Tuesday, February 22, 2011

LowRes 2010 Movie Awards: The Sounds

The 2010 LowRes Movie Awards: 30 Amazing Moments / Best Trailers / Best Techs (Visual) / Best Techs (Audio) / Screenplays + Director / Breakthrough + Ensemble + Cameo / Supporting Actor + Actress / Lead Actor + Actress / Top 10 Films

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Town

Once again, my usual disclaimer: I don't know shit about sound design in movies. I just know what calls attention to my ears. For my money, the most impressive uses of sound this year were, say, when it was all that was keeping James Franco company in 127 Hours. Also those bone-breaky sounds! Speaking of which, how about getting to hear every stress-fracture and broken nail as Nina's body constantly threatened to turn on her in Black Swan? Or the alien gurgles in Splice. Or the many, many shootouts in both Inception and The Town.

Carter Burwell - True Grit
Burkhard Dallwitz - The Way Back
Alexandre Desplat - The Ghost Writer
Clint Mansell - Black Swan
Hans Zimmer - Inception

If sound design is hard to pick out while watching a movie, finding a good score might actually be harder, if only because more than half the time, if you notice the music at all, it's not a good thing. Desplat comes the closest to doing just that in The Ghost Writer, but ultimately the loudness of the music is in line with Polanski's retro-'70s vibe. Two of the best efforts worked a kind of fusion, with Carter Burwell's old-timey interweavings on True Grit and Mansell's pas de deux with Tchaikovsky in Black Swan. Still, the best score for my money was also the most traditionally Hollywood, with Hans Zimmer bringing bombast back and making big basso fart noises the latest rage. Slow down that Edith Piaf record and have a time, Hans!

Fish Tank
The Runaways

This category, I explain every year, is for all that non-original music that goes into making a movie work. Or original songs, I guess, but who the hell makes any of those worth a damn anymore? Okay, okay, Burlesque! The more I listen to that content-free Diane Warren ballad, the more it fills my arteries with the Velveeta of love. As for Fish Tank, I loved all the dance interludes that punctuated the oppressive poverty; I loved the LCD Soundsystem in Greenberg and the faithful renderings of The Runaways. And I mentioned that Edith Piaf number in Inception, right? It almost makes Marion Cotillard's awful Oscar win for La Vie en Rose worth it if it brought that song to Christopher Nolan's attention?

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