas

Christmas with the Kranks

Release Date November 24th 2004

Rated PG


Running Time: 99 min.


Joe Roth (dir.)


Tim Allen as Luther Krank

Jamie Lee Curtis as Nora Krank

Julie Gonzalo as Blair Krank

Dan Akroyd as Vic Frohmeyer

Erik Per Sullivan as Spike Frohmeyer

Cheech Marin as Officer Salino

Jake Busey as Officer Treen

M. Emmet Walsh as Walt Scheel

Elizabeth Franz as Bev Scheel

René Lavan as Enrique Decardenal

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Christmas with the Kranks

Review By John C.

Christmas with the Kranks is probably one of the most underrated Christmas movies I have ever seen. Scoring a surprisingly low rating of only 5% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s to bad more people wouldn’t give it a chance. Having read the original book, Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, I decided to watch the movie a few years back, and have watched it every year since. Though the beginning and middle include a lot of funny physical humor, the ending is charming, sweet and full of heart, making it a Christmas comedy that mirrors the great John Hughes. Despite what you’ve heard, give it a chance, and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mamma Mia

In honour of the DVD release of Mamma Mia on December 16th, 2008, here are two of our reviewers thoughts on the film, from when we saw it in theatres. Mamma Mia opened on July 18th, 2008.


Rated PG-13 for some sex-related comments.


Running Time: 108 min.


Phyllida Lloyd (dir.)


Meryl Streep as Donna Sheridan

Pierce Brosnan as Sam Carmichael

Colin Firth as Harry Bright

Stellan Skarsgård as Bill Anderson

Julie Walters as Rosie

Dominic Cooper as Sky

Amanda Seyfried as Sophie Sheridan

Christine Baranski as Tanya

Ashley Lilley as Ali

Rachel McDowall as Lisa


Our reviews below:

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Mamma Mia Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of four)

Despite my low rating, I didn’t mind Mamma Mia. It is mildly enjoyable, but could it have been better? Probably not. From what I have heard it lives up to the corniness of the original broadway musical, but is more impressive for it’s beautiful scenery of Greece, and less impressive for it’s inclusion of Pierce Brosnan singing. It is one of those movies that is almost so bad, it's good, and provides for lighthearted entertainment. Part of the reason for giving it a lower rating, is because it doesn’t live up to other recent musicals like the excellent Hairspray.


What keeps it out of the realm of unbearably cheesy and corny, is that it’s evident that the film is not trying to take itself seriously, and the filmmakers just have fun with what material they have.


Fans of Mamma Mia and ABBA will not be disappointed, and for anyone else, it’s worth a rental on DVD.

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Mamma Mia Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of four)

I never saw the musical of Mamma Mia before this, and don’t really have much interest in going out of my way to see it. This movie worked for what it was, and I am sure that a lot of people will enjoy this movie as something fun to watch. If you are familiar with the story than you will know that this has some fun twists and turns in it that work.


When this movie originally came out, I chose to see The Dark Knight over it, and I am glad that I did. They were released on the same date, but it is clear to see which of the movies is so obviously the superior of the two. Where Mamma Mia’s competition at the box office, The Dark Knight, was cinematic genius, this is just plain fun. It is worth seeing, and one of it’s stronger points is that it does not take itself too seriously.

If you were never that into ABBA songs, or really curious to hear what Pierce Brosnan’s singing is really like, you can probably wait to check this out on TV at some point. But if you are interested in this movie, or enjoyed the musical, than this is worth a rental. It is definitely better than I had expected, and a lot more fun too.

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Consensus: Mamma Mia is harmless fun, and is worth a rental if you liked the musical, or are just looking for a light fun musical to watch. **1/2 (out of four)

9 Days to Christmas

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Release Date December 1st 1989

Rated PG-13


Running Time: 97 min.


Jeremiah S. Chechik (dir.)


Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold

Beverly D'Angelo as Ellen Griswold

Johnny Galecki as Rusty

Juliette Lewis as Audrey

Randy Quaid as Eddie

William Hickey as Uncle Lewis

Mae Questel as Aunt Bethany

E.G. Marshall as Art

Doris Roberts as Francis

John Randolph as Clark Sr.

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Review By John C.

From the exploding turkey, to the squirrel in the Christmas tree, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a Holiday classic. Clark Griswald is trying to be good, but things just never work out for him, from trying to staple thousands of Christmas lights to his roof, or being trapped in his attic, hilarious mishaps ensue. Part of what makes it so funny is the comedic timing of Chevy Chase, perfectly executing every pratfall, stunt and physical gag that the movie has to offer. The various family members that pretty much invite themselves over are also very funny, including his wife’s rude and dimwitted, but very kind cousin, Eddie, who is hilariously played by Randy Quaid. Off-the-wall humor, hilarious sight gags and pratfalls make this an extremely funny Christmas classic. Go watch it if you haven’t already, and you will not be disappointed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

10 Days to Christmas

Miracle on 34th Street

Release Date (unknown) 1947

Rated G


Running Time: 96 min.


George Seaton (dir.)

Maureen O'Hara as Doris Walker

John Payne as Fred Gailey

Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle

Gene Lockhart as Judge Henry X. Harper

Natalie Wood as Susan Walker

Porter Hall as Granville Sawyer

William Frawley as Charlie Halloran

Jerome Cowan as Dist. Atty. Thomas Mara

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Miracle on 34th Street

Review By John C.

Miracle on 34th Street is the perfect Holiday movie. Beginning at American Thanksgiving and ending on Christmas, it can be watched at anytime throughout the holiday season. It tells a timeless story of believing in what you can’t see, and using your imagination, that is just as important today, as when it was originally released in 1947. For young and old alike, Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas classic that is, and will be enjoyed by people of all ages for years to come. If you haven’t already watched it this year, you’ve still got time, so buy it, rent it, or just watch it on TV. It is a movie that doesn’t grow old from year to year, and hopefully finds a new audience every time it’s on TV.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Movie Series Starting Tomorrow

Starting tomorrow One Movie, Five Views will be featuring a review of a Christmas movie each day for the ten days leading up to Christmas. These movies will not be rated out of stars.

Looking Ahead - Disney•Pixar’s UP

2008 has been a great year for animation, and like every single year probably since Toy Story’s release in 1995, fans of this medium look to PIXAR to see what standard the years crop of animated films will be measured up to. Fair or not, this has become common as they release one hit after another. And this year was no different with WALL•E. Having a company this ahead of the game has it’s advantages as films like Dreamwork’s Kung Fu Panda, and Disney’s Bolt push themselves further to keep up.


Looking ahead to next year’s PIXAR release Up, it looks to be another movie to potentially stand on it’s own. We have now seen a teaser trailer and an extended trailer, (stunningly released in 3D with Bolt), both available on the Up official website. Also of note, on the Up website, (when you click on the floating house), there is a short clip with the main character Carl Fredrickson, (Ed Asner), and boy scout Russell, (Jordan Nagai), that is an extended part of a scene in the trailer. It is the first clip of the movie that I have seen other than the trailers, and though short, it is definitely worth watching.


http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/up/

Friday, December 12, 2008

This Month’s Overlooked Film

Chosen by: John C.


Lars and the Real Girl

Release Date November 2nd 2007 (Limited)

Rated PG-13 for some sex related content


Running Time: 106 min.


Craig Gillespie (dir.)

Ryan Gosling as Lars

Paul Schneider as Gus

Emily Mortimer as Karin

Nancy Beatty as Mrs. Gruner

Patricia Clarkson as Dagmar

Lauren Ash as Holly

Kelli Garner as Margo

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Lars and the Real Girl Review By John C.

**** (out of four)

The premise of Lars and the Real Girl, sounds anything but appealing, it actually sounds kind of creepy. But, the results are anything but creepy, it’s actually a sweet and moving picture, that is brilliant in it’s innocent portrayal of the lead character's relationship with a life sized doll which he buys over the internet. The audience and those around him know of the doll's true purpose, but to Lars she is Bianca, his girlfriend. As those around him try and help, they are told that the only way they can, is by going along with his delusion, it will only stop when he is ready to let it go. The beginning of the film is filled with great humour, but by the end, it becomes emotional, sad and extremely moving. Lars and the Real Girl is a perfect film, brilliantly mixing humour and heart. Everyone should see it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nominations for the 66th annual Golden Globe Awards

Best Picture (Drama)

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“Frost/Nixon”

“The Reader”

“Revolutionary Road”

“Slumdog Millionaire”


Best Picture (Comedy/Musical)

“Burn After Reading”

“Happy-Go-Lucky”

“In Bruges”

“Mamma Mia!”

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”


Best Actor (Drama)

Leonardo DiCaprio, “Revolutionary Road”

Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”

Sean Penn, “Milk”

Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Micky Rourke, “The Wrestler”


Best Actor (Comedy/Musical)

Javier Bardem, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Colin Farrell, “In Bruges”

James Franco, “Pineapple Express”

Brendan Gleeson, “In Bruges”

Dustin Hoffman, “Last Chance Harvey”


Best Actress (Drama)

Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”

Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”

Meryl Streep, “Doubt”

Kristin Scott Thomas, “I’ve Loved You So Long”

Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road”


Best Actress (Comedy/Musical)

Rebecca Hall, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”

Frances McDormand, “Burn After Reading”

Meryl Streep, “Mamma Mia!”

Emma Thompson, “Last Chance Harvey”


Best Supporting Actor

Tom Cruise, “Tropic Thunder”

Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”

Ralph Fiennes, “The Duchess”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”

Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”


Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, “Doubt”

Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Viola Davis, “Doubt”

Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”

Kate Winslet, “The Reader”


Best Director

Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”

David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”

Sam Mendes, “Revolutionary Road”


Best Original Score

“Changeling”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“Defiance”

“Frost/Nixon”

“Slumdog Millionaire”


Best Screenplay

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“Doubt”

“Frost/Nixon”

“The Reader”

“Slumdog Millionaire”


Best Foreign Film

“The Baader Meinhof Complex”

“Everlasting Moments”

“Gomorrah”

“I’ve Loved You So Long”

“Waltz with Bashir”


Best Animated Feature

“Bolt”

“Kung Fu Panda”

“WALL-E”


Best Original Song

“I Thought I Lost You” from “Bolt”

“Once in a Lifetime” from “Cadillac Records”

“Gran Torino” from “Gran Torino”

“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E”

“The Wrestler” from “The Wrestler”


The winners will be anounced on Sunday January 11, 2009 on NBC at 8 P.M. EST. You can get more info on the Golden Globes at their official website: http://www.goldenglobes.org/

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Dark Knight

In honour of the DVD release of The Dark Knight on December 9th, 2008, here are two of our reviewers thoughts on the film, from when we saw it in theatres. The Dark Knight opened on July 18th, 2008.


Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace.


Running Time: 152 min.


Christopher Nolan (dir.)

Hans Zimmer and James Newton-Howard (music)


Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman

Heath Ledger as The Joker

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two Face

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes

Gary Oldman as James Gorden

Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox


Our reviews below:

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The Dark Knight Review By John C.

**** (out of four)

Even though The Dark Knight is the biggest grossing movie of the year and the second biggest ever (after Titanic), while I was watching it, it felt like I was witnessing a great independent film that I had to tell the world to see. The acting is first rate, including a brilliant performance by the late-great Heath Ledger as the sadistic Joker - which is played so well that sometimes you don’t know if you should laugh or be terrified, but at the same time, you can never stop watching. Christian Bale is topnotch as The Batman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman are also great, Maggie Gyllenhaal is a huge step up from Katie Holmes, who played the character of Rachel Dawes in the predecessor to The Dark Knight, Batman Begins. Aaron Eckhart is also brilliant as Harvey Dent, who could be considered the backbone of the whole story.


While it is dark and visually stunning, the morals that are brought up in the last half-hour are thought provoking, and also follow in the brilliant theme of the film, which is “who is really good and who is the true hero?”. The Dark Knight is technically a comic book movie, even though it barely feels like it. It is one of those movies that only come once in a while, and should be celebrated. A masterpiece of modern cinema, both thought provoking and honest, The Dark Knight is easily one of the best films I have ever seen.

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The Dark Knight Review By Erin V.

**** (out of four)

The Dark Knight. Hands down, this is one of the best movies I have ever seen. With a movie like this, no matter what you expect, when you come out of the movie, you know that you’ve seen something great. After seeing this movie, I read the script, and even on paper, this movie is still exhilarating. And that’s without it being raised to a completely new level with stunning visuals, and acting that is Oscar worthy - in particular by the late Heath Ledger as The Joker.


Film is an art form - that when utilized to it’s full potential, reminds you why we go to the movies. Everything about this movie works. It is a movie that is not just a regular comic book movie, and while watching it, it is so seamlessly put together. The mix of action scenes does not seem jolting or out of place at any time, and the music, wonderfully composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, fits the mood perfectly.


All in all, for those who want a film that is an astounding work of art, as well as an exciting comic book movie/crime drama, The Dark Knight is a movie that is definitely worth seeing.

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Consensus: The Dark Knight is not just another comic book movie - it is a brilliant crime drama, that rises to the level of a work of art to be celebrated. **** (out of four)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Interview with Alex Wurman; Composer of the Score for Four Christmases

Written By E. Corrado


When did you find out you were going to be working on Four Christmases? Just before the summer break. I was actually starting to listen to Christmas music in July because of it. It was a little challenging t0 get into the holiday spirit in the summertime.


What was it like working on Four Christmases? It was fun. And I really enjoyed working with Vince Vaughn. I remember him talking to me about this white gospel music from the 60’s and that was one way he wanted the score to sound but we ended up using more traditional Christmas music as references.


How does Four Christmases compare with another project you worked on - March Of The Penguins? Well they are both movies they take place in the winter and they both have a lot of heart but the similarity ends there. March Of The Penguins was a documentary and the music not only had to play the emotions of the story but also the penguins. For Four Christmases, the music needed to convey the difficulty the characters had to portray both comedically and somewhat dramatically.


When did you know that you wanted to be a composer? I came from a musical family. As a result I started writing music at seven years old. It was not until my mid 20's that I decided that I wanted to focus on composing. I had always thought that I would be more of a composer/performer, writing my own pieces and then performing them on stage but I am thrilled that my career as evolved that I can use all my musical influences into being a film composer.


What inspired you musically? I grew up studying the piano and listening to classical music like The Beatles and Bill Evans. When I was nine years old, Star Wars came out, and I fell in love with composer John Williams' score to that film. His music in that movie is amazing, as well as in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Catch Me If you Can, Munich, etc. He has such a tremendous range as a musician and I want to emulate that.


What instruments do you play? As a composer I need to know the sound of many instruments. I play many instruments but the ones I feel I play best are the piano, and the flügelhorn. I also really love the sound of either a violin played in the low register, or a viola. I just like something that is slightly lower than the highest in it’s group. I also love the cello, and the flute - it doesn’t matter how high the flute is played, I’ll always love a flute.


I recently played a solo flügelhorn on a movie called “Bernard and Doris”. I'm proud to say I received an Emmy nomination for that film.


Where did you study music? I attended the High School for the Performing Arts in Chicago, and the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago as well as The University of Miami for their jazz program.


Are there any scores that you’ve done that you aren’t happy with, or think that you could have done better? No, only because I could never say if I could do one better now, because the inspiration is in the moment. That moment will never be there again, but could I technically do it better now? Maybe. For example, recording is better, but the same inspiration wouldn’t be there because what is written is like a moment captured in time that can’t be repeated. i.e. I always loved the music in West Side Story, because that is like a moment in time with these people. What it comes down to, is that it’s not so much talent, as inspiration at the time.


What kind of music is your favorite to do? I enjoy classical scoring with an orchestra but I also love the challenge of scoring an indie movie with smaller groups of musicians where I have to depend on multiple layers of the sound to create a mood.


When composing music, what computer programs do you use? Logic Pro, and Logic Audio, which are kind of like more complex versions of Garageband. As well as ProTools.


What was your favorite movie to write music for, and why? March Of The Penguins because of the fact that these creatures make their journey and yearly cycle is amazing and inspiring. I actually got feedback after the movie came out from someone who’s father was dying, and one of the last things that they did together was see March Of The Penguins. This person sent me an e-mail saying that he bought the soundtrack, and now whenever he listens to it, it reminds him of that time together. I don’t think that there can be anything more rewarding then that.


What was your favorite part of doing the music for ‘Four Christmases’? I think it was hearing the orchestra performing White Christmas for the opening titles on this one. I was conducting the orchestra, and being a part of executing that moment with that classic piece of music was an amazing feeling.


What have you learned through conducting? I have learned that standing in front of an orchestra, I can communicate physically in addition to the notes they read on paper. I develop this relationship with the musicians and we experience the music simultaneously.


Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects that you are working on? I recently completed the score to What Doesn’t Kill You, that I’m very proud of. It was interesting to do, because the story is autobiographical so I’m not only writing the music about the film, I'm writing music about the director's life. Another one that I am working on is called Overnight.



One Movie, Five Views thanks Alex Wurman for taking the time to talk about his score for Four Christmases.


Four Christmases opened in theatres November 26th, 2008.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Meaning of the Stars

By John C.


One Movie, Five Views rates out of four stars. Stars are probably the most used method of rating a film, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best. I personally find they’re one of the worst. The iconic Thumbs-Up or Thumbs-Down, that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel used, the brilliant idea of a Fresh Tomato or a Rotten Tomato, used by review tracking website Rotten Tomatoes, or even the idea of the See-It, Skip-It or Rent-It system, that they use on the new At The Movies, are some of the best ways of rating a movie. Even though there can be varying degrees to those three rating systems, they are still pretty much one or the other, there isn’t a grey zone where it gets confusing.


If I could change having stars, I would. They appear to be easy to the reader, but they are actually quite difficult to the reviewer. After much thought, here are my personal opinions on how I use the stars*:


**** Should be reserved for groundbreaking films, ones that have blown me away, something that exceeds in every aspect.


***1/2 This rating is practically the same as ****. It’s only difference is, it would be given to a great film, that is not really groundbreaking. This rating is, for me, pretty much the same as ****.


*** This can mean two different things, Really good, but not quite ***1/2, or good, but just above **1/2. It can also be right in the middle, so it needs to be taken in conjunction with the whole review.


**1/2 I consider this rating to mean it’s worth seeing, but not necessarily in theaters, on DVD. In other words, it’s worth a rental. This can also be used for a sequel that is worth going to see, but doesn’t really live up to high standards set by the first.


** This means you can pretty much skip it. Although, it can also be used for movies that are so bad, they're good. ** Movies may still have some redeeming qualities, so are sometimes worth a rental.


*1/2 This is reserved for movies that are not at all worth seeing, and just downright bad.


* Just plain awful. Stay away at all costs.


* Reviews are meant to be an artistic analysis of film, not a star rating. No star rating should be taken out of context of the review. This could result in serious misuse of someone's thoughts.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all our readers in the U.S.A., have a Happy Thanksgiving!

In honour of American Thanksgiving, here are James P.’s thoughts on the classic Holiday movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

This will also be starting a series profiling Christmas and Holiday movies both new and old. These films will not be rated out of stars.


Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Release Date November 25th, 1987

Rated PG for strong language and sexual humour


John Hughes (dir.)


Steve Martin as Neal Page

John Candy as Del Griffith

Laila Robins as Susan Page

Michael McKean as State Trooper

Kevin Bacon as Taxi Racer

Dylan Baker as Owen

Edie McClurg as Car Rental Agent

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Review By John C.

Even though I am not American, every year for American Thanksgiving, I make it a point to watch John Hughes’ classic comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Although it is hilarious, it is also surprisingly sad and moving. Partly because of the back story of shower curtain ring salesmen Del Griffith, and partly because of John Candy. It is already an excellent performance, but the fact that he died at too young an age, makes it even more heartfelt and poignant. This is a holiday movie with true heart, and true laughs. This is a great movie and a true holiday classic, if you haven’t already seen it, go out and watch it. It is really worth buying, because if you watch it once, you will want to make it a yearly tradition. Go relax and enjoy.