Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Happy April Fools Day everyone. Is it just me, or does it seem like Warner Bros.’ release of the 3-D version of “Clash of the Titans” feel like an April Fools joke? (Haven’t seen the 3-D version, but what I’ve heard doesn’t inspire confidence.)

Well, today I’d like to present my newly updated “Movie 250” blog, which admittedly hasn’t changed much since last posted, but it’s always good to give readers an idea of where my tastes lie in cinema and a little TV as well. I hope you enjoy!

Viva La Resistance!

Brian Skutle
www.sonic-cinema.com
www.myspace.com/brianskutle
www.myspace.com/cinemanouveau

To read Brian’s latest blog for his short film series “Baron Wasteland,” click here.

To go to my weekly “Movie a Week” column, feel free to click here.

20 Favorite Films
1. “Sherlock Jr.” (1924)- Buster Keaton
2. “The Crow” (1994)- Alex Proyas
3. “Braveheart” (1995)- Mel Gibson
4. “Pulp Fiction” (1994)- Quentin Tarantino
5a. The “Star Wars” Saga (1977-2005)- George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand
5b. “Star Wars: Clone Wars” (2003-2008)- Genndy Tartakovsky, Dave Filoni
6. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001)- Steven Spielberg
7. “Face/Off” (1997)- John Woo
8. “The Whole Wide World” (1996)- Dan Ireland
9. “Adaptation.” (2002)- Spike Jonze
10. “Stalker” (1979)- Andrei Tarkovsky
11. “Keeping the Faith” (2000)- Edward Norton
12. “Wall*E” (2008)- Andrew Stanton
13. “Big Fish” (2003)- Tim Burton
14. “High Fidelity” (2000)- Stephen Frears
15. “Before Sunrise” (1995) & “Before Sunset” (2004)- Richard Linklater
16. “Proof” (2005)- John Madden
17. “Swingers” (1996)- Doug Liman
18. “A Few Good Men” (1992)- Rob Reiner
19. “The Ref” (1994)- Ted Demme
20. “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie” (1996)- Jim Mallon

20 Best Films
1. “Vertigo” (1958)- Alfred Hitchcock
2. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)- Stanley Kubrick
3. “Schindler’s List” (1993)- Steven Spielberg
4. “Gone With the Wind” (1939)- Victor Fleming
5. “Andrei Rublev” (1966)- Andrei Tarkovsky
6. “Pulp Fiction” (1994)- Quentin Tarantino
7. “The Fantasia Anthology” (1940 & 2000)- James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Gaetan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Norman Ferguson, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Pixote Hunt, Don Hahn, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen
8. “Sherlock Jr.” (1924)- Buster Keaton
9. “Ran” (1985)- Akira Kurosawa
10. “GoodFellas” (1990)- Martin Scorsese
11. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)- Steven Spielberg
12. “Nosferatu” (1922)- F.W. Murnau
13. “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962)- John Frankenheimer
14. “Saving Private Ryan” (1998)- Steven Spielberg
15. “The Big Sleep” (1946)- Howard Hawks
16. “Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope” (1977)- George Lucas
17. “Dark City” (1998)- Alex Proyas
18. “Wall-E” (2008)- Andrew Stanton
19. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)- Michel Gondry
20. “Face/Off” (1997)- John Woo

15 Worst Films
1. “Manos: The Hands of Fate” (1966)
2. “Monster a Go-Go” (1965)
3. “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn” (1998)
4. “Red Zone Cuba” (1966)
5. “Troll 2” (1990)
6. “Time Chasers” (1994)
7. “Return of the King” (1980)
8. “Spawn” (1997)
9. “3000 Miles to Graceland” (2001)
10. “The Giant Spider Invasion” (1975)
11. “Turbulence” (1997)
12. “Showgirls” (1995)
13. “Glen or Glenda” (1953)
14. “Hush” (1998)
15. “The Starfighters” (1964)

15 Favorite Filmmakers
1. Steven Spielberg (director; “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” “Schindler’s List”)
2. Andrei Tarkovsky (writer-director; “Stalker,” “Andrei Rublev”)
3. Joss Whedon (writer-director; “Serenity”, TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
4. Martin Scorsese (director; “GoodFellas,” “The Last Temptation of Christ”)
5. Buster Keaton (writer-director-actor; “Sherlock Jr.,” “Our Hospitality”)
6. Alfred Hitchcock (director; “Vertigo,” “To Catch a Thief”)
7. Stanley Kubrick (writer-director; “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Eyes Wide Shut”)
8. Pixar Animation Studios (“Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story 2”)
9. John Woo (director; “Red Cliff”, “Face/Off”)
10. Alex Proyas (director; “The Crow,” “Dark City”)
11. Tim Burton (director; “Edward Scissorhands”, “Ed Wood”)
12. Charlie Kaufman (writer; “Adaptation.,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)
13. Kevin Smith (writer-director; “Dogma,” “Chasing Amy”)
14. Akira Kurosawa (writer-director; “Ikiru”, “Ran”)
15. Steven Soderbergh (writer-director; “Traffic,” “Solaris”)

15 Favorite Actors/Actresses
1. Amber Benson (“Chance”, TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Brick”, “The Lookout”)
3. Kate Winslet (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Holiday”)
4. John Cusack (“High Fidelity,” “Say Anything…”)
5. Mel Gibson (“Braveheart,” “Lethal Weapon”)
6. Nicolas Cage (“Face/Off,” “Adaptation.”)
7. Edward Norton (“Keeping the Faith,” “Fight Club”)
8. Buster Keaton (“Sherlock Jr.,” “Our Hospitality”)
9. Gwyneth Paltrow (“Proof,” “Shakespeare in Love”)
10. Humphrey Bogart (“The Big Sleep,” “In a Lonely Place”)
11. Heath Ledger (“Brokeback Mountain”, “The Dark Knight”)
12. Renee Zellweger (“The Whole Wide World,” “Chicago”)
13. Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Simply Irresistible”, TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
14. Johnny Depp (“Ed Wood,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”)
15. Amy Adams (“Enchanted,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”)

15 Favorite Movie Characters
1. Projectionist (Buster Keaton), “Sherlock Jr.”
2. Father Brian Finn (Edward Norton), “Keeping the Faith”
3. Wall-E (Ben Burtt), “Wall-E”
4. Celine (Julie Delpy), “Before Sunrise” & “Before Sunset”
5. Charlie & Donald Kaufman (Nicolas Cage), “Adaptation.”
6. Iris (Kate Winslet), “The Holiday”
7. Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire), The “Spider-Man” Trilogy
8. Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan), The “American Pie” Films
9. Novalyne Price (Renee Zellweger), “The Whole Wide World”
10. Robert E. Howard (Vincent D’Onofrio), “The Whole Wide World”
11. Lloyd Dobbler (John Cusack), “Say Anything”
12. EVE (Elissa Knight), “Wall-E”
13. Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), “Proof”
14. Remy (Patton Oswalt), “Ratatouille”
15. Eric Draven (Brandon Lee), “The Crow”

20 Favorite Movie Moments
1. Eric Draven finds peace. (“The Crow”)- The artful staging of director Alex Proyas, soulful acting of the late Brandon Lee, and melancholy music of composer Graeme Revell as Lee’s arch-angel is reunited with his beloved has lingered with me ever since I first saw the film.
2. Frodo & Bilbo’s Rivendell reunion. (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”)- This beautifully-acted and scored scene resonates powerfully with me in light of my grandfather’s passing in 2000. Ian Holm’s Bilbo- traveler to far-away places he is- reminds me a lot of him, and his sly little smirk as Frodo looks at the map of the Shire is a great moment.
3. Rublev comforts the young bellmaker. (“Andrei Rublev”)- In Andrei Tarkovsky’s epic, the great Russian icon painter kills a man, and takes a vow of silence- and never to paint again. When a cocky young bellmaker- tears of joy streaming down his face when his long-labored bell rings- reveals a surprising revelation to Rublev, Rublev’s decision to paint once again- inspired (as we are) by what the boy’s accomplished- is an inspiring sight for the artist struggling to create without compromise.
4. Life imitates art…sort of. (“Sherlock Jr.”)- It is probably one of the most sublime endings in cinematic history, as Buster Keaton’s projectionist takes his courage- and a few moves- from the movie playing onscreen to express himself to his beloved. But when the film takes a surprising leap, Buster’s left to scratch his head, while we’re left to take in the sly self-conscious humor of Keaton’s masterpiece.
5. A life remembered. (“Big Fish”)- In a career of startling visual importance, Tim Burton’s most memorable moment as a director for me comes from his most emotional, when a cynical son finishes his father’s final tall-tale, and then sees it come to life in its’ own way when friends and family come together to celebrate the father’s life at his funeral, hinting at the truth behind the tall-tale.
6. EVE against the clock. (“Wall-E”)- Leave it to the magicians at Pixar animation to create a love story between two robots, with not even a five word vocabulary between them, and make it stick so indelibly in the memory. By the time EVE is racing to repair Wall-E and keep him alive at the end, we’re completely engaged, and EVE becomes a tough movie heroine in the vein of Sigourney Weaver in “Aliens” and Kate Winslet in “Titanic.” I defy you to not have tears in yours eye during the payoff.
7. Bogie and the bookgirl. (“The Big Sleep”)- I never looked at women with glasses the same way again after this classic scene in Howard Hawks’ brilliant film noir, where Humphrey Bogart’s Philip Marlowe shares a spark-laden round of banterball with Dorothy Malone’s bookstore employee, who begins to find Marlowe interesting and shares a drink with Raymond Chandler’s classic gumshoe. Marlowe likes her better without her glasses on- I beg to differ.
8. David Bowman does the timewarp. (“2001: A Space Odyssey”)- Like every other person who’s seen Kubrick’s trippy sci-fi masterwork, all I can present are theories about what’s going on in this movie. But that’s the point- to make you think. Kubrick will also make your eyes pop with his movie’s final 20 minutes, which finds Dave going through who-knows-what toward his final stage of evolution before he becomes truly transcendent to those who left the monolith for us to find…or something like that. If I’ve made it sound confusing, good. If I’ve made you want to see it for yourself, even better.
9. Scotty trails Madeline. (“Vertigo”)- In many of his great films, Hitchcock let the mechanics of the story turn with ingenuity and imagination. But in his best film, he did something even more ambitious- he went against tradition, resulting in a more seductive film. No more so is that the case in “Vertigo” than when Jimmy Stewart’s detective is following Kim Novak’s emotionally-troubled wife around San Francisco to spots of significance later. For 10 wordless minutes, Hitch turns his storytelling genius over to cinematographer Robert Burke and composer Bernard Herrmann, who guide us through the sequence with what can only be called an author’s command of literary narrative, allowing the audience to discover for themselves the secrets within this haunting story.
10. Novalyne receives a telegram. (“The Whole Wide World”)- When Novalyne receives word of the tragic fate of her friend, pulp writer Robert E. Howard, the scene is a master classic in emotive shifts, as conducted by Ms. Renee Zellweger. The melancholy of the scene resonates through to the film’s end.
11. Why do we fall? (“Spider-Man 3”)- In the underrated third film of Sam Raimi’s Spidey franchise, Peter Parker gives in to his passions and the darkness within. As happens with many a situation like this, it’s not until he hurts the one he loves the most that he finds the strength to find the path again, and reclaim the hero within.
12. Baby did a bad bad thing… (“Eyes Wide Shut”)- It was one of the most tantalizing teasers in history. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, naked, in front of a mirror, getting down with the seductive strains of Chris Issak’s song, Kubrick’s probing camera capturing it all with erotic heat to spare. For many, it’s a shame the scene didn’t last longer in the final film; for me, it’s a mesmerizing fantasy that is one of many compelling moments in Kubrick’s provocative swan song.
13. Michelle has a kinky secret. (“American Pie”)- For most of this teen comedy, Alyson Hannigan’s flute-playing band geek is the movie cliche of a band geek, always starting her stories with, “And this one time, at band camp…”. But when Michelle- in her typically squeaky-voiced tone- end one of her stories with “…I stuck my flute in my P*##^,” I can only imagine the hilarious gasps of an audience watching it for the first time. From then on, it’s impossible to look at Michelle the same again. In “American Pie 2,” Michelle was the main female character. In “American Wedding,” she was the bride-to-be, and for a brief moment, I was in teen comedy heaven.
14. Luke & Vader’s fight/Anakin’s redemption. (“Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi”)- Most people cite the ending of “Empire” as their fave moment of the “Star Wars” series; but for my money, the climactic battle between Luke and Vader, the Emperor’s retribution on Luke, and Anakin’s saving of his son at the end of “Jedi” has the most emotional punch.
15. Mano a mano in the jungle. (“Predator”)- His squad dead, picked off one-by-one by a faceless menace in the jungle, Arnold prepares for a final stand against the baddest alien to ever touch-down on Earth, a dread-locked predator with the ability to make itself invisible, hit you from a long distance, or evicerate you up close. With Alan Silvestri’s score pumped up to the hilt, director John McTiernan shows us Arnold and the Predator’s pre-battle preparations, which are topped by the exciting and inventive battle that finds Arnold learning from his enemy’s tricks, only to be matched by the Predator every step of the way. Now this is what an action movie should be.
16. Tom Cruise can’t handle the truth. (“A Few Good Men”)- When it first hit video in 1993, I watched it maybe a dozen times and knew Nicholson’s immortal rant from memory. Eleven years later, Jack’s tyraid still rivets attention, as does Cruise’s audacious comeback.
17. Sean Archer’s life comes full-circle. (“Face/Off”)- The lighting might be a bit much, but when John Travolta’s Archer comes home at the end of John Woo’s remarkable high-concept thriller with the son of his enemy, the emotional impact- and delirious crowd-pleasing high- generated in the moviegoer leads one to believe they’ve just seen a masterpiece…and a classic. Know what? They’re right.
18. David finds the Blue Fairy…and some resolution. (“A.I. Artificial Intelligence”)- 2,000 years have past, and through his memories, his advanced A.I. kin give David (the remarkable Haley Joel Osment) the peace and resolution he’d been searching for in the conclusion of Spielberg’s ambitious sci-fi epic, which is just as subjective in interpretation as Kubrick’s was in “2001.”
19. Charlie Kaufman & Amelia’s lunch together and goodbyes. (“Adaptation.”)- The unexpressed expressed, as Charlie- now certain of how to finish his script- finds the confidence to tell Amelia how he feels about her, and has it acknowledged and rewarded by Amelia. In the most memorable and surprising of ways, Kaufman the screenwriter “wowed me in the end.”
20. Vince and Jules on cleanup duty. (“Pulp Fiction”)- I don’t know if a movie sequence has made me laugh so hard than when John Travolta’s hitman accidentally shoots a witness in the face, leaving him and Samuel L. Jackson to do some fast damage control before the real problems start. The act itself is as brutal in the carnage it creates as any sequence I’ve ever seen, but leave it to Quentin Tarantino to strip away the brutality and show the absurdity of the details such as who should be cleaning up brains in the back seat. In lesser hands, it’d be offensive. In Tarantino’s, it’s dark comic gold.

10 Favorite Film Soundtracks
1. “The Crow” (Various Artists, Graeme Revell)
2. “Braveheart” (James Horner)
3. “Broken Arrow” (Hans Zimmer)
4. “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann)
5. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (Ennio Morricone)
6. The “Star Wars” Saga (John Williams)
7. “The Fountain” (Clint Mansell)
8. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Various Artists, Alex North)
9. “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy (Howard Shore)
10. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (John Williams)

10 Best Film Scores
1. “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann)
2. “Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back” (John Williams)
3. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (Ennio Morricone)
4. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (Howard Shore)
5. “The Godfather” (Nino Rota, Carmine Coppola)
6. “Touch of Evil” (Henri Mancini)
7. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (John Williams)
8. “Psycho” (Bernard Herrmann)
9. “The Crow” (Graeme Revell)
10. “The Last Temptation of Christ” (Peter Gabriel)

10 Favorite Film Composers
1. Hans Zimmer (“The Thin Red Line,” “The Lion King”)
2. Ennio Morricone (“Lolita”, “The Untouchables”)
3. John Williams (“Schindler’s List,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”)
4. Danny Elfman (“Big Fish,” “Batman”)
5. James Horner (“Titanic”, “The Man Without a Face”)
6. Howard Shore (“Spider”, “Ed Wood”)
7. Bernard Herrmann (“North By Northwest,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still”)
8. John Powell (“Face/Off,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”)
9. Carter Burwell (“Adaptation.,” “Conspiracy Theory”)
10. Thomas Newman (“Wall-E,” “American Beauty”)

10 Favorite Original Songs
1. “It Can’t Rain All the Time” from “The Crow” (Jane Siberry, Graeme Revell)
2. “La Resistance” from “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” (Trey Parker, Marc Shaiman)
3. “Under Your Spell” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling” (Joss Whedon)
4. “Streets of Philadelphia” from “Philadelphia” (Bruce Springsteen)
5. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story” (Randy Newman)
6. “Gollum’s Song” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (Howard Shore, Fran Walsh, Jane Roddick, David Donaldson, Steve Roche, David Long)
7. “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” from “A Mighty Wind” (Michael McKean, Annette O’Toole)
8. “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart” (T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham)
9. “Way Back Into Love” from “Music and Lyrics” (Adam Schlesinger)
10. “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2” (Randy Newman)

20 Favorite Film Music “Cues”
1. “Return to the Grave” from “The Crow” (Graeme Revell)- Few film scores have had a more haunting and beautiful finale than when Revell’s music accompanies Eric Draven’s contemplative, moving reunion with his beloved.
2. “The Art of Living” from “Millennium” (Hans Zimmer)- I’ve never seen the 10-hour documentary Zimmer wrote this music for (though I’ve been curious ever since I heard the music), but this piece of music is pure beauty, and is my favorite Zimmer track ever.
3. “Many Meetings” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Howard Shore)- There are many wonderful renditions of Shore’s Hobbit theme in his landmark trilogy score, but my favorite is the one that accompanies my favorite scene from the trilogy. It has a lasting ability to move me every time.
4. “Rescue from Cloud City/Hyperspace” from “Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back” (John Williams)- The quotation of the Force theme- as the bond between Luke and Leia deepens- and the propulsive escape music in this stirring climax make it my favorite “Star Wars” musical passage.
5. “The Trio” from “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” (Ennio Morricone)- When a director throws a sequence to the composer and says, more or less, “bring it to life,” you better deliver. During the showdown in the cemetary at the climax of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western epic, he does just that to Morricone, and boy does he deliver. His music dictates the tempo of the editing, the suspense of the scene, and the exact moment the tension breaks. Oh, and what he writes is pretty damn good as well.
6. “The Unexpressed Expressed” from “Adaptation.” (Carter Burwell)- My favorite performance of Burwell’s “Ghost Theme” for this surprising artistic comedy comes when Charlie Kaufman finds the courage to say what he didn’t before.
7. “Finale” from “Big Fish” (Danny Elfman)- “Big Fish” is perhaps Elfman’s finest score for director Tim Burton, and possibly the best he’s ever written (it’s certainly his most emotional). A score loaded with memorable moments, none more so than the 10-minute master class Elfman puts on during the film’s finale, as it shifts from eccentric adventure to powerful feeling as Edward Bloom’s life ends, and his legacy endures in his friends and loved ones.
8. “Masked Ball” from “Eyes Wide Shut” (Jocelyn Pook)- For his final film, Stanley Kubrick hired Pook- a composer in British cinema and television- to write a handful of pieces for his thriller of erotic temptation. Among those was this haunting, chant-like piece for the ritual performed at the start of the orgy that’s the centerpiece of the film. Not many pieces are so potent in their sensuality.
9. “‘Freedom’/The Execution/Bannockburn” from “Braveheart” (James Horner)- If any section of Horner’s score has lingered longest in my memory, and it’s influence has been more far-reaching, it’s this stirring conclusion as Wallace is tortured, killed, and his spirit is reborn in his fellow Scots. Inspiring stuff.
10. “Duduk of the North” from “Gladiator” (Hans Zimmer)- This isn’t a piece that shows up in Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning epic. A point of fact, it’s actually ideas Zimmer worked on but didn’t use for his thrillingly bombastic score. How did I hear it? It was included on a second CD of music from the film released later. That doesn’t make it any less powerful to listen to.
11. “Yearning of the Sword” from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (Tan Dun)- Dun’s Oscar-winning score for this exhilarating martial arts epic is filled with haunting and lyrical writing not usually associated with contemporary epics. But “Crouching Tiger” is hardly a usual epic. No passage in the score is more lyrical than this one, as Chow Yun-Fat’s master swordsman is in a courtyard with his legendary sword, and confronted by his silent love- Michelle Yeoh- about the consequences of the life they lead. Yo-Yo Ma’s powerful cello solos- here and throughout- bring to life their unspoken connection.
12. “Prelude and Rooftop” from “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann)- It’s hard to think of a more effective mood-setting opening piece than Herrmann’s dizzying motifs to begin his hypnotically romantic score for Hitchcock’s thriller about obsession.
13. “Stored Memories and Monica’s Theme” from “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (John Williams)- In the most striking and compelling score of his career, Williams gives us- in this, the finest composition of the score- profound mystery and poignant emotion as the robot child David is discovered in a distant future, and given his most coveted wish.
14. “Togetherness” from “Lolita” (Ennio Morricone)- The romantic longing instilled in this intimate and heartbreaking piece- for me, the musical centerpiece of Morricone’s haunting score for Adrien Lyne’s powerful adaptation- is an example of the master composer at his most emotional.
15. “The Emperor Arrives/The Death of Yoda/Obi-Wan’s Revelation” from “Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi” (John Williams)- Second to the earlier cue from “Empire,” this continuous track- which provides the musical background for three key events in the original trilogy’s conclusive chapter- contains my favorite playing of the Force theme, as well as Yoda’s theme and the Empirial March, and the introduction of Luke and Leia’s theme as brother and sister.
16. “Broken Arrow” from “Broken Arrow” (Hans Zimmer)- My first real experience with Hans Zimmer is still my favorite- his synth-heavy action score for this John Woo thriller, a score that is inspired heavily by his hero Ennio Morricone, not to mention Henri Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” theme (the guitarist on that classic is on this score as well). Picking a favorite piece is hard, so I’ll choose the last track, which encompasses all the elements that make this score so damn fun.
17. “Lament for a Lost Son” from “The Crow: City of Angels” (Graeme Revell)- The main inspiration for my composition “In a Lonely Place,” “Son” reveals a soulful beauty and inventiveness that is throughout the score for this “Crow” sequel, which stands as impressive as Revell’s score for the first film, even if the film itself falls well short.
18. “Xibalba” from “The Fountain” (Clint Mansell)- It’s a rare score nowadays that succeeds at being both intimate and epic. But with the assistance of Kronos Quartet and Scottish band Mogwai, Mansell achieves such a startling balance of both that it’s impossible to think of Darren Aronofsky’s fantasy drama without it. In this particular track, both ensembles collaborate to create a piece that is haunting in both its’ romanticism and its’ longing, standing alongside Herrmann’s “Vertigo” score in its’ evocation of both.
19. “Why So Serious?” from “The Dark Knight” (Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard)- With their scores to Chris Nolan’s “Batman” reboot, Zimmer and Howard have invigorated a franchise musically beyond the symphonic power of Danny Elfman’s work in the Burton “Batman” films and searched for something far more elemental and powerful. Never is that more evident than in this suite for The Joker (as played by the late Heath Ledger), which features almost entirely in the gripping opening bank heist in the record-breaking “Knight.”
20. “Close Your Eyes (Buffy/Angel Love Theme)” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Soundtrack (Christophe Beck)- More props to “Buffy” composer Beck, with acknowledgement of his earliest classic piece of music for the cult classic series, a poignant love theme for the doomed vampire-slayer relationship that was the beating heart of the show’s first three seasons. This was its’ best performance, at the moment when Buffy slayed Angel- newly souled- to save the world.

15 Favorite DVDs/Collections
1. “The Fantasia Anthology” Box Set
2a. “A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies”
2b. “My Voyage to Italy”
3. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”
4. “Andrei Rublev” The Criterion Collection
5a. “Firefly: The Complete Series” Box Set
5b. “Serenity”
6a. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season” Box Set
6b. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth Season” Box Set
6c. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season” Box Set
7a-g. “Futurama: Volumes 1-4” Box Sets, as well as “Bender’s Big Score”, “The Best With a Billion Backs”, and “Bender’s Game”
8. “Mystery Science Theatre 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition” Box Set
9. “Dark City”
10. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” Unrated
11a-c. “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy Special Extended Editions
12. The “Star Wars” Trilogy Box Set
13. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” Special Edition
14. “JFK” 2-Disc Special Edition
15. “Basic Instinct” Unrated Director’s Cut Special Edition

15 Favorite DVD Commentaries
1. Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and co. (“Futurama: Volumes 1-4,” “Bender’s Big Score,” “The Beast With a Billion Backs,” “Bender’s Game”)
2. Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, Greg Nicotero (“Evil Dead II”)
3. Roger Ebert (“Dark City”; “Citizen Kane”; “Casablanca”)
4. Walt Disney Archives (“Fantasia”)
5. Joss Whedon” (“Hush” & “Restless” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season”; “The Body” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fifth Season”; “Once More, With Feeling” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth Season”; “Chosen” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season”; “Objects in Space” from “Firefly: The Complete Series”; “Serenity”)
6. Nicholas Meyer (“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” The Director’s Edition)
7. Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Brian O’Holleran, Jeff Anderson, Scott Mosier, Dave Mandell, Chris Bailey (“Clerks: The Animated Series”)
8. Oliver Stone (“JFK” 2-Disc Special Edition)
9. Camille Pagia (“Basic Instinct” Unrated Director’s Cut Special Edition)
10. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens (“The Lord of the Rings” Special Extended Editions)
11. Matt Groening and co. (“The Simpsons: The Complete First-Eleventh Seasons”)
12. Martin Scorsese and co. (“GoodFellas” Special Edition)
13. Bruce Campbell as “The King” (“Bubba ho-Tep”)
14. Jerry Goldsmith (“Hollow Man”)
15. John Lasseter and co. (“Toy Story 2”)

15 Favorite DVD Features
1. “The Fantasia That Never Was” Section (“The Fantasia Anthology”)
2. “The Beginning” Documentary (“Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace”)
3. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Panel Discussion (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth Season”)
4. “Tarkovsky Interviews” Section (“Andrei Rublev” The Criterion Collection)
5. “The Making of ‘The Shining'” Documentary (“The Shining”)
6. “Obsessed With ‘Vertigo’: New Life for Hitchcock’s Masterpiece” Documentary (“Vertigo”)
7. “The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of ’12 Monkeys'” Documentary (“12 Monkeys”)
8. “Behind the Planet of the Apes” Documentary (“Planet of the Apes” 35th Anniversary Collector’s Edition)
9. The Appendices (“The Lord of the Rings” Special Extended Editions)
10. “A Profile of James O’Barr” (“The Crow” Miramax/Dimension Collector’s Series)
11. Hans Zimmer Interview (“Gladiator”)
12. Behind the Scenes Documentaries (“A.I. Artificial Intelligence”)
13. “Memento” in Chronological Order (“Memento” Limited Edition)
14. “No Day But Today: The Story of ‘Rent'” Documentary (“Rent”)
15. Arthur C. Clarke Interview (“2001: A Space Odyssey” Out of Print Edition)

Top 25 Movies I Want to See
1. “Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds” (1989); dir. Alex Proyas (“The Crow,” “I, Robot”)
2. “The Green Room” (1978); dir. Francois Truffaut (“The 400 Blows”)
3. “Orson Welles’ Don Quixote” (1992); dir. Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane”)
4. “Chimes at Midnight” (1968); dir. Orson Welles
5. “The Dead” (1987); dir. John Huston (“The Maltese Falcon”)
6. “Dr. No” (1962); Sean Connery, the first “Bond” film
7. “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957); Sir Alec Guiness, dir. David Lean (“Lawrence of Arabia”)
8. “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” (1971); Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, dir. Robert Altman
9. “Triumph of the Will” (1934); dir. Leni Riefenstahl
10. “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988); dir. Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”)
11. “His Girl Friday” (1940); Cary Grant, dir. Howard Hawkes
12. “Bloody Sunday” (2002); dir. Paul Greengrass (“United 93,” “The Bourne Supremacy”)
13. “Moscow Elegy” (1987); doc about Andrei Tarkovsky (“Andrei Rublev”)
14. “Music From the Inside Out” (2005); documentary
15. “Passion of Anna” (1970); dir. Ingmar Bergman (“Hour of the Wolf”)
16. “Cries and Whispers” (19); Liv Ullman, dir. Ingmar Bergman
17. “The Thing” (1951); dir. Howard Hawks (“The Big Sleep”)
18. “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972); dir. Luis Bunuel (“Belle de Jour”)
19. “The Conversation” (1974); Gene Hackman, dir. Francis Ford Coppola
20. “American Psycho” (2000); Christian Bale, dir. Mary Harron (“I Shot Andy Warhol”)
21. “Amarcord” (1973); dir. Federico Fellini (“8 ½”)
22. “Rambo: First Blood” (1982); Sylvester Stallone
23. “Ace in the Hole” (1951); Kirk Douglas, dir. Billy Wilder (“Some Like It Hot”)
24. “Black Narcissus” (1947); dir. Michael Powell (“Peeping Tom”)
25. “Directed by John Ford” (2006); dir. Peter Bogdanovich

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