The Living Masters of Film Music

ASCAPWorkshop2017-Recording

Who doesn’t love a good film score?

Writing music for film is a true art form. At its best, film music enhances the story and fills the screen (and by extension, the viewer) with emotion. The actors and the lines provide the context, but the score is where the real emotion lies. It can make our hearts race with anxiousness, share in the triumph of the protagonist, feel the love between a couple, and so much more.

It is also a collaborative effort – a collaboration between the composer and the vision of the director. The best composers compliment the director’s action and drama on screen. Not calling attention to their work, but letting it work in tandem with each scene – perfectly balanced, as a certain mad Titan is prone to say.

A great score can also elevate the movie to heights the writer and director never dreamed. Even the pedigree of a categorically bad film is raised slightly because of the astounding amount of dramatic wind the music puts in the sagging story’s flimsy sails.

It may be a bit daring to say that film music can sometimes bring home the emotional theme to a story. In my personal experience, I have often had the spiritual theme to a film I’m reviewing revealed to me by remembering the music.

Over the past three months, I’ve enjoyed a free trial of Apple Music, the iTunes streaming service. It’s quite good with lots of variety. Not sure if I’m going to continue the service. But this trial enabled me to listen to a variety of film scores from some of my favorite composers. It really got me thinking about who the greatest composers are today.

So as a thought exercise, here’s my list of the ten greatest living film composers. Continue reading

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CAPTAIN MARVEL – An Empty (Super) Suit

CM PosterMuch hay has been made about the new Marvel Studios film, Captain Marvel. “Finally,” they say, “A Marvel Studios film has a female lead.” It’s an “important” film, you must understand. As it will finally give women and girls someone to look up to and root for in the pop culture sphere. Never mind that there have been many other heroines over the decades.

The culture at large is giving this film and its star so much press and love simply because of what Captain Marvel supposedly represents. Whether the film is actually good or not appears to be a secondary concern.

Captain Marvel is not good. In fact, it is probably the worst film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. The film boasted impressive production value and honestly surprised me by containing very little openly feminist propaganda (though there are some eye-rolling zingers). However, the movie failed on a fundamental storytelling level and undermined the rock-solid footing of the MCU – a franchise that allegedly now rests on the shoulders of this thoroughly drab and unlikeable hero.

And so many women and girls will now see Captain Marvel as a halcyon of female empowerment, which, given how the character behaved in the film, is really sad. The film version of Wonder Woman is a much better candidate for that honor.

Still, as unlikeable as the title character was, Captain Marvel does delve into an interesting concept in Christian thought that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Continue reading