Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Amy Winehouse, Yasiin Bey, Tony Bennett, Salaam Remi, Blake Fielder-Civil, Mitch Winehouse,
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Asif Kapadia
MPAA Rating: R for language and drug material
Running Time: 128
Date: 07/03/2015
IMDB

Amy (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Love Is a Losing Game

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Asif Kapadia (Senna) offers this in-depth documentary on the absurdly talented Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011 at the age of 27. As with most folks born in the 1980s, plenty of photos and video footage existed to choose from, and Kapadia leaves no stone unturned. Through interviews, he tells the story of Amy's astounding singing voice, her rise to fame, and her recording of the 2006 masterpiece Back to Black, as well as her bulimia, drug and alcohol addiction, and self-destructive relationships (notably a damaging relationship with her father).

Amy herself is usually shown either goofing or posing for the camera, and most of her interview footage consists of MTV-type stuff with the usual questions about her musical choices or her fame; it's a shame that the movie couldn't have gone deeper, hearing more of the story from her. A highlight comes toward the end as Amy puts herself back together enough to perform a moving duet ("Body and Soul") with Tony Bennett, a moment that clearly means the world to her (and impresses Bennett as well, who compares her to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday). If nothing else, Amy solidifies the notion that, with the singer's untimely death, the world has missed out on something special.

Lionsgate has released a deluxe Blu-ray edition that also includes a digital copy. The highlight is the sound, as Amy's vocals coil seductively through your speakers; it's harder to be impressed by the image, given that it's mostly old video footage and photos. Extras include a filmmaker's commentary track, a making-of featurette, trailers, and more interviews, as well as three rare performances by Winehouse.

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