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.
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.
There isn’t much of a love or respect for the hippy culture in “Revolution” which is consistently referred to as the beatnik culture with a lot of derision on the tone of various interviewers. While the idea of free love and peace from war still continues on in this documentary, “Revolution” focuses on the folks that are merely just kind of parasitic and miss the point as a whole. One of the big images that sum up the entire message of the film is the title “Revolution” sprawled across the screen while angelic and thick headed hippy Today Malone lies in a field fast asleep and high on whatever she’d taken the night before. “Revolution” is kind of a mixed message of a film, based around psychedelic imagery and large interludes of great hippy rock music.
Anna Mae Bullock is a woman that has been screaming music from the top of her lungs since she was a child. Music kind of sprung from her like an unstoppable force of nature, one that was almost squashed out by her abusive and often domineering husband. When we first meet her, she’s a young girl in a church who is escorted out for literally singing her own tune with the choir. When Ike Turner first meets her, Anna Mae, soon to be Tina Turner, belts out music that even shocks Ike Turner to his core. “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is the compelling, and often shocking story of Tina Turner and how she rose to fame in spite of the abusive and violent ownership of her husband, musician Ike Turner.
I have to admit that “The Big TNT Show” isn’t nearly as good as “The TAMI Show.” Despite being a big sixties fanatic and lover of the styles and attitudes, “The Big TNT Show” suffers from being a pretty humdrum concert with an unusual line up. If anything the best way to watch and appreciate “The Big TNT Show” is as a sixties oddity that took a lot of what was coming in the decade, and what was popular and kind of mixed them together in one weird show with an enthusiastic audience. If anything there is a ton of good music and some raucous performances.