Score: A Film Music Documentary (2017)

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2017, Gravitas Ventures/Epicleff Films

Director:
Matt Schrader
Producers:
Kenny Holmes
Robert Kraft
Nate Gold
Jonathan Willbanks
Trevor Thompson
Writer:
Matt Schrader
Cinematography:
Kenny Holmes
Nate Gold
Editor:
Matt Schrader

Cast (as themselves):
Hans Zimmer
Danny Elfman
Marco Beltrami
John Williams
James Cameron
Tom Holkenborg
Joe Kraemer
David Arnold
Bear McCreary
Trevor Rabin
Rachel Portman
Alexandre Desplat
Randy Newman
Trent Reznor
Quincy Jones
Brian Tyler
Steve Jablonsky
Thomas Newman
Mark Mothersbaugh
Moby
Mervyn Warren
Atticus Ross
Patrick Doyle
Mychael Danna
Heitor Pereira
John Debney
Christophe Beck

Matt Schrader’s documentary, which got its start on Kickstarter, takes a look at the universal language of music and its impact in the world of cinema.

Since the days of the silent film, music has always played an important part of cinema. Beginning with musicians playing the music over a silent film in theaters to the talkies, where music began to truly come to life, music has played a vital role in the mood of a scene, an emotion, or even an action packed shootout if you will. Many believe the first musical impact to start this trend is 1933’s King Kong, where Max Steiner’s score brought out the fury of the titular creature. There’s also mention of Bernard Herrmann’s iconic score of Psycho and Vertigo set the stage for the scares in Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers.

When people think of some iconic films, it is not just about the plot of the film, or certain scenes. In certain cases, the music is just as known as the movie itself. One of the most iconic composers highlighted in the documentary is John Williams, whose themes for films such as Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, E.T., and Home Alone are hailed as some of the greatest theme scores in movies today. There are also modern day masters such as Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman, and Hans Zimmer who are highlighted in this feature film.

The film also presents some of the challenges composers face when trying to come up with the right music for the film. Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, brings up some of his obstacles when he scored Mad Max: Fury Road as an example. There is also the change in technology and musical instruments that have influenced the scores of both films and TV series. DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh said it was a toy piano that inspired him to write the theme song for the 1990’s hit cartoon Rugrats only to have gotten rid of the piano a few years later.

We also take a look at two iconic studios in the United Kingdom, Air Studios and Abbey Road, the latter best known for the studio where the Beatles played. Today, both studios are used to both compose and conduct some of the modern day theme songs that have been well-regarded. They include the Star Wars prequels, the Lord of the Rings films, and even the recent James Bond movies. There are not only interviews with these great masters of film music, but film historians, psychology professors, and even some of the musicians responsible for making the music come to life when they play in the studios.

Score: A Film Music Documentary is really a cinephile and historian’s dream film that sheds light on the world of music in films today. Music and cinema are two universal languages that truly come together and this is a look at how this came about and how it still holds today.

WFG RATING: A

Gravitas Ventures will be releasing this film to select theaters on June 16th

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