WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The premise of It Might Get Loud is simple: three legendary guitarists Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin The Edge of U2 and Jack White of The White Stripes talk about guitars. Hearing these masters muse on their instrument of choice is an appealing conversation even for those not adept at the device and it’s wholly fascinating for those who are. Beautifully lit high-def close-ups of the trio’s fleet of instruments also function as hardcore guitar porn for six-string enthusiasts.
The documentary-style flick directed by An Inconvenient Truth’s Davis Guggenheim is more than just 97 minutes of the three guitar heroes waxing poetic about their axes. Above all else It Might Get Loud is an homage to the talent and lives of these genre-altering musicians. Using the guitar as a point of entry Guggenheim coaxes stories musings and memories out of Page Edge and White each of whom has more than a few good tales to tell. The film follows each guitarist to their respective homes in England Dublin and Nashville and then finally to a soundstage in Los Angeles where the three legends meet to talk music. Then they have a jam session and fulfill a million musical fantasies.
WHO’S IN IT?
The cast is composed only of Jack White as the rogue of modern rock The Edge as the straight man and Jimmy Page as the elder statesman. They’re enough.
The film is an intimate foray into the lives and careers of three men who have changed the game of rock and roll. The guitar stuff is interesting but what’s better is hearing each guy talk about his start in music career progression recording iconic tracks etc. The film humanizes each musician especially White whose expertly manicured public persona is steeped in Dylan-esque mystery. Hearing the pale guy at the center of the peppermint-striped lore talk about growing up in Detroit filling his tiny childhood bedroom with musical equipment and cutting his first LP while working as a furniture upholsterer is welcome insight for fans.
It Might Get Loud is packed with rare footage photos and recordings from the careers of all three artists. We get to see Jimmy Page’s first appearance on British television as a boy The White Stripes doing a concert for the elderly and The Edge pulling out a box of unmarked cassette tapes popping one in and discovering it to the be an early version of “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Until they meet at the soundstage “summit ” Page White and Edge are shot separately. While the intercutting of these segments is more or less seamless a few jumps are a bit clunky and the text mechanism that breaks the film into chapters comes off a touch hokey. These are small criticisms; the film is essentially a cinematic wet dream complete with epic soundtrack for anyone interested in the subject matter.
There’s a deluxe box set worth of amazing moments but the scene in which The Edge discusses his E chord stands out. With guitar in hand he explains that the particular chord typically has a bit of distortion inherent in its sound. He however has stripped his E chord of said excess noise and made it more basic. He plays both E chords and the difference is almost imperceptible. He says it’s this type of simplification that has given his guitar sound its trademark minimalism. This might seem like a trivial geeked-out detail until you consider that he's talking about a little-known contributing element of some of the most iconic guitar intros in popular music.
It’s also cool to watch the look on Jack White’s face as he hangs out with Jimmy Page. White seems barely able to control his excitement as Page gives him guitar pointers.
It Might Get Loud is a treat for anyone even a little bit interested in guitars rock and roll legendary bands musical history classic songs Led Zeppelin The White Stripes and U2. If you like any of these things even a little bit see this movie. It won't disappoint.
The Stones previously employed such esteemed directors as Hal Ashby and Jean-Luc Godard to capture their raucous studio and onstage exploits on film. Martin Scorsese edited Woodstock directed The Band’s landmark concert film The Last Waltz and used Stones classics in Goodfellas and The Departed. So it was inevitable that Scorsese and the Stones would eventually collaborate. Why they choose to name their concert film--shot in 2006 over two nights at the Beacon Theater in New York--after the Exile on Main St. track remains a mystery. There’s little attempt to reveal anything new about how the Stones have laughed off “Steel Wheelchairs” jokes and accusations of irrelevancy to prevail for 46 years as “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.” Shine a Light is just your typical concert film--albeit one shot for a five-story movie theater. Only it’s not in 3D like recent concert films by Miley Cyrus and U2. And so we're denied the opportunity of having the tongue from the Stones' iconic logo being wagged inches from our faces.
Still as Scorsese effortlessly reaffirms old age hasn’t slowed down Mick Jagger Keith Richards Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood. They work a stage harder than any of the current pop idols who weren’t even born before At the Max began its run in 1991 (yes you Ms. Cyrus).
The lines that were very much evident on Jagger’s face in At the Max now appear to be as deep as ravines in Shine a Light. But the lanky sexagenarian still possesses the vim and vigor to strut like a peacock during mating season. And his voice is as potent today as it was when he first requested “Sympathy for the Devil.” As for the other Glimmer Twin Richards looks like he’s just staggered off the set of the last Pirates of the Caribbean what with his black eyeliner and headscarf. Still it’s entertaining to watch Richards play up--and poke fun at--his “living corpse” persona. Oh and if you find yourself in need of a bathroom break wait until the guitarist croaks his way through “Connection” and “You Got the Silver.” As usual Watts and Wood leave the spotlight to Jagger and Richards. There are some special guests: President Bill Clinton introduces the Stones. A tinny Jack White ruins “Loving Cup.” Bluesman Buddy Guy steals a cover of Muddy Waters’ “Champagne and Reefer” from Jagger. But pity Christina Aguilera who holds her own against a lecherous Jagger on “Live With Me.” X-tina’s no prude but that doesn’t make it any less creepy watching Sir Mick bump and grind with a pop tart young enough to be his granddaughter. In the days and hours leading up to the concert an agitated Scorsese begs for the set list. He gets it seconds before the Stones take the stage. The opening song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash ” isn’t a sign of things to come. The Stones seem uninterested in satisfying those who bought Forty Licks for “Satisfaction”--at least until they start to wrap things up. Expect a dusting off of such lesser-known oldies as “All Down the Line ” “Connection” and “Far Away Eyes.” Scorsese pieces together the performances in a clear-cut and polished manner with his attention firmly fixed on the energetic Jagger and the lumbering Richards. The Beacon Theater which seats 2 880 provides a stark contrast to the stadium setting of At the Max. While its predecessor was all about pure spectacle Shine a Light is a welcomed attempt to show what the larger-than-life Stones can do when squeezed into such an intimate setting. The interviews and archival footage are good for a laugh but their inclusion proves to be superfluous. We know the age-defying Stones will roll on until they die. Scorsese would have been better served replacing them with more songs (like “Shine a Light ” which is only heard over the end credits!). Then again as Jagger’s reminded us for years we can’t always get what we want.
Bono, Irish rock band U2's outspoken lead singer, was one of the key--and, of course, more exciting--participants at the World Economic Forum in New York this past week. He was there as a voice for the world's poorer nations, for which Bono has been tirelessly campaigning for many years. He was trying to seek common ground among the conservative U.S. politicians and some of the world's richest men. Of course, the rock star recognized the irony of his own presence.
"The great thing about hanging out with Republicans is that it's very unhip for both of us. There's a parity of pain here," Bono said at a news conference Saturday, referring to his newfound conservative party friends, including Microsoft's Bill Gates and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
Asia launched its first MTV Asia Awards Saturday, honoring their own homegrown talent. Some artists who picked up awards included Hong Kong singer Sammi Cheng, Philippines favorite Regine Velasquez and martial arts superstar Jackie Chan. Pop singer Mandy Moore and ex-Boyzone front man Ronan Keating hosted the event.
The English mystery The Others took top honors at Spain's Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences awards, the country's equivalent to the Oscars. It took eight awards, including best film and best director. Even though directed by Spanish Alejandro Amenabar, many Spanish filmmakers were upset by the film's recognition.
Richard Gere is doing his part for the people of Tibet. He will speak at Germany's parliament in April to discuss Himalayan human rights and further his fight against Chinese rule there. A devoted Buddhist and friend of the Dalai Lama, Gere has been actively protesting against China for their religious and cultural repression in the Himalayan region.
Musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim and his partner John Weidman settled a lawsuit against producer Scott Rudin and regained the sole rights to the musical Gold!. The Broadway show is about the 19th-century adventures and scams of brothers Wilson and Addison Minzer and will now move forward as planned.
Just when you thought it was safe…Canadian pop diva Celine Dion told Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 that she is ready to make a comeback. The singer has taken the last two years off to live a normal life and have a child. Starting next year, Dion will appear five nights a week for three years at Caesar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas for a reported $100 million.
The 16-year-old Robert Iler, who plays sulky teen A.J. Soprano on the hit HBO series The Sopranos, refused a no-jail misdemeanor deal from prosecutors. He is being charged with felony robbery for mugging two teens for $40 last July. Apparently, to cinch the deal, Iler would have to admit in court that he is indeed guilty, something he is not willing to do at this time.
Since the horrors of Sept. 11, contemporary Christian music sales are on the rise. Inspirational bands such as Plus One, Third Day, Jars of Clay and Christian pop singer Jaci Velasquez are topping the charts. "We all grew up in the church and we knew that God had given us a gift, whether it's to sing or whether to play instruments musically," said Plus One band member Jason Perry. "We wanted to be a part of something that we love, but also to bring glory to Jesus Christ."
A Ft.Lauderdale, Fla. judge sent actor Brad Renfro (Ghost World) to jail Tuesday after he turned himself in for a probation violation. Renfro was serving probation for trying to steal a yacht in August 2000 and violated that probation when he got arrested Jan. 14 in Knoxville, Tenn. for driving without a license and public intoxication.
International German star Hildegard Knef, best known for starring as a concentration camp survivor in the 1946 Murderers Are Among Us, the first post-WWII German movie, died of a lung infection Friday in Berlin. She was 76.
Documentary about the 1960 downing of the U2 spy plane piloted by Gary Francis Powers. New evidence suggests that Power's plane may not have been shot down as originally claimed by the Soviets, but accidentally knocked out of the sky by an unarmed Soviet MIG. Official historians, Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikita Khrushchev, and the pilot of the disputed Soviet plane are among those who shed light on the subject.