Though I am still trying to cleanse my mental palate of having one of the greatest comic scenes in comic history reduced to a throwaway and while Paul Giamatti’s MOOSE AND SQUIRREL-esque Russian accent still wakes me late at night screaming, I can see by box office numbers that some of you do not share my passionate hatred for Amazing Spider-Man 2. For you, because I am a tolerant and compassionate man (though I do sort of want to punch Marc Webb), here are the details of what you’ll find on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu Ray, due to hit stores on August 19th…..I have to go punch my rage pillow now….. Continue reading Amazing Spider-Man 2 DVD and Blu-Ray Date And Details
“Tomorrow will be more hopeful than this awful
piece of time we call today.”
~ Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games)
Midway through MOVIE MAY MADNESS things have been overall disappointing. Godzilla was fun in a niche way (unfortunately not really my niche), but Neighbors and AMS 2 tanked. I’m hoping a strong finish with X-Men and Maleficent will get the year at the movies going. Right now: it’s The LEGO Movie and Cap 2 and then a ginormous chasm between them and the rest of the field. The fall is particularly weak too, so I’m already looking ahead to next year and Episode VII, myself (though I am looking forward to Guardians and The Hobbit and a few others).
Killing Time milestones this week: The site roared passed 83,000 hits and is on track to be our biggest month ever. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and even more so for those that comment and take part in the discussion. I really appreciate you guys more than you can know. Combining all the different ways you can follow KT, we passed 1,000 followers this week and that just blows my mind. Thank you for coming along for the ride. Truly.
We did get another new country this week (number #170 for those scoring at home)! French Polynesia pwned Greenland and joined the Killing Time Family of Nations (not a thing) and as is tradition, let’s slap a flag up on the screen for them!
The most viewed post of the week was ….sigh….The Despicable Me 2 Review. Again. Seriously. Why? Why? Why does this one article have double the hits of the second highest scoring article in the history of the site? WHAT DID I DO SO RIGHT THAT ONCE!?!
Also, if you’ve been following the MARCH TO 100K Gamerscore below, I’m under 2500 left and we’re entering the summer gaming desert so if you’re on Xbox 360 or Xbox One, friend “sleeplessdave” and help me get to my six-figure gaming dream!
The Time Traveler’s Almanac by Various
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi Volume 2: Prisoner of Bogan
Ultimate Comics Avengers Omnibus by Mark Millar
Brightest Day Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns
The Wolverine (Extras)
Game of Thrones Season Four
House, MD Season Two
Covert Affairs Season Four
Arrow Season Two
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season One
The Blacklist Season One
Song of the Week: “Desire” by Ryan Adams
Video Game: GAMERSCORE AT 97,513
Child of Light (this is fantastic for RPGers)
Batman Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year
* XBOX Live, gamertag: sleeplessdave; feel free to friend me!
THE ROAD TO 100,000 GAMERSCORE: 2,497 to go!
EARNED 330 ACHIEVEMENT POINTS THIS WEEK
Latest vs. Greatest looks at directors, actors, actresses, screenwriters and composers to assess the state of their career as it stands. We’ll look back at the latest 10 movies the artist has done, rate them and then average them out to see where they stand today. We’ll also rank their 10 greatest movies and give them the same treatment to compare what they have been doing to their very best work. (A quick side-note: if an artist is/has been a regular on a TV show we’ll also grade the seasons individually; artists need 10 projects to qualify).
If John Williams is the greatest movie score composer of all-time (and I believe he is), Hans Zimmer is the best composer working TODAY. Williams, while still amazing, is past his prime, while Zimmer is getting better and better after 30 years composing films. He’s also probably the only other film composer most movie fans can name after John Williams and that “guy who did Lord of the Rings”. Zimmer has composed some of the best music that has accompanied film, overcoming an early reputation as a bit of a diva and “action film only” composer. He’s only won one Oscar (in 1995 for The Lion King) out of his nine nominations, but he certainly has deserved to win several more. Not bad for a guy who used to be in The Buggles and brought us “Video Killed the Radio Star”. Oh, didn’t think I’d know that, Hans. I research.
After having composed movie scores since 1984, Zimmer’s career got a major boost in the arm when he composed the scores for two Best Picture winners in a row: 1988’s Rain Man and 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy. For Zimmer haters, and we’ll get to you too, here’s an example of two nuanced scores that show Zimmer’s talent. Let’s move on to the 1990’s though when Zimmer’s name got latched on to action movie-dom.
Backdraft, as near as I can tell from looking at his filmography is where the “Media Ventures” style of action movie composing comes in to play. Zimmer, agree with it or not, has come under fire for composing scores that could conceivably be interchanged with one another. For example, you could use The Rock’s score for Crimson Tide or King Arthur’s score for The Last Samurai. I don’t agree, but the fact that he started a company called Media Ventures and groomed composers like Nick Glennie-Smith and Hengry Gregson-Williams to compose in his “style”, doesn’t really help his case. The most notorious example of this actually came back to bite him big time, but we’ll have to wait for Pirates for that story.
The flip side to the argument is, during the midst of all of this, Hans Zimmer won his only Oscar for the very non-actiony, very unique score to Disney’s The Lion King. Zimmer often does animation scores, his other outstanding one I would note is 1998’s The Prince of Egypt. Zimmer also composed A League of Their Own, As Good as It Gets, The Thin Red Line and Matchstick Men during this period. It wasn’t all action films, and it isn’t now, but people who criticize the group of composers known as “The Cult of Zimmer” have enough of Hans’ ego plus circumstance to make a case.
Several Zimmer scores have transcended the film buff crowd into the realm of popular music. This has been the case with both Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy, as well as Pirates, but the original bust-out hit for Zimmer was Gladiator. Zimmer’s pounding rhythms paired with the vocals of Lisa Gerrard (with whom he’s collaborated several more times) put Gladiator’s soundtrack onto the Billboard charts and gave Zimmer another best picture-winning soundtrack.
After stellar scores for Black Hawk Down, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (maybe Zimmer’s most overlooked jewel) and The Last Samurai, we get to his ego’s biggest boo boo: Pirates of the Caribbean. Pirates has one of the most iconic scores of any movie in the last quarter century and the first movie was, of course, scored by ….Klaus Badelt? Really? Klaus Badelt? Noooo. Not really. Zimmer scored the film, but due to some obscure copyright issue too arcane to break down owing to his Media Ventures cult, Zimmer had Badelt put his name on the score. Oops. It’s one of the best scores Zimmer’s ever done, but I refuse to count Curse of the Black Pearl because Zimmer was just THAT stupid in how he handled it (even denying for years it was him that had composed the music). Dead Man’s Chest has a much less rousing score, though a gorgeous motif for Davy Jones. At World’s End demonstrates the precise reason why I separate the score of the score from the score of the movie. As a movie, At World’s End is one of the worst franchise films I’ve ever seen. As a score, it’s one of Zimmer’s best. It’s even better than the first Pirates score. It melds the classic themes with new in a gloriously epic effort that deserved a better movie (Zimmer recently also did this to a lesser extent with The Lone Ranger. Great scores can come from crap films and At World’s End is one of the best.
Co-composers on a project nearly never works, but in the case of The Dark Knight trilogy, having Zimmer paired with James Newton Howard was just the right move. Howard is extremely good at bridges (he’s done a lot of TV work including composing the theme to ER). Zimmer excels at thematic work. Melding those two strengths gave us a new Batman theme to rival Danny Elfman’s, which did not seem even feasible. The Dark Knight took a very revolutionary approach to the Joker. Instead of giving him a Darth Vaderesque march to match the Dark Knight’s, Zimmer used this twisting, increasingly shrill violin spiral that climbed insided your head and disturbed you, setting the stage for Heath Ledger’s brilliant performance. The Dark Knight Rises was Zimmer’s alone and incorporated an awesome chant for Bane as well as wrapping his three-film opus with the track “Rise”, one of the best finales in modern movie music.
As good as all of Zimmer’s other scores are, and they’ve been getting increasingly complex and better, nothing has (or perhaps ever will) top his magnum opus: Inception. Utilizing all of Zimmer’s tropes, including his pioneering use of electric guitar melded with symphonic work, Inception is by turns a pounding, unrelenting Zimmer action classic and a nuanced, quiet heart-breaker. For all of the film’s action cues, it ends with a four-minute piano piece called “Time” that is among the best pieces he’s composed. Zimmer’s pairing with Nolan has been magic for both, but this -as of now-is the pinnacle of both of their careers.
It wasn’t enough that Zimmer had redefined how Batman sounded to audiences, he then went and took on the big daddy of super hero themes: John Williams’ Superman. Acknowledging, and rightly so, that any attempt to ape it would be a disservice to both efforts, Zimmer came up with perhaps his most layered and brilliantly nuanced score. A simple piano theme for Clark that builds into a speaker-busting fanfare for Superman. Man of Steel is a controversial film, but I don’t think the music is up for debate even among the film’s detractors.
Let’s check out Zimmer’s last 10 film’s and get his Latest score. Remember composers are unique in that it’s their SCORE that is rated and not the quality of the movie:
ZIMMER’S LATEST TEN:
1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)………5.00
2. Winter’s Tale (2014)………………………………….4.50
3. Son of God (2014)……………………………………….7.75
4. Rush (2013)…………………………………………………..8.75
5. 12 Years A Slave (2013)……………………………6.50
6. Last Love (2013)…………………………………………..7.00
7. The Lone Ranger (2013)……………………………9.50
8. Man of Steel (2013)………………………………….10.00
9. The Bible Mini-Series (2013)…………………..8.00
10. The Dark Kight Rises (2012)………………….9.75
ZIMMER’S CURRENT AVERAGE: 7.875
Zimmer works a LOT. He typically does 3-4 films a year and a 7.875 isn’t a bad batting average for someone with the volume of work he’s producing. I was disappointed that he couldn’t do for Spider-Man what he’d done for Batman and Superman, but maybe he should just stay in DCU sandbox. Let’s look at his greatest scores:
ZIMMER’S GREATEST TEN
1. Inception (2011)……………………………..10.00
2. The Dark Knight (2008)…………………10.00*
3. Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (2006)..10.00
4. Batman Begins (2005)…………………….10.00*
5. Man of Steel (2013)…………………………10.00
6. Gladiator (2000)……………………………….10.00
7. Backdraft (1991)………………………………10.00
8. The Rock (1996)………………………………..10.00
9. The Lion King (1994)………………………..9.75
10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)………9.75
ZIMMER’S GREATEST AVERAGE: 9.950
* Composed in conjunction with James Newton Howard
If Zimmer hadn’t been a chowderhead about Pirates 1, he’s only need one more 10 to join John Williams as the only person we’ve examined with a perfect 10.00 career best score, but opportunities are on the horizon.
Zimmer is currently composing the score to this fall’s Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar, without being allowed to see the movie or a script! That’s like golfing with no arms! If he can pull that off, that’s something he can brag about forever. He’s also agreed to return to the world of DC Comics to score Batman vs. Superman (the thought of the Dark Knight march colliding with the Man of Steel theme….sorry I spaced out for ten minutes). Zimmer’s star continues to rise and he continues to get better, challenging himself to bring something to these huge scores that he’s never done; that maybe no one has ever done. There’s no question he’s one of the most influential composers in movie music history and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his two final 10’s and can join John Williams in the “Perfect Career Score” clubhouse (which I may have built in my backyard just in case……JUST IN CASE!!!).
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
~ Albert Einstein
Since I have a special statement in the stats this week, let’s forego most of the rambling about how the week in entertainment has been. I have spent the vast majority of it steam cleaning my brain of any trace of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Which never happened. So clearly there’s nothing to talk about there, over that mythical abomination. Continue reading Killing Time – May 8, 2014
It’s hard to believe, given the run of quality that’s spoiled comic book fans over the last decade, that someone could make a film that so completely misses the target audience. I honestly thought films of the quality of Elektra and Batman & Robin were behind us. I was wrong. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not just a misstep; it’s a mind-boggling disaster of a film. In reaching to create a universe around the character, Sony has instead taken the very foundations of what it should have used to build and destroyed them. It is, quite simply, one of the worst comic book adaptations in recent years, and I want to reiterate that there are MAJOR SPOILERS to follow. Continue reading Movie Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) *MAJOR SPOILER WARNING*