Our favorite of this week’s several fine indie releases is Searching for Sugar Man, Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul’s investigative profile of Sixto Rodriguez, a singer/songwriter who should have been a giant star in the early 1970s and instead faded into obscurity (and then became a cult sensation in New Zealand, Australia, and apartheid-era South Africa). Bendjelloul’s warm, kind film is both a showcase for terrific music and a compelling human interest story; it deserves a place alongside the best music documentaries, and since it reminded us of them, we thought we’d compile a list of our favorite music docs. It’s a list that’s constantly in flux, so we’ve included some alternates (as well as where you can see them); we’d love to hear yours as well. Check it out after the jump. … Read More
As Levon Helm, the drummer and singer for the Band, once famously wrote, “If it doesn’t come from your heart music just doesn’t work.” It was just a few days ago that his family publicly announced that he was in the final stages of a long battle with throat cancer; today we’re saddened to learn that the Arkansas-born roots-music patriarch has died at the age of 71.
“Mr. Helm’s drumming valued space over showiness,” reads his New York Times obituary. “He gave his drums a muffled, bottom-heavy sound that placed them in the foundation of the arrangements, and his tom-toms were tuned so that their pitch would bend downward as the tone faded.”
Click through to watch one of our favorite clips of Helm from The Last Waltz — a film which he apparently hated, believing that it glorified the Band’s guitarist, Jaime Robbie Robertson, while slighting the rest of the group. Funny, as he was always the one who we couldn’t take our eyes off of. How about you? … Read More
1. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park this summer, Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline are taking the stage for a special one-night only performance of Romeo and Juliet. But before you get too excited, be warned: tickets for the staged reading start at $1500 a pop. [via PopWatch]… Read More
According to the LA Times, Michael Jackson’s This Is It isn’t performing like a concert film. In the six days it has been in theaters, the doc has already grossed over $100 million worldwide, with its biggest numbers happening overseas. Concert movies’ ticket sales usually drop off after fans hit up the opening night; This Is It grossed more on Sunday than it did on any day since it debuted.
Perhaps this will lead other acts — other than Miley Cyrus and the JoBros — to reinvigorate the genre with theatrical releases. Animal Collective? The Dirty Projectors? After the jump, five concert films we think they should take their cues… Read More