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Thinking Outside The Box October 6, 2009

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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What if someone gave you a box containing a button that, if pushed, would bring you a million dollars…but simultaneously take the life of someone you don’t know? Would you do it? And what would be the consequences?

…That is the bizarre question that forthcoming film The Box asks. Starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as the cash-strapped couple who are offered this box by a stranger (played by Frost/Nixon‘s Frank Langella) with, from the looks of the trailer, half of his face missing.

I’m going to bet right here right now that things aren’t going to turn out too well for the couple, who are obviously going to take this not-so-handsome stranger up on his offer. Aside from that, things don’t seem too predictable, and with horrors and thrillers becoming so formulaic these days, I’m intrigued to see where this one goes.

Adding to that, it’s directed by Richard Kelly of Donnie Darko fame. I concede that his last film Southland Tales was a bit of a disaster, but maybe he’ll hit the right note again time.

The fact that it has attracted high profile stars like Diaz (I’m not saying she’s an indication of a high quality film – What Happens in Vegas is still fresh in my mind) and Academy Award Nominee Langella make me think that this might be one to watch. Remember I said might. Don’t blame me if it’s shit.

The Lost Art of the Theme Song October 6, 2009

Posted by Patrick in Muzak, Televisual.
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One of my favourite things about television shows has always been their theme songs. Some will argue that they just eat into time that could have been spent on more meaningful things like character development and plot, but I disagree. I’d gladly sacrifice 30 seconds of a scene to get my theme songs back.

Now, not everyone is doing away with these treasured hallmarks of television, most American cable networks are putting actual effort into their opening credits. Each is at least 30 seconds long (the accepted minimum), but they often pushing far above that.

The opening credits used to set the tone for the show while also giving us a quick run through of who’s who in the show. I needed this. I still need this.

Granted, some programmes don’t really need a theme song, such as Lost, which I think works fine without it. This does however exclude them from any future “Guess the Theme Tune” games. And that’s a shame.

What’s almost worse is those shows that once had opening credits, and then ditched them out of the blue. That’d be One Tree Hill (the credits of which were probably the best part of any episode), Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. All of which had half-decent and memorable theme songs once upon a time.

What would The X Files, Cheers or Friends have been without their theme songs? Actually I’m not sure, but I don’t think I would have liked any of them.

So out of the opening credits still around, I have picked a select few.