Music Break: Pride & Prejudice + fave scores from Dario Marianelli

I don’t normally do a Music Break post on the weekends but I’ve been listening to the 2005 Pride & Prejudice score lately so I figure it’s as good a time as any.

A little bit about the composer…

DarioMarianelliDario Marianelli was born on June 21, 1963 in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy. He studied piano from the age of six, and also sung in a boy’s choir from that age. In his mid twenties he moved to London, where he enrolled at the National Film and Television School.

He’s worked with director Joe Wright on four films, some of which have become my favorites. Apparently he’s introduced by one of the producers of Pride & Prejudice where he and Wright hit it off straight away. One of the producers, Paul Webster, remembered the work I had done for him on The Warrior, a few years earlier. He introduced me to Joe Wright, the director of Pride & Prejudice, and we hit it off straight away. Per M Online interview, in their very first conversation they ended up talking about Beethoven early piano sonatas which became a point of reference and starting point for the score.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

PP2005

The score for Joe Wright’s feature film debut has become one of my favorites ever, and so it’s about time I feature it here on Music Break. It’s as lush as the landscape in Derbyshire, England, as swoony-romantic as the classic love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I’d think if Jane Austen were to listen to this score, a smile would form on her face.

I had to include the score used in the helicopter-shot scene when Lizzie standing on the precipice of a large cliff, the wind blowing her hair and the sun shining down… it’s an iconic scene made even more perfect by this score.

PP_LizTopOfCliff

And of course, the dawn scene… it’s the kind of scene that just never gets old for me. I’ve seen it countless times and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lizzy and Darcy more ravishing than in this very scene. I LOVE how Wright filmed Darcy walking in his long, cape-like robe towards Lizzy… you could practically breathe the crisp morning air in this scene… the scenery & the music… it’s just absolutely luscious.

PridePrejudice


Pride & Prejudice remains my favorite of Marianelli’s work so far, followed by Atonement which he deservedly won an Oscar for, two years after his first nomination for Pride & Prejudice. In 2013 he’s nominated again for Anna Karenina. I remember seeing one comment somewhere, might’ve been on youtube, that says how an Italian guy could make the perfect Russian music. Well, according to that article above, Marianelli regarded it as his best work as he said he learned a lot from that experience.

So here are four more scores I love from Marianelli… so definitely made beautiful music in all of his collaboration with Wright. I thought they’d be working together in Wright’s next film PAN, but my other favorite John Powell is scoring that. Marianelli is working on a film where Keira Knightley appears once again, EVEREST.

V For Vendetta (2005)

Atonement (2007)

The Soloist (2009)

Anna Karenina (2012)


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Hope you enjoyed today’s music break. What’s YOUR favorite score(s) from Dario Marianelli?

August Movie Watching Recap & Movie of the Month

AugustRecap

Well, that was that, Summer is unofficially over. Yes I know the weather is still going to be pretty warm for most of us, even those in the Northern hemisphere, but once we enter the ‘ber’ month, you could say that Fall is in the air. To be honest with you, I’m ok with that. I LOVE Autumn. I love the cooler temps, the Fall fashion, the quieter movies, and of course Twin Cities Film Fest is coming soon! Check out the early look of the 2013 lineup if you haven’t already.

Well, since hits and comments are definitely down in the Summer, a lot of people are likely have missed a lot of my blog posts 😉 Here are some of my posts this past month:

New-to-me Films Watched:

DragonsKnightDragon Knight

Arbitrage

Arbitrage

ElysiumElysium

TheButlerThe Butler

JobsJobs

TheWorldsEndThe World’s End

AustenlandAustenland

Mud

MUD

ShadowDancer

Shadow Dancer

I never got around to reviewing Arbitrage, but I might still do that as a Rental Pick post. It’s a pretty good drama with Richard Gere in top form. Great performances from Susan Sarandon & Brit Marling as his wife & daughter. I was very impressed by MUD and Shadow Dancer. Two very different dramas but both featured strong performances and kind of a minimalistic-but-efficient script and direction. Both are quite emotionally-charged where the real special effects are the taut writing and top notch acting. I miss seeing Clive Owen on screen, the last film I saw him in was Gertrude & Gelhorne on the plane last December.

SharkWeek

Oh, I also watched a few episodes of Shark Week from Discovery Channel. I didn’t realize Netflix has them but we were actually looking for some Documentaries to watch but ended up watching a couple episodes of The Great White Invasion episodes. Fascinating stuff but pretty gory as well as they did re-enactments of people who got attacked in various parts of the world.


Rewatches:

Titanic_RoseTitanic

SupermanReturnsSuperman Returns

PridePrejudice2005Pride & Prejudice

I actually only got to about a third of Titanic. I was just bored one night and saw that it was on Netflix streaming, so I thought what the heck. It’s been over a decade since I saw it and boy the CGI looked so obvious on the long shots on top of the boat. Funny how I briefly had a crush on Leo when it came out, but now he just looked like a little boy next to the womanly Kate Winslet.

Not sure why I felt like watching Superman Returns last week but I stopped about 10 minutes before the ending with the ill-advised part with Supes’ kid. I still love the flying sequence and the plane rescue scenes though. Following the screening of Austenland, I felt the urge to watch Pride & Prejudice. I think I love Joe Wright’s version even more than the BBC version, and yes, I boldly say Matthew MacFadyen is my favorite Mr. Darcy as well 😉


Movie of the Month:

MUDposter

I had been wanting to see MUD since last April at MSP Film Fest. I’ve actually got the ticket in hand but I had to bail due to a darn snow storm! In any case, this film was SO worth the wait. Shrewd script & direction from writer/director Jeff Nichols, paired with a fine, career-topping performance from Matthew McConaughey. Definitely lives up to the hype!


Well, that’s my monthly recap folks. What’s YOUR favorite film you saw in August?

The week that was… [slowly] back blogging again

Hello everyone! Remember me? 😉 I’ve been back since very late Friday but after 30+ hour trip, I was still pretty exhausted that I didn’t have any energy to blog right away. Hope everyone’s doing well whilst I was off the blogosphere, well I was practically off-line entirely as I barely got time to even check Twitter in the past week and a half. Btw, it’s gonna be a slow return to blogging as I’m actually going to be away this Wednesday to San Diego (our planned vacation) for at least five days.

Nyekar
So long my dear brother… ’til we meet again

Anyway, this has been quite a whirlwind trip for me, but despite the sadness of losing my dear brother Peter so suddenly, I was very blessed to be able to spend some quality time with my one and only remaining sibling Paul (his twin), his wonderful wife and their three girls. It was a blast spending time with my three beautiful nieces (ages 9, 11 and 13) who happen to be all into movies, ahah, so we’d excitedly talk about movies they’re anticipating Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, not surprisingly both are based on young adult novels and feature a female protagonist 😉

Well, suffice to say I didn’t see a single new movie the past couple of weeks. I had to miss a few screenings (The Lone Ranger, World War Z), so the last screening I saw was Monsters University (review coming next week). I was really at the mercy of cable TV at my hotel and the [very] limited selections on the plane, but y’know, it’s actually not that bad. Here are the movies I happen to catch in the past 10 days:

CABLE:

  • Con Air (1997) – rewatch
    ConAir
    I actually saw this one twice in 2 days believe it or not, the first time on my own and the second time when my brother Paul came to visit me on my hotel and we ended up watching this again (with my nieces too) the second time around. Perhaps one of my fave Nic Cage movies, and he actually looks pretty bad ass in that wife beater, ahah.
  • The Avengers (2012) – rewatch
    Avengers
    I almost watched this one twice as well if I hadn’t fallen asleep, ahah. What can I say, it’s still as fun as the first time I saw it, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) still stole the show 😀
  • The Grey (2011)TheGrey
    I’ve been curious about this movie for a while but I missed the first 20 minute or so by the time I switched the TV on. Some of the parts were quite boring but overall it’s actually a decent – albeit predictable thriller. Worth renting I suppose but probably not worth seeing on the big screen, even with the gorgeous cinematography. Liam ‘special set of skills’ Neeson is perhaps the only reason to watch this one, unless you’re a wolves enthusiast, ahah.

I also saw half an episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the one with the late Andy Whitfield. It actually looked pretty good though I had to switch the channels during the violent battle stuff so I don’t think I can actually watch this show in its entirety.

IN FLIGHT:

  • Monsters, Inc. (2001) – rewatch
    MonstersInc
    Though the prequel was fun and exceeded my expectations, this one is still tough to beat. The scenes with Boo when Sulley & Mike first encounter her always had me in stitches!
  • Jane Eyre (2011) – rewatch
    JaneEyre2011
    I’ve got to admit I had a renewed appreciation for this Cary Fukunaga version. I wasn’t bowled over when I first saw it (read my review) but I think Michael Fassbender made for a soulful & magnetic Rochester (though Timothy Dalton’s portrayal is still my all-time fave) and Mia Wasikowska is superb in the title role.
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005) – rewatch
    PridePrejudice2005
    I always felt the urge to watch this every time it’s available. I think this Joe Wright’s film has become my favorite P&P version now, yes it even beat the Colin Firth one for me. I love Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy and Keira Knightley’s more than all right as Lizzy Bennett.
  • Big Fish (2001)
    BigFish
    I’ve been curious about this one for some time so I’m glad this was shown on the plane. It’s perhaps the most un-Tim Burton-like from the eccentric director. It’s a surprisingly moving fantasy film centered on father-son relationship. I quite like the cast, esp. Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor playing the old/young version of the character, and Billy Crudup as his son. It’s a bit confusing at times but it might be one of the most emotionally-charged Tim Burton film I’ve seen so far.

I actually almost watched Les Miserables on the plane but for some reason my earphone only worked on one ear, and I really can’t imagine listening to 2.5 hours of all that singing just from one ear!

Now, when I got back, I only watched a couple of things from Netflix streaming:

WhatToExpect

Though I initially shrugged this one off, but I’m glad I gave this a shot as it ended up being quite funny. The dudes support group is definitely the highlight, though I find Joe Manganiello (the actor & the character) so incredibly repulsive, ugh. I actually quite like J-Lo in this one though, but Elizabeth Banks is the most hilarious one of all the girls.

AllStarSuperman

I might’ve seen parts of this before but my hubby and I started watching this on his iPad and we ended up watching the whole thing on our TV. It’s interesting how there are some things here that seem to echo Man of Steel, well I guess the other way around as this animated feature was already released in 2011. I like that Superman is dying of radiation poisoning and making the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. Even the soundtrack is pretty good. Definitely a must for Superman fans!


Well, that’s my week so far, folks. What have you been watching? Anything good?

Valentine Special: Spotlight on 14 Favorite Movie Couples

Ahhh… it’s Valentine’s Day.

Yes it’s perhaps a commercial birthday where flower and candy shops get to guilt people to get something nice for their significant other. I actually told my hubby not to get me flowers this year and instead we’d get something nice for BOTH of us to enjoy. It is after all, a holiday to celebrate LOVE and it’s a two-way street.

V-DayCollage

For today’s post, I want to shine a spotlight on movie couples from various genres. Some of these pairings might not necessarily be from a romantic film, but their romance certainly are memorable. I deliberately exclude those that I have included in my first top 10 movie couples list I did three years ago just for the sake of not being redundant. Here it is again as I’m sure most of you didn’t read that post:

  1. Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant in Notting Hill
  2. Gerard Butler &  Emily Mortimer in Dear Frankie
  3. Russell Crowe & Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential
  4. Christian Bale & Emily Watson in Equillibrium
  5. Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
  6. Harrison Ford & Julia Ormond in Sabrina
  7. Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday
  8. David Duchovny & Minnie Driver in Return to Me
  9. Heath Ledger & Julia Stiles in Ten Things I Hate About You
  10. Michael Douglas & Annette Bening in The American President

Just to make things easier for me to narrow down, I’m focusing on films from the 90s and up. If I were include classic movies however, no doubt I’d include Rick and Elsa (Casablanca), Nickie & Terry (An Affair To Remember), Maria & Capt. Von Trapp (The Sound of Music), Joe & Anna (Roman Holiday) and Rhett & Scarlett (Gone with the Wind).

So here are [a sampling] of fourteen of my favorite movie couples, wonderful pairings elevated by bewitching chemistry of the actors. No matter what the circumstances, even if their romance didn’t work out as they (and we) wish it to be, their passion ignites the screen and warm the heart. Some couples are such an enchanting match that it lives on for decades (Before Sunrise), whilst others have become more memorable than the films themselves (The New World)… at least to me anyways.

Well, as pictures are often louder than words… I’ll let these images speak for themselves:

Aragorn & Arwen
(Viggo Mortensen & Liv Tyler – The Lord of the Rings trilogy)

AragornArwen

Amélie & Nino
(Audrey Tatou & Mathieu Kassovitz – Amélie)

AmelieNino
Kate & Harvey
(Dustin Hoffman & Emma Thompson – Last Chance Harvey)

HarveyKate

Hawkeye & Cora
(
Daniel Day-Lewis & Madeline Stowe – The Last of the Mohicans)

HawkeyeCora

Darcy & Elizabeth
(Matthew MacFadyen & Keira Knightly – Pride & Prejudice – 2005)

DarcyLizzy

Jesse & Celine
(Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy – Before Sunrise)

JesseCelineBeforeSunrise

Frank & Rachel
(Kevin Costner & Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard)

FrankRachelBodyguard

Jack & Rose
(Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet – Titanic)

JackRose

Pocahontas & John Rolfe
(Christian Bale & Q’orianka Kilcher – The New World)

JohnRolfePocahontas

Phantom and Christine
(Gerard Butler & Emmy Rossum – Phantom of the Opera)

PhantomChristine

Jin and Xiao Mei
(Takeshi Kaneshiro & Ziyi Zhang – House of Flying Daggers)

Jin_XiaoMei

Paul & Victoria
(Keanu Reeves & Aitana Sánchez-Gijón –
A Walk in the Clouds)

PaulVictoriaAWalkInTheClouds

Bond & Vesper
(Daniel Craig & Eva Green – Casino Royale)

BondVesperTrainScene
Robbie & Cecilia
(James McAvoy & Keira Knightley – Atonement)

RobbieCeciliaAtonement


I invite you to check out my past romance-related posts:
10 Romantic Comedies I LOVE | Favorite Unconventionally-Romantic Flicks | Roman Holiday Appreciation | Favorite Period Drama Heroes Part I and Part II


Thoughts about my picks of movie couples? Feel free to add your own picks in the comments below.

Wet Blogathon: Jane Austen’s Beautiful Rain Scenes

Andrew at EncoreEntertainment is conducting yet another movie meme blog-a-thon and the topic is an irresistible one: Great rain scenes!

I love rain scenes… not only are they usually beguiling and beautiful, rain undeniably adds drama/romance/terror/suspense to any given scene, depending on how the director frames the scene. One thing for sure, as Andrew said, movie rain is just plain lovely.

Well, since the first thing that came to mind was from 2005 Pride & Prejudice, I decided to list three of my favorite rain scenes from three other Jane Austen movies:

Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice — The proposal in the rain

Beautifully-filmed, the mood right from the minute Elizabeth Bennett crosses the bridge is just perfect. I wasn’t quite sold on Matthew MacFayden initially, but by this point I thought he captured Darcy’s brooding nature believably. All the angst, repressed feelings and sexual tension reached a pivotal point in this ravishing scene, both MacFayden and Keira Knightley couldn’t have looked more alluring framed by the damp surrounding. Never has the sight of cold rain been so smokin’ hot!

Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility — Brandon rescues Marianne in the rain

Oh how I love Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon! Forget the young ‘uns Willoughby (Greg Wise) and Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), Brandon is without a doubt my hero in this movie. The scene in the clip of the heartbroken Marianne (the astounding Kate Winslet) watching Willoughby’s estate from a distance is downright heart-wrenching, but the scene that follows is one of my favorites from the movie. Brandon’s profound love for Marianne is all the more evident in his face as he carries her lifeless body back into the house. It’s such a dramatic contrast from the first ‘rescue’ scene of her by Willoughby in the beginning of the movie. Instead of two people being smitten with each other, they are now both tormented souls stricken by a lost love.

BBC Version of Sense & Sensibility — Edward’s chopping wood scene


Unfortunately the previous clip has been removed but you can see a glimpse of that very scene in this fan-made video:

The latest BBC adaptation certainly is no match to Ang Lee’s award-winning masterpiece. However, I was quite moved by the performance of Hattie Morahan and Dan Stevens as Elinor and Edward. Stevens might share the same haircut as Hugh Grant, but his less stuttering portrayal of the principled Edward trying to repress his feelings towards Elinor is much more poignant. In this scene, Edward is relieving his frustration by getting a bit of a sweat in the rain, it’s a bit reminiscent of Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy’s famous lake scene. From the way Elinor looks at him, I think she’s quite um, taken by the sight of Mr. Ferrars with his drenched white shirt and flyaway hair. Well, she’s not the only one 😉


So what’s YOUR favorite rain/wet scenes, Austen-related or otherwise?