9 new music films you need to see
23rd Oct 2012 | 13:30
Marking the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones, director Brett Morgan describes his film as “an aural and visual roller coaster ride”, combining archive footage (much of it previously unseen) and fresh interviews with band members to give the fullest picture yet of the rock icons.
Charting their humble Home Counties blues beginnings, the chaos and riots of early tours, the controversies of drugs busts and the tragedy of Altamont, the group’s elevation to global superstar status, no cinematic account of a fictional band could ever hope to contain as much drama.
Cynics may claim the group have long ceased to exist as anything other than a money-making machine, but even as a business concern the Stones continued to have a major influence on how the rock industry is run, and remain a force unto themselves.
As Keith Richards succinctly puts it during one of the film’s interview segments, “You can't really stop the Rolling Stones, you know when that sort of avalanche is facing you, you just get out of the way”.
Crossfire Hurricane's theatrical release is in November.
Charlie Is My Darling
Director Peter Whitehead’s rarely seen documentary of The Rolling Stones’ 1965 two-day tour of Ireland has been meticulously restored, with the sound quality of the concert sequences in particular given a pristine makeover, providing a lively insight into the youthful vigour of a band currently celebrating their 50th anniversary.
The then pioneering move of having cameras on stage places the viewer directly into the eye of the storm. Yet, it’s the scenes away from the concert halls that most effectively project the personalities of the players.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are a hoot when busking their way through Beatles songs in a hotel room, a stern-faced Charlie Watts (the darling of the title, naturally) tapping along with his fingers.
There’s also much fun to be had, in 2012, listening to the Stones grossly underestimating how long their careers might last.
Out on Universal/Abkco DVD 5 November
Taking its name from the site of one of The Stone Roses’ most iconic gigs in 1990, this warm and witty drama evokes the era of Madchester in a coming-of-age tale about would-be rock stars.
Directed by Mat Whitecross, who made 2010’s Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, the movie follows the misfortunes of Shadow Caster, a band formed by four working class Northern lads keen to emulate the success of their heroes, but school, family and girlfriends conspire to keep them from climbing the ladder to stardom.
However, the biggest distraction comes when the foursome squabble when trying to score tickets for the Roses gig, which they suspect may turn out to be a defining moment of their generation and not to be missed.
Release details to be confirmed
Anton Corbijn: Inside Out
This documentary about rock star snapper turned film director Corbijn (Control, The American) shadows him at work and at home, attempting to paint a fuller picture of the man whose striking and iconic images of the likes of U2 and Depeche Mode have influenced countless photographers.
A driven workaholic, he takes the viewer inside his creative process but is careful not to give too much of himself away. Director Klaartje Quirijns portrays her subject as enigmatic a figure as the musicians and movie stars at which he points his own cameras, quietly observing as Corbijn puts George Clooney, Lou Reed and others through their paces.
Star names are full of praise for his methods, but while friends and family offer more intimate assessments of him he ultimately remains at least partially a man of mystery.
Out on Momentum DVD now
Hit So Hard
This eye-opening but disjointed documentary charts the life and hard times of Patty Schemel, once the drummer in Courtney Love’s multi-platinum band Hole, whose fall from grace and spiralling drug addictions led to homelessness and prostitution.
Schemel guides us through her troubles in a series of modern day interviews, interspersed with reams of home movie footage she shot during her rock star heyday of the mid–‘90s.
Although he’s been gifted an engaging and frequently hilarious interview subject, director P David Ebersole arguably spends too much screen time recapping the previously well documented story of Love and her husband, the late Kurt Cobain, with Patty often reduced to a bystander.
When the film does (eventually) focus of Schemel herself it’s a fascinating insight into the pressures of the music biz and a cautionary tale on the toll that life in the fast lane can take.
In cinemas 16 November, out on Peccadillo DVD 26 November
Last Shop Standing
Subtitled The Rise, Fall And Rebirth Of The Independent Record Shop, and based on the 2008 book of the same name by distributor Graham Jones, this study of the changing face of music retail outlets is spurred on by contributions from famous names (including Paul Weller, Billy Bragg, Johnny Marr and Richard Hawley) recalling their own memories of rifling through the racks of humble stand-alone shops.
Punk and indie brought about a boom in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, but in recent times as many as three a week are shutting down as punters increasingly favour mail order or downloads.
Director Pip Piper paints a vivid portrait of the independent record shop as a meeting place, and in some cases a place of worship, where fans would congregate for a type of musical education, and offers a glimmer of hope for the future linked to the growing revival of the vinyl format.
Out on Proper DVD now
Beware Of Mr Baker
A prize-winner at the music industry South By South West festival in Austin, Texas, earlier this year, this documentary assesses the influence flamboyant and unconventional drummer Ginger Baker has had on the rock world.
Chronicling Baker’s career from the pre-rock ‘n’ roll London jazz scene, via his fame as a member of Cream, and subsequent collaborations with the likes of Fela Kuti and Public Image Limited, the film doesn’t shy away from the darker side of the man himself.
Director Jay Bulger, a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine, elicits eyebrow-raising reminiscences from musicians who attest to the difficulties they had working with the drummer, while Baker himself, now aged 73 and living as a semi-recluse in South Africa, is extraordinarily spiky when confronted by the cameras.
Release details to be confirmed
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
Although never a great commercial success, Alex Chilton’s ‘70s rockers went on to be one of the most name-checked bands of the last 40 years, and director Drew DeNicola’s film attempts to put their impact on those who followed in perspective.
Chief among the contributors is Peter Buck of REM, who declares “Big Star served as a Rosetta Stone for a whole generation of musicians.”
In their original incarnation, the band were together for just three years and three albums, their existence blighted by false dawns, disappointment, internal conflict and initial industry indifference.
Clearly a fan, DeNicola has unearthed engrossing archive footage, and gathered an impressive roster of talking heads to sing the band’s praises, plus contributions from the surviving players themselves (Chilton died of a heart attack in 2010).
Release details to be confirmed
A dramatisation of the life of Belfast entrepreneur Terri Hooley, owner of the iconic record shop of the film’s title, and a major figure on the Northern Ireland rock scene.
Perhaps best known outside his homeland as the founder of the label, also called Good Vibrations, that gave the world The Undertones, Hooley, played by Richard Dormer, is portrayed as a driven maverick, as energetic and as enthusiastic as his more celebrated contemporaries in mainland Britain, Jake Riviera (Stiff) and Tony Wilson (Factory).
The story plays out against a backdrop of the conflict in Ulster (Hooley’s own father was an aspiring politician) with great attention to period detail.
In cinemas January 2013