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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

December 3, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Some good things to read, on a beautiful day

Seattle is just ridiculously gorgeous today, with crisp air and a bright sky and bits of frost clinging to the grass. It’s a little hard to settle down to work (today I have to write a story about the Radio City Rockettes, which has nothing to do with movies but is one of those things that keeps my job interesting — and have I ever told you that I always wanted to be a Rockette? But I digress. Again.), so I’ve been seeking out good things to read this morning. Here are a few for you:
— Tom Ford, director of the very fine “A Single Man,” talks to the New York Times about making the transition from fashion designer to movie director. The story contains the fun fact that Mr. Ford, when he sits down, consciously tips his head to one side so as to present a better profile. And there’s an unexpected encounter, near the end, with Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”). All those Oscar-buzzed filmmakers, apparently, hang out at the same restaurants.
— The Fug Girls, who I adore (check out www.gofugyourself.com for some hilarious fashion dish), offer a very fine slide show examining the career of George Clooney, rating his smile from Smarm to Charm. Worth seeing if only for the photos of the ’80s-vintage Clooney, all gelled of hair and plaid of shirt.
— A very interesting roundtable in the Hollywood Reporter: six well-known film composers talking about their work. I enjoyed learning that Christopher Young (“Creation,” “Spider-Man 3”) walks around humming into a cassette tape for 10 days when he begins a project, and this exchange about theme music:

Young: Very true — that is, I’d say, the major change in film music. Once upon a time, themes were an absolute requirement. One or more major themes would tie a movie together. When I moved out here in the ’80s, that was still the prevalent aesthetic. Slowly but surely, the concept of sound design has infiltrated what makes a score a total entity.
[Marco] Beltrami [“The Hurt Locker”]: I’m optimistic about it though. A lot of the music we’re doing does border on sound design, but once that’s achieved you can’t replace the impact of a good melody. It’ll come back and it is coming back.
[John] Debney [“The Stoning of Soraya M,” “Iron Man 2”]: I’ve found a lot of times that, while there is not a request for a theme necessarily, invariably we all try to find that theme or that motif and it’s embraced (by directors). More often than not, if you stay true to that and try to develop a theme that is unique, it’s almost like an epiphany for a director. A lot of times it’s not obvious but, like you said, Chris, this is what we all used to do.

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