The yearly “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” induction ceremony is one of the more iconic and polarizing concerts, often inspiring a slew of controversy from music buffs and musicians alike. There’s always a hailstorm of “Why not this band?” or “Why not this artist?” and you’re always guaranteed to read an interesting headline of someone griping about an overdue band not getting their dues yet. Suffice to say whether the ceremony falls flat or it’s raucous, it’s almost always a promise you’ll get an interesting experience. And that’s from what we get to see on the edited annual broadcast on cable television. There are some bands and or artists excluded from this list as they have been omitted consciously, from what I’ve read, but for your money it’s a pretty solid release from Time Life I recommend.
Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, judge on American Idol, multi-soundtrack participant, actor, and generally interesting human being is followed here by filmmaker Casey Tebo who had previously spent a decade with Aerosmith, recording their travels and work. Here the camera and focus is on Tyler and his new work as a country singer. His new band that he handpicked talked about how they were selected and offered the jobs they have now, famous fans from Slash to horror director Adam Green discuss the impact of Tyler, Aerosmith, and their music on them, on the music industry as a whole, and why it makes sense for Tyler to now be turning to country music. The film shows that this genre move is more than just a stunt or an ego trip, it’s a genuine project from the heart, for the love of music, and for the love of performing. The film is a good look into Steven Tyler and who is.
This documentary follows filmmaker German Alonso and his crew as they attempt to put together a feature film version of Alonso’s MexMan through proof of concept, trials and tribulations, and issues cropping up at every turn.
A young Amos is losing his sight, as he becomes blind and discovers his voice, he has to surpass obstacle after obstacle to reach his goal of singing professionally on the international stage. Through this biography, the life and start of the career of Andrea Bocelli are explored in a way that sheds light on his difficulties and triumphs.
For the most part, “Popstar” is a funny and often raucous satire of the pop star life and modern music business. A mix of “This is Spinal Tap” and “Zoolander,” Andy Samberg creates an engaging enough character to where we want to see where he ends up in the finale. The problem with the film is it completely loses steam in the final half hour, leading up to the big performance. The writers spend a good portion of time anxiously trying to keep the momentum from the first hour.
I vividly remember watching “Rockin’ with the Chipmunks”back in the very early nineties where I recall loving the scenes of Alvin dancing along with Michael Jackson to “Beat It” and “Smooth Criminal.” Mostly a cash grab for the fans, “Rockin with the Chipmunks” is a brief history of the novelty group, spliced in with comedy skits and the members singing vintage rock and roll in their modern animation. The animation for the most part is dicey and fuzzy at best, allowing for a hazy series of music videos, but back then if you were a Chipmunks fanatic, you didn’t care.
The only reason to watch “Go, Johnny, Go!” is if you want to see some of the best rock and roll artists of all time do their thing on the big screen. Other than that, “Go, Johnny, Go!” is the story of the boring, milquetoast Johnny Melody, a bright eyed, blond white boy who rose from the slums as an orphan to become a rock and roll singer. It’s surprising that a movie featuring Ritchie Valens, and Chuck Berry would only focus on the most uninteresting individual, as when the movie stops to spread its paper thin premise with performances, it ironically becomes worth sitting through.