Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ben Keith, Spooner Oldham, Rick Rosas, Karl T. Himmel, Chad Cromwell, Wayne Jackson, Pegi Young, Grant Boatwright, Diana Dewitt, Gary Pigg, Anthony Crawford, Tom McGinley, Jimmy Sharp, Clinton Gregory, Larry Cragg, Fisk University Jubilee Singers
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 103
Date: 02/10/2006
IMDB

Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tonight's the Night

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

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As shown on his classic Stop Making Sense (1984), Jonathan Demme knows just how to film a concert without resorting to short attention-span tricks. He doesn't worry about his viewers getting bored and he doesn't bother wildly moving the camera around, dissolving every few seconds or cutting to reaction shots of the live audience. Instead, he focuses on the emotional content of the music, using lighting, sustained close-ups and wide shots to capture the mood of a show. Here he records Neil Young's world premiere of Prairie Wind in Nashville; the first half is all new music from that record, and it may alienate fans that have come to hear the classics. But never fear, the second half brings out favorites like "Harvest Moon," "Heart of Gold," "Old Man" and "The Needle & the Damage Done." The most remarkable thing about Young is his ability to dramatically perform these older songs as if they were brand new; he's captivating. Emmylou Harris joins him onstage with a little guitar here and a little harmony vocal there. But it's entirely Young's show.

Incidentally, Young is no stranger to the big screen. He directed his own concert movie (under a pseudonym), Rust Never Sleeps in 1979 and made a long form video two years ago for his album Greendale. He composed the score for Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (1996) and contributed an Oscar-nominated song for Demme's Philadelphia (1993). He also appeared in Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz (1978).

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