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Here Is What Is (2007)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 41 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 4 critic

A behind-the-scenes look at Grammy-winning Canadian composer and record producer Daniel Lanois.

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Title: Here Is What Is (2007)

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Brian Blade ...
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Aaron Embry ...
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Garth Hudson ...
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A behind-the-scenes look at Grammy-winning Canadian composer and record producer Daniel Lanois.

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Documentary

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27 March 2008 (USA)  »

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One of the least insightful documentaries I've ever seen
20 September 2007 | by (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

What a wasted opportunity! I know you're not supposed to review the movie that could have been, that you should stick to the movie that "is", but here is what is -- this just plain sucks. I expected this doc to offer some insights on the music production process, and contain some intriguing interviews on the give and take between artist and producer. And also, since Lanois is so attuned to mixing, to show something of the give and take between studio engineer and producer.

Aside from a soundbite that Lanois interprets a mixer as a whole other instrument, and a brief dissertation on how the song takes shape not merely from what the musicians play but from the extra materials you have at your disposal and the "feel" and vibe in the studio -- this film's 90 minutes is better spent listening to 'Oh Mercy' or one of the many other fine albums Lanois has produced or co-produced.

The look of the film is very disturbing and, at times, intolerable and unwatchable -- an attempted avant garde look that is so behind the times it could have been chopped together mid-70s. The longest interview segments are with Brian Eno, who at one point esoterically conveys some statement about the colours of a tapestry -- colours the film audience cannot even see, because they are either bleached or diluted or non-existent due to the film's look.

The co-directors should feel ashamed that they weren't able to cull together better material, especially from this calibre of subjects. Also, the extended music sequences are so self-indulgent they give new meaning to "art for art's sake". The opening 4 minute shot of a piano piece being played (by Garth Hudson), from one angle -- a piece that is not even that complex or a display Hudson's obvious talent -- is indicative of the rest of the movie's musical sequences. Embark at your own risk.


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