Just to say hi…

This is just a check-in to let you all know I haven’t recoiled from the blogging world, or worse, neglected you! Sadly I’m currently suffering from a temporary bout of indifference. I started writing a post on the film ‘Chalet Girl’ that I saw recently at the cinema but found that is was overpopulated by the word good; like the word ‘nice’ any English teacher will advise you to avoid it like the plague. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it, but there was a part of me hoping to see a terribly trite and flawed romantic comedy in order to get the creative juices flowing and proceed with a Mark Kermode style rant. Whilst I was gladly proven wrong and indeed actually rather liked the film this led to a pretty boring review: to sum the movie it was brilliantly charming and as light and fluffy as the snow which features. The soundtrack’s pretty cool too. However that doesn’t exactly make for riveting reading. Moreover gone are the days in which I watch at least two or three films a week…I’m hardly making it to one! Boxsets are taking over my life and the last two films I saw were repeats and I always prefer to blog when my viewing of a film is hot off the press. In short I need to revive my blogging spirits, but am slightly unsure as to go about doing so. Its not that I’ve lost excitement in film, believe me, when this month’s Empire magazine landed on the doormat it was quite the opposite (coolest cover in a long time), I just don’t really know what to write. I actually believe I’ve been jinxed, I wasn’t having trouble until someone else told me they were having trouble deciding what to write next and now, like a cold, I’ve a caught it. So fear not, I haven’t dropped of the face of the earth. I’m just brainstorming and will be back with something epic just as soon as I come up with it…

Round-Up

As hard as I tried to prevent it, I made a glaringly obvious error with my music list and now like some sheepish newspaper making a small apology for a headline mistake I present you with a choice that should have been in the Top 5. How on earth I missed it, I do not know, considering I used that very film…

You Make My Dreams Come True – 500 Days of Summer

I saw it on someone’s 30 Day Song Challenge on facebook and then realisation hit. Quite simply a great 80’s classic and an all round uplifting song; maybe I’ll just slip it in at number 6 and call it the Top 26.

Now, apparently I have some sort of defect which prevents me from being able to do too many related tasks at once, for instance, since resuming regular blogging activity my film list has fallen by the wayside and I haven’t made an entry since early February. Sadly, the past two weeks have also been unusually devoid of films and alas I have very little to write about; on the upside our monthly lovefilms have arrived and look promising. Anyways I decided to write my thoughts on the latest film news, mainly taken from imdb. (Thanks guys!)

Forget the Olympics, London 2012 is now THE place to be as Robert Redford announced the Sundance Film Festival was to be held here in the 02 arena in April. I definately plan to either volunteer or buy tickets for this, especially considering the number of films that have gained wide release or Oscar buzz from the indie festival circuit. Alongside the main film acts, there is to be musical performances and discussion panels, so basically this event covers three of my most treasured interests; film, music and talking about film. Waheyy.

Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to take over Matt Damon in the Bourne franchise. The writer Tony Gilroy has issued a statement of intent, basically outlining that this isn’t a reboot and unlike where say Maggie Gyllenhaal took over the role of Rachel Dawes from Katie Holmes, Jake, if he is cast, will be a whole new character. Now this is what I call lazy filmmaking. Firstly, the film isn’t even based on the same material that the original 3 Bourne films were, so essentially they’re ad-libbing, which sounds quite precarious to me. Secondly, the only reason Matt Damon isn’t on board this project is because Paul Greengrass isn’t directing, which leads to me to think, well why should we be on board if the main actor doesn’t even want to be involved. Furthermore, if it’s a new character, a new storyline and a new director at the helm, surely a lot of what makes the Bourne films, the Bourne films could be lost and thus why not just create a new film. It seems to me that Universal Pictures are trying to squeeze every last penny out of this franchise and not for the right reaons. Of course I may take this all back when the film is released sometime in 2012 and Jake Gyllenhaal is running about, throwing punches and looking very desirable, but for now I say leave it to rest.

Vera Farmiga’s (the one from The Departed and Up in the Air) directorial debut ‘Higher Ground’ is set to premiere in NYC at the Tribeca Film Festival, after making its world premiere at Sundance. It’s about a woman in a tight knit spiritual community during the feminist 60’s and her journey as she questions her faith. Sounds rather heavy and little tedious to begin with, but there are various reasons to bare with it. If Farmiga’s directing is anything like her acting we should expect a very subtle and classy picture. Moreover the supporting cast includes John Hawkes, most recently seen in Winter’s Bone and nominated for his performance, as well as Dagmara Domincyk who played the stunning love interest in The Count of Monte Cristo. Though not my topic of choice, the film has already received favourable reviews for its delicate and honest critique of the church, therefore definately worth looking in to.

Round 2 for The Fighter. Word on the street is that Mark Wahlberg is in the early stages of making a sequel. It’s not going to be like Rocky according to Mark Wahlberg, but an account of Micky’s “epic battles with Arturo Gatti” and sure the first film was a well-acted, kinetic and emotive and boxing is something I often enjoy in the movies and this may well be a narrow-minded insight, considering that apart from this film I don’t know anything about the story of Dicky and Micky, but I can’t see what USP that a sequel will bring to the story. The characters were interesting, but perhaps not people I would want to endure another two hours with and why it’s always nice to see what becomes of these people, a little summary at the end of the movie would do just fine. But then again someone might have said this about The Godfather 2 before it came out.

That’s all folks.

TOP 25 MUSIC MOMENTS IN FILM: THE FINAL 5

Well this is what it comes down to. It’s unlikely that you agree with all my choices and there are plenty I’m sure I haven’t included (I have yet to see Wayne’s World)but these are my 5 all time favourite musical film moments. The ones that have the power to change your mood in a split second, evoke childhood memories or simply remind you that with great music and great film the world is a far more richer, expressive and enjoyable experience.

5. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Stepmom – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ0I7HMFu1k&feature=related

The version with Diana Ross is just awful, whereas this one has got all the soul and sassiness to make me get up dance every time and often this is just at home. If I were to do karaoke it would have to be this song for its sheer ‘got-to-belt-it-out’ quality. These scenes (it features in two) also remind you of the power of music to connect people. They’re all about letting go, living life to the full while you have the chance and most of all having fun and in light of some upsetting news that my family received today this sentiment is all the more significant. I am totally gonna’ sing in the mirror with my hairbrush and dressed in PJ’s tonight whilst I have the chance.

4. Tiny Dancer – Almost Famous – Elton John

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qn3tel9FWU

This is the sort of film that stirs up the sentimentalist in me. An era when music meant something and being young and hip and free was all that mattered. Such a bittersweet and nostalgic scene, perfectly encapsulated by one Elton’s best songs and another scene which reiterates the notion that great music can bring people together. Plus I love it in the movies when characters sing along too.

3. Don’t Dream Its Over – Adventureland – Crowded House

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bKNWywoOhk

One of my all time favourite songs; it reminds me of summer and just kicking back and relaxing. I had the pleasure of seeing Crowded House live at IOW festival 2010 and the atmosphere when this song was playing was every bit as good as I had imagined. The film Adventureland and this scene, especially with the fireworks captures the song’s sense of youth, hope and freedom. Just listening to this song; the opening bass of the guitar, the ‘Hey Now…Hey Now’ reassures me and Adventureland, with its whimisical style and heartening yet somewhat poignant ambience suits it perfectly.

2. Twist and Shout – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – The Beatles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgd46QiHz4I

One of those 80’s American teen coming-of-age movies that Easy A’ echoes, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is perhaps best remembered for this scene. And rightly so. It is the epitome of cool. I absolutely love it when the people appear at the top of steps, practically gliding and then of course there’s Matthew Broderick with his first-rate twisting action. If only streets of people spontaneously danced to songs nowadays, the world would be a much happier place. “Well shake it up baby now…”

AND NOW FOR NUMBER ONE…DRUM ROLL PLEASE…

1. Streets of Philadelphia – Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGg_wI-kI0&feature=related

Not the original scene from the film, but a montage of clips accompanied by the song. I remember it in the film being played when Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett is surrounded by people and just looks achingly lost and alientaed. It’s hard to put into words what this song means to me; it has no significant association with a particular person or event but it just has a resonance, the genius of Bruce Springsteen perhaps. The film is very sentimental, but its also important in the topic it explores and how it aims to dispel the injustice and stigma attached to those with AIDS and the poignancy of this song just reinforces that message. To me, it’s a song with incredible depth about the human condition and every time it blows me away with how full of beauty and sadness it is. That’s why it’s my number one. Now excuse me whilst I have a listen to ‘Knock On Wood’ and dry my eyes…

Thank you for reading!

TOP 25 MUSIC MOMENTS IN FILM : 9 – 6

9. Knock on Wood – Easy A – Amii Stewart / Emma Stone

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_waRdusMJs

Yay! A clip that’s finally in HD so you can experience it in all its glory. I appear to belong to the minority of teenagers who prefers dancing to classic songs from the 70’s and 80’s than the hits of today. Sure there are a few exceptions and I’ll happily dance along whilst the DJ plays the latest club anthems, but when the likes of ‘Knock On Wood’ comes on, which they almost never do, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me. But you can guarantee I’ll have to drag a reluctant friend onto the dancefloor to join me just so I don’t look like a complete loser; (my moves happen invite this comparison). Take for example this photo…

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1547340060#!/photo.php?fbid=10150145677629365&set=t.1547340060&theater

Anyway, this is partly why I love this clip, because it harks back to the good old era of musical numbers and 80’s teen movies (the song is circa ’79)as well as tapping into that American high school fantasy we all have; the whole bleachers, sports hall, marching band and cheerleader thing. But ultimately its Emma Stone who makes this clip. Sassily strutting her stuff with enviable confidence to one of my favourite songs. She is my idol. This version is almost as good, if not better than the original.

8. Irish Party – Titanic – Gaelic Storm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U50hqJS2ock

As you can probably tell by the sudden plethora of blue underlined website adresses I have found out how to insert links so you can see the videos with greater ease! Hope this compensates somewhat for the lack of actual videos in the post. It is also a pipe dream of mine to figure this out. Titanic had to feature on this list somewhere, being my favourite film and all and you might be surprised to find it’s not Celine Dion’s classic ballad ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and whilst that does send a shiver down my spine, it is this music moment that is perhaps my favourite scene in Titanic. The music is just so damn good. The beer guzzling, bar brawl, ballet moves, tap dancing and crazy Irish jigs; it brilliantly captures the antithesis of Rose’s stifled upper class existence and seals what is to be the everlasting love between Jack and Rose. Sorry for being mushy, but I too would like to go to a real party.

7. Jurassic Park Theme – Jurassic Park – John Williams

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTb-dvAbz0A&feature=related

This is the particular clip I have in mind when thinking of the Jurassic Park theme in the movie, however below is the entire theme which I am referring to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8zlUUrFK-M

Quite simply the best musical score ever written. Of course that is just my opinion; but no others I have heard are able to simultaneously bring a lump to my throat and uplift me. Every note is perfect and its just so epic and emotive. It is my wish to walk down the aisle to this song.

6. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Dirty Dancing – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmILPAcRQo

Forgive me, but I am a romantic a heart and you can’t have a Top 25 Music Moments in Film list without this being on it. Everything about it is just so exquisite; the spotlight on Baby, the dimmed lights, Johnny removing his leather jacket, the spine tingling first few chords, Bill’s melodic voice, Baby’s innocent, anticipating face and then the way Johnny just looks at her and beckons. What girl’s heart isn’t melting at this moment in time. I know its unrealistic to believe that this sort of thing happens in real life, but that’s the point, just for a few minutes to live vicariously through another in the hope that real romantic love does exist. Ok so I just re-read this and wanted to vom, it may well be all those pancakes I’ve eaten, but either way I promise not to let it happen again. Basically it’s magical and I could watch it all day long. No joke.


TOP 25 MUSIC MOMENTS IN FILM : 14 – 10

Right-o, back to business it is and here’s the countdown from 14 to 6. I feel like I’m presenting Top of the Pops or something.

14. Stuck in the middle with you – Reservoir Dogs – Stealers Wheels

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=komvFIGYBYM

This scene has probably done more to glamourise violence than any other film to date. But then that’s Quentin Tarantino for you. Michael Madsen is razor-toting, smooth-moving Mr. Blonde, who manages to pull off derangement and torturous side by side with suave nonchalance. The song and the scene are both classics and go hand in hand with one another; never can I hear this song without thinking of this twisted, gruesome experience. I love the way the camera pans round as ear guy writhes and struggles in his chair, all the while Mr. Blonde savouring the moments as he dances to that memorable bass line.

13. Here Comes Your Man – 500 Days of Summer – Pixies

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bN1RTtCVR4

I would like to apologise for the horrific quality of the clip, but hopefully the sheer brilliance of the song negates this blunder on my part. Let me make this clear: I LOVE this song. Many-a times has this got me through tedious essays, it can quite easily be played 10 times in a row and remain electrifyingly good. Even better, this scene features the wonderful Joseph Gordon Levitt doing drunken karaoke and he has a surprisingly good voice. Casually caressing the microphone, beer in one hand and giving it all the oomph and charisma that this song deserves, as opposed to shamefully bouncing around your bedroom with only the walls for an audience, Levitt elevates himself to the status of excellence immediately. Especially when singing the “outside the family stew” line. My knees are weak.

12. Old Time Rock’n’Roll – Risky Business – Bob Seger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2UVsyVLLcE

This is one of those scenes you don’t even have to have seen the film to know. A classic by any standards, I imagine that anyone who has seen it has either fantasised about or actually recreated this scene. (Or is that just me?) The pouring of the Whiskey,(ok so I didn’t go that far), the meal for one alone at the dinner table because you are that grown up and then that oh so famous riff and…The. Coolest. Entrance. Ever. It’s a crime not to air-guitar during this song. Just those first few beats give me tingles of joy.

11. Non, Je ne regrette rien – La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Dz3-k1d9I

Embodies the grandeur, passion and romanticism that is associated with our idealistic perception of what it is to be French. It’s one of those all encompassing songs, at least for me, in that whenever you hear it you have to stop whatever you’re doing and just be completely taken by the lyrics and melody, even if you can’t understand them. The potency of the song is by no means lost in this scene, especially with the magnetic performance of Marion Cotillard. The film is intercut with flashbacks and her implied death, but the sentiment remains. This is Edith Piaf’s legacy, the song that will forever be associated with her, even in spite of glasses adverts. And oh what a legacy. Parfait.

10. The Power of Love – Back to the Future – Huey Lewis & The News

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuMjBfFWcbE

It is a pipe dream of mine to one day learn how to skateboard and on that day, I will make a phonecall, only to look at the clock and realise that “damn, I’m late for school”. Cue ‘The Power of Love’ blasting from the background and a sweet ride hanging onto the back of a jeep. Somewhat nostalgic for me, as I remember having a Michael J. Fox weekend with my dad when I was 11, thinking this was the best film ever and proceeding to skateboard up and down my cul-de-sac in the hope that one day I would be as cool as Marty McFly. The skateboard may be in the garage, but the dream lives on.

TOP 25 MUSIC MOMENTS IN FILM: 19 -15

19 – 15

19. Up Where We Belong – An Officer and a Gentlemen – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YKW-3-RwTM&feature=related

Youtube’s inability to provide me with matching clips is hindering this post somewhat. From what I remember of watching this film; this romantic ballad occured during the end when Richard Gere quite literally sweeps the girl (I can’t remember her) off her feet. A heartwarming crescendo to what is one of the most lovely love stories, you can’t help but be wrapped up in the idealism of it all.

18. The Sounds of Silence – The Graduate – Simon & Garfunkel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9eIXN6Sp40

Oh how I love Simon & Garfunkel. This wonderfully melancholic song fits the ending of this film so well. After the dramatic climax and big romantic gesture, reality for Elaine and Ben sets in as their future lies ahead. Rather than gushing about their love and their dreams, the sit in silence, perhaps not really sure if they do love each other.

17. Be Our Guest – Beauty & The Beast

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov4tE7XRTUA

I have a lot of love for whoever wrote this song. The whole opera and opulence of it all, combined with the enchanting creativity of the sequence make for a Disney classic. Quite simply magnificent.

16. Then He Kissed Me – Goodfellas – The Crystals

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCYwcObxl78&feature=related

This song also features in a film called The Adventures of Babysitting which rivalled very close with this scene. But this is Goodfellas, so, come on. The scene is so illuminating; both in terms of narrative and Scorcese’s genius as a director; he leads us down into the underworld that is the mob, darkly glamorous, alluring and yet very dangerous. Brilliant song choice, something which continues throughout the movie. One that comes to mind and perhaps even shares this spot is Layla by Eric Clapton in which the gang get whacked.

15. Goin’ To Acapulco – I’m Not There – Jim James & Calexico

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt3pMzPjauc

Yes, it does (get its own spot that is). This entire scene is so emblematic and evocative; from the paradoxical presence of the giraffe to the jarring notes of Jim James & Calexico it brings tears to my eyes. Perfection.

TOP 25 MUSIC MOMENTS IN FILM : 25 -20

The capitals are for my general excitement at writing this post. I have been mulling/planning this for a while making sure I don’t miss anything like I did with my definitive list post; though that is perhaps inevitable. I have also spent a lot of time trying to upload youtube videos, because the choices don’t mean a lot if one can listen, then agree or disagree, but unfortunately folks no can do. Enjoy the post anyway, its been a pleasure to do.

25. Addicted to Love – Cocktail – Robert Palmer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGpEOIBkM8s&feature=related

Ok so that creepy woman in her 80’s get-up that stares Tom Cruise out kinds ruins this clip a little for me, along with the very abrupt Spanish voiceover; however this remains a pretty awesome scene. I can never fail to be impressed by the bartending skills on show in Cocktail, along with one of those ‘belt it out’ numbers of the 80’s. I wasn’t even alive then and it still seems that those were the days.

24. Shipping up to Boston – The Departed – The Dropkick Murphy’s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrc1prw96-Y

This clip doesn’t really do the song justice, but then neither does one with the song out of context. An emphatic and catchy song that provides a searing introduction to what is a very intense film.

23. Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You – 10 Things I Hate About You – Andy Williams

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6XGUhzfutc

A prime example of when Hollywood takes liberty and challenges the audience to suspend disbelief in the name of love. I could write a partially witty and yet equally sincere account of why I’ve made this choice, but then someone has already done that for me, so I too shall take liberty and hand you over to Deb Medsker of http://www.bullz-eye.com/movies/features/2006/movie_tunes.htm.

“Of course it’s preposterous. That’s hardly the point. The issue is not whether Heath Ledger’s Patrick Verona would be given carte blanche to take over the school’s public address system (he wouldn’t), nor whether he could successfully bribe the entire marching band (his high school has a marching band?!) to learn, practice and perform on cue the very song with which he hopes to serenade the object of his affection, one Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles, in the best performance of her career to date). No, the point is the big, beautiful sentiment behind it all, as Patrick steps out into the bleachers, microphone in hand, and pours his very soul into a grand romantic gesture that can’t fail to melt the heart of his ice queen. Because, seriously: Who wouldn’t want to be serenaded in the middle of a soccer field by Heath Ledger? “Let me love you”? Okay. Where do I sign?”

22. The Killing Moon – Donnie Darko – Echo & The Bunnymen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNsN_qUpXTU

A hauntingly brilliant song, with a great riff that accompanies this scene perfectly. I love how the morning sun ripples through the trees and the notion of clarity that emanates from this scene; the breeze, the freedom, the music that is juxtaposed with Donnie’s own state of mind.

21. I’m Not There – Bob Dylan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJzPSPkWTrM

Now you’re probably wondering why I haven’t specified a song. Well quite simply that there are too many epic music moments in this film to just choose one; it is after all a Bob Dylan biopic. The clip is of the trailer, which features ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. I can’t summarise how much I love this film, so if you’re interested there is an earlier post on my blog where I review it (http://nicoleaspiringfilmmakerdavis.blogspot.com/2010/04/cinematic-innovation.html). The whole soundtrack is also worth checking out, as its filled with some offbeat, quirky but exquisite covers of Dylan’s songs. Most notably, Stuck Inside A Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again by Cat Power and Goin’ To Acapulco by Jim James & Calexico, which is especially poignant and perhaps the scene I would have chosen if I were so darn indecisive. It might even get its own spot…

20. Society – Into the Wild – Eddie Vedder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRUGvArWXLk

Another film with a stellar soundtrack, mainly because it predominantly features the resonant vocals of Eddie Vedder. A lot of meaning behind this song that beautifully epitomises the sentiment behind the film as well. This song also puts me in a pensive mood, which is also something that can be said for the film.

So that’s the first 6. I’ll break it up into manageable chunks, just like revision (another reason to read this blog : the free advice) so as to make it less tedious.