Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt And The Magnetic Fields - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt And The Magnetic Fields Reviews

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Jason Anderson
December 28, 2010
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Shawn Levy
December 10, 2010
"Strange Powers" moves with lightness, verve and charm, which Magnetic Fields fans might find amusing, given Merritt's well-known morosity.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 18, 2010
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
November 12, 2010
A most satisfying portrait of the artist as a middle-aged curmudgeon.
Top Critic
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
November 11, 2010
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."
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Brent Simon
Shared Darkness
November 11, 2010
A glimpse behind the curtain of creativity that makes a persuasive case for a tip of the cap to artistic enablers.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Jim Slotek
Jam! Movies
November 5, 2010
For my part, I knew nothing about The Magnetic Fields before seeing the movie. I came out interested in hearing more of their discography.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Kurt Loder
November 5, 2010
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.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
November 5, 2010
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Annlee Ellingson
Moving Pictures Magazine
November 2, 2010
Directors Kerthy Fix and Gail O'Hara offer a competent overview of a band. But a viewer unfamiliar with Merritt or the Magnetic Fields comes away with little further insight.
Top Critic
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
November 1, 2010
This portrait of the famed indie rock composer-musician is for fans only.
Jesse Cataldo
Slant Magazine
October 31, 2010
Of the million potential roads a documentary can take, the narrow, intimate route explored in Strange Powers seems like one of the least economical.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Vadim Rizov
Boxoffice Magazine
October 29, 2010
Not only is the film a slog, the main focus is on the band's arguably inferior last decade.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
October 29, 2010
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Chris Cabin
October 28, 2010
reveals the nuance behind what for many is yet another undeservedly bitter and resentful musical genius
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
October 28, 2010
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Stephanie Zacharek
October 28, 2010
A relaxed, enjoyable little documentary whose central figure emerges as a figure rendered in half-precise, half-diffuse pointillist dots
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Eric Monder
Film Journal International
October 28, 2010
A decent way to get to know a small group of New York-based musicians who have been performing together since the early 1990s.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
October 27, 2010
A laconic, noodling documentary, Strange Powers: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields pecks gently at that shell but makes little effort to get underneath.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Armond White
New York Press
October 27, 2010
Strange Powers should be a cautionary cultural prognosis. Instead, it's a promotional film.
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