Karaoke? Yeah baby!

Joseph-Gordon-Levitt-500-Days-SummerSpontaneously bursting into song, that’s what it’s all about. By ‘it’ I mean random and unexpected musical scenes in films. They are like little rays of cinematic sunshine.

And, like all good moments of music that you experience in your life, a lot of these will have stayed with you as fond memories; for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the songs in A Life Less Ordinary and Empire Records.

Some of these you may have seen coming – karaoke for example – but some, I imagine, took you by surprise in a wonderful way, as they did me. Here’s my selection:

‘Don’t Stop Believing’ Chris Evans – The Losers
Need to ensure no one gets in the lift with you? Just sing Journey with gusto. An unexpected and genuinely hilarious scene, one which works due to Evans’ ballsy delivery.

‘Beyond The Sea’
Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz – A Life Less Ordinary
A great scene in this underrated Danny Boyle film. It got me hooked on Bobby Darin for a fair while and remains one of my favourite Cameron Diaz performances.

‘Sugar High’
Renee Zellweger – Empire Records
It’s hard to pick one scene in a film packed with musical gems. This one is so much fun that it makes the cut. And Zellweger is so sweet singing her little heart out.

‘Hey Ma’
Anna Kendrick and Jake Gyllenhaal – End Of Watch
Apparently on a long drive the two actors were mucking about singing in character with director David Ayer in the back seat. He caught this and stuck it in the movie. That’s a moment.

‘Brass In Pocket’
Scarlett Johansson – Lost In Translation
This Sofia Coppola film which gave Scarlett her break remains my favourite of her performances. As she donned a pink wig, Bill Murray’s resistance was futile.

‘These Eyes’
Michael Cera – Superbad
Comedy that stands the test of time, now that’s tough. This film holds up though. A modern classic, encapsulated in this memorable scene. The hurtin’s on me yeah!

‘Here Comes Your Man’
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – 500 Days Of Summer
I have to say, I know one or two girls that would fall over themselves to get a piece of Gordon-Levitt. Here he gives us a masterclass in how to effortlessly rock a tank top.

‘Afternoon Delight’
Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner – Anchorman
Remember the first time you saw this film? Every scene held a wonderful surprise. This one was a classic example as I doubt anyone saw this 1976 song by the Starland Vocal Band coming.

‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’
Tom Cruise – Top Gun
I am sure I’m not the only one that’s had mates reenact this in the direction of unsuspecting women; essentially cornering them till the song is done. Ladies do love a crooner.

‘New York New York’
Carey Mulligan – Shame
Filmed with Mulligan singing live in one unbroken shot, this scene is so raw and affecting that I’ve only been able to watch it twice. Along with Fassbender, Mulligan elevated this film to pure art.

‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’
Steve Buscemi – Con Air
Supremely creepy, yet mesmerising in a way. An innocuous little scene in the middle of this – clearly quite bonkers – Michael Bay movie has Buscemi singing like a loon as their plane prepares to crash.

‘Blue Shadows’
Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short – Three Amigos
This 1986 John Landis classic was packed with wonderfully witty musical ditties. Whilst ‘My Little Buttercup’ tends to get all the plaudits, honorable mention should go to this song too.

The evolution of Scarlett Johansson

don-jon-scarlett-johansson-jgl-interview-1085920-TwoByOneIs Scarlett Johansson in danger of becoming the female Johnny Depp? I mean this in a good way. In terms of picking her roles she’s moving away from blockbusters; or at least moving towards slightly more leftfield choices that seem to push her boundaries. Perhaps actively seeking to distance her glamorous image as one of Hollywood’s most attractive actors? (Incidentally, this is something Depp has been doing for years.)

Looking back, Lost In Translation was the film that got me hooked on all things Johansson. Loneliness, connection in a big foreign city. Her performance emphatically spoke to me. There was a beautiful vulnerability and purity to her; something which, I’d argue, she’s managed to hang onto throughout her career.

She’s smart in her choice of directors too, having worked with some of the best out there: Woody Allen three times (Match Point, Scoop and Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Brian de Palma (The Black Dahlia) and Christopher Nolan (The Prestige).

3178940502434e3eadc79f5a87ffAnd she’s mixed things up with up-and-coming indie types, auteurs and wildcard mavericks too: Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation ), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon), Spike Jonze (Her) and Jonathan Glazer (Under The Skin, this one out soon, see the trailer below).

The final film I mentioned could represent a real shift in the way in which people view her as an actress. She’s still got the big blockbusters ticking along, but this sort of film could really open the door for her to get stuck into some meaty roles.

Much in the way Matthew McConaughey was typecast as the sexy – and often somewhat shallow – lead for years. Until he had had enough and his McRenaissance began. Will Under The Skin be the same turning point for Johansson? Time will tell.

What I do know is that a fairly leftfield film turned me onto her in the first place so, for me, this type of role is where she should be… And I haven’t even seen it yet.