Friday, September 30, 2011

Davis Guggenheim on U2

They call it "Bonolese": a unique form of scatt-ish nonsense spouted by the lead singer of U2 when the band are sketching out songs. Footage of this rehearsal gibberish is one of the many surprises found within From the Sky Down, a new film by Davis Guggenheim that charts the creation of Achtung Baby. Bookended by U2's Glastonbury appearance this summer, Guggenheim (best known for Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and the music documentary It Might Get Loud) is given unprecedented access to both the band members themselves and to previously unseen footage from deep within their archives. "What is also interesting to me was seeing them in the studio trying to remember how to play 'Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses' or 'So Cruel'", says Guggenheim, sitting in a tiny all-white hotel room in London's The Dorchester. "You see it in the movie - Edge and Bono looking at each other saying 'I think the chords are this.'" Following an acclaimed debut at the Toronto film festival, Guggenheim talks to about Brian Eno's intellect, the band's worst fashion mistake and whose story he wants to tell next... From The Sky Down has some very funny moments. Why was it important to bring out the humour of U2?
Davis Guggenheim: On It Might Get Loud, Edge said to me immediately. "We have to be humorous. Because rockstars in general come off as too self-serious. Who cares about the trials and tribulations of famous rich people trying to write songs?" Humour is the great thing that gives levity to the storytelling. To be a good musician you have to take it very, very seriously. But it comes off to other people that you think you're the only person in the world... and how dare you be such a self-centred human being.
Brian Eno seems quite intimidating. Was that your impression of him?
I felt like I was sitting in front of a giant brain. I could close my eyes and see his flesh melt away, his bones disappear and all you would see is a brain with a thousand wires going off - and I could have plugged the wires right into my camera. I was half way through shooting the movie and I asked him [the key] question: how did U2 stay together? We think we know what a band is but we probably only understand it on very superficial levels. I said to him "Forget the way most people think of it - be an anthropologist Brian!"
What was your abiding memory of Glastonbury?
My son and I trying to go from one tent to another in twelve inches of mud that could have been glue. Mud in America is not nearly as adhesive. If you took the wrong step, your foot would come right out of the boot. Also they had a backstage area and my son was eating lunch next to this very quiet unassuming African American eating his potatoes - then I realized that it was the lead rapper in the Wu Tang Clan who was just about to go on stage and talk about banging hoes.
It was interesting to watch Bono talking about creating an identikit rockstar - sunglasses inspired by Lou Reed, leather trousers from Jim Morrison, jacket (and hair) from Elvis Presley. What's your favourite fashion moment in the film?
That's a GQ question! It is fun to look at what they did wear. They had some great clothes and they made some terrible mistakes. Larry always has done well though because he's always stuck with the Harley Davidson buckle. Fashion wasn't very good to us in the Eighties. If you look at both Bono and the Edge, you'll find some "interesting" choices...
There are a number of bandanas on screen…
In America we call it "the doo-rag". It helped Edge and it helped all of us when he found the beanie. The beanie works.
You're talked about your admiration for the documentaries Stop Making Senseand New York Doll. Which films did you bond with the band over?
It's funny, we didn't talk much about films but The Last Waltz is in there for sure. I'm a big fan of Errol Morris in all regards - particularly The Fog Of War and The Thin Blue Line. As much as I am frustrated by all Michael Moore's films, he's done a great job in terms of showing that documentaries have a place outside of this ghetto and that they can be entertainment. But I find them to be unfair to the people he makes the films about.  He puts himself too much in front of his storytelling. [However] if Michael Moore hadn't been around to influence me, I wouldn't have put the sequence in From The Sky Down of all the reasons rock bands breaking up.
Was there a particular shot you wished you could have got?
Probably hundreds. Every scene I look at I think "I could have done that better". I would have liked to get more performing from them. Part of the ability is to hide the performance in the narrative  - so Edge singing "Love is Blindness" is perfect because he's singing the song but he's also telling a story. You're not just wading through a song. When the band sing "One" at the end it's also pretty great. I could have used a couple more songs in the movie but we just didn't have the time.  We made this movie very quickly - four and a half months.
What was the most abstract thing you ended up discussing with Bono which didn't make it on screen?
The first hour we were talking about Irish poets. Knowing I had all this extra time,  it was wonderful because I know he's going to settle in and that somewhere, when he chooses, he's going to tie it back to himself - and when he does he's going to bring all the emotion of talking about the great Irish poets. I could just talk about what's interesting to me - it's not just the obligatory "checking things off the list". Even more important, because I do a lot of dramatic stuff, tone is so important - the tone at which I got to interview them in a quiet reflective place really bleeds through in the movie.
It's amazing to see Bono storm off stage in the Rattle and Hum outtake…
I showed it to him and the band could have said "Cut everything out". Especially that scene - he's calling some of the stage hands assholes and idiots. Who wants footage of themselves having a fit?  They didn't ask me to cut anything - so I was very lucky.
Who would you like to tell the story of next?
I would love to tell the story, from beginning to end, of Led Zeppelin. I've got one "in" there [laughs] but I need a few more! I'd also love to tell the story of Paul McCartney. I've been lucky to be able to get to people who have been very elusive. If I could get one of them I'd be very happy.  I can't wait to see Martin Scorsese's George Harrison documentary.
You wouldn't fancy doing the Kanye West story?
I'd have to read more about it. I have to make movies about people I like. I could like him but I'm not sure [laughs]. I think he's a fascinating, brilliant, talented guy - and his Twitter doesn't tell the whole story.

Any intense encounters with obsessed U2 fans?
I had a fan in the editing room! Our schedule was very tight and we found an assistant editor who we thought was fantastic. She came in and said "I really want this job but there's one time I've got to be gone from Thursday to Saturday". I thought maybe someone in her family was getting married or she had exams  - but she said U2 were performing in Seattle and I have to go. She was such an avid crazy fan that she would have preferred not getting the job than missing one show that was 500 miles away.
Who is your best dressed British man?
I think Jimmy Page is the elder statesman of guitar gods. He has these long beautiful trench coats and these fabulous John Varvatos boots - this is why I got a pair for myself. Jimmy was pretty elegant. All the women in my office would have thrown themselves on him - including my wife.
By Andy Morris

U2 - Achtung Baby 20th Anniversary reissue is out 31 October. From the Sky Down will be screened as part of the BBC's Imagine Series across the UK on 9 October.

"Beautiful Day" Among the 100 Greatest Songs of the '00s'

VH1 chose the 100 greatest songs of the 00´s and U2's "Beautiful Day" ranked 15. The list was headed up by BeyoncĂ©’s “Crazy in Love,” Black Eyed Peas, Green Day ,Lady Gaga ,Coldplay and Amy Whinehouse are among the 100s too.
To read the complete list. here

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Movie with U2 Music:"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is a new movie starred by Tom Hanks and Sandra Bulock. It tells the story of  "A nine-year-old amateur inventor, jewelry designer, astrophysicist, tambourine player and pacifist, searches New York for the lock that matches a mysterious key left by his father when he was killed in the September 11 attacks." ( Directed by Stephen Daldry, it will be premiered in January 2012 in US. The film is based on the novel of the same name  written by Jonathan Safran Foer.
The movie has the U2 song "Where the streets have no name" in its soundtrack.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bono is Back in Dublin

BONO was spotted partying in top nightclub Lillie's Bordello this weekend.
Fresh from raising his pint of Guinness on Arthur's Day, Bono arrived in the top Dublin club on Friday night.
The U2 frontman spent the night chilling out with pal Julian Lennon who had just wrapped up his stint on The Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy.
Speaking on the show, the son of Beatle John Lennon showed Ryan photographs he had taken of Bono in France while performing with the number one band.
An insider said Bono spent most of the night chatting with Julian.
"Bono has always been a big fan of Lillie's, it seems to be the only place he goes when he's in town.
"He's quite a private guy so he kept to himself most of the night in the VIP area but he often goes to the Library and chats with other guests."
Also seen partying in the Lillie's VIP area were singer Sharon Corr, the band members of Snow Patrol, MTV presenter Laura Whitmore, soccer pundit Ray Houghton and Masterchef star Dylan McGrath.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


'I'm just getting my head around being a man.' 

Photoshoot for the cover of GQ's 'Men of the Year' Issue.

The Edge on the Telecaster

U2 guitarist the Edge talks about the Fender Telecaster in honor of its 60th anniversary.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Edge at The Mario Batali Foundation's Rock & Wine Event

The Edge was present at the The Mario Batali Foundation's Rock & Wine Event. The event raised money for The Mario Batali Foundation  which was founded by the famous chef to feed, protect,educate and empower children encouraging them "to dream big while providing them with the necessary tools to become an active force for change in today´s world" .

The Edge, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, 
Questlove aka Questlove    and Jim Courier

"More than a Rock Band...Artists"

'The album revealed they were more than a successful rock band… they were Artists.'

In the run-up to the the twentieth anniversary re-releases of Achtung Baby is  inviting a series of guest writers to reflect on what the album originally meant to them, why it's so significant  in the U2 canon and how it fits with their own story as a fan of the band.

First up, Dutch writer Caroline van Oosten, author of 'U2 Live – A Concert Documentary', who's been listening to the album again and thinks that 'Twenty years after the release of Achtung Baby, I’m finally ready for it.'

'My U2 journey began during the Unforgettable Fire tour. I was drawn in by their notion of Irish romanticism and Judeo-Christian mysticism fed through The Edge’s Vox amp, all given a good Northside kick up the arse by Larry Mullen’s bass drum. I rolled my eyes at their infatuation with Americana, but my love of them survived. But by 1991 my interests had changed. Led off the path by Gavin Friday’s Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves, I was exploring my European roots and listened to Brel, Weill and Eissler.

I enjoy change in a band, I think it’s essential. I like singers adopting personas, it elevates them from frontmen to performers. Achtung Baby had all of that and more:  while U2 had shown promise as craftsmen with The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby was the true start of them becoming serious tunesmiths. The album revealed they were more than a successful rock band… they were Artists. Even the press couldn’t deny it. It was a rare moment in U2 history: universally loved and artistically appreciated, while raking in the money. So I appreciated the album as a many coloured document of U2’s development as musicians. But it didn’t speak to me.

When I reviewed Achtung Baby for Collectormania Magazine (issue 5, 1992), the title of my article was ‘Love is Danger’. I spoke of its romantic, religious and profane themes. The problem was, the subject matter went right over my head. I didn’t know relationships, let alone break ups and betrayal. I didn’t feel it. Achtung Baby arrived at the wrong time and the wrong place in my life. So I dismissed it, its ‘design by committee’ artwork and the subsequent tours – which I wasn’t that keen on until ‘Macphisto’ arrived on the scene.

This week, to aid me in writing this piece for, I listened to Achtung Baby for the first time in at least 15 years and was surprised at how good it sounded, its layers and depths finally revealed to me through my iPod and Sennheiser headphones. I was also surprised at how much it affected me emotionally. Even the songs I used to hate, even the ones that have become ubiquitous and worn. Now I’m afraid to listen to the albums I said I preferred: Zooropa and Pop. They might disappoint.

Twenty years after the release of Achtung Baby, I’m finally ready for it.'

Caroline van Oosten de Boer
Founding editor of (2000 – 2011), author of U2 Live – A
Concert Documentary (Omnibus Press, 2003)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ladies & Gentlemen, Larry Mullen Jr, the actor

The Tribeca Film Festival website has posted the synopsis of Man on the Train, the movie  starred by Donald Sutherland and Larry Mullen Jr.

The English-language remake of Patrice Leconte's award-winning French film of the same name, Man on the Train stars Donald Sutherland and musician Larry Mullen, Jr. in his acting debut.

A mysterious criminal (Mullen Jr.) rolls into a small town planning to knock off the local bank, assuming it will go off without a hitch. But when he encounters a retired poetry professor (Sutherland), his plans take an unlikely turn. With no place to stay, the professor generously welcomes him into his home. As the two men talk, a bond forms between these two polar opposites, and surprising moments of humor and compassion emerge. As they begin to understand each other more, they each examine the choices they’ve made in their lives, secretly longing to live the type of lifestyle the other man has lived, based on the desire to escape their own.

They also say : 
Coming soon on nationwide VOD October 27, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011


“The results of Reputation Institute’s study confirm that people respect leaders that participate in philanthropic activities outside of their own celebrity,” said Reputation Institute Chairman, Dr. Charles Fombrun. “The public’s top two on our list, Mandela and Federer, have emotional ties to South Africa, and donate both time and money to the betterment of the region and its people. They get praise for their efforts.”

RankNameRepTrak Pulse
1Nelson Mandela78.5
2Roger Federer72.1
3Bill Gates71.7
4Warren Buffett69.7
5Richard Branson68.3
6Steve Jobs68.3
7Oprah Winfrey67.7
9Ratan Tata66.3
10Elizabeth II64.9

* chart courtesy of Reputation Institute 

From the Cape to Cairo: An appeal from the heart of Africa and her friends around the world

21 September 2011
Dear African and all world leaders,
A great 21st century tragedy is unfolding right now. The Somali people are suffering the hardest blow to their bodies and souls. 30,000 children have died in just three months and 13 million people are threatened across Somalia, southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya.
But what do such numbers even mean? How can numbers this large ever make sense? Can the mind successfully translate to the heart what a number means in pain? Each of these numbers means the endless grief of one father, the crushing pain of one mother. Families will be shattered forever; families just like yours and mine.
And yet the world does not come to a halt. It should. And it can, if we work together as one. We write to appeal to you with urgency, to beseech your hearts and your heads. The upcoming United Nations General Assembly is a key and urgent test of our resolve and sincerity.
We ask of you three practical things which can help turn on the light in this dark hour:
Firstly, thank you for the pledges you already made, but please do all you can to fill the remaining financing gap in emergency needs for the horn of Africa. The needs will only go up as too many of us continue to act with deathly slowness.

Secondly, please invest much more in long term agricultural productivity and food security in the horn and indeed across all Africa, as you have already promised to do through the Maputo and L’Aquila commitments on food security. Please keep these promises with equal urgency.
Thirdly, we must recognize and remedy the regional and national governance failures which have turned a drought into a famine. Please invest more energy and leadership into emergency peace talks which bring together all representatives of Somali society, and regional stakeholders, to give peace another chance and end the cycle of instability.
We appeal to you as one, from across the African continent, the African Diaspora, and around the world.

Yours truly,
2face Idibia, singer-songwriter, actor and record producer
Angelique Kidjoe, Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and activist        
Anna Getaneh, founder and creative director of African Mosaique
Banky W, singer, songwriter, producer
Bellanaija, fashion designer
Bobby Boulders, music director
Bono, Co-founder ONE and (RED) and lead singer of U2
Buddha Blaze, artist, content, event and marketing manager
Chimamanda Adichie, author   
Criselda Kanada, managing director Positive Talk Services, wellness activist, radio personality
Cynthia Mare, musician
Daddy Owen, musician
DJ Neptune, DJ
DJ Pinye, artist manager, DJ
Dr. Richard Mkandawire, Head of Resource Mobilisation, Partnerships and Communications, NEPAD
Dr. Xiaoyun Li, International Poverty Reduction Centre
El Dee, rapper, record producer and architect
Eric Wainaina, musician, producer, writer
Festus Mixwell, DJ          
FreshlyGround, musician
General Pype, singer, song writer
Hugh Masekela, musician and singer
Idris Elba, actor and DJ
J Martins, producer and artiste                
Jaguar, musician              
Jocelyn Muhutu, Remy-media account manager, Reuters, South Africa
John Ulanga, executive director Foundation for Civil Society, Tanzania 
, musician
Julie Gichuru, television anchor Royal Media
K'naan, musician             
Khanyisile Zwane, senior account director, Ogilvy
Kidum, musician             
Kinabuti, fashion designer
Lola Ogunnaike, features entertainment journalist
Naeto C, musician
Nameless, musician
Natasha Siame, property developer
Obi Asika, CEO, Storm Media 360
Octopizzo, musician
Olisa Adibua, media personality
Ory Okolloh, Google Africa policy manager
Patricia Amira, talk show host 
Robert Marawa, sports anchor
Russell Simmons, producer and fashion designer
Russell Wildeman, program manager, IDASA
Sahr Ngaujah, theatre director and actor
Sasha P, hip hop artists and fashion designer   
Sauti Sol, multi award winning acoustic band  
Simphiwe Dana, musician
Sound Sultan, musician                
Sunny Neji, musician    
Tiken Jah Fakoly, musician
Timi Dakolo, musician 
Tunde and Wunmi Obe, musicians         
Whiz Kid, music                
Youssour N'Dour, singer and percussionist
YQ, musician   
Yung6ix, musician

There was a previous letter from July on the same subject posted in ONE:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spider-Man musical has the last laugh

The initially troubled Broadway show "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has been turned around and become successful at the box office.

Producers of the musical, featuring music by U2's Bono and The Edge, announced that the star Reeve Carney will extend his contract until May. He had been due to leave in November.
It follows a revamp of the expensive production which was widely panned by critics when it was first shown.
The $70 show, the most expensive in Broadway history, had been set by disaster and had seemed in danger of becoming a huge flop.
Its troubles included script and staging problems and injuries to cast members.
Reviews were scathing and cast member Christopher Tierney suffered serious injury when a safety rope snapped during a preview and he plunged more than 20 feet into the orchestra pit.
The preview performances began last November but the show then closed for three weeks so problems could be addressed. Director Julie Taymor left in March.
More than half a million people have now seen show and it took in $1.7 million a week over the summer.
Carney will take a break in the winter to make a film. He said: "I am thrilled to be on stage nightly as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I can't imagine a more wonderful, harder-working company than my mates on Broadway."

Monday, September 19, 2011


U2 secured the title for the Highest grossing music tour for their 360° Tour - by April 2011, the Irish rockers had raked in over £341 million for the 110 shows between July 2009 and July 2011. This record was previously held by The Rolling Stones, who made £226 million from their 2006 'A Bigger Bang' tour.

The Love We Make

In the morning of September 11, 2001, Paul McCartney was in New York City on an air­port runway waiting to fly to Britain. As he absorbed the news of the unfolding tragedy, he wondered, “What can I do?” The answer, of course, lay in music. As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the documentary "The Love We Make", which chronicles Paul McCartney's journey through the streets of New York in the aftermath of the World Trade Center's destruction will be previewed at select theaters across the USA on September 8th. According to Beatles-Freak’s Review, the film is in "black & white, the camera follows Paul in New York City in his travels from October 11, 2001 to October 23, 2001 and his day-to-day dealings to organize and prepare for The Concert for New York, a benefit concert that was held on October 20, 2001. If you were expecting a 90 minute film on Paul’s reaction to 9/11, then you will be truly disappointed. If you’re a McCartney fan that wants to see what it’s like to be Sir Paul, then this film is for you."
"During TV and radio interviews leading up to the concert, Paul touches on issues dealing with how he’s dealt with grief in his life, how he deals with the conflict of being a pacifist after the devastation of 9/11 and how he came to the realization that he needed to do something while sitting in a plane on the tarmac watching the twin towers burn." 
"Mixed in with the interviews are Paul and his band rehearsing for The Concert for New York with many guest cameos as Paul discusses debuting his new song, “Freedom” for the first time at the show." 
The film was made by Albert Maysles, whose Beatles connections started with the 1964 Beatles film "What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A.". And just as back then, the new film has also been shot in 16mm black and white.

Q&A: Ali Hewson and Bono

Ali Hewson and Bono at Red Rooster.
Photo By Steve Eichner

Ali Hewson and husband Bono celebrated Edun’s spring women’s show and the launch of the men’s “Pioneers Project” marketing campaign with a dinner at Harlem’s Red Rooster restaurant on Sunday. On hand for the crab cakes and mac ’n’ greens were Michael Stipe and Reeve Carney, along with personalities from the campaign like restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia, Make Something School founder Aaron Rose and Falling Whistles founder Sean Carasso. WWD caught up with Bono and Hewson for a talk about their fashion label, African trade and those omnipresent sunglasses.

WWD: What did you think of your wife’s show today?
 I’m not an expert on these things, and so I’m looking at it like a child. I’ve been to half-a-dozen fashion shows in my life. It’s a wonderful parade apart from everything else. What I did pick up, perhaps for the first time, was that the mission [of Edun] was in the shadow of the aesthetic, and that’s the way it should be. It’s strange to hear an activist like me say that. But Edun cannot be famous for its do-gooder sensibility. The vision has to be an aesthetic one. I thought the floral patterns with the African prints on top of them were incredible. But if I start talking about fashion, just thump me. Just come out and go bang. [Mimes punching himself.]

WWD: Why did you think the Edun model was a good way to accomplish some of your philanthropic goals?
 Aid, which I spend half of my life fighting for, is a stopgap. Trade is what takes people out of poverty. Africa faces a couple of big hurdles in the next few years. AGOA [the African Growth and Opportunity Act], which is a trade pact between the U.S. and the continent of Africa, runs out in September of next year. [AGOA expires in 2015, but the special apparel provision expires next September.] Unless Africa starts to produce its own high-level fabrics and improves quality of production, many, many factories will close. That’s the worry. Now the opportunity is open-ended. This is a continent that by 2050 will dwarf any other continent in population. Its richness is well known, under the ground. We just need to get it into the people’s hands. The tools to do that are creativity and commerce. We want to be a part of that.
Hewson: Really what we wanted to do was to work on the ground in Africa. Bono was working on a macro level with governments and debt cancellation. We wanted to see how the policies translate to factories and the ordinary worker and their daily lives. It’s such an incredible continent, so sexy and bright, and they want the jobs. Every one percent of world trade accounts for $155 billion in trade. That’s four times what sub-Saharan Africa gets in a year in aid.

WWD: It’s interesting that you always emphasize that Edun is a for-profit company.
This is not a charity. It’s a business. This is a for-profit company. A lot of people don’t get that about Edun. This is trade. We can do this, and everybody can do this in Africa.

WWD: Some people would say that fashion is superficial. How do you reconcile that with the very high-minded goals you work toward in Africa?
The fashion industry is often considered superficial, but it’s actually a huge employer as an industry. It’s the first industry in any country that is developing, so it’s very important. And it’s important that we do it right.

WWD: Obviously, you have so many things going on in your life, but in what specific ways are you involved in Edun as a company?
 I’m on the board. I look over the mission stuff. Ali told me that 37 percent of the collection you saw today is made in Africa. And that’s real fashion pieces, not jeans and T-shirts. That’s a massive achievement.

WWD: Is Bono involved at all in the creative process?
 We don’t let him near the clothes. That’s the only stipulation. [Laughs.] But he’s an amazing sounding board. It’s always great to get his opinion.

WWD: How much of your time do you spend on Edun?
 The energy and commitment in fashion is huge. The show today is wonderful, but it’s really about the nine months of work that everyone has put into it. It’s an amazing chain when you see it all come together for that 20 minutes. But what I try to tell my kids when they are hating playing guitar or piano is that when they see someone play onstage, and the crowd applaud them, they aren’t applauding just because they can play that piece. They are applauding for the hours of work they spent learning it. And I’ve learned the fashion industry demands that. I think it’s the toughest business there is.

WWD: What about your own personal style — how has that evolved over the years?
 I’m not sure I have any.

WWD: Well, your sunglasses have become a signature for you.
You need something to hide behind when in your songs you’ve left yourself no place to go. Our songs are very operatic, very raw, very personal. There’s a couple of reasons why I wear my sunglasses. One of them is that it gives me a one-step remove from people I don’t know. [Looks at reporter and laughs.]

WWD: Where do you get your sunglasses from?
 Armani. We have a very deep relationship with Mr. Armani. He’s been very good to me.

WWD: Now that you’ve just finished three years of the “U2 360˚ Tour,” you’re going to have some more free time. What are you going to do with it?
 I don’t do free time very well. But Johnny Cash was once asked when he was happiest and he replied, “Walking barefoot in my backyard.” And I’m going to do that, a little bit of that.

WWD: Are you working on a new album?
 All of that.


Friday, September 16, 2011

TIFF11 Reviews:U2 Doc From the Sky Down

Source: Edward Douglas

From the Sky Down 

From the Sky Down may be the closest Davis Guggenheim comes to a follow-up to It Might Get Loud, branching out from his look at U2 through their guitarist The Edge to do a film that explores U2 during a pivotal phase of their career, transitioning from "The Joshua Tree" through their tour of Americana in "Rattle and Hum" and into the '90s with "Achtung Baby."

As the band prepare to play the Glastonbury Festival earlier this year, they decide to revisit their 1991 album "Achtung Baby" on its 20th Anniversary, returning to the original Hansa Studios in Berlin where it was recorded to rework the songs for the show. This is the entry into a fairly candid look at the period after the making of "The Joshua Tree" where things started changing for the band and they started to achieve the stature where they're at right now.

Unlike "U2 3D" and "Rattle and Hum," this isn't strictly a performance film but more of a "making of" done in hindsight, blending old often never-before-seen footage and photos with interviews with all the key players including producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, as well as photographer Anton Corbijn who played such a large part in the band's early image.
Going to Berlin to record what would end up being "Achtung Baby" was a fairly friction-filled time for the band as Bono and the Edge were trying to create something inspired by German industrial bands and the growing club scene, something that wasn't easy to explain to the other half of the band. During this time was also when they tried to stop being so serious and earnest, writing songs about political issues, and turn into a band who realizes the importance of having fun.
For the most part, the movie gives the most screen time to Bono and The Edge, who as always, act as dual spokesmen for the band. At times, Bono comes off a bit pretentious, but other times, quite reflective, fully admitting they may have gone a bit off their original plan with "Rattle and Hum."  It's another well-made film by Guggenheim, although some of the decisions, like the style of animation used, seems a bit odd compared to the rest of it. One of his nicest touches is showcasing what a nice singing voice The Edge has as he performs a rendition of "Love is Blindness."

Obvious, this isn't something that's going to be of much interest to anyone who isn't already a U2 fan or at least interested in music, who will be the ones who most appreciate the way Guggenheim gets the band to open up about their past, as well as the archival footage and actual demos and studio recordings from that era. Hearing a bridge written for "Mysterious Ways" transform into "One" live as it happened is something that fans of the band will truly appreciate since it's rare to see their process for writing songs in such a fashion.

It's not the most enlightening film otherwise and you won't leave it thinking any particularly deep thoughts, but it's another way the fans are being allowed into the inner workings of a rock band that's spent so much of its time in secrecy.

and more reviews...