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The punishing action score.

The punishing action score. (photo)

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Friday sees the release of the revamped “Clash of the Titans,” the trailer for which has to set come kind of record for the most joyless combination of grim faces, heinously ugly monsters and nu-metal roar. It’s all very murky and loud, but mostly it seems like no fun: like the roar of Nickelback magnified with some industrial drums, capped off by the inevitable release of the Kraken, whose hoarse bellow would do Eddie Vedder proud.

When did action scores becomes so industrial? If you’re not one of those people who agonizes over the moral problems of killing people on-screen for sport — and really, get over it — there’s no reason that action movies should be so monochromatic and trudging. And yet watching the “Clash of the Titans” trailer is like nothing so much as listening to alt-radio from a decade back. You half expect the Kraken to begin wailing about its issues with its father.

The music is courtesy of Ramin Djawadi, who does this kind of thing all the time: witness, say, his theme for “Iron Man,” which starts out as nothing and then eventually becomes a bunch of guitars and fake drums, which is really just a higher budget version of the on-the-cheap “Prison Break” music he also did.

03292010_requiem.jpgIt’s all in keeping with how lousy a lot of contemporary action scores are — they make what should be fun a trudge. (Last year’s “Armored” is an okay movie, but John Murphy’s score sounds like straight-up nu-metal.) Part of the problem is the death of the full-orchestra score, which now sounds anachronistic to most — listening to, say, the climactic battle music from “Die Hard” isn’t necessarily more fun, but all the instruments give you more room to breathe. The limited range of sounds generally tapped now — basically an augmented band with strings — can get claustrophobic.

Instead of blaming radio or declining budgets for music, it might be wisest to blame Clint Mansell’s theme for “Requiem For A Dream,” one of the most ubiquitous trailer backdrops. It’s still a cool theme — rising minimalism as frenzy — but everyone seems to have learned the wrong lessons: stay grim, stay in a minimal range, and you too can prosper. No one really wants to hear peppy, upbeat full-orchestra stuff like “Independence Day” (too peppy, too martial), but surely there’s a path somewhere between the “Indiana Jones” theme and utter despair.

[Photos: “Clash of the Titans,” Warner Bros., 2010; “Requiem For A Dream,” Artisan, 2000]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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