Rock and Roll Movies
* Recommended Titles
Includes musicals, concert films, documentaries, biographies and fictional subject matter (where singers and groups appear as musical interludes.)
* It’s Only Rock N Roll (2000)… A VH-1 original documentary featuring the greatest moments of rock in film beginning with the Blackboard Jungle (Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" became the first rock song in a feature film). Each decade is fully represented. VH-1 production.
* Hollywood Rocks the Movies (2000)… Ringo Starr narrates this look at rock film subtitled, “The Early Years (1955-1970).” Features film and TV clips and interviews with directors and rock stars and also chronicles how rock movies tried to copy the changes in the youth culture.
* In His Life: The John Lennon Story (2000)… Phillip McQuillan, Daniel McGowan, Blair Brown, Gillian Kearney, Lee Williams, Mark Rice-Oxley, Jamie Glover, Kristian Ealey, Palina Jonsdottir. Film traces Lennon’s life, age 16-24 to when the Beatles got the Sullivan gig. TV-movie shot on location in Liverpool including his boyhood home and the infamous Cavern Club where it all started. McQuillan does a great job as Lennon. The movie suffers a bit from editing but that is because they had a lot of ground to cover in 90 minutes. [First movie to gain access to the house where Lennon grew up … Originally shown on the twentieth anniversary of his death … She Love’s You is only original song because of copy write problems … Pete Best was a visitor to the set.]
* The Beach Boys: An American Family (2000)… Kevin Dunn, Alley Mills, Frederick Weller, Nick Stabile, Ryan Northcott, Matt Letscher, Ned Vaughn, Jesse Caron, Dublin James, Amy Van Horne, Jad Mager, Raegan Kotz, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Camille Lanfield, Vanessa Dorman, Harris Laskawy, Clay Wilcox, Anthony Rapp, Eric Passoja. The best of the three Beach Boys movies. It should be, its 240 minutes long, focusing on the domineering father and confused genius of Brian Wilson. Also touches on Mike Love’s vital song-writing contribution and the Manson family’s intrusion into the life of drummer Dennis Wilson. John Stamos (Full House) was the executive producer and has toured with Love as his drummer since 1983. VH-1 production.
* High Fidelity (2000)… John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, Chris Rehmann, Ben Carr, Lili Taylor, Joelle Carter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Sara Gilbert. Top 5 reasons to watch this movie… great soundtrack, good script, fine acting, the scenes in the record store and Bruce Springsteen. Beverly D'Angelo and Harold Ramis appear in extra footage of the DVD version.
* Almost Famous (2000)… Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Francis McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Anna Paquin. True story of Rolling Stone rock writer Cameron Crowe. Follows his coverage of the (fictional band) Stillwater tour in the mid-70s and also touches on his family life in San Diego. Crowe (Jerry McGuire, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) also wrote and directed. [Hudson is the daughter of Goldie Hawn.]
* Down From the Mountain (2000)… Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, John Hartford, Evelyn Cox, Holly Hunter, Suzanne Cox, Willard Cox, Buck White, Sheryl White, Sharon White, Chris Thomas King, Joel Coen, Tim Blake Nelson, Billy Bob Thornton. A documentary filmed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville about the artists who performed the songs in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?
* The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack (2000)… Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, Odetta, Alan Lomax, Dave Van Ronk, June Shelley, D.A. Pennebaker. A documentary of Ramblin' Jack Elliott (born Elliott Adnopoz in Brooklyn) made by Aiyana Elliott, his daughter. Elliott was the vital link between close friend Woody Guthrie and the young Bob Dylan. He traveled the country performing the terminally ill Guthrie’s music in the 50’s and became the leading performer in the American folk music scene until Dylan’s rise to fame in the early ‘60s. Included are interviews with several of his peers but with Dylan conspicuous in his absence. [Elliott has appeared in two other movies: Roadie (1980) and Renaldo and Clara (1978).]
* Two of Us (2000)… Aidan Quinn, Jared Harris. What might have happened when Paul McCartney visited John Lennon in New York to discuss a possible reunion, argue and chat about life in general. The VH-1 character study takes place on April 24, 1976 and is based partly on fact and partly on fiction. Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg who worked with Lennon-McCartney on numerous projects including Let It Be. Hogg says the volatile chemistry between the two was captured well in the film. … [At the real meeting, the wives were there. … They almost went down to the Saturday Night studios when Lorne Michaels made the $3000 offer to sing three songs but were too tired to go.]
* Little Richard (2000)… Leon, Jenifer Lewis, Carl Lumbly, Tamala Jones, Garrett Morris. Leon is terrific playing rock pioneer Richard Wayne Penniman and the movie also has lots of great music. From his childhood to his rise to fame to his religion and his comeback. All rock fans should check this one out. Robert Townsend (The Five Heartbeats, Hollywood Shuffle) directs. Leon also starred in a The Temptations.
The Filth and the Fury (2000)… Follows the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols. Features lots of interviews with the surviving band members and other rock stars like David Bowie and Alice Cooper. Also some archive footage of Sid Vicious. Interesting film; a must for Pistols fans.
Hendrix (2000)… Wood Harris, Billy Zane, Dorian Harewood, Vivica A. Fox, Christian Potenza, Michie Mee, Kris Holdenried, Christopher Ralph, Christopher Bolton. Harris does his best Hendrix despite low budget treatment. Black and white footage of Jimi is also used. The rights to his original music could not be obtained so only the remakes (Dylan stuff, Star Spangled Banner, etc.) were used. We deserve better. A Showtime presentation.
Looking For an Echo (2000)… Armand Assante, Diana Venora, Edoardo Ballerini, Christy Carlson Romano, Joe Grifaci, Tom Mason. The lead singer of an oldies group (Brooklyn’s Vinnie and the Dreamers) longs for the old days and plans a comeback. They were a One Hit Wonder, and wanted more. [Kenny Vance of Jay & the Americans wrote the music and provided the vocals for Vinnie.]
Gimme Some Truth (2000)… John Lennon, Yoko Ono, George Harrison, Phil Spector, Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voormann, Miles Davis. British TV-movie about the recording of the Imagine album. Rare archive footage with Harrison and Voorman is great and also includes the fascinating scene with Lennon trying to reason with a confused fan outside his home.
Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back (2000)… W. Earl Brown, Dedee Pfeiffer, Kim Robillard, Tom Wood, Lisa Jane Persky, Zachary Throne, Jesse Lenat. Biography of the flamboyant singer who went from superstar to has-been within a few years. VH-1 movie documents his legal troubles, alcohol abuse, mental struggles and eventual comeback. Worth seeing once but a must for fans.
Daydream Believers: The Monkees Story (2000)… George Stanchev, Aaron Lohr, Jeff Geddis, L.B. Fisher, Colin Ferguson, Wallace Langham. The story of Hollywood’s version of the Beatles. Concentrates mostly on Mike Nesmith’s disenchantment with the music, his battles with Don Kirshner and his lack of control. Worth seeing once. VH-1 production.
The Linda McCartney Story (2000)… Elizabeth Mitchell, Gary Bakewell, George Segal, Tim Piper, Chris Cound, Michael McMurtry, Matthew Harrison, Aaron Grain, Jane Sowerby, Linda Ko. TV-movie follows Linda’s career as a rock photographer to Beatle wife and performer. Elizabeth Mitchell does a good job as Linda. This is Bakewell’s second film playing Paul (also Backbeat).
Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock’n’Roll (2000)… Biography of Sam Phillips, the legendary record producer whose Sun Records label in Memphis produced as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash
My Generation (2000)… Documentary on corporate greed in the music business. Features footage of some of the all-time greats – Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Still, Nash & Young, Aeromith, Joe Cocker, Peter Gabriel, Carlos Santana, John Sebastian, and many more.
At Any Cost (2000)… James Franco, Eddie Mills, Glenn Quinn, Gene Simmons. Two brothers (with their best friend as a manager) start a rock band Beyond Gravity in Austin, Texas and try to make it big in Los Angeles battling drugs and artistic integrity all the way. Also known As: Exodus Live. VH-1 production.
Out of Sync (2000)… Gail O'Grady, Kari Wuhrer, Peter Outerbridge, Stewart Bick, Ryan Dennis, Jonathan Whitaker, Harvey Atkin, Jerry Ciccoritti. Retired vocalist makes a comeback and unknowingly helps a struggling record producer with his no talent protégé. She has family and legal problems along the way. VH-1 production.
The David Cassidy Story (2000)… Andrew Kavovit, Malcolm McDowell, Dey Young, Roma Maffia, Chandra West, Matthew John Armstrong, Katie Wright, Paul Ben-Victor. Pop star and TV star alike, Cassidy finds short-lived success but struggles in his relationship with his father, (actor Jack Cassidy who was married to David’s stepmother Shirley Jones at the time). VH-1 production.
Sunset Strip (2000)… Simon Baker, Anna Friel, Nick Stahl, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg. One day on the Strip in Hollywood, 1972 following people (mostly Zach opening that night for a British rocker at Whisky a Go-Go) trying to make it in and with the business.
* Songcatcher (2001)… Janet McTeer, Aidan Quinn, Pat Carroll, Emmy Rossum, Jane Adams, Greg Cook, Stephanie Roth, David Patrick Kelly, E. Katherine Kerr, Muse Watson, Michael Davis, Michael Goodwin. Also features cameos by Taj Mahal, Iris DeMent and David Mansfield. In 1907, Dr. Lily Penleric discovers unheard Scots-Irish ballads in backwoods Appalachia that have been handed down from generation to generation. She collects them with the intention of publishing but things go wrong. Rossum's beautiful voice is a delight as well as DeMent’s. Mahal’s appearance on the banjo was too brief. Mansfield contributed some original stuff and does some pretty impressive fiddle work as well. Also features the singing of Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Patty Lovelace. Sheila Kay Adams, who grew up listening to the accappella singing of English, Scottish, and Irish ballads in the mountains, was the dialect and singing coach. Beautifully filmed in Asheville, North Carolina.
* Wingspan (2001)… The history of Paul McCartney and Wings following the band through the years 1971-80 via interviews, home movies and concert footage. Paul’s daughter Mary interviews him about his wife Linda, the band, the tours and his marijuana bust in Japan. Directed by McCartney’s son-in-law Alistair Donald. [Mary was the infant on the back cover of Paul’s first solo album].
Good Rockin’ Tonight (2001)… Documentary on the history of Memphis' Sun Records where Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others got their start. Included are archival footage and interviews with those who new the owner Sam Phillips.
Inside The Osmonds (2001)… Bruce McGill, Veronica Cartwright, Patrick Levis, Janaya Stephens, Joel Berti, Ryan Golden Kirkpatrick, Jason Knight, Miklos Perlus, Thomas Dekker, Taylin Wilson, Trevor Blumas, Colin Ferguson, Milton Bruchanski, Shane Davidson. TV-movie follows the Mormon singing family through the '70s including internal tensions and investment failures. The real Osmonds appear in the finale.
Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story (2001)… Karl Geary, Anthony Michael Hall, Adam MacDonald, Esteban Powell, Orlando Seale, Amber Valletta, Tat Whalley. Follows the success of the '80s British super group from their start in 1977, through Rick Allen’s car crash and ending in 1987 with the release of the Hysteria album.
Rock Star (2001)… Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Williams, Deborah Leydig, Timothy Spall. Chris “Izzy” Cole is an ex-salesman who becomes the lead singer in a popular tribute band. Modeled after Tim “Ripper” Owens, the Judas Priest cover singer hired after the demise of Rob Halford. Starts well but eventually suffers from too many clichéd scenes. Decent soundtrack though.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)… John Cameron Mitchell, Michael Pitt, Miriam Shor, Stephen Trask, Theodore Liscinski, Rob Campbell, Michael Aranov, Andrea Martin. A rock-and-roll drag queen’s bizarre life story, told mostly through music. Very well done if you like this sort of thing. Based on the hit off-Broadway show that ran in New York from 1998-2000. Mitchell also directed and co-wrote.
* Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)… Bassist James Jamerson, drummer Richard Allen, drummer Benny Benjamin, drummer Uriel Jones, keyboardist Joe Hunter, keyboardist Earl Van Dyke, percussionist Jack Ashford, guitarist Robert White, keyboardist Johnny Griffith, percussionist Eddie Brown, arranger Paul Riser. Documentary of the Funk Brothers, Motown’s phenomenal house band from 1959-1972. They played on more number ones hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined but never got their due until now. The surviving band members reunited in Detroit for this movie with the help of archival footage, still photos, narration, interviews and a live performance. Based on Jamerson’s biography by Allan Slutsky. Surviving funk Brothers Joe Messina, Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, Bob Babbitt and Richard "Pistol" Allen perform. [Jamerson is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame under the category Side-Men.]
* Only the Strong Survive (2002)… Reunion concert featuring the artists of Stax Records, the legendary Memphis label with Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla & Rufus Thomas, and Booker T. & The MGs among others under its roof. This documentary features performances and interviews with Wilson Pickett, Sam Moore, Mary Wilson, Isaac Hayes, Ann Peebles, and The Chi Lites.
24-Hour Party People (2002)… Steve Coogan, Paddy Considine, Lennie James, Shirley Henderson. Exciting story of the Manchester punk scene and Factory Records in the mid-seventies. Factory launched top punk, house and dance bands as Joy Division, A Guy Called Gerald and Happy Mondays).
Rising Low (2002)… Documentary of the musicians gathered together to record a tribute album to the late Allman Brothers bassist Allen Woody. Some of the great bass players participating include Jack Bruce (Cream), Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), Les Claypool (Primus), Bootsy Collins, Billy Cox (Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies) John Entwistle (The Who), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Roger Glover (Deep Purple), Mike Gordon (Phish), Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers), Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), Tony Levin, Chris Squire, (Yes) Michael Watt (Minutemen, Firehose).
Garage Days (2002)… Kick Gurry, Pia Miranda, Maya Stange. Decent effort about a struggling garage band in Sydney and, while it's not the most original script, it's pretty good energy/cast/direction wise. It has a good feel to it overall.
* School of Rock (2003)… Jack Black, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White, Lucas Babin, Joan Cusack. From IMDB: “Down and out rock star Dewey Finn (Black) gets fired from his band, and he faces a mountain of debts and depression. He takes a job as a 4th grade substitute teacher at an uptight private school where his attitude and hijinx have a powerful effect on his students.”
* Festival Express (2003)… Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Band, Buddy Guy, Delaney & Bonnie, The Flying Burrito Bros, Sha Na Na, Ian & Sylvia, Mashmakhan. Documentary of the famous train tour across Canada in the summer of 1970. They all lived and partied together for five days, stopping in major cities along the way to play live concerts and jamming in between on the train. Joplin, the Dead and the band are by far the stars of this movie.
*The Howlin Wolf Story (2003)… The life of Chester Arthur Burnett, who influenced such British rock stars like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Kinks, the Yardbirds and the Animals, is profiled in old clips and home movies. Filmmaker Don McGlynn also profiled Louis Prima, Charlie Mingus, Charles Chaplin and Glenn Miller among others in his films.
* A Mighty Wind (2003)… Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Bob Balaban, Parker Posey, Ed Begley Jr., Harry Shearer. What happens when the son of a deceased folk icon tries to organize a memorial concert featuring (fictitious) 1960s folk acts like Mitch and Mickey, The Folksmen and The New Main Street Singers at New York City's Town Hall. Guest (writer, director and actor) uses the documentary interview style to tell the story (like in the Spinal Tap movie). The performers were based on real life groups like Peter, Paul and Mary, Ian and Sylvia, the Kingston Trio and the New Christy Minstrels. [Guest is best known as Nigel Tufnel of the rock group Spinal Tap. McKean was also in Spinal Tap as rhythm guitarist as well as playing Lenny in "Laverne and Shirley." Shearer was the bass player Derek Smalls for Spinal Tap. "The Folksmen" was originally a sketch performed on "Saturday Night Live" by Guest, McKean and Shearer during the 1984-85 seasons.]
Masked and Anonymous (2003)… Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Bob Dylan, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Angela Bassett, Bruce Dern, Steven Bauer, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Cheech Marin, Giovanni Ribisi, Mickey Rourke, Christian Slater. A singer named Jack Fate (Dylan), whose career is in steep decline in the distant future, is kind of forced to make a comeback for a benefit concert to save a nation on the brink of revolution. Full of political ambiguities and religious symbolism, like some of Dylan’s songs, but is not for all tastes. Some think it’s semi-autobiographical with Dylan’s narration along the way. Others feel that its Dylan’s way of telling us not to take him so seriously. Worth seeing by Dylan fans for sure…
My Dinner With Jimi (2003)… Justin Henry, Royale Watkins, Jason Boggs, George Wendt. The story of the Turtle’s Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan.
Prey For Rock & Roll (2003)… Gina Gershon, Drea de Matteo, Lori Perry, Sheri Cole, Marc Blucas, Ivan Martin, Eddie Driscoll. Jacki and her all-girl rock and roll band, Clam Dandy, are trying to make it in the LA club scene in the late 1980s.
Greendale (2004)… Eric Johnson, Ben Keith, Elizabeth Keith, Erik Markegard, James Mazzeo, Sarah White. A movie version of the album, the film falls way short of entertaining the viewer. The music is good but the acting and filming is amateurish. The characters lip-sync all the songs as well. Neil Young (as Bernard Shakey) wrote and directed.
* Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile (2004)… Brian Wilson, Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Van Dyke Parks. Interviews trace the history of Wilson's abandoned 1967 album "Smile," a project that finally came to fruition 37 years later. The album (recently completed by Wilson with the Wondermints) was never originally finished because of Wilson’s mental and dependency problems. Some of the songs surfaced on other albums though. He became a virtual recluse afterwards. Parks collaborated with Wilson on "Cabinessence" and "Surf's Up," and it was also his idea to include an upfront cello on "Good Vibrations." Blaine is in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame as a session drummer.
* Ray (2004)… Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King. Excellent biography of legendary blues and soul singer Ray Charles, with Foxx nailing it perfectly. Poor and blind at age seven, Charles succeeded while battling racism, drug abuse and rocky relationships.
* Beyond The Sea (2004)… Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman. Passable biography of Bobby Darin, the only flaws possibly being the fantasy sequences and the fact that Spacey was a bit old to play the part. But if you get past that, the movie is an accurate and moving portrayal of a unique show biz talent. The project took 17 years to be realized with Spacey finally rescuing it.
Moog (2004)… Robert Moog (1934-2005) develops the synthesizer in 1964. He invented and built electronic musical instruments from his workshops in upstate New York and later in rural North Carolina. Features appearances by Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Walter Sear, Gershon Kinsgley, Jean-Jacques Perrey & Luke Vibert, DJ Spooky, Herb Deutsch, Bernie Worrell, Pamelia Kurstin, Tino Corp. with Charlie Clouser, Money Mark, Mix Master Mike, and an eclectic mix of performers. [Walter Carlos was the first to release an all-synthesizer recording of classical music (1968) – "Switched On Bach." Some of these selections were featured in the film "A Clockwork Orange."]
* Walk The Line (2005)… Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon. Fine biography of Johnny Cash, from the Arkansas cotton farm as a boy to his rise to fame with Sun Records through his drug addiction and marriage to June Carter. Phoenix performed all of the songs himself and learned to play guitar from scratch. Shooter Jennings portrayed his father Waylon.
* Elvis (2005)… Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Randy Quaid, Rose McGowan, Tim Guinee, Antonia Bernath, Jack Noseworthy, Robert Patrick, Camryn Manheim, Clay Steakley, Mark Adam. Another telling of the story of Elvis Presley’s rise to fame. Well done with fine performances all around. CBS mini-series.
* No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)… Martin Scorsese documents the early years (1961-1966) of Bob Dylan using archival footage and current interviews, including those of Dylan himself. Maria Muldaur, Bruce Langhorne, Mark Spoelstra, Suze Rotolo, Mitch Miller, Bobby Neuwirth, John Hammond, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peter Yarrow, Al Kooper and Mickey Jones are some of the performers.
Stoned (2005)… Leo Gregory, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey, Tuva Nuvotny. Decent account of the tragic last three months of Brian Jones, the founder of the Rolling Stones, whose body was found in the pool of his country manor on July 2, 1969. Unfortunately, we don’t get any insight into his musical contributions to the band and there isn’t much buildup to their firing him either. A better director and writer could’ve done more. According to the script, Frank Thorogood, Jones’ handyman and confidant, accidentally murdered Brian in a jealous rage (via deathbed confession 30 years later). Worth seeing.
Be Cool (2005)… John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel, Cedric the Entertainer, The Rock. Chili Palmer (in a kind of Get Shorty sequel) tries his hand in the music business. Not as good as Shorty but worth a viewing. Many cameos including Steven Tyler, Sergio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas.
Ricky Nelson Sings (2005)… Documentary of twenty of Ricky Nelson’s musical performances on the "Ozzie and Harriet" show. Includes interviews with his children Tracy, Matthew, Gunnar and Sam, guitarist James Burton and Kris Kristofferson plus thirty-minutes of rare behind-the-scenes footage as well as Gunner, Matthew and Burton jamming on “Garden Party”.
Last Days (2005)… Michael Pitt, Asia Argento, Lukas Haas, Scott Patrick Green, Ricky Jay. Seattle rock star Blake is feeling the pressure of fame, so he turns to drugs. He hides out in his neglected, stone mansion, and self-destructs. Partially based on the career of Kurt Cobain. Slow moving. “Venus in Furs”, written by Lou Reed and performed by The Velvet Underground, is featured throughout. Pitt also wrote and performed three songs.
The Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics (2005)… Documentary on Todd Loren, the controversial publisher of unauthorized comic book biographies of rock stars and those that loved him and those that sued him. Some think he was killed (technically unsolved in 1992) by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, the murderer of Gianni Versace. Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper appear along with many others.
Rock School (2005)… Documentary on the real School of Rock.
Brothers of the Head (2005)… Jonathan Pryce, Harry Treadaway, John Simm, Luke Treadaway, Sean Harris, Ken Russell. A 1970s music promoter exploits Siamese twins as rock-n-roll stars.
* Dreamgirls (2006)… Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Hudson, Danny Glover, Sharon Leal. Female singer group makes it big in the 1960s. Based on the ‘80s Broadway musical of the same name.
The Killing of John Lennon (2006)… Jonas Ball. A dramatization of Mark Chapman's plan to murder John Lennon.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)… David Leaf and John Scheinfeld’s documentary about the efforts of the US government to silence John Lennon’s anti-Vietnam War campaign. The soundtrack was released in September 2006 and it peaked at number 19 on the Soundtracks chart.
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006)… Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Jason Reed. From imdb.com: In Venice Beach, naive Midwesterner JB (Black) bonds with local slacker KG (Glass) and they form the rock band Tenacious D. Setting out to become the world's greatest band is no easy feat, so they try to steal what could be the answer to their prayers -- a magical guitar pick housed in a rock-and-roll museum some 300 miles away.
Once (2006) … Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova, Hugh Walsh, Gerry Hendrick. An Irish street musician and a Czech immigrant write songs together about their falling in love.
Backstage Pass (2006)… Wes Armstrong, Erica Bachelor, Andrew Barth, Tiffany Brouwer, Hanna Griffiths, William Katt. Liquid Zoo, rock band, is trying to make it big until somebody starts killing off their members. Rock video turned horror movie.
* Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)… John C. Reily, Tim Meadows, Jenna Fishcher, Kristin Wiig, Chris Parnell, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill. The story of Dewey Cox, who rises to fame and fortune as a rock singer, crashes hard and then rises again. Lots of funny sight gags, jokes and decent music. Similar to "This is Spinal Tap!" as a satire.
* Control (2007)… Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, Alexandra Maria Lara, Joe Anderson, James Anthony Pearson, Harry Treadaway, Craig Parkinson, Toby Kebbell. Fans of Joy Division and New Order will love this sad story of lead singer Ian Curtis with Riley nailing the lead role. His personal, professional and romantic problems drove him to suicide at the age of 23.
Eight Miles High (2007)… Natalia Avelon, David Sheller, Matthias Schweighöfer. This is the story of German groupie/model Uschi Obermaier. Bored with her life, she moves into an activist commune for a while before becoming involved with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Lots of drugs and sex. Then she marries a rich adventurer and travels the world with him.
Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story (2007)… The rise and fall of Memphis' famous Stax Records, that featured recording artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Booker T and the MGs and Sam and Dave.
Across the Universe (2007)… Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Cynthia Loebe, Martin Luther, T.V. Carpio. A love story set in the sixties that uses Beatles music (covers unfortunately) and the Vietnam War to get the point across. It also features loads of colorful imagery, a few celebrity cameos (like Bono and Salma Hayek) and uses Beatles song titles for the main characters in the film.
I’m Not There (2007)… Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw. These six actors portray various aspects of Bob Dylan’s life and work. The more familiar you are with the artist, the more you will enjoy the film.
Hounddog (2007)… Dakota Fanning, David Morse, Piper Laurie, Robin Wright. A young troubled southern girl finds comfort in the music of Elvis Presley.
Once (2007)… Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova, Hugh Walsh, Gerard Hendrick. Two people in Dublin write, rehearse and record songs after falling in love.
The King and Us (2008)… The story of Elvis’ time in the Army. Based on the book, "Sergeant Presley: The Untold Story of Elvis' Missing Years."
* Cadillac Records (2008)… Adrien Brody, Beyonce Knowles, Jeffrey Wright, Columbus Short, Mos Def, Cedric the Entertainer, Eamonn Walker. Tells the story of how the small Chess Records in Chicago began recording blues music with Muddy Waters and Little Walter in 1947 and then exploded in 1955 with Chuck Berry. Brodie plays record producer Leonard Chess who also signed up Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf and Etta James.
* The Wrecking Crew (2008)… Documentary of one of the top session bands in the history of Rock n Roll, famed for having played on numerous hit recordings throughout the 1960s. Of the many musicians that came and went, the most famous are Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, Carol Kaye, Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner, conductor/arranger: Jack Nitzsche, some of which are featured here and producer Phil Spector. They were the backing band on songs and albums by Nancy Sinatra, The Monkees, The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Vee, The Partridge Family, The Mamas & the Papas, The Carpenters, The 5th Dimension, John Denver, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, and Nat King Cole.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)… Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Aaron Yoo, Alexis Dziena, Ari Graynor, Jay Baruchel, Rafi Gavron and Jonathan B. Wright. Two young strangers find each other during a night of club-hopping while looking for the band Where’s Fluffy. Project Jenny Project Jan, Bishop Allen and Devendra Banhart have cameos.
Shine a Light (2008)… Martin Scorsese’s documentary of the Rolling Stones 2006 Beacon Theatre performance on the A Bigger Bang Tour. Also includes archive footage from the band's career and backstage sequences.
The Rocker (2008)… Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Teddy Geiger, Emma Stone, Jeff Garlin, James Lynch. A drummer, kicked out of a band on the verge of stardom, joins his nephew’s band 20 years later. Loosely based on Pete Best, the original drummer for the Beatles. He has a cameo as the guy reading Rolling Stone magazine at the beginning of the movie. Soundtrack is kind of lame.
Soul Men (2008)… Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac, Sharon Leal. From imdb.com: Though it's been some twenty years since they have spoken with one another, two estranged soul-singing legends agree to participate in a reunion performance at the Apollo Theater to honor their recently deceased band leader.
Rock On (2008)… Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Luke Kenney, Purab Kohli, Prachi Desai. Four friends reunite to relive their rock band Magik memories. Indian movie will take you by surprise.
* Taking Woodstock (2009)… Demetri Martin, Dan Fogler, Henry Goodman, Jonathan Groff, Eugene Levy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch, Liev Schreiber. The story of Eliot Tiber and his (alleged) contribution to making Woodstock happen by bringing it to Bethel NY. Along the way Eliot and his parents, who run the El Monaco motel where most of the promoters are staying, go through changes themselves. Based on the Tiber book. [The film was shot in New Lebanon and parts of Rensselaer County in upstate NY. … From Wikipedia: Artie Lang has disputed Tiber's account of the initial meeting with Max Yasgur, and said that he was introduced to Yasgur by a real estate salesman. Artie Kornfeld, a Woodstock organizer, has said he found out about Yasgur’s farm from his own sources.]
* Bandslam (2009)… Alyson Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell, Scott Porter, Ryan Donowho, Charlie Saxton, Lisa Kudrow, Karen Burton. A popular girl and singer recruit a misfit to get a group together to compete in the high school battle of the bands (Bandslam). Of course, her ex-boyfriend is part of the competition.
* It Might Get Loud (2009)… This is Davis Guggenheim’s documentary of the history of the electric guitar. Highlights include the careers and styles of Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Page played lead for The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. The Edge (David Howell Evans) played in U2. White led The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. Link Wray can also been seen in archive footage.
* The Doors: When You’re Strange (2009)… A documentary written and directed by Tom DiCillo. Jim Morrison's 1969 film fragment HWY: An American Pastoral is also featured here for the first time. Johnny Depp narrates.