In Motion Pictures is, to say the least, an unusual compilation album, putting together 15 songs by Elvis Costello that have turned up in movies.
While it contains a few familiar numbers, like "Miracle Man," which was in The Godfather III, "I Want You" and "Days," many of the songs here are lesser known. That makes the record feel both new and old, a career-spanning, off-beat collection.
"Crawling to the U.S.A.," an early tune featuring Jimmy Cliff that appeared in Americathon, adds some bounce to the mix while "Seven Day Weekend" from Club Paradise struts and swings, and "My Mood Swings" from The Big Lebowski is a hooky, dusky blues rocker.
On the slower side, "You Stole My Bell" is Costello at his most soulful. "Oh Well" is an atmospheric, acoustic-rooted drifter co-written with rapper Q-Tip for the movie Prison Song. And the great "God Give Me Strength" is prayerful, a perfect soundtrack song.
Costello as crooner turns on the cover of "She" he did for Notting Hill and the spaghetti-westernesque "A Town Called Nothing," which he wrote for Alex Cox’s Straight To Hell, a movie in which Costello played a shotgun-toting butler, a perfect way to end an illuminating record.