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William F. Buckley,
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Martin Scorsese and the Rolling Stones unite in "Shine A Light," a look at The Rolling Stones." Scorcese filmed the Stones over a two-day period at the intimate Beacon Theater in New York City in fall 2006. Cinematographers capture the raw energy of the legendary band.Written by
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You could argue that Martin Scorsese is the greatest director in the history of cinema and you could also argue that The Rolling Stones are the greatest rock 'n roll band in history so the two giants teaming up for a movie is a tricky move. A lot of times when two giants team up the results are disappointing but that's certainly not the case here. This concert film is without a doubt the most beautiful one I've ever seen and certainly the best directed. There's no doubt in my mind that Scorsese has taken the concert film and created something so incredibly that I'd compare it to how Dylan changed music history with Highway 61 Revisited.
As for the concert, The Stones need no defending and they deliver a terrific performance here, which was recorded over two shows at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. The guys get off to a feverish pace with a rocking 'Jumpin Jack Flash' followed with a neat version of 'Shattered'. The majority of the show has lesser known tunes and these here are certainly the highlight of the film. The cover of 'Just My Imagination' has the Stones making that song all their own. The legend Buddy Guy joins the band for an incredibly spirited version of the Muddy Waters' tune 'Champagne & Reefer'. 'Some Girls' features Jaggers really having fun on stage and the country based 'Faraway Eyes' really packs a punch. 'As Tears Go By', described by Jagger as a song they were originally embarrassed by, turns into a magical moment. The second half of the show features the big hits like 'Start Me Up', 'Brown Sugar', 'Sympathy for the Devil' and 'Satisfaction'. The entire concert is full of terrific energy as Richards is constantly smiling and even does two songs himself including a sharp version of 'You Got the Silver'. The group is really rocking throughout the thing and Jagger doesn't slow down as he's constantly dancing, spinning and working up the crowd. Not to mention feeling up on Christina Aguilera during 'Live With Me'.
On the technical side of things, this movie makes every other concert films look cheap and generic. Even without the music this thing is pure beauty as Scorsese really knows how to edit all the action together and his direction of the cameras is something really mind blowing. Just look at the 'Champagne & Reefer" segment, which is a rocking blues number and see how Scorsese captures the mood and spirit of the song. The heavier songs like 'Start Me up' are also perfectly captured. I'm really not sure I can put into words how incredible this whole thing looked on the IMAX screen. You get so up close and personal with the band that you can see spit flying from Jaggers mouth and notice every bit of perspiration pouring off the group. The stage settings add for some great visuals, which really jump off the screen. At times I really forgot I was watching a movie as it felt like I was really there at the concert. After the songs would finish and the crowd would cheer, I had to stop myself a couple times from cheering because that's how much I forgot I was watching a movie. The opening of the concert features a camera move that I won't spoil here but it ranks right up there among Scorsese's greatest and probably falls just behind that famous scene in Goodfellas.
The first ten minutes of the movie shows all the pre-show stuff including Scorsese trying to get the group to deliver a set list so that he can determine how he wants to film everything. The eventual set list doesn't show up until minutes before the show so you can imagine how Scorsese was pulling his hair out. We also get a great closing scene with the band leaving the stage, which was great to see because I always wondered what they were doing as they left the stage. Vintage interview clips are also sprinkled throughout the film, including one from when the band was just out for two years and Jaggers is asked how much longer they could keep doing this. He's reply is that they have at least one more year in them. Forty years later we get this film, which shows why Scorsese and The Stones are legends and this film perfectly captures the greatness of both artist.
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