Best Sounding Non-Action Movies

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick_T, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Patrick_T

    Patrick_T Agent

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    Time after time we see the same movies listed for stunning sound demos. It seems that one of the running themes in this list is the general classification of "action movie". I was wondering what discs are out there that people consider reference quality dolby digital, but that are not action movies. In years past I always liked to use Searching for Bobby Fisher. This disc has a wonderful soundtrack and story. What other discs would people recommend for reference quality drama, suspense, mystery, etc...? I am looking for anything besides action here. Thanks.
     
  2. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    Although not a great movie, you should try The Haunting. It will put your subwoofer to work overtime.
    JC
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Cast Away. Not the plane crash, but the entire sequence on the island.

    M.
     
  4. Colin Chisholm

    Colin Chisholm Auditioning

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    It sounds like you're looking for actual sound design instead of just the "wow" factor. One of the very best "quiet" soundtracks you should listen to is the 'The English Patient'. This Academy Award-winnind soundtrack has what is possibly the best ambient or background track on any film I've ever seen.

    Pay particular attention to the transitions between past and present in the film. The sound design does at least 80% of the work in that regard. It's a rather up-front example of sound design aiding and assisting the storyline.
     
  5. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    My system is not as advanced as most here but Almost Famous Bootleg Cut (or origional with DTS) is a great non action
     
  6. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Although it includes action elements, you may be fairly impressed with the Rushmmore : Criterion disc. I love hearing those songs blast through, especially during the yearbook sequence. Of course, Max's Opus will give your sub a little workout.

    I think the reason that action movies are singled out is because they are likely to engage the surrounds and sub more than anything else. A rock concert in a movie, such as the aforementioned Almost Famous, is the only other occurance that comes to mind that may allow your HT to shine.

    As for some more discs, I seem to remember (has been a while since I spun up this one) that Stir of Echoes impressed me from an audio standpoint, as well as impressed me as a film. I think you also might enjoy something like 12 Monkeys for it's creative use of the surrounds when Willis is visited by the voice in his head. Those are the only others that really come to mind. I'm sure there are more.
     
  7. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    Here are a few that I was really impressed with:

    The Red Violin
    The Sweet Hereafter
    Magnolia
    The Thin Red Line (definetely not an action film)
    The Virgin Suicides (haunting score)
    J.F.K.
    Moulin Rouge
     
  8. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I like the mix on most Steven Soderbergh films. They are usually very subtle in their surround use with few dramatic stereo pans in the rear speakers, but they are very effective mixes.

    Regards,
     
  9. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    Does Toy Story 2 count as an action film? Also, Seven ranks up there with the best sounding discs as well.
     
  10. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

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    The English Patient has a great soundtrack.
     
  11. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    I'll cast a vote for Snow Falling On Cedars. The war flashback sequence on the beach is phenomenal.
     
  12. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    And please, don't forget A Bug's Life. The sound in this movie is unbelievable... You can hear the steps of the ants on the ground when they are running.
    JC
     
  13. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    Here's another vote for THE ENGLISH PATIENT. The sound design is absolutely phenomenal. Of particular note is the use of occasional silence. For example, during the big interrogation scene with Dafoe's character, listen to how the audio lets you know when the German officer decides to "go to the next level."

    As said above, the transitions in and out of the flashbacks are sonic masterpieces.

    Walter Murch is a brilliant editor. (BTW - he won both the Picture and Sound Editing Oscars for the film - the only person to ever win both for one picture.)

    -greg
     
  14. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I second Magnolia and The Red Violin. Both excellent mixes.

    THE GIFT is my favorite non-action Dolby Digital mix on DVD. Most of the movie has an ever-present subtle ambience in the surrounds, and is very enveloping. But man, the few times it has sudden bursts of sound, it definitely delivers.

    My favorite non-action DTS mix on DVD is THE CAVEMAN'S VALENTINE. It's a very musical soundtrack, and during the moments of the main character's bouts with insanity, the surrounds are used to fill the room with the sound of moths' wings. A very effective and underappreciated mix.

    Other movies which merit notice:

    Blow: Infinifilm

    Hannibal

    Unbreakable: Vista Series

    Requiem For A Dream

    All The Pretty Horses

    The Legend Of Bagger Vance
     
  15. Zack Scott

    Zack Scott Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the neatest sound disc that is non action would have to be the Universal Pressing of Brazil. Don't laugh. Listen to it for your self. Expecially the marx Bros. scene.
     
  16. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Check out The Red Violin. Great music, great story.
     
  17. Jason Bovberg

    Jason Bovberg Stunt Coordinator

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    "Requiem for a Dream" has a great soundtrack with very active surrounds.
     
  18. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    I would add Shrek to this list.

    I would also suggest Galaxy Quest. Maybe it has some action elements, but it is a comedy.
     
  19. Guy Martin

    Guy Martin Second Unit

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    Titus had a pretty awesome 5.1 mix and it's Shakespeare. Also Snow Falling on Cedars has some spectacular sound design in 5.1 as well. Oh Brother Where Art Thou? has a fine mix with nice renditions of classic folk songs and some surprisingly strong FX (really nice, low bass at the beginning when the chain gang's sledgehammers hit). Finally, I remember Trainspotting having a pretty neat mix, but it's been awhile. Oh and of course there's Moulin Rouge.

    - Guy
     
  20. Phu Vo

    Phu Vo Stunt Coordinator

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    Contact.
     

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