Movie Man Jackson looks at: 2017 Music in Movies (Part 5)

 

Where words fail, music speaks. Part 5 of the yearly Music in Movies series continues. If you missed parts one, two, three, and four, they’re available here , here, here,  and here. Dive in.

IT (composed by Benjamin Wallfisch)

Every 27 Years

Georgie, Meet Pennywise

Derry

Slideshow

Blood Oath

Makes perfect sense that a good chunk of the score of IT is appropriately child-like. This can be heard in its nursery-like chants and what-not, but also in its piano keys and moderately sized orchestra. Songs like Derry and Blood Oath evoke true senses of childlike wonder and exploration, absent of fear and dread. IT is just as much of a coming of age story as it is a full-on horror.

But the horror cues and sounds are present, none creepier than Slideshow, perhaps the most unnerving sequence of the entire movie. The overall sound of IT is reminiscent in a way to the score of the Dead Space games, those games dealing a lot with isolation in space. While IT has nothing to do with space and it is obviously much more ensemble-driven narrative-wise than Dead Space, there is an element of isolation and the fear each youngster has that can only be confronted when in a group. It’s a great score.

Stronger (composed by Michael Brook)

Amputee

Sutures

Part of the reason Stronger is so great is because it doesn’t fall into the overly sappy and forced emotion and narrative script so many other similar films do. The score composed by Michael Brook is an extension of this, never feeling too in-your-ear bombarding the eardrums and saying how the viewer should feel. It makes for an understated score, one that doesn’t necessarily make for a great listen outside of the movie, but still worth some recognition.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson)

Eggsy is Back

Poppy

Statesman

The Gondola Experience 

No Time for Emotion

Kingsman Hoedown

Henry Jackson and Matthew Margeson come back to helm the music that fills the circle that is Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Once again, their main motif, beginning with Eggsy is Back and continuing throughout, comes to define the series in its regal yet chaotic feeling. This time however, there’s a mashup with the more western, county-folk like aspect featuring the Statesman in a few cues. But the best musical moments are that of No Time for Emotion and Poppy, the former garnering the most emotion in the movie, and the latter playing as a cute yet dark introduction to the one-note lead villain.

Blade Runner 2049 (composed by Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer)

2049

Who does a director go to to recreate a score when one of the best—if not the best—composer today isn’t cutting it? Hans Zimmer, with substantial help from up-and-comer Benjamin Wallfisch, of course. The pair were tagged to replace the excellent Jóhann Jóhannsson and keep the legacy of the original’s music that was laid by Vangelis.

They’ve done a great job. Starting immediately with the apt 2049, filling the screen with immense moodiness and spectacle. It’s impossible not to get sucked in.

Flight to LAPD

Furnace

Joi

Sea Wall

Tears in the Rain

I strongly believe that a Jóhannsson-helmed Blade Runner 2049 score would outdo what Zimmer and Wallfisch managed to do here (re-listen to Sicario and Arrival for proof). There’s another layer of atmosphere that the duo lack, but still, cuts such as Sea Wall and Furnace and the rest of the above paint a wonderful sonic picture of a future maybe not completely far off from ours, a future with potential but rife with mystery and fear of the unknown. Tears in the Rain leaves us with a little hope though, that as long has humanity has purpose, we’re on the right track.

Marshall (composed by Marcus Miller, contributions by various artists)

YMCA Swing

Marshall Meets Sam

Marshall V. Friedman

More background filler than true story aid, still the score for Marshall is a solid accompaniment to the on-screen court matters and builds the time period it takes place in. The jazz-heavy score, sometimes light swing, occasionally bebop, and every now and then blues and more classical tracks, isn’t an listen that is unforgettable but it is a chill, smooth one.

Thor: Ragnarok (composed by Mark Mothersbaugh)

Thor: Ragnarok

Where Am I?

No One Escapes

Arena Fight

Planet Sakaar

A new approach to the God of Thunder demanded a different sound. Granted, the score to Thor: Ragnarok isn’t a complete step in a bold new direction, but it is amazing what some 80’s synths and wah-wahs can do to accentuate a movie. It’s a fairly fun and irreverent movie with a score that doesn’t ask its audience to think much beyond that.

Murder on the Orient Express (composed by Patrick Doyle)

The Wailing Wall

Jaffa to Stamboul

Twelve Stab Wounds 

Justice

Murder on the Orient Express is a movie I’ll remember more for the throwback style and production values than anything else. The score crafted by Patrick Doyle is lush and beautiful in its traditional orchestral sounds mimicking the events on screen in lockstep. Justice in particular is one of the best standalone score of the entire movie year. Kind of does sound like a Clue movie come to life (which I know was actually made in 1985).

Hero’s Theme

 

Batman on the Roof

I like character themes. It’s a little bit of a shame, though, that we don’t get real definitive, standout ones in Justice League for the new heroes in Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman, but perhaps those will come during their own solo outings. Danny Elfman replaces the talented Junkie XL in this DC outing, and he’s probably a better fit, honestly. That’s no indictment of Holkenborg, who makes great epic music, but here and there, it can go into noise noise noise mode. What Elfman does here isn’t legendary, but, some rich, moody tracks and textures are built. I wonder if with a little more central focus on one character in the next go-rounds will make for more memorable scores.

Photo credits go to asturscore.com, heroichollywood.com, filmmusicreporter.com, jonburlingame.com, maxthetrax.com, imdb.com, batman-news.com, and filmmusicmag.com.

Only one (possibly two) more installments to go!

Follow MMJ @MovieManJackson.

 

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Movie Man Jackson looks at: 2016 Music in Movies (Part 4)

 

Welcome back to another entry that deals with the music behind the feature films. If you missed Parts 1 2, and 3 you can find those herehere, and here. Let’s do it.

Finding Dory (composed by Thomas Newman)

thomas-newman

Jewel of Morrow Bay

Hank

Quite a View

Despite being completely different movies, I’m convinced that Thomas Newman was influenced a little by the score he put forth in Bridge of Spies and used that for a little direction towards the score to Finding Dory. Listen to Hank and Jewel of Morrow Bay and then to these select tracks from BoS:

Similar sounding just a tad, right? And if one thinks about it, you could draw similarities in plot between Dory and Bridge…right? Not two movies I’d ever mention in the same sentence, yet I can’t go without thinking of the other movie now whenever I listen to the score.

The Infiltrator (composed by Chris Haijan)

chrishaijan

The Stakeout

Don’t F*** This Up

So Who Is She? 

The Wedding

It’s a strong likelihood that if a movie takes place in the 80’s and/or cocaine factors heavily into the plot, its score will be 80’s style synth-heavy. The Infiltrator, composed by Chris Haijan, is no different. The score, though not rhythmic or featuring a particular motif, is moody and somber. Like the movie itself which builds and builds, the score, while not exactly building upon itself, sort of does and by the end, punctuated by The Wedding track, the weight of what Robert Mazur has done and how it affects everyone around him is felt.

 The Legend of Tarzan (composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams)

Akut Fight

Jane Escapes

Stampede

There’s half of an entertaining Tarzan movie in The Legend of Tarzan, and not coindidentally, there’s half (give or take) of a good score in The Legend of Tarzan. Generally, when the movie allows Tarzan to be, Tarzan, King of the Jungle, the score is fun to listen to, a perfect melding of natural/jungle sounds and orchestral beats.

Star Trek Beyond (composed by Michael Giacchino)

giacchinom

 The Dance of the Nebula

A Swarm Reception

Mocking Jaylah

Aside from Hans Zimmer himself, I’m not sure if there’s a bigger composer today than Michael Giacchino, the man behind the music of Jurassic World, Up, Inside Out, and Zootopia, not to mention the upcoming films in Rogue One and Doctor Strange (really excited for what the latter will sound like) to name a few.

Honestly, it is a little hard to step into franchises that already have established sounds and motifs, like the Jurassic and Star Trek franchises have. Under Giacchino, the Star Trek theme sounds as noble and rich as it always does, but it is the tracks for the action sequences that are the real winners here in my opinion, getting the benefit of a full orchestra and vocals to create harrowing sounds in the vastness of space.

Lights Out (composed by Benjamin Wallfisch)

wallfisch

Keep The Lights Out

Rebecca’s Theme

Sophie’s Mind

No You Without Me

 

“(Director) Sandberg was keen I write a score with very strong themes and emotion at its core, which is pretty unusual for horror films.”

It isn’t everyday where you see a horror film have such a pretty good family dysfunction dynamic. As many have said, this is really a story about a dysfunctional family more than some ghostly apparition. Of course, one does get some musical tracks during the runtime that set the scare tone, notably, the opener Keep The Lights Out, which accompanies one of the best opening horror scenes in recent memory. But pieces like Rebecca’s Theme, No You Without Me, and Sophie’s Mind are more emotionally stirring than one would anticipate in a horror movie.

Nerve (composed by Rob Simonsen)

simonsen

Game On

Night Drive

New York F****** City

Verrazano

Vote Yes or No

I can’t believe how good Nerve’s score is, and if I’m being honest, this isn’t the belief I held when I originally posted my thoughts. Maybe not good in the sense that it helps me understand the movie more and draws emotion out of me good. But good in that this really is a stylish score for yes, a stylish movie. Shocking really.

It’s 80’s sounding, not in the way The Infiltrator sounds, but more like a TRON or old school 80’s video game. I close my eyes and I hear a lot of Mac Quayle (of Mr. Robot fame) mixed with some poor man’s Daft Punk (Random Access Memories to be specific). In particular, the track Verrazano is probably one of the best things I’ve heard all year.

Jason Bourne (composed by David Buckley and John Powell)

buckley

Converging in Athens

Las Vegas

Jason Bourne is more or less a retread of the movies that came before it in the series in just about every facet, score included. It is what it is. There’s still some good, though. The tracks above feel apt for a Bourne movie, spy-like but also in possession of just enough grit. But there’s only one song/cue that I equate Bourne with, and even with the disappointment the new Bourne carries, I couldn’t help but smile when this came on at the end after Bourne of course outsmarts another corporate puppet.

Suicide Squad (composed by Steven Price)

stevenp

Task Force X

That’s How I Cut and Run

The Squad

The Worst of the Worst

Nah, Suicide Squad ain’t perfect. But, it has its moments. Even in the “dark, dimly lit slog” (taken from Mark Hobin at FastFilmReviews.com), one can see that there is an extremely fun (and dark) film just waiting to be mined.

I really enjoy some cuts from this score done by Steven Price. Some of the best cuts, posted above, effectively get across the psyche of this collective group. They’re bad people scarred figuratively and literally beyond belief, but many are looking for redemption and actually do have a soul. Across a couple of tracks, Price creates some motifs that could be summarized as “dark heroism.” I’d love to see Price get the opportunity to score the sequel.

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