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Entries in Original Song (68)

Wednesday
Nov272013

Review: Frozen (2013)

Tim here, to talk about the last big animated release of 2013, and easily the best to come from a big studio all year: Frozen, the 53rd film in the Walt Disney animated feature canon. Adapted very loosely from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, it’s a fairy tale about two sisters, princess of the small kingdom of Arendelle: Elsa, first in line to the throne, voiced by Broadway icon Idina Menzel, and clumsy Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell. Elsa was born with a touch of magic to her, and can create snow and ice from her hands, and when this terrible secret reveals itself on the day she’s to be crowned queen, she flees the kingdom in terror, leaving behind a thick blanket of endless snow.

Let’s clear out the low-hanging fruit first: “best Disney movie in 20 years” is just plain silly. It’s the best Disney movie since Tangled, maybe. Except for the instantly-forgotten but wonderful Winnie the Pooh. Anyway, let’s not get all daffy and pretend this is a movie at the level of achievement reached by The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin. It has some very wonderful elements, and a gorgeous song in Elsa’s “to hell with y’all” anthem “Let It Go”, which is absolutely every bit the “Defying Gravity” knock-off that Glenn identified, though I’m inclined to say that it’s better than its evident model. In fact, there’s probably nothing about Frozen I don’t like, up to and including the comic relief snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), who is incorporated into the movie far more elegantly and with far less gruesome “buy this toy!” stridency than the trailers suggested would be remotely in the realm of possibility.

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Tuesday
Nov262013

Sondheim to Streep "Don't F*** It Up!"

I am normally loathe to share soundbyte interviews from TV  -- especially when I have full delicious ones to offer with a whole slew of actors (soon, darlings, soon) -- but this little bit with Meryl Streep explaining what it's like to play Violet Weston is choice. The 'shiv in her hair' reference is perfect. But mostly I dug her enthusiasm about Into the Woods. Hey I'd squeal too if Sondheim wrote a new song for me!

He only asks that Meryl not fuck it up. (That's all we ask too) Which delights her. Because Meryl is delightful. 

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Tuesday
Nov192013

A Call From Samantha

Coming out of Her, Spike Jonze futuristic (but very "now") drama about human connection and intuitive Operating Systems I felt a little of the mood hangover that accompanied Lost in Translation. You know the way certain movies, particularly atmospheric singular ones, can do that... leave you feeling melancholy but considering or even seeing the world in a new way?

It's too fresh to say much more -- I'm still mulling it over -- but Scarlett Johansson's "Samantha", a disembodied voice that wants to be bodied, is crucial to its success. If you don't fall for Samantha how can you buy that Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore Twombly would? 

We've loved ScarJo's voice since she first hit the movies.  What other movie star voices could you fall in love with? Let's make a list in the comments!

P.S. Karen O's "Moon Song", attached to this post, is performed by Scarlett and Joaquin in the movie and by Karen O in the end credits and it better be Oscar nominated for Best Original Song

P.P.S. When the movie screens in your city make sure to watch the end credits. No, there's not an extra scene or anything. It's just a scroll but there are a couple good laughs and I loved the names of the characters played by this guy and his scene partner (no, it's not how IMDb lists it). 

Moon Song

Sunday
Nov102013

True Oscar Stories: Ann Reinking

Today is Ann Reinking's 64th birthday so do some impossibly precise Fosse moves tonight whereever you are in her honor #andallthatjazz

When I tweeted that this morning the internet saw fit to remind me of her big Oscar moment performing Phil Collins' Against All Odds (1984) and though it was legendarily awful I personally have nothing but fond memories of Reinking from Annie (1982) and Micki & Maude (1984) and her foxy Roxie Hart (pre-movie version). Plus, of course, All That Jazz (1979) which would have been a better Oscar moment had they saw fit to nominate her for Best Supporting Actress that year.

I have only very vague memories of the 1984 Oscars (only my second ? time watching as a kid) and YouTube doesn't help since her Oscar night performance has never been online to my knowledge though I did discover some time-capsule LA Times items about that moment and this oddity from the Golden Globe nominated Movie Movie (1978) while searching for it.

Harry Hamlin's half aroused/half terrified Golden Globe nominated pretty mouth-face is so adorbs, don'cha think? I mean that's the only sane face to pull while watching Ann Reinking doing spread eagles and scissor kicks in a black tearaway gown and blonde afro.

-She sure can sing."
-With every bone in her body." 

I wish I could see her number from the Oscars and am suddenly filled with longing for the days of big awful Original Song production numbers on Hollywood's High Holy Night. Which are your "favorites" - scare quotes intentional? 

Saturday
Nov092013

Oscar's Songwriters Have a Difficult Task in 2013

Glenn here and it's the weekend, which means there is no better time to discuss Oscar's original song category (er, right?). Much like that other much-maligned category, animated feature, The Academy's songwriting branch somehow need to come up with five nominees even if there aren't enough worthy contenders. Last year's introduction of a guaranteed five nominees produced "Academy Award Nominee Ted!", although it did allow for the beautiful song from Chasing Ice (performed by ScarJo!) to come to our attention so maybe it's not such a bad thing after all? I strongly believe that this is their penance for not nominating "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from Burlesque a few years back. Diane Warren's music branch voodoo doll works in mysterious ways, folks.

At least one song we can all be pretty confident about is "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. Apparently the studio will only be submitting this one song from the film despite a wide roster of contenders. They're going for the win it would seem and, at least at this stage, unless reception to the film isn't particularly positive it's probably the best bet for the win based purely on history. The video below isn't the best, but it's all we've got at the moment that isn't a Demi Lovato pop version. 

The Butler, The Great Gatsby, Belgian bluegrass and Tom Cruise after the jump!

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