The Words

The Best Soundtracks of 2012

Looking back over the past year in film, it is impressive to remember the different styles and forms of music that accompanied these various releases as they bring back the memories and emotions felt when first hearing a particular song or watching a piece of orchestration pair perfectly with what was happening on screen. When it comes to music, it is not simply a question of what was the best; it is a question of what resonated the most. Music created for film is unlike any other type of music because it is intended to be listened to while watching specific images. Of course there are songs that stand well on their own (see: Adele’s “Skyfall”), but hopefully even outside of the film, those songs conjure up memories of the films they came from. Sometimes a song placed in a particular scene can take on a whole new meaning, giving you a new ideas to reflect on when you hear it (see: “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies as used in a pivotal scene in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.) Soundtracks and scores help add to the emotion of a film and this year’s musicians delivered in spades. From turning found sounds into orchestration to adding a new layer of depth to the end of a trilogy to proving that sometimes words simply are not enough, 2012 was filled with new, inventive, and memorable music. Let’s look back and listen to the twelve selections […]

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Keep moving, there’s nothing to see here this week. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Note: This post discusses plot details of The Words but nothing that really requires you to have seen the film, which doesn’t necessarily have spoiler-able elements anyway.  There are no tonal similarities between The Words and a Coen brothers film. And most of the laughter heard at the screening I attended was a kind of awkward response to some very cheesy dialogue. But I couldn’t help thinking of Raising Arizona while watching the new drama, which was written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. The duo previously contributed to what became the finished script for Tron: Legacy, and with this their only second produced work, it’s already obvious they’re very interested in ideas pertaining to creators and their creations. In fact, just as with the Tron sequel, we can forget about any kind of emotional engagement with The Words. It’s a film concerned with players rather than people, and the objective is to get us thinking about certain concepts rather than caring what happens to the characters. One idea consistently addressed through metaphoric association is this: creative works are like children, and plagiarism is therefore like kidnapping.

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The Words Movie Review

Editor’s note: With The Words hitting theaters today, brush up on our Sundance review of the film, first published on January 26, 2012. Writing is a difficult task whether you have to do it for school, work, or simply because you have words in you that you must get out. But even if you are a writer, those words don’t always come easily and staring at a blank Word document or page is always intimidating. In The Words, we come to know Rory Jenson (Bradley Cooper), a struggling writer who has penned his first novel – a work that is good, but not good enough to get published. Slightly disheartened and with a new bride Dora (Zoe Saldana) to support, Rory takes a job in the mailroom of a publishing house, hoping to make some contacts and advance his career. While on their honeymoon in Paris, Dora drags Rory into yet another antique shop and Rory ends up finding an old leather briefcase that is classy and sophisticated – a symbol of a true writer and a gift Dora quickly buys for her new husband. As he later starts filling it with his own work, Rory comes to find a weathered manuscript he neglected to notice when he first purchased the briefcase. Upon reading the first page (typed on the back of a handwritten letter), Rory cannot put the manuscript down and reads it from beginning to end.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) has done a terrible thing. He’s stolen another man’s words. And because of this deception, three different storylines unfold – one in the past, one in the present, and one in the future. However, when telling the story of a man willing to steal another’s words, it is hard to know how reliable our narrator is and as these three storylines start to blend with one another, the truth at the heart of it all seems to get more and more muddled. Throughout The Words, composer Marcelo Zarvos’ score provides us with sonic clues that attempt to point us towards that truth while also tying these three stories together. One of the most memorable parts of the score (and the film) is The Words’ theme. Within the first few seconds of the score’s second track, “The Old Man,” the theme hits you – a driving string piece that is both beautiful and romantic, but at the same time ominous and unsettling. This theme works as the first hint towards the true nature of this story. At first glance, The Words may seem like three simple love stories told through the perspective of three different generations, but as things begin to unfold, it becomes clear that nothing in this story is simple and the truth at the heart of it is much more complicated. (Listen for this theme to come back in a big way at the beginning of “The Bookstore” – possibly hinting at a link between these two pieces). Since we […]

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In The Words, Bradley Cooper stars as a writer who builds a bit of success off of another man’s work and sees that decision spiral outward (and downward). With Jonah Lehrer and Fareed Zakaria making headlines for not being completely honest with readers, plagiarism is a hot topic in our information-fueled culture, so writer/directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal join me to discuss their new movie where theft becomes a metaphor for ambition in a society short on patience. They also pass down the lessons they learned making their first feature and reveal the one item every director should own. Download Episode #146

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The Words 2012 Movie

In Limitless, Bradley Cooper played a struggling writer dealing with a creative block with a deadline staring him down from all angles. His special lady friend was searching for a last straw, and things were looking down until he cheated his way to literary success by taking a pill that made him super smart. In The Words, Bradley Cooper plays a struggling aspiring writer dealing with a creative block and stacked bills staring him down from all angles. His wife (Zoe Saldana) is searching for a last straw, and things are looking down until she buys him an old satchel, and he cheats his way to literary success by taking someone else’s old manuscript and claiming it’s his own work. There are obviously, most likely, a ton of differences between the two thrillers, but it’s funny to see Cooper digging into the failed writer mode again – especially since production on The Words started three months after the release of Limitless. Joking aside, it’s got a great cast with Olivia Wilde, J.K. Simmons and Jeremy Irons alongside those already mentioned, and if nothing else, Irons looks like a major reason to check this out. The man is menacing, and so is this trailer:

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As I touched on in my roundup of the must-see films set to screen during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, there are many titles to choose from, but in looking over the ten films I am most looking forward to seeing I realized my interest is centered around character driven narratives (both funny and dramatic) and documentaries with their roots in music (no surprise there.) Of course with a full week at the festival, I am aiming to take in as many movies as I can, but these were the ten that stayed at the top of my list as I revised (and revised) my schedule. From actors I have had my eye on to compelling stories that grabbed my attention, keep your browsers bookmarked to FSR as I review each of these films and discover whether I was right (or wrong) with my choices here.

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