Remembering James Horner Blogathon: The Perfect Storm (2000)

The 4th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon is among us between June 21st to 23rd!

Having joined in the last few years, its been quite a joy to look back at all the entries and also being able to discover some of the movies scored by James Horner who has no doubt given life through music in a lot of movies to help enhance each scene and story. After Year 1 doing Once Upon a Forest to Year 2 doing The Spiderwick Chronicles and then last year, tackling The 33, one of his scores, this year is trekking a little back in time but into a more dramatic film to look at the 2000 drama thriller, The Perfect Storm. I’ve only seen this movie once before years ago but I remember it being quite good, so it’ll be nice to revisit it.

The Perfect Storm (2000)

the perfect storm

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Cast: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane, William Fichtner, John Hawkes, Allen Payne, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Ironside

An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger. – IMDB

Based on the 1997 non-fiction book of the same name by Sebastian Junger (which I haven’t read), The Perfect Storm is a biographical disaster drama film that portrays the story of a group of commercial fishermen lead by Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) who goes out further than the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to the Flemish Cap on a late season fishing expediation due to a poor fishing season to try to get a big catch. However, on their way back, they end up getting caught in the “perfect storm of 1991” where three storms converge to create a deadly weather system.

While The Perfect Storm’s primarily focus is on the crew of Andrea Gail and their loved ones and friends at home waiting for their return, The Perfect Storm of 1991 wasn’t only about one fishing boat but also about the actual storm that also caught other unfortunate souls out at sea and the brave rescue efforts of both the jobs of the Coast Guard and the Air National Guard in these desperate times, risking their safety to save others in need.  Its a story that tells the hard life of fishermen but also the dangers of working in working as rescue crews whether at sea or in the air. In that sense, it did a good job of portraying both of the sides and giving the story a few more layers and angles.

Looking at the cast, it holds some solid efforts. George Clooney plays a main role as the captain who, while isn’t a mean guy, is trying to win back some reputation from having a bad season and the desire to bring back a huge catch to prove his worth. At the same time, close to him is Mark Wahlberg who plays one of the fishermen Bobby who leaves on this last trip to get enough money to get a better life for his family. There’s some other drama and conflicts between some of the crew that propel the story forward in the background especially between William Fichtner’s character Sully and John C. Reilly’s Murph. This is a male-heavy movie however, Diane Lane plays Bobby’s girlfriend. Everyone delivers on their roles pretty well.

The Perfect Storm actually relies heavily on its soundtrack to give that dramatic turn of effects. Some of the scenes are solely the soundtrack and gives it a certain life and atmosphere that gives an idea of whats going on even without any dialogue going about. As with any disaster film, it has a lot of drama to it especially in the face of loss and danger. There’s a beautiful patriotic music in the beginning, adventure and victory comes in through the middle and as the crew enters into the perfect storm and danger ensues, the music also becomes a great piece to bring life to their fight for survival and the tension that builds with each scene and issues that occurs. The power of music and scores is such a strong element in a movie to build up the mood in every situation and for The Perfect Storm, that has to be one of the strongest elements that keeps the movie in check to amplify its emotions.

A huge thanks to Film Music Central for hosting this great blogathon!
Have you seen The Perfect Storm?
Which movie did you love James Horner’s score the most?
Remember to head over to Film Music Central to catch up on the other entries!

Money Monster (2016)

On the return flight to Montreal, I watched Money Monster. I’ve been wanting to watch this one since it was in theatres but never got the chance. One, the previews looked good. Second, I love Julia Roberts. Three, I’m a pretty big fan of Jodie Foster and want to see how she does in the director’s chair.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Money Monster (2016)

Money Monster

Director: Jodie Foster

Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Christopher Denham, Aaron Yoo, Chris Bauer

Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.-IMDB

Money Monster is a thrilling ride and most of it is due to the outstanding cast and their portrayal of these compelling characters. It does sometimes step into the predictable corridors and sometimes even makes us question if someone could do some of the things these characters did. This is where the characters are written really well to create a balance in personality. I will go further into detail about that later. One of the other redeeming features is the theme on the emphasis on the lack of transparency in the financial markets and the lack of concern for the people who get caught in the crossfire. Jodie Foster being the director of Money Monster works perfectly because she is always so fantastic in everything especially her thrillers. She has a good grip on how the story should be paced and done.

Money Monster

As mentioned before, Money Monster’s most redeeming feature goes to its strong cast. In the lead, we have George Clooney who plays a financial TV host, Lee Gates. To be honest, Lee is pretty full of himself. At the beginning, we can see he is caught up with the glamour and craze this job has brought him. His character grows quite a bit when he digs a little deeper and finds his conscience to help this guy who has strapped a bomb on him to analyze what actually happened to cause a corporation to lose all that money overnight. This is where we bring in our female lead here, Julia Roberts who plays Patty. She steals the show here completely because in many ways, you can view her as Lee’s conscience. She reminds him to not just think about himself and what to not go overboard and downright when to shut up to not provoke the situation further and protect everyone. Man, does she do a great job! But, we can’t take away that Jack O’Connell playing the bomber Kyle was also really good. I haven’t seen this actor before but he makes us believe in his character and in many ways, we will start to sympathize with him. In this situation, we start to realize that Kyle is also a victim in a much greater scheme. Trust me, this probably isn’t a spoiler because it kind of stares you down on what this whole fiasco is about.

Money Monster

Other than the characters, Money Monster has very good pacing. Its why I usually like movies that come in at around 90 minutes. Sure, its a little predictable at certain spots. And if you were strapped to a bomb and the guy who is holding you as hostage has like a mini breakdown and leaves his gun lying there, it sure is tempting to pick it up, right? Just one example. The atmosphere is properly gripping and the context of the crisis they are in is not lost. In many ways, its not only a wake up call for the transparency of the financial markets and for investors when Kyle holds Lee hostage but there’s also a one for Lee when he realizes how little his reputation and life counts for or maybe how humanity isn’t a strong point to anyone watching his show or just how his word or life doesn’t really mean that much to anyone when it comes to money.  Whatever it is, there is something to ponder on in Money Monster.

Money Monster

Money Monster has its pros and cons. For some, there may be a lot more to pick apart in this one but I properly thought it was a really good thriller. I’m not one for financial things but this one had me at the edge of my seat anticipating the next thing to happen regardless of how predictable it may all seem. The characters just naturally draws us into the story. Its one to check out for sure. The ending is a little lackluster perhaps but the film in entirety has its charm.

Have you seen Money Monster?

Gravity (2013)

YAY! I applaud myself (and my boyfriend) for FINALLY making it to the theatres and getting this review up after so many days. We had to make a choice between Gravity, Ender’s Game and Thor 2.  You already know which one won.  Hopefully, I will still catch the other two, because as much as I love outer space, I have been looking forward to those equally as much (if not more). Lets see what Gravity is all about (although I am slightly late to the party and pretty much everyone else has reviewed it)…

gravity posterDirector: Alfonso Cuaron

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.-IMDB

I know I’m being lazy. I’m writing too much, my brain has stopped functioning on the level of writing reviews.  However, that description from IMDB pretty much covers the story of Gravity.  The medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone is played by Sandra Bullock and the astronaut, Matthew Kowalski is played by George Clooney.

Lets start by saying that I liked this movie a lot.

I’m sure all of you have heard already how amazing this movie is: visually stunning is one that is agreed by everyone.  There really isn’t anything that quite compares to the grand visuals in Gravity.  It is so captivating. The scene from outer space looking back at Earth, the whole motion, the debris flying.  Everything was out of the world. Just that was worth the ticket price.

GRAVITY

Of course, any movie is not just carried by their visuals. I’ve been watching so many thrillers that it seems to be hard to get me engaged as easily.  However, its hard to not be with this one.  For one, its set in one of the most mysterious unknown so everything is really out of their control.  It kept me completely at the edge of my seat because of the intensity for one (if not because I had a dog bumping the back of my seat throughout the movie, thank his genius owners). The whole movie doesn’t really have many relaxing moments.  Its just constantly watching to see what the characters will do next, how they will react, what crazy thing will happen next.  The whole “zero gravity” really gives this movie that intense atmosphere. For those who have seen it, you know that last scene, my eyes were watering up from the overwhelming feeling of not knowing what would happen.

gravity debris

A plus for me has to be that I love Sandra Bullock.  She’s one of my favorite actresses EVER! My boyfriend doesn’t feel the same way about it but this movie changed his mind just a bit.  As usual, Sandra Bullock is awesome and I love her as Dr. Ryan Stone.  She grasps her role very well.  The nerves from being on her first mission, the intense feelings she has churning through her and the whole channeling the meaning of life and simply the importance of surviving: her character actually was quite complex.

gravity sandra bullock

I didn’t care too much about George Clooney but he was a character that brought some sort of calmness in the midst of tension and chaos. It was helpful that way.  What works for Gravity is that its not extremely long and it always keeps the action going.  Right when we think things are going to be okay, it comes around and gives you another problem.  The last scene had to be one of the most tense, nerve-racking, heart pounding scenes that I’ve ever experienced in any movie.

Gravity is a movie experience very much worth the time and effort to go check out at the theatres.  Its meant for the big screen and it will be visually stunning and extremely compelling.  Its thrilling and engaging.  I highly recommend it and if you haven’t seen it, then its one I’d say is very much worth your money.  🙂

Have you seen Gravity? Are you into space adventure/thriller movies?