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. This month, we head into Summer proper with yet more sequels – including a killer robot, a profane teddy bear, a pint-sized action hero and an ant man. Break out the suncream, head to the cinema: it’s July, baby!
First up, despite all the sequelising, it’s the UK’s turn to see the year’s biggest original film (after its record-breaking US opening): Pixar’s Inside Out. Michael Giacchino‘s fine score is sure to become a classic, but we’ll give you one that’s already there: his Oscar-winning music for Up. In advance of Pixar’s quality resurgence, relive one of their greatest heights with ‘Up With Titles’ and the iconic ‘Married Life’, later in the playlist.
Sadly, however, Giacchino wasn’t also available for a return to the Mission: Impossible franchise. Instead, Rogue Nation‘s production team have signed Joe Kraemer, previously known only for Jack Reacher. Kraemer happens to be one of the more mundane composers currently assigned to a major picture, so instead of his own existing work we’re throwing in one of Giacchino’s: ‘Light the Fuse’, from previous M:I flick Ghost Protocol. Rest assured, however, that under the experienced helming of Christopher McQuarrie, and with such a fantastic bank of preceding franchise music to draw from, Kraemer will probably shine with Rogue Nation, his official invitation to the Hollywood big leagues.
No such worries for Magic Mike XXL, though: it has no score. Instead, its (brilliant) soundtrack comprises… well, pretty much a stripper’s mixtape. We’ve been pumping along to Ginuwine‘s slinky ‘Pony’, showing off what our mothers gave us – then looking in the mirror and realising what a bad idea that is. Luckily, Channing Tatum himself has the same problem from time to time.
Yet another sequel – and like Rogue Nation, the fifth entry in its franchise – is the unfortunately-spelled Terminator Genisys. We can but dream that the film can live up to the 1984 original and 1991’s action classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Remind yourself of just how thrilling these rampant Skynet employees (and victims) can be with Brad Fiedel‘s ‘Sarah on the Run’, from that wonderful, soul-destroying second film.
Something a little more indie finally hitting UK shores in July is last year’s Sundance hit Dear White People, written and directed by Justin Simien. The score is quite nice and clever, using a range of styles and influences all mashed up – just as intelligent and arch, in fact, as the film itself. All kudos to composer Kathryn Bostic; though our pick for this playlist is a soundtrack cut, the exquisite and moody ‘Believe In God’ by Blakface and SeanWyze.
Of a vastly different tempo, style and attitude to racial issues is the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest 116 minutes ever produced within Hollywood: Robert Zemeckis’ sci-fi-action-comedy masterpiece Back to the Future. We’ll keep this one brief; aside from us having plenty of articles lined up to celebrate, there’s also the danger that any attempt to describe the following song – Oscar-nominated, no less – will devolve into over-long gushing. So here it is: Huey Lewis & The News’ ‘The Power of Love’, one of very few moments of blatant synergy to actually be… well, brilliant in its own right.
Less intricate in its comedic ambitions, the nevertheless very funny, very popular Ted dips its toe in franchise-dom this month with its first sequel (Ted 3 hasn’t yet been confirmed, but Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones seems convinced). Having already hit American shores to less-than-middling reviews and slightly disappointing box office figures, this seems a perfect time to remind ourselves that, when he’s not forcing himself to be greatly offensive, Seth MacFarlane can pull off a neat bit of work: ‘Everybody Needs A Best Friend’, giving the first Ted an Oscar nomination (an actual Oscar nomination!), is one of those MacFarlane joints that – unlike Family Guy and his films – actually gets better as it goes along. Strangely saccharine, yes, but pretty gosh-darn catchy.
Another comedy stalwart returns to cinemas this month, though for once Paul Rudd won’t be Mr. Nice Guy. Instead he’s donning weaponised super-suits and coming to terms with himself as a life of crime catches up with him. He’ll be, like, battling bad guys. Gone are the Ruddian quips of yore, replaced by a new world-weary morass of complex personal issues. Yes, Ant-Man looks to be Marvel’s grittiest film yet.
… Or so they wanted us to believe in earlier marketing. Thankfully, a more recent batch of publicity suggests that Ant-Man will play to Rudd’s – and Marvel’s, really – strengths as a haven of high-budget wit and epic silliness. To that end, they’ve hired Edge of Tomorrow‘s Christophe Beck as composer; here’s that film’s grandiose, yet oddball, ‘Ritaliation’. Enjoy.
Two musical films to round us out, both about enduring legends – one with a long legacy and still with us, the other with just two great albums and sadly departed. It’s Bill Pohlad’s Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, and Asif Kapadia’s Winehouse documentary Amy. Even those who don’t care much about the subjects should find something to love, however, as the films both showcase rising cinematic artists continuing to master their craft: firstly Paul Dano, in yet another great performance as ‘Brian Past’; secondly Kapadia, steadily proving himself one of the most skilled and distinctive voices in a genre that can be unforgiving.
We’re marking the UK release of these two films with a Beach Boys classic (‘Hang Onto Your Ego’, very apt for the story of a crumbling Wilson), a Winehouse favourite (‘Back to Black’), and finally another Wilson number, to take us right into summer: a lovely arrangement of ‘Love and Mercy’ itself. Enjoy the playlist, enjoy the films, and stay tuned for next month’s selection in which we get even sunnier!