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Ride, Rise, Roar (2010)

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This feature-length documentary profiles David Byrne - famous lead vocalist of the former band Talking Heads, today a solo artist, event organizer and publisher. A clever combination of ... See full summary »

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This feature-length documentary profiles David Byrne - famous lead vocalist of the former band Talking Heads, today a solo artist, event organizer and publisher. A clever combination of onstage energy and intimate testimony, the film shows him rehearsing, talking about his work and appearing in concert with his band and dance group. Written by Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

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21 January 2011 (UK)  »

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Everything That Happens Will Happen Today  »

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Ride, Rise, Bore
22 January 2011 | by (Exeter, England) – See all my reviews

Anyone with any sense would not go to this movie expecting Talking Heads. Byrne hasn't been a TH for twenty years and has I expect tried to move on, branch out and create new works of art. Unfortunately, as he accepted in the Q&A broadcast with Paul Morley, Stop Making Sense has proved to be an albatross around his neck for the past 30 years. And this documentary has him clutching at musical straws. The inclusion of interpretive dancers, is perhaps his greatest faux pas. Although put together by ground-breaking choreographers the result is amateur. The aim to get the backing singers and dancers to cross boundaries and become what they are not makes for some particularly painful results, especially when one of the dancers is allowed not only to hold a guitar (which is gruesome itself when the dancers perform holding electric guitars), but is allowed to play on one of Byrne's newer tracks, Holy Moly! And dancing like geriatrics on office chairs good god, what was he thinking? The musical parts of the documentary are lacklustre, the band feel like they are going through the motions, and the revamped Head's track's do little except show how fantastic Stop Making Sense was, and the newer Byrne and Eno tracks just drift. Making music via email may sound modern and exciting but the results are uninspiring and dull, if not a little cringeworthy. This perhaps the first time I have seen Brian Eno and thought he's lost the plot.

As Paul Morley delicately suggested during the Q&A, the energy a pop musician has when they are young results in magnificent works of art but maybe as the artist becomes older, is more comfortable and less energised, their work fails to live up to the promise of their early years. Nothing could be truer if this documentary is anything to go by. The film making unfortunately does nothing to improve the cinematic experience, either. The talky parts are in black and white, the music in colour...wow! As a piece of concert footage Curtis shows he is no Demme, the editing is pedestrian, the choice of shots uninspiring, and the talky parts of the film were not very interesting.

A truly, truly dull film.


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