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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Political > Punk Rock > Drugs > Soul > Pop > Industry > Concert > Biography > Musical > Re > Beijing Punk (2012/Seminal/MVD DVD)/Ike & Tina On The Road: 1971 - 72 (By Nadya Beck & Bob Gruen/MVD DVD)/Inside John Lennon (2003/Passport DVD reissue)/Oklahoma! (1999/Hugh Jackman/Image Blu-ray)/Pat

Beijing Punk (2012/Seminal/MVD DVD)/Ike & Tina On The Road: 1971 - 72 (By Nadya Beck & Bob Gruen/MVD DVD)/Inside John Lennon (2003/Passport DVD reissue)/Oklahoma! (1999/Hugh Jackman/Image Blu-ray)/Pato Banton: Live & Seen (2012/MVD DVD)/FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton (Eagle Blu-ray)/The Sounds Of The Underground (2012/Cinema Epoch DVD)


Picture: C/C/C/C+/C/B-/C     Sound: C/C/C+/B-/C+/B-/C     Extras: D/C/C/C/C+/C/C+     Main Programs: C+/B/B-/C/C+/C/C+



Now for an interesting round of music releases that offered all kinds of surprises…



Shaun M. Jefford’s Beijing Punk (2012) is a mixed-but-interesting look at the growing Punk seen in one of China’s most famous cities.  We meet the music acts, see the way of life, find the clubs, see the industry start to take root and hear some names we may be hearing more of in the near future.  If you know Punk or Rock, however, we have really seen all this before, but the Chinese aspects of this work are the reason to see it at least once and under the circumstances, we are lucky it got made at all.  There are no extras.



We start with Ike & Tina On The Road: 1971 - 72, the best of the releases on this list featuring raw, insightful video and film footage shot by Nadya Beck & Bob Gruen during the last peak years of the duo before violence and drugs became unbearable and Tina had to leave or die.  We see them together in personal moments, making music and playing on stage, but it is Tina who dominates the performances.  You can see her as a mix of happy and unhappy, typical of abused women while Ike seems ever unhappy, never smiling or happy much and only seeming to be able to have any moments of not looking angry and depressed when he does the one thing he is good at: playing music.


There is more music here than expected and more surprises here as well, including seeing their family and their professional work with other musicians, acts and the welcome presence of the Ikettes.  Anyone who has read I, Tina or seen the film What’s Love Got To Do With It? will finds this must-see viewing, but it is more bearable knowing Tina returned and survived and sometimes haunting to know Ike is no longer with us.


Most of this footage is from old consumer reel-to-reel black and white videotape Sony introduced to the market at the time, though (thanks to Ike) some 16mm film footage with sound is also featured, though in low-definition transfers.  I hope that and more has survived so some HD version of that work might turn up some day.  As for Tina, she is amazing and it is a rare look at a legend.


Extras include a slideshow on the DVD and a nicely illustrated booklet on the footage with great still photos by the duo who did the taping and filming, plus a new essay by Bob Gruen.



Inside John Lennon (2003) is an underrated documentary we covered from Passport DVD years ago that is rightly being reissued as all The Beatles albums have been remastered and a few of their films have hit Blu-ray.  It is the same as the previous disc, but with a new cover and you can reads all about it at this link:





The Rogers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! Arrived on Blu-ray, but instead of the classic 1955 feature film, it is a filmed stage performance from a 1999 London West End stage production with Hugh Jackman.  You can read more about the original film at this link:




I was uncertain as what to expect, but all in all, it was a very mixed performance with mixed energy and no match for the original film (not to even consider other stage versions) and even the audience seems odd.  Unless you really like this musical, this version will disappoint and even Jackman is only so good.  A Making Of featurette is also included, but it only entertained me so much as well.



Pato Banton: Live & Seen (2012) feature the Reggae singer and political side of the artist who had recorded with Madness and The English Beat during the New Wave 1980s.  Most of this footage comes from Reggae TV and if you are a fan of the genre, you’ll enjoy this release, but non-fans will find a little goes a long way.  I liked the look inside the music industry we see here and Live At The Belly Up is a 2+ hour concert we’ll count as an extra.  All in all, this is a great way to get to know this singer.



FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton has Peter Frampton revisiting his peak success with the famed double album Frampton Comes Alive!, but this show is not so alive, the performances (including covers of songs like Jumpin’ Jack Flash, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and (hang on) Black Hole Sun) are a mixed affair throughout and that leaves this long show for fans only.  I’ll also note the album Frampton Comes Alive 2 is never mentioned and a long featurette about Frampton being reunited with an old favorite guitar is much longer than expected as well.



Finally we have Bryant Botero’s The Sounds Of The Underground (2012), which gives us a portrait of musicians trying to get noticed by playing the New York Subway system and how it was only recently they were allowed to do this and ask for money.  Running just under 54 minutes, we learn about the history, that the term Busker is a performer asking for money and see this side of the great city that is a portrait worth taking a look at.  Extras include many interview clips arranged oddly on the menu and a trailer.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Frampton and Oklahoma! should be by far the best-looking releases on the list and they still are, but not without disappointment.  Frampton is the best-looking on the list, but still has detail and depth issues, while Oklahoma! was shot apparently on 16mm film (maybe Super 16mm film) and has more noise and transfer issues than expected.


Still, the rest of the releases are anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 (Beijing) or 1.33 X 1 (Sounds is actually letterboxed 1.78 X 1) and are all even softer, with only Turner having that excuse due to the aged, raw nature of its video.  Expect aliasing errors and other degradations on the rest of the releases.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Frampton and Oklahoma! should also be the best-sounding releases here, but again they do come up a bit short and the PCM 2.0 uncompressed Stereo on Frampton is slightly clearer than the DTS mix, which says someone messes up the sound.  The rest of the releases here are in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, sometimes stereo, but usually mono or poor stereo and location audio issues plague all those releases as well.  Lennon and Banton hold up a little better than the others.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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