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Fantastic doc that respects the subject
Saw the premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. A theater full of Rush fans guarantees that if the film faltered it would get immediate feedback. Not the case here at all. What us rabid Rush fans have been waiting for all these years has finally happened: a serious piece of film that accurately details the background of the band and their rise from obscurity to, as Geddy says "not mainstream, but OUR stream", with the ups and downs along the way. Everything is covered, from their struggle for a recording contract until their first stateside 'fans' Donna Halper from WMMS in Cleveland and Cliff Burnstein of Mercury Records helped them out, the early years w/ John Rutsey (someone who up until now was just a name - seeing and hearing him made me appreciate his early contributions to the group), the triumphant release of 2112 that gave them their independence, all the way to Neil's tragic loss of his daughter and wife years ago that almost spelled the end of the band.
Peppered w/ interviews from other musicians who you would not typically think of as Rush fans (Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, etc.) as well as those who absolutely fit the bill (Jack Black, Les Claypool, etc.) you see that their influence is not just musical but spiritual - not one of these people, except for maybe Mr. Claypool, play like Rush, but they all relate how their admiration for the band fueled their own push to be better musicians and hold onto their integrity.
As you would expect, my only complaint is that it's not long enough. But that's what DVD extras are for. :) All in all a hearty thumbs-up! Be sure to catch the TV premiere in late June over at VH1/VH1Classic!
And one last thought - this has solidified the growing position among us hardcore fans that it's irrelevant if they ever get into the R&R Hall of Fame. That's a popularity contest that the band has never cared for and nor do I.
Speed Racer (2008)
Don't listen to the critics
Besides Mass Hypnosis I can't for the life of me explain why so many folks are against this movie. I took my 2 boys to see it with some trepidation - after all it has received pretty unanimous pans from all over. So imagine my surprise when I find not just my kids enjoying it but all 3 of us hooting and hollering at the screen. This is a terrific family film, it has a very positive messages, and the sights and sounds make it a roller coaster ride. That doesn't mean sensory overload - there are plenty of soft, quiet scenes that are vital for moving the plot forward.
What the W. Brothers have done here is come up with a new language to tell a story. One that is visual and clever. The first part of the movie uses this language to both show us Speed's current predicament as well as go back in his past and see why he is where he is. It's seamless and exciting and the W brothers pull it off quite well. Likewise there's a particular 15 second section where Speed, Trixie, and Rex are talking to each other while the action is going on around them and the camera zooms and flits back and forth between them so smoothly and quickly that it really impressed me with how easy they conveyed the conversation.
And one last thing! It doesn't matter if you never saw the original Speed Racer, the movie stands on its own quite well.