Author: Jim Stalker

Seeking answers – one post at a time.
Sales guy – family guy – thinks a great guitar solo can make the song.
Based in Granite Bay CA – where there is plenty of granite and not much bay.

Music

Jeff Beck – Live at Ronnie Scotts

Jeff Beck may be the only man over 60 who can get away with wearing a choker! Why? Because Jeff Beck can do whatever he wants to do.

Jeff Beck has a signature mastery of his instrument. NO ONE can play like this guy! It’s all touch and taste, and his very mysterious whammy bar thumb technique. The luminaries in the legendary small British club look both amazed and delighted.

The band had been pulled together and had been touring together for over a year before this recording. What a group! Tireless and always-in-demand Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, smiling newcomer Tal  Wilkenfeld on bass, and on keyboards. The show benefits from excellent song choices spanning his 45-year career. The set includes a few so-so vocal appearances for people who can’t take an hour of straight guitar playing. Jeff Beck Live at Ronnie Scotts is THE DVD to have for anyone who likes concert music on DVD. It looks and sounds terrific on Blue Ray.

One need not look any further than the track “Nadia” to get the point of what a master he is with his Stratocaster. This cover of a song by Indian-British jazz artist Nitin Sawhney uses notes between the notes found in the 22 note Indian music scale (compared with the Western 12 note scale).  Beck here shows his deft command of intonation reaching those notes with clarity and precision, creating something musically hypnotic and extraordinary.

It’s confounding that people compare him to Clapton and Page because there is just no comparison as this week-long engagement at the club demonstrates. By the time he closes with the Beatles “a day in the life” it’s time for guitarists all over the world to throw in the towel and realize they have just seen the Roger Federer of the guitar.

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Inglorious Basterds – Film Review

Quentin Tarantino has a huge a monkey on his back called Pulp Fiction. Pulp was game-changing film-making and the ripples created by that film have become so mainstream that people forget just how astonishing the movie was when it was released. It was a game changer.  No director working today has as unique a stamp as Tarantino.   Yet despite that significant accomplishment every subsequent release of his unfairly holds the hope that maybe, just maybe, this one will be better than the number five film of all time (according to IMDB).  Well folks, sorry to disappoint you, but despite numerous cinephile worthy flourishes, Basterds doesn’t knock Pulp off its pedestal. It is however, one entertaining film, that rates as one of Tarantino’s best.

All the Tarantino signature touches are here. Quirky soundtrack, slow-burn suspense, graphic violence, unexpected humor, camera acrobatics, referential dialogue requiring an understanding of German Film history (this time), and at least one Oscar-worthy performance in the character of “Jew hunter” Col. Hans Landa (played by multi-lingual German TV actor Christoph Waltz).  Waltz walks the line between being terrifying and absurd at the same time – you can’t help but be mesmerized by him. This is a great role and an even better characterization. Nominate him please!

The plot? Not really important. Suffice to say part of it involves a Jewish Dirty Dozen on a mission to collect as many Nazi scalps as possible who just happen to intersect with a plan to murder all the Nazi brass (including Hitler and Goebbels) in a cinema in occupied-France owned by a fugitive Jew who fled from Landa -who was drinking the aforementioned glass of milk. This all leads to arson and an epic gun battle where Hitler satisfyingly gets mowed down by a machine gun by one of the basterds. None of this really matters because what Tarantino excels at is providing memorable scenes, each with his indelible stamp of nuance.  The plot is secondary.

The opening scene, an homage to the spaghetti Westerns of Leone, is masterful piece of suspense that simultaneously introduces the story and characters.  Few writers could craft such a scene because the “reveal” involves a camera trick which only a seasoned director would be thinking about. This is the most stunning scene every produced involving a glass of milk.

Equally stunning is another surprising Brad Pitt performance at Lt. Aldo Raine, the leader of the basterds. Pitt shows once again to be an actor with formidable comedic chops making us laugh at all the wrong times and simultaneously sucking us in to the plot and character.  His entrance into the film is one of the great ones.

The movie is too long, some of the dialogue too obscure, and there are some missed opportunities (particularly with Hitler) but really, who cares? For Tarantino it’s all about providing entertainment, and if you love movies, there is plenty to love here.

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Inductees

After the surprisingly wonderful Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert presented on HBO over the weekend (review to follow), Bruce Springsteen said, “if there is any justice at all, my next guest will be inducted to the RRHOF in 2010! Ladies and Gentlemen, Darlene Love!”

Darlene Love? You serious Boss?

On that note I’d like to consider this years list of potential inductees while reviewing the criteria the RRHOF uses for inductions.

  • Abba
  • The Chantels
  • Jimmy Cliff
  • Kiss
  • Genesis
  • The Hollies
  • LL Cool J
  • Darlene Love
  • Laura Nyro
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Stooges
  • Donna Summer

This list, while an accomplished list of artists, is not among rock and rolls “A” list. Most of the “A” artists are already in.

What is the RRHOF’s criteria anyway?

The Hall is concerned with, “recognizing the contribution of the those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll.” Pretty broad criteria. What is the calculus for measuring significant impact?

As you would suspect there is no empirically justifiable calculus for admission to the Hall; it’s all up to the discretion of the induction voters. In fairness, with only one major exception and a few minor ones, the committee has done a terrific job with the inductions. The RRHOF’s inductees provide a broad and fairly complete pastiche of what you would put under the umbrella of Rock and Roll. It’s an awesome accomplishment and far from the “joke” some naysayers claim it is.

What is of concern to me are the forces that come into play when the committee must choose from a list of “B” players like the one in 2010. This tacit mandate to induct five per year forces a bad hand. Can’t the Hall make inductions every couple years now rather than each year? This would ensure only “A” players get inducted thereby maintaining the significance of those already in the RRHOF.

This forced hand created the Hall’s most troubling induction, Madonna. While Madonna may strap on a Les Paul and strum a few barre chords on her recent tour, in no universe is she rock and roll. Yet there she is, crawling through the door of the RRHOF, on the floor, with her bustier and man biceps – paving the way for the consideration of other marginally rock and rock artists like this years shoe in, Abba.

Abba’s music is just weird. They are weird. While Agentha’s spandex is slightly rock and roll, the music most certainly isn’t. It’s ersatz show tunes as evidenced by the success of Mamma Mia. While they’ve sold more records than all the other nominees combined, voting them in paves the way for who, Andrew Lloyd Webber? I guess once you let Madonna in, you have to seriously consider them.

I suspect they’ll be inducted.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, while not an “A” list act are THE only deserving act on this years list. Does anyone doubt they are Rock and Roll? They perform with their shirts off, they have tattoos, and have a bass player named Flea. They continue to produce great music, listen to Stadium Arcadium. They totally rock!

They will be inducted, #2.

Donna Summer sold 130 records, and created some of the very best Disco music. If there is room for Madonna, there is room for the queen of disco. Plus, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s solo on Hot Stuff, is totally rock and roll!

She will be inducted, #3.

Before becoming a hit machine for Phil Collins, Genesis was a pioneer in progressive rock. While the Hall ignores prog-rock, Collin’s recent bout with a disorder that ends his drumming career ensures their induction – only if they promise to keep Peter Gabriel and his flower costume home.

Induction #4.

That’s it. No one else.

The only possible exception is Laura Nyro. A savant at songwriting and pioneer in the singer/songwriter movement of the late 1960’s, she penned many hits for other artists. One of David Geffen’s earliest clients, I suspect she’ll be voted in, despite her annoying voice and stage fright. The Hall loves this type of artsy artist.

The rest, forget ’em.

The Kiss army will of course be offended and assault me with makeup, but other than Rock and Roll All Night, their music never even rises to the level of decent. Bad singers and bad songs. No!

Jimmy Cliff is more a movie star than an artist. Bob Marley is already in.

The Hollies recording of All I Need is the Air that I Breath disqualifies them. This despite Long Cool Woman rocking very hard!

LL Cool J has great abs and mediocre songs.

Chantels? Really?

Darlene Love? Ronnie Spector already represents Phil Spector. Enough with the Wall of Sound already.

Finally the Stooges. Only if Shemp is included! Ba-dump-bum! Were it not for Iggy Pop’s agelessness and perpetually shirtless body, no one would pay attention to these guys. That alone does not make them rock and roll. Their music is terrible.

I still hold hope for the reconsideration of Chicago and Yes.

The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge is an amazing hat trick. Forgive them for Trevor Horn, and Owner of a Lonely Heart. Don’t lump Jon Anderson with Geddy Lee. Induct them!

Similarly, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago,and Chicago III is a similar hat trick. These guys pioneered jazz rock and horn infused arrangements. Terry Kath’s guitar startled even Hendrix. Forgive them for Peter Cetera and David Forster. Wait, check that, no forgiving David Foster.

Comments Welcome!

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Five Great Comedies to Stream

On my soapbox again for DVD rental of TV series. This time for comedy.

Comedies are different than serialized dramas in terms of the DVD viewing experience. Most comedies fully stand on their own, and it’s not critical to connect the dots from the preceding weeks to the current episode.

Some dramas, like the Shield and others mentioned on this post, it is imperative you start from the beginning otherwise you will be lost. That’s what nice about comedy. You can jump in at any season or any episode and still have a few laughs.

These are all series that have had a relatively small viewership during their runs. One, Curb Your Enthusiasm, is potentially still in production although concluded it’s 7th season just last week.

  • Arrested Development – No laugh track, and stacks of irony piled upon satire ensured this show captured 6 Emmy’s, 1 Golden Globe, and then got canceled. This Ron Howard production boasted one of the finest casts this side of Seinfeld. Almost everyone from this show has gone on to prosper elsewhere (Michael Sera, Portia De Rossi, Jeffery Tambor, and Jason Batemen in particular). Those who are baffled by Wil Arnet on 30 Rock (this isn’t that funny), never knew him as Gob (pronounced Jobe). His magic act done to Europe’s The Final Countdown sums up this shows brilliance. Three Seasons on DVD.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm– The best comedy show currently going. Think Seinfeld for cable, dirty words and all – more Jewish – a Tuba instead of a bass guitar – and overall funnier. Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld and on whom George was based, comes into the spotlight, as a man fearless with respect to his frustrations – which are seemingly endless. Often coming across as a big jack-ass, Larry eventually grows on you, as will the terrific cast of characters including frequent cameos by Wanda Sykes, Ted Danson, and Richard Lewis. This years hyped Seinfeld reunion was a bit of bust as far as the reunion went, but the shows themselves may be some of the best of series. 6 Seasons on DVD – Don’t miss season 6 with Leon.
  • The Office or Extras– Ricky Gervais is another acquired taste in comedy. If you can get beyond the accent, there is a very nimble and comedic mind at work here in both these shows he co-wrote with Stephen Merchant. Fans of the Steve Carrell Office, will find Gervais’s David Brent to be far less likable, but that’s the fun. Gervais loves playing the egomaniac ass. David Letterman called this show “a perfect series” and he might be right. Extras is really just more of the same with many excellent cameos form Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller, David Bowie, and Daniel Radcliff playing versions of themselves.
  • Rescue Me– This is so much more than a comedy, which makes the punch lines all the more funny.  This show has some of the sharpest dialogue out there. Against the backdrop of post 911 FDNY, comedian Denis Lehrey and writer Peter Tolan create a totally believable group of firefighters, Engine 62, who are politically incorrect guys. Rites of passage, camaraderie, and the constant ball busting that goes with it, provide the characters with line after line of funny.  With a fire alarm always sounding bringing the show back to reality, this is one terrific show that succeeds as both drama and comedy. 5 seasons on DVD.
  • Gilmore Girls –Forget about the mess of season 7 – that must have been a contractual thing. In seasons 1-6 we meet the inhabitants of Stars Hallow – all people know and recognize – except for the fact they all talk unbelievably fast and pepper their conversation with cultural references from Alanis Morrissette to Waiting for Godot. Watching the show can be like playing trivial pursuit only with lots more laughter. The plots are cheesy as hell, but watching Lauren Graham delivering the brilliant dialogue of Amy Sherman Paladino and her husband Daniel Paladino is television wonder. Don’t be turned off by the title, it’s a great show.

There are many more. Fawlty Towers is another nearly perfect British series from the past while there isn’t an episode of Family Guy that hasn’t had me laughing out loud at least once for eight seasons.

Next time I will review some of the comedies from this years crop of shows.

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Avatar – Film Review 3

James Cameron’s Avatar is the event movie of the year if not the decade. It takes whatever technology began with Polar Express, refined with Golum in Lord of the Rings, and expanded to near perfection in Peter Jackson’s King Kong jungle sequences and takes it to a whole other level. If you don’t go to the movies much, this is the one to get off your couch and go see this holiday season – and you should see it in 3D – simply stunning! Regular movie goers have already seen it by the time this review posts, and are most likely contemplating seeing it again.

The world Cameron and his crew of over one thousand graphic designers/artists have created is a visually rich and constantly fascinating one. This world of Pandora is jaw dropping. Everywhere you look is something amazing – a constant feast for the eyes. Images beautiful and dreamlike that reference creatures Cameron found in the extreme deep, are brought to life with 3D that is never gimmicky or silly. This is that “wow” movie experience that comes once in a decade. Trying to explain it more as some movie mash-up (part 2001 A Space Odyssey part Lion King) will just diminish the experience.

This is not to say that Avatar is a movie without problems.There are many. I am not sure the story, were it a comic book or traditional 2D affair with clumsy special effects would generate any buzz. At times Avatar becomes a cliche chase-movie shoot-em-up. The dialogue and characterizations are mostly 1D, and the thinly veiled antiwar/ecopolitics/pantheism “message” is a subtle as Al Gore talking about a lockbox – and just as annoying. There are also numerous anachronisms, not unusual for a movie set in the future. It’s good the know the wheelchair will see no improvement in design anytime the future – nor will bullets, machine guns, and mechanical switches on military aircraft. Finally the movie just begs for a melody like as memorable as “My Heart Will Go On” to tie it all together.

These are minor quibbles with what will be remembered as a visual and technological masterpiece – a watershed movie in history. You may even find yourself, as I did, surprisingly emotionally moved at the end of the this 2 hour and 40 minute ride. Or, you will be like so many, just sawing “wow” over and over during and after the movie. Believe the hype, this is the movie to see.

It also a movie to see ONLY in a movie theater. This brings the magic back to movie going and requires all the technology a modern theater can offer. If you wait to see this on DVD, you will miss the whole point.

Many watershed films of the past don’t age so well, this may prove true for Avatar. This won’t be the best 3D virtual world movie ever. Costs will come down, and more movie makers will have a go at this type of thing. For them there will be a huge debt to Cameron, the  only person Hollywood would let run wild with the capital required to make Avatar. I cannot overstate the achievement of his vision.

While this may seem a perfect movie for kids, I would suggest some caution as some of the creatures are pretty intense and there is some slow slogging through plot toward the end of the second act which might make the kids restless.

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Avatar – Film Review 2

I haven’t gone back to see a movie twice in many years. The last one I remember was Collateral, which I thought was brilliant. My second viewing confirmed it. That is a great movie with a terrific ensemble performance and captures LA as only Michael Mann can. It might be Mann’s best film – although I have a special fondness for Thief and it’s existential angst played against the backdrop of Chicago’s rainy streets and Tangerine Dreams soundtrack. Collateral is in that tradition (as is Heat) only tighter with a better script.

I digress.

With Avatar the motivation was different. I wanted to be less distracted by all the revolutionary stuff going on in terms of 3D and computer EFX and try to simply enjoy the movie. I did – imensley.

What surprised me, was how much faster the movie went by the second time. Initially I thought there was a bit of lag between the second and third acts, and I just didn’t see this the second time. The movie zips by.

I mentioned in my other review, there were problems with Avatar and they were no less apparent the second time around. Other anachronisms, one dimensional characterizations by some of the live actors, and the lame joke searching for a substance called  “un-obtanium” were left out of that review. These again are minor problems with what is a delicious and invigorating movie experience. These should not be speed bumps in your race to see this movie in 3D ASAP.

What I really missed in my first review was how good the acting was by Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana. I am sure this will be overlooked as they will be lumped together with voice actors in animated features. Yet, they were so much more than this. These actors, and all the other N’avi, were all bridled with head cameras that captured facial expressions which were brought into the virtual character and were the crucial link to the viewer’s emotional involvement with the story. So much of the story between Jake Sully and Neytiri was told by their reaction to each other. A glance, a blush, a pause. That is the “acting” part. They did a great job, and I am sure that wasn’t easy running around with blue screens and headgear trying to convey this subtle emotionality. Hats off to those two and the rest of the N’avi crew.

I was again surprised by how the movie caught me emotionally. Through all the bombast of bullets, bombs and profit driven imperialism, Avatar was more than a shoot-em-up with great effects, it really was a story that echos that most human of needs: the desire to be accepted, loved, and heard.

Jake Sully found all that on Pandora, and we viewers are moved because we understand and recognize those needs and feelings in ourselves. We see them played out everyday here on earth. Sometimes with good outcomes, sometimes not. 

With Avatar, the outcome is a good one.

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Avatar – Film Review

It’s been a lame year for movies. I can’t remember the last time I was actually excited to see a film. Wait, I was excited enough about Inglorious Basterds to write a review (out on DVD next week!). Even there however, it wasn’t anything like the excitement I feel for James Cameron’s Avatar.

I am ready to ditch work and wait in line to see it. The early reviews are coming in, and they are all excellent. Did anyone expect anything less? Is anyone surprised?  Clearly 20th Century Fox isn’t as they have invested a reported $350 million in the production and promotion.

It’s easy to see why. Cameron has no major missteps in his brilliant career. All his films, including his IMAX deep diving tangents, are fascinating.

Finally, the technology has caught up with the visionary. This is not The Abyss which frustrated in this area. Those liquid-fying special effects needed T2 to really hit their stride. 

Take a look at the images on the movie website, they are otherworldly and fascinating. Cameron clearly has brought what he saw at the bottom of the sea (and everywhere else) to inform his vision. What a vision it is.  One assumes this is Cameron’s masterpiece.

All I can say is my seven year-old son seeing the trailer on Cartoon Network while watching Clone Wars jumped out of his seat, saying WOW, I want to see that!  This coming from someone who hates going to the movies.

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Facing Ali – Film Review

Muhammad Ali is one of the most beguiling figures of the previous half century.

His place in boxing history is undeniable. With his colorful personality, quick wit, and seemingly endless charisma took the sport to another level riding on the back of the evolution of media from black-and-white TV and AM radio to the pay-per-view mega-events most major bouts are today. It is impossible to consider what boxing has become without considering Ali. His innate savvy of hyping himself and his bout remain unmatched. The shadow he casts in boxing is huge, and his record speaks for itself. Three time World Champion, and number one heavyweight boxer in history according to Ring Magazine.

He was also the most visible person of color during the tension filled sixties (and beyond). He became a globally recognized figure and hero to people all over the world. This despite a conversion to the Nation of Islam, a name change, and refusal to be drafted and fight in Vietnam. This achievement in sport and global media diplomacy is more significant than anything he accomplished in boxing. Without Ali, one could argue, there is no Michael Jordan, no Oprah, and no Obama. His contributions to tearing down barriers of race cannot be overstated. It impossible to separate his boxing career from his achievement with race relations.

This lack of separation is what makes Ali such a beguiling figure. Boxing is a brutal sport. People get hurt in the ring, sometimes for life. Michael Jordan may have stayed in basketball too long, but no one suspects overstaying his welcome caused any physical or mental damage. 

Facing Ali is documentary by Pete McCormack (based on a book by Stephen Brunt) from Lionsgate that tells the Ali story solely through the recollection of 10 who opposed Ali in the ring. This is a unique approach that hasn’t been seen before, and has an appeal that should extend beyond fight fans.

In varying degrees, in telling the stories of their bouts, these fighters capture the all hubris that surrounded Ali during his career. The good, the great, and the not so great are all told with video clips and photo montages as the fighters narrate. One can’t help but be impressed by Ali’s triumphs in the ring and out.

George Chuvalo is the most articulate of the opponents presented and what comes across more than anything in Facing Ali is the sense of respect and gratitude all these fighters feel towards Ali and having been able to intersect with his orbit.  Even Joe Frazier, long critical of “Cassius Clay” comes across the most soft I have seen him.

This is not a very critical documentary and offers up little of the ambiguity toward Ali of lasts years’ terrific Thrilla in Manilla HBO documentary.  Perhaps this is because it was made with the cooperation of the Ali legacy. While it is clear Ali fought too long and that boxing may have attributed to his current condition, those that faced him don’t really seem to mind. This is the conundrum that could have been explored more. How do you get any perspective in this sport when you are this man or opposing him. The answer is, you don’t.

Sadly we never get to hear from the star of the show, Ali himself. We get a few recent images, that’s it. This silence provides all the perspective we need.

Great documentary and nice addition to Ali’s legacy on film.

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Frank Zappa

Dweezil Zappa continues the Zappa on Zappa Tour, and I thought this would be a great time to comment on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s most vexing inductee, his father, Frank Zappa.

Zappa is singular. There is really no one like him before or since. His output is staggering in term of volume and breadth and at times difficult to digest. He composed avant-garde classic music and wrote the most ridiculous lyrics in the history of pop. He also played a mean electric guitar, which oddly, not all guitar player know.  He shreds.

He is also one of the most articulate defenders of the rights of free speech, and many remember his appearance before congress which still make the rounds on youtube. Frank was always a compelling guest on a talk or news show. He spoke his mind, and he spoke it clearly.

In many ways Frank the man, with his signature Van Dyke mustache and complex personality overshadowed the music. I know music fans who have never heard any Frank Zappa. This is shame. He is after all, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For those curious, or a fan, a great place to start is the Eagle Rock Entertainment Classic Albums series. This series of behind-the-scenes programs, think VH1’s Behind the Music – only for musicians, is mostly excellent. This Zappa Disc is one of the best. Be sure to check out Apostrophe/Over-Night Sensation.

In this disc we get insight into two of his most commercially successful records from the people who made it. The complexity of the music and the musicianship required to navigate it are all obvious. So too is the reverence shared by all interviewed. While he may have been a taskmaster as a bandleader, no one seemed mind, as they became better musicians as a result. According to keyboardist George Duke, “working and touring with Frank, some of the most fun days of my life!”

All the talking heads shed light on the man while bringing out the subtleties of the music. The isolated playback of Tina Turner and the Ikettes is particularly fascinating.  Comments from guitar god Steve Vai will make a guitarist want to revisit some of Franks great guitar work. Throughout the disc it is Dweezil who comes across best, a son in awe of his dad. Who better to ensure his legacy.

If you have ever wondered about Frank Zappa you might pick up that DVD. You might also pick up one of those CD’s (or One Size Fits All, or Joe’s Garage). You might also check out Dweezil on tour.

Frank, we’ll never see the likes of him again.

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It Might Get Loud – Film Review

It Might Get Loud is a documentary chronicling a “summit” between guitarists The Edge (U2), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), and Jack White (White Stripes). In a warehouse they chat about their pasts, development as guitarists, while sharing some of their classic riffs between them. Remote locations with each guitarist are also included in order to provide some back story.The movie is directed by Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim and is available on DVD and Blu Ray from Sony Pictures Classics. It is 98 minutes long.

The DVD cover is plastered with great reviews. To be fair it is a zippy documentary. Both the Edge and Jimmy Page come across as lovely blokes. Jimmy Page looks fabulous with his trench coat, silver mane of hair, and ultra dark sunglasses. Clearly he is the coolest of the bunch. We should all look so good at 65.  The Edge is the most accessible, equaling the cool of Page, yet seemingly unaffected by his success. If there is ego in that guy, it’s not in the documentary. Then there is Jack White. More on him later.

This is a documentary I wanted to like more than I did.

Still, any musician or fan of rock guitar would enjoy this highly budgeted and flawlessly produced documentary. Quality like this just doesn’t happen with music DVD productions often.

The best thing a documentary like this can accomplish beyond being informative on the subject is having some moment(s) of magic. Think Rattle and Hum and BB King telling the Edge, “I’m not good with chords!” Or, in Hail Hail Rock and Roll Keith Richards teaching Chuck Berry how to “play Chuck Berry.” Fegie and Mick singing Gimme Shelter with U2 backing them in RRHOF 25th Anniversary Concert. All pure magic!

There is one such moment in It Might Get Loud. It is where Jimmy Page, standing in front Jack White and The Edge, begins chiming out a fat and distorted “whole lotta love” emerges from his Les Paul. The delight and respect deferred to Pagey by the other two guitarists is a wonderfully spontaneous moment captured on the documentary. That scene along makes it a must for any fan of music DVD.

My disappointment comes from the inclusion of Jack White. He’s a great singer, good lyricist, and guitarist in the blues-based riff-oriented tradition of most of rocks great players. He just isn’t on par with Page or The Edge as a guitarist – and it appears he thinks he is. He’s articulate – to a point – but whatever ego is missing in Page and the Edge is all there with Jack White. This was annoying to me, and I found myself wishing they spent more time with Page and the Edge instead of White.

Documentaries are hard to critique because the documentary gets what it gets it terms of footage.  There is no script and wanting more out of these guys might just be the way it is. Not everyone is articulate, historically accurate, and self-editing to ensure flow and relevance during the documentary. The director and editor have to make the best with what they capture.  I just wish they got more out of Page and The Edge. More sounds, more stories, more guitar interplay. I know there’s more out of those guys.

It Might Get Loud is a different and slightly intimate look at two legends of guitar, and one who clearly wants to be.