Thursday, September 9, 2010

Do It Again with The Kinks at the Atlantic Film Festival.

Do It Again--better known as the Kinks documentary--captures the hapless spirit of the great British Invasion band just about perfectly. Never as bombastic as The Who or as purely innovative as The Beatles, The Kinks rate just below The Rolling Stones as the third most important of a very important batch of 1960s popular musicians.

So much so that Boston Globe music writer Geoff Edgers has made a very public quest to re-unite The Kinks in order to bring a little joy back into a troubled and disappointed world.

Trouble is, the band has been dormant since 1993. And the group’s leaders, brothers Ray and Dave Davies, currently seem to be in a strange kind of limbo.

Edgers himself appears to be in some kind of limbo in Do It Again. The Boston Globe--like many North American newspapers--is in big trouble, and he can be glimpsed in the film working as a UPS delivery driver for a week in order to squeeze out some non-musical features for the New York Times-owned paper.

His domestic life also seems a big wobbly, with his wife wondering if this Kinks Quest isn’t just some last-chance fanboy splurge coinciding with Edgers’s 40th.

As the journalist defiantly plows his way to England to track down the Davies brothers, his mania takes on some kind of weird logic. He uses his Boston Globe interview connections to quiz a bevy of stars on their views on the Kinks. Edgers takes it even further by asking each to perform a Kinks song with him on camera.

There’s a sweet magic that takes place when grizzled vets like Peter Buck, Sting and actress Zooey Deschanel tear into Kinks chesnuts with Edgers, in full voice, sometimes on banjo. It, somehow, connects directly to the Kinks’ own openness and sense of melancholy and nostalgia.

Edgers even gets a couple of surprisingly frank and illuminating interviews with music industry legends who’ve rarely been seen on film. Clive Davis--who signed the Kinks to Arista Records from 1977 to 1984, selling truckloads of discs like Low Budget and Come Dancing--is particularly frank. And the talk with 1960s producer Shel Talmy--who also produced the early Who--is a wonder of compressed pop music wisdom.

As Edgers and his director Robert Patton Spruill get closer to their quarry, they manage to catch two spectacular sequences that, I guarantee, will gladden every Kinks fans’ hearts. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that while Do It Again may not re-unite the band musically, it does put join up the most important parts of the band in continuous sequential videotape....

A must for pop culture fans, Do It Again plays at the 30th Atlantic Film Festival on Monday, September 20th at 9:25pm in Park Lane 4. Don’t miss it!  (by Senior Programmer, Ron Foley MacDonald)

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