Sufjan Stevens, "Tonya Harding." Illinois and Carrie & Lowell songsmith Stevens says he's been thinking of writing a song about ice queen Harding since 1991, and he submitted this unabashed tribute for use in the Margot Robbie I, Tonya figure skater biopic, only to see it rejected. Don't feel too bad for him: Stevens has two songs in Luca Guadagnino's highly praised sexual-awakening-in-Tuscany film Call Me by Your Name.
Dave Matthews Band, "Crash into Me" in Lady Bird. Director Greta Gerwig's use of the band's 1996 hit in her set-in-2002 coming-of-age story is so intelligently deployed it almost redeems an uncool, difficult-to-bear song. Almost. But the movie scores major points for depicting a teenager whose not-hip music choices are her own. In theaters.
The sound in Dunkirk. Hans Zimmer's ticking clock score and director Christopher Nolan's use of pregnant silences build tension in the Golden Globe-nominated movie about the mass evacuation of British soldiers across the English Channel in World War II. But it's the alarming sound design by editor Richard King of pinging bullets, buzzing Stukas, and whizzing Spitfires that really scares the wits out of you. On DVD and OnDemand.
Bill Nighy, "Will You Go, Lassie, Go," in Their Finest. Speaking of Dunkirk, Lone Scherfig's charming quasicomedy about the making of a British propaganda film intended to lift spirits during World War II features veteran actor Nighy playing vain veteran actor Ambrose Hilliard. He's wonderful in it, and he surprises with a terrific singing voice on this tender rendition of a Scottish folk song during a suddenly serious moment at a cast party. On DVD and OnDemand.
George Michael, "Father Figure" in Atomic Blonde. When super-spy Charlize Theron needs to kick the living daylights out of a half dozen henchmen arriving at her apartment in David Leitch's over-the-top action thriller, she gets in the mood by dropping a tape by the late Wham! star, who died on Christmas Day 2016, into her cassette deck. On DVD and OnDemand.