In 2007 the legendary American duo White Stripes toured Canada. Besides playing the usual venues they challenged themselves and played in buses, cafés and for Indian tribal elders. Music ... See full summary »
In the terrain of rock bands, implosion or explosion is seemingly inevitable. U2 has defied the gravitational pull towards destruction; this band has endured and thrived. This documentary asks the question why.
Rising from the ashes of Nirvana, the Foo Fighters became a Grammy-winning sensation on their own. Sixteen years of the band's history comes to life in this documentary, from their demo ... See full summary »
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education "statistics" have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR ... See full summary »
The section where Jimmy Page is talking about his first electric guitar is prefaced with a title card labeled "Jimmy's Strat" and showing a Fender Stratocaster. However, the pictures accompanying his story show a young Jimmy Page with a guitar that is distinctly not a Stratocaster, but a Selmer Futurama. See more »
Despite his deeply silly stage name, I've always been a fan of The Edge, and spent what felt like a good part of my youth trying to figure out his riffs. So it was a revelation to me to see him switch off his effects and make fun of how banal his "original" (un-enhanced) riffs really are. In another scene he points to a concrete platform on his former school where he and what was to become U2 first performed; he casually remarks "I was standing on that side" and then it dawns upon him "... and that's been my side ever since." There are a lot of quiet but magic moments like that in this documentary, that make it so captivating.
I also found the segments on Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page fascinating. When he started out, people didn't yet make a living as rock stars (I remember a BBC session when Led Zeppelin's members were asked what they were "really" doing). Wild boy Jimmy Page got his first guitar by accident, because somebody'd left it behind in the house his family was moving into, and later he had a pretty mundane career as a session musician, where he was playing stuff nobody'd dream of associating with him today.
To me, the odd one out was Jack White. Certainly a good musician, a great specimen of a still relatively young guitarist, but he seemed to me rather grandiose, egocentric and attention-grabbing, his self-stylisation as a white bluesman with tie and pork-pie hat was just plain silly, and his attitude "I don't play big-name guitars but cheap junk and it's still great music" started to grate after a while.
The movie was best when it was just following and listening to the guitarreros. The segments when they are supposed to intimately discuss guitarish matters and "just forget that the camera's even there" don't work so well. There are lots of cute design ideas which liven up the movie and keep it together. The movie works less well when it tries to summarise and explain; a particular gaffe was when The Edge complains about the self-indulgent guitar solos of the 1970ies, and the movie ignores the blatant fact that self-indulgent soloist #1 at the time was none other than Jimmy Page.
You know who was really missing from this movie? The late, great Les Paul. I would have loved to be able listen to his side of the story.
Finally, I took a lot of heart from the final scene when all three musical heavies play The Band's "The Weight" together -- and it doesn't sound that convincing. Just like when I was jamming with my mates!
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