HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY everyone! I’m wearing green today… we’re all Irish on March 17th, right?
In my Sing Street review I said I was going to make a Music Break post dedicated to that movie. Well I haven’t got a chance to do so but hey, it’s perfect for today! Since I haven’t done a Music Break post in ages, I’m going to include my fave songs from other movies set in beautiful Ireland!
So without further ado… here we go…
Can’t pick just one from Sing Street… what a great soundtrack!
I saw ONCE after I saw Sing Street and of course it broke my heart…
My hubby was listening to Spotify the other day and he was playing some really great music, which turned out to be scores from some TV series. It might have been the Westworldone that made me take notice, and of course it’s by one of my fave composers, Ramin Djawadi. I remember growing up in the 80s, some of my fave shows have memorable opening themes, i.e Dallas, Miami Vice, MacGyver, Mission: Impossible, Knight Rider, A-Team, etc. Boy listening to those for this post definitely took me back, ahah. Well, contemporary themes perhaps aren’t as catchy, they sound much darker, more ominous, but more emotional and indelible. So here are five great TV scores from the past five years. This post also doubles as an opening credits appreciation, because first impression is everything and the best ones are absolutely indelible.
Definitely one of my fave opening titles. Normally I’d fast-forward the opening just to get the show, especially when you’re bingeing 2-3 shows at a time. But I’d always watch this one as it’s just so striking and it gives you a hint that our protagonist is blind in a graceful way. Composer John Paesano said he didn’t want to create something that sound like a typical superhero sound. Well he totally achieved that.
This is one of the two Ramin Djawadi‘s work I’m featuring on this shortlist. He’s definitely one of the best composers working today. I’ve highlighted his awesome Pacific Rim score here, but his scores for the two HBO series are definitely much darker and foreboding. This one certainly has a western/sci-fi feel to it that is absolutely perfect for the show. And man, the visuals of the opening credits totally gives me the chills!
Elegant, lush, classy and wonderfully evocative. I absolutely adore the theme music by Scottish composer John Lunn. It’s tailor-made for fans of period dramas like yours truly, as it just makes my heart turns to mush every time I hear it. Such a gorgeous melody that puts you in the right mood to watch all the dramas unfolds both upstairs and downstairs of the Crawleys’ household.
Game of Thrones
I actually haven’t seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate its music. It conveys the sense of a journey in the vast medieval world chockfull of intrigue, volatility and sheer unpredictability. I’ve started to recognize Ramin Djawadi‘s signature sound, I can’t explain it but it’s there.
As an Anglophile, I LOVE the London scenery of the opening credits, with a score that has a certain wit about it to match the titular hero. The score is by David Arnold and Michael Price. Arnold’s done quite a few Bond soundtrack, including one of my all time favorites Casino Royale. The show isn’t overly dark and I think the music reflects that. It has a hint of mystery and the idea of puzzle solving, but in a rather playful way.
Well it seems plenty of Netflix’s original series have pretty awesome theme songs! These two are definitely memorable, and the Black Sails one (which I have posted about it here) also has an incredible opening credits visuals to go with its haunting music.
Well, these are just some of my fave TV opening credits’ scores. What are some of YOUR faves? …
I’ve been featuring various soundtracks on my Music Break Feature, so I’m thrilled that on my 71st Music Break post, we actually get insights from the composer of the piece I’m featuring: Rob Simonsen!
I’ve mentioned in my review of The Age of Adaline how much I adore the music. I’ve been quite obsessed with the dreamy, ethereal sound, listening to it for days on end from start to finish. I think the last romantic drama’s soundtrack that prompted a similar reaction was John Williams’ Sabrina(1995), it’s one of the rare soundtracks where I love every single track, just like this one.
Here’s a sampling of The Age of Adaline soundtrack:
Rob Simonsen is an American composer based in Los Angeles. When you look at his IMDb page, surely you’ve listened to a few of his music. He’s not only super talented but also prolific, with over 50 credits under his belt since his first film he worked on in the early 2000s.
The first film you did music for was a medieval fantasy Westender (in which you also starred in). What led you into working on that project?
Westender was a film I made with my best friends from high school. We initially intended to make a short, but the endeavor expanded as we started and we decided to turn it into a feature. I mentioned to the director, Brock Morse that I wanted to score the film and he was excited about that. It was nearly a 3 year process from beginning to end with the ongoing edits and reshoots. I wrote about 1.5 hours of orchestral music and that was my jump into film scoring. It premiered at Seattle International Film Festival, where I met Mychael Danna, who was a guest speaker of the festival. We hit it off and a year later we both moved to LA and I began assisting him.
As for The Age of Adaline, how did that project come about for you?
Lee Toland Krieger [the director of The Age of Adaline – ed] heard the score to The Spectacular Now and really liked it. He reached out to me with interest for Age of Adaline, I watched the film and loved it, then met Lee and we hit it off. It was a really great collaboration with him, and I consider him a good friend. We worked really hard on Adaline and I can’t wait to work with him again. He’s a fantastically talented guy.
I love the ethereal, dreamy sound of The Age of Adaline. What have been some of the inspirations for writing the score?
Ah, thanks! Lee and I talked a lot about the story of this woman trapped in time and the mysterious, supernatural angle of the story. So there were a lot of musical ideas born of conversations about story and character with him- about the way we wanted her and her world to feel. Musically I was listening to Ralph Vaughn Williams’ instrumental version of Serenade to Music, which is a piece that blows me away every time I listen to it. Also Holst’s Neptune, from The Planets.
The song Start Again (featuring Elena Tonra) has become one of my favorite songs now. Did you also write the lyrics for that?
Thanks again! No, the lyrics were by my good friends Nathan Johnson and Katie Chastain. They have a band project called Faux Fix, and they write great tunes together and I love their storytelling and perspective in their lyrics. I called them up and said “I have the opportunity to write a song that might go in the end credits of this film. It has to be done in 48 hours. You guys free this weekend?” They came over and we workshopped a little bit based off of a kernel of a tune idea I had put together from a piece of score.
We worked for a few hours and then they went home. 24 hours later they showed up with all the lyrics and a song structure and it was so perfect. We demoed the song and eventually had Elena Tonra sing the vocal. I’ve been a big fan of Elena’s for a while and she was gracious to lend her talents to the song.
I’ve been curious about the process of music composing. How early in the filmmaking process did you start writing the score? For example, does the script have to be completely finished before you can start, or do you work on it as the film is being shot?
It depends. Some films I’m brought on in the script phase, other films it might not be until near the final cut that I’m brought in. Each film has it’s own landscape and evolution of how the elements come together. Oftentimes the first thing I do is sketch out themes and send them to the director- kind of a general vibe check to make sure we’re in sync. That material then begins to find it’s way into the edit and scored cues and the boxes slowly get checked off as we progress.
Is there a specific genre of film you enjoy working on? Was there any film you saw recently that you wish you had written the score for?
I love sci-fi films. It’s been great working on Adaline and other films like Nerve, both of which have a fantastical and slight sci-fi quality to them. I loved Ex Machina. I’m very excited to see The Arrival and excited for all the work my friend Johann Johannsson is doing.
Lastly, who are some of favorite composers who have inspired you?
So many! Prokofiev, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Arvo Part, Steve Reich, Aphex Twin, Bjork, John Barry, Philip Glass, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner. Of course John Williams. My mentor Mychael Danna. We live in such a marvelous time where we can devour music of all genres and times. I find so much music that’s inspiring.
THANK YOU so much Rob for taking the time to chat with me about your beautiful work! …
Hope you enjoy this week’s Music Break! Thoughts on The Age of Adaline‘s score and/or the interview?
I was still in high school when Pretty Woman came out and it was a pretty huge hit back then. I haven’t seen this movie in over twenty years, but the passing of director Garry Marshall this past week made me re-watch some of the clips. This and Beaches are my two favorite films from the late filmmaker, and no doubt this movie is one he’ll be most remembered for.
It’s the 90s version of the classic Cinderella tale, as the protagonist’s BFF (played by the awesome Laura San Giacomo) puts it… Cinde-f*king*rella. The pairing of America’s sweetheart Julia Roberts as a Hollywood Blvd prostitute with former American GigoloRichard Gere as the to-die-for billionaire is just perfect. They have amazing chemistry that you’re dying for them to be together. And who doesn’t love Vivian, Julia’s huge grin and infectious laugh are so adorable!
I might rewatch it again one of these days. I remember it being a funny, heart-warming and of course dreamy feel-good movie with so many iconic scenes!
The soundtrack was a staple in the early 90s for me. Now, normally I’d be listening to a movie’s score more than the songs featured in the soundtrack, but for some reason I can’t remember the score from James Newton Howard. But the song compilation album is awesome. It must’ve been one of the CDs I actually brought to college and you know what, these songs are still fun to listen to today. It’s been great walking down memory lane listening to these songs this past week.
So here are some of my favorites…
I’m not much into sappy love songs, but I did have a thing for the Swedish pop rock duo Roxette 😉
My brother Paul was such a huge fan of Peter Cetera, both when he was still part of the Chicago band and his solo effort. I have to admit I was a bit of a sucker for his love ballads 🙂
Last but not least, the Kiss song isn’t technically in the soundtrack, but hey don’t you just love Prince!
It’s really devastating that Prince and Mr. Marshall are gone the same year! 😦
Hope you enjoy this week’s music break! What’s your favorite ‘Pretty Woman’ song(s)?
I have to admit I stumbled upon this movie as I’m currently besotted with this freakishly talented Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard. Yep, same guy who got me all obsessed with Richard III 😉
Having enjoyedSing Street recently and the fact that this is from the creator of Billy Elliot, I knew I’d enjoy it. To be honest though, I actually never seen a single episode of Glee (never had much interest on it to be honest), and I haven’t seen School of Rock, two things which this movie has been compared to. But the fact that this is a British (Welsh to be exact) indie is always a major plus for me. I do love Minnie Driver and I love the idea of her as a sympathetic teacher.
Set in a small town in Wales in the summer of 1976, drama teacher Vivienne fights sweltering heat and general teenage apathy to put on an end-of-term version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
This movie didn’t quite have the exuberant, vivacious energy as Sing Street, but it does have a ton of awesome retro songs. This time it’s from the 70s, so we’ve got music from David Bowie, The Beach Boys, Jeff Lynne, 10CC, etc. The title is obviously named after Bowie’s album, but it’s also a British expression that means everything is just fine.
Check out some of my favorite musical scenes from the movie:
Based on the interview from SXSW, Aneurin said that all the musical segments were filmed live, so the kids really did play those instruments and the actors actually sang the songs. I love that authenticity, so the sound and performances feel organic and natural.
I’m glad Minnie also got to sing in the film. She’s a recording artist as well as an actor, and her voice is just lovely. She also sang the song in the end credits, Goin’ Back by Carole King.
This clip below has the song from pop-rock group The Turtles, sung by actor Tom Rhys Harries in the movie. There’s also a rendition of the late English singer Nick Drake’s Cello Song that Tom sang beautifully, but I can’t find the clip for it.
The 70s songs are just awesome, here are a couple more songs from the soundtrack that Aneurin sang:
Aneurin’s an Olivier-award-winning actor (for his performance in the West End’s Spring Awakening in 2010). It’s only a matter of time that Hollywood will discover him like Hiddles, Hardy, etc., but he’ll be seen in Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk so that’s a good start!
I wish I could see him perform live one day, he looks AND sounds like an angel!! The finale is awesome and it made me want to get up and cheer! I mean you can’t go wrong with Bowie, and the kids pretty much channeling the glam rock era with the boys wearing glitter and guyliners.
Check out the trailer of the movie, which you can rent on iTunes or HULU:
Hope you enjoyed this week’s music break! What do you think of the songs, which ones are your favorite?
Oh what a day it’s been… It’s another sorrowful day for music lovers as another music icon just passed away. I had prepared this post for community links & highlight some new trailers, but in light of Prince’s death, there’s obviously a change of plans. But before we get to that…
Let’s get to those awesome blog posts…
My friend Cindy posted her monthly series sharing music, books, and films that absorbed her
The Minneapolis Wizard World is coming next weekend. Well, Mikey posted some fun cosplay pics from the recent Edinburgh Comic-con!
My pal Mark is hosting another Decades Blogathon, I urge y’all to take part!
Rodney just reviewed the Aussie-set drama The Dressmaker, which I’ll rent for Kate Winslet!
One of my fave films that premiered at TCFF last year, It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong finally got a wider release. Check out what Nostra thought about the film.
Alex talked about music covers that are better than the originals
Steven reviewed his April Blindspot pick, Killer (1989)
Allie of the lovely duo Flick Chicks blog just posted a trio of reviews
Last but not least, Margaret posted another great ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ entry on her boy du jour Harrison Ford’s earlier work, Witness.
It’s a sad day for music lovers… well sad year really given that we just lost David Bowie in January. But given that I’m practically a Minnesotan, this is an especially tough day and I haven’t quite processed it yet. In fact, it’s just before lunch that my colleague shouted that Prince had died and then he retracted saying, ‘no, someone died on the premise of his Chanhassen studio.’ But of course minutes later it was confirmed that it was Prince himself had died and my heart sank.
My hubby drove to Paisley Park after work today to take some photos. Even the gloomy sky seemed to have mourned the icon. There had been traffic jam in the area since the news broke early afternoon and it apparently hadn’t let on. First Avenue, the club appeared in his film Purple Rain, is currently hosting an outdoor concert tribute for him as I’m typing this.
Though Paisley Park is less than 20 miles away from my home and I used to drive by his studio every week as my church was within 5 minutes from it, I’ve never actually met Prince in person. I haven’t had the privilege of seeing him live in concert either [yes I know, bummer!] but I’ve heard many stories of my friends/colleagues’ encounter with him, whether at First Avenue or at Caribou Coffee house (which is as numerous as Starbucks in my neck of the woods). One of my good friend Tom actually bumped into Prince, literally, and said how he only came up to his chest. Tom wasn’t even 6 feet tall so Prince must not have been wearing his high heels then.
Despite his small stature, Prince was a giant in terms of his contribution to the music industry. On my way home today, MPR was covering the death of an icon by interviewing journalists, as well as First Avenue’s general manager Nate Kranz, and even they had a hard time defining the Minneapolis Sound is that Prince pioneered. Apparently it’s a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, synthpop and new wave…well whatever it was, it certainly sounds cool to me.
I feel so inadequate posting a tribute for him… there are far more qualified people who has followed his career faithfully from the late 70s and has been influenced deeply by whether directly or indirectly. But at the same time I still want to honor his amazing legacy as an artist and what better way than to feature even just a tiny sampling of my favorite Prince’s music.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate Prince’s music…
Happy Midweek everybody! Well after a balmy March, April has been pretty darn cold, windy and downright blech! I can’t believe I had to wear my parka today and still I’m freezing my pants off. Well, I remember a snow storm a couple of years ago made me miss the screening for Mud during MSPIFF, so hopefully there won’t be any weather-related fiasco this year.
Speaking of MSPIFF, stay tuned for a wonderful interview post for one of the indie films (made in Minnesota!) I’m looking forward to this weekend. But in the meantime…
Let’s get to those awesome blog posts…
Looks like I’m not the only one excited about a local film festival. Jordan just posted about the French Film Festival in his town of Adelaide and looks like we’ll be seeing a couple of the same films.
Meanwhile, Khalid reviewed one of the films playing at MSPIFF, Dheepanwhich won a Palme d’Or at Cannes
Batman V Superman might’ve been awful, but the reviews have been entertaining. Such as this one by Margaret. And I so agree w/ what she said about Henry Cavill’s Superman!
Mark reviewed 10 Cloverfield Lane, which sounds like a pleasant surprise to many
Table9Mutant reviewed The Outsiders (1983) which I haven’t seen in ages, but she made me want to rewatch it!
Abbi posted four reviews in her Film Friday series, including The One I Love which sounds the most intriguing of them all.
Steven reviewed The Driver (1978) which was apparently inspired by Le Samourai
On the TV front, Nostra reviewed season 4 of House of Cards
Well, since I’m doing a music break today, I LOVE this Same Song, Different Movie series from Michael. This time it’s the lovely song Theme From A Summer Place by Max Steiner.
Really though, there are sooo many things to love about this movie. In fact the Art of the Title site just posted about the fantastic opening title sequence. Sam Riley’s Colonel Darcy isn’t the only one I’m crazy about, the movie is truly an eye AND ear candy! The score from Spanish composer Fernando Velázquez is absolutely lush and gorgeous, with a touch of dread which is just a perfect combination for a genre mashup movie. He’s done quite a lot of horror films in the past, including Guillermo del Toro produced The Orphanage and Crimson Peak, as well as the disaster drama film The Impossible.
I’ve literally been playing PPZ soundtrack every single day, even at the gym during warm up (I told you I’m obsessed!). The visual soundtrack gives you an idea the tone of the entire album. From the music alone, the refined & genteel Regency era meshes very well with the high action of zombie slaying!
Obviously I LOVE the Colonel Darcy intro and the music is just perfect to accompany his badassery. Right from the moment he steps off his horse in that long, leather duster, my heart was irrevocably gone 😉
These two tracks are simply gorgeous, just what one would expect from an Austen period drama… but with a slight twist.
Thanks Mr. Velázquez, this is now one of my favorite movie soundtracks!
As PPZ is more Austen than a zombie flick, it stays true to the core love story in Jane Austen’s classic romance. The music in this scene is beautiful and Riley’s raspy voice is music to my ear.
Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s music break, folks! What’s your fave 2016 soundtrack so far?
It’s been nearly a month since I saw this rock biopic, but I’m still haunted by Control. I mentioned in this post that no other film affected me quite like this one. It’s a beautiful film in so many ways, the cinematography, the acting, the dialog… but it’s also a sad, utterly heartbreaking film that will likely stay with you for days, or in my case, weeks.
What’s incredible about Anton Corbijn‘s debut [as well as Sam Riley‘s in his first ever feature film role], is that many people become fans of Joy Division, three decades after it was formed in 1976. Even people who attended Ian Curtis’ 30th anniversary tribute admitted they were introduced to him through this film.
Joy Division’s style of music isn’t exactly my cup of tea but I can’t help but being quite mesmerized by it. I’ve been listening to their music, both the original and the ones performed by the actors in Control. Strangely enough, after watching clips of the real band on youtube, I actually prefer the live performances of the film version. Even my co-worker who’s a huge Joy Division fan said the same after I lent him my dvd just days after I saw it. I was surprised he hadn’t seen Control given how big a fan of Joy Division he is.
So this post is my tribute to the band’s frontman Ian Curtis, as well as Sam Riley who practically became the character. Riley and the actors portraying the band did their own singing for the film, and they did a spectacular job. Sam was in a band in his early 20s called 10,000 Things (which you can listen to in youtube), so he’s got that natural rock star vibe. But the way he conveyed Curtis’ despair and sense of isolation is incredibly convincing, quite a feat for any actor, let alone a complete newbie in his first ever film role.
In fear every day, every evening,
He calls her aloud from above,
Carefully watched for a reason,
Painstaking devotion and love,
Surrendered to self preservation,
From others who care for themselves.
A blindness that touches perfection,
But hurts just like anything else.
Isolation, isolation, isolation.
Mother I tried please believe me,
I’m doing the best that I can.
I’m ashamed of the things I’ve been put through,
I’m ashamed of the person I am.
Isolation, isolation, isolation.
But if you could just see the beauty,
These things I could never describe,
These pleasures a wayward distraction,
This is my one lucky prize.
Isolation, isolation, isolation…
I still cry every time I think about the tragic ending of Curtis’ life when he hanged himself on the eve of the US tour. Curtis’ songwriting was filled with imagery of desolation, emptiness and alienation, if only people had realized he was writing about his own pain.
This scene is undoubtedly one of the most entrancing scenes of the entire film. Not only was the song itself had me in a trance but so was the performance. The epileptic dance, that strange look in his eyes as he performed the song… it’s as if he was possessed by Curtis’ soul as he sang this.
Here’s the first live performance by the band Warsaw, so it’s before they became Joy Division.
… Joy Division’s music is truly a seminal one… and it shall always live on. …
Hope you enjoyed today’s Music Break. Are you a fan of Joy Division or have seen Control? I’d love to hear what you think.
Happy Wednesday everybody! Can you believe it it’s almost mid December? It’s been quite a balmy Winter in Minnesota (thanks El Niño!), with lows in mid 30s which is warmer than the highs in a typical Winter. Hey, I ain’t complaining!
Well, I’m still working daily on my script. As they say, it’s 10% writing and 90% rewrites and so that’s pretty much what I’m working on now. But I’m never too busy to do some community blogging post, so this is my last LINKS post for 2015 😉
Let’s get to those awesome blog posts…
Michael is on the lookout for books and movies parallel post and so take a minute to vote on his poll!
Josh took it upon himself to list 100 top performances of all time, surely you all have an opinion on the topic.
I always enjoy music-related posts, and one can count on Chris for those. He just posted a new Christmas song by Phoenix featuring Bill Murray!
Speaking of Christmas, Vinnie lists what he’ll be watching over the holidays
As some of us might be traveling over the holidays, surely you can relate to Jay‘s post about watching movies on an airplane
Margaret just did an awesome list of top 10 trailers of 2015.
Paula gave us a handy guide to follow the 2015/16 awards season
I have only seen the pilot of Jessica Jones but Eddie talks about how season 1 is off to a strong start.
Now here are some great reviews:
Keith reviewed Beasts of No Nation, Steven reviewed Room, Brittanireviewed Trumbo and last but not least, Zoë reviewed Spectre.
Ok so I think most of you know I abhor Sam Smith’s voice and his SPECTRE‘s theme song The Writings on the Wall. But you know what, I listened to the instrumental version of the song lately and I actually LOVE the melody. It’s a rather melancholy tune but it has the mysterious and seductive vibe that one would expect from a Bond flick. The opening sequence is pretty cool, though not exactly my favorite amongst the 24 Bond movies over the years, I think the Casino Royale with the cards one is still one of my faves.
… I still find the movie itself disappointing, but I remember liking this theme song as I was watching it. I really think the melody is so much better without Smith’s whiny voice. Thomas Newman is an awesome composer, I’ve enjoyed a lot of his work. I also enjoyed the end title track below:
Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s music break, folks!
One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed about The Martian was the lighthearted tone of the film, despite the obviously dire subject matter of someone being stuck in Mars. And one of the funniest bits in the film involve something totally unexpected… DISCO music!
Matt Damon‘s character Mark Watney initially hated it, but he’s not only stuck in Mars but he’s also stuck with his colleague Melissa Lewis’ (Jessica Chastain) disco collection. “My God, Commander Lewis… couldn’t you have packed anything from this century?”
Disco + Mars?? Who’d have thought?? When I left the theater I immediately turned to my hubby and said that it certainly has the Guardians of the Galaxy vibe with its 70s retro music compilation. Per Billboard mag, ‘…The ‘70s music theme is taken directly from Andy Weir’s best-seller upon which the movie is based. Screenwriter Drew Goddard wrote song choices into the script and Scalia says the majority were kept, although a few were switched for other tunes…’
I also enjoyed the score itself by composer Harry Gregson-Williams. He’s quoted on Billboard saying that “Scoring The Martian involved ducking and diving around some pretty neat classic disco songs that were woven in to the fabric of the film.” That’s just brilliant!
As The Atlantic article aptly puts it… “It’s hard to become too depressed by Watney’s situation when “Hot Stuff” is playing in the background.” Indeed. Depending how you feel about disco music though, beware that after watching this, you’d be humming (and even dancing) to them before you even realize it!
So here are five awesome disco classics featured in the movie:
Hot Stuff by Donna Summer
Turn the Beat Around by Vickie Sue Robinson
Love Train by O’jays
Waterloo by ABBA
This one plays in the end credits and of course it’s just perfect!