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Cinema Sounds: Good Films, Great Soundtracks

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Cinema Sounds: Good Films, Great Soundtracks

A VISION...

A note, whispered gently, speaks of beauty, of life, of time reaching its end. It is like ash, weightless and dark. It moves you quietly through her frailty. Suddenly, a violin calmly breathes and you hear her pain. She is dying, and you are with her, at that moment she comes to terms with her own mortality. It speaks simple truths; death prepares a place for us with every fleeting sound. Yet, just then, we are again weightless and we experience the exquisite joy of the moment. We, with her, are the mourning sounds of keys and strings in concert, tuned by the ethereal voice of eternity. And yet, we are again reminded of the enchanting power of life and the sin of squandering any second of it not reveling in the things that make us happy...All of this, the pain, joy, beauty, fear was felt through the transcendent power of a film's score/soundtrack...

I wanted to write this blog to share some thoughts on two of my favorite things in this world: Film and Music, and how that marriage can break through the confines of its particular movie and make lasting impressions on our lives.

THE FOUNTAIN

I’ve never experienced anything as surreal and moving as the above, until I watched The Fountain. Or rather, until I heard the song: The Last Man. The painfully beautiful motif that seems to cyclically mirror life and death, pain and joy, hope and despair is nothing short of amazing. Listening to the melody come and go, it eerily forces you to juxtapose those feelings in your mind and you are immediately taken on your own experience through those emotions. That is the power of a great score/soundtrack! It is one that transcends the boundaries of its own film and hauntingly seeps into the fabric of your mind and allows you to essentially transpose your own movie, your life's scenes, into its notes. It is absolutely chilling.

I recommend you watch this movie solely for the way the soundtrack elevates the quality of the film. For as good a job both Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz do in this Darren Aronofsky film, I still found it to be a bit of a convoluted mess. Although, it is worth mentioning, that the sequences set during the Spanish Inquisition are the best pairing of the film’s visuals, the actor’s performances, and the music. All together, they evoke a certain fantastical mysticism that made me wish that they had filmed the entire movie in this time period. But, perhaps you will enjoy it more than I did with or without the score. So, check it out nonetheless.

DRIVE

Another example of this, but to a lesser degree (for me), was the use of music in Drive. Here though, the use of licensed songs and the film’s score (original music written solely for the film’s story), are the dynamic force driving your experience in the movie. Working in tandem with the often quiet and reserved performances of the actors on screen, the soundtrack acts as the guiding lines brushed on a barren canvas that is devoid of much dialogue. With words from songs, we learn more about the characters, their motivations, their history, their emotions, than we do when they actually speak. There is a brilliant symphony taking place between silence and sound coming from the actors and the soundtrack. Each serves its purpose separately, but neither is ever caught in the maligned dissonance of distraction or overstatement. It is the perfect balance of visual and audio expression.

Also great is the music’s ability to give its environment life. There is something very “Los Angeles at midnight” about Nightcall by Kavinsky and/or how Under Your Spell by Desire effectively breathes life to an L.A. summer day. There is something very tangible about those songs when placed in context with their particular scenes. You sense the neon lights smoothly poured onto your skin. You feel the heavy smog mixed with summer’s sun fill your lungs. There is an element of electricity, grit, and life. There is a very palpable pulse in the music that is not only heard or seen, it is felt. So, this one I would recommend you go see for both the soundtrack and the film. This is an overall great movie that allows both the visual and audio to shine equally.

My Top Five Soundtracks:

Below are my top five soundtracks of all time. They're not in any particular order because I don't think I'd realistically be able to rank them.  

1. The Star Wars, Trilogy; Composer: John Williams

  • Notable Song: The Hologram/Binary Sunset

2. The Fountain; Composer: Clint Mansell

  • Notable Song: The Last Man

3. Drive; Composer: Cliff Martinez

  • Notable Song:  Nightcall by Kavinsky, Lovefoxxx

4. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Composer: Ennio Morricone

  • Notable Song: The Ecstasy of Gold

5. UP; Composer: Michael Giacchino

  • Notable Song: Stuff We Did

Let me know what you think. What are some of your favorite soundtracks and why?

Again, hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or in the comments section below.

Later kids!

-JVN

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TBR PRESENTS: YOU!

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TBR PRESENTS: YOU!

We know it goes without saying, but we truly are nothing without the people who support and listen to us. We are beyond blessed by the response we received in our first at bat in this podcast game. With your love and support, we managed to get over 100 listens to our debut episode! That’s amazing. Thank you guys again for that great response and for rallying behind us in that way. We truly appreciate you guys.

But, enough about us! We know that our new friends and family aka YOU GUYS, are amazing and we wanted to do something that showcases your brilliance. Hence, we’d like to introduce a new monthly blog series titled “TBR Presents: YOU!” We know that you all have opinions and ideas regarding the things we talk about on the show; and we want to hear them! That’s why we love getting feedback and responses on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As I stated above, you guys are the lifeblood of this show, and without you, we are just a bunch of dudes awkwardly holding microphones to our faces and trying not to breathe too hard to avoid sounding like chubby teenagers with asthma. Basically, you all have a voice, and we want to hear it.

With that said, we are excited to shine the first “TBR Presents” spotlight on: Jocelyne Zelaya, our resident MLB expert and Chef Extraordinaire. We are proud to bring her into The Beta Report Family.

THE PITCH: A LESSON IN BASEBALL  

My knowledge of baseball goes only as far as the Sandlot took it. I know that the Great Bambino is a guy and not a wussy deer named The Great Bambi. I know that I, like most other boys, always wanted a cool friend like Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez and a girlfriend like Wendy Peffercorn. And lastly, I know that: “Heroes get remembered, but Legends never die.” And…that about does it. I am tapped out after that in regards to baseball. Luckily, Jocelyne has us covered, and she’ll get further into the world of baseball than Ya-Ya, Squints or Hamm ever could!

THE HIT: TEAMS MAKING MOVES

A lot has been going on in the MLB world. The trade deadline is today, July 31, 2015, and several teams have made some pretty interesting moves.

We asked Jocelyn who she thought made the best moves so far:

“So far, in my opinion the team that has made the best moves is the Toronto Blue Jays. They managed to get [Troy] Tulowitzki from Colorado and yesterday they snagged [David] Price. Teams, Dodgers included, have been wanting to get Price since last year. I like to think that we came pretty close last off season but he's just not about that LA life. And to just show why Tulowitzki is such a good thing for them the man hits a home run at his first game as a Blue Jay, in Toronto. Now, tell me that's not showing the fans that the front office made a good choice!”

 She continues, when asked who made the worst moves before the trade deadline:

“I'm an optimist, for the most part, so I don't like to think that any team makes bad moves. I think as fans it's hard for us to TRY to understand the logic the GM’s make. If GM’s thought like fans the game would be a mess. Then again it might be good, I would still have my [Matt] Kemp in Dodger blue and [Shane] Victorino would still be with the Red Sox and not have to worry about changing his song when he goes up to bat.
I have to say though, I don't understand why the Angels got Victorino. I would think they would want young players. Again, only the front of the house knows the bigger picture.”

THE GRAND SLAM: THE DODGERS

 Of course, we couldn’t let her go without giving us a little bit regarding our boys in blue, the Dodgers:

“Then there is this 3 team deal between the Dodgers, Atlanta and Miami. Pitching is always what the dodgers need. With Ryu out we need good people and a closer that helps us out like Jansen does. So I look forward to that mess. I was reading the latest article on it yesterday and the trade we made with Miami and Atlanta helps our rotation. We got [Mat] Latos and [Alex] Wood now. Both decent pitchers. We are always in need of pitchers.”

Because, as great as they are, she reaffirms: “It can't all fall on Kershaw and Greinke.”

Then, of course, the most important question, what all of us who "Bleed Blue" really want to know, does this solidify the Dodgers as more than just contenders and possible champions this season:

 “I love my boys, always will but I don’t know. It's hard to say. The Giants are ALWAYS on our asses. We are #1 in our division right now but only by half a point and it will remain like that for the rest of the season. Who takes the west? Giants or Dodgers. We play the Angels this weekend, always a nice little rivalry series and lucky for us we don't face the Giants until the end of August and it's perfect timing. At that point things are hotter. Ask me that question again at the end of August.”

 Oh,  trust me, we will be checking up with you in August for sure!

Big thanks to our friend, the ever so lovely Jocelyne for giving us some of her thoughts and insights regarding the MLB as its shaping up today. Make sure and stay tuned for the following episode of The Beta Report to get some more thoughts on what’s going on in the world of sports, movies, and TV.

 Again, hit us up on Facebook, Twitter or on the comments section below.

Later kids!

-JVN

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Why the Beta Report?

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Why the Beta Report?

One of my hopes for the beta report, is that our chemistry will be palpable to the listeners. Jeff, JVN, Lou and myself have known each other for years! We're all very fortunate to have a friendship that spans over 20 years. Throughout this friendship, we've had really engaging and riveting conversations, we've had ridiculous and unheard of events happen in our lives all that have led us to say something like, "We should have our own TV show".  This is out attempt at sharing those conversations and experiences with you. We hope you enjoy and we hope you we make you laugh. 

 

-Uno 

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