The Five Senses blogathon

The-Five-Senses-blogathon

This blogathon is the creation of My Film Views, Karamel Kinema and MovieInsiders, exploring what film association you have to each of the five senses, as Nostra explains:

For each of the senses you will have to describe the movie related association you have with it. This can be a particular movie or even a scene, but also something having to do with the movie going experience (so for example the smell of popcorn in the theater).

TASTE
The association I have with this isn’t my own but it’s one that I was a witness to and has always stuck with me. The year was 2007, the film was Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and my friend and I decided to watch it at the cinema.

The film was mediocre, with the way it was shot far surpassing the vocal talents of the leads, and it’s my friend’s reaction after the film that I remember more than the film itself.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Sweeney Todd is a murderer who has a novel way of disposing the bodies. Enter Mrs Lovett, an equally unstable opportunist who needs some fillings for her meat pies. It’s a gruesome tale and one that would understandably leave you queasy.

Not my friend, though.

We’d caught a late showing and on leaving the cinema he announced: “I could really eat a meat pie now.” With shock, I asked him: “Did you not watch any of that film we just saw?”

It turns out that whenever my friend watched a particularly blood-thirsty film he’d always feel peckish afterwards. You might have thought that’d put me off him a bit, but we actually went on to live with each other. Happily, all my body parts remained intact…

sweeny_todd_pies

SOUND
As you’ll have seen from my recent posts, I’m a big fan of music scores. There are many OSTs and original songs that I enjoy, but there’s one in particular that comes to mind. Ever since my first viewing of it, some 15 years ago, I have known, word-for-word, David Bowie’s ‘Dance Magic Dance’ from Labyrinth.

The film is very much a product of its time and is one that I enjoy coming back to. Be warned, though: ‘Dance Magic Dance’ will take residence in your brain and every time you hear those opening chords, the words will be out your mouth before you know it!


SIGHT
One of the joys of film is that it gives life to an idea and someone’s imagination. Sometimes, especially in the case of book-to-film adaptations, what you’ve always thought something would look like doesn’t match what’s shown on screen. Sometimes, it looks exactly or exceeds what you thought.

When the Fellowship arrived in Lothlórien in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the forest was what I’d imagined it to be like but even more beautiful, more delicate and more ethereal.

I was willing the camera to pan around and show more of this wonderful place. As the Fellowship moved you caught glimpses of distant rooms and lights, and more than anything I wanted to be transported into the frame and explore.

There have been many more occasions when I’ve felt like this, but Lothlórien remains my favourite.

Lothlorien

SMELL
I left this association until last to answer, as there wasn’t anything specific that came to my mind. There are two films that are choices for pleasant and unpleasant smells. At the delicious end of the scale would be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for obvious reasons. At the other, avoid-at-all-costs, end of the scale is another pick from Labyrinth: the Bog of Eternal Stench. Rumour is, if any part of you touches it you’ll smell terrible for the rest of your life…

Hoggle: And you wouldn’t be so brave if you’d ever smelled the Bog of Eternal Stench. It’s, it’s…
Sarah: Is that all it does, is smell?
Hoggle: Oh, believe me, that’s enough! But the worst thing is, if you so much as set a foot in the Bog of Stench, you’ll smell bad for the rest of your life. It’ll never wash off.

TOUCH
Watching a film at home is a very different experience to watching it at the cinema. The cinematic experience is a fantastic one, and one that I thoroughly enjoy: the gigantic screen, the surround sound, and the very real feeling of being ‘on the edge of your seat’ for certain films.

However, being at home and curling up on the sofa with your favourite drink, favourite snack and favourite watching partner is equally enjoyable. In my case, my two-seater sofa is set to ‘recline’ with my boyfriend and I wrapped under the duvet, the dog lying on top.

While the visuals and sound is most important for the cinematic experience, comfort is of the utmost priority at home.

Home cinema

The Best of Blunt

Updating my original post, one Emily Blunt film at a time.

—————
Scrolling through the LOVEFiLM instant list came be very hard work. Hard work in that there is so much choice. For last night’s (12/09/13) film, I thought I’d make it a little easier by trying to find a film featuring one of my favourite actresses, Emily Blunt.

I’ve been an admirer of Ms Blunt’s for a while now, as you would quickly be able to tell if you asked me what I’ve seen in. At the time that this post was first published in September 2013 (the plan is to keep updating it), I’d seen 13 of her films.

So, how does her filmography stack up? Do we see Top Notch Blunt, Average Blunt or Mediocre Blunt?

2003 Boudica

2004 My Summer of Love - Reading the synopsis of this I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this before.’ A quick look on Letterboxd reveals that I have, back in July 2012. While the plot is vaguely coming back to me, I can’t remember how I found it; the three stars means would indicate that it was probably quite average…
Rating: Average Blunt Film: ★★★

2006 The Devil Wears Prada – A brilliant film with a star studded cast that lives up to its billing. This is undoubtedly Meryl Streep’s film, and she steals every scene she’s in. However, Blunt puts on a fine performance, and this is where I – and the rest of the world – really started paying attention to her.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film: ★★★★

2006 Irresistible – If you wondering why the overall rating is at odds with the Blunt rating, this is because the film wasn’t as dramatic as I was hoping. Susan Sarandon and Blunt give strong performances, but the film didn’t come to as much of a passionate, climatic head as I was hoping.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film★★★

2007 Wind Chill 

2007 Dan in Real Life - Again, this was another one that I thought sounded familiar and then, after checking Letterboxd, realised that I had seen it. To be truthful, I can’t really remember much of it – not a good sign – so I’m relying on Wikipedia to fill in some blanks. Right, gotcha. I remember it, and I now remember that Blunt wasn’t in it that much, which is always a shame.
Rating: Average Blunt Film★★★½

2007 Charlie Wilson’s War - Blunt takes more of a cameo than a supporting role in this, but that could be, as with the above, that she filmed this before The Devil Wears Prada‘s release and was still establishing herself within the industry.
Rating
: Average Blunt Film★★★½

2007 The Jane Austen Book Club

2008 The Great Buck Howard

2009 The Young Victoria - According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Emily Blunt shines as Victoria in this romantic but plodding royal portrait,” and I completely agree. It’s a beautifully presented and acted film, but it is slightly lacking in passion, being rather polite instead.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film★★★★

2009 Sunshine Cleaning – I really enjoyed this film; Amy Adams and Blunt made a great double act. With its interesting subject it’s something out of the norm for both actresses, but they certainly pull it off. It’d be great if these two reunited in the future for another film (or two).
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film★★★★

2009 Curiosity

2010 Wild Target

2010 The Wolfman

2010 Gulliver’s Travels

2011 Gnomeo and Juliet – I adore this film, and I think I watched in three times over the course of a weekend when the LOVEFiLM DVD arrived… It’s funny, cute, has a great soundtrack, and is just a good, Saturday afternoon kinda film.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film★★★★

2011 The Adjustment Bureau – A very clever film that doesn’t push the limits too much so you are able to follow exactly what is going on. Blunt and Matt Damon make a good team, and while it is a romance (as well as an action and a sci-fi), it doesn’t play on this too much to the point that it would become OTT.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film: ★★★★

2011 The Muppets – Again, there wasn’t much of Blunt in this. Starring as Miss Piggy’s receptionist, she only briefly appeared. So brief, in fact, that I had forgotten that she was in it! It was a nice cameo choice, though, with an obvious nod to her role in The Devil Wears Prada.
Rating: Average Blunt Film★★★★

2012 The Five-Year Engagement – While Blunt – and Segel, to an extent – shines and you do feel for her character, for me the film was just a bit too bizarre in places. It touched on real life, but it didn’t have the humour I was expecting.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film★★

2012 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – This was a very sweet film, and Blunt is very entertaining throughout. There’s some chemistry between Blunt and Ewan McGregor, but it’s far from sizzling. Perhaps a different choice of male lead would have made this more of a romcom to remember.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film★★★½

2012 Your Sister’s Sister – With a tiny cast of just three, Blunt shines opposite Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass. There’s a great chemistry between the three, particularly between Blunt and DeWitt. With this film, Blunt proves that she can more than carry a film.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film

2012 Looper – This return to action/sci-fi is great for Blunt, and she puts on a strong performance. Romcoms and dramas may be her forte, but she is certainly honing her action skills.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt Film: ★★★½

2013 Arthur Newman - While the film itself is rather mediocre, with a predictable plot and characters that are difficult to warm to, Blunt does give a strong performance, proving that dramatic roles are her forte.   
Rating:
Top Notch Blunt Film: ★★★

2013 The Wind Rises

2014 Edge of Tomorrow - Tom Cruise’s characters can often be scene-stealers, but Blunt holds her own in this Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers action flick. The action genre is certainly suiting Blunt.
Rating: Top Notch Blunt
 Film: ★★★★

2014 Into the Woods

[Movies of the Month] February

February

CINEMA VISITS
Jupiter Ascending
- Interesting plot, stunning effects and beautiful costumes, but the characters are uninspiring and, sadly, the plot is weakened by a convoluted and poor script. ★★½

1ST TIMERS
Beverly Hills Cop 
- Definitely a product of its time, but enjoyable nonetheless with genuine laughs to accompany the groans. ★★★
Birdman – Strong acting but I didn’t connect with the characters, found the music distracting and overpowering, and felt my attention waning several times. ★★★
Arthur Newman – Strong acting from its lead but is let down by an, at time, obvious plot line. ★★★
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Great fun; potentially the first example of a movie ‘bromance’. ★★★★
Tracks - Inspiring story that is superbly executed. ★★★★½
Cuban Fury – Light-hearted Brit flick, with lots of laugh-out-loud moments; Frost is on form. ★★★★

REWATCHES
Jurassic Park – The best in the trilogy; an exciting, immersive look into what might happen when business meets science to create the impossible. ★★★★½
The Lost World: Jurassic Park – Weaker than its predecessor and 30 minutes longer than it should have been but still plenty of dino-thrills. ★★★
Jurassic Park III – Forgetting the politics of film two and taking it back to basics, with plenty of action, excitement and danger. ★★★½
Romeo + Juliet – An interesting modernisation that still uses the bard’s original wording. However, it can be too erratic, but this is, arguably, one of Luhrmann’s trademarks. ★★★½
The Last Unicorn – An enduring favourite, appearing dated now but losing none of its charm. ★★★★
Gone Girl – Still packing punches on my third viewing. ★★★★

DOCUMENTARIES
And the Oscar Goes to… – Interesting docu that reveals the history of the celebrated awards ceremony.

Total: 14

Since 1/1/15 

Cinema visits: 1
1st timers: 15
Rewatches: 14
Documentaries: 1
Total: 31

Part 3: Celebrating Music in the Movies

Whether it’s the ‘duuuun-dun, duuuun-dun, duuuun-dun…’ chords from Jaws or the marching theme of Star Wars, there are certain pieces of film music that are just as well-known or even more well-known than the film they’re featured in.

This got me thinking: what’s the most popular piece of film music and what’s the most recognisable?

In the case of the latter, one suggestion is John Barry’s ‘James Bond’ theme, the signature theme of the James Bond films that has been used in all of the Eon Productions films released to date. This means that it has been heard in cinemas on and off for over 50 years, an enduring legacy to cinema by Barry.

Answering the former, the type of music that you enjoy is a personal choice. Certain parts of The Lord of the Rings scores resonate with me, in particular the beautiful fiddle than accompanies scenes set in Rohan. ‘Promentory’ from The Last of the Mohicans is another – with more use of a stringed instrument – while the much more upbeat and triumphant Jurassic Park theme would round off my top three.

There’s then the question of what the most popular song is.

Mine would potentially be Enya’s ‘May It Be’ from The Fellowship of the Ring. I would hazard a guess that the public vote would be for Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from Titanic, Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ from The Bodyguard or Bryan Adams’ ‘Everything I Do’ from Robin Hood, if single sales are any indication.

Celine Dion, 1997, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ – 15 million+ copies sold worldwide, No 1 in 18 countries

Whitney Houston, 1992, ‘I Will Always Love You’ – 15 million+ copies sold worldwide, 14 weeks at No 1 on the USA’s Billboard chart

Bryan Adams, 1991, ‘Everything I Do’ – 15 million+ copies sold worldwide, 16 weeks at No 1 on the UK’s Singles Chart

Recently, Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ from Despicable Me 2 was extremely successful, becoming the best-selling song of 2014 in the United States with over 6.45 million copies sold. ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen is another favourite, with an overwhelming amount of cover versions and parodies making their way onto YouTube.

What are your favourites?

Previously:

Part 1 – Invoking emotions
Music can stir feelings within you in a unique way. What do you feel when you hear the Jaws soundtrack or Jones’ ‘Last of the Mohicans’?

Part 2 – Industry greats
Looking at such legendary composers as John Williams plus upcoming composers

Part 2: Celebrating Music in the Movies

Industry greats

Many award ceremonies recognise the importance of film scores, with the Academy Awards awarding for the best Original Score and Original Song. At this year’s Academy Awards, Alexandre Desplat claimed his first Oscar for best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel. He also claimed this year’s Bafta.

Looking at the Academy Awards’ statistics database, it’s no surprise to see that John Williams (born 1932) has received the most nominations in the Original Score category, with a staggering 44. Of those, he has won five. In a close second place is Alfred Newman (1901-1970) with 41 nominations and 9 wins while in third place is Max Steiner (1888-1971) with 20 nominations and two wins.

John Williams’ Academy Award success

  • 1971 – Fiddler on the Roof – Best Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score
  • 1975 – Jaws – Best Original Dramatic Score
  • 1975 – Star Wars – Best Original Score
  • 1982 – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Best Original Score
  • 1993 – Schindler’s List – Best Original Score

The Newman family

  • David Newman, Alfred’s son, has scored nearly 100 films, including The War of the Roses, Matilda and Ice Age
  • Thomas Newman, Alfred’s son, has received 12 Academy Award nominations for film scoring. His filmography includes The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty and Skyfall
  • Randy Newman, Alfred’s nephew, is a two-time Academy Award winner and popular singer/songwriter, also winning various Emmys and Grammy Awards

‘The Father of Film Music’

An Austrian-born composer, Steiner was a child prodigy who would go on to compose over 300 film scores, including Gone with the Wind. He was the recipient of the first Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, won for 1947’s Life with Father.

The next generation

Understandably, at 83-years-old, Williams has slowed down, with his most recent compositions being for 2011’s The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, 2012’s Lincoln and 2013’s The Book Thief. He has also composed the score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, due for release later this year.

Contemporary names frequently seen in credits and at award shows include Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Inception), Alexandre Desplat (The King’s Speech, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2, The Imitation Game) and Danny Elfman (Milk, Alice in Wonderland, Silver Linings Playbook).

James Horner also deserves a mention, with his score for Titanic being the bestselling orchestral film soundtrack of all time; Titanic and Avatar (which he also scored) are the two highest-grossing films of all time.

Next time:

Part 3 – Enduring classics
What is the most recognisable piece of film music? Would you say it is Barry’s ‘James Bond’, Williams’ ‘Star Wars’ or something else?

Previously:

Part 1 – Invoking emotions
Music can stir feelings within you in a unique way. What do you feel when you hear the Jaws soundtrack or Jones’ ‘Last of the Mohicans’?

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