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The Playlist

16 Musicians-Turned-Film Composers And Their Breakout Scores

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • June 9, 2014 4:56 PM
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  • 20 Comments
Musicians Turned Composers
Increasingly over the last two decades, musicians and bands have looked upon the film score and seen a rare opportunity to challenge themselves in a new medium, and also to gain a break from non-stop touring. The results have been an eclectic, unconventional bounty. Last month, Mica Levi of Micachu and the Shapes delivered an iconic three-note theme to Jonathan Glazer’s “Under The Skin” that rattled the senses, while Devonte Hynes (Lightspeed Champion, Blood Orange) struck a dreamy pop tone of high-school nostalgia with his score to Gia Coppola’s directorial debut, “Palo Alto.”

Jon Brion To Score Vince Vaughn Comedy 'Delivery Man'

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • June 17, 2013 10:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Among the many talents of composer Jon Brion, besides mounting unique live shows and producing the records of music's top performers, is his ability to switch between scoring small-scale and mainstream films with ease. His work with Charlie Kaufman and Paul Thomas Anderson perhaps allows him a bit more room to breathe, but he's just as capable of handling broad comedies like “The Break-Up” and “The Other Guys,” and his newest project finds him gaining more experience in the latter.

Exclusive: Jon Brion Scores Pixar's 'The Blue Umbrella' Short

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 29, 2013 2:24 PM
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  • 3 Comments
While we first mentioned back in the summer of 2012 that producer and composer Jon Brion would be scoring what was then "the untitled umbrella short" for Pixar (to play ahead of this summer's "Monsters University"), it was never confirmed by the studio… until now. The short, now entitled "The Blue Umbrella" and set to have its worldwide premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival next month, is indeed scored by Brion. What's more, we got to talk to first-time director Saschka Unseld about the short and about working with the estimable talent that is Jon Brion.

Watch: 'The Jon Brion Show' Pilot Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson Featuring Elliott Smith & Brad Mehldau

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 17, 2013 9:39 AM
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  • 2 Comments
As fans of Paul Thomas Anderson already know, the early part of his career found him in fruitful collaboration with producer/musician/genius Jon Brion, who scored the director's first four films. And while Brion is very well regarded as a producer (working with Fiona Apple, Kanye West, Of Montreal and many others), he's also earned great acclaim as a live musician, particularly through his concerts at famed venue Largo. Coupling an almost savant-like multi-instrumental ability with an encyclopedic knowledge of music history, Brion has dazzled many with his shows, and somebody thought his talents would be good for TV. That somebody was Paul Thomas Anderson.

Jon Brion Tried To Score 'The Fighter' For David O. Russell, But The Score Was Scrapped

  • By Edward Davis
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  • November 30, 2012 4:31 PM
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  • 7 Comments
At the beginning of the aughts, Jon Brion was the man for film soundtracks, especially the quirky and offbeat kind. He wrote the score for Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" (and had done the same for "Magnolia"), as well as Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and David O. Russell's "I Heart Huckabees,” and all three of these scores are considered classics.

Soundtrack Details For Jon Brion's Score For Ghoulish Animated Film 'ParaNorman'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 24, 2012 10:17 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If we were allowed to talk about these things (which, of course, we're not), we would say that "ParaNorman," the new stop-motion animated film from Laika opening August 17th in 3D and regular cinemas, isn't just the best animated movie released so far this year (not to mention one of the biggest surprises this summer's dreary movie landscape has to offer) – but that it's one of the best movies of the year, period. And a big part of "ParaNorman" casting its ghoulish spell on you is the perfectly calibrated score by Jon Brion, a witches brew that is equal parts orchestral bombast and '80s slasher movie cheese. Thankfully, we won't have long to wait for the album, as Pitchfork reports that it will be released (via Relativity Music Group) on August 14th, just a few days before the movie comes out.

Jon Brion Scoring Judd Apatow's 'This Is 40'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 11, 2012 10:08 AM
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  • 2 Comments
What is there to say about Jon Brion that you don't already know (or should know)? A whipsmart songwriter, a dazzling musician (his live shows are legendary), an encyclopedia of music knowledge and history, and a producer extraordinaire who has worked with everyone from Kanye West to Brad Mehldau to Fiona Apple (his unreleased version of her Extraordinary Machine album is worth tracking down). But of course, movie fans know him best for his scoring gigs, memorably tuning up Paul Thomas Anderson's first four films, but he's also done far more mainstream gigs, leaning on comedies like "The Break-Up," "The Other Guys" and "Step Brothers." Well, Judd Apatow, who served as a producer on the latter film, is re-upping Brion for his next effort behind the camera.
More: Jon Brion

Beautiful Trailer, Bland Poster Debut For 3D Stop-Motion Animated ‘ParaNorman’

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 30, 2011 3:50 AM
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  • 5 Comments
2011 hasn’t exactly been an exceptional year for animated films. Besides this spring’s deliciously strange “Rango” and this summer’s gorgeous, supple “Winnie the Pooh,” there hasn’t been a whole lot to fawn over, animation-wise. (When Pixar unloads a colossal letdown like “Cars 2,” you know the medium is having an “off year.”) Thankfully, 2012 is poised to be an embarrassment of riches, with new movies from proven studios like Blue Sky (“Ice Age: Continental Drift”), Illumination ("The Lorax"), Disney ("Wreck-It Ralph" and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie") Aardman (“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”) and the beloved Studio Ghibli (“The Secret World of Arriety”), as well as a brand-new Pixar property (“Brave,” plus the heavily Pixar-associated live action hybrid “John Carter”) and the debut features from children’s illustrator William Joyce (DreamWorks’ “Rise of the Guardians”) and super-genius animator Genndy Tarkovsky (Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania”). Also being released next year is “ParaNorman,” the new 3D stop-motion film from Laika, the Portland, Oregon-based animation studio that gave us the wonderful “Coraline” back in 2009, and judging by the jaw-dropping new trailer, it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Jon Brion To Score Animated Comedy/Thriller 'ParaNorman'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 14, 2011 6:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments
We probably don't have to tell you that we're huge fans of Jon Brion. The acclaimed songwriter, Largo showman, music producer and composer has been behind the boards for artists as varied as Kanye West, Elliott Smith, Fiona Apple, Of Montreal and of course, wrote some amazing scores for films like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Punch Drunk Love," "Synecdoche, New York" and "I Heart Huckabees," but surprisingly, his instantly recognizable style -- which falls somewhere between Tin Pan Alley and "Pet Sounds" -- has never been used for an animated film. Until now.

SXSW: Miranda July Says 'The Future' Is Her Version Of A Horror Film

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 16, 2011 7:39 AM
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  • 4 Comments
And More We Learned About Her New FilmFew working filmmakers are as divisive as Miranda July. Her first film, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" was to some, one of the best films of the last decade, but to others was barely watchable insufferable hipster bait. We're firmly in the former camp, and as such have been keenly anticipating her sophomore feature, "The Future," for some years. Our man at Sundance suggested that great things had again emerged from the polymathic helmer, and we were delighted to discover at SXSW that the wait had been worthwhile; "The Future" is less immediate than its predecessor, but just as rewarding.

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