Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010)
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Critic Reviews for Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage
Dunn and McFadyen have done Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart the service of resolving their eventful, four-decade career. It's a smart, lyrical, often funny movie.
Fans will gorge on this deft, year-by-year portrait of the ultimate enduring cult band. And even a skeptic may come away with an affection for the intricate labor of Rush's skewed-time-signature epics.
The great thing about "Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage" is that the documentary enables a new-found respect and regard for an incredibly energetic and creative band that recognize their strength as the sum of their talented parts.
Conveying information and insight without artifice, Beyond the Lighted Stage uses every frame to wittily and touchingly convey a story that had yet to be properly told -- about a band and improbable worldwide phenomenon that is Canada's own.
Audience Reviews for Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage
An intimate look at one of the most storied and creative bands of all-time, and how their decorated 40-year career started and the bumps any great band eventually encounters. What makes this documentary so special is simply, the people it details. Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart come across as some of the most down to earth, genuinely likeable and thoughtful guys that have come through the mainstream music scene. Whether it is humorously looking back on the band's beginnings, or exploring the heart-wrenching loss Peart especially experienced in his life during the late 90's, this film never ceases to remain interesting. It does not pull any real surprises or pretend to be anything more than it is, and for that, it gets a high recommendation, especially if you are a "Rush" fanboy like me.
"Rush, Rush, I thought I heard her callin' my name now!" For some reason, whenever I hear this band's name, I can't help but think of that song, possibly because Geddy Lee is the only good hard rock vocalist for a really good band who has more obnoxious occasions than Ian Gillan (Come on, don't tell me that the shrieking segment of "Child in Time" didn't get on your nerves a little bit), and because where Deep Purple has such an American style that you sometimes forget they're British, Rush is so, well, cool that you forget they're Canadians. No, Canadians are awesome, but what I'm getting at is that progressive rock can sure make people sound British, or at least that's the case with Rush, which would make sense, seeing as how they are "British Columbians". ...Well, actually, Alex Lifesone was the only one born in British Columbia, and even then, his parents are Serbian immigrants who actually raised him in Toronto, Ontario, but still, canyuk-nyuk-nyuk. Shoot, it sounds like if I ever meet Rush I should ask them some tips for jokes, because these guys are funnier than you'd expect, and the idea of a bunch of Canadians being killer hard rock musicians is already pretty hilarious. You know, I keep talking about how these guys are so cool that they make Canada look less lame, but nowadays they look like a bunch of cheeseballs, and they're best, most memorable songs are usually something science-fictiony, or philosophical, or something cheesy like that, but hey, I'm not saying that to their ugly mugs, as I respect them too much, and plus, they're musicianship reflects their not being human beings, so who knows what they're capable of? Hey, whatever these guys are, they sure do make for an interesting documentary, or at least a documentary that's generally interesting, until engagement value takes a blow from some shortcomings. At just under 110 minutes, this film sounds like it might be a touch too short to be a documentary that spans the lengthy career of music legends, and sure enough, while I'm kind of glad we're not quite looking at something like "Runnin' Down a Dream" or a life-covering documentary epic by Martin Scorsese, the film will often - not pun intended - "rush" by and gloss over material in a fashion that gives you the gist of certain major notes in the story of Rush, but not much more than that. The documentary's material is fleshed out enough to compel thoroughly, but the relatively hurried moments are hard to miss, diluting a sense of dynamicity within storytelling's structure and driving the final product into more than a few repetitious spells that are at least not as bland as the atmospheric dry spells. The documentary doesn't slow down very often, and when it does, it's never close to boring, but entertainment value will get hamstrung at times by somewhat quiet moments and a lack of flare to the atmosphere, thus leaving you to briefly drift away from a film that is too unevenly paced for you to be able to afford becoming momentarily disengaged. There's not enough meat to this story for things to get convoluted, but it does get kind of hard to keep up with the film, what with all of its repetition and inconsistencies that, when backed by the occasional dry spell, throw you off, but not so far that don't come floating back to the film just long enough to notice some beats that are too familiar for their own good. There are refreshing moments here and there throughout the film, but this is still a bit too formulaic of a documentary, whose familiarity softens the value of a story whose intrigue was limited to begin with, for although Rush's story is an interesting one, it's just not meaty enough to firmly secure a documentary's reward value. Sure, the film ultimately makes it as rewarding, but just barely, as its natural shortcomings makes the consequential hiccups all the more glaring, slowing down momentum and hurting intrigue until you end up with a formulaic rockumentary that runs the risk of collapse into underwhelmingness. Needless to say, underwhelmingness doesn't quite claim the final product, which is flawed, sure, but undeniably quite compelling, with intrigue, style and, of course, some darn good tunes. Jimmy Chamberlin of The Smashing Pumpkins, via an interview for this film, refers to Rush as one of the great rock bands, and while such a statement is so immense that I can't quite see myself jumping right on board, make no bones about it, Rush is an awesome band that ranks among progressive rock's finest and just has to be evoked in discussions dealing with a rare combination of high-quality modern musical talent, so of course they delivered on plenty of fine tunes, and you better believe that plenty of them can be found in this documentary, which obviously doesn't play up the tunes enough to battle back the aforementioned occasional dull spot, but plays up Rush's killer, if somewhat repetitious style (If Pink Floyd isn't about as good as progressive rock gets, then tell me another one of the great prog rock bands that has more than ten songs that don't sound like most of their others) enough to create a musical liveliness that is matched only by visual liveliness. The film offers plenty of nifty archived footage and material that are cleverly structured to give you an organic and immersive sense of progress within the story that is being told, and are also presented with style that ranges from snappy editing - courtesy of Mike Munn - to other animated post-production touches, while keeping consistent in a color that breathes life into entertainment value. Again, there are pacing issues within Sam Dunn's and Scot McFadyen's storytelling, but on the whole, the style within the inspired directorial efforts drive the final product quite a ways as generally entertaining and compelling, something that this documentary's subject matter deserves to be executed as. Again, not much is incredibly exciting about Rush's tale of consistency in artistry and stability, but we're still talking about down-to-earth Joes who rose into being powerhouse musical forces with a type of skill and vision that was quite unique, and there's plenty of intrigue to that type of story, which explores the creative and human mindsets of upstanding artists and creates the potential for a compelling documentary. Again, the documentary's subject matter isn't so juicy that the final product doesn't run a very real risk of collapsing into underwhelmingness, but there's still plenty of potential for compellingness, and it goes brought to life by anything from the aforementioned lively direction to the onscreen charisma. Driven by its intense attention to the evolution and influence of Rush, this film offers plenty of varying interviews, and almost all of them really command your attention, whether they're of fans who are mostly distinguished musicians and, therefore, with an integrity that gives you an understanding of Rush's impact on the community and music industry, or of the band members themselves, who boast a down-to-earth charm that makes them engagingly relatable, but not so much so that you can't feel some degree of the weight of their experience and sharpness. As surely as the flaws seem light, but considerable in the long run, the film's strengths seem somewhat light, yet they go a long way when it's all said and done, because in spite of its shortcomings, the documentary meets every hiccup with plenty of reinforcement of your engagement value, until you end up with a final product that compels enough to reward. In conclusion, hurried moments in storytelling dilute both an adequate degree of thorough material exploration at times and structural dynamicity, resulting in repetitious spells that, alongside the occasional bland spot, slow momentum down enough for you to see the conventionalism and limits in juiciness to this documentary, which comes close to collapsing into underwhelmingness, yet goes saved by the lively soundtrack, neat and stylishly well-presented footage, highly intriguing subject matter and extremely engaging interviews that produce enough compellingness and entertainment value to make "Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage" a rewarding and deeply fascinating meditation upon the humble lives and unique careers within a legendary hard rock band. 3/5 - Good
I am convinced that the guys who made this film are only in the biz to meet all of the bands that they idolize. Show me something that doesn't involve hard rock or metal and I will give you more respect. The real reason why this film doesn't work is because Rush are quite simply too goody two shoes. They get along. They don't appear to be heavy drinkers or drug users. Overcoming these types of adversities are the stories that draw us to these sagas. One can't help but notice though that Geddy Lee looks more and more like Star Trek's Gowron every day.
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