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Film review: Rolling Stones: At the Max

Published: Thursday, May 27 2004 1:56 p.m. MDT

Of all the amazing and sometimes horrific sights to be seen on the really, really big IMAX screen, perhaps none are as terrifying as a 30-foot-tall (and sometimes taller) Mick Jagger strutting around in a half-shirt.

That's one of the things that really keeps your attention throughout "Rolling Stones: At the Max," a large-format concert film that is strictly for fans of the British rockers and their music.

That's because at times, the performances here seem a little lacking in the energy department. And it's not just because bass guitarist Bill Wyman appears to be so bored. (Actually, his rather lazy-looking performance style is to be expected.)

With scores of cameras aimed at them throughout the film (culled from shows in Germany, Italy and Japan during the band's "Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle" tour in 1989 and 1990), the Stones seem more interested in playing to the camera than to the packed stadiums they're supposed to be entertaining.

Longtime fans will be pleased — especially by the set list, which is pretty much a greatest-hits collection. Included in the dozen-plus selections are performances of such Stones chestnuts as "Start Me Up," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Ruby Tuesday," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Brown Sugar," "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" and "Paint It Black."

With the added dimension of the large-screen format, you really get the scope of just how big these stadium concerts are. You also get to see just how ghastly the elaborate stage set is (it appears to be a leftover from one of the "Mad Max" movies).

Although the encore song, a sprightly rendition of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," does end the whole thing on the right note.

"Rolling Stones: At the Max" is not rated but would probably receive a PG-13 for some lewd dancing and some suggestive song lyrics, brief drug content (veiled drug references) and scattered use of mild profanity. Running time: 90 minutes (including a brief intermission).


E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com

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