Retrospective Review: The Runaways

It’s been ten years since we saw “Twilight” (2008) cast-mates Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning graze the screen in the music biopic “The Runaways.” While the Floria Sigismondi written/directed film has its fair share of follies, by the end it’s worthy of a collective fist to the air, celebrating - at the very least- the spotlight on these talented women and the impact they had on the rock and roll world. At a time when bands entirely made up of women weren’t a prevalent nor seemingly lucrative notion, The Runaways was formed, primarily because of the persistent ambition of Joan Jett (Stewart) and her collaboration with Kim Fowley (played with an on-spot eccentricity here by Michael Shannon). Soon they bring in Cherie Currie (Fanning) to be the lead singer, along with Sandy West (Stella Maeve), Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Robin (Alia Shawkat). Then we’ve got the pop-punk legendary group: The Runaways.

Review: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

NBC’s new television series “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is more than just a musical comedy.  Zoey (Jane Levy) works at a tech company.  Her boss, Joan (Lauren Graham) has given her a job promotion which puts her more directly in contact with Joan but also having to oversee an entirely male team.  At work, she has two confidants, Simon (John Clarence Stewart) and Max (Skylar Astin), but tends to have to handle situations on her own.  Outside of work, Zoey’s father, Mitch (Peter Gallagher), is sick and her mother, Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) is his main caregiver. If that situation wasn’t enough, Zoey, afraid she is developing the same condition as her father, goes to have an MRI; during the MRI, an earthquake strikes, and once she comes out, she begins hearing everyone’s thoughts in song. 

Retrospective: The Musical Legacy of Shirley Walker

What do Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman have in common besides creative genius and widespread popularity? They were either mentored or collaborated with an overlooked heroine of female representation in film, composer Shirley Walker. She is perhaps best known for creating the theme for the horror film series, “Final Destination” but achieved so much more. She truly deserves greater appreciation and recognition for her leadership as a woman in a field dominated by men as well as for her prolific body of work. Walker was so gifted as a pianist that she played with the San Francisco Symphony while still a teenager. Not content to be just an accompanist, she branched out into conducting and composing. It cannot be stressed enough how radical and trailblazing her ambition was for a woman in the 1960’s. Even today, women conductors are rare and women composers equally, if not more so. Her first screen credit came when her skills with a keyboard landed her a job playing with Carmine Coppola in “Apocalypse Now” (1979).

Spotlight: Hildur Guðnadóttir

Regardless of whether you're a fan or not of Todd Phillips' "Joker", I think we can all agree that Hildur Guðnadóttir's score is phenomenal. A classically trained cellist from Iceland, she has played and recorded with various bands such as Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle, Múm, and Stórsveit Nix Noltes. She experiments with sound and musical instruments, using cello, warped samples, and nuclear reactor metal as her tools to compose her music. And, the end result is stunning. Her music has a way of invading your mind, the score for "Joker" has a rawness to it, full of menace and a foreboding sense of dread. The score for "Joker" is so far from the epic orchestral scores we usually associate with comic book adaptations, and as she explained in an interview with Film Music Mag this was a deliberate decision, "we went as far in the other direction with this score as possible.

Pop & the Patriarchy: A Review of K-12

Visual albums have only recently become a major feature in the entertainment world, and regardless of how one feels about their existence, it would be difficult to make the argument that they aren’t intriguing. “K-12,” a film which accompanies the identically named album by Melanie Martinez, is an unexpected breakthrough for this genre. Whereas sometimes a visual album can be dominated by either its visuals or its music, “K-12” hits just the right notes and almost seamlessly combines the two.

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