The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground: Under Review

Serious Velvet Underground aficionados won’t gleam a great deal from this career-spanning, 85-minute, unauthorised documentary. For just about everyone else though, this latest addition to the Under Review series serves as a reasonably comprehensive history of the hugely inspirational NYC combo purported by some to have effectively invented modern rock. The absence of participation by band principals Lou Reed and John Cale is glaring and unfortunate, leaving it up to drummer Moe Tucker, latecomer bassist Doug Yule and Warhol Factory photographer Billy Name to provide first-hand colour and accounts. Music journalists Clinton Heylin and Robert Christgau, and Luna’s Dean Wareham are brought in to opine on the band’s significance, as are a handful of sometimes dubiously distinguished "experts.” Refreshingly, the focus remains largely on the music, occasionally touching on the band’s personal dynamics but only for the sake of context. Great old footage and rare audio recordings abound, and even aficionados ought to be challenged by the aptly named interactive extra "The Hardest Velvets Quiz in the World Ever.” (MVD)