January 3rd, 2008

THE ROLLING STONES: THE BIGGEST BANG (2007) ****

After 45 years in the business, The Rolling Stones still remain the greatest rock n’ roll band of all time.  This entertaining four-disc DVD set (a Best Buy exclusive) was filmed over the course of the band’s worldwide A Bigger Bang tour and is a testament to their longevity and is further proof that the Stones will keep on rolling. 

 

The set contains two full length concerts, one in Austin, Texas and the other on the beach at Rio de Janeiro (where the band played a free concert to a whopping 1.5 million fans) as well as highlights from other concerts in Japan, Argentina, China, and even their live performance at the Super Bowl.  We also get lots of informative behind the scenes footage of what goes into putting on such a massive production.  There are a couple interviews with the band as well as a few one-on-one moments with them (like Keith Richards performing a melancholy charity song to benefit Katrina victims).  While the mini-documentaries don’t shed much new light on the Stones, the segment on China is by far the most interesting.  There, the band has to battle some puzzling censorship issues (they can’t play Honky Tonk Women, but Bitch is okay) and their very presence in China is a sign of the Communist regime loosening up a little. 

 

The performances are all hugely entertaining and the Stones once again prove that even in their 60’s, they can rock out like no one else in the industry.  They perform all their classics (like Satisfaction, Sympathy for the Devil and Jumpin’ Jack Flash), fan favorites (She’s So Cold, You Got Me Rocking and Tumbling Dice), as well as some of their new material (Rough Justice, Oh No Not You Again, and Rain Fall Down) which is pretty good.  We also see them duet with Bonnie Raitt (Shine a Light), Eddie Vedder (Wild Horses) and unfortunately Dave Matthews (Let It Bleed).  But the real reason to check this out is for the cool covers the band does of such diverse artists as Buddy Holly (Playing the Game), Waylon Jennings (Bob Wills is Still the King) and even Bob Marley (Get Up, Stand Up).

 

Although this isn’t the definitive look at the Stones, it’s still a great document of their recent tour and another excellent addition to Stones fan’s DVD collections.    

 

Of the band, naturally Keith gets all the best lines (when you can understand what the heck he’s saying that is).  My favorite is when he’s talking about going to Shanghai; Keith says “I hear they have a Chinatown there.”

WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END (2007) ***

A group of witless dumb fucks (a militant lesbian, an extreme sports enthusiast, a slut, an Avril Lavigne look alike and a token black dude) get picked to star in a Survivor style reality show that’s supposed to take place after the “Apocalypse” where they have to survive out in the West Virginian wilderness.  Little do they know, their show just happens to be smack dab in the middle of the hunting grounds for a clan of mutant, inbred, redneck cannibals.  The fucked up family quickly turn the contestants into human Spam while the drill sergeant host of the show (punk icon Henry Rollins) becomes a second rate Rambo halfway through the movie and turns the tables on the hungry hillbillies.

 

The set-up for this direct-to-DVD sequel is pretty lame, and I couldn’t really give a shit about any of the characters, but in a movie like this, it’s not WHO dies, it’s HOW they die that really matters.  On those terms, Wrong Turn 2 delivers on the gory goods. 

 

We get a woman cut in half LENGTHWISE, a scalping, finger eating, an axe to the head, a slashing that leaves one girl’s spine exposed, gut ripping, shotgun jubilee, arrow through the heart, two for one arrow through the eyeball, decapitation, tongue ripping, death by barbwire bolos, several excellent deaths by dynamite, and multiple bodies being shoved into an industrial meat grinder.

 

The sequel takes a couple cues from the other two popular Mutant Inbred Redneck Cannibal franchises, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, and tosses in elements from both series.  The filmmakers give the cannibal family a Hills type back story, and there’s a Chainsaw style dinner scene that’s particularly effective (especially since the dinner guest is a VEGAN).  Like those movies, this one features a pretty great mutant birthing scene and the scene where two mutants fuck while wearing the skin of one of their victims is quite memorable. 

 

The whiny skate punk gets some great lines such as, “You’re a lesbian, where’s your cajones?”, “We’re all going to be hillbilly barbeque!”, “I’m never going to dis you or any other female ever again!”, but it’s an old hermit that gets the movie’s best line:  “They’re like you and me, except uglier!”