Friday, January 18, 2013

Question for the Week of Jan 14-20: Movie + Soundtrack

What are your favorite movie soundtracks?
Movie scores are always fun to talk about; most film fans are pretty passionate about the score/music to their favorite pictures. I'll take this question as "which movies do I own both in video and audio." I find that if a movie has a soundtrack that good, I'd probably get the movie as well....

In my case, there's even more to consider: CDs used to be really expensive, so buying a movie's soundtrack when it wasn't in the top 40 or whatever meant that you thought it was really, really good. A few of these discs I picked up for $18, *shudder*.

[UPDATE: This post went up at 10AM and I just took 10 minutes of my lunch break to fix any typos. The 9 or so people who already saw this aren't being treated as well as everyone who showed at 1:15PM or later, and I'm sorry for that. I couldn't come in to edit until now...]

Pulp Fiction - there's really nothing left to say about the soundtrack. Unfortunately, many of its songs have been overused to death in lame ads, so, in all honesty, I probably wouldn't like hearing them anymore. You've screwed me again, corporate America!

Grosse Point Blank - although I don't own the second cd (no seriously, there were a lot of songs in this movie), I was taken with the picture - and its excellent soundtrack - from the first time I saw it. I caught a free preview with one friend, saw it two days later with a girl I was dating, then saw it again with a friend a week or so after that.

I wanted to use the scene where Debi plays The Specials, but I can't find it.

The Mystery of Rampo - this is a fantastic Japanese film, artistic and intellectual, but engages you very early on; yet it's very emotional. Between those last four compliments and the inventive plot, the style, the acting, and the cinematography, The Mystery of Rampo really bears every grace that a picture can have.

Of course, this high quality includes the soundtrack. The music flows nicely, and even when it gets loud, it didn't make me think that it was forcing the mood on the audience. The work done here can be very subtle or very sweeping, and I actually looked for years before I could find the disc in a store. I don't want to include this scene, but it's the only one on youtube, in Japanese only; the US trailer is awful. Just rent the film.

Perhaps it's better to notice this when you first watch it, so I'll give you white background on white text and you'll have to highlight that space if you can accept a spoiler: Although Rampo has several songs, I'm pretty sure that they're individual parts of an overture, ones that later play out at length as their own separate pieces... There's one song that plays repeatedly, tho. It's a very pretty tune, and over the running time you'll hear it: on strings, on just a piano, as the tune inside a music box, as played by an orchestra... The number of variations are insane, and beautiful.

The Fellowship of the Ring - in retrospect, I might've gone with tTT instead (or alongside) of this one - especially as it has a great track by an Icelandic singer named Emiliana Torrini. Still, tFotR's score is one of the best elements of Jackson's pic; it fits the world of the movie, advances the story, and really draws you in to what you're watching. Howard Shore is really good, and I can't believe I didn't know his name before.

Jackson's picture is great. I really like his work, obviously, and I can feel a little intimidated by trying to write about some of my favorite films. How do I do them justice without going on all day?

Hackers - I love techno, and this is one of the best techno soundtracks ever, loaded with great bands: Underworld, Orbital, Leftfield. It's not all the same kind of stuff, or even the same genre, either. They ultimately released 3 CDs for this movie, the latter with a mix of "inspired by" tracks as well as additional tunes that didn't make the first CD.

And... you can laugh at me if you want, but I love the movie as well. It's a lot of fun and it looks great. I like the whole cast, and I even like that one line that everybody laughs at and wonders if it's funny on purpose...

Run Lola, Run - I told you that I love techno, right? Well, this soundtrack is sweet, sweet medicine. The film is exceptional, and was very unexpected.

Portishead NYC - it was released as both a cd and a video disc for the one performance, so I guess owning both does count. I love this band, so just turning to the DVD: it's fantastic. That one show is beautifully filmed and edited and... and I'm gonna review it in the future.

Oh, yeah. I guess I should note that I'll review all of these movies at some point. I thought it was obvious that I would, but... anyway, moving on...

The Incredibles - As for the film - I will lovingly review it later, but I'll give you this now: I still recall watching the picture, all the time aware that it started out great and it only got better with every minute, topping itself time and again as I sat, stunned and impressed. This movie is f--king magnificent.

Also, Michael Giacchino is a genius. He's so great, it's worth taking the time to spell his name right. The style of music here is another favorite of mine - all 50's/60's stuff, lots of brass. Basically, the early James Bond scores minus the big numbers by Tom Jones and Duran Duran. This movie is packed with that kind of music, which you'll also find in No One Lives Forever. Oooh, speaking of:

No One Lives Forever qualifies as a movie in my mind. It's one I got to play over many hours, and whenever I've seen a movie that's as entertaining as NOLF, I've adored it. I already gushed about this videogame and its incredible soundtrack before, and that post has an embedded vid with NOLF's music, so you can go read that.

Batman Begins - oh, thank heaven: another easy entry. I'm pretty sure I raved about the score in my review of Nolan's masterpiece, but I don't think I owned the soundtrack yet. The song titles are insane, but it's great work, and very easy to enjoy. Hans Zimmer is first rate, and I love playing this music as I do legal work. I have a perverse sense of humor, if not perverse sensibilities, so I find that kind of thing funny.

Speaking of Zimmer: I'm pretty sure I bought several tracks from Broken Arrow. And... yes, I do own Broken Arrow. If you think it's a guilty pleasure, I don't know whether to agree or not. I enjoyed it watching it - it was a lot of fun in the theater and I had great company.

Zimmer's work isn't the reason that John Woo's film has great action scenes, but it does help all of them pop. And the theme written for Travolta's character is perfect. Hell, the end credits are easy to watch, if only because you can hear the great tune below the whole time.

Makes you want to become a cowboy, start smoking, round up some horses...

I have a 30th Anniversary CD of all the opening James Bond songs, and I know I have at least one on tape. Hell, I've bought the movies for my relatives many, many times.

There are of course, a few near misses: I think I have a VHS version of Reservoir Dogs, and I've owned its soundtrack forever. Like the other QT film in this entry, it needs no explanation. I have Immortal Beloved on VHS, too, and if I have a taped copy of Amadeus, then ditto for that pic as well...

I'm pretty sure that that's it, actually - I have a lot of both cds and films, so it wouldn't surprise if I've missed one or two today. In the future, maybe I'll do an entry about movies/soundtracks that I would own but haven't gotten around to collecting...

I have to write a couple of reviews, and soon. After the third or fourth of my Reviewing With Others entries, I've pretty much published one every week. I met my weekly review quota for Net-flixation, of course, with the MRQ that went up Monday, but I like doing a weekly post for Man, I Love Films...

There have been some technical difficulties on this site, though, and a lot going on for me besides, so I'm behind a little. Entries for here, however, are already prepped for next week. The preview I can give right now is that the Fan-made Gem will be pretty funny, I'm undecided as to which Question to publish, and there will definitely be one review here, in addition to my indie spotlight work. I'll see you all on Saturday or Sunday with the delayed RwO.

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