In the 1950s, Philomena Lee was a naive Irish teenager who got pregnant, gave birth in a convent, and was forced by the nuns to sign away her parental rights. The 2013 film Philomena is based on what happened five decades later, when Lee went looking for her son with the help of a journalist. Directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Philomena is up for several Academy Awards, including one in an unlikely category.
A staple of easy listening radio throughout the latter half of the 20th century, Henry Mancini’s gifted songwriting abilities often overshadowed the films he scored. Despite winning an Oscar for his score for “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” (in addition to another Oscar he shared with Johnny Mercer for “Moon River” from the same film), the complete score for the picture has gone largely unheard on compact disc until now.
Composer Howard Shore has written dozens of film scores. He’s worked with directors Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorcese, and he’s a frequent collaborator with David Cronenberg. But he’s probably best known for his work with Peter Jackson.
Shore wrote the scores for all three “Lord of the Rings” movies, as well as the two “Hobbit” films, including “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which opens today. He’s won three Oscars for his work on “The Lord of the Rings” films.
12 Years a Slave is the most compelling film about music to be released this year, maybe this century. It's so many other things, too, as others have noted: a corrective to the weird cocktail of piety and cartoonishness that Hollywood usually supplies when depicting slavery; a gorgeous art film and an actor's hellish paradise; a cultural highlight of the Obama administration.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 12:15 pm
Among many other accomplishments, filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen helped change the direction of contemporary music with the soundtrack to their 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Winner of an Album Of The Year Grammy, among other honors, the collection — produced and compiled by T-Bone Burnett — sold about eight million copies and helped launch a resurgence in tradition-minded roots and bluegrass music that continues to this day. It's one of the most successful and influential albums of the decade that spawned it.
As the summer movie season winds down, “The Wolverine” has been a stand out, praised for its attention to details like character development, plot, and a focus on place and setting, despite its comic book action-movie pedigree. Fittingly, Marco Beltrami’s score for “The Wolverine” also escapes some of the trappings of typical action scores.
Leonard Bernstein wrote only one original film score in his career, for Elia Kazan’s classic film, “On the Waterfront,” starring Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, a troubled longshoreman and one-time contender who’s gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd. Like Brando’s character, Bernstein’s score is a mixture of tenderness, violence, and nobility.