Skip to main content

"The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector" Review: Grab the Popcorn!

The Mad Genius Speaks

Watching The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector the catchy phrase that will run though your mind is "mad genius". What else can you think of the man who compares his artistry as a producer to such notables as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Bach etc? The thing is, he is an amazing producer, having been credited with inventing the "wall of sound" that distinguished the music he produced from the late 50s to early 70s from other sounds coming out of America. Many, including Brian Wilson, have tried and failed to copy or better his technique.

Did you know Spector wrote Spanish Harlem? I don't know about you, but whenever I think of that song I think of Ben E. King. To me Phil Spector was the guy behind girl groups like, The Crystals (Da Doo Ron Ron) and The Ronettes (Be My Baby). I'm not a huge Beatles fan so I wasn't aware of his work with Lennon, Harrison, nor his production of the Beatles Let it Be album. The scope of Phil's work cannot be summarized in one film, but this documentary does a wondeful job of showing why Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He deserves to be there because of his undeniable talent, even if he is an eccentric personality.

The documentary juxtaposes Spector talking about his career with Vikram Jayanti with footage of his trial for the murder of actress, Lana Clarkson. The style of the documentary suits the split personality of the producer-genius/alledged murderer. Linking the two view points is Spector's songs, played in length so that you understand the scope of his work and the ground-breaking impact of his lyrics. Reviews of his music is also captioned, which is both illuminating and annoying (at moments when you have to choose between reading the captions or listening to the dialogue). I almost envy Vikram Jayanti his interview with Spector. It must have been an amusing and captivating occasion for him.

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector
by Vikram Jayanti
Run Time: 102 minutes
January 27th - Feb 2nd
TIFF Bell Lightbox
(corner of King and John Streets)

Schedule and Info


Popular posts from this blog

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 2 aka The Miscasting of Renée Zellweger


Appaloosa wasn't on my "Must See" list of films, simply because my Festival experience is seeing the films without the big stars that may not get distributed. Appaloosa is directed by my love, Ed Harris (who also stars in the film) and has such notable names as Viggo Mortensen and Jeremy Irons. I love Westerns, and an invite to the film had me in line at the elegant Elgin Theatre. While I enjoyed the Marshall (Harris) and his gun-toting, literate sidekick (Mortenssen) battling it out with the bad guy (Irons), I did not enjoy Renée Zellweger in the role of the woman who clings to whatever alpha male is dominating the scene. I kept trying to re-cast her, but it wasn't until I got home that Virginia Madsen's name popped into my head. Virginia would have been perfect and also luminous. Renée may be from Texas, but I wasn't buying her in this one. If you think I'm being harsh everything I've just written was also said by two guys walking behi…

Ross Petty's Sleeping Beauty BFFs: Meet Alexandra Beaton & Taveeta Szymanowicz

Fall/winter theatre favourite Ross Petty Productions is back with another fairy-tale pantomime! This year's treat is Sleeping Beauty-The Deliriously Dreamy Family Musical. The beauty is Kinky Boots star, AJ Bridal and playing her best pals are Alexandra Beaton and Taveeta Szymanowicz of Family Channel's The Next Steps. Taveeta and Alexandra were in rehearsals but took time out to share some insights into their roles.

donna g: Were either of you familiar with pantomime before being cast in Ross Petty's version of Sleeping Beauty?
Taveeta: Yes! I saw Ross's production of Peter Pan when I was in Elementary school. I remember having such a lovely time. I was thus very excited when I was cast in Ross's 2015/16 production of Peter Pan in Wonderland last year. I was thrilled to be cast again this year! 
Alexandra: Of course! Growing up in Toronto, going to the Panto at Christmas  time was a tradition for a lot of my friends. I even saw a few myself.
donna g: You both play Bea…

TIFF16 Day 5: Lion, (re)ASSIGNMENT, Julieta and a monk

Five days into TIFF16 and I'm exhausted. Its a happy tired for most of us who cover the festival, because we love film and we want others to love film too, which is why we share what we've been up to. We want to communicate the passion that is in the air around the central hub at King and John streets, the cinemas, and the stages that show the films and host the conversations.

Yesterday, I began my morning standing in the rush line on Queen Street, around the corner from the Elgin Theatre (called the Visa Screening Room during TIFF) waiting to see if I could get into the public screening of Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. I was number 78 in the line but I got in and had a bird's eye view of the screen from my lovely single seat next to a column in the balcony.

I rarely cry at the movies, but Lion got me in end. Upon sharing this shocking news on social media some friends of mine quickly let me know that they teared up too. This from a feel good movie where we …