By Gregg Shapiro
If you make plans to go to see a movie in early November 2018, you will have your pick of several titles featuring queer characters, including Yen Tan’s brilliant and devastating 1985 and Melissa McCarthy playing gay in Can You Ever Forgive Me.
The overt queerness of A Star Is Born is either the most calculated move in recent memory or a love letter to gay fans. Yes, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand are beloved by the LGBTQ community (and Garland’s A Star Is Born was directed by a gay man), but the new version, directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper is the gayest of all. You can definitely hear it on the A Star Is Born Soundtrack (Interscope). In the movie, Alli (Lady Gaga) is a singer in a drag bar. Her “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” warm-up snippet (a nod to Garland) and goosebump-inducing rendition of “La Vie En Rose” (introduced by RuPaul’s Drag Race vet Shangela) are as gay as you can get. The remaining Gaga tunes on the soundtrack that are duets with Cooper, including those co-written by her such as “Shallow”, “I Don’t Know What Love Is” and “Music To My Eyes”, are all solid numbers. Gaga’s solos – “Look What I Found”, “Always Remember Us This Way”, “Is That All Right”, “Before I Cry”, “I’ll Never Love Again” and even “Hair Body Face”, are welcome additions to her canon. Cooper holds his own alongside Gaga (far better than Kris Kristofferson did with Streisand), and the songs he co-wrote with (Willie’s son) Lukas Nelson, fit his character’s modern country persona.
Comprised of original Queen and Smile (pre-Queen band) recordings, Bohemian Rhapsody: The Original Soundtrack (Hollywood) is bound to appeal to fans of Queen and the movie (in which Rami Malek does a fantastic job of portraying Freddie Mercury) in equal measure. If for no other reason than to have the Queen version of the “20thCentury Fox Fanfare” intro, the soundtrack is worth hearing for the “revisited” version of Smile’s “Doing All Right”, the “movie mix” of “We Will Rock You”, the Live Aid renditions of “Radio Gaga” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the live Rock in Rio Festival version of “Love of My Life”, as well as the “Don’t Stop Me Now…revisited”, to mention a few.
Composer Daniel Hart, who has provided the score for a number of David Lowery films, reunites with the director for The Old Man & The Gun. Hart’s score for The Old Man & The Gun (Varese Sarabande), a movie which has been described as a “love letter to the 1970s”, perfectly captures both the mood of the era and the film itself. The inclusion of The Kinks’ “Lola” and Scott Walker’s “30th Century Man” also help to set the period tone.
There was so much to admire and enjoy about the action flick Baby Driver, Edgar Wright’s 2017 Ansel Elgort vehicle. In addition to starring the exquisite Elgort, the movie was funny and fast-paced and thrilling, and featured a soundtrack of classic tunes from a variety of eras. Baby Driver – Volume 2: The Score for a Score (30th Century/Columbia), expands on the concept, incorporating Steven Price’s score, dialogue excerpts and song selections by Run The Jewels, Boards of Canada, The Foundations, Kid Koala and others.
Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s Rick and Morty, about the unusual partnership of grandfather Rick and teenaged grandson Morty, is one of the funniest and most outrageous animated shows on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. In addition to songs by Clipping., Belly, Mazzy Star, Chad VanGaalen and Blonde Redhead, the soundtrack to Rick and Morty (Sub Pop) features original music by the show’s composer Ryan Elder. The blacklight poster included with the disc is an added bonus.
Based on storyteller/musician Eric Litwin’s book series of the same name, Pete the Cat (UMe/ASG), the various artists soundtrack to the new animated Amazon Prime Video family program is a purr-fect musical companion. Featuring a wide range of performers, including Elvis Costello, Diana Krall and KT Tunstall (all of whom provide character voices in the show), the expanded 28-track edition of the disc boasts nine holiday bonus tracks performed by Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews and others.