October 27, 2006

Shut Up & Sing.

Shut Up & Sing "[W]atching Shut Up & Sing, you're always aware that [Barbara] Kopple and [Cecilia] Peck are painting a portrait for us, in brushstrokes of words, music and pictures, as opposed to telling us what to think. As a piece of political filmmaking, Shut Up & Sing pulls off the feat of being subtle and direct at once," writes Stephanie Zacharek, introducing her interview with Kopple for Salon. And indieWIRE sends its list of questions to Kopple.

Harvey Weinstein reacts to NBC's laughable refusal to air ads for the doc, as quoted by Pamela McClintock and Josef Adalian in Variety: "It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America.... The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is profoundly un-American."

The doc "offers a revealing case study of the relationship between politics, celebrity and the media in today's polarized social climate," writes Stephen Holden.

"The filmmakers' respectful distance from their subjects never evolves into the voyeuristic intimacy of Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, a much more revealing look at superstars working through a crisis," writes Nathan Rabin at the AV Club. "[Natalie] Maines' big mouth and winning candor got her into trouble, but Shut Up & Sing suffers from filmmakers who are intent on playing it safe."

Ella Taylor in the LA Weekly: "Truculent, effortlessly funny and congenitally mutinous, Maines is a bull in a china shop with the voice of an angel, and you canít help but cheer her fuck-you to a kow-towing music industry, and to all the bullies who picketed her concerts, wanting her dead."

Earlier: Kevin Haher in the London Times and, here, David D'Arcy.

Updates: Rob Forsyth, blogging for the London Times: "The film runs disappointingly short on documenting the period in which the band made the comments - the political climate, for example, is almost entirely reduced to tee-shirt slogans. Rather, the piece works best as an insight into the three band members and their collective working method."

If there's one area where the film trips up, it's the decision to give short-shrift to the mechanics that go into managing a group in the middle of a publicity storm," writes Ryan Stewart at Cinematical. "The film is a little eager to get back to the personal drama. Also, some direct interviews might have added something to the film's fly-on-the-wall format."

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Posted by dwhudson at October 27, 2006 8:41 AM