9 Songs

  • Directors: Michael Winterbottom
  • Producers: Andrew Eaton
  • Writers: Michael Winterbottom
  • Genres: Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Kieran O Brien, Margo Stilley

The film tells the modern love story set over a period of 12 months in London, England of a young couple: Matt, a British climatologist, and Lisa, an American exchange student. The story is framed in a personal review from Matt’s perspective when he is working in Antarctica. Their main common interest is a passion for live music and they frequently attend rock concerts together; the film depicts the couple, or Matt alone, watching nine songs at Brixton Academy and other concert venues. It also shows their weekend getaway into the countryside, and their travels around London. Lisa brings their short and intense relationship to an end at Christmas time when she returns home to America.

Black Snake Moan

  • Directors: Craig Brewer
  • Producers: Stephanie Allain, John Singleton
  • Writers: Craig Brewer
  • Genres: Drama, Music
  • Actors: Samuel L Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S Epatha Merkerson, Michael Raymond James, John Cothran Jr, David Banner, Son House

The film centers around two main characters: Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), a deeply religious farmer and former blues guitarist, and Rae (Christina Ricci), a young nymphomaniac. Lazarus’s wife has left him for his brother, which has left him a bitter and angry man. Rae’s boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) leaves for deployment with the 1960th Field Artillery Brigade, Tennessee National Guard, and in his absence she has bouts of promiscuity and drug use. During one of Rae’s binges, Ronnie’s friend Gill (Michael Raymond-James) tries to take advantage of her. She laughs at his advances, comparing him unfavorably with another man, and he severely beats her. Believing she’s dead, Gill dumps Rae by the side of the road and drives away.

Lazarus discovers Rae in the road the next morning and brings her home to nurse her back to health. Over the course of several days, Rae, delirious with fever, occasionally wakes up and tries to flee from Lazarus. He ties her to the radiator with a heavy chain to keep her from running away. After Rae regains her wits, Lazarus announces that it is his spiritual duty to heal her of her sinful ways and refuses to release her until he does so. Rae makes several attempts to escape, but eventually comes to tolerate her position. Lazarus buys her a proper dress to wear, plays guitar for her, and feeds her home-cooked meals. Lazarus’s pastor and close friend, R.L. (John Cothran Jr.), visits Lazarus at his house and discovers that Lazarus is imprisoning Rae. The pastor tries to reason with Lazarus and the group shares a meal.

In the morning, Lazarus frees Rae, having decided that he has no authority to pass judgment on her. Rae chooses to stay with Lazarus of her own will. Later, Rae and Lazarus take a trip into town, where Rae confronts her mother (Kim Richards) about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother’s partner. Meanwhile, Lazarus has formed a budding romance with the local pharmacist, Angela (S. Epatha Merkerson). He plays a blues concert at a local bar, which Rae attends. Ronnie spots Rae and follows her to Lazarus’s house. He confronts the pair with a pistol, but Lazarus talks him down and summons the pastor. Ronnie and Rae decide that they are stronger together than apart and get married. While driving away, Ronnie suffers a panic attack and Rae begins to break down, but together they overcome their afflictions.

Tender Mercies

  • Directors: Bruce Beresford
  • Producers: Philip Hobel
  • Writers: Horton Foote
  • Genres: Drama, Music
  • Actors: Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley, Wilford Brimley, Ellen Barkin, Allan Hubbard

Mac Sledge (Robert Duvall), a washed up, alcoholic country singer, awakens at a run-down Texas roadside motel and gas station after a night of heavy drinking. He meets the owner, a young widow named Rosa Lee (Tess Harper), and offers to work in exchange for a room. Rosa Lee, whose husband was killed in the Vietnam War, is raising her young son, Sonny (Allan Hubbard), on her own. She agrees to let Mac stay under the condition that he doesn’t drink while working. The two begin to develop feelings for one another, mostly during quiet evenings sitting alone and sharing bits of their life stories.

Mac resolves to give up alcohol and start his life anew. After some time passes, he and Rosa Lee wed. They start attending a Protestant church on a regular basis. One day, a newspaper reporter visits the hotel and asks Mac whether he has stopped recording music and chosen an anonymous life. When Mac refuses to answer, the reporter explains he is writing a story about Mac and has interviewed his ex-wife, Dixie Scott (Betty Buckley), a country music star who is performing nearby.

After the story is printed, the neighborhood learns of Mac’s past, and members of a local country–western band visit him to show their respect. Although he greets them politely, Mac remains reluctant to open up about his past. Later, he secretly attends Dixie’s concert. She passionately sings several songs that Mac wrote years earlier, and he leaves in the middle of the performance. Backstage, he talks to Dixie’s manager, his old friend Harry (Wilford Brimley). Mac gives him a copy of a new song he has written and asks him to show it to Dixie. Mac tries to talk to Dixie, but she becomes angry upon seeing him and warns him to stay away from their 18-year-old daughter, Sue Anne (Ellen Barkin).

Back home, Mac keeps quiet about his emotional pain, although he wonders aloud to Rosa Lee why his once sorry existence has been given meaning and, on the other hand, his daughter died. Throughout his mourning, Mac continues his new life with Rosa Lee and Sonny. In the final scene, Sonny finds a football Mac has left him as a gift. Mac watches the hotel from a field across the road and sings “On the Wings of a Dove” to himself. Sonny thanks him for the football and the two play catch together in the field.

The Boat That Rocked

  • Directors: Richard Curtis
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Hilary Bevan Jones
  • Writers: Richard Curtis
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh

Carl (Tom Sturridge) arrives on the pirate radio ship, Radio Rock, after being sent to stay with the ship’s Captain, his godfather, Quentin (Bill Nighy), to hopefully set his life on a different track after being expelled from school. Here he meets Radio Rock’s crew of ramshackle disc jockeys, led by The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a buoyant rock-loving American, along with the suave and bawdy Dave (Nick Frost) and the naive but good hearted Simon (Chris O’Dowd). Also filling the airwaves is self proclaimed New Zealand “nut,” Angus (Rhys Darby), the mysterious Midnight Mark (Tom Wisdom) and the even more mysterious, reclusive and downright disillusioned late-night DJ Smooth Bob (Ralph Brown). Serving as the ship’s crew are the shy lesbian cook Felicity (Katherine Parkinson) and radio assistants, Harold (Ike Hamilton) and the appropriately nicknamed Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke).

Dave wastes no time in introducing Carl to women, only for both of Carl’s attempts to be foiled by Dave himself, including Carl’s first crush, Quentin’s niece, Marianne (Talulah Riley), although, by the end of the film, Carl and Marianne make up and get together. Simon also is unlucky in love, meeting and marrying the too-good-to-be-true Elenore (January Jones) only to find her affections are really placed with the returning “king of the airwaves”, Gavin (Rhys Ifans). The Count objects to Gavin’s antics with Elenore, leading to a clash of egos that ends in a truce after both suffer physical injuries jumping from the top of the ship’s radio mast in a contest of courage.

The film concludes with captions stating that, despite the end of “the golden age of pirate radio”, the dream lives on, with 299 music radio stations across the UK playing rock and pop music 24 hours a day, and that, forty years on, rock and roll is still going strong, ending with a montage of successful music albums covering the entire forty year period.

This Is Spinal Tap

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Karen Murphy
  • Writers: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner
  • Genres: Comedy, Music
  • Actors: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Fran Drescher, Bruno Kirby

The movie has the style of a documentary filmed and directed by the fictional Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner). The documentary covers a 1982 United States concert tour for the fictional British rock group “Spinal Tap” to promote their new album Smell the Glove, but interspersed with one-on-one interviews with the members of the group and footage of the group from previous points in their career.

The band was started by childhood friends David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) during the 1960s. Originally called “The Originals”, then “The New Originals” to distinguish themselves from the existing group of the same name, they settled on the name “The Thamesmen”, finding success with their skiffle/R&B success, “Gimme Some Money”. They changed their name again to “Spinal Tap” and enjoyed limited success with the flower power anthem, “Listen to the Flower People”. Ultimately, the band found their long success in heavy metal and produced several albums. The group was eventually joined by bassist Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer), keyboardist Viv Savage (David Kaff), and a series of drummers, each of whom had mysteriously died under odd circumstances, including spontaneous combustion, a “bizarre gardening accident” and, in at least one case, choking to death on the vomit of person(s) unknown (“you can’t dust for vomit”). DiBergi’s interviews with St. Hubbins and Tufnel reveal that they are competent composers and musicians, but are dimwitted and immature. Tufnel, in showing his guitar collection to DiBergi, reveals an amplifier that has a volume knob that goes to eleven; when DiBergi asks, “Why not just make 10 louder and make that the top?” Tufnel can only reply, “These go to 11.” Tufnel later plays a somber classical music composition for DiBergi, which he says is called “Lick My Love Pump”.

At the last show of the tour, as the group considers venturing into a musical theater production on the theme of Jack the Ripper, Tufnel returns and informs them that while their American reception has ended, the group is wildly popular in Japan, and that Faith would like to arrange a new tour in that country. The group likes the idea, letting Tufnel back into the band for their final performance. Despite losing their drummer Mick Shrimpton (R.J. Parnell) as he explodes on stage, Spinal Tap ends up enjoying great success on their Japanese tour.

Thriller

  • Directors: John Landis
  • Producers: George Folsey Jr
  • Writers: John Landis, Michael Jackson
  • Genres: Horror, Romance, Short, Thriller, Music
  • Actors: Michael Jackson, Ola Ray, Vincent Price

It is the late 1950s. A teenaged Michael and his unnamed date (Ola Ray) run out of gas in a dark, wooded area. They walk off into the forest, and Michael asks her if she would like to go steady. She accepts and he gives her a ring. He warns her, however, that he is “different”. A full moon appears, and Michael begins convulsing in agony â€“ transforming into a horrifying werewolf. His date shrieks and runs away, but the werewolf catches up, knocking her down and begins lunging at her with his claws.

The scene cuts away to a modern-day movie theater (exteriors filmed at the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles[9]), where Michael and his date â€“ along with a repulsed audience â€“ are actually watching this scene unfold in a movie called “Thriller” starring Vincent Price. Michael’s date is scared, but he is clearly enjoying the horror flick (part of the dialogue of the unseen film contains Landis’ signature line “See you next Wednesday” before the audience screams again). Frightened, his date leaves the theatre. Michael hands his popcorn to the stranger next to him, and catches up to her, smiling and saying “It’s only a movie!” Some debate follows over whether or not she was scared by the scene; she denies it, but Michael disagrees.

After the credits, when they concurrently show the zombies dancing again, the disclaimer humorously states, “Any similarity to actual events or persons living, dead (or undead) is purely coincidental.” Landis’ An American Werewolf in London likewise offered this disclaimer. After the warning the zombies dance back to the grave then another zombie comes into view and gives a horrifying grimace to the camera that freeze frames before blood runs down the screen and the screen turns to black.

Ghost World

  • Directors: Terry Zwigoff
  • Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith
  • Writers: Daniel Clowes, Daniel Clowes, Terry Zwigoff
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music
  • Actors: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Stacey Travis

Enid and Rebecca (best friends and outcasts among their classmates) graduate from high school. The class throws off their graduation hats, and Enid and Rebecca wander off in the distance and give the finger to the school they’ve managed to survive. After checking her diploma, Enid is angered to discover that it was awarded only conditionally and that she must attend a remedial art class that summer.

Later, Enid and Rebecca attend the graduation party, where they are annoyed by various students they don’t like, including Melora, an overly enthusiastic would-be actress.

The next day, while in a 1950s-style diner, Enid and Rebecca decide to make a prank call to a lonely man named Seymour (Steve Buscemi) who has placed an ad in the personals section, pretending that they are the woman he is infatuated with. He shows up at the restaurant (where Enid and Becky are waiting with their friend and reluctant accomplice Josh), and Enid begins to feel sorry for him. In the next few days, Enid and Rebecca follow up on Seymour and go to look at a garage sale, where Seymour is selling vintage records from his own collection. Enid purchases one 33 1/3 RPM blues record from him. He wraps it in his own plastic bag, which delights her.

In the meantime, Enid and Rebecca get in a heated fight, and the two, who originally wanted to rent an apartment together, reconsider; Rebecca thinks she would be better off living on her own, but Enid, after discovering that she has lost the scholarship and that her father’s former girlfriend is moving back, insists that she still wants to live with Becky. On the night before she is to move in with Becky she is unable to finish packing, and she does not show up at Becky’s the next day. Seymour turns up though, frustrated because Enid has been ignoring his calls and he has lost his job because of the art show scandal. Becky, angered by Enid not showing up, spitefully tells him about the telephone prank she, Enid, and Josh were in on. Seymour turns up at Josh’s workplace, a convenience store, to take out his anger by destroying the merchandise, but a customer intervenes and injures Seymour, putting him in the hospital. Enid visits Seymour and lets him know her true feelings for him (“You’re, like, my hero!”), showing him how prominently she has featured him in her sketchbook. Enid and Rebecca also have a reconciliation of sorts, half-heartedly speaking of “calling each other” sometime. As time passes, Seymour has a therapy session with a bored psychiatrist to work out his issues. Enid, who is still trying to figure out what to do with her life, boards a bus — once thought to be on a defunct line — and the bus drives off into the distance.

It Might Get Loud

  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Producers: Thomas Tull, Davis Guggenheim, Lesley Chilcott, Peter Afterman, Jimmy Page
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Documentary, Music
  • Actors: Jimmy Page, The Edge, Jack White

The film documents the varied playing and recording styles of guitarists Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White.

Page’s history with guitar traces back to his childhood when he played in a skiffle band. After desiring to do more than play pop music, Page “retires” from guitar playing to attend art school. He later revives his music career as a session guitarist, only to be discouraged by the realization that he is playing others’ music and stifling his own creativity. At that point, Page begins to write and perform in the bands The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. Page discusses the skiffle and blues music that influenced him at the time. For many of Page’s scenes, he visits Headley Grange, where parts of Led Zeppelin IV were recorded, and in one scene, explains how the distinctive drum sound from “When the Levee Breaks” was achieved.

The Edge’s history with guitar traces back to building a guitar with his brother Dik and learning to play. In the film, he visits Mount Temple Comprehensive School and recalls forming U2 in his childhood. He also demonstrates his playing technique, in how he eliminates certain strings from chords, as well as his use of echo and delay effects to “fill in notes that aren’t there”. He also discusses his purchase of his signature guitar, the Gibson Explorer, in New York City and the punk music that influenced him. In other scenes, he plays early demo tapes of “Where the Streets Have No Name”, discusses his inspiration for “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, and spends time experimenting with guitar effects for the riffs to “Get on Your Boots”.

The touchstone of the film is a meeting of the three guitarists dubbed “The Summit”. In these scenes, the three guitarists not only converse about their influences and techniques, but they also play each other’s songs together, showing each other how to play “I Will Follow”, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”, and “In My Time of Dying”. The film concludes with the men playing an impromptu cover version of The Band’s “The Weight” on acoustic guitars.

Linda Linda Linda

  • Directors: Nobuhiro Yamashita
  • Producers: Hiroyuki Negishi, Yuji Sadai
  • Writers: Wakako Miyashita, Nobuhiro Yamashita
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music
  • Actors: Bae Doona, Aki Maeda, Yu Kashii, Shiori Sekine

Linda Linda Linda tells the story of a group of (eventually) four high school girls who decide to put together a band for Hiiragi-sai, their school cultural festival. Three days before they are to play the festival, the guitarist and singer quit the band. The remaining members, Kei Tachibana (立花恵, Tachibana Kei?), Kyoko Yamada (山田 響子, Yamada Kyōko?), and Nozomi Shirakawa (白河望, Shirakawa Nozomi?) must figure out what to do or risk cancelling. They decide to perform covers of The Blue Hearts songs, but all agree that they need to find a new member to be the singer. They ask the first girl that walks by – Son (ソン?), a Korean foreign exchange student. Son is not fluent in Japanese, and this leads to some difficulties and misunderstandings, but through sharing in the ins and outs of high school life, they are able to understand one another. The first day ends with all the girls working their hardest to begin to learn their parts, the most notable scenes here being Son trying to enter a karaoke parlor, and Kyoko talking with her crush, Kazuya Oe (大江一也, ÅŒe Kazuya?).

On the next day, they begin practicing early at school where Kei struggles to play the guitar. As school begins, they all break off to do their own thing, Kyoko is seen selling crepes alongside Oe. By mid afternoon, it’s time for the girls to regroup back at the music club room, but Kyoko ends up coming late and they miss their time slot. From there, Kei calls her ex-boyfriend and manages to get her group over to “Studio Q” to practice. They leave late at night to return to school, and continue practicing through the rest of the night.

On the final day, the band gets awakened by a group who began to take out instruments to set them up on stage. The band decides to head back to Studio Q and continue practicing. However, out of exhaustion they fall asleep and Kei dreams about being celebrated and performing for The Ramones at the Budokan. All this while, the stage managers begin to search for Kei’s band, but to no avail. To pass the time, the band’s friends Takako and Moe have impromptu performances. Kei only wakes up to the sound of Kyoko’s cell phone when Oe calls to ask where Kyoko is. The band then rushes back to school in a taxi where Oe and Kyoko finally meet while everyone else sets up with only ten minutes left. When Kyoko finally comes in, the band performs two of the three songs they had planned: “Rinda Rinda” (Linda Linda), and Owaranai Uta to an excited and pumped up crowd.

Ray

  • Directors: Taylor Hackford
  • Producers: Taylor Hackford, Stuart Benjamin, Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin
  • Writers: James L White
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Music
  • Actors: Jamie Foxx

Born on a sharecropping plantation in Northern Florida, Ray Charles Robinson went blind at the age of seven. Inspired by a fiercely independent mother who insisted he make his own way in the world, Charles found his calling and his gift behind a piano keyboard. Touring across the Southern musical circuit, the soulful singer gained a reputation and then exploded with worldwide fame when he pioneered incorporating gospel, country, jazz and orchestral influences into his inimitable style.

As he revolutionized the way people appreciated music, he simultaneously fought segregation in the very clubs that launched him and championed artists’ rights within the corporate music business. The movie provides a portrait of Charles’ musical genius as he overcomes drug addiction while transforming into one of his country’s most beloved performers.