Personal Favourite Film Soundtracks

It recently occurred to me how the films that I have been watching lately have had brilliant soundtracks and ones which I have been listening to over and over again. So here is a list of my personal favourite film soundtracks.

I re-watched the Tarantino Classic Reservoir Dogs not so long ago and it once again reminded of how brilliant the all 70’s soundtrack is which sees “Stuck In The Middle of You” be played in time to Mr Blonde cutting someone’s ear off. Sticking with Tarantino it is only fair to mention Pulp Fiction which sees some unconventional songs such as “Jungle Boogey” turn into a classic moment.

500 Days of Summer also holds one of the best soundtracks which is one of the main highlights to the unusual non-stereotypical rom-com, with song “Sweet Disposition” constantly being in your head after. Similar film Juno also brings to the table a very up-beat warm soundtrack that again is a highlight and credit to it’s film.

Most recently in cinema’s both Inside Llewyn Davis and Her have produced amazing soundtracks which I have not stopped listening to as well as a high standard to 2014 films. Inside Llewyn Davis really shows off folk music and Oscar Isaac’s talents whilst Her’s mixture of synthetic scores and songs such as “The Moon Song” is just beautiful and rather complimentary to Spike Jonze’s creation.

Two of my all time favourite films also hold two of my all time favourite soundtracks. Drive is brilliant with such a upbeat award winning score with songs “Night call” and “Real Hero” being amongst the highlights.  Donnie Darko my all time top film holds a great score which compliments and foreshadows every event with the famous and iconic “Mad World” being the highlight.

Do you agree? What are your personal favourite soundtracks?

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The Way Way Back (2013)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Writers: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Starring: Steve Carell, Liam James, Toni Collette, Allison Janney

Rating:★★★★

The Way Way Back to my surprise was a film that I saw on a lot of lists come the end of 2013 but since watching I can certainly agree with its inclusion. Surprisingly warming, pleasant and funny it sways from the stereotypical “teen-comedy” and produces a refreshing much welcome change. Good solid performances from the whole cast along with a witty well-written script The Way Way Back is entertaining and defiantly deserves its praise.

Duncan (Liam James) is a shy, in-the-background 14 year old who doesn’t have a conventional lifestyle and is forced to go on summer vacation with his mother Pam (Toni Collette), her horrible arrogant boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his equally annoying and spoilt daughter. Whilst his mum is busy putting herself “out there” meeting  Trent’s vacation friends Duncan finds himself left out and unable to fit in. Riding around on an a pink little girls bike he discovers the Water Wizz  Park and quickly forms a bond with manager Owen (Sam Rockwell), finding an unexpected friend in Owen, Duncan soon finds out how to enjoy his summer vacation but he still has to face is overbearing and disastrous family.

The story is pleasant, although at first it looks to be the typical comedy of the neglected family member getting revenge or becoming a hero or a romanticist it changes and somewhat becomes more serious. Duncan’s relationship with Owen is hilarious and obviously the highlight, he is given power and earns a reputation at Water Wizz and with that Duncan comes out of his shell and turns out to be a funny and “cool” kid. The relationship though is also pleasant as it is obvious that the two have a bond and Duncan looks up to Owen as a role model in ways, the way that the Owen looks out for Duncan is very warming too. The other relationship storylines in the film are not as good but decent, Duncan and his mother obviously need to repair their broken relationship so we follow that throughout, whilst Pam actually has her own problems with the very easily dislikeable Trent and finally a small subplot follows Duncan having a romance with his neighbour however it is very cheesy and for me unnecessary.

Liam James plays Duncan very well, he is easily likeable and we route for him throughout and he provides plenty of laughs, one very memorable scene is when Duncan is made to dance (including the classic robot) in front of a huge crowd at the water park. Rockwell’s Owen however is my favourite character; he provides the main comedy and in a way makes this film very easily watchable.  Steve Carrel also deserves credit for his role as obnoxious Trent and likewise for Collette’s Pam.  Although small characters in the film, neighbours Betty and (eye-patch) Peter are absolutely hilarious and provide even more likability to The Way Way Back so they deserve a mention.

The ending to The Way Way Back is very warming and wraps up the film nicely however for me there are still picky criticisms. I would have liked to see a quicker start, although it opens with great introductions it attempts to trick us with Duncan’s romance whereas I would have liked to seen Owen introduced much more quickly, and on the note of the romance I would have scrapped it all together as it isn’t “Duncan”.

In a whole The Way Way Back is a bundle of laughs and fantastic comical moments, with a well-written script and characters it makes for a surprisingly great watch. Standout performances from Liam James and Sam Rockwell add to the entertainment and create a pleasant feel to balance out the comedy. The Way Way Back is a worth-while experience that is easily watchable and enjoyable.

The Descent (2005)

 

Genre: Horror, Adventure

 Director: Neil Marshall

 Writer: Neil Marshall

 Staring: Shauna Mcdonald, Natalie Mendoza

 Rating: ★★★½

 Just like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later three years previous, The Descent is another British horror film that was both popular in the UK as well as the US producing an American sequel. Neil Marshall, director of Dog Soldiers this time takes on an all female cast that go caving and discover some more than unfriendly inhabitants. Providing thrills, jumps and shocks it truly lives up to its genre.

 The film follows the character of Sarah (Shauna Mcdonald) who has just recently lost her husband and daughter in a horrific accident shown at the beginning of the film. Despite no longer being in the stage of grieving Sarah is obviously still suffering from her loss but however agrees to go on a routine caving trip with her friends to Boreham Caverns. The narrative has a side plot and a in group protagonist of Juno (Natalie Mendoza) after it becomes obvious she was having an affair with Sarah’s late husband. Juno, who’s planned this caving trip decides against the tourist options and take the girls to an unknown cave in the hope of them being the first to discover it but all this is unknown and a surprise to the girls. 

When in the unknown cave system things start to go wrong and their entrance and possibly only exit becomes blocked, eventually a worried panicky Juno tells the group the truth. However they’re still far from knowing what they are getting themselves into, the cave is home to hundreds of blood thirsty monsters. These “crawlers” are fast, clever and hunt in packs for flesh and the group become top of their menu. Being hunted the group must try to escape the cave, however Sarah has other things on her mind as she sets of for revenge on Juno. The rest of film fuels on tense chase scenes, providing many jumps and scares. It also focuses on the transformation of Sarah and how troubled she really becomes, from visions of her dead daughter to extreme acts of violence.

The Descent is a very different and unique horror, for starters its all female cast is something we don’t often see and it strays from the stereotype. The “crawlers” are a new take on a monster, they however provide blood, guts and gore as they hunt the group down, creating just what we expect. The setting is also something new, however despite this innovation as a viewer you still get what you came to see, and that’s a thrilling, gore-filled horror. The acting despite not standing out is good and is something you come to expect nowadays, although Shauna Mcdonalds performance as Sarah is worth a mention. For me the editing and the graphics of the “crawlers” is something that deserves credit, they are realistic but at the same time horrifying and will really stay in your mind. The sound used also creates suspense moments, although mostly its natural diegetic score when long silences and stings are used its effective and well timed so be prepared to jump.

Neil Marshall definitely represented the British horror industry positively once again as The Descent is a great horror and its no surprise the Americans made a sequel. A film that’s somewhat discredited and underrated but for me it’s one to watch, a film very much accurate to its genre and good for a dark night.