“History of the Eagles” and “Silver Linings Playbook” land on DVD Tuesday. Star ratings are by Seattle Times movie reviewers, freelancers or wire services. For full reviews, search the movie title at seattletimes.com. Release dates are subject to change.
“History of the Eagles” (not rated): Originally aired on HBO, this superbly crafted, two-hour documentary about the glossy, iconic, harmony-hugging band that helped define the hedonistic ’70s with feel-good songs like “Take It Easy,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Hotel California,” includes in-depth interviews with every member of the band, from the core duo of drummer Don Henley and guitarist Glenn Frey to wing-clipped Eagles Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Felder. As the film traces the group from its origins in 1971 Los Angeles through success, excess, conflict, 1980 demise and 1994 revival, high-end vocalist Timothy B. Schmit offers the choicest quote: “All rock ’n’ roll bands are on the verge of breaking up all the time.”
David Geffen, who launched the Eagles on Asylum records but later fell out with them, makes a couple of ghoulish appearances, as does the band’s eternally boyish and far more charming manager, Irving Azoff. Vintage concert footage and home movies offer glimpses behind the scenes, including naked groupies and clouds of pot smoke.
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But the music is the point, and one of the film’s strong points is its focus on how classics like “Hotel California” actually get written. In that light, Frey and Henley come off as hardworking perfectionists but also hard-nosed businessmen and not particularly warm and fuzzy fellows.
Though there are interviews with Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt, the documentary would have benefited from one or two critical voices outside the band’s inner circle, but, all in all, this is a top-flight work.
A second disc documents the band’s life after its 1994 reunion and a third offers 45 minutes of live concert footage from the 1977 Hotel California tour.
Paul de Barros, Seattle Times music critic
“Silver Linings Playbook” (R): This fractured fairy tale of mental illness, family drama, ragged romance and die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fandom has landed in the superbly capable hands of director David O. Russell.
As the movie opens, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is being discharged from a psychiatric facility, having been sent there after an incident involving his estranged wife. Meanwhile, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a sharp-tongued young widow with an acute nonsense-detector and a knack for brutal honesty equaled only by Pat’s own impulsive, socially disastrous candor. From the moment they meet and compare medication history, Pat and Tiffany settle into a staccato, argumentative rhythm.
The tart, brutally frank chemistry that fuels “Silver Linings Playbook” plays out in the film’s visual approach, which eschews airbrushed Hollywood aesthetics for a far more jagged, intimate imperfection. Lawrence won this year’s best-actress Oscar for her role.
“The Guilt Trip” (PG-13): Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen hit the road as lovingly bossy mother and sweetly abashed son.
“Not Fade Away” (R): A group of high-school boys with big dreams form a band in ’60s New Jersey.
“Broken City” (R): Russell Crowe stars as the sinister mayor of New York and Mark Wahlberg as the private eye he hires to spy on his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
“The Details” (R): The humans — and raccoons — go wild in this filmed-in-Seattle comedy.
The Washington Post