Back when he had only one job — lead singer of Black Flag — Henry Rollins oozed the sentiment that if you, the fan, embrace the music, then you will also embrace the Rollins lifestyle. That notion has only deepened over the past 15 years as Rollins has segued to his Rollins Band and added to his resume monologist, author, publisher, actor and Monday night disc jockey at L.A.’s 103.1, where he delivers a fine, multi-genre show. Passionate delivery, whether he’s talking about the jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler, weightlifting, Peet’s coffee or “The Godfather,” has been Rollins’ hallmark, and while he’ll need a little time to get comfortable in the role of an alternative Ebert, the passion is burning in the first 10 segs of “Henry’s Film Corner.”
Rollins launches his film criticism career with the pronouncement “Everyone hates a critic, but everyone is a critic, so why not me?” From there he launches into a political diatribe that ultimately makes a fine artistic point: That the next four years of George W. Bush will likely inspire the creation of great art from rock ‘n’ rollers, writers and filmmakers fed up with the administration. His criticism is consistently well articulated and direct, and the more fired up he gets, the better it sounds.
There must be something about the glare of studio lights, though, as Rollins initially turns fawning in an interview with David Fincher, director of “Fight Club” and “The Panic Room.” He redeems himself with his questions, which address technical aspects of filmmaking and directing style — this is IFC, after all.
In the hopes of getting the voice of the common man, “Henry’s Film Corner” brings in Rollins’ electrician Frankie to review a pic and a group of L.A. firefighters to separate the right from the wrong in “Ladder 49.” These segments lack the pumped-up energy Rollins brings to his assessment of the 40th anniversary edition DVD of “Dr. Strangelove” and Sean Penn’s acting talents.
Half-hour is deliciously kinetic, with quick edits and camera angles from every which way. It feels planned and well executed and not a mask for a production fiasco.