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DVD Zone: July 2007

| June 28, 2007



With the summer festival season in full swing, why not take a look at one of the most famous and long-running get togethers of them all?

Occupying a section of England mere miles from Stonehenge, Glastonbury has achieved legend in British history rivaled only by the great stone monument itself. It is said that a certain spirituality can be achieved there, and that Jesus H. Christ himself came by for a pint or two during his formative years. What better place for a rock ‘n’ roll festival?

For more than 35 years, people from around the world have been coming to brave the mud and rain of the rural English countryside to hear the most varied lineup of musical talent around at the Glastonbury Music Festival. Director Julien Temple (Absolute Beginners, The Filth And The Fury) sets out to chronicle every single one of them.

Glastonbury focuses more on the concertgoers and the natives alarmed by the bustles in their hedgerows than the actual acts, and with three decades of footage, there are more than enough quirky, unwashed, and downright irritating figures to go around.

The film’s center is festival founder Michael Eavis, who tells of his early accomplishments, such as getting the damn thing going in the first place, to missteps he has made along the way, such as building a wall around the site to keep people out.

Of course the musical lineup does get a passing nod in the film. Acts such as Radiohead, David Bowie, Coldplay, and Bjork to name a few have their moment in the sun (or more aptly, rain), but their snippets are quickly cut away from to get to more footage of the crowd. At more than two hours, a few of these mud-soaked souls could have ended up on the cutting room floor.

The second disc of the set contains the good stuff. Complete performances can be found here, although ironically, aside from Nick Cave, none of the acts getting face time on Disc Two were in the actual film. While Primal Scream, The Prodigy, and even Richie Havens made the film, Disc Two reserves space for the likes of R.E.M, Foo Fighters, and Paul McCartney to name a few.

Glastonbury deserves a look for Disc Two, but while the film itself is packed with interesting people, there’s just too many of them. It gets tiring after a while.

Film: **1/2 Features: ***1/2

Fall Out Boy: Solid Gold Uncertainty
Chrome Dreams

Here in the “Zone,” we try to keep coverage of unauthorized documentaries to a minimum. Think of us as standing at the entrance of the club with a clipboard, guarding the velvet rope so that no one untoward gets into the party. Now and then, however, we’ll get one that has a little bit more going for it than the others, and Fall Out Boy: Solid Gold Uncertainty falls into that category.

Certainly, it fulfills the requirements of an unauthorized band profile: No member of the actual band is involved, so the producers rely on friends and industry insiders to supply all the juicy details. Yet Uncertainty surprises by not focusing solely on the band, but giving a good deal of insight into the Chicago and Midwestern music scene. Whereas New York and L.A. are very self contained, and the scene rises from a very insular group, here in the Midwest the area is so spread out that the factions and styles vary wildly. How could it not when the scene covers a five-state area?

Secondly, among Uncertainty‘s roster of industry insiders opining on the state of affairs is IE‘s own Editor (in-chief) Steve Forstneger and writer/reviewer/man-about-town Jaime “Black” de’Medici. I’ve always said that a panel of experts that doesn’t include these two is a hollow panel indeed.

The special features run sparse on the disc, with only a Fall Out Boy discography and an interactive FOB quiz. Personally, I had hoped for an extended feature on Mr. Forstneger’s vast collection of Hummel figurines, but I guess we’ll have to wait for a DVD of its own for that.

Film: ** Features: **

Also Available . . . “The Sopranos” has been whacked, “Entourage” is spotty at best, and the unintentional laughs provided by the sword and sandal epic “Rome” are nowhere to be found. As HBO continues its quest to reverse all of its brilliant original series choices and lose its foothold as the last bastion of quality original programming, at least you can get the final season of “Deadwood” on DVD. While not as gripping and engrossing as the first two seasons, the last go ’round was still head and six shooter above anything else on television.

— Timothy Hiatt

Category: Columns, Monthly

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