- David Fincher brings to The Social Network the same sense of history unfolding that he established with perfection in Zodiac with the psychological deconstruction of Fight Club. It isn't as flashy a film as the latter, nor as intense as the former, but like Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' music design, zips along with a kinetic energy and clarity all its own. Jeff Cronenweth's Red widescreen cinematography is excellent, and the 35 millimeter theatrical prints look gorgeous, much superior to those from Fincher's Super 35 years.
Those expecting some sort of indictment of the site may be disappointed; the film doesn't really comment much upon Facebook itself. Nor does it really have to; the growth of the site doesn't need to be depicted on-screen for a contemporary audience.
The cast is uniformly excellent (yes, that includes Justin Timberlake), but if the film has a snag, it is that these characters, while admittedly brilliant, are (at least as portrayed in the film) rather unpleasant to be around. Their insatiable need to one-up each other, while certainly an important element to their ultimate financial success, prevents the viewer from really connecting with anybody but Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and makes the film somewhat frustrating to watch, especially as he's the guy who just doesn't get it. You just want to punch everybody in the face constantly for what they're saying and doing to each other. And even so, it's undeniable that you're involved.
- I had been dreading the prospect of viewing Guy Ritchie's take on Sherlock Holmes. The trailers had done a decent job of showing that Holmes was to be re-interpreted as an action hero, and I was extremely skeptical of what that might entail. I'm not a Doyle purist, by any means, but if my Holmes is being re-interpreted, I want it done with a healthy respect for the work of Arthur Conan Doyle. Without a Clue is a good example of this.
Well, I have to admit that while this is indeed a modern re-interpretation of the character, I happen to have found it very much in the spirit of the best Doyle adaptations. Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) is an unfortunately conventional touch in the capacity she is used, but Robert Downey Jr. makes a very good post-Jeremy Brett Holmes, but it is his relationship with Jude Law's feiry Watson that is the most fun aspect of the film. They do have Holmes employing martial arts, but he's the only one doing so and the fact that it looks weird in Victorian England is addressed in the film. I also have to admit, I also found myself really enjoying Hans Zimmer's wry music score as well.
- I have Let It Be on laserdisc, and it is an absolutely essential addition to any Beatles collection, but unfortunately it has thus far been prevented from any further home video releases. It's been forty years already, can't the remaining two Beatles just get over their issues and allow the film to be released already? Hell, in this day and age, they can even record their own commentary track to discuss what issues they have with it. If it's because they argue, the conflicts are certainly relatively minor in comparison to what you see in "making of" documentaries today; if it's because Paul McCartney is stoned throughout the whole thing, I'm sure the statute of limitations is up on those particular infractions; if it's because Yoko Ono is omnipresent and kind of spooky-looking, well…¹
In addition to priceless studio footage, the film also concludes with the famed rooftop concert. Several of the songs are heard more again during this portion, and offer an interesting alternative reading to the album tracks, something relatively rare for the Beatles until recently because they so rarely performed live.
- The good news is that my copy of Morton Stevens' Hawaii Five-O album and it sounds great. The bad news is that after I had ripped it but before I had the chance to sync my iPod, my computer crashed, so I couldn't take it with me. I am hoping that I can have my entire music library restored by this weekend.
- Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes is one of my favorite John Scott scores, but I've always found the album to be a woefully inadequate representation of the score. My opinion on the LP configuration, revisited due to its long-belated premiere on CD, has unfortunately not changed. What's there is excellent, but it's just not enough either to represent the score or cohere as an album on its own.
This is no reflection on the efforts of La-La-Land, who have filled an important void by getting at least some version of Scott's masterpiece out there, it is an unfortunate by-product of the album having been issued in the LP era despite the fact that the film is scored almost wall-to-wall in the first portion of the film and no other elements appearing to be available. The album, by necessity, lurches forward in the narrative, skipping past some of Scott's most breathtaking writing (the long-form theme for the panther voiced on horns and featured several times in the score is perhaps the most grievous omissions from the album). The second half of the film is better-represented, but it is the symphonic opera of the first half that is the centerpiece of the score.
This leads me to the unfortunate topic of M.V. Gerhard's exit from the Film Score Monthly message boards owing as to the disgusting, indefensible behavior of a certain "lonzoe1" in this thread. M.V. has stated that he will only be posting press releases now and no longer participate in any of the discussions. This means that he will no longer be around to offer his insiders perspective, insight and explanations of what's going on with his releases. The worst aspect of this is that he had already addressed most of the issues that lonzoe1 was razing him for in threads on Batman. All it takes is one asshole…
- Last year, I posted about how the main title from Conan the Destroyer was, for me, a single track holy grail. Well, another one of these has appeared; while I have mentioned my pleasure with Tadlow's recording of Lawrence of Arabia, and mentioned that I was happy to have the Firefox end credits, well, that was something of an understatement. I had the end credits of Firefox taped off of a stereo cable television broadcast in the early 90s. That cassette is long gone, but that rousing main theme was one that always stayed with me, and having it to hear again is like seeing an old friend after some years that you'd forgotten how well you'd gotten along with.
¹ Joking aside, the interplay between John and Yoko fleetingly seen here and there in the film is actually rather touching; people hate on Yoko but forget that she did inspire some of John's most beautiful love songs.