Every four weeks, ORWAV explores the movie month ahead through the medium of song! Upcoming releases, notable births and anniversaries and a general celebration of the films, directors, technicians and performers that we love so much. Without further ado, here’s the first…
Spring 2015 should end up in the history books before long, with both Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron kicking off the summer blockbuster season. Of all Hollywood’s summer tentpoles, only Pixar’s Inside Out looks likely to reach anywhere near these films’ dizzying box office heights. Nevertheless, April is where it all begins these days (apologies to our friends in the US, Canada, Spain, et al. who don’t get Age of Ultron ’til May…) so we’ll kick off our playlist in pumpin’ good fashion with Furious 7‘s big theme tune, Dillon Francis’ “Get Low” feat. DJ Snake.
This month’s biggest birthdays come in the form of Al Pacino’s 75th, Robert Downey Jr.’s 50th, Rooney Mara’s 30th and, the heftiest of them all, Anthony Quinn’s centenary. The beloved star of Viva Zapata!, Lust for Life, The Guns of Navarone, Lawrence of Arabia and La Strada was born 100 years ago this month in Chihuahua, and became only the second Mexican to win an Academy Award – in fact, he was so good he did it twice. We’re saluting the legend the only way we know how: by playing “Zorbas”, the theme from his 1964 hit Zorba the Greek. Yamas!
Another cinematic legend gets his due this month in the form of a fairly hagiographic documentary, Altman. We’re saluting the maverick New Hollywood hero with a lovely cover of “Suicide is Painless”, the theme from his breakthrough M*A*S*H, and Keith Carradine’s Oscar-winning original “I’m Easy”, from 1975’s Nashville. For more of Robert Altman’s greatest musical moments, however, check out Leonard Cohen’s songs for McCabe & Mrs Miller, plus the wonderful soundtrack to Popeye, a true underrated gem.
In more “heritage” news, Blade Runner gets yet another re-release under the probably-misleading rubric “The Final Cut“. Well, heck, it’s one of the all-time greats, so we’ve slapped one of its more lovely tracks in here – although who knows if it ends up in the (sigh) “Final Cut”?
I mean for the love of Jehovah, do circumcised babies get the option of a “Final” cut?
Exhilarating madness abounds this month (in the UK’s release schedule at least) as two of 2014’s more well-liked, if completely different, films drop. Swedish black comedy Force Majeure and return-to-form Keanu Reeves actioner John Wick are represented here, partly as reminders that you should go see them immediately, partly because the songs – Vivaldi’s “Summer Concerto” and Tyler Bates’ appropriately-titled “Warehouse Smack Down” – are excellent.
A lot of people have been commenting on Russell Crowe’s directorial debut The Water Diviner, seemingly forgetting that not all the actor’s extracurricular activities have been this successful. But fear not – we spared you any painful cuts from his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts and included instead Marcia Hines’ “Remedy”, to which Crowe actually lends a certain fitting weirdness. Bop along, laugh if you want, but it’s always worth saluting the star’s genuine lack of self-consciousness. Rock on, Russ!
This month’s playlist winds down with two very different tracks from very different films: first, Alan Silvestri’s title theme from the first Avengers movie, getting us nicely pumped up for Age of Ultron (sorry again, US, Canada and Spain). Secondly, inspired by the release of acclaimed documentary Cobain: Montage of Heck, we’re finishing up with one of grunge’s finest moments, the Unplugged version of “All Apologies”. Where would cinema be today without the likes of Cobain in the late ’80s and early ’90s? Good question. For a start, we wouldn’t have Gus Van Sant.
So that’s it, listeners! Plug in, stream away, and let us know what you did, and didn’t, like. M*A*S*H purists – how was that cover? Russell Crowe fanatics – does his music career feature any underrated gems? And what else did we miss?