Epics and Orchestrals… and also Bach

Agnus Dei X – everyone’s favorite part of the Latin mass. Rich-beyond-reason arrangement.
Second Coming – no percussion – lush orchestra-only mix.
Ranz des Vaches – that one morning tune from the cartoons… from Rossini. Very well produced, if I must say so myself!
Sinfonia Number 5 – quick harpsichord rendering of the Bach 3-part invention.
Also added:
- Half Bit (electronic fun loop)
- Poofy Reel (acoustic quirk)
- New Direction (electronic ambient)
- Space Fighter Loop (hybrid excitement)
- Robo-Western (hybrid uptempo)
And 2 new additions to the Tenebrous Bros. Carnival!
- Tenebrous Brothers Carnival – Mermaid
- Tenebrous Brothers Carnival – Snake Lady

Legion

Themes involving the Christian religion? Check. Filmed largely in the brownness of New Mexico? Check. Denzel Washington? Negative. I guess two out of three isn’t bad, but it isn’t good, either. Not that Paul Bettany is a bad actor — far from it. I like him. But there wasn’t much even an angel could do to save this flick.
Let me back up a little. On a long, lonely, dusty highway in the southwestern United States, there’s a place called Paradise Falls. It might be a town, or it might just be the name of the only diner/truck stop along that road for fifty miles in either direction. Bob Hanson (Dennis Quaid, Smart People) owns it, or maybe it owns him. He also has a son named Jeep (Lucas Black), who fixes cars. I’m hoping that he’s actually nicknamed Jeep because he likes to fix cars, and doesn’t like to fix cars because his father legally named him Jeep, so what else could he do?
Anyway, Jeep is madly in love with Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), who’s eight months pregnant by some guy and hates her life. She works as a waitress at the diner, apparently the only waitress, which makes sense, because five customers at once is a huge rush for that place. Charlie wants her and Jeep to be just friends. Meanwhile, Howard, Sandra, and Audrey Anderson (Jon Tenney of “The Closer”, Kate Walsh of “Grey’s Anatomy”, and Willa Holland of “The O.C.”, respectively) are a wealthy family stranded there because their fancy BMW broke down. Kyle Williams (Tyrese Gibson from The Transformers flicks, soon to play Luke Cage in yet another comic-to-silver-screen adaptation) is there because he’s lost. And Percy Walker (Charles S. Dutton, best known to me as Foreman’s dad from “House”) is stuck there because he works there, as the cook.
Then all heaven breaks loose.
God, for some unspecified reason, is angry at humankind. Since the flood thing has already been done, this time the angels come down for a more hands-on approach. Since it’s also sometimes a sharp-teeth-in-skin approach, this is much bloodier than the flood. But one particular angel (Paul Bettany) decides that this whole plan is a Very Bad Idea, and decides he’s going to do his level best to sabotage it. According to some prophecy (or something — the movie is very vague about details like that), Charlie’s baby is the last best hope for humankind; and yes, this is basically a remake of The Terminator, so maybe the angels know things because they’re from the future.

legion.jpg
The first sign of the Apocalypse: People standing around gaping.

Much shooting and death ensues. It actually didn’t give me nightmares — all the scariest stuff was in the previews, pretty much, and I was desensitized to that after seeing the previews seventeen times — but it isn’t pleasant. One place where the movie’s actually pretty good, though, is in showing the seige mentality of the few trapped in the diner, and how different people react. Some of it’s a little forced because they had to jam it into just 100 minutes of movie, and they have a lot of people to kill and cars to blow up; but otherwise it’s pretty good.
The rest is… well, a lame remake of Terminator, as mentioned, and it’s really a terrible waste of some good actors. (Though the guy who plays Gabriel (Kevin Durand) is so wooden he seems like he must be chanelling Ben Affleck, but I don’t think that’s usual for him.) Anyway, in spite of the best efforts of Paul Bettany, I give this one two and a quarter idols. The first part was all right, but it went steadily downhill, until the last half hour was just dull and vaguely confusing, though that may have been because I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention by then. I was busy hoping for The Wolfman to be much better.

The Book of Eli

There isn’t a biblical book of Eli, so the Hughes brothers decided to create one.
Denzel Washington is what the other characters call a Walker. It’s been thirty years since the Great War was ended by the Flash, and I don’t mean the DC comic book hero, one of the few major characters who hasn’t gotten a movie of his own yet — though rumor has it they’ll fix that little oversight next year. Anyway, this Flash blinded a fair number of people, so it sounds like the burst of light from a nuclear bomb, or maybe lots of bombs, since it seems to have affected so many. And even thirty years later, if you go outside without your Ray-Bans, you’ll come back without your retinas. The whole world seems to have been baked until it looks like New Mexico — and I’m not trying to make fun of New Mexico; that’s just where they did a lot of the location shooting.
Denzel is heading west, because he has to. It’s his destiny, he feels, and his mantra is that he must not stray from the path. That path, however, gets pretty rocky when he encounters Carnegie (Gary Oldman, the voice of General Grawl in Planet 51, and Sirius Black from Harry Potter), the absolute ruler of a small town, filled with refugees from the road. It’s like an Old West town — everyone important has a gun, there are shootouts in the street, and life revolves around the saloon, where Carnegie holds court and keeps his ‘soldiers’ loyal with alcohol and women. Carnegie, you see, is obsessed with books. Actually one book in particular, but he sends his troops out to grab every book they can in hopes of finding the one he’s after. It’s difficult on the troops, though, since most copies of the book their boss wants were burned, and basically no one under thirty-five can read. Clearly, this is a Horrible Place to Live. The only bright spot is that no one under thirty-five knows what a television is, either, so at least the terrible legacy of those reality shows is gone.

book-of-eli.jpg
The movie isn’t black and white — I just liked this picture and couldn’t find it in color.

You can see this coming — the very book that Carnegie wants so desparately (we all know what book it is, but we’ll pretend and not say the name) is the one book that Denzel is carrying with him. Granted, Gary Oldman can be intimidating — he once played the vampire, Dracula himself, after all — but when it comes down to him versus Denzel, all bets are off. As Carnegie’s long-suffering companion, Claudia (Jennifer Beals, most recently of the TV series “Lie to Me”) says, “You won’t be able to make him do what you want him to do.” Claudia is blind, but not from the Flash — she was born that way, which she also says makes her lucky, in a way, since at least she was always used to it.
The lovely Claudia has a lovely daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis, from Max Payne — thankfully, now that she’s made this movie, I won’t have to mention that awful thing again), who, unsurprisingly, hates it in that town. Carnegie’s head thug, Redridge (Ray Stevenson — look for him as mighty Norse warrior Volstagg in the upcoming Thor flick), is all over her when she doesn’t want him to be, and Carnegie thoughtfully sends her to seduce Denzel, thinking that will make him stay. This, of course, is completely the wrong way to approach Denzel, but try telling him that.
Then all the fighting breaks out. Every surviving gun on the planet seems to have ended up in this one spot, including an old-style gatling gun. I wasn’t sure I was right in guessing that, but they mentioned a gatling gun operator in the credits, so that must be it. It really tears through wood, whatever it is, though to be fair, it’s obviously very old wood and probably not very well cared for. Which reminds me — I couldn’t figure out why people kept walking and driving over bridges that had literally been through a war and left to crumble for three decades, and then seemed surprised when they reached the point where said bridge actually had crumbled and they couldn’t go any further.
Anyway. I’ll go with four idols. It could be described as your standard chase movie, but it never quite becomes predictable; and yes, there are some questionable bits in the plot that I’m still pondering. But hey, filmmakers want people to ponder their movies, right? Denzel is his usual shining self, of course, and though Gary Oldman goes way, way over the top sometimes, that’s just what Carnegie’s like, and the performances overall are solid to excellent. Tom Waits (inventor extraordinaire Doc Heller from Mystery Men) is the Engineer — he seems to have no other name — and there are a couple of other quite famous faces you’ll recognize in minor roles, including one uncredited one, but I won’t mention them and spoil the surprise. Now I’m off to go find a safe place to hide my books when the apocalypse comes.

Not on the Map

This is a giant 48 minute piece. It is super ambient, and very simple. Due to its large size, this piece will not make it into my main catalog.
Please feel free to redistribute this piece to anyone for any reason.
I’m releasing this under the Creative Commons: By Attribution license in reaction to what’s going on in Malaysia and other places. Authorized agents (such as those for ASCAP and BMI) have been shaking down businesses for not paying performance fees for music in their stores.
Do they have the right to do that? Sure.
And I have the right to release music for free that anyone may use. I can’t fight bad copyright laws in countries where I am not… but I can help take money out of the existing model by undercutting them on price and ease of use.
This one is for spas and other relaxation-based areas.
Cheers, all!

Wood and Metal and Water

Ghostpocalypse

The soundtrack to the film (that doesn’t exist yet).
Ghostpocalypse

  1. Departure – atmospheric
  2. The Call – rhythmic
  3. Road of Trials – melodic
  4. Temptress – melodic with percussion
  5. Apotheosis – rhythmic
  6. Crossing the Threshold – melodic
  7. Master – very rhythmic
  8. Epilog – melodic

Daybreakers

Everyone can stop wondering what to do about the oil shortage, or the water shortage, or climate change. By 2019, we’ll all be vampires anyway, and we can all worry about the blood shortage!
They don’t give percentages, but at least 95% of the world is a vampire. Everything’s either dark or barely lit by faintly bluish lights, the rich have gotten richer while the poor have gotten poorer, and women’s liberation has gone back to about the 1940′s. (That happens a lot in these near-future flicks, though I have no clue why.) Vampirisim was also a serious blow to the anti-smoking movement — I guess if you’re already dead, for all practical purposes, why not indulge?
The last few humans are hunted so that they can be hooked up to machines kind of like the ones in the Matrix that keep them just alive enough to produce blood. Eventually, of course, these humans will die, but Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), head of Bromley Marks, the world’s largest producer of blood, hasn’t planned that far ahead and is just draining the last humans he has dry, hoping for a workable blood substitute to be developed.
Yes, there’s an obvious parallel to the real world there that we’re meant to catch, but I think it’s also a good example of the thought processes of your average bloodsucking creature of the night. Granted, I suspect Bromley (think Bram Stoker for the inspiration for the name, maybe?) was always something of a soulless bloodsucker, but overall I suspect all the tales, movies, and roleplaying games have it right — it’s a lot harder to empathize with anyone when you know your next meal is going to come from your former next door neighbor’s jugular.
It’s all terribly civilized, though, on the surface. You don’t sip directly from your former neighbor’s jugular; heavens no. He’s hooked up tidily to his machine, and you get a little splash of his Type B in your evening coffee. No muss, no fuss, and none of that silly hunting down one’s prey. That’s left to the professionals, namely the Army; of which Ed’s brother, Frankie (Michael Dorman) is a proudly serving member. But even the best soldier can’t find humans where there aren’t any, and the world is full of Blood Riots due to the growing shortages. FInally even the U.S. is running low, and of course we can’t have that.
Enter Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke, of Gattaca, a very good movie that you should really watch, if you haven’t already), a hematologist for Bromley Marks working on the aforementioned blood substitute. Being a blood doctor in a world full of vampires should make you something like a demigod, but Ed’s just a regular guy, with a boss demanding results, deadlines to meet, fangs, and glowing gold eyes, just like the rest of us. He can’t quite make the blood substitute work, and as it happens, all that outward civilization gets ripped away pretty quickly when there isn’t a steady supply of the red stuff.

daybreakers.jpg
Ed, Audrey, Elvis, and their crossbows sit down for a little chat.

Then Ed runs into (almost literally) a small group of fleeing humans, and that’s when things really get strange. He meets Audrey Bennet (Claudia Karvan, another in the long string of Australian actors who come to the U.S. so they can learn to sound American and steal all our jobs) and also Elvis. No, not that Elvis. This Elvis is Wlliem Dafoe, as Lionel Cormac, who his friends call Elvis. (Willem Dafoe, of course, is noted for being in the Spider-Man series of movies, and also for being born in Wisconsin.)
Elvis and Audrey think they might have a cure for the vampire plague — apparently that’s what it really is here, like how the zombies in 28 Days Later or Zombieland are actually sick rather than dead — but it’s a little rough around the edges and they need an expert like Ed to polish it up for them. Actually, “a little rough” isn’t quite the way to describe it. Fact is, if ever there was a case where the cure was worse than the disease, this is it.
The last third or so of the film is all about the blood. It’s everywhere. It gushes, it trickles, it drives men wild. Presumably it drives women wild as well, but there aren’t nearly as many of those around. Of course one expects blood from a vampire flick, but this is still kind of excessive. Okay, very excessive. The story’s also a little rushed in places, unfortunately; but then, it’s only 98 minutes long. I’d say that they’re looking ahead to airing it on network TV in a 2-hour timeslot, but I’m not sure that warnings would really cut it, and there’s just no way to edit out enough of that blood, I would imagine.
Three and a half idols out of five. My first thought was three and a third, but there’s a lot of good stuff that’s only touched on in the film. I’m hopeful that when the DVD version comes out, the director’s cut will be worth at least three and three-quarter idols, so let’s be optimistic. After all, the sun will rise again tomorrow.