Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Shine a Light is a 2008 film directed by Martin Scorsese documenting two 2006 performances that took place during rock and roll band The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang tour. It also includes archive footage from the band's career. The film takes its title from the song of the same name, featured on the band's 1972 album Exile on Main St. A soundtrack album was released in April 2008 on the Universal label.

In addition to extensive coverage of the band's two-night stand at New York's Beacon Theater (an engagement that was staged as part of President Bill Clinton's lavish birthday bash), the film also features historical footage, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage from decades past. Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (JFK and The Aviator) supervised photography for the film, with an impressive array of A-list talents, including Andrew Lesnie, John Toll, Ellen Kuras, Anastas Michos, Stuart Dryburgh, Declan Quinn, Emmanuel Lubezki, Robert Elswit, and Albert Maysles, stepping in to insure that the Beacon performances were covered from every angle possible.

This is the first blog post I have ever written while being slightly drunk. I'm not full on drunk yet or else I wouldn't have been able to get this far. Let's just say it was a long day at work and I don't have to work tomorrow or maybe I'm channeling Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones who recently entered rehab because he was drinking two bottles of vodka a day and ran away from his wife with an 18 year old Russian girl. Oh dammit, I just spilled vodka on myself. Anyways, Wood's thinks he is a teenager when in fact he and the rest of the Stones are in their 60's and have no business doing what they are still doing. The bottom line is, the Rolling Stones need to give it a rest.

Maybe 15 years ago it seemed cute that they were still around but now they are overstaying their welcome. While watching Shine a Light my girlfriend threw up a little in her mouth every time she saw Keith Richards face and I don't blame her. They are all seriously old. They have no business sticking around in the music scene when everyone knows that they shouldn't be. Their last album was crap and they probably know it but I'm sure part of it is just so they can make some more money.

Shine a Light is a good film, however it is not a documentary. Well it kind of is but it is mostly a concert film that is shot by Martin Scorsese. You get bits and pieces between each song of the Stones' career in interviews from the past. My favorite scene is when they are doing interviews from the 70's and 80's. They are all obviously high on drugs and their answers to some of the reporters questions is genius.

You see a little bit of Scorsese here and there but he is mostly behind the camera, directing the concert that the Stones are putting on. At times the concert is hard to watch because the Stones are just so old. Mick is so old that his voice is just hard on the ears. It's like listening to an awesome Stones song filtered through my window fan. When Richards and Wood try to slide to their knees on the stage, it takes them a while. They seriously have to bend down on one knee first before they can put down the other.

I highly prefer Gimme Shelter, a documentary from the 70's, that mostly focuses on the Stones Altamont concert where a Hell's Angel stabbed a guy to death. It shows footage from the Stones' career up to that point and parts of the concert itself. It's one of the best documentaries ever and much better than Shine a Light, which in all fairness is not a documentary but a concert film. Shine a Light is gorgeously filmed and edited but its so good looking that I can see Richards' liver spots from a mile away. That is not how I want to see The Rolling Stones. They belong on my record player and not on an IMAX screen.

I think I will have my last sip of vodka and take my girlfriend to bed. So let's finish this up shall we...

Shine a Light: 6 out of 10

The DVD has no special features.



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