Docs That Rock

Out Now: Get Some Soul

I’ve mentioned this film when it premiered in Toronto and at Tribeca . But now Soul Power is in theaters! It opened in LA and NY last Friday and is expected to travel nationwide. The film is basically what was not included in the boxing doc When We Were Kings which was about the famed Ali-Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” fight. At that same time, a 12 hour, three night concert (dubbed “Zaire ’74”) was organized to celebrate African-American culture. But when Foreman got injured before the fight, forcing a six week delay, the concert went on as scheduled which is probably why it was little remembered. If it had happened at the same time as the fight, it might have gotten a huge amount of international acclaim. But for many of the American performers like Bill Withers, B.B. King and James Brown, it was a chance to go to Africa for the first time to play and celebrate “black culture.”

Critics dig the flick. The New York Times critic said it “offers a vivid glimpse of a fascinating moment in musical history, racial politics and global pop culture.” USA Today wrote “The concert footage is mesmerizing.” And the LA Times opined “The amazing thing about these 35-year-old performances is how fresh and alive they are. If ever a concert was worth the wait, “Soul Power” is the one.”

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Listmania: Paste’s Top Music Docs


Dog days of summer means more easy copy for lazy bloggers – at least for Paste Magazine and this blog! At least Paste’s List of the Top Ten Rock Docs defines it like I do, excluding concert films (its own genre; see this older post for more list fun) and seeking films known for creating “a balance between moving concert footage and revealing backstage confessions, telling a story while illuminating the band’s impact on both fans and the cultural zeitgeist.” They select Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back as their top choice; certainly defensible. Here is the rest of their list:

  1. Dig
  2. Westway to the World (The Clash)
  3. The Devil and Daniel Johnston
  4. Gimme Shelter
  5. End of the Century (The Ramones)
  6. Fearless Freaks (Flaming Lips) – [ed note: never really saw or heard of this one.]
  7. Some Kind of Monster [ed note: only 8th??]
  8. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart – [ed note: I love Wilco but this beautifully shot but underachieving doc not a top ten.]
  9. The Kids Are Alright [ed note: only 10th??]
  10. This is Spinal Tap [ed note: har har]

What do you think of the list? Post comments!

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments