Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt And The Magnetic Fields (2010)
Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 7
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 4
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 180
Stephin Merritt is a singer and songwriter best known as the leader of the indie rock band the Magnetic Fields. While the Magnetic Fields haven't had to worry about the perils of stardom just yet, their fans are loyal and wildly enthusiastic, and they're a favorite of critics, who've described Merritt as a contemporary Cole Porter for his witty, literate, and sardonic take on the game of love. Merritt's own expressive but froggy vocals are at once an ideal vehicle for his lyrics and one of the
Oct 27, 2010 Limited
Apr 1, 2011
Variance Films - Official Site
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In inviting us along to peek into the life, filmmakers Kerthy Fix and Gail O'Hara don't give us quite enough about the art.
Overall, this is a nice introduction to an amiably dour tunesmith who once wrote that "all art aspires to the condition of Top 40 bubblegum pop."
Clearly, the directors have to be Merritt advocates to hang in there that long, but the film that resulted has elements that keep it from being simply a fan's notes.
This portrait of the famed indie rock composer-musician is for fans only.
No matter your take on Merritt's persona, there's no denying that he's a unique musician whose songs -- such as "Papa Was a Rodeo" and "Living in an Abandoned Firehouse With You" -- are worth discovering. As is this film.
A laconic, noodling documentary, Strange Powers: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields pecks gently at that shell but makes little effort to get underneath.
Merritt seems to loathe the very idea of being in a movie. That impression lends a weird tension to Fix and O'Hara's otherwise affectionate and conventional account of his career to date.
"Strange Powers" moves with lightness, verve and charm, which Magnetic Fields fans might find amusing, given Merritt's well-known morosity.
A glimpse behind the curtain of creativity that makes a persuasive case for a tip of the cap to artistic enablers.
For my part, I knew nothing about The Magnetic Fields before seeing the movie. I came out interested in hearing more of their discography.
The film is a piecemeal mosaic through which Merritt drifts like a small dark cloud. It may not pierce to the heart of his art, but it comes as close as anyone's likely to get.
Of the million potential roads a documentary can take, the narrow, intimate route explored in Strange Powers seems like one of the least economical.
Not only is the film a slog, the main focus is on the band's arguably inferior last decade.
reveals the nuance behind what for many is yet another undeservedly bitter and resentful musical genius
Most fan-docs are fairly remedial, but Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt And The Magnetic Fields is more sophisticated than the norm, in keeping with its subject.
A relaxed, enjoyable little documentary whose central figure emerges as a figure rendered in half-precise, half-diffuse pointillist dots
A decent way to get to know a small group of New York-based musicians who have been performing together since the early 1990s.
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