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. Encompassing two big sequels, a journey to tomorrow, and 100 years and 547lb of hulking genius, here’s May’s playlist…
The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. One hell of a director’s résumé. The biggest news this month is, for most, Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, which will see the two-time Oscar winner tackle Disney synergy, teen acting and a magic coin. A pedigree cast and crew including George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Judy Greer, plus legendary editor Walter Murch and, er, paid writer Damon Lindelof (thankfully counterbalanced by co-scribe Bird) may well make this the best non-super summer blockbuster since Super 8. Michael Giacchino’s official score hasn’t yet been released, so we’re marking Tomorrowland with the track that closed out his last collab with Bird: an awesome version of the “Mission: Impossible Theme”.
Anyway, onto our first sequel: Pitch Perfect 2. According to Hitfix, several songs can be confirmed as making appearances – but beyond the likes of “Wrecking Ball”, “Run the World” and “Bootylicious”, who knows? Either way, we have high hopes the Barton Bellas can match the brilliance of their previous competition medleys – including (and this was a very tough pick) “Bellas Finals” [P.S. Bonus “Cups” at the end of the playlist].
Hot on the heels of that magnificent Force Awakens trailer, May 2015 is the 40th anniversary of the foundation of Industrial Light and Magic, aka (quite literally) the company that made Star Wars possible and dug a clear path (still digging, in fact) in effects-driven filmmaking that reaches a new apex each successive year. So relive the incredible first moments of the company’s first film: it’s John Williams’ “Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner” – the second half of which is impossible to hear without mentally adding Ben Burtt’s beautiful sound design. Oh, and in honour of 40 years of meticulous world-building, we’ve added the oh-so extraterrestrial “Cantina Band”. You’re welcome.
May is also, of course, the month of Cannes – and surrounding the festival’s usual buzz, select countries are welcoming the wider releases of acclaimed 2014 French pics Clouds of Sils Maria – Olivier Assayas’s latest, which gained extra buzz this year when its star Kristen Stewart became the first American actress to win a César Award (the French Oscar) – and Girlhood, an exuberant social-realist effort beloved by critics since screening in last year’s Directors’ Fortnight. The two, which we’re greatly looking forward to, are respectively represented here with soundtrack cuts “Kowalski”, by Primal Scream, and “Diamonds”, by Rihanna.
Another Cannes mainstay finally releases his hotly-anticipated latest this month, as Thomas Vinterberg’s (Festen, The Hunt) Far From the Madding Crowd premieres. The OST is out as well: Craig Armstrong’s (Moulin Rouge!) stately effort has some lovely moments, none better than the subtle, undulating “Hollow in the Ferns”, included here.
Next up, it’s a film US viewers are plenty acquainted with, only just getting its UK release. Chris Rock’s oddly auteurist Top Five has won critical acclaim, solid box office receipts and it may see a sequel, so get ready and delve in with LL Cool J’s brilliant “Doin’ It”.
Our final new release on this playlist ties it all together: the big-budget auteurism of Tomorrowland; the anticipated sequelness of Pitch Perfect 2; the Cannes prestige of Clouds and Girlhood; and the sheer wild lunacy of Chris Rock at his best. That’s right, folks. It’s the film we’re all waiting for. Represented here by Tina Turner and “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from its predecessor Beyond Thunderdome, it’s George Miller’s inevitably batshit-and-brilliant Mad Max: Fury Road (or as we call it, FUCKIN’ MAD MAX! FURY ROAD!).
Just to round you out then, it’s the “heritage” part of the playlist. May 6th is a biggie: the centenary of indisputable legend Orson Welles. A contrarian American giant of world cinema whose influence reverberated around the Hollywood studio system from Citizen Kane onwards, and whose works – including The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil and experimental documentary F For Fake – provide a continuing throughline to today’s independent cinema cultures, Welles was an accomplished polymath whose popularity waned over his lifetime yet whose genius never burned out. We salute him here with Kane‘s lovely “Theme and Variations” and Anton Karas’ iconic “The Third Man Theme” – for one of Welles’ most beloved roles. If you’ve not yet experienced them, all five films in this paragraph are must-sees, both historically and… y’know, because they’re incredible.
Finally, another long-running icon celebrates his own anniversary on May 13th: it’s 60 years since the release of Clint Eastwood’s film acting debut, Creature from the Black Lagoon sequel Revenge of the Creature. He played a lab technician.
Despite his increasing artistic missteps and his cloying conservative leanings, we’re big fans of Eastwood at ORWAV – and anyone who’s had such an effect on the cinematic landscape is worth commemorating in any way possible. Keeping with the “early years” theme, we’ve included Clint’s own vocal efforts from his time starring on Rawhide, from 1959-65. “Rowdy” is strangely beautiful, and stands as both a tribute to his character of the same name and, fifty-some years down the line, the star himself: “Ridin’ hard, ridin’ fast/Always on the go… “