Movie Man Jackson looks at: 2017 Music in Movies (Part 4)

Please don’t stop the music. Part 4 of the yearly Music in Movies series continues. If you missed parts one, two, and three, they’re available here , here, and here. Let’s do it.

Dunkirk (composed by Hans Zimmer, with contributions by Benjamin Wallfisch, Lorne Balfe, Andrew Kawczynski, and Steve Mazzaro)

The Mole

Supermarine

Home

Rag on the overkill volume levels all you want (seems to be a common occurrence in Nolan films), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Hans Zimmer (along with company this time) has made another memorable score in Dunkirk. Desperation and constantly swelling tension describes Dunkirk to a T. Starting with The Mole around the 2:30 mark, the sound that most will remember—Nolan’s ticking clock—signifies the delicacy that is time in this film. Zimmer’s work here is atmospheric and bleak. Yet, it’s the type of musical pieces one feels throughout their whole body. He’s made a score in which his music is easily a bigger character than anyone that appears in Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic.

Atomic Blonde (soundtrack by various artists, score composed by Tyler Bates)

C*cks*cker

Demonstration

Finding the UHF Device

Viewing Atomic Blonde is akin to watching a music video from the 80’s. There’s bold style, vivid colors, and little substance. But boy, can it be fun to look at and listen to! Most of the music appearing in the movie is licensed, anything from A Flock of Seagulls to a cover of “Blue Monday” by HEALTH, truly giving the film the 80’s authenticity it’s going for. But the few synth-heavy score cuts by Tyler Bates do the job as well, adding a shady and dangerous sounding vibe to the events on screen.

The Big Sick (composed by Michael Andrews)

Two Day Rule

The Big Sick is charming from the get go in all of its sweet awkwardness. I’d like to think this opener of a song, Two Day Rule, is a wonderful foreshadowing of what the resulting relationship will be. Quirky, refreshing, yet a little troubling, like a rainbow that emerges after a long thunderstorm. Really does set the tone for the rest of the movie.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (soundtrack by various artists, score by Atli Örvarsson)

Hitman’s Bodyguard

One of the Good Guys? 

If most of The Hitman’s Bodyguard was like the tracks posted above, maybe it would be a better movie? Atli Örvarsson’s le motif drawa upon a couple of genres in funk, gospel, classical, and jazz to create a loose and fun theme with a lot of swagger. He then tapers it down for what serves as the movie’s most somber and reflective moment in One of the Good Guys? Unfortunately, Örvarsson’s contributions here to the music are rather limited, taking a backseat to licensed music, but i wish they weren’t.

Wind River (composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)

Snow Wolf

Breakdown

Meth House

Three Seasons in Wyoming

Memory Time

Wind River

Wind River is easily one of the more somber viewing experiences of 2017. Cold and uncompromising, the heavy-string score and soft keys chills down to the bone, not unlike a harsh winter. The occasional vocals sound like people crying out for help where there is none in the open West that is Wyoming. This is a score that is very introspective and haunting. I’ve never experienced loss like some of the characters in Wind River, but after listening to the score, I feel like I have.

Logan Lucky (soundtrack by various artists, score by David Holmes)

Original Score Medley

Hearing Original Score Medley from Logan Lucky makes me wish there were more actual score music in the film. The piece by David Holmes is that good and fun to listen to; eclectic, southern funky, and kind of grungy all in one with the electric guitar, church organs, drums, and underlying 808s. A shame, in my opinion, Steven Soderbergh’s longtime companion was relegated to only one track. Once again, can you tell I’m more of a score person than a soundtrack person?

Photo credits go to moviemarker.co.uk, iris.theaureview.com, mubi.com, lmo.co.uk, consequenceofsound.net, and bbc.co.uk.

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Movie Man Jackson looks at: 2016 Music in Movies (Part 5)

Welcome back to another entry that deals with the music behind the feature films. If you missed Parts 1 2, 3, and 4, you can find those hereherehere, and here. Let’s do it.

Sausage Party (composed by Alan Menken)

menkin

Food Massacre

Probably an unpopular opinion, but the best moment of Sausage Party for yours truly, even though I knew it was coming, isn’t the end but the moment in which the anthropomorphic food stuffs thinks it is in The Great Beyond, only to see that it is a horrific myth.

The musical piece that accompanies this particular moment fits perfectly like a sausage (or hot dog) in a bun, starting out super serene and bright, only to devolve into something that feels like it should be in 300 or God of War. It’s an unforgettable moment composed by Alan Menken, the man behind Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

Don’t Breathe (composed by Roque Banos)

banos1

The Blindman Liar

Money Dies

Indoor Chasing

Trapped in the Car

Want harmony or really rhythmic horror cues? Don’t Breathe isn’t the score for that. But, if looking for truly dissonant and incongruent sounds, Don’t Breathe provides that in spades. Composer Rodrique Baños takes most of his sounds from common household items and/or actual industrial tools. Listen closely in Indoor Chasing, for example, and you can hear a faint alarm go off.  Or heavy chimes and tin cans being banged on in Trapped in the Car. Creaks, hinges, scratches, and the like all add up to an additional level of claustrophobia for the movie.

Hell or High Water (composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)

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Comanchiera

Texas Midlands

Mountain Lion Mean

Outlaw State of Mind

Dust of the Chase

There’s real introspection to the Hell or High Water score, and it makes sense. The movie is by and large a character study of three, possibly four, very layered characters, all with their own inner demons. Above all though, the score just feels old-school western-y, very atmospheric with really full sounding violins/violas and underlying bass. Additionally, each licensed song like Outlaw State of Mind seems to place the viewer right into the mindset of the main characters; these are really well selected.

Sully (composed by Christian Jacob & The Tierney Sutton Band (with Clint Eastwood)

jacob

F4 Malfunction

Hospital

Some people have described Sully as “your parents’ favorite movie.” Take that as an indictment on its quality or not, but Sully so obviously has an old-school vibe to it, including the score, which seems lifted from the 50’s era in its light jazz.

I like it. I like to think a good amount of the score is a reflection of the film’s titular character; so cool and composed, yet still nervous in the face of the Hudson fiasco, except he can’t show it and has a job to do. At the very least, the score is great easy listening before bed, right?

Snowden (composed by Craig Armstrong and Adam Peters)

armstrongcraig

adampeters

Download to Rubik

Secret Downloading

Hawaii Guitar Theme

Happiness Montage

I wouldn’t expect music for a movie featuring a character who deals a lot with the Internet, and the inner workings of how it can be exploited to “Big Brother” the population to be grandiose or full of emotion. Most of Snowden‘s score is as such, not calling a whole bunch of attention to itself, but just there enough to be noticeable. As one would expect with its computer/information highway driven story, many of the cues are electronic, and somewhat dark.

Coincidence or not, it is interesting, however, that the few “natural” pieces of the score come during times of the movie in which Edward is taking a step back from his intrusive career. Maybe they’re used to imply that people are happier and simpler when they’re not knee deep in technology. Something to think about.

The Magnificent Seven (composed by James Horner)

jhorner

Rose Creek Opposition

Seven Angels of Vengeance 

Volcano Springs

Faraday’s Ride

House of Judgment

Something just feel right in the fact that the late great composer James Horner’s last contribution to Hollywood happens to be a Western movie, a genre that in all of its expansiveness and sprawling flatland lends itself nicely to the rich sounds that Horner so often utilized.

Horner has all of the key cues one visualizes a Western having. The dark introduction of our villain. The mano e mano standoff(s). The last ditch frantic suicide run. And of course, the heroic sendoff for our heroes as they save the day. True, nothing compares to the iconic Bernstein Magnificent Seven 1960 theme, but that’s OK, especially when considered that Horner wrote this before his fatal crash as a surprise to director Antoine Fuqua. As unorthodox as that is, some guys just have it. Horner had it. You will be missed, James.

Photo credits go to joblo.com, soundtracktracklist.com, dreamtheend.com, filmmusicmag.com, pitchfork.com, billboard.com, and filmmusicreporter.com.

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