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Filmed principally at a February 2003 Radio City Music Hall show marking the supposed 100th anniversary of the blues, Lightning in a Bottle ain’t nothing but a concert flick. Still, it’s a worthy example of the genre. Intertwining onstage, backstage, rehearsal, and archival footage, action-movie veteran Antoine Fuqua keeps things moving admirably: After Martin Scorsese’s halting introduction, there’s hardly a lull. The lineup may be too mainstream for purists, with appearances by such middle-aged chart veterans as Bonnie Raitt, John Fogerty, and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, as well as a few youngsters whose connection to the music is tenuous. (Macy Gray doesn’t quite get “Hound Dog,” for example.) But many of the musical choices are savvy, beginning with singer Angélique Kidjo, an African-bred historian of African-rooted music. Octogenarian David “Honeyboy” Edwards represents a nearly lost generation of acoustic-guitar bluesman, and such standards as “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” “Jim Crow Blues,” “Love in Vain,” and “Sittin’ on Top of the World” are capably handled by, respectively, Mavis Staples, Odetta, Keb’ Mo’, and James “Blood” Ulmer (with Alison Krauss on violin). India.Arie does justice to “Strange Fruit,” which isn’t precisely a blues but is thematically linked to the film’s pocket history of slavery, oppression, segregation, and migration. In the post-blooz-rock category, David Johansen pairs with former Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin to sing the blues sans Buster Poindexter schtick, Chuck D and Fine Arts Media do an anti-war version of “Boom Boom,” and Hendrix inspiration Buddy Guy joins Vernon Reid for “Red House.” Fuqua’s array of slo-mo, cross-cuts, and various visual textures is never more than proficient, but then it was his job to support the music, which he does as well as the roots-rock-celeb band (which includes Dr. John, Danny Kortchmar, and drummer/musical director Steve Jordan). Indeed, the doc’s only tasteless participant is underwriter Volkswagen, which flaunts its role as if the company’s VP for product placement had been the devil to whom Robert Johnson sold his soul.

—Mark Jenkins