Refining instrumental fakery in movies and TV

Music scenes in movies are risky propositions. An actor who barely knows how to strum a guitar will pantomime a musician’s motions, in a bold/vain/completely misguided attempt to convince an audience (s)he’s really playing. It’s not so much about nailing it, because stars of the silver screen can’t be all things to all people. The goal is to “play” without distracting us or detracting from the scene.

Take Josie and the Pussycats, the seminal 2001 movie critic Leonard Maltin called “the finest movie ever made, [and] a uniquely American masterpiece.” In this re-envisioning of the 1970s Hannah-Barbera cartoon, Tara Reid stars as Melody, the drummer. Despite her formidable acting talents, you’re simple if you think Reid actually drums like this. It’s a misstep in an otherwise exemplary cinema experience.
Continue reading “Refining instrumental fakery in movies and TV”

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The eight-hour ‘SLEEP’ — gimmickry or genius?

You may not know Max Richter, but he’s a film composer who smashed by remixing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a thing called Recomposed. The knock on it is that it’s derivative, that there’s too much Vivaldi and not enough Richter. I thought it was a cool idea that begged for an edgier follow-up. Well, here it is. Continue reading “The eight-hour ‘SLEEP’ — gimmickry or genius?”