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by Karen Martin | January 22, 2021 at 1:41 a.m.
“Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story"

"Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story"

directed by Martin Scorsese

(TV-MA, 2 hours 22 minutes)

Those who miss live concerts (thanks, pandemic) as well as a combustible era (1975) when people from varied backgrounds and attitudes could disagree about all sorts of things yet gather to enjoy fine music -- should be lining up to watch this multi-layered documentary, which is now being re-issued by the Criterion Collection.

Even if you're not a Bob Dylan fan, there's much to appreciate in Martin Scorsese's second examination of the singer/songwriter (the first is 2005's "No Direction Home," which concerns Dylan's early life and career).

That film had a running time of of three and a half hours; this one is much more manageable at a little over two hours, and sparkles with restored performance footage that is wide-ranging enough to offer something to all sorts of viewers, no matter what their musical tastes.

It helps that Dylan's stage is shared with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Bob Neuwirth, Roberta Flack, Mick Ronson, Sharon Stone, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Sam Shepard, T Bone Burnett, Roger McGuinn and Allen Ginsberg.

There's a lot of storytelling -- only some of it true -- along with the music that, along with backstage goofing around, adds to the entertainment value. Not to be missed is a sensational bit of archival footage featuring Mitchell playing her new song "Coyote" -- which McGuinn introduces as being written "about this tour and on this tour and for this tour," though everyone presumes she wrote it about Shepard -- at at Gordon Lightfoot's house, with Dylan and McGuinn joining in on guitar.

This edition includes new interviews with Scorsese, editor David Tedeschi, and writer Larry "Ratso" Sloman; restored footage of performances of "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You" and "Romance in Durango," and of a never-before-seen cut of "Tangled Up in Blue," as well as an essay by novelist Dana Spiotta and pieces from Shepard, Ginsberg and poet Anne Waldman

"Moments in Spacetime" (not rated, 1 hour, 52 minutes) A lack of background detail and character development makes it difficult to comprehend this story of a Thai immigrant, adopted at the age of 12 by a Canadian family, who must look after her dementia-suffering, beer-swilling grandfather. With John Rhys-Davies, Patty Srisuwan, Sam Gittins; written and directed by Chris Cowden.

"Girl Blood Sport" (not rated, 5 hours, 54 minutes) A dopey, chaotic attempt to examine the sexism of the modeling business (ya think?) in which gorgeous girls, tempted by a desirable prize, compete in a brutal tournament inside a steel cage. With Destiny Soria, Kelcey Coe, Chelsea Alexandria; written and directed by Russell Brown.

"The Kid Detective" (R, 1 hour, 40 minutes) A middling-quality mystery that could use a dose of tension in which 31-year-old Abe Applebaum (Adam Brody), who was once a promising young detective, gets a chance to restart his foundering career by taking on a murder case. With Sophie Nélisse, Sarah Sutherland; written and directed by Evan Morgan.

"Dreamland" (R, 1 hour, 38 minutes) A teenage bounty hunter's fledgling career takes an unexpected twist upon his discovery of a fugitive bank robber hiding out in his small town during the Great Depression. That bank robber is played by Margot Robbie -- who was also one of the film's producers -- which helps mightily to overcome mediocrity. With Garrett Hedlund, Kerry Condon, Finn Cole; directed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte.

"Spiral" (not rated, 1 hour, 27 minutes) A passable if murky mystery thriller with some spooky overtones in which a same-sex couple move to an idyllic small town so they and their 16-year-old daughter can enjoy a better quality of life. But the neighborhood, and its occupants, turn out to be much different than they expected. And not in a good way. With Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Ari Cohen, Jennifer Laporte; directed by Kurtis David Harder.

"Mile 22" (R, 1 hour, 34 minutes) Despite a lot of ear-splitting gunshot racket, there's not much going on in this snoozy tale populated with unattractive characters, of a paramilitary officer who tries to smuggle a foreign intelligence asset with sensitive information out of an American embassy in southeast Asia. With Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey; directed by Peter Berg.


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