Janis: Little Girl Blue

Onstage, Janis Joplin wailed the blues, drank whiskey, and drove the crowds wild. Offstage, she drank whiskey, slept around, and died shooting smack in 1971. But Joplin believed in music, worshipped it, seized its power to communicate and transport. Her love of music was the purest thing in her life, and Janis: Little Girl Blue […]

I Am Thor

The behind-the-scenes documentary I Am Thor is about a heavy metal singer who dresses up as, yes, the Nordic god Thor, bends steel bars, vanquishes foes onstage, and smashes bricks with sledgehammers. So, essentially, he’s the band GWAR before GWAR. He almost made it in the halcyon 1980s when He-Man (who he uncannily resembles) and […]

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten

Directed by John Pirozzi Produced by Mr. Pirozzi and Andrew Pope DVD released by Virgil Films English, Cambodian and French with English subtitles USA/Cambodia/France. 105 min. Not rated Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll lives up to its title. It provides a primer of Cambodian rock ’n’ roll from the 1950s to […]

A Poem Is a Naked Person

Directed by Les Blank Produced by Denny Cordell, Leon Russell, and Blank Released by Janus Films USA. 90 min. Not rated With Leon Russell, J.J. Cale, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Eric Andersen, Johnny Gimble, and Willis Alan Ramsey Les Blank’s A Poem Is a Naked Person is a beautifully restored 1974 rock ‘n’ roll time […]

Amy | Cannes 2015

Among the nearly three dozen films I saw at Cannes, the one that had the strongest emotional hook was, without question, Asif Kapadia’s in-depth biodoc of the late singer Amy Winehouse. Granted, the tender and trenchant Amy has an added resonance for fans and also for the melancholic question (one of many) that lingers afterward: […]

Fresh Dressed

Directed by Sacha Jenkins Produced by Peter Rittenbender, Nasir Jones, and Marcus A. Clarke Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films USA. 82 Not rated For a documentary about fashion, Fresh Dressed has more to do with words than might be expected. Language was instrumental in the fortunes and failures of the major figures in the evolution […]

Lambert & Stamp

Directed by James D. Cooper Produced by Cooper, Loretta Harms, and Douglas Graves Released by Sony Pictures Classics USA. 117 min. Rated R Two surviving members of the band the Who, Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend, receive extensive coverage in this new film, but they almost play supporting roles. Instead, this unconventional rock doc centers […]

Can’t Stand Losing You

Directed by Andy Grieve Released by Cinema Libre Studio USA. 83 min. Not rated As the guitarist in the Police, perhaps the biggest band of the early ’80’s, Andy Summers was one of the most influential guitarists of the day. He painted with a larger sonic pallet than most rock musicians and generally used his […]

The Wrecking Crew

Directed by Denny Tedesco Produced by Denny Tedesco, Chris Hope, Jon Leonoudakis, Mitchell Linden, Claire Scanlon, Damon Tedesco & Suzie Greene Tedesco Released by Magnolia Pictures USA. 101 min. Rated PG The Wrecking Crew pays fond tribute to the musicians who were behind so much of the rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack of boomers’ lives. It’s […]