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Music

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

This portmanteau of the 1960’s counterculture figure creates a portrait of a prickly, uncompromising man. It eschews the normal rock bio-doc format, and it’s all the better for it.

Breaking a Monster

The 13-year-old members of the heavy metal band Unlocking the Truth are not old enough to attend high school, but they have already signed a $1.8 million recording deal.

Presenting Princess Shaw

One artist from across the world finds a connection with someone he’s never met and uses his genius and the tools at his disposal to give her what she could not have done on her own.

They Will Have to Kill Us First

They Will Have to Kill Us First tracks the various paths taken by musicians exiled from northern Mali after Islamist Jihadist have taken over.

Sound of Redemption

Spoiler alert: Unlike several of this past year’s other touted musician bio-documentaries—Amy, Janis: Little Blue Girl, and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck—saxophonist supreme Frank Morgan did not overdose on drugs. Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story has resonances with the usual Behind the Music tales of success, addiction, recovery, and comeback. However, the strong […]

What Happened, Miss Simone?

This year brought filmgoers three top-notch biographical films on troubled women pop stars: Amy, Janis: Little Girl Blue; and What Happened, Miss Simone? Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin took too many drugs and flamed out early. Nina Simone, though, soldiered against high odds on into old age, battling the twin tormentors of mental illness and […]

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 […]