A really fine documentary to see … rŌbert
Late one night in 1969, the singer Merry Clayton was awakened from her slumber by a summons to a recording studio to record with a band she didn’t really know. Curlers in her hair, she went into the booth and recorded the scorching guest track for the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” making music history. But Clayton went home and went back to bed; her name was misspelled in the liner notes. That was par for the course for rock and soul backup singers, who finally get their due in this Oscar-winning documentary from Morgan Neville, a celebration of their contributions to popular music and a candid look at the difficulty of stepping from the background into the spotlight.
Inside Man’ (Sept. 30)
When would-be robbers take over a New York City bank and hold its customers hostage in a Spike Lee movie, you don’t have to worry whether the echoes of “Dog Day Afternoon” will be too obvious; he’ll put those callbacks into the mouths of his characters. But this 2006 heist thriller has more on its mind than mere homage. What seems at first to be the customary routine of demands, negotiations, threats and pizza deliveries gives way to a pointed commentary on power in the city — who holds it, and who abuses it. The result, both giddily entertaining and slyly political, is one of Lee’s finest works.