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  Shine a Light The Strolling Bones
Year: 2008
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Christina Aguilera, Buddy Guy, Jack White
Genre: Documentary, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In late 2006 at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan, the stage was set for a concert movie featuring the band many regard as rock 'n' roll's greatest: The Rolling Stones. However, from the introductory footage we see taken across the globe as the band conduct their latest world tour, the preparation was more down to luck than precision, with not even director Martin Scorsese sure what the exact line up of songs performed will be. He need not have worried, for the concert is a resounding success, with a variety of tunes from the back catalogue and some welcome covers.

As Scorsese was the fellow who brought us The Last Waltz, which is viewed by quite a few music fans as the greatest concert movie ever made, you might well be filled with anticipation at the prospect of a Stones documentary from him. It is not only the songs that are included, as he had raided the archives for interviews of the band to break up the flow and add a spot of history and personality of his star turn here, some clips included for the comedy value, others to fill us in on their point of view.

One question that keeps coming up again and again in those interviews is when the Stones will finally call it a day; ridiculously we see them being asked this in every decade since the sixties, as if the consensus of questioners is, yeah, we're really enjoying your work, but when will it be over? On the strength of Shine a Light, they have the energy to continue for another hundred years, with only the odd shot of Charlie Watts puffing his cheeks after an intense bit of drumming or Keith Richards on his knees at the end of the film to make them appear their age.

Mick Jagger shows no signs of slowing down as he prances about the stage like a rock gazelle, a dynamo acting like a man a third of his age. If you would worry that you might flag after two hours of Stones considering their advancing years, Jagger puts those fears to rest and keeps the proceedings upbeat and bouncy, even in the slow numbers. The band have produced so many classic tracks that they are bound to miss out one or two of your favourites, and it's slightly frustrating to hear snippets of "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby" over the clips when they don't play it in the film, but this is as you would expect.

They can only fit so much in, but what they do include will give the die hard fans plenty to entertain them, making them relieved that their favourite group still have what it takes. For everyone else, at least this gives them a chance to see what the fuss had been about for forty years or so, and in an effort to bring in those casual viewers Jack White appears and sings a duet with Jagger, as does Christina Aguillera who sends the Rolling Stone into a frenzy of unseemly gyrations. Well, we'd be disappointed he'd simply stood there. For the blues fans, as this band were after all, Buddy Guy makes an appearance too, but really Shine a Light is all about those four guys, still working away at rock's coalface, giving hope to us all that we may be as active at their ages. Essentially, this is less harrowing than Gimme Shelter and more exciting than Let's Spend the Night Together, showing the Stones at somewhere near their best at this level of their career.

[Fox's DVD has a making of featurette and bonus song footage as extras, among other things.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Martin Scorsese  (1941 - )

American writer and director who emerged as one of the brightest and most vital of the generation of filmmakers who came to prominence during the 1970s with his heartfelt, vivid and at times lurid works. After deciding against joining the priesthood, he turned to his other passion - movies - and started with short efforts at film school until Roger Corman hired him to direct Boxcar Bertha.

However, it was New York drama Mean Streets that really made Scorsese's name as a talent to watch, and his succeeding films, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (which won Ellen Burstyn an Oscar and is the only Scorsese movie to be made into a sitcom) and the cult classic Taxi Driver (starring Robert De Niro, forever associated with the director's work) only confirmed this.

Unfortunately, his tribute to the musical New York, New York was a flop, and he retreated into releasing concert movie The Last Waltz before bouncing back with boxing biopic Raging Bull, which many consider his greatest achievement. The rest of the eighties were not as stellar for him, but The King of Comedy and After Hours were cult hits, The Color of Money a well-received sequel to The Hustler and The Last Temptation of Christ kept his name in the headlines.

In the nineties, Scorsese began with the searing gangster saga Goodfellas, and continued with the over-the-top remake of Cape Fear before a change of pace with quietly emotional period piece The Age of Innocence. Casino saw a return to gangsters, and Kundun was a visually ravishing story of the Dalai Lama. Bringing Out the Dead returned to New York for a medical tale of redemption, and Gangs of New York was a muddled historical epic.

Still the Best Director Oscar eluded him, but the 2000s gave what many saw as his best chance at winning. Slick Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator didn't make it, but remake of Infernal Affairs The Departed finally won him the prize. Outlandish thriller Shutter Island then provided him with the biggest hit of his career after which he surprised everyone by making family film Hugo - another huge hit.

This was followed by an even bigger success with extreme broker takedown The Wolf of Wall Street, and a return to his religious origins with the austere, redemption through torture drama Silence. Despite being an advocate of the theatrical experience, he joined forces with Netflix for The Irishman, reuniting him with De Niro for one last gangster epic. He also directed Michael Jackson's Bad music video.

 
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