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Shine a Light
Shine a Light
Actor: Rolling Stones
Director: Martin Scorsese
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
PG-13     2008     2hr 2min

Widescreen Rated PG 13. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese and the world's greatest Rock'N' Roll band, The Rolling Stones, unite to bring audiences the year's most extraordinary film event, Shine A Light. With...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Rolling Stones
Director: Martin Scorsese
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, The Rolling Stones, Classic Rock, Documentary
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/29/2008
Original Release Date: 04/04/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 04/04/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 2min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

Smashing!!!!!!! Scorcese & Stones: A Perfect Match
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 04/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Set List:

1) Jumpin' Jack Flash
2) Shattered
3) She Was Hot
4) All Down the Line
5) Loving Cup (w/ Jack White)
6) As Tears Go By
7) Some Girls
8) Just My Imagination
9) Faraway Eyes
10) Champagne and Reefer (w/ Buddy Guy)
11) Tumbling Dice
12) You Got the Silver
13) Connection
14) Sympathy for the Devil
15) Live With Me (w/ Christina Aguilera)
16) Start Me Up
17) Brown Sugar
18) Satisfaction

Though the actual track 'Shine a Light' from Exile on Main Street is not played during the (film version of this) set, it is an excellent title for this rock documentary as Martin Scorcese is shining a light so to speak on the Stones themselves, and this light shines mighty bright and mighty close. But Scorcese is not as invasive as you might expect. And this documentary/concert film does not feel like an expose as much as a celebration of a band that still has some kick left in it. Instead of being overly reverent and even elegaic (as perhaps he was in The Last Waltz) Scorcese, takes a lighthearted & lighthanded approach. The first thing that Scorcese documents is the planning of the show itself and the miscommunications that took place between what the Stones wanted (a big venue) and what Martin wanted (an intimate one); miscommunications that could have been avoided had the band been available to actually meet face to face with Scorcese, but these and other miscommunications are treated more as running jokes than as genuine problems. Another running joke is that meticulous detail man Martin Scorcese (perhaps the only living director with a fame that rivals the Stones own) wants to know ahead of time what the set list will be or at least what the first song will be so that he can plan his first shot, but the Stones keep it a secret until seconds before the show begins. Its funny even though no one really thinks for a second that with his arsenal of cameras on and off stage there is any chance that Martin Scorcese will not get the exact shots he wants. But even while having some laughs with the band (at the bands and at his own expense), Scorcese is excellent at capturing what an immense task it is working with a band that is not used to surrendering control nor opening up on camera (and Scorcese inserts several old interviews into the concert footage to document Mick's ability to dodge questions with charm and Keith's utter refusal to play the q & a game at all). The irony is that the Stones have been public figures for over four decades now but we really still don't know them very well. Scorcese does a very good job at remedying this situation by peeling back the Stones mystique and allowing us to see the real personalities behind the public performances. As with his Dylan documentary, he does this by going though the immense Stones Interviews archive and coming up with some very rare interview footage (much of it from Asian and European tv programs). We get to hear the notoriously reticent Charlie discussing an alternative career as a painter, and Ron Wood discussing Keith and how he is nothing like his public image, "Keith's a very decent and very moral guy". The interviews are culled from all phases of their career and are very brief and very selectively inserted between the live songs. Most of them are humorous and/or ironic. Notably absent: any mention of Brian Jones or Mick Taylor or Bill Wyman.

No doubt there will be Stones fans who wish that Scorcese had teamed up with the '72 or '76 or '78 Stones, when the band was a bit more like Scorcese's screen outlaws, but better late than never.

For Stones fans the thrill (and it is immediate and lasts the entire show) is having the feeling of being onstage with the Stones. Jack White, Buddy Guy, and Christina Aguilera all do guest stints onstage but we as audience members feel like we are onstage as well and this is the truly brilliant thing about this film. The cameras are so close that we actually get to see the band play (and see who plays which guitar lines) and hear the between song banter between band members. Scorcese allows us to affirm or reaffirm that Mick is without a doubt the leader of this band and his relentless energy and seductive charms seem to wow his bandmates as much as they wow the crowd. Micks age shows in the close-ups but his real instruments, his voice & his body, seem completely immune from the ravages of time. Keith, at times, seems a bit lost (as when Christinsa Aguilera steps onstage) and he misses chords in a few places, but Scorcese's intimate style really serves Richards well. He is an intensely likable guy who loves what he does and still seems to feel adorably awkward when he takes center stage to sing "You Got the Silver" & "Connection." He is in many ways Mick's opposite. The chemistry of the band and especially the chemistry that exists between the Glimmer Twins is the thing that continues to fascinate and continues to evade documentation.

The show is intense and intimate and revealing. The guest appearances are well chosen. And the ending (which I will not reveal) is perfect.

Note on the soundtrack: The 2 cd edition of the Shine a Light soundtrack will contain four bonus tracks ("Paint it Black", "Little T & A", "I'm Free", & "Shine a Light")."
Mick and Martin
Rocky Raccoon | Boise, ID | 04/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Going to see a concert nowadays takes all one's resources. Ticket prices often go up to three digits, and most likely the best view is watching the band perform on a video screen. Sometimes people (myself included) are willing to travel long distances to see one's favorite acts perform onstage. Getting to see the biggest bands, like Paul McCartney, U2, and The Dave Matthews Band is difficult at best. Ironically, the cost of a ticket to see The Rolling Stones play in Martin Scorsese's documentary/concert film 'Shine a Light' is about the same as it would cost to see a live concert when many of their featured songs were popular. It ain't like it used to be.

However, the sheer power and able musicianship haven't gone stale nor retro, so the film is a real treat for those of us who have all but given up on seeing them in person.

It is a testament to Scorsese's directing abilities that the prologue, the intermittent vintage vignettes, and the conclusion are uncluttered. We get our introduction to the band and the various methods of setting up the stage, the play lists, and the operating procedures of the filming. Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese go at the logistics in a way that has tension, but never garners animosity or loses affection for the project. In many ways, it is a labor of love for both sides, but it is Scorsese who seems the most piqued by the end.

On stage it becomes a celebration. There's no arguing these guys are dedicated. After an exuberant rendition of "All Down the Line," an early song, Charlie Watts looks directly into the camera and with a few facial gestures lets us know without pretense how demanding it is to be one of the nimblest drummers of one of the most celebrated rock bands ever. Equally flexible is a slender Mick Jagger who still struts his stuff as well as ever. Rising to the occasion is the guitar interplay of Ron Wood and Keith Richards, whose camaraderie outmatches Keith and Mick.

There's good will and good vibes all around that never seem forced. The concerts draw from San Bernadetto and New York City, and the former concert is a benefit for The Bill Clinton Foundation. Near the end of the introduction, we get the former President, his senator wife, Hillary, and several relatives who get a chance to meet and have pictures taken with the band. On stage, they've never seemed happier. The energy has always been there, but the warmth between the band members seldom has seemed more cohesive. This concert shows them having fun, almost like they've taken themselves too seriously in the past. Never has Mick Jagger seemed so willing to share the stage. There are moments that Keith is front and center with Mick off of the venue. Then, Mick gets almost deferential with guest guitarist, Buddy Guy, and singers Jeff White III and Christine Aguilar. Even the back up members in the brass section, the dancer-singers, and the other musicians get the spotlight. As Keith says in a fairly recent interview, "I don't THINK when I'm up there. All I can do is feel," and more simply, "We love what we do." (Yet, I couldn't help but notice Mick stop in the middle of the stage while he was singing "Jumping Jack Flash" as he was in the sites of a pretty fan's picture cell phone. Some things never change.)

After a huge catalog that forty-five active years can garner, they bring a lot during their vintage performances. The play list? Well, there will always be a bone to pick, but what makes the "light shine through" is their ability to play any song and make it really rock. I was surprised, for instance, by the number of songs they drew from `Some Girls,' which happened to be my first Stones' album, but while I don't think it's their best selection, I loved what they did with it in concert. Besides several tracks from `Some Girls,' they take highlights across the board, but showcase variety in their repertoire. "Jumpin' Jack Flash, as an opener, "Tumbling Dice," "Brown Sugar," and "Start Me Up" are The Stones playing big, but, then, "Far Away Eyes" is a sample country serving that is contrasted with blues numbers like "I'm Free". Acoustically, they play just fine with "You Got the Silver" and "As Tears Go By".

For a concert movie, they still know how to show everybody a good time. They are vintage rockers: smooth, seasoned, but still with a kick after all these years."
OH... MY... GOD!
Jon | Tulsa, OK | 04/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Well, I saw it on opening night (in IMAX - I wasn't aware that it IS being shown in "regular" theaters, as well), and am still stunned and euphoric. It was better than my wildest dreams, one of the few movies that actually lives up to the trailer, and is now one of my five fave movies of ANY kind, all-time.

The band may be sounding better than ever: Charlie, God bless `im, is nearly flawless, and his kit sounds incredible. Ronnie plays better lead than I've EVER heard him play, from Faces through all of the tours & albums he's done as a Stone. Keith's soulful feel always amazes, and he sings stronger than in some time. Darryl J. is SO locked in with Charlie. Lisa & Bernard sound gorgeous (and she LOOKS that way, too). In a rehearsal scene, I learned that Chuck is the de facto musical director (Damn him; he's had my dream gig for WAY too long!) - he kills, too. The horns are spot-on, as well, from the bluesy arrangements to the precision parts they play on "All Down the Line." Mick may have done the best live singing of his life - his tone is true to what he's sounded like on recordings, which has not always been the case in concert... ditto with pitch, phrasing and interpretation. Needless to say, he's still the most riveting front man in rock n' roll. Perhaps the most pervasive thing: Everyone on stage seems to be having the greatest, most fulfilling time of their lives, and they are performing as if those lives depended on it.

God bless Marty Scorsese, too - he loves the music & presence of the Stones enough to LEAVE THEM THE F*** ALONE! This is a jaw-droppingly good film, from shooting to mixing & editing. Speaking of the mix (concert segments done by the great Bob Clearmountain), from a surround standpoint, it is astounding, at least in IMAX. I was happily blown away by this technique: Whomever is on camera, their instrument/voice is up front in the mix for the duration of that shot - PERFECTION! Between Scorcese's visual choices and Clearmountain's audio ones, I truly felt as if I had the best seat ever at a Stones concert. ONE GRIPE: I could have used more of Darryl's bass, and at times, Chuck's keyboards.

Guest spots:
Jack White: Okay. He's got the right idea.

Christina A: She, on the other hand, doesn't. She wails too much, especially for a GUEST. Great pipes - seems to me like she doesn't know when NOT to use them. Note Keith's reaction as she leaves the stage.

Buddy Guy: Try to take your eyes off of his - I dare you! Scorcese couldn't. A brilliant moment in time.

My legs never stopped moving to the beat, at times, I shut my eyes and let my body sway, out of sheer tranquility. Ever since we left the theater (after midnight last Friday), I have felt more inspired as a musician; I've been writing more than I have in months. These are the effects the Stones' concerts have always had on me - as I wrote to 40 of my closest friends, "Go. Go to the soonest showtime that you can possibly make.""
Laura | New York USA | 06/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"SIMPLY PUT, I LOVED THIS FILM AND ITS SOUNDTRACK!!!! You can not treat yourself to a better experience than this! From the opening introductory vignettes to the dazzling ending, I was just mesmerized. I'm not the world's biggest Rolling Stones fan, though I am a fan of their music (not so much their lifestyles), and I have never been able to see them live, but this has to be the next best thing! I was completely wowed by the stunning visual angles used in this movie, and felt that the soundtrack was an incredible overview of an amazing career. I saw the movie four times, including in two different IMAX theatres and each time saw and heard new things!

The Rolling Stones are quite an amazing group of people and watching their chemistry onstage was just awesome. I've seen a lot of rock concerts up close, and this one compares most favorably! What charisma these guys have, even in their sixties!!!! Everyone knows their musical and songwriting talent which spans decades, but watching this birds-eye view of their performing skills will knock you out. Every member of this group seems to have such a unique and interesting performance personality, and their intriguing on stage relationships with each other only add to the excitement. Buddy Guy, Jack White and Christina Aguilera were also amazing, each in his or her own right, providing clever and unusual foils for Mick jagger and Keith Richards. I will never forget the trancelike expression on Buddy Guy's face as he traded guitar exchanges with Keith and vocal lines with Mick. Even Keith Richards was clearly moved, as he gave Guy the guitar he had just finished playing at the end of the song. Maybe my favorite moment though, was the explosive introduction of Mick Jagger into the theatre during the introduction to Sympathy for the Devil. Gives me goosebumps thinking about it!

Even the backing members of this band were a true joy to watch and hear. Each an accomplished musician/vocalist, they added a depth and range to this experience that I don't think I've ever seen in a live performance before. Even if it is too late to catch this masterpiece in IMAX, see it on the big screen if you can. See it more than once if you can!!!! You will be amazed at the details you may have missed the first time around. I think I am first in line for the DVD and will watch it many, many times."