With the Sundance Film Festival set to kick off in three days, we thought we’d make it easy for you to fill in those gaps when you’re not skiing and run down the most essential music-oriented films Robert Redford and his selection committee have to offer. Keep checking back here throughout Sundance for Peter Travers’ frequently updated blog from the film festival, where he’ll provide the head’s up about the best films he’s seen, what you need to avoid and more.
CSNY Deja Vu
Directed by Neil Young (under his “Bernard Shakey” filmmaker alias) and shot during the quartet’s 2006 Freedom of Speech Tour, the film chronicles the shows and features interviews with fans with a special focus on soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Having already triumphed over the music industry and world politics, Bono and crew attempt to conquer the third dimension in this “concert experience.” Drawing from a series of South American stadium concerts from 2006, U2 3D presents many of the band’s greatest hits beamed onto the screen using the best 3D and surround-sound technology available.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life
Photographer/friend Steven Sebring has spent twelve years recording punk icon Patti Smith’s performances, experiences and encounters with fans and family. The result is a dreamy narrative that attempts to get inside the mind of one of rock’s more esoteric personalities.
Movies That Rock
Be Kind Rewind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry, Jack Black and Mos Def converge in this film about two New Jersey video store clerks who accidentally magnetize all the VHS tapes in their store and are forced to remake the movies indie-style.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Narrated by Rolling Stone cover boy Johnny Depp, this documentary digs deep into the life and times of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil The true, hilarious story of the band Anvil, “the demigods of Canadian metal,” who released one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982’s Metal on Metal. The film documents the group’s late-career attempt at fame and fortune.
A documentary that follows a choir filled with New England senior citizens who learn to sing the songs of Sonic Youth, Coldplay and the Clash, among many more. The geriatric rockers take to the road to perform for audiences (and prisoners) in this funny, inspirational film.
In Prison My Whole Life
Featuring interviews with Snoop Dogg (who also provides music), Mos Def and Steve Earle, this documentary examines the imprisonment of (and the demand to free) Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was sentenced to the death penalty for killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.
Movies Starring Musicians
Sean Combs, A Raisin in the Sun
Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Diddy sheds the aliases for the theatrical version of Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s play about the Younger family in 1950s Chicago.
David Bowie, August
The Thin White Duke appears in this film about an aggressive young dot-com entrepreneur (Josh Hartnett) struggling to keep his head above water as the bottom falls out of the market.
Method Man, Wackness
The rapper shows up in this coming-of-age story about a teenager and his psychiatrist in 1994 New York.
LL Cool J, Deal
LL gets third billing in this film, written by and starring William H. Macy about a screenwriter who cons a major studio into a $100 million deal for an unwritten script.