Blood Into Wine (Review)

Tedious documentary stretches itself too far

The presence of Maynard James Keenan, frontman for Art Metal bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, is no doubt the only reason for the existence of Blood Into Wine, a tedious documentary that looks at Keenan’s deepening interest in the art of winemaking. Co-directors Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke track the rise of the enigmatic rocker’s modest, northern Arizona-based winery, which, with the help of winemaking entrepreneur/environmental renaissance man Eric Glomski, recently produced its first batch of product.

Keenan is a notoriously private guy, thus his involvement is both a blessing (gives it a higher profile) and a curse (he’s not the most charismatic interviewee). The most effective aspect of this disjointed doc is Keenan’s clear, if deadpanly emoted, passion for winemaking — from the planting of the grapes to the bottling of the finished product — an endeavor that is now as important to him as his musical career.

Yet what should have been a brief look at his burgeoning business goes on for what seems like an eternity, padded with gratuitous appearances by comedian Patton Oswalt, actress Milla Jovovich and a guy from Revolver magazine who reminds us of Keenan’s genius talents as lyricist and singer. Worse yet is a faux talk-show appearance — which is randomly spliced into the main narrative in an unsuccessful attempt to lighten things up — in which a pair of dimwitted hosts interview a nonplussed Keenan, who looks as if he’d rather be doing just about anything else. I feel your pain, dude. Grade: C-

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