A soundtrack worth dying for: “The Book of Life”

Manolo, Book of Life

A candy-colored confection of animation that celebrates the Day of the Dead, the soundtrack for The Book of Life is as exceptional as the vocal casting.  To have the soulful Diego Luna as our hero, Manolo, Zoe Saldana voicing the spirited Maria, and a very funny Channing Tatum playing the vain-glorious rival is a treat. But add in Ice Cube, Cheech Marin and Plácido Domingo..and you have constant aural surprises!

I believe The Apology Song is likely to be nominated for an Oscar.  Yes, it’s that good!  It should also be required listening for all bullies in our combative society!  Diego Luna not only voices the young Manolobut also sings a pair of memorable songs by Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla and songwriter Paul Williams. Manolo croons the ballad I Love You Too Much to Maria to express his undying devotion, and The Apology Song is Manolo’s plea in the Land of the Forgotten when he has to face the collective spirit of every bull to die in the ring. Simple and moving, it had me in tears in the theater.

The soundtrack features mariachi versions of Radiohead’s Creep, Mumford & Sons’ I Will Wait and Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love with You arranged by Santaolalla.

(The Book of Life soundtrack is out now digitally and on CD Oct. 27.)

“Musically they’re different but together they came together to form the fabric of the music of the whole film,” says the Argentine-born Santaolalla, who won Oscars for best score for Babel and Brokeback Mountain. He also connected with Manolo’s journey: Like Manolo’s family in the movie, his own family wasn’t always happy with his desire to be a musician.

Director Jorge R. Gutierrez‘s, The Book of Life has themes of redemption and the journey to find one’s true calling.  The film is one of the first mainstream films to feature Dia de los Muertos. Diego Luna also connected with the film in a very personal way. Born in Mexico City, the actor lost his mother to a car accident when he was only 2, and the observance has been key for him to focus on remembering someone, rather than agonizing over the loss.

“I did save many years of therapy because of this celebration,” Luna says. He now celebrates the day with his son Jeronimo, 6, and daughter Fiona, 4, “so they understand where they come from and what had to happen for me to be here and whom I owe my life to. They didn’t get to meet their grandmother but they definitely know who she was.”

quotes from Brian Truitt, USA TODAY — Book of Life Original Songs

Rating: This is a children’s film but with adult themes, I choose Sangria–red as blood but sweet with fruit.  4 Sangrias (out of 5)

Bechdel Rating:  Maria is a Mexican feminist and it’s HER rallying cry that brings the village together to combat evil.  Otherwise, the film would have a low rating with it’s focus on marriage and romance.

What’s OUT that’s worth Seeking Out–Indie film in Boulder County, Colorado

Here’s what’s Out that’s worth seeking out in Boulder County!
Are you a foodie?  Do you enjoy beer and cocktails?  Is your idea of a good time: Dinner and a Movie?
The Flatiron Food Film Festival invites you to pull up a chair to their tasty banquet!
Kicking off with a craft beer tasting on Thu, Oct 16th, the second year of this unique film festival produced by CU’s IFS combines food, films and fun!  From cocktails crafted with Roundhouse Spirits to Farm Tours, from cooking demonstartions to panels and discussions, FFFF has a tasty tidbit for everyone! 
A panel discussion on work/life balance in the restaurant industry, followed by lunch, will take place on Saturday, October 18th, 11am at Jax Fish House in Boulder. Trattoria, a tale of a San Francisco chef who must reconnect with his son through the art of cooking screens @ 7pm @ Muenzinger Auditoriom on the CU campus.This fun film is followed by a timely documentary about food banks and crop diversity called Seeds of Time at 9:15.
Sunday features a Farm Tour, a molecular gastronomy demonstration and for those culinary and artistically-cultured, El Somni (THE DREAM) is a documentary that immerses viewers in the creation and staging of a twelve-course multi-media culinary opera in a Barcelona concert hall. 7:30pm.
For those of you excited about Dia De Los Muertos coming up and perhaps in preparation for the exciting Catrina Ball at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont on Oct 24th, there’s The Book of Life.  This wonderously-strange animated film tells the tale of young love thwarted by the Gods.  It looks amazing, has a great vocal cast and was produced by Guillermo Del Toro and for the brave of heart–I’d recommend seeing it in 3D.  Boxtrolls is also still out and fun for the whole family. Cinebarre and Century Boulder.
For those of you that haven’t managed to see the 3-hour masterpiece of film that is Boyhood, catch Richard Linklater’s film at the Boedecker this weekend.
Also playing: my favorite independent film of the year: Skeleton Twins starring Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader.  A tale of dysfunctional siblings that find that family bonds can survive some seriously-twisted relationships.  There’s even a Halloween theme! See it @ Cinebarre Boulder. My write-up is here: Stefan, where are the dwarves?
Catch ya at the movies!