Rent The Sparks Brothers (2021)

3.8 of 5 from 201 ratings
2h 15min
Rent The Sparks Brothers Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Take a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Ron and Russell Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favorite band's favorite band.
Actors:
, , , , , Dean Menta, Harley Feinstein, , , , , , , , , , , , Hilly Michaels,
Directors:
Producers:
George Hencken, Nira Park, Laura Richardson
Voiced By:
Björk, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost
Studio:
Universal Pictures
Genres:
Documentary, Music & Musicals, Performing Arts, Special Interest
Collections:
A Brief History of Singer Biopics, Top 10 Best Last Films: World Cinema, Top Films
BBFC:
Release Date:
18/10/2021
Run Time:
135 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English, English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Sparks Live in London, A 22-Song Performance! + Over 2 Hours of Deleted Scenes, Extra Celebrity Interviews, and More!
Disc 1:
This disc includes the main feature
Disc 2:
This disc includes special features
BBFC:
Release Date:
18/10/2021
Run Time:
140 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:
English, English Hard of Hearing, German
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
(0) All
Bonus:
  • Sparks Live in London, A 22-Song Performance! + Over 2 Hours of Deleted Scenes, Extra Celebrity Interviews, and More!
Disc 1:
This disc includes the main feature
Disc 2:
This disc includes special features

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Reviews (4) of The Sparks Brothers

Well Made - The Sparks Brothers review by KB

Spoiler Alert
16/12/2021

This has been very well done & you don't need to be a Sparks fan to enjoy it .I wouldn't say i am that familiar with their music but you have to give them credit for their motivation ,endurance ,passion & that they have ploughed their own musical furrow .

Kevin B.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Sparks stake a claim for their legacy - The Sparks Brothers review by TE

Spoiler Alert
02/01/2022

I like Sparks and I enjoyed this documentary, but it is too long and it comes across as two films sandwiched together.

The first half is brilliant, full of wit and creativity in the presentation and the editing. The second half is more of a conventional music documentary, with more talking heads and less inventiveness.

As noted in MM's review, it is completely uncritical and uninterested in probing beyond the image and the content that the Mael brothers wish to include. It feels as if they have made the film themselves.

All this is easier to accept because of the sheer joy of much of the music and the snatches of stage and tv performances. Ron and Russ come across as likeable and mischievously knowing. Some of the self-parody is laced with ironic truths, particularly their joke that Sparks have only two tunes, a fast one and a slow one. But they are both great tunes!

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Fun & Interesting Music Documentary - The Sparks Brothers review by GI

Spoiler Alert
07/07/2022

In his first documentary director Edgar Wright paints a loving portrait of Ron and Russell Mail better known as the pop group Sparks; described in the film as a band that are successful, underrated, hugely influential and criminally overlooked. It was certainly a surprise to me, a music lover, just how prolific and interesting they are and just how much music they have released including some extremely ahead of its time stuff. If you're a fan of Sparks this will be sheer heaven to you in its coverage of their lives from the early 60s to today. Their ability to always switch style and direction and told here mostly by the two brothers in a quite humble and humorous way makes for a really interesting music documentary. The various talking heads, mostly collaborators from over the years sing their praises as innovators and really sweet guys and yet this doesn't make the film cheesy or dull. In fact it makes you want to immediately check out all these albums you never knew existed. Wright clearly loves his subjects and the film reflects the passion with which their fans hold for them and if like me you just remember a couple of hits and appearances on Top Of The Pops this will open your eyes.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

The Sparks Brothers review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

I get the feeling Edgar Wright tried to show remarkable restraint with conceiving his documentary on the musical duo of The Sparks Brothers. Imagine being a huge fan and having someone asked confused “Who are the Sparks Brothers?” You can either fly off the handle with praise and act stunned that someone has never heard of the best band ever. Or you can collect yourself and prepare a uniquely engaging experience to introduce the world to some of the best music ever made.

The Sparks Brothers of Ron Mael and Russell Mael are interviewed for this mostly talking-head picture, with accompanying interviews from various people who worked with them and numerous celebrities inspired by them. They recount the legacy of the duo that led to over 20 records released over the course of decades. While they had struggled in their early days of music to make a mark, it’s clear when they first became a big deal. After taking their music over to the United Kingdom, they became a big hit when they debuted on TV’s Top of the Pops. It was there where the brothers were recognized as the one with the effeminate singing and the silent one who looks like Hitler. No, really, that was made audiences perk up, when they say Ron on the keyboard with that Hitler-esque mustache.

It sounded like a gimmick and it’d be easy to view them as such. But it was clear as time went on that they weren’t just trying to be some flash-in-the-pan subversives. They wanted to try new stuff and become experimental pioneers of trying out any kind of wild music and music videos they could muster. In the same way that the career of Weird Al progressed for decades (he also appears in this documentary with some insightful commentary on comedic music), the Sparks Brothers kept pushing forward, even when it seemed as though their careers might be over. There was more than one time when a new album would be released and some music host would be surprised that the Sparks were even still around.

The many opportunities the Sparks Brothers had for fame are remarkable not just for what came about but what didn’t rise above talks. Consider how in the early days, they had originally spoken with the revered French director Jacque Tati to help bring some youth to his films. This prospect did not come to pass, as Russell mentions in an interview that the toppling of some food at the table is a perfect metaphor for that deal. They would, however, play the soundtrack for the film Rollercoaster, a disaster film that few remember and the brothers openly admit was not exactly their big film debut.

One of the most unique prospects was during the 1990s when the brothers, at their lowest, placed all their chips on performing the soundtrack for a Tim Burton film based on a Japanese manga. Think about how wild that be: An entire generation wouldn’t be as perplexed by the brothers had they been a key player in a Tim Burton production. When that deal didn’t bear fruit, the brothers found themselves in tears. Yet they kept chugging away, working night and day trying to compose new and rhapsodic music, keeping a tradition alive of downing coffee in the afternoon and keep on playing.

The Sparks Brothers run rather long at 2.5 hours but this is mostly due to the length of material covered and the many interviews that take place. The archival footage is fantastically edited, the animated reenactments are cute, and the commentary by the likes of Patton Oswalt and Neil Gaiman is absolutely a treat for the ears, just as much as the music. Of course, the real stars of the film are the brothers who speak with such a subtle and grateful nature in their attempt to be incredibly amusing. This is a surprisingly wondrous documentary for how simply it goes through the lives of such celebrities (stick around during the credits for some absurd fun facts told by the brothers).

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