The Lady in Number 6
This short film really loves the fact that the oldest living Holocaust survivor is also a pianist; thus, in between dispensations of some of the most hackneyed "wisdom" you'll ever encounter, the filmmakers allow her to pound tunelessly and annoyingly on her piano. She's ancient, of course, but that doesn't excuse this butchering of a fine instrument. One searches in vain for anything approaching a tune or chord progression. Every "song" sounds the same: a cacophonous banging racket. This may be the worst music I've EVER heard in a movie.
The Broken Circle Breakdown
This devastating film about grief focuses on a husband and wife that front a country band in Europe. The score itself is very good, but the songs are amazingly gorgeous; they speak for the characters as in all the best musicals – when the female lead performs Wayfaring Stranger at a pivotal moment in the film, I found myself weeping.
This poetic, spare meditation on faith and death has a beautiful score from Patrick Cassidy of orchestral arrangements and choral pieces. The stunning climax gains much of its power from the astoundingly beautiful choral music.
The Godfather Part II
Rota creates another wonderful score for the Corleone saga. This score builds on the previous score, making all the right callbacks, but also taking the music in a darker, murkier direction, to mirror the movement of the film. Striking, instantly iconic and memorable.
A Hard Day’s Night
Surely I don’t need to actually make a defense here. Probably the greatest pop group in the history of pop music performing some of the best pop songs ever written. Any defense boils down to these four words: Can’t. Buy. Me. Love.
Lovely, lilting score from Arcade Fire hits every emotional beat right on. Ethereal and gorgeous and evocative.
The Last Waltz
Scorsese’s stunning concert film captures The Band’s farewell concert; it also captures icons like Dylan, Clapton, Morrison, the Staples and myriad others at the height of their respective powers. Neil Diamond is jarringly out of place, but otherwise, it’s essentially wall to wall phenomenal music. Special note to Levon Helm’s drumming, Clapton’s absolute cool on Further On Up the Road and Ronnie Hawkin’s energy level on Who Do You Love?
The music for this undeniably trippy film is as trippy as everything else; Jo Yeong-wook provides sweeping, epic orchestral pieces; rampaging electronica; quiet, luminous instrumentals. This is film music as epic and sprawling as it gets.
It’s only Hermann’s second best score because of the towering achievement of Vertigo. Hearing this stark, unsettling, strangely beautiful score over the great big speakers at a rescreening at a local theater was a revelatory experience. This score is quite simply one of the greatest in the history of cinema.
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Yeong-wook once again scores a masterwork for a Chan-wook film. The music here doesn’t sprawl quite as far, but in the scenes of tragedy and sorrow, Yeong-wook outdoes even Oldboy with music that is deeply, powerfully sad. The final scene is a masterpiece on its own.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a full-on assault on the sense; it’s an intense sensory experience in every way and the music by Wayne Bell & director Tobe Hooper is no exception. It’s a clamorous, dissonant, disorienting, disturbing racket that keeps your nerves constantly on edge. I don’t know that it would hold up very good on an album, but it’s a perfect marriage with the chaotic, disturbing film.