Oct. 04, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.

James Bond: A tuneful 50-year overview from the movie academy

Sean Connery as James bond in"Goldfinger." (MGM)
This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details. Over the last half-century, the actors who have played James Bond have come and gone, and so have the type of villains that the sexy, martini-drinking 007 thwarts before the final credits. But there’s been one constant in the Bond films: “The James Bond Theme,” penned by British songwriter Monty Norman and arranged by composer John Barry for the first Bond film, 1962’s “Dr. No.” And during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “The Music of Bond: The First 50 Years” celebration Friday evening — which also will mark the 50th anniversary of “Dr. No” opening in England — at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, guitarist Vic Flick, who supplied the famous guitar lick for the jazzy theme, will be playing that music on […]
Sept. 28, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.

For composers, video games are the surreal land of opportunity

Ramin Djawadi always dreamed of composing a film score, and the Berklee College of Music graduate has done plenty, including 2008’s “Iron Man.” But this week saw the release of one of Djawadi’s most ambitious soundtracks to date — “Medal of Honor: Warfighter.” Not in a theater near you? That’s because “Warfighter” is not a movie, it’s a video game. “My goal was always to do music for movies,” Djawadi says. “But having said that, the way things have developed today have made games like giant movies.” For a cadre of top composers, the action isn’t in film but video games. Djawadi’s score for “Medal of Honor: Warfighter,” for instance, boasts 100 minutes of music, much of it downright experimental by film composition standards. It’s alternately symphonic, electronic and rock ’n’ roll, and it’s emblematic of an industry that’s providing […]
June 28, 2012 | 8:44 p.m.

‘Star Wars That I Used to Know’ hums with the power of the Farce

If you haven’t heard Gotye’s No. 1 hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” in the last five minutes (as unlikely as that seems) and you like to bemoan the digital revisionism of George Lucas we’ve got a treat for you. Check out this video that takes the Jedi universe into the echo chamber of pop parody… For fans of a certain age, Lucas seems like a painter who won’t let go of his most famous canvas — instead of treating the original “Star Wars” trilogy as a piece of fixed history, he scrapes off the appealing pigments of the past (like Han Solo’s outlaw ethics and unsportsmanlike decision to preemptively murder a green guy named Greedo) and then digitally paint right over our collective moviegoing memories (the Blu-rays show us now that it was Greedo who fired first). Lucas has said that he […]
June 26, 2012 | 12:15 p.m.

MorrisonCon: Grant Morrison’s DJ spin on Comic-Con culture

So what exactly is Grant Morrison building out there in the Nevada desert? This September the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas will host “a once-in-a-lifetime” event called MorrisonCon, which sounds not that different than, say,  last month’s Comicpalooza in Houston,  Megacon every winter in Orlando, Fla., or the recently launched Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, a brand that will meet the public this September in Los Angeles (and soon be cloned for China). But on closer examination, the plans for the Sept. 28-30 MorrisonCon are quite different than the standard comic book convention — just as the 52-year-old Morrison is the most distinctive voice in comics today with his Dada superhero excursions and carefully cultivated trickster-shaman persona. The writer, who splits time between Los Angeles and his native Scotland, describes his event in a way that sounds more like a TED Conference with a dash of Nocturnal Wonderland,  The Bowery Poetry Club and, um, […]
May 09, 2012 | 7:12 p.m.

When Spock met Hendrix: ‘Trek’ icon Leonard Nimoy’s cosmic moment

HERO COMPLEX: THE SHOW We’ve just posted the second episode of “Hero Complex: The Show” on the Nerdist Channel on YouTube and it’s an exciting one for us:  Leonard Nimoy is the guest. We visited the sci-fi icon’s Bel Air home a few weeks ago to talk about “Star Trek,” his evolution as a filmmaker and photographer and his philosophies on family and career. We also talked about a very special photograph — the one that shows him meeting Jimi Hendrix not long before rock’s greatest guitar hero died in 1970 at age 27. Full coverage: Leonard Nimoy “Hero Complex: The Show” premiered two weeks ago with our visit to the offices of Ridley Scott and picks up again May 23 with the conclusion of our Nimoy visit. (And just to make sure you check back, chew on this thought: In Part 2, he gives us a […]
Feb. 23, 2012 | 3:46 a.m.

‘Dark Knight Rises’: Hans Zimmer explains Christopher Nolan’s secrecy

This post has been corrected, as detailed below. Oscar-winning Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer never likes to repeat himself, even — or perhaps, especially — when he’s writing the score for a sequel. So he’s promising some new twists for his soundtrack for “The Dark Knight Rises,” the crowning installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the most-anticipated film of this summer. German-born and British-educated, Zimmer has scored films in some of Hollywood’s biggest franchise properties, such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series; epic action dramas like “Black Hawk Down”; and a number of small, highly acclaimed films such as “A World Apart,” a South African drama that incorporated traditional African music to give the soundtrack an authentic texture. His most recent score, for “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,”  presented his work in yet another box-office winner. For the “Dark Knight Rises” score, Zimmer has designed a true “world” music score: using […]
Oct. 25, 2011 | 2:56 p.m.

Alice Cooper haunts Universal Studios and ‘Dark Shadows’

Every Halloween is a career moment when your name is Alice Cooper. This particular October is especially notable for the veteran rock star — he’s back with a new album, an attraction at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights and a recently completed cameo in Tim Burton’s upcoming “Dark Shadows,” which features the singer as himself in all of his gory glory. “This is my season,” the 63-year-old singer said with a satisfied grin during a recent visit to Los Angeles. “Welcome to the nightmare, all over again.” “Welcome to My Nightmare” was the name of Cooper’s 1975 concept album that delved into the nightmares of a child named Steven. That vintage vinyl moment is echoing now at Universal Studios Hollywood, where this year’s elaborate Halloween attraction includes a “Welcome to My Nightmare” maze with music and imagery from that album and others by Cooper. Halloween Horror Nights runs through Monday […]
Oct. 10, 2011 | 2:37 p.m.

‘Lord of the Rings In Concert’ brings Middle-earth props to L.A.

This post has been corrected, as detailed below. Frodo, Gandalf, Legolas and the rest of the heroes from Middle-earth are returning to the big screen Saturday night, accompanied by a full symphony orchestra, for “The Lord of the Rings In Concert: The Fellowship of the Ring.” The performance features Howard Shore’s complete Oscar- and Grammy-winning score, performed live in front of a screening of the first film in the trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” The event, Oct. 15 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, also includes a traveling display of props from the films, on loan from Troika Brodsky, a fan and memorabilia collector. Among the props are Frodo’s sword Sting, Samwise’s furry Hobbit feet and the Shards of Narsil. More than 200 musicians from the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Pacific Chorale and the Phoenix […]
Oct. 06, 2011 | 8:55 a.m.

William Shatner delivers new album, book and … dead rats?

William Shatner never really rides off into the sunset, he just switches saddles — actor, pitchman, author, equestrian, recording artist, interviewer, filmmaker or, um, starship captain. The 80-year-old is back this month with a new spoken-word album that features plenty of famous collaborators (Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Dave Davies and Johnny Winter are part of the classic-rock contingent while Lyle Lovett, Brad Paisley and Sheryl Crow represent younger generations representing twang districts) and a new book called “Shatner Rules” (written with Emmy-winning comedy writer Chris Regan) that promises both insight into the universe and the tenets needed to live life in a more Shatneresque way. (You can read an excerpt here.) “It’s autobiographical,” Shatner says of the book, which hit shelves this week. “It’s an amusing, light read, but at times I try to introduce more serious themes. I’m at the age where I think […]
Aug. 15, 2011 | 5:44 p.m.

Tom Morello’s ‘Orchid’ comics: Suicide Girls meets Joan of Arc

Tom Morello, a man with searing musical ability and scorching political passions, is famous as the guitarist in Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and increasingly for his solo folk project The Nightwatchman. Now, like his friend Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, the amplifier auteur is moving into a new career as a storyteller in the comics world.  Morello introduced those plans down at Comic -Con International but we caught up with him for a more in-depth conversation about “Orchid,” which arrives in October from Dark Horse Comics and will feature art by Scott Hepburn, who previously worked on the Oregon publisher’s “Star Wars: Nights of the Republic.” G.B.: Are comics a new passion for you? T.M.: I was an avid comic book collector as a kid. At the time my comic book tastes and my music tastes coincided, they were escapist in nature. It […]
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