“Joy” Soundtrack Is A Surprisingly Entertaining Collection Of Songs

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records

Courtesy: ABKCO Records

Actress Jennifer Lawrence’s new starring vehicle Joy has made quite the noise since its release late last month.  It was nominated for two Golden Globes, one of which–BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY—was a win for Lawrence. It was also nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award for BEST COMEDY while Lawrence was nominated for BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY.  Lawrence has also been nominated for an Oscar in the BEST ACTRESS category.  Audiences will find out Sunday, February 28th if she brings home yet another big win.  While they wait to see if Lawrence can win yet another major acting award they can now enjoy the movie’s soundtrack for themselves.  Music From The Motion Picture Joy was released in stores just last week via ABKCO Records.  And it is just as applause-worthy as the movie, in which Lawrence stars as the woman that created the Miracle Mop and in turn a business empire.  The central reason for that is the list of songs and performers that make up the body of the soundtrack.  It isn’t just another forgettable run-of-the-mill compilation that throws out a bunch of Top 40 songs for the sake of marketing current charting acts.  Rather it takes audiences back in time with songs that fit the era in which the movie’s story is set.  It crosses those songs and couples them with original tunes crafted specially for Joy.  Even Lawrence and cast mate Edgar Ramirez get to stretch their proverbial wings and put their own vocal chops on display throughout the course of the disc.  Between those performances, the songs specific to the movie, and the classic original songs featured in the compilation, all twenty-one songs featured in this recording make it a surprisingly enjoyable soundtrack that is worth at least one listen.

Music From The Motion Picture Joy is 2016’s first truly surprisingly enjoyable soundtrack.  That is thanks in large part to the mix of material that is presented over the course of the compilation’s twenty songs.  It doesn’t just present a bunch of songs from the latest Top 40 pop and rock acts for the sake of marketing their big singles alongside the movie.  Rather it mixes original classics alongside songs crafted specifically for the movie and songs performed by Jennifer Lawrence and co-star Edgar Ramirez.  The classic songs that are featured throughout the soundtrack’s body are not necessarily standards.  And in some cases they are likely known only by very specific audience groups.  But they are still entertaining in their own right.  The Salzburg Bach Choir’s performance of Notre Pere Opus 14 and that of ‘In The Bleak Mid Winter’ by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge prove that argument.  The same can be said of Cream’s classic ‘Feel Free’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Stray Cat Blues,’ and Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘I Want To Be Happy’ just to name a few other classics included here.  Whether through those songs or any of the other classics included in the body of this soundtrack, the whole of said songs makes for plenty of enjoyment for audiences in itself.  The classic songs featured as part of Joy’s soundtrack are doubly important to its overall presentation.  They are important primarily in that they aren’t just a bunch of popular top 40 hits thrown together to market said songs and acts.  They also don’t require audiences to have seen the movie to have any appreciation for them.  Audiences can simply appreciate them for the great works that they are.  Speaking of having seen the movie in accordance with the soundtrack, there is a small handful of compositions included in the soundtrack that was specific to the movie, which are just as important to the soundtrack as the more popular and well-known compositions. They are collectively yet another reason that audiences will want to hear this collection of songs.

The mainstream and semi-mainstream songs that are featured as part of Joy’s soundtrack are in their own right plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this collection of songs. They are just one part of what makes it an interesting collection of songs. There is a small handful of scene-specific compositions included in the soundtrack’s body, too. Considering that the soundtrack is composed of twenty one total tracks, six scene-specific songs really is not that many songs in the grand scheme of things.  And even with said songs being linked to specific scenes from the movie, the songs themselves are actually enjoyable.  ‘Joy Romantic Theme’ shows that clearly.  The song, crafted by David Campbell, harkens back to the days of George and Ira Gershwin with its gentle, flowing string arrangements.  Considering that, it’s too bad that it only runs a total of one minute and eight seconds.  ‘Mop Drawing’ is another example of how enjoyable the instrumental, scene-specific songs prove to be. This is one of those songs that audiences will enjoy even if they have not yet seen Joy. That is because of the urgency in the song’s tempo and its sound. Knowing at least the movie’s backstory one can deduce from that urgency what is going on here. ‘Joy Theme’ is one more example of how the soundtrack’s instrumental compositions are just as important to its whole as the more well-known pieces that have been included. The slow, gentle strains of the piano in the West Dylan Thordson composed piece generate an emotionally powerful impact for audiences. The combination of that composition and the others crafted specifically for Joy shows in whole why they are collectively just as important to this soundtrack as the more well-known pieces included in the soundtrack’s body. They are still not the soundtrack’s only remaining elements that make it an interesting listen. The pieces performed by Lawrence (yes, Lawrence actually gets to put her vocal chops on display) and cast mate Edgar Ramirez round out its most notable elements.

The more well-known songs that make up most of Joy’s soundtrack and its scene-specific instrumentals collectively give audiences plenty of reason to hear the compilation in whole. While both are important in their own right they are not all that should be noted of the soundtrack. Jennifer Lawrence and co-star Edgar Ramirez actually get to stretch their artistic wings in this movie, getting the chance to actually perform their own numbers. The songs in question are not necessarily their own. Lawrence and Ramirez tackle the classic tune ‘Something Stupid’ in quite the surprisingly enjoyable duet while Ramirez also takes on Antonion Carlos Jobim’s ‘Aguas De Marzo’ (March Water) and famed composer Randy Newman’s ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come.’ This song is a far cry from anything that audiences have come to know from Newman. It’s far more grown-up and almost Dr. John-esque for lack of better wording. He is joined in this song by The Pedrito Martinez Group. The combination of all involved leads to a song that will have any listener on his or her feet in no time.  Regardless of which song one picks, it can be said that the combination of all three songs makes for even more enjoyment for listeners. It rounds out the elements that make Music From The Motion Picture Joy such an interesting and overall enjoyable collection of songs. Each element is in its own right important to the soundtrack’s overall presentation. All things considered Music From The Motion Picture Joy shows in the end to be a surprisingly enjoyable new soundtrack that is worth at least one listen.

Music From The Motion Picture Joy is one of 2016’s early surprises in terms of movie soundtracks. That is thanks to its mix of music. It presents more than just one type of music over the course of its twenty-one songs. There are some familiar songs included in the record’s body. They are songs not just tossed in for the sake of being there. They are specific to the era in which the story took place. They also play a specific role in the movie thanks to their placement. The choral pieces that were incorporated into the record are just as important to the record as are the scene-specific instrumentals included in the record. The same can be said of lead stars Jennifer Lawrence and Edgar Ramirez’s outings. Even their performances make for their own share of interest. Together with each of the other noted elements, the whole of Joy’s soundtrack proves to make the record in whole one of the year’s early surprises. It is a record that is worth at least one listen if not more. Music From The Motion Picture Joy is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via ABKCO Records’ online store now at http://www.abkco.com/index.php/store/release/316/. More information on this and other titles from ABKCO Records is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.abkco.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/abkco

Twitter: http://twitter.com/abkco

 

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ABKCO Records To Release “Joy” Soundtrack In Stores This Week

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records

Courtesy: ABKCO Records

20th Century Fox’s new movie Joy has only been in theaters a little more than a week and already much has been said of the movie, which stars Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games, American Hustle). It has been received a Golden Globe nomination for the year’s Best Motion Picture. And Lawrence has received a Golden Globe nomination in the category of “BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY.” Now the soundtrack to Joy is being released in stores and online.

ABKCO Records will release Joy’s soundtrack in stores Friday, January 8th. It was previously released digitally on December 18th. Music from some of music’s greatest names is featured in this collection. Those names include the likes of: The Rolling Stones, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, The Ronettes, Bee Gees, Cream, and a number of others. The complete track listing for Joy’s soundtrack is noted below.

 

Music From the Motion Picture JOY track listing:

1)   “I Feel Free” – Cream

2)   “Joy Romantic Theme” (score)

3)   “Aguas de Marzo” – Edgar Ramirez

4)   “The Sidewinder” – Lee Morgan

5)   “I Want to Be Happy” – Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb and His Orchestra

6)   “In the Bleak Mid-Winter – Thomas Bullard, Choir of King’s College, Benjamin Bayl, and Stephen Cleobury

7)   “Notre Pere, Op. 14” – Salzburg Bach Choir/Alois Glasser

8)   “Mama Told Me Not to Come” – Edgar Ramirez, Ray de la Paz & The Peditro Martinez Band

9)   “Something Stupid” – Jennifer Lawrence & Edgar Ramirez

10)                  “To Love Somebody” – Bee Gees

11)                  “I Am in Love” (score)

12)                  “Mop Drawing” (score)

13)                  “Racing in the Street” (score

14)                   “Sleigh Ride” – The Ronettes

15)                  “Stray Cat Blues” – The Rolling Stones

16)                  “Texas” (score)

17)                  “Markham” (score)

18)                  “A House With Love In It” – Nat King Cole

19)                  “Joy Theme” (score)

20)                  “I Feel Free” – Brittany Howard

21)                  “I Feel Free” (Bonus Track) – Brittany Howard

More information on this and other titles available from ABKCO Records is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.abkco.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/abkco

Twitter: http://twitter.com/abkco

 

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IFC Films’ “Premature” Is As Good As Any Big Screen Teen Flick

Courtesy:  IFC FIlms

Courtesy: IFC FIlms

IFC Films’ teen comedy Premature is not only one of the best indie flicks of 2014, but it is one of the best movies of the year overall.  In comparison to the endless stream of prequels, sequels, and remakes churned out by Hollywood’s “Power 5” studios, this movie is a complete breath of fresh air.  It balances just enough bawdiness and raunch with an equal amount of depth and heart to make it a surprisingly entertaining work.  The central reason for that is the movie’s script.  It isn’t just another standard, formulaic teen romp.  It actually teaches some important lessons; lessons that both male and female audiences will appreciate.  The movie’s script is at the heart of its enjoyment.  Another reason that audiences will enjoy this movie is its bonus material.  Included as bonus material on the DVD are a number of interviews with the cast and crew, a fun little behind-the-scenes featurette, and even an alternate ending that proves to be just as good as the ending presented in the final product.  The last aspect of the movie that makes it enjoyable for audiences is the acting on the part of the cast.  The cast isn’t exactly A-listers just yet.  But its members already have quite the chops under their belts thanks to roles on some big movies and TV shows.  It shows quite well in this presentation, too.  It rounds out a movie that while being an indie flick, is one of this year’s best indie flicks and one of the year’s best movies overall.

At first glance, many critics have automatically panned IFC Films’ new teen comedy Premature.  Elizabeth Weitzman, of the New York Daily News, said of the movie that it is “a retreat of every lousy 80s high school comedy you never bothered watching.”  And Variety’s Joe Leydon had one of the harshest comments, attacking not only the movie but those that actually showed any appreciation of the movie.  He noted of the movie and its audiences that “only undiscriminating audiences with a pronounced taste for crotch-centric tomfoolery will sample this goulash.”  Really, Joe?  There was an equally scathing commentary from New York Times writer Nicolas Rapold, equating co-writers Dan Beers and Mathew Harawitz’s script to work from Family Guy head Seth McFarlane.  That is an insult of the highest degree. For all of its naysayers, Premature has also gotten positive marks, too.  Though, even those positive remarks have been tepid at best.  This means that most audiences and critics that saw this movie completely missed the mark in analyzing it.  The script itself does throw back to the teen romps of the 80s.  There’s no denying that.  But it throws back to more than just those movies.  Its script balances the crudeness of those movies with the heart–believe it or not–of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  To a lesser extent, those that are old enough to remember will see a comparison to the likes of Fox’s classic series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, too.  That’s thanks in large part to the work of lead actor John Karna, who plays Rob Crabbe.  The movie sees Rob learn some valuable lessons about both life and love as the story progresses.  He learns about doing what makes him happy versus what makes his father happy through his interactions with his Georgetown recruiter and his father.  The lesson about love just happens to be tied in to Rob’s own full-throttle sex drive.  Audiences need to remember that in our adolescence, the human sex drive is actually much like what is portrayed here.  Hormones are going crazy in the adolescent brain and body.  Beer and Harawitz have just taken that fact and made humorous light of it as part of the bigger picture.  Keeping that in mind makes that aspect of the movie less crude and much funnier.  If audiences can accept that fact and enjoy it for what it is, they will enjoy Premature much more.  They will also enjoy the lessons incorporated into the script, too thus leading to a realization that this movie is far more enjoyable than what some would have others believe.

The script used for Premature is by itself more than enough reason to give this underrated indie flick worth at least one watch.  By itself, it makes Premature one of this year’s best new indie flicks and one of the year’s best new movies overall.  The script is just part of what makes the movie worth watching.  The bonus material included with the movie makes the presentation in whole even more enjoyable.  There are interviews with the cast and crew that will inform and entertain audiences.  There is also a bonus alternate ending that proves to be just as entertaining as the ending presented in the final product if not more so.  And the bonus behind-the-scenes featurette will have audiences just as much in stitches.  [John] Karna takes audiences through the movie’s sets during this segment.  Throughout the featurette, Karna stays somewhat in character holding the same personality as Rob Crabbe without actually trying to portray Rob.  He playfully hits on every female that he finds as if he were Rob.  It really is fun and funny to watch.  Together with the bonus interviews and alternate ending, it shows even more what makes the movie’s bonus features even more important to the presentation in whole. They collectively make Premature that much more of a joy to watch.  They still aren’t the last of the factors that make Premature so enjoyable, either.  The acting on the part of the movie’s cast is just as important to the movie.  It rounds out the whole that is this surprisingly entertaining indie flick.

The acting on the part of Premature’s cast is one of the most important parts of this movie’s enjoyment.  Most audiences probably don’t know the cast’s names.  But Karna and his cast mates–Katie Findlay (How To Get Away With Murder, The Carrie Diaries, After The Dark), Alan Tudyk (Frozen, Wreck-it-Ralph ,i-Robot) Craig Roberts (Neighbors, 22 Jump Street, Jane Eyre), Steve Coulter (The Hunger Games, Insidious: Chapter 2, The Conjuring) , and Carlson Young (True Blood, The Dog Who Saved Christmas, Pretty Little Liars)–are each fully believable in their roles.  And that is thanks to their work on some rather well-known movies and TV series.  Katie Findlay plays Rob’s best friend Gabrielle.  She does quite the job in her role, although most audiences can tell as the story progresses what will happen between them.  It’s a classic partnering that has been used before.  But it still works quite well even in this case.  Alan tudyk plays the part of Rob’s Georgetown recruiter.  Tudyk is a laugh riot as he breaks down, crying like a little child as he interviews Rob.  His acting will by itself leave audiences laughing uproariously.  Craig Roberts plays Rob’s sex-crazed friend Stanley.  Even in the side-kick role, Roberts offers his own share of laughs.  One could really compare him to Stiffler from the famed American Pie franchise, only younger. Steve Coulter plays a minimal role as Rob’s dad Jim.  But he’s still entertaining as the standard subtly controlling father figure.  And Carlson Young is spot on as the stereotypical blonde sex kitten Angela Yearwood.  Her role is understated as it plays an important part in Rob’s personal development and self-realization.  But just as with her co-stars, Young pulls off her role expertly as do the rest of the cast members.  Their collective experience makes their portrayals here so enjoyable in their own right.  It makes suspension of disbelief so simple in this case.  The end result is a story that will keep audiences fully engaged from start to finish, laughing the whole way through.

Whether it be the movie’s script, the bonus features included as part of the whole, or the acting on the part of the cast, Premature proves in the end to have plenty of positives.  It proves to have far more positives than its critics would lead audiences to believe.  It proves to be one of this year’s best new indie flicks and one of the year’s best new movies overall.  It is available in stores and online now.  More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at:

Website: http://www.ifcfilms.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial

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Thank Goodness For This House

Courtesy:  20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

While it may not be the most original of stories, House at the End of the Street is a story that will keep audiences watching right to its conclusion.  That is thanks in large part to scriptwriters David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow.  What Loucka and Mostow have done with House at the End of the Street is taken a time honored story and updated it for a new generation.  There’s no denying that as predictable as it is, it does do an impressive job of keeping audiences’ attention.  It does this by throwing in just enough plot twists to keep audiences thinking they know what’s going on, only to have their minds twisted.  As the near two-hour story proceeds, audiences find that everything they thought they knew was wrong.  That even applies to the story’s conclusion.  Loucka and Mostow leaving audiences guessing right up to the end, wondering about Ryan (Max Theriot) and his sister, Carrie Ann.

Perhaps part of the reason that the story manages to keep audiences engaged and wondering–as predicatable as it seems–is that unlike so many movies in today’s horror/suspense/thriller genre, it doesn’t rely on blood and gore to call itself a horror.  It’s really more of a psychological horror in the vein of classic Hitchcock and King stories.  Audiences get a slightly better understanding of this in watching the movie’s sole bonus feature, “Journey Into Terror: Inside House at the End of the Street.”  Star Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) makes a brief mention of this.  But it isn’t until she makes mention of it that audiences might catch onto it.  As the old adage states, hindsight is 20/20.  And in an era when so many horror movies are more bloodshed than story, it’s nice to have a movie within the genre that takes the road less travelled.  It’s that same road hat any true horror purist will want to watch at least once.

House at the End of the Street is available now in stores and online.  It can be purchased online at the 20th Century Fox online store, http://www.foxconnect.com.

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