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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(4 star). See all 62 reviews
on September 17, 2003
This movie is quite entertaining. It has a great cast and none of the performers are wasted: Stephen Rea is the sweet guy who wants the band to take advantage of a reunion and achieve the success that internal bickering and problems cost them years ago; Billy Connolly is a hoot as the band's pragmatic roadie; Bill Nighy captures dim-witted preening lead singer Ray without making him unsympathetic; Timothy Spall brings laughs as the drummer still living in the past ('If women are from Venus and men are from Mars, drummers are from Pluto'); Jimmy Nail is the guitarist with grudges, regrets and a nice voice; and Juliet Aubrey is engaging as the woman who was a fan/runner and steps in as manager for the group. Though the two younger supporting roles aren't given much to do, that leaves more screen time for the adult characters, each of whom is three-dimensional, sympathetic and interesting. Billy Connolly's voiceovers are well-written and fun, and while not every joke works, there are many one-liners that you will make you laugh the next day.
You can see bits of your favorite 70s bands paid tribute, from Pink Floyd to Deep Purple, with insight and affection and the songs, written by veterans of Foreigner and Squeeze, are quite good. The film is very funny for the first half and then takes a few missteps as the drama quotient is elevated, but it finds its way again before the close. All in all, a lot of fun from a fine cast and talented crew, just the ticket for music fans with a sense of humor.
DVD features include: English, Spanish or Portuguese sound and English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean or Thai subtitles; a short making-of featurette; a trailer; and filmographies for director Gibson and some of the cast members.
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on January 19, 2001
Reasons to enjoy this film: 1) You came of age with the rock music of the late 60s, early 70s. 2) Your parents came of age with the rock music of the late 60s, early 70s and made sure you became very familiar with its conventions. 3) You've been to recent "comeback" concerts and wondered what was going on backstage. 4) You like The Last Waltz but love This Is Spinal Tap. 5) You enjoy well-crafted British films that are refreshingly free of American film mannerisms and celebrity mugging. 6) You like it when a film gets something "right," in this case the music and its culture. 7) Bill Nighy as the lead singer is outstanding. 8) You are in the mood for a comedy that doesn't bite much. Reasons not to watch this with very young children or senior citizens to whom you are related: 1) They won't get the music or the topical references and will either comment derisively or interrupt frequently asking you to explain. 2) They won't get the bawdier moments and will ask you to explain.
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on November 14, 2000
This is not a comedy to make you laugh all the time, but it is very well crafted, a true gem. Amazing pop soundtrack, tryuing to sound exactly as a metal band of the seventies would. Fantastic. Only weak point is the actor that palys the role of the young guitarrist hired by the band in their comeback. At some stage scenes, no attempt was made to syncronize the songs with his playing.
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on November 7, 2003
"Big Name" stars Stephen Rea (as keyboard player 'Tony Costello') and Billy Connolly (as prototypical rock band roadie 'Hughie' - no last name known or required) are front-loaded into the credits of this 1999 release detailing the fanciful reunion of splintered 1960s British rock group 'Strange Fruit.'
No matter. The film is lorded over by supposed lesser-light Bill Nighy, portraying the David Lee Roth-like, completely self-absorbed lead singer 'Ray Simms.' Try taking your eyes off Nighy when he's on the screen...especially during his spleen-venting histrionics on-stage. This is Grade A stuff.
And, for once, US marketers got it right: the cover box features Rea and fellow band members pushed far to the back, with a preening Nighy front and center in classic rock superstar regalia and pout. That's exactly the way the movie feels.
We rented 'Still Crazy' as a 'second movie' throw-in & wound up being totally enchanted by it. Frankly, I can't even remember the other film, ostensibly our 'big viewing' for the weekend. I'll bet 'Still Crazy' - and especially Nighy - has that effect on you, too. It's definitely worth checking out.
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on August 23, 2003
The decade of the 90's saw the re-emergence of several rock bands of the 70's. Deep Purple, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, Yes (the classic lineup), and The Doobie Brothers, among others, all came back loud and proud as ever, much to the delight of those of us who grew up during their heyday.
So it was only natural, and also much to our delight, that a movie about such a band was made. Strange Fruit, actually a fictitious rock group, could very well have been a real-life band. All the requisite elements are here: the member who meets an untimely death by drug overdose (were you expecting a sky-diving accident?), the guitarist who mysteriously disappears, the artistic differences, and the internal bickering that eventually leads to the group's breakup. Not to mention the long hair, the denim jeans and jackets, and of couse, the music.
Not surprisingly, the personality clashes that led to Strange Fruit's demise in the 70's resurface during the reunion phase, threatening to again tear the band apart. Art imitates life once again here, as this situation is reminiscent of the problems that beset Deep Purple, specifically guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Ian Gillan, during the 70's and again after their reunion in the 90's.
As we watch the Fruits go through the difficult times once again, we react with genuine involvement and concern, hoping they will pull through, but at the same time wondering if the years have made them mature enough to handle the situation.
Admittedly, this film's appeal is far from universal. If you like rock music, if you are or were the type to not just listen to your favorite bands but also read about them in Rolling Stone, if you rejoiced in the comebacks of the great rock acts of the 70's, and most of all, if you hate disco, this is one movie you will definitely enjoy.
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on October 11, 1999
Didn't know what to expect out of this DVD I borrowed from a friend but I thought I had just seen the most overlooked movie of 1998. The script was very, very well written and the acting performances were very earnest. The music got to me and I am aching to get a copy of the soundtrack just to hear Jimmy Nail wail "The Flame Still Burns" (ending song). The comedy also worked in a lot of ways, specially now that I begin to wonder whatever happened to all those one hit wonder groups from when I was growing up. Interesting must-see for rock fans who loved late 70's, early 80's music has a fascinating in depth view of "what might" have happened to your fave groups.
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on August 12, 2015
I loved this movie . as far as music movies go they got it right . the back stage shots and the equipment were accurate.The story line is great and the sad truth of one time rock stars longing for the glory days its close to home for many people in the live music field. The situations are funny and quite believable. Billy Nighy once again completely believable as the self involved rock star is perfect. The sound track is awsome the tracks were written for the movie but are real valid tunes. Loved it, have watched it a few times .

I see a few people not happy about the the DVD being in PAL format. I found that the DVD will play in VLC media player. you can download that for free.
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on February 23, 2004
We rented this on impulse because it had Billy Connolly. The description reminded us of This Is Spinal Tap (which we love) and we greatly enjoyed the movie. Bill Nighy's clueless Ray was really wonderful and Stephen Rea as keyboardist Tony Costello was enjoyable to watch but the scene-stealer was Timothy Spall's Bilbo Baggot, the drummer. I just about fell off my seat when he finds out that his most vivid memory of touring is when the Fruit played the Hollywood Bowl--only to hear they never played there. And Billy Connolly is always a treat to watch, whatever he does.
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on April 21, 2003
A perfect cast and a good script make this a film to be watched over and over. Bill Nighy's best ever performance against Jimmy Nail's permanently depressed attitude made for some hilarious moments, not least the concert in the Belgian basement, where Nighy ends up wrecking the plumbing The only thing this film lacked was a fifteen to twenty minute prologue detailing the band in their prime before the original lead singer died, this would have all the more entertaining as the actors who played the 'young' band were absolute dead ringers for the '90s' equivalents
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on April 15, 2010
Do you like films about bands playing rock or pop music - for example, "Standing in the Shadow of Motown" and "Almost Famous"? If you do, chances are you'll like this film. It's a good story about a bunch of aging rockers getting their band back together. The script is well-written and the cast is excellent. The result is an entertaining and relaxed romp, filled with humour and witty insights, and tinged with the melancholy of missed opportunities and the toll of aging.
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