Beat the Crowd
Only a Julien Temple concert doc would get the R rating--for nudity (male, mostly, and not terribly flattering at that), drug use (weed, mostly--yawn), language and sexual content. Also dig the overwrought BBC narration, in which Glastonbury is described as a former refuge for "saints, mystics, and holy men," where now it's just the hipsters' hot spot for an annual alt-rock hoedown featuring the likes of Radiohead, Oasis, the White Stripes, Blur, Morrissey, Foo Fighters -- you name the flavor, they've played the fest. What separates this from other concert compilations is the history on display: Temple has rounded up years of footage and squashed it together into an ambient, impressionist tale in which performances are often brief and used to prop up interviews with concertgoers. This is the perfect way to attend Glastonbury--less mud, if nothing else. But do bring your own stash. --Robert Wilonsky
The Hustler: Collector's Edition (Fox)
Glastonbury, The Hustler, Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built, The Bridge
This might be the first collection where you'll watch the bonus disc before bothering with the film. It's not that the movie isn't great, but who doesn't want to learn the inside scoop about the art of pool hustling, making trick shots, and acting like Paul Newman? Once you've exhausted the docs, go ahead and watch the movie--a true classic pitting cocky and desperate Fast Eddie (Newman) against Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason, in the performance of a great lifetime) in marathon pool sessions. Newman puts on one of his earliest world-class performances, but Gleason owns every scene he's in, a fat but graceful shark swimming in blood. Also out this week: a similarly loaded edition of Newman's workmanlike courtroom drama, The Verdict. --Jordan Harper
Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built (Rhino)
Yes, you're right to fear a documentary about Ahmet Ertegun--co-founder of Atlantic Records--in which the first person you hear from is Kid Rock. But stick with this film, because if it's not the definitive look back, it's nonetheless a damned enjoyable one, in which Ertegun's old friends--among them Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, and narrator Bette Midler--pay tribute to the late-great, whose label made R&B the nation's soundtrack in the 1950s and '60s. But it's Ertegun who shines here like a blinding sunset; he tells old stories and listens to old songs, but in this context, it all seems brand-new: two hours to listen to, drink to, and dance to as an era comes to a heartbreaking close. --R.W.
The Bridge (Koch Lorber)
Maybe you're the type who tends not to watch real people kill themselves on film. Fair enough. This documentary on the world's most popular suicide spot--the Golden Gate Bridge--mixes interviews of family and friends with footage of people plunging to their deaths. It's a gimmick, and it feels like one. But The Bridge is often affecting even beyond the emotional blackmail at play. That said, it would have been better served with a little objectivity; the film's narratorless, "poetic" style prevents its creators from answering the many questions raised, except for maybe that one about how people kill themselves because they are really fucking sad. A making-of bonus feature addresses whether the cameramen did anything to prevent the suicides they filmed, but these answers, like so many others, arrive a little too late. --J.H.
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