MC5: Kick Out the Jams [DVD] [2005]

The MC5 was one of the truly groundbreaking American rock & roll bands of the '60s, and photographer Leni Sinclair was on hand to photograph many of their most remarkable performances, but sadly she isn't able to make much of the band's live energy in this DVD release of a film created with artist Cary Loren. MC5: Kick Out the Jams has been transferred to disc in the full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1; the film was primarily compiled from old home movies, and this framing suits the material. Considering the age of most of the footage, the source materials are strong, but the quality of the material is quite variable, and plenty of it is of questionable relevance. The audio has been taken entirely from old MC5 recordings (in many cases low-fi live tapes); the music has been mastered in two formats, Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1, with the two-track mix sounding tighter and cleaner. The songs are in English, with no multiple language options. Sadly, the film doesn't offer much of a perspective on why The MC5 were so important, and the bonus feature is even less effective -- an interview with poet and activist John Sinclair (who was once the band's manager), who displays a fuzzy memory of events while being interviewed at a burger joint where he belches on camera in between burgers and root beer, and the filmmakers make matters even worse by often drowning out his speech with background music. In short, this is an unremarkable presentation of a disappointing film.
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    Overview

    Special Features


    • John Sinclair: Live at Crazy Jim's 11/19/03

    Synopsis


    MC5: Kick Out the Jams
    In the late '60s, noted rock photographer Leni Sinclair was close friends with the members of the MC5, Detroit's legendary radical hard rock band (they were managed by her husband, poet and activist John Sinclair), and she documented a number of the band's fabled live shows using still photos and amateur motion picture gear. Leni dug deep into her archive of MC5 material and, in collaboration with artist and filmmaker Cary Loren, created MC5: Kick Out the Jams, a psychedelic cinematic montage that combines Leni Sinclair's images with the music of the MC5 to create a multi-sensory interpretation of the sound and fury they generated on-stage. Also included is an exclusive interview with John Sinclair in which he discusses his experiences with the group. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi



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