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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 106 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon
Written & Directed by: Floria Sigismondi based on the book Neon Angel by Cheri Currie

Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 20, 2010







"It's 1975 and they're about to explode"



Film Synopsis:


Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning star as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in the music-fueled coming of age story of the groundbreaking, all-girl rock band, THE RUNAWAYS. They fall under the Svengali-like influence of rock impresario Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon, Pearl Harbor), who turns the rebellious Southern California kids into a rock group with outrageous success. With its tough-chick image and raw talent, the band quickly earns a name for itself and so do its two leads: Joan is the band's pure rock n' roll heart, while Cherie, with her Bowie-Bardot looks, is the sex kitten.



My Take:


The Runaways is a biopic style film based on the book Neon Angel by Cheri Currie. The Runaways were rock's first hard edged all female band which formed in 1975. The film focuses on segments of curries personal life, the origins of the band and their early success. It depicts the struggles by songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Joan Jett to find acceptance as a female who plays electric guitar and wants to form an all girl rock band. Her break came when she met Kim Fowley an eccentric visionary who saw the potential in a female rock group that wrote and played their own music. He introduced Jett to drummer Sandy West which sparked the bands formation. Currie was just 15 when Fowley found her in a club and thought that she had the look the band needed. She had never sung before but adapted to it quickly with the groups hit song Cherry bomb which was written for her. From there the film depicts the pitfalls and trials and tribulations of life on the road, especially for a group of teenage girls trying to gain acceptance in a male dominated profession. Lastly we see the results of the band's meteoric rise to fame which culminates in internal friction between its members. For Currie who was the youngest member of the group the experience would take its toll on her both physically and mentally and result in a permanent separation from the band after only two albums. The Runaways would continue on but would never achieve the same level of success. Joan Jett would go on to rock stardom with her breakout hit and rock anthem I Love rock and roll.
I can clearly recall The Runaways and the hype that surrounded them when they first emerged back in the mid seventies. A close friend of mine at the time was very much into punk rock and followed the type of music that was then associated with them early on. I wouldn't say that I was really into their music (not enough to own it) but I liked it when he would put it on. He was obsessed with Cheri Currie and had posters of the band plastered on his walls. I enjoyed this film and think that it and the cast captured the essence of the time period as well as the feel of the band both physically and from a performance perspective. I don't find Kristen Stewart to be a versatile actress but her portrayal of Joan Jett was actually worthy of note. Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon each gave credible performances in the roles of Currie and Fowley. The film was executive produced by Joan Jett and appears to faithfully depict the band's origins, early days and rapid ascent to popularity. Those of us that remember The Runaways will probably have a bit more of an appreciation for this however that isn't a prerequisite for enjoying it as it's an engaging dramatic film that is worth seeing.


Parental Guide:


The rating is for language, drug use, and sexual content which involves teens.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 84


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 80


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The Runaways comes to Blu-ray from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.

The elements in this film rarely afford three dimensional images and lucid textural detail. Filtering was used during filming to give it an intentionally hazy/soft aesthetic and the visible presence of grain further negates the razor sharp, high gloss delineation that we see with many of today's films that are released in high definition. Regardless this is a strong encoding that clearly renders the films elements. Resolution was discerning in most cases with the perception of fine detail being dependent of the camera's perspective. Colors are warm and pleasing with vivid primaries that occasionally pop nicely. Whites are bright and punchy and blacks are fairly deep and stable. I noticed some digital noise in a few dark backgrounds but it was minor and didn't prove distracting.

The star of this film is clearly the music and the lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound didn't disappoint. Imaging was well focused across the front three channels as its delivery was well defined and spatial. Dialogue was rendered with subtle distinction and refinement which lent solidity to voices. Clarity and detail were first rate as the variety of music featured in the film filled the sound field with crystal clear and acoustically transparent auditory. The surrounds were used to articulate smaller but intricate aspects of the audio's presentation. This included both directional and ambient/spatial cues that combined with the front soundstage to construct a realistic atmosphere within the film's differing venues. Bass maintained a purposeful non-dominant presence that effectively reproduced the mid bass and upper low level frequencies associated with the rock music featured in the film. This was a very pleasing mix that kept pace with the story's theme and sounded great doing so.



Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with Joan Jett, Kristen Stewart, and Dakota Fanning

  • (HD) Plugged in: Making the film - 15 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Runaways - 2 minute featurette

  • (HD) Previews: Chloe, The Square, The Bounty Hunter, Harry Brown, The pillars of the earth, Get low, Youth in revolt

  • BD-Live enabled




Final Thoughts:


The Runaways is a biopic style film based on the book Neon Angel by Cherie Currie. It depicts the coming of age story of a group of teenage girls who come to together under adverse conditions to form hard rock's first female band. As someone who remembers The Runaways I enjoyed the film's music, authenticity and the genuine portrayals by the principle members of the cast. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Sony features good high definition video and an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix. An audio commentary and two short featurettes round out a decent offering which is easily worth a rental or buy if you're already a fan.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

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Cool...thanks Ralph. I was on the fence about that one...but I'll give it a rent now at least.


Am I the only one who wonders where all the 7.1 soundtracks have gone?
 

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All the 7.1 soundtracks?
I think they are a pretty small pecentage aren't they?


I am looking forward to seeing this. I love Joan Jett, I like some of the punk music from that era, and I some of the Runaways songs are great.


I have always been dissapointed in the small number of rock bands with female singers and players. Not counting the mellower 90s alt rock, I can name only a few bands like Veruca Salt, Letters to Cleo, Hole, a few Japanese female rock bands and Babes in Toyland (who I was never that into.) I am sure I am missing some important names, so forgive me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman /forum/post/18934619


All the 7.1 soundtracks?
I think they are a pretty small pecentage aren't they?


I am looking forward to seeing this. I love Joan Jett, I like some of the punk music from that era, and I some of the Runaways songs are great.


I have always been dissapointed in the small number of rock bands with female singers and players. Not counting the mellower 90s alt rock, I can name only a few bands like Veruca Salt, Letters to Cleo, Hole, a few Japanese female rock bands and Babes in Toyland (who I was never that into.) I am sure I am missing some important names, so forgive me.

Today, about the closest you're going to get is Pink.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman /forum/post/18934619


I have always been dissapointed in the small number of rock bands with female singers and players. Not counting the mellower 90s alt rock, I can name only a few bands like Veruca Salt, Letters to Cleo, Hole, a few Japanese female rock bands and Babes in Toyland (who I was never that into.) I am sure I am missing some important names, so forgive me.

I always liked The Catholic Girls.. They were the first girl-band to wear the plaid skirts, crucifixes as accessories, etc. Not a big deal today, since so many have co-opted those things since. But in the early 80s, the group was banned in New England, banned from Saturday Night Live, etc. Ironic, since their songs were inoffensive, angsty pop-rock. (And, amazingly, they're still around!)


Anyway, I'll be viewing THE RUNAWAYS either tonight or tomorrow.
 

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Watched the rental last night. Enjoyed the story and the music. This one may rate me buying for my collection.
 

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Watched it last night and after knowing the Runaways story from the HBO special few years back I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Was hoping for more song variety (not just Cherry Bomb especially in the featurettes), though. Good rental, even buy for fans of the band.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Clemons /forum/post/18934881


I always liked The Catholic Girls.. They were the first girl-band to wear the plaid skirts, crucifixes as accessories, etc. Not a big deal today, since so many have co-opted those things since. But in the early 80s, the group was banned in New England, banned from Saturday Night Live, etc. Ironic, since their songs were inoffensive, angsty pop-rock. (And, amazingly, they're still around!)

Agree about the Catholic Girls...saw them live a few years back. Better than the Go-Gos! Also, don't forget bands like The Pandoras, The Slits, The Bangles, etc. etc.
 

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Very much agree with your review Ralph, thanks for writing it up.


There were a few things that I really liked about this film.


1) They really put a LOT of effort into making you feel like you are in 1975. The cars, the buildings, businesses, home décor, wardrobes, hair… Fantastic work.


2) I didn’t know much about Joan Jett and the Runaways, so this film was almost a documentary to me. I took more from this movie just learning about their journey than critically watching this for it’s film quality.


3) Stewart and Fanning were fantastic and really went far to make themselves be the real thing. Seeing Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in the extras, it goes to show how well these two actors impersonated the real deal.


Even with those good points, I still felt like I was watching a documentary rather than a film. It was entertaining nonetheless, but didn’t draw me in.


PQ was fine, and SQ was good, but I still think it cold have been better. Maybe it is just the music, but it felt a little harsh with a narrow soundstage in parts.


PQ 3.5 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 3 out of 5.


Dan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stereomandan /forum/post/19166859


Very much agree with your review Ralph, thanks for writing it up.


There were a few things that I really liked about this film.


1) They really put a LOT of effort into making you feel like you are in 1975. The cars, the buildings, businesses, home décor, wardrobes, hair Fantastic work.


2) I didn't know much about Joan Jett and the Runaways, so this film was almost a documentary to me. I took more from this movie just learning about their journey than critically watching this for it's film quality.


3) Stewart and Fanning were fantastic and really went far to make themselves be the real thing. Seeing Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in the extras, it goes to show how well these two actors impersonated the real deal.


Even with those good points, I still felt like I was watching a documentary rather than a film. It was entertaining nonetheless, but didn't draw me in.


PQ was fine, and SQ was good, but I still think it cold have been better. Maybe it is just the music, but it felt a little harsh with a narrow soundstage in parts.


PQ 3.5 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 3 out of 5.


Dan

Greetings,


Thanks for sharing your impressions Dan.



Regards,
 
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