Apr

17

Nashville Scene review

By Adam Gold
Having just posted a fairly lukewarm review of The White Stripes doc — playing tonight, at the Nashville Film Festival — I decided I’d rather end the work week (and this late-Friday blogging spree) by singing praises as opposed to saying nays. Unlike that sleepy Stripes road movie, Robert Patton-Spruill’s documentation of Boston Globe reporter Geoff Edgers’ quest to reunite The Kinks is fantastic. It shows tomorrow night at 9:20 p.m., and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, in Green Hills. Here’s what I had to say about it in the Scene’s film festival guide:

A document of Boston Globe reporter Geoff Edgers’ mission impossible to reunite The Kinks, Robert Patton-Spruill’s Do It Again is a must see for any die-hard rock ‘n’ roll fan. By telling The Kinks’ story through the eyes of a super-fan — seamlessly inter-cut with archival footage and wall-to-wall audio — the movie engrosses the viewer with a three-dimensional take on rock music, encompassing themes of stardom, fandom, brotherhood and the love, hate and maddening obsession that binds them, while firmly establishing the band’s rightful place as a rock ‘n’ roll cornerstone. In the process of pursuing an unlikely sit-down with Ray Davies, Edgers manages to land interviews with the likes of Sting, Clive Davis, Paul Weller, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck, Warren Zanes and Zooey Deschanel, and he picks their brains on the influence of The Kinks, the complicated interpersonal relationships that come with playing in a band, and the general pathology of rock musicians — before goading them into jamming with him on a Kinks song, with amusingly varying degrees of success.

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Apr

14

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Stewart Nusbaumer

Blogging on Film Festival Circuit
Posted: April 13, 2010 02:01 PM
Film Review: Do It Again
Getting a hold of this film is like wresting an octopus. You are out-manned, with weird tentacles coming at you from every direction. Although its face is moronic looking, you sense the beast is smart and sneaky. And definitely slippery.

Do It Again is a documentary that focuses on a middle-age man, Geoff Edgers, and his attempt to reunite his favorite musical group, the Kinks, a rock group from the British musical invasion of the 1960s. A journalist working at Boston Globe, Edgers is determined to realize his dream of bringing the group together.

Wait — that’s a real slacker intro, I need to start over.

Do It Again is a documentary about journalist Geoff Edgers slammed by job insecurity and punched by a mid-life crisis — the Big 40! Confronting the possibility of losing his house if not his sanity, Edgers copes with the stress and fear by morphing into a hilarious comedian who embraces the totally whacky idea of uniting a dysfunctional group of British misfits and pathetic screw-ups formerly called the Kinks.

Yes, that is better. But something bigger is going on with this celluloid octopus.

Do It Again is a documentary about the collapse of the American Dream and the desperate struggle of Americans to evade the middle-class barbecue, which those still with jobs call a recession. One precarious American, Geoff Edgers, a member of the torched profession of journalism, confronts the possibility of being burnt toast and flushed down the toilet of the American Nightmare by bending the boundaries of reality to embrace a whacky mission to reunite his favorite band, the Kinks.

That’s a little better. Still — oh, forget it.

The roadblock for Edgers to reunite the Kinks appears to be lead singer and chief songwriter Ray Davies, who is either totally nuts or a humongous ego blimp. Actually, he’s probably both. When the band was together, Davies spent more time pounding on his brother Ray than playing his guitar. On the other hand, none of this really matters. Do It Again is really about the hunter, not the hunted. It’s about Geoff Edgers stalking America and England to realize his dream of reuniting the four wackos.

Edgers is of course missing more than a few marbles himself. Sure the Kinks had a few big hits, but they were a second-tier group, and that is a kind evaluation. I lived through the 60s and beyond, and I don’t even remember the group. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t remember any groups. Anyway, don’t attempt to enlighten this heat-seeking missile programmed for mission target that his quest to reunite the four psychos is mission impossible and if possible then it is mission unworthy. There are times when one should just keep their mouth shut. Not that Edgers ever does.

The man is certainly self-absorbed — he can’t shut-up about reuniting the band — but his self-absorption is not ego-driven. For instance, when requesting the assistance of established musicians — Sting, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, Peter Buck, Zooey Deschanel, and eventually Dave Davies — his insistence upon singing with them is not because of ego. It’s the opposite. With ego blow torched by our American Dream slipping down the potty, self-defecation and embarrassing one’s self is natural. So with famous musicians, Edgers releases one of the world’s most horribly screeching, scrawny voices. He isn’t disturbed in the least.

With a goal that lies somewhere between ridiculous and worthless, it occurred to me that Edgers may have a hidden objective, one cleverly concealed behind the Kinks mission. It could even be something truly grandiose. Such as attempting to undermine human rationality and the social order … to turn us away from everything that made this country great — well, before the middle-class was cooked by the rich. On the other hand, I might be giving Edgers too much credit. Regardless, the man does bring magic to the screen.

His refusal to bend to practicality and middle-class conformity and common sense had the strong and strange effect of skyrocketing the mood of the capacity audience at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, in Durham, North Carolina. Soon they were cheering for this man who was demanding life on his terms — clearly an alien concept in modern America. About three-quarters the way through the film, the audience was radiating an odd glow. It had turned envious of the crazy man. By the end, Geoff Edgers had transformed himself into a cute poster boy for the mentally insane.

It’s true, this man is dangerous to America as we know it.

Directed by Robert Patton-Spruill, Do It Again is a hilarious romp and clever distraction from a crumbling America and the middle class barbecue. In fact, this film is more. Like a sneaky octopus, it wraps you up, and when squeezing the laughter out of you, out flies a picture of your life. When leaving the theater, I couldn’t help but think I had taken a wrong road in one of those forks of life. The road that does not laugh enough. The one that does not allow anything between the ridiculous and the worthless. And I thought, I need to work on that.

When it’s time for a break, take a good one. Watch Do It Again.

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Apr

11

Hollywood News

Exclusive: Sting, Zooey Deschanel rock new Kinks doc “Do It Again”

BY SEAN O’CONNELL

The Kinks, to me, were a second-tier rock outfit. That’s not a slight against the band. Several of their hits, from “Lola,” “All Day and All of the Night” and “Tired of Waiting for You” to “You Really Got Me,” became part of pop culture’s conscience. They just never attained the same level of popularity and mainstream success as legendary first-tier rockers The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones or The Who.

Geoff Edgers would disagree. The Boston Globe reporter views The Kinks as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. And with his 40th birthday fast approaching — the milestone of the mid-life crisis — Edgers sets a personal and professional goal. He’s going to reunite the four original members of the band, including feuding brothers Ray and Dave Davies, who haven’t spoken in years.

Robert Patton-Spruill’s documentary “Do It Again,” which trails Edgers on his impossible quest, screened to a raucous crowd last night at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. And while official awards won’t be handed out until Sunday, the lively and personable “Do It Again” earns a special achievement award as the best film I’ve seen so far at the fest.

“Again” dives into the volatile history of the British rock outfit, who admit to sabotaging their career every time fame came knocking. Most of the battles are attributed to lead singer and chief songwriter Ray Davies’ pride and ego, which struck sour notes with brother Dave.

But the film, as all good docs do, draws us into Edgers’ personal mission, and we suffer as this journalist deals with salary cuts at his unstable job and wince as Ray (and his publicity associates) plays hard-to-get with Edgers’ dream.

Others play along, however. Edgers’ status as a journalist buys him face time with rockers who happen to be big fans of The Kinks and want to see the brothers reunited. Sting, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, actress/musician Zooey Deschanel, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, and, eventually, Dave Davies, open up for Patton-Spruill’s cameras, recollecting their favorite Kinks songs and contemplating on the emotional forces that eventually drive bands apart. In an entertaining Q-and-A following the screening, Edgers revealed that $15,000 of his film’s $125,000 went to former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, a member of rock royalty, who eventually blocked his involvement in the project.

“Do It Again” doesn’t suffer from McCartney’s absence. It’s a rollicking trip through music history, and a worthy personal journey too many of us will be able to relate to. And Edgers capped everyone’s evening off with a live performance by The Kinksmen — a famous Kinks cover band — in the famed Carolina Theater. It was an ideal tribute to an energetic evening, and a highlight of the ongoing fest.

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Apr

11

Cleveland Plain Dealer

‘Do It Again’ entertainingly captures one fan’s quixotic crusade to reunite the Kinks
By John Soeder, The Plain Dealer

“Do It Again” is “Man of La Mancha” with an infinitely more rocking soundtrack. In the Don Quixote role is Geoff Edgers, a reporter for The Boston Globe. His impossible dream? To reunite the Kinks, the British Invasion band of “You Really Got Me” renown.

It won’t be easy for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the long-running feud between frontman Ray Davies and his guitar-playing brother, Dave Davies.
Ray proves elusive, although Edgers scores interviews with Dave and other key players. Sting, Zooey Deschanel, Robyn Hitchcock and other high-profile Kinks fans offer additional insights. Against the advice of former Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum staffer Warren Zanes, Edgers persuades several co-stars to perform off-the-cuff Kinks songs with him, an inspired touch.
No windmills are harmed in the process, but “Do It Again” lunges at rock ‘n’ roll fantasy with passion and a wonderful sense of humor. This is one noble quest you don’t want to sit out.

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Apr

11

Variety

Do It Again

(Documentary) A Filmshack presentation of a Loneliest Monk Prods. production. (International sales: Loneliest Monk, Arlington, Mass.) Produced by Geoff Edgers. Executive producers, Josh Struzziery, Jeffrey Currie. Co-producer, Patricia Moreno. Directed by Robert Patton-Spruill. Written by Geoff Edgers.

With: Geoff Edgers, Warren Zanes, Pete Quaife, Clive Davis, Mick Avory, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, Shel Talmey, Zooey Deschanel, Sting, Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Bill Rieflin, Bob Henrit, Dave Davies.

By JAY WEISSBERG
The goal becomes less important than the obsession in “Do It Again,” director Robert Patton-Spruill’s good-natured docu about one man’s quest to bring the Kinks back together. Ultimate fan Geoff Edgers turns his midlife crisis into a personal crusade, doggedly pursuing his dream of reuniting “the greatest band ever,” despite the key players’ unwillingness to speak to each other. This mania becomes the film’s focus, resulting in a crowdpleaser that will connect even with auds unfamiliar with the Kinks’ legacy. Festgoers will be cheered, while ancillary play should rack up more supporters.
Boston Globe reporter Edgers is the kind of guy who talks about his high school years as if nothing will ever be as good again; this juvenile element about him can be wearying, and may turn off some viewers. However, most will go along with his quest, largely because he’s so passionately tenacious, against all odds. Main stumbling block is that band founders (and brothers) Ray and Dave Davies loathe each other, while some other former members are less than amicable.

Docu foregrounds Edgers’ persistent, all-American personality, having him address the camera while doing household chores and allowing auds to eavesdrop on uncomfortable conversations between Edgers and his wife about the family’s rocky finances. Before even getting to the Davies brothers, he attempts contact with anyone in their circle, receiving mostly curt rejections but occasionally winning over musicians and agents long enough to get some good quotes.

Edgers’ habit of requesting jam sessions during interviews can make him seem painfully like a teen who knows no boundaries, though there’s a very nice moment with Sting (always a gentleman).

In the end, of course, there’s still no Kinks reunion, and the nearest Edgers gets to Ray Davies is at an annual Kinks fan convention in London. But he does interview Dave Davies in a surprisingly clear-headed discussion. Warren Zanes, formerly of the del Fuegos, provides a skeptical but ultimately supportive voice of reason, understanding Edgers’ need to pursue his obsession but warning against a total plunge into madness.

Helmer Patton-Spruill is no stranger to music docus (“Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome”), but he recognizes this is more about Edgers than the Kinks, so hardcore fans wanting rare concert footage and the like may be disappointed. The final song, a homemade performance of Al Yankovic’s adaptation of “Lola,” is alone worth the price of admission.

Editing maintains the energy and mood, even as Edgers comes to grips with the futility of his cause.

Camera (color, video), Patton-Spruill, Brad Allen Wilde, Beecher Cotton; editor, Wilde; music, Ray Davies, David Davies, Mike Gent, Yo La Tengo, She & Him; sound, Lowell Meyer, Alexandra LoCastro, Jon Howarth, Scott Johnston, Paul Graff. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Spectrum), Jan. 31, 2010. Running time: 85 MIN.

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