3 items from 2014
Great movie songs have served varying purposes over the years. They can both set the scene and act as a theme song (“Fame,” “Falling Slowly” from “Once”), capture a mood (“Things Have Changed” from “The Wonder Boys”), serve up an emotional coda (“My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic”) or even define a character (“Sooner or Later” from “Dick Tracy”).
But how does a single song capture a movie’s essence and bottle its spirit?
Punk rocker Patti Smith, who wrote the lullaby that features prominently in Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” “Mercy Is,” says the director “wanted a song that has a nostalgia for Eden, a time before the fall when man was in direct communication with God.”
For her first original film tune, she read the Psalms and the Song of Solomon to get a sense of the appropriate language. “It had to be a comforting and hopeful song, »
- Jon Burlingame and Tim Greiving
But it’s his last two films that are bound to draw the most attention at awards time: “The Imitation Game,” due Nov. 21, and “Unbroken,” slated for a Christmas release. Both are powerful, fact-based dramas focusing on quietly heroic individuals.
In the case of “The Imitation Game,” the story of the mathematical genius Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) charged with breaking the German code machine Enigma during World War II, director Morten Tyldum posed a challenge: “I wanted music that could be subjective, inside this head of this awkward, brilliant mathematician. At the same time I wanted music that would depict the epic scope of the war; a tender, fragile love story; and the thriller element, the spy story. »
- Jon Burlingame
On Wednesday night, the ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel was filled with so many talented heavyweights and the power players behind them that Doreen Ringer-Ross, mistress of ceremonies at the Bmi Film/TV Music Awards, referred to the assembled as “a film music geek’s wet dream.”
And yet there was the name of Jon Burlingame, Variety’s go-to expert on film composers, positioned in the program just below the evening’s headliner, movie maestro Mychael Danna (“Life of Pi”), who was due to receive the Richard Kirk Award, the performing rights organization’s equivalent of a life achievement kudo.
Burlingame, a journalist and author of such books as “The Music of James Bond,” bathed in the adulation — including a filmed tribute that included Oscar-winning grand master John Williams — from a room full of people intimately familiar with his work.
“I just love what you guys do, I always have, »
- Steve Chagollan
3 items from 2014
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