Riveting, Nimble & Elegant Thriller ‘Grand Piano’ Starring Elijah Wood & John Cusack

So to continue my run of content on this blog, I have planned to share one of our favourite posts this week. I was cautious to include it to a website because I actually didn’t wish to offend the original writer, but I trust he/she is glad that I enjoyed reading their work and planned to share it with my readers.

A welcome reminder that high-concept thrillers neednt rely on stupid coincidences and even stupider characters in order to succeed, Grand Piano turns the unlikeliest of scenarios into a riveting battle of wills. The story of a concert pianist whose comeback performance gets hijacked by a sniper with a secret agenda, director Eugenio Miras latest film breathlessly combines artistic anxiety and personal desperation, providing its character with a journey as intense emotionally as it is physically. In fact, probably the best Brian De Palma movie he never made, Grand Piano expands the boundaries of single-location, real-time mysteries like Phone Booth and Panic Room with a brilliantly simple concept and nimble, elegant style.

Elijah Wood plays Tom Selznick, a master-class pianist set to play in public for the first time in five years. Having famously choked during a performance of a piece by his late mentor, he is understandably nervous about his return to the stage. But shortly after he begins playing, he discovers that someone has marked up his sheet music with threats to murder him and his wife Emma (Kerry Bish) unless he performs flawlessly. Receiving an earpiece that allows his would-be puppetmaster (John Cusack) to communicate with him, he’s confronted with a challenge that has multiple repercussionsnamely, in delivering a performance that not only saves his career, but his very life.

As loath as I am to describe the music in the film as another character, the concerto written by Victor Reyes is absolutely essential, providing a (no pun intended) meticulously orchestrated through line that frames and enhances each new development in the story even as it serves as a ubiquitous reminder of Selznicks past failures. That it occasionally allows him to depart the stage mid-performance constitutes great planning on Miras part, but the fact that it provides a parallel line for Selznicks emotional state as he embarks on this unexpected rollercoaster is truly masterful. There are few modern examples of music being truly integrated into storytelling, certainly as well as this film does, and even without an appreciation for classical composition, theres much to admire about its use and effectiveness.

As the man behind the keys, Wood carries the film, finding a believable and compelling arc for a character whose default setting might in lesser hands be desperation. Selznicks paralyzing fears of choking a second time are echoed repeatedly in dialogue in opening scenes, first during a particularly contentious phone interview commemorating the performance, then from virtually everyone he encountershes not allowed to forget how grandly he flopped five years prior, even if he could manage to forgive himself. But through Wood, the character convincingly evolves over the course of the film, initially aiming for perfection out of fear, and then slowly building his confidence as he begins to devise a way to turn the tables on his unseen adversary.

Wood is an ideal casting choice for a role like thishandsome and obviously gifted, but overshadowed physically by the actress who plays his more-successful movie star wifeand he turns an otherwise self-contained journey into an opportunity for personal empowerment and professional redemption. Meanwhile, Cusack has less to do physically as the voice on the other end of Selznicks earpiece, but he nevertheless communicates a palpable sense of danger that his victim is right to take seriously. Together, they create a psychological duel worthy of the films theatrical pitch, cementing its intensity as the final, crucial notes of Selznicks performance rapidly approach.

Serving as more than a welcome contrast to the handheld, improvisational camerawork of too many other movies these days, Miras direction is a marvel of fluidity and poetry. The careful composition of each shot enhances the films melodramatic sweep without distracting from the story and performances; whether simply taking inspiration or outright stealing pages from (classic) De Palmas playbook, Mira distinguishes his film with a classical, muscular visual style that suits its high-society backdrop, and mirrors Selznicks mental scramble to focus on his performance and his potential murder at the same time.

Although hes occasionally distracted by expository or plot-lengthening devices such as the snipers accomplice and Selznick’s wifes obnoxiously self-involved friend, Mira makes a breakthrough here as a storyteller and visual stylist that should pay great dividends, regardless of whether or not he chooses to migrate from Spain to Hollywood. But regardless of his own future, Mira makes Selznicks comeback a remarkably immediate experience by dropping the audience into the middle of his implausible, heightened concept and then enabling them to identify with the characters anguish. Ultimately an expertly timed, painstakingly assembled and endlessly engaging game of cat and mouse, Grand Piano succeeds as a whole for the same reasons that Selznick doesnamely, because Mira brings all of its elements to work together in concert, and then executes them like a virtuoso.

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What Is Audio Surveillance

earpieceThanks for reading my blog, here is a piece of writing i actually enjoyed reading. With their agreement i can repost it. I compose many of my own articles, but sporadically post other articles i think are remarkable, thanks for reading.

Audio surveillance is the act of listening to third-party conversations and recording them. This technique is frequently used by law enforcement, private detectives and government spy agencies. Most audio surveillance consists of either bugging a room, wearing a wire (Hytera PD782 2 way radio Accessory), tapping a phone or distance listening. Each provides distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation.
Wiretapping is one of the most common and simple form of audio surveillance. This is preferred because it is highly inconspicuous and allows for two sides of a conversation to be clearly recorded. Small audio devices, commonly called bugs, are attached to the internal circuitry of a telephone to pick up a conversation. A signal is wirelessly transmitted to another device that records the conversation. The drawback of this method is getting access to a subject’s telephone to properly wiretap it.

A room microphone is another audio surveillance technique that often is utilized. This involves planting a wireless microphone in a room to pick up conversations. Disguised room microphones are available to look like pens, clocks, stuffed animals and a variety of other covert forms. This microphone sends a signal to a receiver, just like a wiretap does, and the signal can be directly recorded. The disadvantage here is access to some rooms and getting only one side of a phone conversation if it takes place in that room.

Concealable transmitters known as body wires are well-known devices that have been featured in many television shows and movies. A small microphone and transmitting device are worn under the clothes of a person in order to send a signal back to a receiver and record a conversation. This allows the person wearing the wire to ask questions and get specific details that simply listening to other people’s conversations could not provide. The disadvantage of this method is getting access to the person needed to be recorded and also concealing the microphone in a way that hides it but allows for clear recording.

Long-distance microphones are another covert means of audio surveillance. A parabolic microphone, often called a shotgun microphone because of its long shape, has a powerful ability to pick up conversations up to 300 feet (91.4 m) away. Its main disadvantage is its high sensitivity. It can pick up other noises and cannot function if obstructions, such as trees and automobiles, are between the microphone and the conversation.