Jimi-All Is by My Side (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 18-Feb-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Biopic Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 118:01
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Ridley
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Andre Benjamin
Hayley Atwell
Imogen Poots
Ruth Negga
Andrew Buckley



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Jimi Hendrix is without doubt one of the best guitarists to have played popular music. His lifetime and career were short but his influence has been huge and even during his short career he had great success. Like Elvis Presley or The Beatles there is an ongoing industry in his legacy. This legacy is managed by his family and they control very tightly the use of his songs and recordings. Generally speaking, most productions regarding Hendrix must get agreement from the family and gave up some level of control. This biopic was not granted permission from the family to use his songs without ceding control, so decided to proceed without. So, can you make a worthwhile biopic of a music legend without using any of his music? Based on the evidence here, the answer is yes.

     This film was written and directed by John Ridley, Academy Award winner for the screenplay of 12 Years a Slave. He did not have much prior directorial experience, however his ability to tell an interesting story and get quality acting performances is on display here. The film is based on a variety of material including a couple of unauthorised biographies of Hendrix. There has been some controversy about certain scenes in this film, as in some cases the people involved originally have denied that the situations occurred. This is especially true of the domestic violence situations depicted. The film follows Jimi (Andre Benjamin) from working as a backup musician to Curtis Knight in 1965/66 around the clubs of Greenwich Village in New York. Here he is heard by a young British woman, Linda Keith (Imogen Poots) who also happens to be the girlfriend of Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. She introduces him to Chas Chandler (Andrew Buckley), a member of The Animals, who wants to start managing acts rather than performing. Chas convinces him to form a new band and move to London. In London, Jimi and Chas get a band together which becomes the Jimi Hendrix Experience, featuring Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. They quickly become big stars on the London scene. Here he also meets and starts relationships with two other women, Kathy Etchingham (Hayley Atwell) who becomes his steady girlfriend and Ida (Ruth Negga) a rock star groupie. The film focuses on his personality, relationship challenges and approach to life, rather than focusing on the music or his career. The music used consists of cover versions of songs he played during his time in London rather than any of his own material. The film ends at the point which he heads back to the US to headline the Monterey Pop Festival which is what makes him a huge star in America.

     This is a very interesting intimate portrait of the man behind the guitar which has created controversy due to the accuracy or otherwise of some scenes. It is a warts and all portrayal of a man rather than an obsequious story which focuses only on his success and musical genius. This in itself makes it interesting to watch revealing things like Jimi's combination of arrogance and indecisiveness, his somewhat difficult nature at times and also his overriding love of his music. It is difficult to say what is accurate and what isn't as there seems to be many sides to the story. Regardless, it tells an interesting story and reveals interesting and different aspects of the man. The music used has been recreated by Andre Benjamin on vocal and Waddy Wachtel in guitar who does a great job of imitating the sound.

     The film itself has many strengths besides the story it tells. The acting is top class throughout with Andre Benjamin fantastic as the complex Jimi Hendrix. The female stars also do wonderful work, especially Imogen Poots and Hayley Atwell. As I mentioned above the director's ability to tell stories is certainly evidenced here, however he does get a little carried away at time with cinematographic tricks and use of silence. These work sometimes but are distracting at others.

     Anyone with an interest in the story of Jimi Hendrix or 60s rock should definitely see this film and decide for themselves. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This is an excellent Blu-ray video transfer with no major issues to report. It is very sharp and clear throughout with very vibrant colour showing off the excellent costumes and sets. The shadow detail is also excellent. Technically it is 2.35:1 and 1080p.

     There are no subtitles which is a shame and contradicts the cover.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The default audio on this Blu-ray is an LPCM 1.0 track at 48Khz, however there is also a DTS HD-MA 5.1 track in English which gives a bigger, wider sound and is my preference. This is a high quality Blu-ray sound transfer which provides lots of surround ambiance and really draws you into the film even though it is hardly an all action film which includes lots of action scenes. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand and the music sounds fantastic. The surround speakers spread the music around the room and provide ambiance such as in concert scenes. The subwoofer also supports the music well.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras are nearly non-existent.

Menu

    The menu included music and scenes from the film.

Theatrical Trailer (1:36) 

    Pretty standard trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US Region A Blu-ray adds a short featurette on the recreated music which might have been interesting. Both our version and the UK version omit this extra. Win to Region A.

Summary

    An interesting and controversial portrait of the man behind the guitar.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are nearly non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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