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With Jim Sabatini

Shine a Light

Shine a Light

Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language, drug references and smoking
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: April 4, 2008 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation

Being in a darkened room watching a supergroup like the Rolling Stones on an IMAX screen isn't such a bad thing. Especially for longtime fans over the last 45 years.

Martin Scorsese's new documentary Shine a Light will find its audience with babyboomers as it presents the sexagenerians mostly in New York City's intimate Beacon Theater around the time of their tour "A Bigger Bang".

Some black and white footage is seen, especially with the director trying to get a hold of the shoot, but also putting perspective into how the quartet has stood the test of time. To produce the quality of rock and roll music the way they've done over generations has a penetrating effect, especially in this performance where their deeply admired by those of nearly the same age. Even, former President Clinton who is easily seen celebrating his 60th birthday with his family.

The famous quartet includes Keith Richards (remember a cameo in last year's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), guitarist Ronnie Wood, and drummer Charlie Watts. Not hardly mentioned is founding member Brian Jones who was fired and died suspiciously at his pool.

Scorsese, who superbly helmed another musical documentary The Last Waltz, illuminates the lead member, the charismatic and very fit Mick Jagger. It's clear in this venue with plenty of close-ups that easily show the effects of aging who is the star, even with all the talented musicians on stage. The Beacon somewhat restricts his enduring physical ability of a man whose vocals just can't quite capture his more youthful tones during his bad-boy days.

At least a score of the Stones' venerable standards are there to enjoy, like "Sympathy for the Devil", "Satisfaction", "Under My Thumb", and "Brown Sugar", to name a few.

The energy of this proficiently lensed cinema verite (among a throng conducted by Robert Richardson) jumps to a new level in its second half. That's when Jagger has a winning duet with blues virtuoso Buddy Guy, as well as with singers Jack White III and striking Christina Aguilera. There's also Richards stepping to the forefront on numbers like "Connection" and "You Got The Silver".

But, ultimately, with Scorsese obviously able to enliven their reputation, the Rolling Stones have an endearing nature, especially in catchy clips and archival footage, even though they have gathered some moss. The lissome inexhaustible Jagger and his musical buddies have continued to prove their critics wrong even at the twilight of their career.

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