“Shine A Light” – Susan Granger reviews

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If you’re into the music of the Rolling Stones and admire the cinematic artistry of director Martin Scorsese, then this rockin’ concert film is for you–either on the flat screen or the extra-large IMAX format.

Most of the two hours is devoted to the Stones concert at Manhattan’s 2,800-seat Beacon Theater in the fall of 2006, celebrating the 60th birthday of Bill Clinton. There are more than 20 numbers, mostly Stones standards. As to be expected, brash Mick Jagger’s visage dominates the footage, strutting, scampering, scatting and shouting around a stage that thrusts right into the audience, but drummer Charlie Watts, along with guitarists Ronnie Woods and Keith Richards, do get their well-deserved close-ups.

Speaking of those tight, low-angle shots, on the huge IMAX screen, it may be a closer examination than you bargained for: Mick Jagger was 63 when this was filmed and the ravages of time have not been kind to his deeply lined face and extensive dental work.

Humor is injected through vintage clips and archival interview footage. It’s poignant when, in 1972, Dick Cavett asks Jagger if he could imagine doing this at 60 and Jagger quips, “Oh, yeah, easily.” There are guests – singer Jack White, slinky Christina Aguilera and bluesman Buddy Guy–but little insightful, behind-the-scenes footage.

If you enjoy this kind of entertainment, check out Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz” (1978), which, frankly, is far better. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Shine a Light” is an energetic 8. Scorsese has already decided to do another music documentary–this time about the life and times of the late reggae legend Bob Marley – and he dedicates this film to longtime music guru Ahmet Ertegun who died shortly after it was completed.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.