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 the Force awakens, the whale stirs and the monster’s aliiiiive: we’re closing out a fantastic year with a brilliant December…
If you’re in the US, December is one of the best movie months you could possibly wish for; in the UK, however, the likes of Hateful Eight and Joy don’t hit until the new year, leaving us with… well, In the Heart of the Sea and Krampus, really. Oh, also the biggest movie event of the year. Having covered the original Star Wars in a previous playlist, we’re stepping forward into the wild hyperspace yonder with John Williams’ ‘Burning Homestead’, which combines horrifying tragedy and a feeling of suspenseful adventure as Luke, officially caught up in a war with seemingly little to do with him, realises the only thing left to do is step out into the world and AWAKEN THE FORCE WITHIN. You pumped? We’re pumped. Pumped like the utilities on a Tatooine moisture farm.
But it’s not all about looking forward this Christmas. Peer into the endless unsorted files of film history and you’ll find that classic bureaucratic nightmare Brazil turns 30 this month. Terry Gilliam’s loose Orwellian masterpiece, originally titled 1984 1/2, remains one of those cinematic touchstones that most directors can only dream of; we have in the Playlist two versions of the title song included in the film: one by Geoff Muldaur and one by Brazil‘s composer Michael Kamen, whose lucid, evocative score is one of the underrated highpoints of this visually-striking nightmare.
Back to 2015 though, classic literature fans should have a ball with a certain effects-driven movie coming out this December. That’s right: it’s
sure-to-be-classic Gothic romp Victor Frankenstein Ron Howard’s version of the original inspiration for Moby-Dick, In the Heart of the Sea. Among other interesting creative choices, Howard’s decided to hire Spanish composer Roque Baños to score this nautical spectacle – Baños’ previously most high-profile film work is probably the Oldboy remake, a heart-stopping snippet from which (‘Titles/One Man’s Journey’) we’ve included in the Playlist. Straight after is something a little more representative of Baños’ jazzier stylings, ‘Balada de la Trompeta’. Ideally, of course, his Heart of the Sea score would combine these approaches into something dissonant and amazing, but at this point everything remains to be seen.
On a slightly different end of the mainstream spectrum are wannabe genre hits Sisters, seeing Tina Fey and Amy Poehler flying the December flag for blockbusting comedy (after the female-driven one-two punch of Spy and Trainwreck this summer) and Krampus, which surely has to become the breakout cult hit of 2015. Horror, comedy, bizarre European folk tales and Christmas? Can anything go wrong? For the former, we have trailer track ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, by Depeche Mode, while the latter has hysterically gifted us Bing Crosby‘s ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’. ‘Tis the season. Get hype.
If these aren’t quite your tempo, then the UK’s finally getting Lily Tomlin’s well-received vehicle Grandma, which is represented by The Tree Ring and their instrumental version of original song ‘Lights Out’. The similarly well-liked CG version of Peanuts, using its technology to basically recreate the original Charles Schultz look to stellar effect, is also hitting these shores in time for Christmas: Vince Guaraldi’s iconic theme tune is being whipped out again, including on our Playlist as performed by the Hollywood Movie Theme Orchestra.
Tying it all together, looking both forward to the future of film and far back into its past, we’re celebrating the centenary of Frank Sinatra and the imminent US release of David O. Russell’s Joy, largely because it’s just incredibly exciting. The former, who won an Oscar for From Here to Eternity and was nominated for his convincing turn as a heroin addict in The Man with the Golden Arm, spent most of his 82 years a glitzy Hollywood fixture; an all-rounder known for a raft of classic performances in classic films from On the Town (“New York New Yooooork!”), Anchors Aweigh, Guys and Dolls, High Society and Ocean’s Eleven, not to mention the gripping The Manchurian Candidate and Von Ryan’s Express. One of his more iconic moments is celebrated here: performing the Oscar-winning title song – originally uncredited – from 1954’s Three Coins in the Fountain.
And finally, just because we can, it’s that beautiful trailer music from upcoming family saga Joy: it’s The Rolling Stones‘ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’. Watch it again, await the New Year (or Christmas Day, if you’re in America) and reflect on what a great year it’s been for films. We’ll be unveiling our own annual roundup very soon. Till then: Merry December!