While I haven't been posting much of late for obvious reasons, I have been listening to quite a bit of music. Some of it has been giving me some pretty interesting ideas, some of which turned out to be not so viable (although they'd have been cool if they could have worked). There are two projects I'm working on right now that came upon me quite by surprise, both featuring music by composers I don't normally concentrate on.
My original review of Kingdom of Heaven was written shortly after seeing the theatrical version of the film. Because the film struck me as disjointed and derivative, not to mention the explosion of "Director's Cuts" out there (half of them belonging to Ridley Scott himself), I never bothered to catch up to the Director's Cut of Kingdom of Heaven. It was with the recommendation of suitboyskin that I finally decided to bite the bullet and watch the film again.
I say "watch the film again" as if I had seen the same film. I hadn't. The Director's Cut of Kingdom of Heaven is a very different movie from the version released theatrically, and is vastly superior. What sticks out the most is that pretty much all of the characters' motivations had been cut from the theatrical edit, which meant that many times characters seemed to take a left turn that they had no reason to do. I had blamed William Monahan's script, but the Director's Cut restores the various backstories and gives context to the material in the film, and I have to admit that I was mistaken as this footage converts a bombastic mess into a character-driven epic.
With more character moments in the film, it stands to reason that the cast comes across much better in the Director's Cut, not so much because they weren't good already, but because there is more call for them to show their chops. Sequences that proceeded sloppily in the theatrical version here do so with grace. More importantly, the additional footage allows the film to establish its own overriding tone, thus making it feel influenced rather than derivative, and to have a power of its own.
I viewed the film on Blu-ray, which does not have the overture or entr'acte added to the DVD "roadshow presentation" or any of the special features. On the other hand, it does have a gloriously rich and detailed picture that does a great job with Ridley Scott and John Mathieson's painterly visuals. The lossless DTS Master Audio track is one of the most active and engulfing I'd yet heard. This is a great demo disc.
At long last Fox has released X-Men and X2 on Blu-ray, and the results are fantastic! They look great (better even than the third film, which had a lot of negative grain) and sound even better. The second film is a particular favorite of mine, and I can honestly say that I think the picture on the Blu-ray may be slightly superior to the grainy Super 35 theatrical prints.
Viewing these films again remind me of my intention to revisit my The Uncanny X-Men compilation. I'm not planning on adding anything from the Wolverine movie, but I can make smoother edits than I could at the time (I also have access to more of John Powell's X-Men: The Last Stand score, which is the best aspect of that film) and I have thought of ways of making it a more balanced listening experience. I will be finishing at least one of the aforementioned mixes first, though.