Wednesday, June 24, 2015

James Horner (1953-2015)

I was nine years old when I first saw James Horner's name on the big screen, credited for the brilliant, majestic, and sweeping score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, his first major feature film project.

He also composed the soundtrack for the sequel, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, before going on to a storied 30-year-plus career as one of the legendary mainstays of Hollywood film music, joining the esteemed ranks of luminaries such as late maestro and fellow Star Trek composer Jerry Goldsmith and frequent George Lucas and Steven Spielberg collaborator John Williams (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park).

Horner received far more acclaim and accolades for his later film work, much of which has been written about elsewhere and can easily be researched.

But for me, his Star Trek motion picture scores will always hold a special place in my heart.

--Raj Manoharan

Friday, June 12, 2015

Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Christopher Lee, how will I miss thee? Let me Count Dooku the ways:

Hammer horror, Captain America II: Death Too Soon, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, just to name a few …

Fare thee well, icon.


--Raj Manoharan

Hungary for Food and Film

Keep an eye out for the Budapest episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN.

In this installment, the globetrotting chef savors the local flavors and samples world-class cinema under the awe spices of native son and acclaimed Academy Award-winning Hollywood cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who served as the director of photography on Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (for which he won the Oscar), and The Deer Hunter.

Be sure not to miss it. It's a culinary and celluloid delight.

--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Anne Meara (1929-2015)

While Anne Meara will always be best known for her long comedy partnership with her husband Jerry Stiller, I will always remember her for her recurring role as the mother of Spence Olchin (Patton Oswalt) on the classic sitcom The King of Queens.

Although the part was originally played by Eileen Brennan in one episode, Meara made it her own, especially as she was once again playing opposite Jerry, who starred on the show as cantankerous senior Arthur Spooner, father of Carrie Heffernan (Leah Remini), father-in-law of Doug Heffernan (Kevin James), and the usually unwilling object of Mrs. Olchin's desire.

In fact, The King of Queens became quite a family affair for the Stiller-Meara brood, with son Ben Stiller guest-starring in one episode as the father of his father's character (!) and daughter Amy Stiller (Ben's sister) making cameo appearances in several episodes as a flustered coffee store employee continually heckled by Arthur. Sometime after the show ended, Amy appeared in one of Jerry's Capital One commercials.

Thanks for the laughs, Ms. Meara.

--Raj Manoharan