About Time

Name: About Time
Year: 2013
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 123
Description: The story of a man with time travelling abilities who tries to use this to gain a girlfriend, but it is not as easy as it looks. Time is not that easy to control!
Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

The first half was all right and there were good jokes throughout the film, but now I’m just discovering one problem after the other in this movie. If you want to make a story about time travel, shouldn’t your time travel theories be clear-cut? First, we’re told that only the men in this family can travel through time. Later, the main character travels in time with his sister. Second, we’re told that they can’t travel (back) to the future, so why do they do it repeatedly afterwards? Third, we’re told that you can’t change events that take place before the birth of a child because changing things in the past might lead to a different child. Later, the son uses this rule to stop visiting his dad in the past when his wife is expecting their third child, but this doesn’t make any sense at all: if they don’t change anything during those extra visits, all the children will be fine. Oh, but I’m forgetting, we can’t do without all the hugs and drama that result from those decisions… I didn’t like the main character and actor either, got bored with his mother who was literally being sarcastic all the time, no matter what, but did like Lydia Wilson and of course Tom Hollander.

The score is all right, but nothing special.

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Under The Tuscan Sun

Name: Under The Tuscan Sun
Year: 2003
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 113
Description: After Frances’s seemingly happy San Francisco marriage ends abruptly, she goes into a funk. Urged by her friends to move on, she joins a bus tour of Tuscany where, on the spur of the moment, she buys a crumbling villa. She assembles a crew of oddballs and immigrants to repair the house; over the next year, as they work, she welcomes one of her San Francisco friends who’s pregnant and at loose ends, and she seeks love, first (tenuously) with her married real estate agent, then with a charming stranger. Although life gets in the way of love, Frances’s wishes come true in unexpected ways, and there’s always the Tuscan sun.
Stars: Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Mostly good, I suppose, though there was just a tiny little bit too much romance in it (especially those two annoying teenagers). This was my second Diane Lane film in two weeks and I must say I really like her. She wasn’t always equally convincing when she was crying, but the good performances made up for the bad ones.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the score, had no idea Christophe Beck could write romantic music like that. The only score I knew him from – All About Steve – was rather dull.

Parental Guidance

Name: Parental Guidance
Year: 2012
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 105
Description: Old school grandfather Artie, who is accustomed to calling the shots, meets his match when he and his eager-to-please wife Diane agree to babysit their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents go away for work. But when 21st century problems collide with Artie and Diane’s old school methods of tough rules, lots of love and old-fashioned games, it’s learning to bend – and not holding your ground – that binds a family together.
Stars: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei
Genres: Comedy

Bette Midler overacts, kids are annoying.

How To Train Your Dragon

Name: How To Train Your Dragon
Year: 2010
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 98
Description: Long ago up North on the Island of Berk, the young Viking, Hiccup, wants to join his town’s fight against the dragons that continually raid their town. However, his macho father and village leader, Stoik the Vast, will not allow his small, clumsy, but inventive son to do so. Regardless, Hiccup ventures out into battle and downs a mysterious Night Fury dragon with his invention, but can’t bring himself to kill it. Instead, Hiccup and the dragon, whom he dubs Toothless, begin a friendship that would open up both their worlds as the observant boy learns that his people have misjudged the species. But even as the two each take flight in their own way, they find that they must fight the destructive ignorance plaguing their world.
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy

The story is not bad at all, but why am I even talking about the plot when the score was so incredibly amazing?

John Powell has surprised me lots of times, but this was just incredible. Fantastic main theme, terrific action music, stunningly beautiful and dazzling orchestration. Even if the movie had been the most terrible thing ever made, I’d still have kept watching. Let’s get that soundtrack.

Nights In Rodanthe

Name: Nights In Rodanthe
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 97
Description: Adrienne Willis, a woman with her life in chaos, retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding her – a wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teenaged daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and a guest named Dr Paul Flanner arrive. The only guest at the inn, Flanner is not on a weekend escape but rather is there to face his own crisis of conscience. Now, with the storm closing in, the two turn to each other for comfort and, in one magical weekend, set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.
Stars: Diane Lane, Richard Gere and Christopher Meloni
Genres: Drama, Romance

I was first going to write that I really liked it except for the teenage daughter and the letter-writing, but then the ending came, which sort of ruined it. It was touching, but I’d have preferred another conclusion. Diane Lane does have an attractive voice.

The score was rather interesting. One romantic dialogue was scored with a cello solo, which really worked, so I then hoped that their first kiss would receive some grand orchestral music, but that didn’t happen at all. It got percussion. There were some nice romantic moments, but they could have been more.

The Maze Runner

Name: The Maze Runner
Year: 2014
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 113
Description: Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “The Glade” for three years, trying to find a way to escape through the Maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys.
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter
Genres: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Not bad at all, though I don’t understand how people can be stuck in a maze for three years and then hate someone who’s finally willing to do something about it. Also don’t understand how the doctor committed suicide and then survived, but I’ll be interested in the sequel.

The score’s dramatic parts are way better than its brainless action cues.

Also, why in the world does everything need to thump, bang and clang these days? Even when you configure your speakers in such a way that all the low frequencies should be filtered out, half of it still sounds like an earthquake.

I, Robot

Name: I, Robot
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 115
Description: Set in a future Earth (2035 A.D.) where robots are common assistants and workers for their human owners, this is the story of “robotophobic” Chicago Police Detective Del Spooner’s investigation into the murder of Dr Alfred Lanning, who works at U.S. Robotics, in which a robot, Sonny, appears to be implicated, even though that would mean the robot had violated the Three Laws of Robotics, which is apparently impossible. It seems impossible because… if robots can break those laws, there’s nothing to stop them from taking over the world, as humans have grown to become completely dependent upon their robots. Or maybe… they already have? Aiding Spooner in his investigation is a psychologist, Dr Susan Calvin, who specializes in the psyches of robots.
Stars: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan and Bruce Greenwood
Genres: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Pretty good. Will Smith’s ‘aaarghs’ did sound extremely similar.

The score worked but was unmemorable. The sound effects were nicely distributed across all the channels.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Name: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Year: 2016
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 123
Description: Holding a mysterious leather suitcase in his hand, Newt Scamander, a young activist wizard from England visits New York while he is on his way to Arizona. Inside his expanding suitcase hides a wide array of diverse, magical creatures that exist among us, ranging from tiny, twig-like ones, to majestic and humongous ones. It is the middle of the 20s and times are troubled since the already fragile equilibrium of secrecy between the unseen world of wizards and the ordinary or “No-Maj” people that the MACUSA Congress struggles to maintain is at risk of being unsettled. In the meantime, the voices against wizardry keep growing with daily protests led by Mary Lou Barebone and fuelled by the increasing disasters ascribed to a dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald. At the same time, by a twist of fate, Newt’s precious suitcase will be switched with the identical one of an aspiring No-Maj baker, Jacob Kowalski, while demoted Auror Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard.
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

I finally got around to watching this with audio description. When I watched it in the cinema with my family and without AD in November, I liked it. Now I love it. The story is excellent. My only tiny remark would be that I have some questions about the whole Obliviation plot at the end, but I won’t say more, only that this film is so good that I’m almost prepared to forgive David Yates’s less enchanting entries in the Harry Potter series.

James Newton Howard’s music is absolutely brilliant. If you want a fantastic film score and are wondering where to find it, seek no further. What I truly liked about this one is that, for the first time since Goblet of Fire, we’re finally getting some magical music again. The MACUSA theme is glorious, the creatures receive stunning musical identities and then I haven’t even mentioned Newt’s heroic theme. I only don’t understand why Hedwig’s Theme randomly appears when they enter a zoo, or why the magic theme completely disappears after the suitcase scene.

One final note about the audio description: Although it was very nice to finally listen to it, it affected the volume of the music too much. Example: Tina and Newt arrive at the American Ministry for Magic while the enchanting music builds and builds, but the dazzling orchestral spectacle that follows gets completely lost in the mix. Oh well, I’ll just have to watch it without AD one day.

Dead Man Walking

Name: Dead Man Walking
Year: 1995
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 122
Description: A convicted murderer on Death Row and the nun who befriends him. Through the portrayal of finely drawn characters and their interactions as the days, hours, and minutes tick down to the condemned man’s execution, powerful emotions are unleashed. While Matthew Poncelet and Sister Prejean desperately try to gain a stay of execution from the governor or the courts, scenes are intercut from the brutal crime, gradually revealing the truth about the events that transpired. In addition to her temporal help, the nun also tries to reach out spiritually and assist as a guide to salvation.
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky
Genres: Crime, Drama

What surprised me most was how I hated the guy on death row at the start, but felt more and more emotional as the story unfolded. Still finding it hard to sympathise with him, but that didn’t make the whole ordeal more bearable. The score is sufficient, but I honestly don’t understand why it sounds to Eastern and there should have been more music.