Preview: Five Hot Sundance Music Documentaries
From the Beastie Boys' A-List party to the rise and fall of A Tribe Called Quest, see the films of note in Park City.
Film buffs and industry veterans flock to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, each year to get a glimpse of the next Quentin Tarantino or Steven Soderbergh. But this year’s festival, which runs from January 20-30, also features a group of buzzy music documentaries. Below, check out SPIN’s picks for the hottest new rock docs, from Adam Yauch’s balls-out Hollywood party to director Morgan Neville’s history of the ’70s songwriter scene in L.A.
Beastie Boys Return to the Party
For Fight for Your Right Revisited, Adam Yauch wrote and directed a sequel of sorts to his group’s classic 1986 hit “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party),” which is subtitled, “After the boys leave the party…” The 30-minute short features a top-notch list of Hollywood stars who will impersonate the Beasties – Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Jack Black are cast as “B-Boys 2″; Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, and Seth Rogen are playing “B-Boys 1″ – while Yauch, Mike D. and Adam Horovitz will make cameos themselves as cops. The movie also has a huge roster of actors in secondary roles, including Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Rainn Wilson, Rashida Jones, Ted Danson, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Orlando Bloom, and others. [Fight for Your Right Revisited]
The Rise and Fall of Tribe
In his directorial debut, actor Michael Rapaport (My Name Is Earl, Boston Public) traces the rise and fall of hip-hop greats A Tribe Called Quest, who very publicly broke up in 1998 after 13 years of crafting some of the most influential and smartest hip-hop ever. Beats, Rhymes & Life promises to cut close to the quick: Q-Tip voiced his distaste for the project last year, although he’s since signed on as a producer. “The movie is a very honest depiction of my time with them and the information that I was given in interviews,” Rapaport told MTV. The doc also includes spots from Ludacris, Mos Def, Pharrell, and the Roots’ ?uestlove and offers clues about the future of the iconic hip-hop crew. [Beats, Rhymes & Life]
Das Racist’s Wild Tribute to Nintendo’s Golden Age
Das Racist released the video for “Who’s That? Brooown!” – the New York duo’s hilarious 8-bit homage to ’80s video games – last September, but they’ll certainly rile the buttoned-up festival crowd when they bring this clip for Sundance’s Shorts category. [Who's That? Brooown!]
The Roots of the Singer-Songwriter
Troubadours looks at the explosion of singer-songwriters who emerged in L.A. in the 1970s, when artists like David Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and Kris Kristofferson shared ideas and performed regularly at the famous Troubadour club. The doc – directed by Morgan Neville – focuses on the careers of two of the era’s biggest songwriters (James Taylor and Carole King) but also features interviews, archival footage, and rare performances by Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, and more. [Troubadours]
Erykah Badu and Talib Kweli’s ’60s Influences
The Black Power Mixtape, a 96-minute doc, examines a crew of Swedish journalists who came to America to study the Black Power movement of the late-’60s and early-’70s thanks to the recent discovery of old 16mm film footage. Mixtape gets a modernized twist thanks to interviews with Erykah Badu and Talib Kweli, who reflect on how the movement impacted their art, and music from the Roots and Michael Jackson. [The Black Power Mixtape]