Hey you. Yeah you. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I want to watch a documentary, and I want to watch one about a musician, and/or music, particularly one that was reviewed by Filmbalaya within the last three years.” You’re even probably asking yourself, “But where do I start?” Am I right? No? C’mon, you can admit it. You know I’m right.
Okay, even if I’m not right in my omniscient interweb predictions, let’s assume for the sake of this post that I am. With that being said, I have gone through
great mediocre lengths to gather 5 reviews of music-focused documentaries from the past three years that might have been overlooked by the mainstream, and deserves its chance to shine. So, without further ado, I give you five criminally misdemeanorly overlooked musician-based documentaries.
THE OUTSIDER PICK:
Corpusse: Surrender to the Passion – (Originally Posted on January 19, 2011)
Director Malcolm Fraser does a fine job of capturing the jolting theatrics of a Corpusse show, unfortunately, the unbalanced amount of attention alloted to interviews of everybody who is not Corpusse undermines the whole introspective aim of the film. Too bad, because while I did learn a lot about the artist; how he is perceived by the public, by other artists, and how his defiance of being categorized into any one genre makes him practically unmarketable, I felt like I was only getting half the picture. The documentary does touch on his relationship with his parents and the fact that he does not have a significant other, but what about how he makes a living, or what he does when he’s not on stage? I find it hard to believe that he earns his bread solely from playing rinky-dink venues without having a job on the side. At the risk of sounding too nitpicky, it is these holes that I most wanted this film to fill, and when it didn’t get filled I was left feeling - for the lack of a better, or less redundant word – unfulfilled.
THE ROCK ICON PICK:
Gainsboroug: The Man Who Loved Women – (Originally posted on January 26. 2011)
The film takes an interesting approach towards tackling Gainsbourg’s lady’s man persona by giving each of the many different sides to his personality its own segment. However, through constant flashing back and forth of three decades (1960s – 1980s) in each of the segments, I couldn’t help but feel as though I were watching a weird incoherent smash-up episode of Quantum Leap meets Austin Powers, had those two entities been documentaries, of course. With this utilization of a time-scrolling see-saw narrative, the films’ structure in progressing the story of what makes Gainsboug tick was frustrating to the point of dizzying.
THE EXTREME ROMANCE PICK:
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye – (Originally posted on April 28, 2011)
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye is just that, a cinematic ballad - or ode if you will – on pioneering industrial musician, Genesis, her loving involvement with Lady Jaye, and their no-holds-barred pandrogynous relationship, in where the notion of two souls coming together as one is taken quite literally as these lovers physically alter their bodies to each others likeness. Ignorant ideals of what is considered by many to be eccentric and outlandish transformed into notions of what it means to be both beautiful, brave, in love, and to not give a fuck about how others perceive you. I say, Marie Losier (director of the film), good show.
THE HIP-HOP PICK
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest – (Originally posted on July 23rd, 2011)
Actor turned Director Michael Rapaport’s debut feature not only chronicles the multitalented history of this influential group, but offers insight into the history of hip hop as well. This is not just a documentary for fans of this band and/or genre, it’s a film for anyone interested in seeing how a group of strong-willed individuals struggle to function as one cohesive unit. It also has a head thumping soundtrack by one of the illest producers working today in both the jazz and rap world, Madlib. Click here to see my interview withMichael Rapaport and Phife Dawg.
THE HEAVY METAL RULES! PICK
Heavy Metal Picnic (Originally Posted October 6th, 2011)
Heavy Metal Picnic is essentially a bunch of footage of wasted kids with goofy fashion sense – sporting a wide range of mullets – who intake mass amounts of various drugs. However, once the initial stories of what it was like to attend this heavy metal woodstock-esque party are told, the film then has nowhere else to go. It then turns from a fun watch down nostalgia lane into something similar to watching a bunch of stranger’s home movies. Unless Bob Sagat is playing videos of grown men getting hit in the balls with a golf club, we all know just how boring others video memories can be. It should have been shortened by about 20 minutes and could have done without the scenes of people watching themselves on camera. Other than thew few self-indulgent moments though, Heavy Metal Picnic is quite enjoyable watch.
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