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2017:

 

 Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy (DVD)

Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy (DVD)

Here is a new documentary by Danny Garcia presenting the last days of Sid Vicious (Sex Pistols) and Nancy Spungen in New York City in 1978. Through the testimonies of many friends and musicians, we learn a little more about the personality of these two lovebirds, considered a mythical couple. We discover the hotel where everything ended, the famous Chelsea hotel in Manhattan, an artist landmark for several decades where drugs and prostitution were constant. Nancy Spungen, a young American stripper, prostitute and groupie, was discovered stabbed on the morning of October 12, 1978, while Sid, her boyfriend of the last two years, was sleeping next door and was not remembering anything. Sid was immediately arrested and charged. He was about to be released on bail and died sometime later of an overdose, without the mystery being resolved. By the many comments of the speakers, we learn a lot about the couple, without however coming to a definite conclusion on what really happened in that room #100 of the Chelsea hotel. It is still a very interesting documentary, with many images of the time. (February 2017)

MVD

 

 

2016:

 

 New Orleans Music in Exile (Blu-ray)

New Orleans Music in Exile (Blu-ray)

In August 2005, New Orleans suffered the most devastating storm in its history as a huge part of the city was destroyed because of Katrina hurricane. That city with a living musical community was then transformed forever. Many musicians therefore found themselves in exile, unable to return home. This documentary by Robert Mugge paints a portrait of the situation two months after that sad event, through the eyes of different musicians. Testimonials are interspersed with performances by several local artists including Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Marcia Ball, Theresa Andersson, The Iguanas and Eddie Bo. New Orleans Music in Exile certainly has a great historical value, as well as presenting several important characters from the local music scene. (December 2016)

MVD

 

 

2015:

 

Soaked in Bleach: A Documentary Film About the Death of Kurt Cobain (DVD)

Kurt Cobain - Soaked in Bleach: A Documentary Film About the Death of Kurt Cobain

Here's a great documentary with all the facts around the death of Kurt Cobain 21 years ago. Based on official case files, audio recordings and expert testimony, the documentary also includes very good high quality cinematic re-creations. One can discover among others Cobain's death as seen through the eyes of Tom Grant, a private investigator who was hired by Courtney Love to find Kurt just days before he was found dead at his home in Seattle. Many weird circumstances surrounding the official facts and lies by Courtney mean that doubts remain greater than ever about a murder disguised as suicide. Unfortunately, a sloppy work from Seattle policemen who have closed the file eagerly concluding undoubtedly the fact of suicide ensure that certain important evidence were quickly packed and the body of Cobain was buried six days after its discovery. The investigation has therefore never really gone further, but the facts reported in this documentary show that suicide by a shotgun was almost impossible given the amount of heroin found in his blood. Otherwise, there is no obvious evidence to accuse anyone without an in-depth investigation to be reopened. The documentary gives good clarifications on the circumstances surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain, which eliminates a lot of rumors. So it only remains to you to form your own opinion. (September 2015)

Montani / Daredevil / MVD

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 R.E.M. – R.E.M. by MTV (DVD & Blu-Ray)

R.E.M.R.E.M. by MTV (DVD & Blu-Ray)

R.E.M. and MTV started together in 1981. Since then, the music TV station has documented just about everything about the band, whether their music and their stories, until their decision to disband in 2011. This film shows the real-time parallel runs of the two institutions by archive documents. We thus find the documentary R.E.M. From Beginning To End (for the first time available on Blu-Ray), to which were added five deleted scenes and movie trailers. One can also rediscover five concert performances pulled from the REMTV box set. Here is a great way to make an overview of the band's career. (June 2015)

Rhino / Warner

½

Rye Coalition – The Story of the Hard Luck 5 (DVD)

Rye CoalitionThe Story of the Hard Luck 5

Rye Coalition is a band from Jersey City, New Jersey, which was formed in 1994 by young teenagers who were simply enjoying playing together. They went for a first tour when they had in hand only a 5-song demo tape. The punk / emo band managed to catch attention with their stage energy and good humor that animated them all the time. In addition, the 5 guys were charismatic and good musicians. They were finally able to record albums in the early 2000s, they opened for Queens of the Stone Age and The Mars Volta, and they even worked with Steve Albini and Dave Grohl. When the major contract has finally appeared from Dreamworks, the group imploded, forcing them to remain forever a band of the underground scene which could never get the recognition they deserved. This excellent documentary presents the history of the band, its pitfalls and bad luck, the greatest moments of their careers until their split in almost complete anonymity despite good reviews and loyal fans. (March 2015)

MatzOrific / MVD

½

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I Need a Dodge! Joe Strummer on the Run (DVD)

Joe Strummer I Need a Dodge! Joe Strummer on the Run

This documentary by Nick Hall presents the exodus of Joe Strummer in Spain in 1985-86 after having abandoned his band, The Clash Mark II. Seeing that this new version of The Clash after having fired Mick Jones was about to implode, Strummer ran away without leaving an address. At Granada, he was warmly welcomed by bands like 091 and Radio Fortuna that he had the opportunity to advise about their music and studio work. Desperately looking for a Barreiros car, a European edition of the Dodge Dart, he was finally able to acquire one. Otherwise, when he went to London for the birth of his daughter Lola, he completely forgot where he had left it and it was finally never found. The documentary tries in part to discover where this car was found in 1986. It is a documentary in two parts: the search for a car in parallel with the Joe Strummer personal search to find a meaning to his life. Mostly in Spanish with interviews with members of 091 and Radio Fortuna, the documentary presents a rather obscure part of the career and life of Joe Strummer. In addition to the DVD, the package includes an audio cassette of an interview to the Spanish radio. (November 2015)

Cadiz / MVD

½

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Positive Force: More Than a Witness, 30 Years of Punk Politics in Action (DVD)

Positive Force: More Than a Witness, 30 Years of Punk Politics in Action

In 1985 appeared in Washington, D.C. the activist movement Positive Force which wanted to bring a sense of community, the ideals and goals of the punk movement that had been so inspiring. The 70-minute documentary presents precisely these values that they wanted to put forward and punk bands that literally carried this movement. One can discover a great number of footage of bands like Fugazi, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Nation of Ulysses and Anti-Flag. They also even went on the other side of the Atlantic to discover the most purist punk band, Crass. Throughout the documentary, we remain somewhat uncertain of its goal. Is it to discover music and bands of this movement, or to honor the Positive Force activists? It’s hard to say, but we can certainly say that this is a documentary that is not easy to listen to the end. Even the biggest fans of this DIY music will likely get lost. As a bonus, there are three other short documentaries and several live performances by Fugazi, Holy Rollers, Chumbawamba, Bikini Kill, Jawbox, Anti-Flag, The Evens, and so on. (February 2015)

Bell Visuals / PM Press / MVD

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Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90) (DVD)

Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)

The 1980s saw the birth of several hardcore punk bands in Washington, all influenced by the New York punk born a few years earlier. The documentary by Scott Crawford is summarizing the debut of the DIY punk scene. One can discover bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Government Issue, Scream, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man and many others. For the first time, groups were producing themselves, both their albums and their concerts, a trend that would grow in the 2000s following the collapse of the record industry. The critically acclaimed documentary has earned several awards. It is interesting not only for its informative content about a whole section of the history of music, but also for concert performance by important bands of the movement. (November 2015)

New Rose / MVD

½

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2014:

 

Grant Hart - Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart (DVD)

Grant Hart - Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart

Grant Hart was initially known as co-leader of alternative band Hüsker in which he acted as a songwriter, drummer and singer until their split in December 1987. Thereafter, he mostly worked in solo in addition to forming the band Nova Mob the time of two albums. In this documentary about his career, it's basically Hart himself who tells his story, his career. One can also find footage from live performances by Hüsker , Nova Mob and Hart in solo. Unfortunately, the 90-minute documentary has some less interesting details. It is still a document that will appreciate the most fervent fans of Hüsker . (October 2014)

MVD

½

B.B. King – The Life of Riley (DVD)

B.B. KingThe Life of Riley

The Life of Riley is a documentary by filmmaker Jon Brewer with narration by Morgan Freeman presenting the life and career of blues legend B.B. King. Born in Mississippi in 1925, Riley B. King had a difficult childhood before discovering a passion for music. After his debut in Memphis, B.B. King was instrumental in carrying the blues of the Southern US plantations on the biggest stages in the world. The excellent 2-hour documentary presents comments by other legends he influenced as Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy, Bill Wyman, Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Bono, and many others . This film not only offers a biography of the artist, but also paints a portrait of an entire segment of American music and blues in particular, including British blues artists who were inspired by him. As a bonus, the DVD features longer interviews and a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011. (September 2014)

Bounce / MVD

½

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The Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols on TV (DVD)

The Sex Pistols The Sex Pistols on TV

This 2-hour DVD presents various interviews by the Sex Pistols through the years with Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Malcolm McClaren and Steve Jones at the microphone. They can be heard at their debut trying to defend the objectives of punk rock, and two years later to explain their split. It goes back on the circumstances surrounding the murder charges on Sid Vicious and his following death of a heroin overdose. Then, you can hear John Lydon talking about his new band in the 1980s, Public Image Limited, and his new interest in nature and the marine world. Very interesting in its first 30 minutes, the film becomes a bit less exciting later when the Sex Pistols as we know them are already from the past. As a bonus, you can see a 20-minute Sid Vicious documentary preview. (December 2014)

A2B / ITN / MVD

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Johnny Thunders – Looking For Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders (DVD)

Johnny Thunders – Looking For Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders

In this 98-minute documentary, Danny Garcia (The Rise and Fall of The Clash) embarked on telling the story of guitarist Johnny Thunders. One can discover his debut to the founding of the New York Dolls. Then, three years later, Thunders left the New York Dolls with drummer Jerry Nolan to form the Heartbreakers. This will be at the same time the end of the New York Dolls, after only two albums. He will try later working in solo and with the bands Gang War and The Oddballs. However, the guideline of his career has definitely been drugs while he was an assumed and especially extreme junky. He was going to die in April 1991 at the age of 38 in a hotel room in New Orleans in weird circumstances. The most likely theory remains an overdose of methadone. The documentary does a very good overview of the 20 years of the career of Johnny Thunders through interviews with people who knew him best. The only annoying detail is that music footage is too rare or too short, especially when they are talking specifically about his music and his guitar style. Looking For Johnny will still allow you to have a better idea of who is Johnny Thunders. (January 2015)

Jungle / MVD

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 Shania Twain – The Discovery of Eilleen Twain (DVD + CD)

Shania TwainThe Discovery of Eilleen Twain (DVD + CD)

25 years ago, a young Eilleen Twain made ​​her debut in the musical revue Viva Vegas at Deerhurst Inn Resort in Ontario. These beginnings are presented in this short 37-minute documentary. The documentary features many interviews with people close to the large-scale production, talking about all the talent of the one that would soon conquer the world as Shania Twain. A bonus CD is included containing 10 remastered songs from her beginnings in 1989-1990, when she had a pop rock sound rather than the country pop sound that would make her famous. (May 2014)

Elektro / Video Services / MVD

½

Clockwork Orange County: The Rise of West Coast Punk Rock! (DVD)

Clockwork Orange County: The Rise of West Coast Punk Rock!

In the early 1970s, young tattooed punks from Southern California had a passion for loud music. These pioneers of punk found their sanctuary at Cuckoo's Nest, a club in Costa Mesa. This 74-minute documentary presents that new movement that would grow into a huge wave carrying Californian bands like T.S.O.L., Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys, but also artists from somewhere else like the Ramones and Iggy Pop. That movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s would not only become a staple in the history of music, but would also continue in subsequent generations with several revivals of Californian punk in recent decades. The documentary presents several interesting features of that era, but also many more insignificant and less interesting details for those who have not been part of the movement at that time. (August 2014)

Endurance / MVD

½

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Punk in Africa (DVD)

Punk in Africa

Thanks to this 82-minute documentary, we discover the influence that had punk rock music in the socio-political and racial climate of tension in Africa during the 1970s and 1980s, in the Apartheid era. At a time when the simple act of denouncing the system could cost you your freedom or even your life, the punk movement represented a good way to express opinions. We discover bands that then had success in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, including many multiracial groups. Their influences could both come from the British punk than ska and reggae. Well produced and with many interesting interviews, Punk in Africa presents a perfect meeting between sociopolitical and underground music. (May 2014)

MVD

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2013:

 

Black Lips – Kids Like You & Me (DVD)

Black LipsKids Like You & Me

Here is a documentary about a tour in the Middle East for Atlanta punk band Black Lips. Accompanied by their friends, Lebanese indie rock band Lazzy Lung, they found themselves in the midst of the Arab Spring crisis, including the 18 days of conflict in Egypt. We can especially see their complete adaptation to that foreign culture, the music being sidelined with some live footage or rehearsals. Otherwise, it is still mainly through music that they could really connect with the local culture. The band's fans will probably enjoy, but it is above all a journey of discovery other mentalities than the American one. This is an interesting document for exploring that region of the world, as seen through the eyes of an American rock band. (March 2014)

MVD

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Cockney Rejects – East End Babylon: The Story of the Cockney Rejects (DVD)

Cockney RejectsEast End Babylon: The Story of the Cockney Rejects

East End Babylon is a documentary about British punk band Cockney Rejects. This is actually a return on the London life back several decades, including World War II, the life in their neighbourhood, their childhood, their interests, in fact everything that has led to the band's music. Director Richard England offers a very different portrait of the band that can usually be found in this type of rockumentary. Regardless if the film turns out to be creative, in return it has several lengths detailing a little too much certain aspects making us almost forget that it is talking about a punk band. Otherwise, a lot of interesting information and beautiful images make sure you appreciate this film of more than 100 minutes which allows us to discover an influential British band. (January 2014)

Cadiz / MVD

Cosmic Psychos – Blokes You Can Trust (DVD)

Cosmic PsychosBlokes You Can Trust

The Cosmic Psychos are an alternative rock / punk rock band that comes from the Australian farm. They formed in 1982 and were an important influence on the Seattle grunge bands including Nirvana. This documentary of over 90 minutes presents the group's history and influence. In addition to the band, you can hear interviews with Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Mudhoney, The Melvins, Butch Vig (Garbage), Donita Sparks (L7), Hard-Ons, etc. Very well produced, the documentary gives us the opportunity to know everything about the group, even though their albums have never managed to grab the attention of major record companies. (February 2014)

Umbrella / MVD

Green Day – iCuatro! – The Making of Uno! Dos! Tré! (DVD)

Green DayiCuatro! – The Making of Uno! Dos! Tré!

In this 75-minute documentary, we discover the creative process behind the last three albums of Green Day. We see the musicians questioning about what they will do with so many songs. Then we see them in the studio working on all these songs. You can even see concerts in bars to showcase their new songs to their fans while they were awaiting endlessly their hits, which never came. An interesting feature of the DVD is that after seeing them work on a song in the studio, you can often hear the final version, or at least an excerpt from the final version. Unfortunately, everything appears somewhat disjointed and you need to have a good knowledge of the three albums to know the songs, because they never write you what song it is and from which album it is. This is a documentary that is intended solely for the biggest fans of the group, especially those who know by heart the Uno! Dos! Tré! trilogy. (December 2013)

Reprise / Warner

Michael Jackson – Moscow Case 1993 (DVD)

Michael JacksonMoscow Case 1993

On September 15, 1993, Michael Jackson gave a concert in Moscow for the first time. This Yuri Burak documentary presents behind the scenes of the show that went very close to be a monumental flop. The tension caused by criminal gangs that was so palpable in the country, the general poverty of the population, and the inexperience of Muscovites in the preparation of concerts of this magnitude have made it particularly difficult. We learn how soldiers were requested to build the stage. We also learn that a few hours of the event, very few tickets were sold and large quantities were given to prevent the King of Pop to play in front of an empty stadium. That stay in Moscow inspired Jackson who then wrote the "Stranger in Moscow" song. The film is based on previously unseen archive material close to the singer, as well as interviews with people who lived near or far the event. Otherwise, we don’t see any live footage, or even images of the stage itself. Everything is presented to us with drawings, that even if they are well done, become frankly annoying, especially with the accompanying accordion. Obviously, in this type of documentary, the producers have no right on Jackson's music, so you can hear no song of the artist. Despite these shortcomings that are a little frustrating, the 55-minute documentary has many points of interest for fans of the singer, as well as being good to better understand the situation in Russia in the post-Cold War era. (August 2013)

Panicfilm / MVD

Mudhoney – I’m Now: The Story of Mudhoney (DVD)

MudhoneyI’m Now: The Story of Mudhoney

Formed in Seattle on January 1, 1988 from the ashes of Green River, Mudhoney became somehow the fathers of grunge. They have opened the door to Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains who were to conquer the world in the early 1990s. In this documentary, we discover their birth in details. It is also an excellent overview of their career until their 2009-2010 world tour. In addition to the group members themselves, we can see many people in interview like Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil and some leaders of the Sub Pop label. The documentary lasting 102 minutes is complemented by footage of touring Europe, Brazil and Japan, as well as the music video for "I'm Now". Here is a very good film to discover not only the Mudhoney story, but also the birth of grunge, one of the most important movements in the history of rock. (June 2013)

Music Video: « I’m Now »

King of Hearts / MVD

½

’83 US Festival (DVD)

’83 US Festival

In 1983 took place the second edition of the US Festival (Unite us in Song). More than two million fans had then crossed the barriers of this 3-day festival that wanted to be the 1980's version of Woodstock. Some of the most popular artists of the time in new wave and rock were present on stage including INXS, Men At Work, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Triumph and Stevie Nicks. Other memorable performances include "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2, and the last stage presence of The Clash with Mick Jones. Sponsored by Steve Wozniak of Apple Computer, the festival in the middle of nowhere in California was an unparalleled success at all levels. The documentary in 3 parts of 45 minutes introduces one or two songs for the major artists and various excerpts from interviews. Thirty years later, it paints an excellent portrait of the rock scene at the time. (March 2014)

Unuson / MVD

½

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Brick and Mortar and Love (DVD)

Brick and Mortar and Love

Brick and Mortar and Love is a documentary about the difficulties that had the independent record stores in recent years. But more specifically, it is the story of Ear X-tacy, a legendary store in Louisville, Kentucky, owned by John Timmons for more than 25 years. Timmons had decided to make a public appearance when he found himself on the edge of having to close the doors, to provoke reactions in public opinion. Moving to smaller premises at the dawn of the 25th anniversary gave the Ear X-tacy a new life, but Timmons had to redo a message to his customers that the future of the store was still threatened mainly by digital downloads and supermarkets. The store finally closed its doors in October 2011. The 70-minute documentary has quality and presents well the story of Ear X-tacy. Otherwise, it would have been interesting to follow some independent stores that were in the same situation, rather than focusing on one. (September 2013)

Trust Gang / MVD

Paul McCartney - Going Underground: Paul McCartney, The Beatles and the UK Counter-Culture (DVD)

Going Underground: Paul McCartney, The Beatles and the UK Counter-Culture

In the 1960s, a counter-culture has developed in London in opposition to the straight life of that time. Extremely creative, that underground culture has brought a lot of musicians totally outside the box. This documentary paints a portrait of this counter-culture, but more importantly, its impact on the music of the Beatles. As stated so well in the documentary by Barry Miles, Paul McCartney biographer, the Beatles were at the same time the biggest avant-garde group of the time and the most popular in the world. After a rather pop debut that allowed them to reach the entire planet, Paul McCartney and the Beatles were greatly influenced by the emerging underground scene. The transformation is felt from the album Rubber Soul in 1965, before reaching its peak with their concept album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. The documentary does a very good parallel between the counter-culture and the music of the Beatles. In addition, it presents a whole section of the history of London and England which is particularly interesting for history fans. Otherwise, with a duration of 2 hours and 33 minutes, it may well seem too long. (December 2013)

Pride / MVD

In Heaven There is No Beer (DVD)

In Heaven There is No Beer

Here is a documentary about the punk rock scene in Los Angeles in the 2000s. More specifically, the film features the music scene of Kiss or Kill which wanted to  be an alternative to the Sunset Strip clubs which were forcing the bands to pay for play. This promotion was active between 2002 and 2007 with a real family atmosphere, having at the height of its popularity up to 100 bands on its roster and over 1,000 loyal fans. You could see perform among others talented bands like King Cheetah, The Dollyrots and Bang Sugar Bang. Unfortunately, Kiss or Kill ended up being a victim of its popularity and fell into the trap it tried to fight at its beginning. The documentary of nearly 90 minutes is very well done with concert footage for many groups and excerpts from interviews with members of these bands, fans and specialists of the local music scene. As a bonus, the DVD contains over 30 minutes of additional material including deleted scenes, live performances and a photo gallery along with director's commentaries. (November 2013)

MVD

Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop (Deluxe Edition) (DVD)

Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop (Deluxe Edition)

In the 1960-70s, the independent record shops had become legendary. Music lovers considered them as treasures where we could make great discoveries. In the 1980s, with the advent of the CD and the declining quality of the vinyl, these specialty shops transformed. More importantly, it is the sale of CDs at low prices in large chain stores that would completely change the way to buy music. With the advent of the MP3 in the 1990s and the ability to download free music online, independent shops would start to disappear one by one. But a new life was on the horizon in the second half of the 2000s. The record companies would again focus on the vinyl because it is a more beautiful object to collect than a MP3 list in a digital player. Therefore, independent shops that had survived so far have started to welcome new customers in large numbers, to be able to touch the vinyls like in the good old days. This is the story of the independent record shops as told in this documentary of about fifty minutes. It shows the evolution for this type of specialty shops in England with many testimonials from owners as well as many musicians like Billy Bragg and Johnny Marr. This is a deluxe version for North America containing 74 minutes of additional material. (July 2013)

Convexe / MVD

½

Welcome to the Machine (DVD)

Welcome to the Machine

This documentary by Andreas Steinkogler presents the 12 commandments of the music industry. That is to say, the 12 infallible lessons allowing an artist to break into the industry. These things range from clothing style, to the name of the band, including the music itself of course. Many artists say a few words at one time or another in the documentary, which is the most interesting element. One of the most striking moments is certainly when you see Canadian Chilly Gonzales play with a symphony orchestra, even if the footage is sometimes inserted completely out of context. The 100-minute documentary presents a good picture of the music industry and suggests that following the 12 commandments, success is assured. However, the reality may be quite different. (October 2013)

MVD

 

2012:

 

Alice Donut – Freaks in Love (DVD)

Alice DonutFreaks in Love

Alice Donut is a punk band from the underground scene of New York City which was formed 25 years ago and has never really been successful. Through this 98-minute documentary, we discover the evolution of the group from its debut to today, working very hard to get a place in the American alternative scene. You can see interviews with Jello Biafra, Greg Werckman, Martin Bisi, Curt Kirkwood, among others. One can also find 42 minutes of extra features. The documentary can truly make us discover this rather enigmatic band. (December 2012)

120DB / Duotone / MVD

½

The Beatles – Their Golden Age (DVD)

The BeatlesTheir Golden Age

This 60-minute documentary by Les Krantz presents the entire career of the Beatles with different archival footage, some rare. In fact, he presents mostly the beatlemania, the madness that surrounded the band on tour and in its every move. It also presents shooting footage and other images of their movies: A Hard Day's Night, Help!, The Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine and Let It Be. The only drawback of the DVD is that it doesn’t deal very much with their music and most importantly, you don’t hear any music by the Beatles, a copyright issue. Despite this negative aspect, the documentary still does an excellent portrait of the band's career, which has evolved at an impressive speed over a period of only 8 years. (December 2012)

Wildwood / MVD

Circle Jerks – My Career as a Jerk (DVD)

Circle JerksMy Career as a Jerk

Founded in 1979 by former members of Black Flag and Redd Kross, the Circle Jerks became a figurehead of California hardcore punk. This 96-minute documentary directed by David Markey presents the entire band's career, from its debut to the battles and dependencies that led to its end. Interviews with members of the band are interrupted by concert footage. Unfortunately, the sound of the performances is not very good, which doesn’t allow us to "appreciate" the band's music properly. Otherwise, the interviews are very interesting and make us better understand the evolution of the group internally and in the California music industry. (February 2013)

MVD

Bob Dylan and The Band - Down in the Flood (DVD)

Bob Dylan and The Band – Down in the Flood

In 1966, Bob Dylan was determined to go on an electric tour. He then asked the services of a Canadian band to accompany him on stage, The Hawks, so named because of Ronnie Hawkins who put these musicians together. After the electric tour, the group would continue to work with Dylan and it would simply become The Band. The DVD shows how the various meetings happened, first with Hawkins, then with Dylan. You will discover over the 114 minutes of the documentary how the band has evolved along with the folk legend, until it stands on its own. Down in the Flood is a very interesting documentary presenting the most important years of the career of Bob Dylan and the historic meeting with the musicians of The Band. (January 2013)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

The Replacements – Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements (DVD)

The ReplacementsColor Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements

The alternative rock band from Minnesota has acquired a good deal of fans during its 12 years of existence between 1979 and 1991. These bad boys of rock ‘n’ roll could go from the worst mediocrity to pure genius, and it is what is depicted in this comprehensive 2-hour documentary. The Replacements did not care about fashions and they did what they liked. They recorded some of the most beloved American rock albums, reaching the pinnacle with Tim in 1985. The Replacements influenced many groups that followed including the Goo Goo Dolls, The Decemberists and The Hold Steady. One feature of this documentary is that there is a large amount of written information on the screen during the various interviews. So we learn a lot about the band and its career. A second DVD includes deleted scenes, complete interviews with some of the stakeholders, and additional interviews with the producer and director of the documentary. (April 2013)

MVD

½

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The Rolling Stones – Under Review 1975-1983: The Ronnie Wood Years (Pt. 1) (DVD)

The Rolling StonesUnder Review 1975-1983: The Ronnie Wood Years (Pt. 1)

In 1974, the greatest rock 'n' roll band was on the decline and seemed on the verge of extinction. But the arrival of guitarist Ron Wood (ex-Faces) would cement the group and allow them to return to the path of success. This documentary is showing the positive effect Wood had on the band between 1975 and 1983. It includes exclusive interviews, as well as many archive footage accompanied by the band's music. The documentary did a great job to highlight these specific years of the Stones' career, years which have enabled the band to be reborn on record, you could say for the last time considering the material they presented for the last 30 years. (March 2013)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

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Beijing Punk (DVD)

Beijing Punk

At the approach of the Olympics, all eyes of the world were on China and some denounced constantly the human rights abuses and totalitarian police measures. Otherwise, beneath the surface there was a growing punk movement. This excellent documentary presents this new burgeoning scene in China while young people discovered 30 years later the music they prefer. It analyzes several promising young bands with varied influences like Motörhead, the Ramones and Operation Ivy. With more than 70 minutes, Beijing Punk has won several awards in film festivals around the world. (May 2013)

Seminal / MVD

½

Spokanarchy! Where Were You in '82? (DVD)

SpokAnarchy! Where Were You in ’82?

SpokAnarchy! is a documentary about the local punk scene in Spokane, Washington in the late 1970s and early 1980s. While nothing was happening musically in this industrial boring city, some groups began to form and play a punk / new wave sound rather different from what was happening at that time. Through numerous interviews with people present at the time, the documentary paints a good picture of the music scene in dealing with bands like Vampire Lezbos, Sweet Madness, Terror Couple, Cattle Prod, TFL and Social Bondage. Although none of these groups could stand on a larger scale, it is still very interesting to see how such an isolated musical movement could be created. Despite a sometimes dizzying production, the DVD presents some quality elements. (January 2013)

Carnage & Rouge / MVD

 

2011:

 

Bob Dylan - Revealed (DVD)

Bob Dylan - Revealed

In May 2011, Bob Dylan turned 70. For the occasion, what more natural than to look back over his 50-year career! That's what this 112-minute documentary attempts to do in returning to some important passages of his career, especially on stage. They go quickly over his humble debut at Columbia Records before making a flight over the details of his electric world tour of 1966, completely misunderstood at the time. The images of that tour are narrated by drummer Mickey Jones. It briefly mentions his alleged motorcycle accident that was probably hiding his entry into detoxification for drug abuse, then it jumps to his comeback on stage by 1974. His tour of 1975, when he was surrounded by folk troubadours, is amply explained by Ramblin 'Jack Elliott, violinist Scarlet Rivera, bassist Rob Stoner and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. It mentions his comeback as "The Entertainer" in 1978 and his passage to the religion which have resulted in three albums of gospel and much criticism. Finally, drummer Winston Watson recounts the early days of the never ending tour in 1992, a tour that continues to this day. The main problem with this documentary is that it ignores the main Dylan albums during his career. The movie focuses instead on the milestone dates that have changed the course of his career, without really going deep into his music. Revealed is still a good documentary to get a general picture of the career of this living legend of folk. (June 2011)

Highway 61 / MVD

KISS - Invasion (DVD)

KISS - Invasion

Vinnie Vincent was a member of KISS for a short period in the early 1980s, following the departure of Ace Frehley. This DVD features rare interviews with the "Egyptian God". We can first see an interview with KISS on the Nightflight TV show, while the band was on tour following the release of the Creatures of the Night album (1982). We can see the interview as presented at the time (10 minutes), but also the full unedited version of 55 minutes in which we can hear everything that could be said between takes. The DVD also has a Vincent convention captured in the 1990s, following the release of a solo album that is completely gone unnoticed. Despite expectations that we can have about this DVD of rare material from Vinnie Vincent, the limited content on it quickly disappoints. For the biggest fans of KISS and Vinnie Vincent only. (September 2011)

GIG / MVD

KISS - Meets the Press (DVD)

KISS - Meets the Press

This DVD presents 47 minutes of rare interviews and unseen footage of the extravagant New York band KISS. Among others, we can see raw footage of almost 15 minutes of the ceremony where they received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We can also see raw footage of close to 15 minutes of a tribute ​​to Peter Criss. This is complemented by a few short interviews with the band and with Gene Simmons doing various promotions. These rare images of the band may be interesting for their biggest fans. But, the fact there is no music by the band is making the DVD rather uninteresting for hardcore music lovers...

MVD

½

Katy Perry - The Girl Who Ran Away (DVD)

Katy Perry - The Girl Who Ran Away

Katy Perry got an outstanding success in 2008 with her album One of the Boys, thanks to the hits "Ur So Gay," "I Kissed a Girl," "Hot N Cold" and "Waking Up in Vegas". But it's seven years before that she began her career with an album under her real name of Katy Hudson, an album of gospel / Christian music. She subsequently moved from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and changed her name to Perry. She made an attempt at an album with producer Glen Ballard, best known for his work with Alanis Morissette on Jagged Little Pill in 1995, but it was shelved by the record company. This 71-minute documentary presents the entire life of Katy Perry, from her childhood growing up in a very strict Christian family, to her status as international superstar of pop music. Panelists analyze of course in depth her only two real albums to date, and more about the shelved albums, as well as her MTV unplugged album released in 2009. The documentary will make you discover a little more about the personality behind the pin-up look and it also shows that she’s a smart artist that doesn’t take herself too seriously. Obviously, with so little material to her credit, it necessarily extends much about her personality, relationships, and so on. But these few lengths are not too boring in the end and we still appreciate the depth of this presentation of the immensely talented singer, who has certainly not yet fully manifested on record... (August 2011)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

½

Pink Floyd - Whatever Happened to Pink Floyd? The Strange Case of Waters and Gilmour (DVD)

Pink Floyd - Whatever Happened to Pink Floyd? The Strange Case of Waters and Gilmour

Pink Floyd has produced only three albums since its 1979 classic, The Wall, including one with Roger Waters, The Final Cut in 1983. It’s that Waters taking more and more room in the band, beginning in 1977 for the album Animals, frustration has mounted between the group members, especially between Waters and David Gilmour, the other creative force of the band. Gilmour has been virtually sidelined for Animals and The Wall (even if he offered the beautiful "Comfortably Numb") and The Final Cut was actually rather a Waters album than a Pink Floyd one. Following the official and indefinite departure of Roger Waters to pursue a solo career, Gilmour took over the adventure of Pink Floyd for two albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), in addition of making huge world tours. A meeting of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters has long been desired by fans, but aside from a few appearances together for a special performance or a charity, nothing could give the feeling that peace is back between Gilmour and Waters. It’s this long tumultuous journey going back to 1976-77 which is presented to us in this 83-minute documentary. Specialists analyze each album since then, along with the tensions that took place within the group. More importantly, we can see different excerpts from interviews with each member of the band, allowing us to hear their perceptions of the events seen from the inside. It’s therefore an excellent documentary to learn more about what happened to Pink Floyd over the past 35 years. (August 2011)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

Robert Plant - Blue Note (DVD)

Robert Plant - Blue Note

Robert Plant has been active in six decades and the least we can say is that his path has nothing common. First influenced by American blues and Elvis Presley's voice, he then was inspired by British blues rock that he brought to another level in Led Zeppelin. Subsequently, he launched a solo career in the 1980s and presented a pop sound heavily influenced by new technologies. He came back with Jimmy Page for two albums to rework Zeppelin songs with a North African sound and present new compositions quite different from what he had previously offered. Finally, in the 2000s, he became a highly respected folk singer. That's this entire path that is presented to us in details in the documentary of 155 minutes. We can see music footage, as well as interviews with friends, colleagues and specialists, including many musicians who have had the opportunity to work with Plant during his career. If there is a minor complaint that can be made to the documentary, it’s perhaps that it is too stretched in length on some occasions. Despite the extensive career of the singer, a tighter editing of the documentary would have been appreciated. Still, this DVD presents practically the history of contemporary music through the career of Robert Plant. A very nice document! (September 2011)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

Fested: A Journey to Fest 7

Fested: A Journey to Fest 7

On Halloween, in Gainesville, Florida, we can find each year for several years now one of the most important punk rock festivals in the United States. During a weekend, several thousands of young punks get together to a constant mega party where alcohol and punk rock music are featured. This documentary of one hour and 45 minutes provides a brief profile of the atmosphere that could reign at the 7th edition of the Fest in 2008. Filmed over two weeks, the documentary touches on the preparations, the arrival of some bands to the festival and the atmosphere around the event. You can also discover some live performances by some of the 270 invited groups, taking place at one of the 12 venues of the event. Unfortunately, the documentary does not go very deep, we do not find any quality interview and the few performances presented are certainly not the best that people have seen throughout the festival. In addition, the few big names that were part of the list of invited bands to this entirely underground festival are not even mentioned anywhere. In the documentary, the featured group that was on everyone's lips was the local band Dirty Money, which has since changed its name to Spanish Gamble. Ultimately, the documentary film still manages to give us the general atmosphere at the Fest 7, despite its obvious flaws and its amateur side. On October 28, 29 and 30, the Fest will celebrate its 10th anniversary and will include bands like Against Me!, The Bouncing Souls, Less Than Jake and Dillinger Four. (October 2011)

Blue Elephant / MVD

½

A History Lesson, Part 1: Punk Rock in Los Angeles in 1984

A History Lesson, Part 1: Punk Rock in Los Angeles in 1984

In 1984, there was a quite important psychedelic punk rock scene in Los Angeles. The young Dave Travis has decided to film different concerts in the spring of 1984. He also conducted numerous interviews with major players in that burgeoning underground scene. In this 56-minute documentary, there are various live performances by the Meat Puppets, Minutemen, Redd Kross and Twisted Roots. These performances are interspersed with excerpts from interviews with members of these bands: Cris and Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Jeff and Steve McDonald (Redd Kross), Paul Roessler (Twisted Roots) and Hellin Roessler. The interview clips are often too short, but still show an interesting aspect of that era, from the inside. The moments in concert are also important for posterity, but unfortunately the sound quality is poor. As for the assembly as a whole, its really cheap and it’s finally well representative of that underground scene that has never been very rich. The fanatics of that period of music history will certainly find some interesting points. But the average people will tend to move faster on several passages. (June 2011)

Historical / MVD

½

 

2010:

 

All Time Low - Straight to DVD (DVD + CD)

All Time Low - Straight to DVD (DVD + CD)

After the release of the excellent Nothing Personal album in 2009, the pop punk / emo band All Time Low has experienced great success on tour. The documentary found here presents an overview of this tour, as much on stage as backstage. We can also discover the history of the band, including interviews with their parents. The 76-minute documentary shows also several songs captured in concert in New York City in December 2009. On the other hand, the DVD contains this concert in its entirety, very well shot with an excellent sound performance. Finally, a CD containing the same concert is included. Therefore, it’s a beautiful gift that the group offers to its fans which will be able to learn a little more about their favorite band in addition to discover them in concert. (August 2010)

Hopeless / E1

½

David Bowie - Rare and Unseen (DVD)

David Bowie - Rare and Unseen

This 54-minute DVD presents a collection of rare and unseen interviews with David Bowie. He does a long distance interview with Russell Harty which is raising many difficult questions, even embarrassing. Bowie, intoxicated by alcohol, doesn’t know what to say in many occasions and seemed quite frustrated with that interview. Oddly, he finished by saying he loved that interview... The pacing of the DVD is a bit unusual going regularly from an interview from 1976 to another from 1999, with no consistency in the themes. There are a few excerpts, but by an imitator of Bowie, as they had no rights on the original songs. In addition, there are some errors: bad title written when you hear "Changes", interview footage coming back 2 times, and so on. It’s unfortunate that the document has been produced too quickly and is so cheap, because Bowie delivers facts we didn’t hear often from him, like his drug use and the days in Berlin. We can also see footage in rehearsal in the early 1980s. David Bowie fans can explore a little more about their favorite singer. But, Rare and Unseen is a DVD of very poor quality. (May 2011)

Wienerworld / MVD

Eric Clapton - The 1960’s Review (DVD)

Eric Clapton - The 1960’s Review

Guitarist Eric Clapton is considered by many like God, a real living legend of British blues. In this documentary, they present the beginning of his career, his presence in the Yardbirds and the Bluesbreakers and the foundation of Cream and Blind Faith. A blues purist desperately in search of his style, Clapton used the 1960s to explore in various directions, before leaving for a solo career. The 2-hour documentary makes an in-depth description of Eric Clapton in the 1960s. Nothing is left aside and we can even consider that there are certain moments that are a little too long, going in too many details. The experts interviewed are really interesting, but we can sometimes feel that a tightening of content would have been far preferable for the final result. Despite this stretch, the documentary will teach you certainly much about this monument of contemporary music. (January 2011)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

½

Leonard Cohen - Lonesome Heroes

Leonard Cohen - Lonesome Heroes

The legendary folk singer Leonard Cohen was recognized worldwide for over 40 years. Yet it is not easy to guess his musical influences. Compare him to Bob Dylan is nothing very surprising. But, when we learn that country artists like Hank Williams and Hank Snow were great influences, as well as the soul of Ray Charles, it catches our interest. This is what causes this documentary when they put under the microscope the different influences of Cohen, including poetry, which led him to offer his unique style of folk. We also learn that he was greatly influenced by French music, especially by the Belgian Jacques Brel. The documentary of 110 minutes is really going deep into the various influences of Cohen, so much so that it can seem stretched at times. They present and describe in such details some of his influences that they no longer speak about Cohen for many minutes, which can be necessarily annoying. Anyway, the documentary will offer many elements of interest to fans of Leonard Cohen, who may learn a lot about their favorite artist. (January 2011)

Pride / MVD

½

Leonard Cohen - Bird on a Wire (DVD)

Leonard Cohen - Bird on a Wire

Between Dublin on March 18, 1972 and Jerusalem on April 21, Montreal’s poet Leonard Cohen presented a 20-city European tour. He was then at the top of his career after having released the classic albums Songs of Leonard Cohen (1968), Songs From a Room (1969) and Songs of Love and Hate (1971). This film by British director Tony Palmer is an impression of what happened during that tour, which also included among others the cities of London, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin and Tel Aviv. Whereas it was thought that it had been lost for a long time, the film was discovered in 2009 and was restored by Palmer so that it can be offered on DVD. The quality of sound and image is excellent considering when it was captured. We can hear 17 performances on stage, 4 poems and tour footage. Bird on a Wire gives a very good outline of that tour and the feelings of Cohen at the time. His fans will be quite simply pleased, and for the younger people who know him a little less, it will be an excellent starting point to discover this exceptional folk songwriter and performer. (October 2010)

Machat / MVD

½

Janis Joplin - Final 24: Her Final Hours (DVD)

Janis Joplin - Final 24: Her Final Hours

Janis Joplin was quickly recognized as an exceptional singer. Regarded as the bad girl of blues, her moments of sadness and loneliness involved her towards dependence with alcohol and hard drugs. In April 1970, she decides to take her life in hand and she succeeds in giving up heroin. On the other hand, 6 months later, she will fall in it again which will cost her life. She gets from her drug dealer pure heroin at nearly 50% and she will die hardly an hour after having injected it, at 1:30 a.m. in the night of October 4, 1970. Final 24 is a series produced in Canada and diffused on television in 2007. This documentary of 48 minutes presents a dramatization of the last 24 hours in the life of Janis Joplin. In the first half, the many flashbacks presenting her life and her career make us wonder about the relevance of the topic of the documentary about the last hours of her life. But, we realize quickly that it’s important to have a good portrait of what occurred before to explain the last 24 hours. Well produced, the documentary presents in a beautiful way the life of Janis Joplin and the circumstances around her tragic death. (July 2010)

Cineflix / MVD

½

The Kinks - You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (DVD)

The Kinks - You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks

Even if they were always in the shade of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who, The Kinks were undoubtedly among the most influential bands of the modern era. They influenced as much britpop and new wave than punk rock and even metal. This 88-minute documentary presents a complete portrait of the English group through footage in concert, on TV or in videos. This footage offers sometimes the full song, even if in some occasions we can find narration covering it partly. Production is indeed one of the weak points of this DVD whereas we can hear only the beginning of a piece or that the narration reflects more or less what we hear in the back. On the other hand, in spite of these details sometimes disappointing, the documentary succeeds in well depicting the career of The Kinks which we can divide into 4 waves, until their stopped in 1996, even if the band never officially dissolved. (September 2010)

Voiceprint / ABC / MVD

½

Kylie - Rare and Unseen (DVD)

Kylie - Rare and Unseen

This documentary features various interviews with Australian female pop star Kylie Minogue captured between her debut in the 1980s at the age of 21 and 2010. Those are rare interviews or interviews never presented on DVD before. As it’s often unfortunately the case on this type of DVD, they didn’t get the rights to use her music, which means that we cannot hear any music from the famous female singer. But, the one-hour documentary can still be interesting for her most loyal fans. (March 2011)

Wienerworld / MVD

John Lennon - Rare and Unseen (DVD)

John Lennon - Rare and Unseen

John Lennon was certainly one of the most significant celebrities of the 1960s (within The Beatles) and of the 1970s, until its assassination in 1980. This documentary presents rare interviews and other appearances on television. Most of them were only seen once or were never presented again since the early 1970s. One can also hear opinions of Phil Collins, Len Goodman and Tony Barrow. Among the most interesting elements, we can find the entire saga around John’s declaration about the fact that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus. We can see footage of the reactions that this declaration could cause in the population, particularly in the very religious south of the United States (the “Bible Belt”). They also talk a lot about his crusade for peace, as well as The Beatles’ split-up. Unfortunately, we cannot hear any music of John or The Beatles. It’s thus about a documentary which is exclusively for the biggest fans who will want to go a little deeper in the legend that John Lennon represents. (October 2010)

Wienerworld / MVD

Keith Moon - Final 24: His Final Hours (DVD)

Keith Moon - Final 24: His Final Hours

In the Final 24 series, which is doing a dramatization presenting the last hours of a celebrity, one can discover the last moments in the life of Keith Moon, drummer for the legendary British group The Who. A real party animal, Moon wasn’t missing any occasion to go out and have fun, alcohol being always a part of these delirious moments. Until this night of September 1978 when he was never again going to awake, following an evening of drinking way too much. Once again, the documentary, integrating a dramatization of the events, is very well produced. It succeeds in making us go in a beautiful way in the universe surrounding the character, and to even make us realize how important he was as a drummer in the history of music, having revolutionized the way of playing. (August 2010)

Cineflix / MVD

½

Muse - Under Review (DVD)

Muse - Under Review

Here is the best documentary about the career of Muse to date. It presents in details their debut as teenagers in their hometown of Teignmouth, England, their influences combining classical music and metal. Thereafter, they go in every detail about their evolution on each one of their albums, whereas the trio succeeded in creating one of the largest scale sounds among the British bands of the latest years. The DVD includes rare performances and footage of interviews with the band. We can also find exclusive interviews, including one with their former manager, Safta Jaffrey. On the other hand, with 1 hour and 46 minutes, the main film will seem to be somewhat stretched for certain people less impassioned about Muse. It’s anyway an excellent way of discovering them. (May 2010)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

½

Pearl Jam - Under Review (DVD)

Pearl Jam - Under Review

In the early 1990s, the grunge sound came to put upside down the music industry thanks mainly to 4 bands from Seattle: Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Only one of them remains active today and is regarded as one of the best rock bands of the last 20 years, Pearl Jam. In this documentary of almost 90 minutes, we do a review of the full history of the group, from its genesis until today, while stopping on the most outstanding events of its career. Various interviews with experts, as with members of the band at various times, make it possible to discover their evolution during those years. The documentary is extremely well produced and it allows us to learn still a little more about our favorite band, or to discover it. It’s thus very interesting for the fans of Pearl Jam, as well as for the Seattle grunge fans. (December 2010)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

Rage Against The Machine - Revolution in the Head and the Art of Protest

Rage Against The Machine - Revolution in the Head and the Art of Protest

Since its debut in the early 1990s, Rage Against The Machine is known like one of the most important protest bands of its generation. It’s what this documentary put in front while presenting before everything else the protest side of the group, sometimes eclipsing its music. They even go back in time until the first protest movements in the United States, the most important protest artists in history, and so on. During the first 30 minutes of the 106-minute documentary, we thus find ourselves to rather look at a documentary about protest artists than speaking about the band whose name is however on the cover of the DVD. This way of extending in length can be aggravating and is likely to annoy the fans of the group who won’t be patient while waiting to hear about their favorite band. On another side, the many details concerning the protest artists locate RATM in time and offer a very full portrait of this movement. The history of the band is also well covered with several music extracts. The documentary thus achieves perfectly its goal to present in details Rage Against The Machine, even if it could have been largely tightened. (March 2010)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

The Rolling Stones - 1969-1974: The Mick Taylor Years (DVD)

The Rolling Stones - 1969-1974: The Mick Taylor Years

Several fans of the Rolling Stones consider that the band reached the top of its career after 1969, that is to say after the arrival of Mick Taylor on guitar. It should be said that employment was filled until there by the band founder, Brian Jones, which constituted its first influence, but which was fired in June 1969 because of his personal problems. This one was going to be found dead a few weeks later in his swimming pool, opening the way to the newcomer among the Stones. The blues influences of Mick Taylor, who belonged to the Bluesbreakers of John Mayall, added a new dynamics to the group, in addition to making it grow on stage. The albums Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. constitute undoubtedly the best ones of the band’s career and Taylor will leave after It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll in December 1974. They are these 6 years of the Rolling Stones which we analyze in-depth in this documentary of 99 minutes. One can hear the comments of many experts, in addition to those of John Mayall and Mick Taylor himself. It’s quite interesting to discover these excellent years of the band which make the bridge between the 1960s and the 1970s. In bonus, John Mayall and the historian Alan Clayson tell us the story of Mick Taylor before his arrival inside the Rolling Stones. (December 2010)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

The Rolling Stones - Rare and Unseen (DVD)

The Rolling Stones - Rare and Unseen

The Rare and Unseen collection finds footage that was lost for years. In this case, we can discover interviews granted by the members of the Rolling Stones during their long career, as well as different images shot when they were traveling. Without really learning us something new, the 65-minute documentary presents some interesting elements showing us how the guys have evolved during all those years. The documentary can be an excellent complement to any collector of the Stones, but as there is no music by the band, music lovers will remain somewhat on their appetite. (August 2010)

Wienerworld / MVD

½

U2 - Let Them Be: The Second Chapter (DVD)

U2 - Let Them Be: The Second Chapter

Here is a box set including 2 DVDs presenting 2 documentaries previously issued about U2: Achtung Baby: A Classic Album Under Review (2007) and The Rebirth of Cool: U2 in the Third Millennium (2008). Both present how U2 was able to make an important turn into each decade, 1990 with the first and 2000 with the second. You can already read our review about Rebirth of Cool written in June 2009. For Achtung Baby, you will to discover an in-depth analysis of the album, track by track. Thanks to the comments of many experts, one can discover several new aspects about the album we didn’t think about until now. These 2 combined DVDs make it possible to realize how U2 point was skilful to do a sound reorientation at the beginning of the last decades. It thus remains to them to do the same in the 2010 decade. (October 2010)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

½

Sid Vicious - Final 24: His Final Hours (DVD)

Sid Vicious - Final 24: His Final Hours

The famous bass player of the British punk rock band Sex Pistols died in the controversy of a heroin overdose, a few hours only after being released from prison on bond. He had indeed been accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. The heroin abuse he did that day, whereas his body was completely cleaned of it for a certain time, will have caused his loss. They are these last 24 hours which are analyzed here in the least details, with a dramatization of the events. On the other hand, where this DVD becomes interesting, it’s that it brings a new element which had not been revealed about that famous evening of February 1979. This element makes the light over the 2 last hours of his life that were not clear before that. Well documented and supported by testimonies of his friends that were present at the time of that last evening, this 52-minute film brings a lot of interesting information about the character and the thoughts which animated him throughout his last hours. This DVD is necessary for any fan of punk rock and the Sex Pistols. (September 2010)

Cineflix / MVD

Brian Wilson - Songwriter 1962-1969 (2 DVD)

Brian Wilson - Songwriter 1962-1969 (2 DVD)

This is an excellent documentary with more than 3 hours presenting in great details the evolution of the creative process of Brian Wilson. Regarded by many as the greatest American songwriter of the 20th century, Wilson has managed to develop his band, the Beach Boys, just in a few years. The lightness of the early surf music (even if often musically complex) has become a unique and powerful creative work on Pet Sounds in 1966, an album that is regularly cited among the best pop albums of all time. Pet Sounds has yet been shunned by Capitol Records and the result was the worst sales of the group's history. But, following the success of the single "Good Vibrations", Capitol would give all the budgets to Wilson for the next album. Smile, which would certainly have been his final masterpiece, has unfortunately not been completed (it would eventually be completed 37 years later by Wilson). Following this failure, Wilson would gradually lose interest in music before falling into a deep depression that would isolate him from the public for many years. It’s this rapid rise and descent to hell that is presented in this documentary that paints an excellent portrait of Brian Wilson and his creative talents. Comments from experts, friends and colleagues bring a wealth of additional information, often personal and always extremely interesting. One can also hear many excerpts of songs mentioned throughout the film. Its perhaps the ultimate documentary about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, a key document that you will learn much of, even for the biggest fans of the band. (April 2011)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

½

Frank Zappa - The Freak-Out List (DVD)

Frank Zappa - The Freak-Out List

Frank Zappa was one of the most important composers of the last 50 years. Influenced as much by classical, jazz and R&B, he was able to create a unique avant-garde rock sound, even if it was very difficult to access. Inside the cover of his first album with The Mothers of Invention in 1966, Freak Out!, he had announced his influences and never changed his opinion throughout his career. The main characteristic of that list was first that it included more obscure artists than known artists, then that he introduced artists of completely different genres, generally not fitting well together. This documentary of one hour and a half makes it possible to make an overview of the main influences of Frank Zappa and to understand how he could integrate all these various influences into his creative music. The documentary is particularly interesting when we consider that we are these years in a time which requires more than ever to mix the genres together to create completely original music. Zappa did it already 40 years ago, whereas the history of rock was however still quite young. Here is a documentary that is essential for any Zappa fan, but also for any music lover. The explanations can often seem very technical, but the film remains very interesting anyway. (June 2010)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

I Need That Record! The Death (Or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store

I Need That Record! The Death (Or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store

During the last decade, more than 3.000 independent record stores had to close in the United States. The attitude of the major record labels and the supermarkets is the main cause of it. The appearance of the MP3 and the more important place of the Internet also make that the rising generation is unaware of this kind of specialized shop where we could find real jewels. The documentary of 77 minutes presents an excellent portrait of this declining industry, victim of new technologies and new ways of consuming music. We can hear interviews with huge fans of this type of shops: Ian Mackaye (Dischord Records, Fugazi, Minor Threat), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Lenny Kaye (The Patti Smith Group), Chris Frantz (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club), Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), Pat Carney (The Black Keys), and several others. Everything makes us believe that perhaps the new life of vinyl records we could note in the last years will make it possible for the independent shops to survive and to even see the appearance of new ones. On the other hand, nothing is less sure, but the documentary is very interesting to present an important aspect of the last 40 years in the music industry. (July 2010)

MVD

The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou 1971-1973 (DVD)

The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou 1971-1973

In 1971, the careers of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed didn’t seem to go anywhere. Bowie was unable to achieve success, Iggy was deep in drug problems and Lou had just produced a bad first solo album. But, the three friends were able to reinvent themselves at that time, which allowed them to find a new meaning to their careers. The character of Ziggy Stardust was refreshing for the dull career of David Bowie and he presented his best album in 1972 with The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Meanwhile, Lou Reed also had his best album with Transformer and his biggest radio hit with "Walk on the Wild Side". And for Iggy, he tried to restart his career and he managed to get great success the following year with the excellent Raw Power. The shifts undertaken in the careers of these three guys will have helped to change the face of music and make them simply legendary. It’s this awesome adventure that is presented in this documentary of 107 minutes. Experts express their opinions, in addition to Bowie's ex-wife, Angie, and several people around them at the time. (February 2011)

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

½

 

2009:

 

The Beatles - Rare and Unseen (DVD)

The Beatles - Rare and Unseen

Here is a DVD primarily for the real hardcore fans of The Beatles. You will find previously never seen footage (we have to say there is no sound over this footage), accompanied by comments made by different people who have met the band at the time. The interviewees include Phil Collins, Steve Harley, Norman "Hurricane" Smith, Colin Hanton (their first drummer), Ken Dodd, Tony Booth, Gerry Marsden, Sylvie Vartan, and others. Footage found from the past includes their 1st filmed presence on stage in Liverpool in 1962, the shooting of Help! in the Bahamas in 1965, the shooting of Magical Mystery Tour in 1967, footage from a performance at the Paris Olympia in 1964, as well as highlights of an interview by John Lennon for French television in 1975 (the only document including also audio). Interviewee’s comments can give us a different view about what is known of the band. On the other hand, the rare footage doesn’t provide much more. This documentary of about 1 hour is therefore definitely not for a large audience. (October 2009)

Wienerworld / MVD

½

Dengue Fever - Sleepwalking Through the Mekong (DVD + CD)

Dengue Fever - Sleepwalking Through the Mekong (DVD + CD)

Here is a documentary about the Californian band Dengue Fever whose female singer, Chhom Nimol, is of Cambodian origin. The Khmer alternative rock group visits the country of origin of its singer giving the opportunity to the people that were persecuted for a long time to rediscover the music which made them vibrate in the 60s. As the musicians say themselves, the most impressive part in this voyage was to see the glances of pride and admiration in the eyes of those people in front of these foreigners who play the music of their youth. We can see some performances of the band on stage in TV shows and more. The DVD is accompanied by a CD containing the soundtrack for the documentary. This CD constitutes some kind of a compilation of what the group produced to date, in addition to a pair of rarities and some alternate and live versions. We find nothing less than 17 tracks of which several of great quality (“Seeing Hands”, “Today I Learnt To Drink”, and so on). The CD/DVD set of Sleepwalking Through the Mekong is an excellent way of discovering this unique band. (May 2009)

M80 / It’s Alive!

Depeche Mode - The Dark Progression

Depeche Mode - The Dark Progression

The British band Depeche Mode is undoubtedly the greatest electronic act in history, having begun 30 years ago, a few years only after the debut of this new music genre. This unauthorized documentary of 97 minutes presents in details the evolution of their career, from the happy beginnings musically to explorations a little darker, while passing by their industrial experiments. It also presents the beginnings of electronic music before the arrival of Depeche Mode, question of explaining the origins of the band. We can hear various musical extracts of the group, as of other artists who influenced them. So, here is a particularly interesting documentary to discover Depeche Mode or simply to learn a little more about their evolution. (July 2009)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

½

Bob Dylan: Never Ending Tour Diaries

Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan Never Ending Tour Diaries

Winston Watson was a drummer for Bob Dylan from 1992 to 1997 for approximately 400 concerts almost everywhere around the world. Throughout this tour, he took many notes and it’s what he presents us today in this documentary of 100 minutes. He tells us how he was hired initially and got on stage for the first time in a festival in Kansas City in front of 80,000 people without knowing what he would have to play. Then, it seems that this lack of communication was constantly a part of the entourage of Dylan throughout the following years. All that Watson had to do was to be there to play the evening of the show. In the beginning of the documentary, we are interested by what he has to tell us, but after a moment, this almost uninterrupted interview becomes rather wearying. It’s only cut by short animations on the DVD and some footage of Dylan in concert, without the sound. The only music heard on this is that of Highway 61 Revisited, about which they make a large place. The documentary enables us to discover another point of view of the character constituting Bob Dylan. On the other hand, only the biggest fans will be able to watch it until the end. (August 2009)

Highway 61 / MVD

Michael Jackson - The Life and Times of the King of Pop 1958-2009 (DVD)

Michael Jackson - The Life and Times of the King of Pop 1958-2009

This pseudo-documentary, which wants to be the perfect companion to This Is It, presents unfortunately huge defaults. Firstly, the film assembles primarily a bunch of exclusive footage from the last days of the life of Michael Jackson, without really documenting anything. The excerpts of the best moments of the memorial paying respect to him are touching and illustrate well the impact that he had during his career. On the other hand, they are surrounded by unspecified comments from fans, without much interest. Most of the footage offered is not accompanied by narration and thus it doesn’t tell anything captivating. The most informative portions of the movie are excerpts from Entertainment Tonight. Jackson’s music is absolutely not heard and it never tells anything about his career and his life. So here is a document which seems very opportunistic, just to benefit from the interest around the death of the king of pop. (February 2010)

RockCity / MVD

Michael Jackson - The Trial and Triumph of the King of Pop

Michael Jackson - The Trial and Triumph of the King of Pop

After the death of the King of pop on June 25, all has been said about him. His album sales have reached new heights and any available material about him finds a buyer. This behind-the-scenes documentary chronicles the criminal trial that had to face the singer in 2007 for sexual abuse and for which he later was acquitted of all charges. The 76-minute documentary presents essentially the undying support of fans swarming the courthouse during the trial to protest their hero’s innocence, as well as words of encouragement from various stars including Kanye West, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Jon Voight, Ashford & Simpson, Jermaine Jackson, and so on. It attempts to discredit all the charges against him and clarify the more controversial sides of his personality. It also attempts after the trial to restore his reputation. Unfortunately, the documentary directed by Pearl Jr doesn’t tell much more about the trial or about Michael himself, everything having already been repeated dozens, or even hundreds of times in the media. One of the most touching moments of the documentary is probably the press conference where Michael announced his farewell tour in London, a series of concerts he would never make... This documentary containing no music of the King of pop, is exclusively for his most loyal fans which are always thirsty to know a little more about their idol. (September 2009)

Elbow Grease / RockCity / MVD

½

Metal Machine Music: Nine Inch Nails and the Industrial Uprising

Nine Inch Nails - Metal Machine Music: Nine Inch Nails and the Industrial Uprising

Here's a 136-minute documentary presenting more than the career of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. Indeed, beginning with at least 30 minutes of presentation of the genre mixing punk rock and electronica, the DVD offers a complete history of industrial music, starting with Throbbing Gristle who probably invented the movement in the 1970s, to Ministry and Skinny Puppy on the metal side through electronic music by Depeche Mode on the pop side. Nine Inch Nails is somewhere between metal and pop with aggressive guitars and catchy melodies. This accessibility, which differentiates them from the founders of the genre, helped them to bring industrial music to another level in the 1990s, offering a sound for a wider audience. Through interviews with different specialists and some musicians, it’s the history of this group they detail here, showing us the importance that Nine Inch Nails could have had on the artists that followed. So here's a very good documentary to elaborate a little more on industrial music and learn more about Nine Inch Nails. (August 2009)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Iggy Pop - Lust for Life

Iggy Pop - Lust for Life

Lust for Life (not to confuse with his album of the same title issued in 1977) is a documentary about Iggy Pop produced in 1986. With a 41-minute duration, the short film explores in-depth the era of Iggy with The Stooges and we can even find a very interesting interview with Ron Asheton, guitarist and founder of The Stooges who died last January. We can hear various live extracts of Iggy Pop at different moments of his career, but the core of the documentary is an interview with Iggy in which he speaks about his influences, his motivations, and more. This is an interesting film, but which will only bring very few new elements to the fans of the first hour. (July 2009)

ABC / MVD

The Who - The Who, The Mods and The Quadrophenia Connection (DVD)

The Who - The Who, The Mods and The Quadrophenia Connection

Here is a documentary presenting the evolution of the band The Who from its debut to the album Quadrophenia that they present like the apogee of the group. They insist particularly on the Mod culture (modernist) in the middle of which we could find The Who, but also The Kinks and The Small Faces. That subculture originating in London is based on clothes fashion and a creative pop music. The documentary is interesting when it presents how the group evolved, but constant links with Mod culture and Quadrophenia become annoying after some time. But, as it’s the first goal of the DVD, we cannot be too frustrated about its creators. In spite of very interesting moments, including unique concert footage, it’s definitely not the best documentary about The Who. It rather presents a particular point of view on the band, an interesting point of view but not sufficiently complete. (December 2009)

94 minutes

Sexy Intellectual / MVD

½

 

2008:

 

The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys and The Satan (DVD)

The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys and The Satan

Here is a documentary about the greatest American band of the Sixties, The Beach Boys, the only group which could compete with the British Invasion leaded by The Beatles. We discover in details their rise to success, thanks mainly to the genius of Brian Wilson, whom we can hear besides in interview. We can also hear Don Was, Kenneth Anger, Greg Shaw and Kim Fowley. Where the documentary is different, it’s that it presents a dark side of The Beach Boys whereas the band was associated to Charles Manson. Dennis Wilson indeed became implied in a sect of Manson called The Family. The main problem of the documentary is that we lose the real main idea behind it after a certain time. The impressive rise of the group takes the advantage on the dark side which they seemed to want to put at the front, which is carrying somewhat to confusion. The other negative point of the DVD is that the documentary was produced for German television and we find considerable subtitles in that language. The documentary was released for the first time in 1997, but here is a new edition for those which would have missed it at the time. (April 2009)

ABC / MVD

The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1966-1970 (DVD)

The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1966-1970

The Beatles had their most creative period between 1966 and their split-up in 1970. During those years, the two main songwriters of the band, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, defied themselves constantly to write the best songs it was possible to create, at that time where the influences were more and more varied thanks to psychedelic and experimental music. Their close cooperation of the debut became only writing in parallel making it possible to easily differentiate the compositions from Paul of those of John, even if their two names were still appearing side by side as songwriters. It’s this creative force which they talk about with many details in this 112-minute documentary. Experts and friends come to give their point of view on the writing of these two geniuses through the albums of the group between Rubber Soul (1965) and Abbey Road (1969). We discover how much the Beatles became little by little Paul’s band because John brought less and less ideas and had other interests. Here is thus a very interesting DVD allowing us to know a little more about the real story behind the greatest band in pop music history. (June 2009)

Pride / MVD

The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1957-1965

The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1957-1965

In 1957, Paul McCartney met John Lennon and joined him within The Quarrymen. This collaboration was going to evolve to become the creative force behind The Beatles in 1962. After having most of all interpreted songs composed by others, the duet started to write, in team, some of the best songs of the British pop catalogue. On the other hand, starting in 1964 on the original soundtrack of A Hard Day’s Night, the 2 composers began to write by themselves before making the final arrangements together for the band. At that point in time, competition quickly settled between McCartney and Lennon which benefited from the occasion to challenge each other. Their different personalities and influences then created a duality in the music of The Beatles, which was going to increase in the second half of their career. This documentary goes with details through the first years of the career of The Beatles, the rather merry years, as much in the songs than within the group. These years reached the top with the Rubber Soul album, a record which makes perfectly the link between the first half of their career and their more intense and experimental period of the second half. The documentary presents comments and opinions of various specialists of The Beatles, journalists and friends, who allow us to go deeper in the first half of creation of the greatest band in history. The 80-minute DVD is really interesting and should please as well the many fans of the band and a younger generation which would like to know a little more about The Beatles. (September 2009)

Pride / MVD

The Beatles & Cirque du Soleil - The Beatles LOVE: All Together Now – A Documentary Film (DVD)

The Beatles & Cirque du Soleil - The Beatles LOVE: All Together Now – A Documentary Film

The LOVE show by Cirque du Soleil, based on the music of The Beatles, is at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas since the summer of 2006. This mega-production consisted in reworking the musical tracks of the famous quartet and to make of it a circus extravaganza. Its success is huge, even if at first some purists were scandalized by the sacrilege that would be done in attacking the music of the greatest band in history. But where the problem is since the original idea came from George Harrison and that the project received the approval of the 2 remaining members, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as the widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono Lennon. Moreover, it’s the 5th Beatle, Sir George Martin, and his son Giles who dealt with the musical reconstruction of the band’s work. This documentary presents the process of creation of this imposing show in company of director Dominic Champagne, founder of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberté, and all the team at Cirque. We can follow the various stages of the rehearsals with the occasional presence of The Beatles to give their approval and/or their comments. We can also see them at the premiere on June 30, 2006 whereas they seem completely pleased with the final result. The 84-minute documentary is supplemented by 3 other short documentaries in bonus. Quite as interesting, those present with more details the process of transformation of the music, the surround sound integration in the theatre built specifically for the show, as well as all that is surrounding the show (costumes, accessories, lightings, audio recordings, and more). In end of line, All Together Now presents sufficient extracts of the show and music of the band so that it’s entertaining and not only a bunch of interviews. It will be interesting as much for those who saw the show as for those who would like to go to Vegas to discover this unique production. (December 2008)

Parlophone / EMI

½

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour Memories (DVD)

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour Memories

Here is a documentary presenting the memories of various witnesses of the shooting of the Magical Mystery Tour movie by The Beatles in 1967. We can hear anecdotes of people who were close to The Beatles at that time, including among others Paul’s brother, Mike McCartney, which contributed to the film. The narrator of the documentary is Victor Spinetti who played in the movie. This DVD makes it possible to discover many secrets behind the shooting of that film which was made to substitute a real tour, whereas The Beatles had decided to concentrate on their studio work. The 54-minute documentary is passably well done, even if we can unfortunately hear no music by The Beatles themselves, as well as extracts from the film. On the other hand, rare or never seen video footage and photographs can be discovered here, which can be particularly interesting for a hardcore fan of The Beatles. This is also an essential document for any collector, but a larger audience is likely to be rather indifferent to such documentary presenting a very precise time of the career of The Beatles. Extras adding up 20 minutes present other details of the interviews not retained for the documentary, but they are rather useless. Magical Mystery Tour Memories can be regarded as an interesting documentary, but non essential… (January 2009)

Wienerworld / MVD

Bob Dylan - 1978-1989: Both Ends Of The Rainbow (DVD)

Bob Dylan - 1978-1989: Both Ends Of The Rainbow

Here is a documentary of more than 2 hours treating of the most controversial era of Bob Dylan’s career. In 1978, religion became the center of his life and a trilogy of albums resulted from it, albums on which he literally preached the benefits to believe in God, separating definitively the saved from the damned. At that time, he certainly lost more fans than he gained some. In the Eighties, he was as lost as other musicians at that time, but nevertheless, he succeeded in offering a few interesting moments, with the culminating point being the album Oh Mercy. This documentary presents a great number of specialists or friends who were close to Dylan and which give us their point of view about this part of his career, tracing a final line with what he had made since his early years. We can hear some music extracts, but in fact, interviews primarily dominate this documentary. It will appear quite long to you whereas they review in details, often a little too much, each album during that period and Dylan’s state of mind. Moreover, we can hear in bonus interviews with Bob Dylan during his most fervent phase of Christianity. His fans (who remained faithful to him in spite of that very particular phase) will be very interested by what they will learn about that period while going very in-depth. The others will probably find the documentary too long and inaccessible and they will have problems to keep attention until the end. (August 2008)

Chrome Dreams / MVD

Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden And The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (DVD)

Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden And The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal

In the mid-Seventies, nobody knew that there was an old wave of British heavy metal, until a new wave appeared. In parallel with the beginnings of the punk rock movement, new rock acts with heavy sounds, influenced by blues, rock n' roll or progressive rock made their appearance anywhere in England. This documentary presents in a particularly detailed way that important period in music history, whose sound is still reflected today through the music of a great number of rock and metal bands. The DVD insists especially on Iron Maiden, the group which dominated that new wave of British heavy metal during many years and which was the most successful throughout the world. But, the 2 hours and 25 minutes of the documentary go well beyond introducing Saxon, Samson (Bruce Dickinson’s first band, before becoming the most important Iron Maiden singer), Praying Mantis, Diamond Head and Tygers Of Pan Tang. They also talk about Judas Priest and Motörhead, as well as presenting how Def Leppard went from being an important band of that new wave to a powerful commercial hard rock act in America. The documentary concludes by showing how the new wave of British heavy metal was able to influence a whole generation of metal musicians in America, most of all Metallica. The documentary makes it possible to study in details that era of the history of music thanks to the comments of journalists and specialists, but also of several musicians of the time: Paul Di'Anno and Dennis Stratton (original members of Iron Maiden), Brian Tatler (Diamond Head), Rob Weir (Tygers Of Pan Tang), legendary drummer Thundersticks (Samson), Tino and Chris Troy (Praying Mantis), as well as the members of Girlschool. This very interesting documentary contains in bonus other extracts of interviews which come to add to a DVD that is already quite exhaustive. (December 2008)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Kraftwerk and The Electronic Revolution (DVD)

Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk and The Electronic Revolution

This documentary presents not only the story and influence of German electronic group Kraftwerk, but also all the electronic movement of that time. It starts as far as at the days after World War II in an evolving Germany to present how a new music genre was developed with influences of British and American rock as well as free jazz. Through this overview of Krautrock music, they present obviously the bases and evolution of one of the most important German bands in history, Kraftwerk. The fans of the collective and of this music genre will certainly be pleased by looking at this ultra detailed documentary, allowing to learn much more about the subject. On the other hand, the less important fans are likely to be bored quickly, because the documentary extends too much in length with 3 hours of duration, without counting the bonus features… (March 2009)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Van Morrison - Under Review 1964-1974 (DVD)

Van Morrison - Under Review 1964-1974

Here is a documentary presenting the best of Van Morrison’s career: its influences, its debut with the band Them and its best years in solo. It’s primarily an analysis of these 10 years by various specialists. Through interviews, we can see rare footage on stage and on TV, but they are unfortunately a little too short. We can also hear audio extracts of interviews with Morrison. The documentary succeeds in perfectly making us become aware of the importance Van Morrison had in the history of contemporary pop and folk music. To the documentary of almost 2 hours are added some extras without much importance (extended interviews, an interactive Van Morrison challenge and biographies of the contributors). (July 2008)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

½

The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead: A Classic Album Under Review (DVD)

The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead: A Classic Album Under Review

The British band The Smiths truly became famous with its 3rd album, The Queen Is Dead, in 1986. This is the album which enabled them to make history as one of the greatest bands. The Under Review series offers on this DVD an in-depth analysis of the album with many interviews and footage. With 2 hours of documentary, also talking about other moments of their career, this analysis is indeed rather thorough. Even a little too much since it comes a moment when we’re not listening anymore. Their earliest fans, who wish to learn a little more about their favorite group and this album they love, will certainly find the information they want. On the other hand, others won’t probably like it much. The DVD also includes extras, but they’re not very interesting. (October 2008)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

TAD - Busted Circuits And Ringing Ears (DVD)

TAD - Busted Circuits And Ringing Ears

Not like other bands of the Seattle grunge scene of the early 90’s, TAD remained aside of the musical industry. On the other hand, they are considered by several as the heaviest and noisiest grunge band in concert. This 90-minute documentary presents the ups and downs of the group’s career, which extended over a period of about ten years. We can hear insightful interviews with some of the most respected musicians from Seattle: Krist Novoselic and Chad Channing (Nirvana), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Mark Arm (Mudhoney), and several others. We can also hear comments by the Sub Pop label founders (Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman), that label having been a crucial piece of the grunge movement. Throughout the DVD, we can hear and see live footage. On the other hand, most of it is too short to truly present the music of the group. It will be necessary to await the 5 videos offered in bonus to finally hear all the possibilities of their sound, which can be a little aggravating for the neophytes of Tad Doyle’s band. Despite everything, Busted Circuits And Ringing Ears makes an excellent overview of the career of this band with a very particular way. (September 2008)

King Of Hearts / MVD

U2 - The Rebirth of Cool: U2 in the Third Millennium (DVD)

U2 - The Rebirth of Cool: U2 in the Third Millennium

After a period a little more experimental in the 1990s when the band somewhat lost credibility and fans, U2 came back in good shape in 2000 with All That You Can’t Leave Behind. This documentary primarily tries to show this comeback of the group in the years 2000 with a style easily recognizable for the fans of their debut and which made it possible for the band to regain with certainty its place as the biggest act in the world. They obviously detail the creation and the production of All That You Can’t Leave Behind, but also that of How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb issued 4 years later. Doing some parallels with the past, the documentary of 68 minutes is immediately interesting. Unfortunately, it’s less the case after a moment whereas there is not so much to tell after all. Moreover, having been produced in 2008, the DVD is unaware of the end of the decade and the album No Line on the Horizon released this year. The idea to present the comeback of U2 in good shape in the years 2000 is excellent, but perhaps it’s not enough for a full documentary. They could perhaps have added an aspect in concert while speaking a little more about the 2 huge tours the band did and the 3D concert captured on the Vertigo tour. Despite everything, the fans will certainly appreciate the comments of the experts and they will go a little deeper in the music of their favorite band. Maybe they won’t learn much, but they will be able to approve the various comments heard and to be thus reassured in their opinion about U2. (June 2009)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Amy Winehouse - The Girl Done Good: A Documentary Review (DVD)

Amy Winehouse - The Girl Done Good: A Documentary Review

After a career of hardly 5 years and 2 albums, they already offer us a documentary about the talented British singer Amy Winehouse. The first question we have to ask is obviously: "How will they do to fill up 79 minutes with a so short career?". And it’s precisely what is quickly disturbing. After various experts and friends came to say she has a single voice, an overflowing creativity and an extraordinary personality, the documentary becomes soon repetitive. The references to the styles of the 60’s are interesting, just like her jazz style integrated perfectly into pop music. Firmly supported by footage of Amy and her influences of the past, these references become the heart of the DVD which establishes a very good link between the jazz standards and the contemporary Amy Winehouse. On the other hand, they can talk about her 2 albums as much as they want, as well as her personal problems, it remains that they rather quickly explore the entire subject. Her fans will probably appreciate anyway this documentary and they will perhaps look further into certain aspects of her career they didn’t know yet. At the end, this is a good detailed portrait of the beginning of her career. (June 2008)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

The Yardbirds - The Story of The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds - The Story of The Yardbirds

Here is a DVD presenting the first supergroup of rock n' roll. The Yardbirds indeed launched the career of 3 of the best guitarists in history: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Even if the band existed only for 5 years, between 1963 and 1968, they were able to bring rhythm & blues to another level, using heavy riffs which were going to be used a little later in the first moments of heavy metal. The DVD contains a 52-minute documentary presenting interviews with band members, as well as concert footage, especially captured during TV shows. Even if it can seem short, the documentary is particularly full of information and presents an excellent portrait of this legendary group. In bonus, we can find a 14-minute performance by the band from a German TV show in 1967, whereas the group was at the time a quartet following the departure of Jeff Beck 1 year earlier. The DVD also includes a detailed booklet especially treating of the group’s reunion in the early 2000s for the recording of a new album with many guest artists. Birdland was going to be issued in 2003, 35 years after their separation. (May 2009)

HIQ / ABC / MVD

Zebra - The DVD

Zebra - The DVD

For its 30th anniversary, the group from New Orleans leaded by Randy Jackson, Zebra, offers us its very first DVD. Of a duration of more than 2 hours, the documentary tells us the history of these spiritual sons of Led Zeppelin thanks to interviews with the 3 members, as well as various friends and collaborators. After a presentation of approximately 25 minutes about the beginnings of the band, the documentary is integrating live tracks, captured in 2006 at The House Of Blues in New Orleans and at The Downtown in Farmingdale, New York. The DVD also offers several bonus features, making an extremely complete document of it about the trio. I would have liked to be able to view a concert in its entirety, but the excellent sound we can hear makes us appreciate every song, even if they are not joined together. Moreover, the assembly they made, with a presentation of each song, makes the whole rather pleasant. Here is the ultimate document of Zebra to get… (September 2008)

Vision Work / MVD

½

Black Metal Satanica (DVD)

Black Metal Satanica

In the Eighties in the Scandinavian countries was born a movement in parallel with death metal named black metal. This musical genre talking about Satanism and anti-Christianity became extensive in the Nineties whereas some musicians transported into reality what they were preaching in their lyrics. At that point in time arrived self-mutilations, suicides and murders, without forgetting the many burnt churches and the vandalized cemeteries. It’s an overview of this movement that is much more than musical that we can see in this 78-minute documentary presenting interviews with various members of black metal bands. The documentary succeeds in rendering comprehensible to us the motivations of those musicians. On the other hand, where the documentary misses the objective, it’s that we speak very few about music, as if the music wasn’t really important and was only a means of communicating the anger of its creators. I’m not a big fan of this musical genre having never discovered great artists, and I would have liked if they could have make me discover something interesting. With this in mind, the DVD has an important lack, but for a horror documentary, there’s nothing better. Fear is guaranteed! (February 2009)

Deadline / Cleopatra / MVD

 

2007:

 

The Byrds - Under Review (2 DVD)

The Byrds - Under Review (2 DVD)

Perhaps at the beginning of the Sixties The Byrds were one of the least creative groups musically in comparison with the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and the bands of the British invasion (the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc). On the other hand, they were maybe the best musicians among all these legends. They made their appearance as a folk group, but their talent of musicians only made it possible to create new genres like folk rock and country rock. On this double DVD, experts make an in-depth return on the career of the group, analyzing deeply each moment of the evolution of their music through their various albums. In fact, the most important problem of this double DVD is precisely to be too much detailed with more than 3 hours of material. It’s enormous for a band which existed only 9 years and which, with only a couple of really interesting albums and a handle of radio hits, is very far from the success of the Beatles. It’s thus a true challenge of being able to view the 2 discs until the end without falling asleep. So, it’s necessary to be a hardcore fan of the group or of the evolution of folk music in the Sixties to see a true interest from the beginning to the end. Also, those which find that documentaries are always a little too much an overview will be particularly excited by unpacking this double DVD. (December 2007)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Nick Drake - Under Review (DVD)

Nick Drake - Under Review

Completely unknown during his short career, Nick Drake became a true legend after his death of an overdose of antidepressants in 1974, whereas he was only 26 years old. On his 3 albums, he was able to reinvent British folk rock in a very “English” single style, thanks to his voice as well as his guitar. This DVD makes an excellent retrospective on his life and career, showing at the same time at which point he influenced the future generations. The unauthorized documentary of 90 minutes presents comments by various journalists, musicians and friends, who were close to Drake or who were inspired by him. One can also hear various extracts of his music, in addition to seeing a great number of photographs. Under Review is a very good way of discovering a little more about Nick Drake. (February 2008)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Bob Dylan - The Golden Years 1962-1978 (2 DVD)

Bob Dylan - The Golden Years 1962-1978 (2 DVD)

This double unauthorized biographical DVD about the American folk legend Bob Dylan is regrouping 2 DVDs released separately before. The first DVD, Tales From A Golden Age : Bob Dylan 1941-1966, presents in a great way the beginnings of the now famous singer and songwriter from Minnesota. We can discover his first musical experiences as a teenager. But, which is particularly interesting, it’s to discover his first recordings and how fast his career grew up, until his major albums of the mid 60’s, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde. The second DVD, Bob Dylan 1966-1978 : After The Crash, presents what occurred after his motorcycle accident when he had to stay aside of the music industry for several months. We discover how creative he was at the time and how he redirected towards country music, working with the legendary Johnny Cash. They present the difficulties and the good shots of the 70’s, but the 120-minute DVD is way too long to preserve the interest. This 2nd part of the box definitely puts shadows over the first one. Fortunately, we find new and rare material, which can make it possible for his biggest fans to make great discoveries. (September 2007)

Chrome Dreams / MVD

Genesis - Remember Knebworth 1978: A Midsummer Night's Dream DVD

Genesis - Remember Knebworth 1978: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Knebworth was one of the most important festivals in England in the Seventies. After the visit of groups like The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, the festival accommodated in 1978 the new Genesis band, without Peter Gabriel. The people also saw on stage Jefferson Starship, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Devo, Roy Harper (a regular of the festival), Brand X and Atlanta Rhythm Section. This DVD contains a documentary about this huge festival, especially for the preparation phase. Among the most interesting elements, we can see a full performance in rehearsals of the most recent Genesis hit at the time, “Many Too Many”. Then, there is their presence at the concert for the song “The Lady Lies”. Unfortunately, with less than 25 minutes and no other performance on stage, the documentary will seem quite poor to you. We can find anyway in bonus an in-depth interview with the promoter of the festival, Freddy Bannister. Finally, people who had the chance to be on the spot at the time will be able to remember good memories with a copy of the official 28-page program that was sold on site at the event. (May 2008)

Voiceprint / MVD

½

Guns N' Roses - 2 Classic Albums Under Review: Use Your Illusion I and II (DVD)

Guns N’ Roses - 2 Classic Albums Under Review: Use Your Illusion I and II

In September 1991, Guns N’ Roses made history by releasing 2 albums simultaneously, and was thus going to become the only group in history to occupy the Billboard chart positions 1 and 2 in the same week. This documentary presents these 2 albums in depth, as well as the tour that surrounded them. It includes rare footage of the group at that time, as well as interviews with musicians and vocalists who worked with the band in studio and on stage. We also hear comments of friends, biographers, journalists and DJs who followed them closely for years. What is particularly interesting with this DVD, it’s that in addition to reviewing each track of the 2 CDs, it presents the group from its debut until now. It’s thus not only a documentary about Use Your Illusion I and II, but also a documentary about the whole career of the band. (April 2008)

85 minutes

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Guns N' Roses - DVD Collector's Box DVD

Guns N' Roses - DVD Collector's Box (2 DVD)

This box gathers 2 DVDs published a few years ago about Guns N’ Roses and its singer, Axl Rose. They are unauthorized DVDs by Rose and the group but, even if one had requested his opinion from Rose, he would have probably said no anyway. Sex N’ Drugs N’ Rock N’ Roll presents the history of the band by interviews with specialists of the Los Angeles hard rock scene. They present their difficult debut, until the latest years of Axl with new musicians. Each album is presented, even the famous Chinese Democracy which is still not on sale after years of speculation on its date of release. The Prettiest Star introduces the Axl Rose persona with his unpleasant attitude. They talk about his childhood in Lafayette, Indiana before he becomes one of most acclaimed rock 'n' roll stars in the world. They come back of course on Chinese Democracy and some other elements are repeated on the 2 discs since they had not been produced in the beginning to be presented together. An interesting portion of this 2nd DVD, it’s that they go a little further in the details of the bands which preceded Guns N’ Roses. Chris Weber, one of the guitarists of Hollywood Rose, tells us with details how all those people crossed to make Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns (2 groups in which sang Axl Rose) finally amalgamated to become Guns N’ Roses. The story is rather complex and all these explanations largely help to see it more clearly. We can also hear the enriching comments by the former band’s manager, Vicky Hamilton, which gave them their first chance in the industry. The two documentaries are particularly interesting to discover a little more the less known parts of the band. The most disappointing about the DVDs is we don’t hear any Guns N’ Roses music on them. It can be sometimes rather aggravating, especially when they speak about a particular album and that the background music has nothing to do with the band. (March 2007)

Chrome Dreams / MVD

½

Kiss Loves You

KISS - Loves You

Here is a documentary by Jim Heneghan talking about the KISS phenomenon. Produced over a period of 10 years, KISS Loves You begins in 1994 whereas the group was at the lowest point of its career. Their many fans throughout the world were organizing conventions and were starting tribute bands, hoping largely that the group comes back on stage with its make-up and costumes on which made it famous. At the time of the announcement of their reunion in 1996, the fans became completely hysterical after having anticipated so much the return of their favorite group. KISS remains still today certainly the group for which one finds the most personifications, probably not very far behind Elvis. A true worship is dedicated to the group which is considered by several the only true rock n' roll band on stage with all the effects necessary. The main interest of this film is to show how much KISS had influence on people and knew how to gain their respect. The main movie lasts 1 hour and 13 minutes, but it’s also possible to see 1 hour and a half of bonuses. (December 2007)

8th Grade / SVT / MVD

Pink Floyd - The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story (2 DVD)

Pink Floyd - The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story (2 DVD)

Here is the ultimate documentary to present Syd Barrett, the founder of Pink Floyd. First released in 2005, the DVD is now re-issued in a deluxe version. The original documentary of 48 minutes is obviously still present, with a 5.1 surround sound, interesting for the rare sequences in concert. On the other hand, this time, we can find a second DVD containing the integral interviews with the members of Pink Floyd: Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. This documentary is rather sad when we see which direction the life of Syd Barrett took, after having been known as one of the most creative musicians of the 60’s. In fact, he locked up himself for the rest of his life. On another side, the documentary is particularly interesting to discover all the aspects of the beginnings of Pink Floyd. We also discover that the album Wish You Were Here was to some extent a tribute to Barrett and that he even showed up in the studio during the sessions for “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, whereas they all needed a certain time before recognizing him. The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story is a touching documentary which all the fans of the group will like. (June 2008)

Zeit / MVD

½

Pink Floyd - Meddle: A Classic Album Under Review (DVD)

Pink Floyd - Meddle: A Classic Album Under Review

Meddle is considered by several like the first real Pink Floyd album. Without saying that, I would say that it’s certainly the album which really started the post-Syd Barrett era and which allowed the following record, The Dark Side Of The Moon, to become one of the greatest albums of all time. Meddle is composed of 2 main pieces, "One Of These Days" at the beginning and "Echoes" at the end. It represents for the first time the new sound of Pink Floyd which would become more important during the following years. This DVD is a recapitulation of each track of the album by experts and people who were close to the group. But, it presents much more than that since the first half describes in a detailed way the beginnings of the band and each album until Meddle. Moreover, a bonus of ten minutes serves as a tribute to Syd Barrett, deceased in the summer of 2006. This is a very interesting documentary for those who would like to learn a little more about the beginnings of this legendary progressive rock band. (June 2007)

Chrome Dreams / MVD

½

Elvis Presley - Destination Vegas (DVD)

Elvis Presley - Destination Vegas

Destination Vegas is an unauthorized documentary which wants to make a return a little more in-depth over the years of Elvis in Las Vegas. Until now, that period of his life had especially been subject to mockeries because Elvis was not more than a caricature of himself, with a health which was degraded quickly. The film lasts unfortunately only 45 minutes and the first half is devoted to make an overview of his career since the beginning, which either is rather interesting, but is not the goal announced at first. It only makes also a simple overview of his years in Vegas with new audio and video extracts. What I found oddest, it’s the way the assembly was carried out whereas one returns unceasingly with performances of his beginnings. For example, they speak about a song of 1969 and the following image brings us back to a televised performance of his early years which doesn’t have anything to do with that song. They bring us back even 2 times to the same performance of “Tutti Frutti”. This is thus a rather weak DVD which is offered to us, a documentary which will not really satisfy the fan of Elvis sufficiently far, and that the least important experts will find uninteresting. Other new audio extracts are offered to us in bonus, as well as a series of photographs, but it’s nothing to recover the obvious lack of interesting material. (January 2008)

Wienerworld / MVD

Queen - Under Review 1946-1991: The Freddie Mercury Story

Queen - Under Review 1946-1991: The Freddie Mercury Story

After several documentaries including overviews of the career of the group Queen, here is a DVD detailing the career of its blazing singer, Freddie Mercury. We can still obviously see outlines of the band’s career, album by album, but the difference this time is that one takes as angle the character of Freddie Mercury. After all, Queen cannot really exist without Freddie. The proof: the arrival of Paul Rodgers in the group these last years required the use of another name, Queen + Paul Rodgers. The DVD also treats various solos projects of Freddie and we can hear several extracts of his career simultaneously with Queen. Many experts, friends and artists who pay homage to him on stage come to express their point of view on a singer that is regarded as one of the greatest performers of the 20th century. It’s a very good way of discovering a little more about the man who allowed Queen to fill off arenas and stadiums almost everywhere throughout the world. On the other hand, those which want to learn some more on Queen will not have anything again in comparison with other documentaries available about the band. (December 2007)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Queen - DVD Collector's Box (2 DVD)

Queen - DVD Collector’s Box (2 DVD)

Queen is a British pop rock band which had a quite unique career, out of any musical movement. These 2 documentaries gathered present the whole career of the group thanks to the opinion of musical experts and friends of the members of the band. It’s in fact regrouping 2 DVDs released originally in 2004 and 2005, Magic Moments (more than 60 minutes) and Under Review 1973-1980 (more than 100 minutes). Personally, I especially appreciated the second one since it makes an excellent summary of the quartet in the 70's. It reviews each album one by one including the most important singles released and presenting footage of those tracks (videos or live footage). They detail some songs presenting the way of playing guitar of Brian May and explaining how he managed to create this completely single sound that we know of him. On Magic Moments on the other hand, they only make an overview of the whole career of the band and concentrate more on the personal life of the guys (even a little bit too much), particularly that of Freddie Mercury. Its most important negative aspect is that it doesn’t contain any music of Queen, which can be very aggravating. For example, they talk for several minutes about "Bohemian Rhapsody" and what we hear in the background is unspecified music which is only a little bit similar to the music of Queen. Perhaps you will find interesting elements anyway, but in any event, the DVD Under Review 1973-1980 is worth the cost of the box set to itself. You can also get the DVD entitled Under Review 1980-1991. (July 2007)

Chrome Dreams / MVD

Keith Richards - Under Review (DVD)

Keith Richards - Under Review

Under Review is a documentary about the career of Keith Richards, and at the same time, of The Rolling Stones. Indeed, having primarily evolved within this mythical group for the last 45 years, the career of Richards is almost the same as the Stones' in spite of some solo albums and other solo projects in the 80’s and 90’s. The documentary is particularly well made with the opinions of many experts. We discover the very first influences of Richards in rock n' roll and blues (Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and so on) and how he used those influences to build his own guitar style. The explanations of the guitar specialist Wolf Marshall are particularly instructive and show us how fabulous and unique Richards is as a guitarist, succeeding in mixing perfectly rhythm and lead guitar. We can obviously also learn a little more on his dependencies to drugs and his great authenticity. This is a true rocker and a unique performer like there is very few, and we can truly wonder how he can still be alive after all those abuses. To see the importance he granted to musical creation in his life, we must understand that it’s probably what holds him still upright, even if his best creative period goes back to the 2nd half of the 60’s and the early 70’s. In addition to the various interview sequences, the unauthorized DVD presents live footage or images of their every day life, including great classics of the group ("Satisfaction", "Jumping Jack Flash", "Brown Sugar", "Tumbling Dice", "Start Me Up", "It's Only Rock n' Roll" and several others). This extremely interesting documentary is impossible to avoid for any fan of Keith Richards and The Rolling Stones. (October 2007)

118 minutes

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Rolling Stones - Under Review: 1967-1969 DVD

The Rolling Stones - Under Review 1967-1969

After a strong beginning whereas the Rolling Stones primarily were recognized thanks to their unique covers of classic R&B songs, the group truly exploded with the mega hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" in 1965. After a certain period of experimentation, the group had its best creative years before the turning of the following decade. It’s this exact period of the 45-year career of the Rolling Stones they analyze here in every detail. They introduce the whole with the presentation of the experimentation of the albums Between The Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request, before presenting the masterpieces Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. This unauthorized documentary offers us comments by specialists and people who were close to them during that single period of the history of rock music, a period which was going to cement once and for all the style of the Rolling Stones for the decades to come. The 85-minute documentary is thus particularly interesting, as much for the fans of the band than for the musicologists. (March 2008)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

Bruce Springsteen - Under Review 1978-1982: Tales Of The Working Man (DVD)

Bruce Springsteen - Under Review 1978-1982: Tales Of The Working Man

The American rocker Bruce Springsteen had his best years between the mid-Seventies and the mid-Eighties, between the albums Born To Run (which made him famous) and Born In The U.S.A. (his most successful record). This documentary presents briefly these 2 albums, but especially the 3 discs he did between them, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, The River and Nebraska. Several specialists talk about his best years as an author, making of Springsteen the worthy successor to Bob Dylan. Through comments of specialists, we can discover various music extracts or interviews with the singer himself. The 82-minute documentary does a very good portrait of this legendary American singer, which thus makes of it an interesting DVD for his fans. On the other hand, there are a few interesting elements for those who don’t know well his work. (January 2008)

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

U2 - The DVD Collector's Box (2 DVD)

U2 - The DVD Collector's Box (2 DVD)

This box set of 2 DVDs gathers DVDs released in 2003 and 2004 about U2 (An Unforgettable Journey) and about its singer, Bono (God’s Favorite Son). Those are unauthorized biographies on which you will not hear any music by U2. On the other hand, the 2 documentaries present in a detailed way the formation of the group in Dublin, Ireland whereas the 4 friends were still in high school. It overviews the career of the most important band of the last 20 years by interviews with journalists as well as close relations of the band members. The already detailed information of the DVD about U2 is magnificently supplemented by the DVD about Bono whereas they still add more information about the beginnings of the group. On the DVD devoted to Bono, they talk with more details about the implication of the singer in the community, as well as his many meetings one on one with international leaders. On these 2 DVDs, there are 2 hours of material which enable us to still discover a little more about the group that we already know very well. (May 2007)

Chrome Dreams / MVD

Neil Young – Under Review 1976-2006

Neil Young - Under Review 1976-2006

After Under Review 1966-1975 released earlier this year, here is a documentary presenting a retrospective of the 2nd part of the career of Neil Young. Many experts trace a portrait of the various albums issued by Young. They explain how he was wrongfully associated to the punk movement at the end of the Seventies, whereas he had only applauded the movement. The influences of punk and Neil Young do not have in fact anything in common. The DVD presents sometimes rare performances on stage, as well as rare extracts of interviews, which adds enormously to this unauthorized documentary. Under Review 1976-2006 is an excellent way of discovering most of the career of Neil Young, even if you should also get the first DVD of the series to have an outline of the best years of his career. (November 2007)

79 minutes

Sexy Intellectual / Chrome Dreams / MVD

All My Loving (DVD)

All My Loving

All My Loving is a TV documentary by Tony Palmer that was initially broadcasted on the BBC in 1968 and which is finally available on DVD. The 60-minute film presents for the first time the influence of music on pop culture through the most creative artists of the modern era. We can see previously unseen footage from the greatest artists like The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Eric Burdon and Pink Floyd. But, there are also very interesting interview segments with guys like Frank Zappa, Paul McCartney, Manfred Mann, and more. The whole is mixed with typical footage of that time, including the Vietnam War. This DVD primarily makes it possible to take conscience again at how the creativity was at its apogee in the pop music of the 60’s. On the other hand, I thought that the mixing was somewhat unstitched and with some lengths, which I didn’t like and made me think I didn’t agree with all those which spoke in praise about this documentary through the years. It’s anyway an excellent report of the most outstanding artists of the 60’s and all the modern era, artists who provided the foundations for their followers. In bonus, we can hear a 40-minute interview with Tony Palmer who explains in details the genesis of the film, which largely came from a suggestion by John Lennon, and the BBC's reluctance to air it. (October 2007)

Isolde / MVD

 

2006:

 

Accept - Metal Blast From The Past (DVD + CD)

Accept - Metal Blast From The Past (DVD + CD)

After Scorpions, we can say that the first real metal band from Germany was Accept, which started its career in 1979. Despite a discography with a lack of creativity, they had a kind of success in the mid 80’s, thanks most of all to the album Balls To The Wall and its title-song. Here is a DVD offering us a documentary about the band, but the music stays in front anyway. There are in fact 12 live tracks captured in Osaka, Japan in 1985, 3 live tracks captured in Sophia, Bulgaria in 1993 and 7 music videos. We can also discover behind the scenes footage, pictures, the complete discography with at least 2 samples from each album and all the lyrics, and of course a biography. In bonus, the reverse side of the DVD is a CD on which we can hear previously unreleased audio tracks (including demo and acoustic versions). Which is also interesting with the DVD is that we can use it different ways: by seeing the documentary in one shot or by seeing only the parts we prefer. So, it would have been really difficult to ask for more because this is an excellent covering of the band’s career. We can also here all their classics that are interesting to come back to, like the excellent "Balls To The Wall", "Metal Heart", "I'm A Rebel", "Midnight Mover" and "Generation Clash". The only problem in my opinion is the lack of music creativity which is making them grow older in not a particularly good way and most of the tracks seem a little bit archaic. Many older bands are most interesting to see on DVD (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.). But, if you were the biggest fan of these German metal pioneers and you had all their posters in your bedroom, you will be happy to rediscover them on DVD. For the others, you will smile… Ah! The metal of the 80’s!!! (September 2006)

MVD

½

Bad Religion - The Riot DVD

Bad Religion - The Riot

On December 29, 1990, the concert Bad Religion was supposed to give (with NOFX and Pennywise) had to be cancelled after only one performance (by Pennywise) when authorities considered the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood dangerous because it was overcrowded. That decision was not really appreciated by the fans and they started to pitch beer bottles before starting a riot. It's that riot we can see here in its entirety, filmed by Richard White, even if we don't really see everything that happened. In my opinion, the best part of the DVD is the parts of the concert they gave in 1988 at the University of California. The concert was full of energy and we can discover a young band that was at a few months of recording its best albums in career, and becoming a legend. The only problem with the concert is the sound quality that is not very good, but we have to see this DVD more like a collection item, a rarity to please the fans of the band. A couple of interesting bonuses show the band backstage for their reprise concert of the riot 1 month later at the Hollywood Palladium. We can also see their performance for the song "I Want To Conquer The World". (November 2006)

MVD

David Bowie - Under Review 1976-1979: The Berlin Trilogy

David Bowie - Under Review 1976-1979: The Berlin Trilogy

By the mid 70’s, David Bowie was the biggest pop star in the UK, but his personal life was in turmoil. In a bid to escape the chaos of his drug problems and to flea from the media spotlight, he eventually found his way to Berlin where he started to work on 3 albums, among the most personal of his career, without hiding behind a persona like Ziggy Stardust. Those 3 albums we call the Berlin trilogy are Low, Heroes and Lodger. Some fans declared they were disappointed about those 3, being more attracted by the Ziggy Stardust era, but others said Bowie was at his best with the trilogy. This DVD presents an independent review and criticism for that era of the David Bowie’s long career. The albums he recorded at the time, in collaboration with Brian Eno, present creative music. This music would stay aside of pop music, but would have a lot of importance in the music history. He experiments more than ever in genres from proto punk to ambient pop rock. This DVD, most of all for the fans of Bowie, presents with details that period of his career that can seem dark, but was so creative. We can hear interviews with a panel of esteemed experts, plus live and studio performances. Without making you discover the complex David Bowie persona, you will have the opportunity to discover anyway interesting years of his career. (December 2006)

MVD

Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man DVD

Leonard Cohen - I'm your Man

Leonard Cohen is a poet and songwriter born in Montreal which was always critically acclaimed as well as he was a main influence for many artists. His songs have a particular emotion he knows how to communicate beautifully with his low and deep voice. In January 2005 in Sydney, Australia, around ten artists were reunited for a special tribute to this living legend. Among them, let’s name U2, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, the McGarrigle sisters, Beth Orton, Nick Cave, Antony (from Antony and the Johnsons) and Jarvis Cocker. I’m Your Man is a Lian Lunson documentary presenting sequences from that concert separated by interviews with the most important participants. Cohen was absent at the concert, but he is well present on the DVD with and interview we can hear in parts in which he presents his life and his songs in a very personal way. To conclude the documentary, he even offers us the song "Tower of Song" with the help of the members of U2, a track recorded in studio. This documentary is a very sincere and moving tribute, made with class, but not perfect. The songs from the concert are sometimes cut short to leave the space for the interviews, which are not always really relevant. Even if the documentary can be interesting for the new fans, many of them will maybe get lost, even fall asleep well before the end of the 103 minutes. I think we have to be a real Cohen fan to keep our concentration on the songs and on the interviews. In bonus, the DVD gives us 4 never seen performances captured in Sydney, as well as an additional interview with Cohen. The 5.1 sound is available, but you won’t really hear it, because there are no special sound effects. (January 2007)

Christal Films

½

Mission of Burma - Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story DVD

Mission of Burma - Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story

Mission of Burma is a post-punk band that was active between 1979 and 1983. The band only released an EP, Signals, Calls and Marches, and an album, Vs. They were anyway an important influence for bands like the Pixies and Nirvana. The band decided to reunite 19 years later to play a couple of concerts, before reforming full time and recording 2 albums, ONoffON in 2004 and The Obliterati in 2006. This DVD presents us the story of the band from its creation to its ending due to the guitarist Roger Miller hearing problems. We can also discover their return on stage in 2002 and the recording of their first album in more than 20 years. The 70 minute documentary includes commentaries by each of the band members, friends, family, musicians that were inspired by their music and music critics. The production of the DVD is particularly well done with the integration of many music sequences from the years before the band was formed until now. We can also see performances from a couple of concerts of 2002, as well as in the studio. All the live performances we can see in the documentary are also available in their entirety in the bonus section of the DVD. I have to admit I didn’t know the Mission of Burma music very well, but the DVD gives us the opportunity to discover the band. At the end, I think it’s most of all an album for the fans of the band who will have on hand the complete story of their favorite band. (January 2007)

MVD

½

Pixies - Loud Quiet Loud: A Film About the Pixies

Pixies - Loud Quiet Loud: A Film About the Pixies

Between 1986 and 1992, the Pixies released 5 albums giving them the opportunity to place the foundations for what would become later grunge music, most particularly with Nirvana. Moreover, Kurt Cobain declared the Pixies were his most important influence. It’s incredible how this band was influent on the next generation, with no popular success, especially in its own country, USA. This DVD presents a documentary on the activities of each member since their break-up, as well as their 2004 reunion for a tour. We discover how much those 4 musicians have nothing to tell to each other and their only uniting point is their music. They insist maybe a little bit too much on that, because at a certain point we know they are bad communicators with each other and it’s not necessary to show them in the same room “not talking to each other”! After 30 very interesting minutes making us learn a lot, there are unfortunately parts that seem too long among the 55 other minutes. The clips from the 2004 tour are really good, but there are not enough of them. If they had paid more attention to the music, it would have made a much better DVD. There are more than 30 minutes of bonus material (deleted scenes and commentaries), as well as a 16 page booklet, which is adding value to the product. Finally, it’s anyway a good DVD, well made and extremely interesting for any fan of the Pixies who would want news of the band since their break-up. But, it can’t be a good introduction for a new fan which won’t really discover all the qualities of their music. After all, this is a documentary… (December 2006)

MVD

Queen - Under Review: 1980-1991 (DVD)

Queen - Under Review 1980-1991

To follow upon DVD Collector’s Box presented last month, here is now Under Review 1980-1991. This documentary does exactly the same work as Under Review 1973-1980 which was included in the box set. It presents each album issued by Queen in the 80’s, until the death of Freddie Mercury, and even beyond. This is the period in which the group reached the top of its fame, filling stadiums almost everywhere around the world. The group continued to propose music apart from the musical movements. They released a disco album with Hot Space, but it was in 1982 and the movement was already finished, then in any event, the disco music of Queen had nothing to do with what had been in vogue on the dance floors at the end of the 70’s. The disease of Mercury made the second half of the decade a little more difficult, even if they succeeded with one of their most solid albums in 1989 with The Miracle. This 78 minute DVD makes an excellent coverage of the career of the band in the 80’s and allows us to know a little more about them. This is a superb documentary in which all the comments of experts and friends are relevant and never annoying. Moreover, we can see and hear rare live footage. (August 2007)

Chrome Dreams / MVD

Metal's Dark Side: The Hard and the Furious - Volume 1 DVD

Metal's Dark Side: The Hard And The Furious Volume 1

This series will present metal artists that don’t have many opportunities to be heard on specialized TV channels, artists of death, black, thrash and speed metal. Hosted by the sexy Jasmin St. Claire, this first volume includes interviews with members of Cannibal Corpse, Death Angel, Satyricon, Nevermore and Damageplan. We can also see videos (the uncensored versions) of those bands, plus a tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell (Damageplan, Pantera) and a preview of the volume 2 of the series. With 80 minutes including the bonuses, this is only a brief view of that large music genre, but the coming volumes will certainly complete the picture. For the fans of the genre only. (November 2006)

MVD

½

 

2005:

 

New York Dolls - All Dolled Up

New York Dolls - All Dolled Up

Bob Gruen and his wife Nadya Beck started one day to follow the New York Dolls with a camera, with the feeling that the group could become important. They finally shot more than 40 hours of material over 3 years, filming the group in various moments of their life on tour. It’s a condensed version of this material we can find here in this 95 minute documentary to which they added bonus material to reach 230 minutes. Behind their female costumes, we can discover 5 young naive guys that don’t realize at all that they will become a major influence for many musicians to come. When we see and hear them on stage, we realize how many bands that followed straightforwardly copied their attitude and their music style. It was the case initially for the Sex Pistols, but especially for most of the glam rock and hard rock acts of the Eighties. Guns N’ Roses, among others, are their direct descendants. This documentary has the advantage of presenting the group from every angle, including various live performances. The sound of these performances is unfortunately not at the height of the 5.1 mixing which is offered and which is not useful at the end because of the “bootleg” quality of the recordings. In spite of this disadvantage, which is not too important finally, the film marvelously succeeds in bringing us 35 years back and literally plunging us in the environment of the group at the time. Among the most interesting extras of the DVD, we can find 12 complete live performances. Finally, even if the DVD doesn’t emphasize sufficiently on the music of the group, it constitutes undoubtedly an excellent document to make us know better this important group in the history of music. (April 2008)

MVD

½

Ramones: End of the Century DVD

Ramones - End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones

30 years ago appeared a punk band from New York City that gave an opportunity to rock n' roll to survive in a changing music industry. Unfortunately for them, the Ramones were eclipsed commercially by a second british invasion leaded by the Sex Pistols and The Clash, 2 bands that were themselves influenced by the Ramones. This lack of popularity was there for all their 20 years career, even if the critics agree to say that without the Ramones, rock music would be very different today. On this DVD, a documentary of almost 2 hours, you will discover the complete story of the band, from its debut at the CBGB in NYC, to its induction into the rock n' roll Hall of Fame in 2002, with a special mention to the death of Joey in 2001 and Dee Dee in 2002, 2 months after the Hall of Fame ceremony. There is only the death of Johnny in 2004 that was not mentionned. This DVD will give you the opportunity to discover every aspect of each of the characters, the tensions between some of the members and the problems they had to face. Everything is presented on a musical background of their best songs, even if we could dislike the little presence of the music. Anyway, there are parts of a couple of great live performances of the 70's that are very impressive. I was lucky to see them in concert in the middle of the 90's, and even if it was impressive, it was far from the energy of their debut. Many modern "punk" bands should take the time to sit down and take a look at this documentary to take a real rock n' roll lesson and to discover it's not necessary to run from one side of the stage to the other to be energetic on stage. Special features include other parts of the interviews not chosen for the documentary, but that are as interesting. I don't think this DVD is the best way to discover the band if you don't know anything from their music, but if you heard some of their albums and like them, you won't have any choice but buying other albums of the band after the viewing of this story. If you're a fan, you can't hesitate to buy this DVD to learn more about the band you think you know by heart. (May 2005)

 

2004:

 

Pennywise - Home Movies

Home Movies was already issued in VHS format in 1995. At last, we can have it in DVD format. This DVD, of a total time of a little more than 40 minutes places the music far behind. It's most of all the atmosphere on tour with Pennywise they present here. We can see different jokes the guys do to themselves in the hotel rooms and we see some of their numerous hangovers. But, we can also hear songs in rehearsals and on stage. Among them, there is a part of a show outside where there is absolutely no security at all and where the fans energy comes a little bit too much through the musicians that have many problems to continue to play their instruments. This DVD is for the fans only and it won't teach you anything about the California punk band's music. (December 2004)

Epitaph

½

 

2000:

 

Johnny Cash - The Man, His World, His Music (DVD)

Johnny Cash - The Man, His World, His Music (2007 Re-issue)

Here is a 90-minute film reviewing the various facets of the life of this legend of country music. The music is at the center of the film whereas we can see images of Cash in various contexts: hunting, in family, with friends, on tour, in studio or on stage. These various images give a good portrait of his life, while presenting him on tour at the end of the 60’s. We can see him in duo with his wife June Carter, as well as with the folk legend Bob Dylan (who turned country in contact with Johnny Cash). We can also see Carl Perkins on stage performing his classic "Blue Suede Shoes". Among the 21 tracks offered here, we can hear several Cash classics, even if it cannot be seen like a compilation of his greatest hits. It’s sure we cannot expect an image quality of the years 2000, but the video capture has the advantage of bringing us back to an environment of the 60’s. The fans of Johnny Cash will appreciate undoubtedly this film which gives a good outline of the persona. (October 2007)

Cherry Red / MVD

½

 

MOCKUMENTARIES:

 

Elvis Presley - Elvis Found Alive

Elvis Found Alive (2012)

The same company that gave us the film Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison in 2010 is back with a supposed interview with Elvis Presley alive. The film claims that federal agent Jon Burrows, the alias used by Elvis in the 1970s, was found in California and that he would be indeed Elvis. With his face hidden and a "recognizable" voice, the supposed Elvis agrees to an interview in which he reveals details about his life and his career and the events that led him to fake his death. He only agreed to take a picture at the very end and that is the one found on the DVD cover (big thanks to Photoshop...). In fact, the film exploits the fact that many fans have never believed in the death of the king, claiming that a wax statue was in the tomb, he has been sighted at various locations since 1977, and more. The most interesting thing about the film is that it does a good overview of Elvis's career, although some a little more personal facts brought by "Elvis" should be taken with care. The problem with this film is that we come to the point it is difficult to differentiate true from false, and that many skeptics are likely to see their doubts strengthened. A CD is also available and it contains 15 pieces: covers of Elvis' hits, as well as covers of more contemporary songs such as "Every Breath You Take" of The Police and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" of Michael Jackson. We also find a new song, "Lisa Marie". It is true that the voice of the alleged Elvis has strong similarities to that of the king of rock 'n' roll, but in listening well, there are apparent differences. Among others, this does not seem to be the voice of a man of 75 years old who stopped singing for over 30 years. Elvis Found Alive is a document to take carefully, for the curious ones only. (April 2012)

Highway 61 / MVD

Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison

Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison (2010)