04/26/2015  
Amazing Space: An Audio/Visual Meditation on the Cosmos Blu-ray/DVD/CD on May 26The Sleepwalker on DVD May 12Zombeavers on DVD May 19Daniel Tiger s Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on DVD May 26Always Woodstock on DVD Apr 28The Strain: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray & DVD Jun 9A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 21

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Amazing Space: An Audio/Visual Meditation on the Cosmos...
The Sleepwalker on DVD May 12...
Zombeavers on DVD May 19...
Daniel Tiger s Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day in th...
Always Woodstock on DVD Apr 28...
Rita Wilson diagnosed with breast cancer ...
Suzanne Somers on elimination from 'Dancing With The St...
The Strain: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray & DVD ...
20 of the Most Hated Women in Hollywood...
DWTS' Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis: Reunited and...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Lightning in a Bottle (2004)

"When I think of what's going on here tonight, it makes chills run off me. Lucille even screams a little."
- B. B. King

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: March 08, 2005

Stars: India.Arie, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, Natalie Cole, Shemekia Copeland, Robert Cray, Chuck D. and Fine Arts Militia, Honeyboy Edwards, John Fogerty, Marcy Gray, Buddy Guy, John Hammond, David Johansen and Hubert Sumlin, Larry Johnson, B.B. King, Keb' Mo', The Neville Brothers, Odetta, Bonnie Raitt, Vernon Reid, Mavis Staples, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, James Blood Ulmer, Alison Krauss, Kim Wilson
Director: Antoine Fuqua

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language
Run Time: 01h:49m:51s
Release Date: March 08, 2005
UPC: 043396069183
Genre: r-b


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+B+A- B-

DVD Review

Any fan of the blues or of Martin Scorsese's PBS series on them would have been itching for a ticket to Radio City Music Hall for February 7, 2003, for a Scorsese-produced concert that was the cherry on the sundae of his documentary effort—in one night, on stage was pretty much the whole history of the blues, with a galaxy of some of the brightest lights in the blues firmament. Lightning in a Bottle is principally a concert film, documenting that night; it also drops in a dollop of interviews and historical footage, giving a very rudimentary survey of the evolution of the blues, and a celebration of some of the greatest American music ever recorded.

Scorsese has an executive producer credit on this movie, and briefly appears on stage; the director here is Antoine Fuqua, taking on what would have to be a nerve-wracking assignment. Do you really want to be directing when your exec producer was the director of The Last Waltz, perhaps the greatest concert movie of all time? Anyway, Fuqua does serviceable work; his style is unobtrusive, which allows the performers to shine. The conceit of the concert was that it would guide the audience through the history of this music—it begins, then, with the songs of West Africa, and chronicles their evolution, as they were brought over by enslaved Africans, given an American tinge in the antebellum South, and came up north, to Chicago particularly, in the great postwar migration of African-Americans. So what's nice is that the concert isn't just a greatest hits package; on the other hand, its premise makes the evening a little didactic, and ensures that it's largely lacking in spontaneity.

But that's all right, principally because the level of musicianship is so high. Subtitles identify the performers, the songs they're singing, and who first recorded them, and there are many, many highlights. Keb' Mo' pays his respects to Robert Johnson, and Odetta, one of the grand old women of the blues, does the same for Leadbelly, with Jim Crow Blues—her performance brims with righteous indignation, and Fuqua provides useful context by superimposing period images: Klansmen in full regalia, hateful Coloreds Only signs. Some fine musicians, including Levon Helm and Dr. John, serve as a de facto house band, backing Natalie Cole on W.C. Handy's St. Louis Blues, Macy Gray honoring Big Mama Thornton with a great throaty cover of Hound Dog, John Fogerty with more from Leadbelly (Midnight Special), and an array of others. Some of those performing, like Larry Johnson, are enormously talented but never got the acclaim to match; others are known better as sidemen (Hubert Sumlin, shortly after having a lung removed, pays his respects to Howlin' Wolf), and some are honored principally as mentors—Buddy Guy, for instance, is discussed here in the context of his protégé, Jimi Hendrix.

Occasional bits of rehearsal footage and backstage chatter are dropped in—Ruth Brown has a fine time holding court and Solomon Burke is delightful and informative as the self-appointed historian of the chitlin circuit—and batting cleanup is B. B. King, who has become the blues personified for a mass audience. If you love this music, you've probably got some quibbles about what's here and what isn't, but it's a pretty good overview, and so if you're not as informed about the blues, this might be a great place to start.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Inherent in shooting a live concert is the presence of visual imperfections, but taking that into account, this looks awfully good—steady camera work cleanly rendered in this transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: This right here is the reason to watch—the music sounds solid, well balanced and without excessive interference on this strong 5.1 track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring House of Flying Daggers, The Fog of War, Winged Migration, Riding Giants, Masked and Anonymous, Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary
5 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Five bonus tracks from the concert are all worth checking out; presumably they were trimmed for purposes of running time, but there's good work from Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes, Mos Def, Buddy Guy, and Chris Thomas King. In an interview (07m:54s), Fuqua discusses his approach to the material—he wanted Radio City to feel like the world's biggest juke joint—and about his personal connection to the music, and about working for "Mr. Scorsese."

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

A respectful and soulful documenting of a concert brimming with talent from the world of the blues—not the last word on the music or on concert filmmaking, but if these tunes don't get your toes tapping and head nodding, you better check your pulse.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

docuementary, drama, horror, comedy, animation, celebrity, rita wilson, tom hanks, fish in the dark, larry david, television, abc, dancing with the stars, suzanne somers, tony dovolani, suzanne sizzles, movies, angelina jolie, gwyneth paltrow, leann rimes, katherine heigl, jennifer lopez, photos, sway: a dance trilogy, maksim chmerkovskiy, meryl davis, music, barry manilow, gary kief, married, copacabana, brad falchuck, robert downey jr., glee, chris martin, jennifer lawrence, james best, died, sheriff rosco p. coltrane, the twilight zone, andy griffith show, gunsmoke, dukes of hazzard, big bang theory, christine baranski, laurie metcalf, sci-fi, kim kardashian north west, keeping up with the kardashians, kanye west, joni mitchell, morgellons, joni mitchell: in her own words, mary leitao, cynthia lennon, john lennon, cancer, julian lennon, paul mccartney, ringo starr, movie, furious 7, paul walker, james wan, universal pictures, mystery, rolling stones, 15-city tour, keith richards, mick jagger, ronnie wood, charlie watts, san diego, cable, comedy channel, daily show, jon stewart, trevor noag, musical, one direction, zayn malik quits

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store