Saturday, April 14, 2012

Touch Review by a Friend

I have been super busy lately and my friend asked if he could write a review on the TV show 'Touch'.  Since I haven't posted lately and am still super busy I said he could.... Here is his review.

"I'm sure you all know *that* kid. Y'know, the slightly sociopathic one, whose antisocial tendencies lead to spurts and bouts of anger, causing awkward life and death situations everywhere? That one kid who threw temper tantrums at the slightest notice, ruled his parents, broke laws left and right, violated privacy and etiquette on a minute-to-minute basis?

You don't know that kid?

Oh, well, then. You haven't seen Touch.

Touch is a Fox Drama for 2012, scheduled for 13 episodes. Created and written by a guy you've never heard of, who's done shows you've never watched, Tim Kring. The only important actor is Kiefer Southerland, actor for over 70 movies, and the famous role of Jack Bauer in 24.

JAKE "Pure Evil" BOHM
There. Got all the boring stuff over with. Now, let's talk about the show. I've seen two out of the four episodes released, so I am clearly an award winning expert on the subject. Going back to THAT KID from my intro, we find him here, as the main character: a kid named Jake, an autistic savant who can predict the future, draw numbers repetitively, and tick me off at a level I never thought possible.

Here's the deal: he is, quite possibly, one of the worst kids you will ever meet. Half of every episode is spent with his father constantly swooping in to save this little chap from getting run over, squashed, lost, murdered, falling, and any other number of deaths that normal people can avoid relatively easily. Why? Because this kid will walk up to a person's home, open the door, and begin rummaging through stuff. Yup. Don't worry about the police in your house, worry about Jake Bohm, Small Medium at Large.

The thing is, it's for a reason. Supposedly. Because of the fact that Jake can predict the future, the writer felt a need to balance this with a fatal flaw: the kid can't talk. Sure, he can monologue to the audience, which makes for a nice wrap up, but unfortunately, the dad can't hear those. So, the only way Jake can communicate with other people is by breaking into houses, standing in the middle of four lanes of oncoming traffic, and breaking out of every facility he's placed in.

Ok, ok. I need to cool it for a sec, here. Let's look at the rest of the show, then, before we come back to this Jake character.

The show has a simple enough premise: one number will be "found" by the kid, given to his father, and start showing up in the stupidest possible places, drawing together eight or so perfect strangers in a tightly woven mass of plot contrived situations which will end up changing their lives in deep ways before we never see them again.

So, how good is it? Well, the story is fairly decent: they do a good job of avoiding the cliches, it's pretty engaging, fast paced, so on and so forth. Would I recommend watching it? Well, it depends. Many of the moments shown in "Touch" are quite well written, even heartwarming. A few bits of comedy (all too sparse, if you ask me) are given to us as well. Indeed, the writing overall is very solid.

On the other hand, the show has some mixed messages, and the theology is... well, let's look at it.


So, one of the most unusual premises of the show is that there's a plan. Yup, you read that right. There's an EXTREMELY providential plan in every single episode. This is a welcome change from Hollywood's normal "Change Destiny" shtick. However, the execution of the plan is the problem. See, it's not God's plan (heaven forbid an all powerful, all knowing, loving, creator God would know what we need to do): the plan is actually math. Yup.

Nerds everywhere, put down your Klingon-English translators, and get to work. I need you to crack the code and figure out what the algorithm of life is. Seeing as a ten year old has it down pat, I'll give you two weeks and a fridge of Red Bull. Go. See, this show bases the entire premise off of a single algorithm, or freakishly complicated equation, that Jake uses. Only he can see the "patterns" in the world, which, apparently, means he knows the serial number on the bat his dad will need to take out a baddie a week in the future. That's actually from the show, too.

Then, of course, looking at the relationships of "Touch" we see a further problem: every family is fractured. We are presented with a disturbed boy, a divorced father, an under appreciated Indian guy with a weird need to dump his father's ashes in Yankee Stadium... Lots of stuff. We see no functional family, anywhere. Well, save the mafia boss whom we'll never see again, who might be reforming.

The only families we see are fractured, destroyed, supposedly "normal." I understand that the world is indeed like that: but it shouldn't be. If television and movies are like what the world IS, not what the world SHOULD BE, we have a problem. Why? Because movies, television, music, books, media in general is all designed to do one thing: tell us how the world should be. And if it's not improving the world, it's degrading it.

That's my main complaint with Touch: We find no good role models. None. The father can't control the rebellious, dangerous son, the social worker is constantly trying to split them up, and there's a mentor who shows up for a few minutes to handily reveal some more plot.

I'd give the idea 8/10 stars, because it's a very interesting premise: how are eight strangers connected? Answer: providence. However, it's the way in which it is shown to us as viewers that's the problem. 4/10, because we are shown a world that should not be, instead of the world that should.

That's all, and may you never, ever, meet Jack Bohm. Seriously, it's bad for your health."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hunger Games Trailer Music

I found this on Sebastian Wolff's Website.  Here's his post:
If you’ve read The Hunger Games books, you’re most likely as excited for the movie as I am. Is it March yet?
The teaser trailer that debuted back in November struck a note with me (get it?), and I decided to arrange some sheet music the featured song, “Deep Shadow”.
The song is by T.T.L., the electro-industrial duo of Tying Tiffany and Lorenzo Montana. The song was released by ZerOKilled Music and it’s available for purchase by the label. Go buy it and support the musicians who create the music you love.
 Here's the link to his post with the sheet music.  Enjoy the epic music.
Sebastian Wolff

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Okay a new trailer is out for Filmodus Operandi (with music composed by me).  Its a movie that I am working on the music for.  It'll be coming out sometime in February.  Here is the link to the website.  The trailer is on the main page in a bigger screen.
I will release a soundtrack after I am done with the score.

Filmodus Operandi Trailer HD from Project Merge on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Good Article

I really am a big fan of Benjamin Botkin's music and ideas on that subject.  He wrote this article a while ago and I found it profound.  It was written on the subject on whether he would write the music to secular movies.
I had struggled with that question as well.  As a Christian would it be right to compose music for a secular film.  Here is the article:
"Here is an excerpt of a letter I recently received from a young composer. As it turns out, I am a young composer as well, but I digress.
Dear Ben,
Would you score a “non-Christian” film? Would you score How to Train Your Dragon? How about Inception? The Dark Knight? Star Wars? Why or why not?
I think you see where I’m going with my questions. I don’t want to compromise on principle, but at the same time I don’t want to go further than God would have me to, and myopically pursue my own standard of holiness.
Just as a Christian mechanic would fix a non-believer’s car, would I as a Christian composer grant the gravity and power that good music gives to a film to a non-Christian filmmaker?
Dear _______,
I understand where you’re coming from, as these are questions I have had to (and still do) ask myself.
Would I fix an unbeliever’s car? Assuming I knew anything about fixing cars, needed the money to support my family, or thought it was a good opportunity to minister to someone, then yeah. Sure I would.
But would I fix an unbeliever’s TANK that’s threatening Christian homes?
No way! But in reality that is what many Hollywood films are built to do. They’re spiritually deadly, often directed toward taking down Christian families, and are generally effective in that goal.
If I was a mechanic I should instead work to build a bigger, better tank to defeat Hollywood’s and defend what is right and true. This is what a “replacement” film industry would mean.
Would you score a “non-Christian” film? Would you score How to Train Your Dragon? How about Inception? The Dark Knight? Star Wars? Why or why not?
It is tempting to just accept the culturally defined labels “Christian” and “Secular” and let them decide for us what our involvement in film is going to be, but we really need to test both definitions against the standard of the Word to see where they stack up. Thus, every project will need to be examined on a case-by-case basis.
I would not score Inception, Dark Knight, or Star Wars because the messages of these films are not ones I could promote or advance through my involvement–at least not in good conscience. Not only do I think that these particular movies are destructive, but they drive me crazy on a personal level because the messages those films promote are ones I have had to deal with or fight against in real life and now have a very biased position against.
If I was offered How To Train Your Dragon, that would be a tougher decision–the same goes for Pixar’s Up. Both of these films have some elements I really like (notably, their music, which would not be there if I was), and both of these films include messages which seem to align more closely to the messages of scripture than those of, unfortunately, many “Christian” films I have seen! This is not meant to be a “kudos” for Pixar or Dreamworks as much as it is to be a rebuke for the Christian film industry.
But there are some obvious problems with these films. For example, in HTTYD I would have to decide if the father-son and Hiccup-Astrid relationships in the film were handled in such a way that I could associate myself with them and be comfortable facing my Creator on judgment day, expecting to hear “well done, my good and faithful servant.” I mean, the director would ask me to compose this big romantic swell when the teen lead gawks at the modern, domineering, and feministic love interest. The problems with that image run several layers deep.
But even if a film project is not thoroughly putrid and heinous, that doesn’t mean I have a sworn duty to accept the job. I run into a lot of Christians who don’t seem to believe that they’ve been given the authority to say “no” to a political candidate, job offer, or just the world in general… missing a key principle of Christian ambassadorship: Christianity has never been about doing what was merely “okay” but what was RIGHTEOUS and best.
“Can I justify investing the Lord’s time in this endeavor?” is at least as important a question as “Does this movie have problematic and immoral content?” and possibly more so. Any three-year old can be taught to point out objectionable elements X,Y,and Z, but few truly cultivate the discernment to know how to maximize their time on earth.
I’m an ambassador of Christ, and I can’t afford to spend my life solely doing stuff that any non-Christian can do—even if that “stuff” is not “bad.” Let the dead bury their own dead, and let’s be about the reconciliation of the world to Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:18,19,20), and be the leaders of projects that WE have control over and an industry that WE have control over. Let’s put ourselves in situations where WE can be the ones who choose, and the world has to settle.
My suggestion for you is this: dig into the Word more and more to discover what things please the Lord and what things don’t. This will build in you the right theological and moral framework for making those life-and-death decisions that will affect your life… and death.
What on earth would compel a film composer to turn down a $400,000 composition contract from PIXAR (!) besides religious conviction? Study to show yourself approved (2Ti 2:15), and make sure your religious convictions (everyone has them, atheists included) are sound.
Recently I’ve had to re-think my time-allocation paradigm as I’ve been convicted of these very things, primarily at Vision Forum’s Independent Christian Filmmaker’s Academy. For a long time I had just kind of assumed that I was going to be a music guy for… always, but I can’t be a slave to that assumption if the Lord would have more important things for me to do elsewhere.
As a result, I’ve turned down some composition opportunities recently that, in earlier years, I would have leapt for joy at. I didn’t say “no” because those projects contained grossly unacceptable content, but so I could tackle some non-musical endeavors that I believe are a more important investment of my (the Lord’s) time.
I’m glad you’re asking these sorts of questions now in your life instead of later. The man who plans to stand before kings (the skilled in their work [Pro 22:29], something every Christian must be) should determine where his convictions lie before he’s asked to be Hollywood’s cupbearer, mechanic, or musician."
I encourage you to go to his website/blog.  It has many insightful articles.  Even if you aren't a composer.  If you are in any way involved in making movies I would read some his articles.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Civil War

Back in October of 2009 I wrote a article about the Civil War.  And how it started.  I thought you all might be interested in seeing it.  Here it is (a little modified, I fixed some grammar and added some additional thoughts):

"The civil war cost 620,000 war deaths, these do not include the many more thousands of civilians that were killed in the war. This was the bloodiest war up until that point in history. Many say that it was fought over slavery while others the taxation of the south, or even to save the "Union".
In this post I will talk about these three reasons and I will talk about the myth that secession is "Treason".

First I will talk about how that slavery was not the main cause of the civil war. If Lincoln wanted to free the slaves why not do it peacefully, as most of the countries in the rest of the world did. England, for example, freed their slaves by paying the owners forty percent of what each slave was worth. If Lincoln had taken the amount of money that the Union spent on the war he could have freed each slave (using England's technique) and given him forty acres and a mule!
"Well what about the emancipation proclamation?" some might
The emancipation proclamation was Lincolns last card as one Englishman put it. The union had lost many a battle by 1863 and Lincoln's administration was gambling that their would be a massive slave insurrection, but it did have its whiplash back. As many Northerners were horrified, mobs took to the streets, 200,000 Federal soldiers deserted, another 120,000 evaded conscription, and another 90,000 men fled to Canada. I believe Lincolns real agenda was to "Save the Union".   To centralize the power to the government and to make them sovereign and he said so in a letter to the New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, he said:

My Paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it: and if it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the union.
This letter is interesting because like a true politician Lincoln said one thing in his inaugural speech then another now that he is in power. In fact he said that he had no power to free slaves in his inaugural speech now he talks as if he could even if he thought about it.
It seems funny

The taxation of the south was probably the main reason for the civil war. Huge tariff's were being levied against the south. Because the south was so trade dependant, the northern businesses profited greatly from it. Many southern representatives railed against it. Calling for them to b
ring it down as most of the other foreign countries were.
On the eve of the firing on fort Sumter a new tariff was about to be levied.  It would plunder the South without completely destroying it.

The third reason people give for the reason of the civil war is that we needed to save the "Union" so that the U.S. would not break up into smaller countries and therefore we would not be the great nation that we are to day. My answer is this. To the founding fathers secession was a fundamental principle of political philosophy. In fact the Declaration of Independence was a secess
ion document.
Thomas Jefferson the main author of the
Declaration of Independence said in his first inaugural address in 1801 said this: "If there be any among us who would wish to to dissolve this union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of safety with which error of opinion mat be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." And when his words where put to the test when a group of New England Federalists states attempted to secede from the union, Jefferson maintained it saying "If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation... to a continuance in Union...I have no hesitation in saying 'let us separate'."
Lincolns declaration that secession would destroy the union of states and lead to "anarchy" was a lie. If they had been allowed to go in peace it would have the effect the founding fathers wanted it to have. The tariff's would go down and it would have stopped the slide to a centralized state and in the end the south would have probably favored a union with the north and 620,000 young men would have not lost their lives. As James Madison said in 1787 that "a little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical... a medicine necessary for the sound heath of government."
Based on this evidence and much more I think that the south was in the right when they seceded. 

The Declaration of Independence is a document of secession.  To say that our founding fathers were right to break away from Britain from taxation but the south was not right in there secession because of taxes is hypocritical."  

Their it is.  Please feel free to comment on it. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I found this short film a while ago.  I just now thought about posting it.
The music is what I really like about this film.  Listen to the piano solo through the movie.
Also pay attention and see if you can figure out the ending.  It almost has a sort of inception twist at the end.
If you don't quite get it here's the link to the extended version of this film.

I'm also working on getting some sheet music for it as well.  I will post it as soon as I get it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Filmodus Operandi

Over the last month I have been working on the music for a short film done by a good friend of mine.  Here is the link to their website they just put up.  Filmodus Operandi
Hopefully I can post some music samples soon for those interested.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tron Legacy Movie Review

I saw this a while ago but I wanted to write a review on it.
Overall, I did not like this remake.
I haven't seen the old one.  But this one was a very poor remake.  Its only redeeming characteristics is a few highly entertaining scenes.
The movie had a complicated storyline and it was thin in several points.  Characters were underdeveloped and extremely weird.
Sam (the main character) after his dad gets sucked into his own video game Tron leads a kind of depressed life. Sam's big achievement each year is playing a prank on his dads multimillion dollar company.  So from the start he isn't that likeable.  After he himself gets sucked into Tron he gets put into a disc fight.  Which is cleverly done.  Its entertaining to watch the fight.  He ends up having to fight for his life in the 'Lightcycle' ring.  Sam gets defeated and just before dying he is saved by a female warrior (classic cliche).  Sam is taken to his father who is hiding somewhere out some dark rocky mountains.  After that the story evolves into Sam trying to get his dad back to reality.   This is were it gets weird.  Sam with Quorra (the female warrior) go to Zeus, a guy with long hair who looks more like a girl and supposedly is a enemy of Clu (the villain who is trying to make the world perfect).  He seems to want to help but he actually is a traitor.  What is weird is supposedly he is extremely powerful but he doesn't use his power hardly at all and when he does your saying, 'that's it?'
The movie ends with Sam's dad sacraficing himself to get his son back into the real world and destroying Clu.
What really destroys this movie is the messages and underlying theme's.  One of the biggest contradictions is this: When Sam's dad and Clu (who used to rule Tron together) first came to Tron they built stuff to create a perfect world.  As they were doing this a entire race of perfect 'programs' (which is what they call humanoid forms) and these programs are ENTIRELY PERFECT.  Quorra is the last surviving perfect program yet she hast to be taught and she losses her arm so her fight moves aren't perfect.  The underlying message though is an example of evolution.  That out of nothing comes perfection.  That we are slowly getting their and these, 'perfect programs' are the end result.  So an evolutionary stance was taken early in the movie.
But then we see that Clu tries to achieve perfection and destroys hundreds of programs and is obviously a tyrant.  It almost seemed like in some ways they were comparing to Hitler.  So then their is another stance that seems contradictory to the one I talked about above.
Another big thing was that Sam's dad was all into New Age Meditation.  Several lines through out the movie really annoyed me.  But it was portrayed as a very beneficial thing through out the movie.
The last thing that bugged me was this.  In the movie, when programs are killed they shatter in millions of little pieces.  They call it Derezzing. Now since Quorra is a program we see how her body is made up of millions of little pieces.  So she is only compatible with Tron world which is made up of that stuff.  Then she goes into the real world and she becomes human.  It was a lame way to end the movie.
Overall its story was passable, but with the agenda it pushed forward and its flat ending...  I only give it two stars.
That's my two cents on Tron Legacy. 
EDIT: Thank you Ethan for pointing out to me that this was the wrong trailer.  Here is the correct one.

Oh whoops here's the real one. ;)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

Last week I went to the dollar theater to see Transformers 3. I have only seen the first one.  I saw the first one but didn't see the second.  The third one can be watched without watching any of the first two.  It was kind of like a fresh start to the series.
Overall I really liked it.  Some people may get bored with it because it is a long movie(2hr. 45min.).  And, half of it is a enormous battle through the streets and skyscrapers of Chicago.  Which I thought was incredibly well done.  Michael Bay certainly knows how to do a battle scene well.
One of the things that I disliked a bit in the first one, and that they remedied in this one was the vareity of the weaponry used.  In the first one, everyone used their arm cannon.  (And it got annoying well to me anyway). In this one, Optimus Prime used five or six different weapons.  Also there are a lot more autobots all with different styles of fighting and weapons.  Bumblebee is the only one that still just uses his arm cannon, but he uses it in different ways which makes it fun to watch.
Another thing that was a HUGE improvement from the first one was the storyline.  There are good subplots that go throughout and all were done decently.  Surprisingly, there were a couple major twists that totally altered the plot.  From the trailer it may seem like it has a very flat plot.  Lots of good twists that had me gasping in the theater.
Also I know its not hard to be a better actress then Megan Fox.  Thankfully, new blonde girl did a MUCH better job than Megan Fox.
Something new was the addition of the transformers bleeding red gas.  In my opinion but when it was used sparingly and well done effect.
Another thing that I liked about this movie is the message of fighting for freedom.  I liked how it also had sub themes of never giving up and friendship.
On the negative side, the first half of the movie it had weird moments and some inappropriate comments.
Overall I give it five stars. :)

"In any war, there are calms between the storms. There will be days when we lose faith, days when our allies turn against us. But the day will never come, that we forsake this planet and its people. For I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to the universe: We are here. We are home."
The closing lines of the movie.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Soundcloud is a internet based music sharing site.  Its free to use and you can upload and share your tracks.
I just started using them and I am uploading music clips to most of the sheet music.
So check it out. :)