Jay-Z

Gatsby Music

  Director Baz Luhrmann is known for his grand, stylized aesthetic, but he is also known for his keen ability to place contemporary music into classic stories or those set in decades past. Whether updating the world of Romeo + Juliet from fair Verona to Verona Beach or having the leads in a musical set in 1899 sing songs like Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and The Police’s “Roxanne,” Luhrmann always gives these musical choices a purpose whether he is bringing a well-known play into present day or infusing renewed life into the 1900s. The fact that these modern music placements actually work within these different contexts proves music really is the universal language and reminds audiences that even though these stories may not be from present day, they are certainly not dated. Luhrmann is a master at taking these stories, no matter when they were written or set, and making them feel fun, vibrant, and relevant.

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First-Offical-Look-Great_Gatsby_Tobey_Maguire_Carey_Mulligan

The Great Gatsby may tell a story that was set in the Roaring Twenties, but it’s also a Baz Luhrmann film, so there should never have been any doubt that it was going to be packed to the brim with music from some of today’s most famous artists. Want to get a taste of what it has in store, sonically? Well, you’re in luck, because this new trailer for the film shows some of the music off. It features a track that teams up Beyoncé and Andre 3000, new stuff from Lana Del Rey, and a contribution from Florence and the Machine, all packed into a little over two and a half minutes. The music that Luhrmann hired producer Jay Z to put together for the film isn’t the only thing this new trailer shows off either. The ads we’ve seen up to this point have hinted at what F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary story is all about, but mostly they’ve focused on showing off the visual style of Luhrmann. This new trailer digs much deeper into the Gatsby’s pursuit of married woman Daisy Buchanan, and it does a great job of selling how passionate their indiscretions are, and how dangerous the consequences their infidelities are likely to become.

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Annie

At this point, Sony Pictures’ remake of the musical classic Annie is turning into the latest Mad Libs production to come out of Hollywood, with studio executives just randomly yelling out names of people who should be working on getting the long-in-development feature off the ground. The project certainly made sense at first as, back in January of 2011, it was announced that Will Smith would be producing the project as a potential vehicle for his daughter, Willow Smith (thank the success of The Karate Kid for that). A few weeks after that, we got wind that Jay-Z would also be producing alongside Smith, which continued sound like a solid way to make a fresh, new Annie, and then Emma Thompson came on board to write the script and any concept we might have had of the new film went right out the window. Thompson’s screenwriting work in the kiddie realm primarily consists of the Nanny McPhee films, which certainly are not the type of updated, contemporary work that this new Annie seemed to dictate. But that’s not all! Last summer, rom-com screenwriting queen Aline Brosh McKenna was brought on to rewrite Thompson’s work, making the film’s vision even more unclear. What was the writer of such films as Three to Tango, Laws of Attraction, The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, and Morning Glory going to bring to the table of a beloved family classic? Well, who knows, but now we can all keep up our head-scratching because Deadline Hollywood reports that […]

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Gangster Squad Reshoots

The trailer for Gangster Squad brought us right into the world of 1940′s Los Angeles, where gangsters ruled the city under the unflinching thumb of Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) as ominous undertones vibrated against the sounds of punches and gunshots. This is a Los Angeles where crime and punishment rule rather than glitz and glamour, and the clothes, the hair, the makeup, the cars, and the guns alone let us know we are in a different time. But then a commanding female singer’s vocals cut through the chaos telling us to “get low,” while a hip-hop beat started to drive the action. This 1940′s world suddenly got a jolt of good ol’ contemporary R&B as Mr. HOV himself, Jay-Z, breaks in with his track “Oh My God.” His lyrics may be from a song released in 2006, but they do not feel out of place here saying: “A journey seldom seen / The American dream.” Gangster movies are appealing because they give audiences a glimpse into that dangerous world and Mickey Cohen has clearly convinced himself that what he is doing is simply living the American dream his way. Unfortunately this unique pairing of modern music with a period story exists solely in the trailer, while the film instead opts for an exclusively 1940′s feel. With a soundtrack full of songs from artists of that time such as Pee Wee King, Big Jay McNeely, and Peggy Lee it is this idea of taking itself too seriously that seems to be Gangster Squad’s inevitable downfall. Hoping to be a […]

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Jay-Z

At what point can we start calling Baz Luhrmann a troll instead of a filmmaker? If Australia – the flabby apotheosis of a supposedly beloved country — doesn’t count, then maybe having Jay-Z score an adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” does. According to collaborator The Bullitts’ twitter feed (via HitFix), “Jay-Z and myself have been working tirelessly on the score for the upcoming #CLASSIC The Great Gatsby! It is too DOPE for words!”

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Will Smith may have passed on Django Unchained, but he’s making a return to movie work nonetheless after a hiatus to build the careers of his children. This is, of course, the first step to the creation of the Smith Dynasty that will dominate filmmaking of the future – a goal that will make the “Ha ha!” etched into Will Smith’s tombstone have two meanings. His next goal is to let his daughter Willow whip her hair as Annie in a remake of the little, curly-haired adventure through poverty and extreme wealth. Now, Vulture is reporting that they want Emma Thompson to write the script for the reboot. Thompsons is a solid choice because of her experience as a writer, her emotional intelligence as an actor that shines through on the page, and her ability to create fun, energetic children’s films. Vulture even, smartly, points out that there’s a drunken mess of a role in the show for Thompson (played by the genius Carol Burnett in the 1982 film). The film will be updated of course, and it’ll most likely feature music from Jay-Z (who is also producing). There’s also something to be said about a character that’s been extremely Caucasian for decades being acted by a black actress in what will most likely be a movie aimed at a large, mainstream audience, but it’s for people smarter than I am who have real opinions about it. It seems culturally significant, but I have no idea why. Regardless, Thompson would […]

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MusicHeader

Music videos are basically movies these days. More bands are working on films. Here are a few more that should definitely pick up the baton and try their hand at scoring.

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