16. Robert Pattinson Sings "Pretty Girl Rock." (The Rover)
15. "Midnight Train to Georgia" Plays Over the Home Mart Loudspeakers. (The Equalizer)
14. Invisible Musicians Play Backup for Keira Knightley. (Begin Again)
13. The Classroom Ode To The Eternal Engine. (Snowpiercer)
12. An Animated Bullfighter Sings "Creep." (The Book of Life)
11. "I'd rather be a hammer than a nail." (Wild)
10. India Jean-Jacques Sings Nina Simone. (Beyond the Lights)
9. Marion Cotillard Turns up the Radio. (Two Days, One Night)
When Petula Clark’s 1970 hit "La Nuit N’en Finit Plus" comes on the car radio in Two Days, One Night, Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) surreptitiously turns it off. It's a sad song (the title, in English, translates to "The Night That Never Ends"), and that seems like the last thing that Manu's depressive wife, Sandra (Marion Cotillard), needs as she fights desperately to save her job. But Sandra catches the move and sees it for what it is, scolding Manu for thinking her so fragile as to need that sort of protection. She turns the radio back on, and the song fills the car, and suddenly it's triumphant instead of tragic, an affirmation of the struggle and faith in humanity the Dardenne brothers' latest film celebrates so movingly.
8. Bricksburg Bounces to "Everything Is Awesome." (The Lego Movie)
7. A Late Night Boogie Turned Hook Up. (Obvious Child)
It's a good year for Paul Simon, movie-wise — in addition to "El Condor Pasa" being such a central presence in Wild, his solo song "The Obvious Child" turned up on both the soundtracks for Gillian Robespierre's abortion rom-com, which shares its title, and Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here. It's Obvious Child that makes the most ecstatic use of the song's phenomenal drumming, though, by setting the one-night stand into motion that will leave comedian Donna (Jenny Slate) pregnant. Donna, who's getting over a breakup, meets the kind, square Max (Jake Lacy) at a show and takes him home with her for a boozy night of sex, preceded by a terrifically goofy montage of dancing.
6. The Jersey Boys Closing Credits. (Jersey Boys)
5. "Not quite my tempo." (Whiplash)
4. A Soul Legend Sees His Future. (Get On Up)
Tate Taylor's James Brown biopic is so much weirder, rowdier, and better than the sedate genre deserves, jumping through the soul legend's life in no particular order, including some incandescent performances from Chadwick Boseman as James and the occasional surreal touch that packs a wallop. Take the scene in which James, as a boy, is participating in a monstrous charity event in which the white guests watch a group of blindfolded black kids try to knock each other out in a boxing ring. James, flat on the mat after taking a tough blow, eyes the musicians who've been hired to play for the crowd. In his eyes, the mild jazz they're playing transforms into a funk riff, and then he's standing with them, punching out his opponent to win.
3. A Real and Fake Vampire Bond Over Records. (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night)
Ana Lily Amirpour's Iranian vampire Western is a sui generis movie — sometimes creepy, sometimes hip, sometimes sad, and sometimes deeply and surprisingly romantic, like in the scene in which the Girl (Sheila Vand) meets a drugged-out, costumed Arash (Arash Marandi) on the street and takes him back to her home. We've seen her kill someone earlier, but suddenly she's just a lonely girl putting on records, nervous in the company of a boy she likes. The scene in which Arash slowly approaches and embraces her as "Death" by White Lies swells is as gloriously lush and dreamy as the film had previously been sparse and bleak, the music creating a bubble in which only the two strange lovers exist.