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Film review: Stones strike a chord with familiar-feeling ‘Shine a Light’

SHARE Film review: Stones strike a chord with familiar-feeling ‘Shine a Light’

SHINE A LIGHT — *** — Music concert film featuring the Rolling Stones; rated PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, drugs, slurs)

As far as recent concert films are concerned, "Shine a Light" fits neatly between the "U2 3D" and the "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" movie.

It's not nearly as innovative nor as electrifying as the U2 piece, but "Shine a Light" is definitely better than the style-over-substance, "tweener" music documentary.

It's a competently made concert film that spotlights veteran British rockers the Rolling Stones, who prove they can still keep up with most of their younger contemporaries.

And as a film and music experience, it's most likely to strike a chord with longtime, die-hard Stones fans. Though, given the number of Stones documentaries and videos that are already out there — including 1991's IMAX-format "At the Max" — it does feel a little familiar.

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese, a legion of cinematographers and more than a dozen cameras are on hand to capture a fall 2006 concert at New York's Beacon Theater during the Stones' "A Bigger Bang" tour.

Also, though the 24-song set opens with "Jumpin' Jack Flash," most of the oldies and best-known hits are saved until the very end. Those songs do include "Brown Sugar," "Start Me Up," "Sympathy for the Devil" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," for those who are wondering.

And it's a surprisingly diverse set of songs that features a few covers and some guest performers. The White Stripes singer Jack White joins Mick Jagger on vocals for "Lovin' Cup," and the veteran shows the younger man a thing or two about stage presence.

But the best of these — and arguably the best performance of the night — is a cover of the Muddy Waters standard "Champagne and Reefer," which features bluesman Sonny Guy on guitar and guest vocals.

It's fun to see axeman Guy "duel" with Stones guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, and for the band to acknowledge its early debts to blues music.

"Shine a Light" is rated PG-13 for some suggestive language and song lyrics (a few crude references), scattered profanity (including a couple of uses of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), drug references (marijuana and cocaine), and racial and other derogatory slurs. Running time: 122 minutes.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com