Blu-ray Definition.com 4 Out Of 5 Stars It's About You Review
06.12.2012 - In 2010 John Mellencamp dug deep into his roots and influences and recorded a
retro-styled album, No Better Than This, critically acclaimed not only for its
songwriting and arrangements, but for the style in which it was recorded.
Mellencamp, renowned for his numerous hits such as ďJack & DianeĒ, ďPink
HousesĒ, ďLonely Olí NightĒ, ďSmall TownĒ, and ďCherry BombĒ recorded the album
while touring with legends Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. He used nothing but
vintage 1950s reel-to-reel tape recorders, microphones, and console equipment,
and recorded in historic sites, like the First African Baptist Church and the
famed Sun Studios. The resulting album, in warm and glorious mono, was a
testament not only to Mellencampís songwriting skills, but to the enduring power
of a time long gone and the classic techniques that gave birth to rock and roll.
Photographer Kurt Marcus and his son Ian traveled along with Mr. Mellencamp
on that 2009 tour documenting not only the concert tour, but his writing and
recording of the album No Better Than This. Captured all on Super 8mm with an
introspective narration from Kurt Marcus, Itís About You transcends its subject,
becoming more than just a document about Mellencamp on the road. Unlike most
documentaries of this nature, which can seem self-indulgent, Itís About You
isnít just about Mellencamp, itís about the Marcuses and, mostly, itís about
Mellencampís beloved heartland. Itís a visual postcard of America, a bygone
America or the America of books like some stream of consciousness Kerouac novel.
Itís visual beauty is at once recognizable by the visual cues of Americana,
inspiring, and heartening in its depictions of prosperity and decay. This is a
marvelous little indie film that is more than a film about music, itís a film
about the American landscape, the American experience.
This entire production was shot on Super 8mm, so expecting a miraculous high
definition reference release on Blu-ray would be absurd. It looks like what it
is in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer from MPI, low-res, gritty, with big
thickets of grain, low levels of contrast, at times like old home movies, but
with little in the way of source damage.
The audio compliments the quality of the video in that, although a LPCM 2.0
(48kHz/16-bit) is offered up and much of the film does consist of complete or
nearly complete musical performances, there is very little stereo separation;
itís a very narrow soundfield. With that said, it does have relatively clean
dialogue and the overall sound works for the feel they were trying to accomplish
here. There are also some moments where the low frequency extension is
surprisingly deep and musical.
Itís got zilch, so move on along.
The Definitive Word
Overall: An excellent film that not only encapsulates the decades of Mellencampís
career, but tells a beautiful story about the country he has been fighting for
his entire career. The Marcus team show their undoubted photographic eye in this
8mm production with subtlety and beauty that will linger on in your thoughts
long after the credits finish rolling. Recommended