Late this morning I spoke with documentary veteran Bob Smeaton about his latest film, Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A’Comin’, which PBS will debut on November 5th. (Here’s my 10.3 review.) The first question was whether Smeaton or anyone from Experience Hendrix LLC (i.e., the notoriously conservative-minded family business that controls Hendrix music rights) has seen John Ridley‘s All Is By My Side, a kind of docudrama about Hendrix’s breakout year (mid ’66 to mid ’67) with a striking lead performance by Andre Benjamin. Sematon said he hasn’t but that he considers films of this type to be of limited interest because they tend to fictionalize and because pretending dilutes the truth.
Studly, sword-brandishing, robe-wearing beardo: “I know what you are.” Tantalizing Lucretia McEvil: “You have no idea.” Brrrnnnggg! Any film in which a major adversarial character says “you have no idea” is instantly disqualified. Everything loathsome and detestable about 21st Century mass-moron pulp entertainment in one downmarket Asian combat film. Cartoon-level CGI. Robes. Samurai swords. Catchy macho-challenge lines (i.e., “C’mon”). Steely glares. A once-influential marquee-name actor reduced to pandering to people whose taste in movies couldn’t be more primitive or less evolved.