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LennonNYC [Blu-ray]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Lennonyc
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Warner Music
  • Release Date: Feb. 15 2011
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0040LAHA8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,238 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Out of the many Beatles and Solo Beatles videos and documentaries out there, this one is a solid and detailed review of John Lennon's time in New York City and America. Although I've seen alot of footage of the Beatles and John and Yoko, I found there was much video and details that I learned from watching this documentary, so I was quite satisfied with the purchase. The never before seen footage is nice but the "Starting Over" Elvis take is prodigious, and along with the other outtakes, easily worth the price of this video.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 45 reviews
84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Great documentary about a specific timeframe in Lennon's life Nov. 17 2010
By Z. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Of all the important musicians in the last century, it's pretty easy to see that John Lennon stands out for his influence on music, pop culture, and society in general. Lennon himself - his music and activism - along with their effects on the world, have been well documented in countless short and feature-length documentaries. Now American Masters - "an ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists" - takes on the subject of John Lennon and his time in New York City. The series has featured Andy Warhol, Charlie Chaplin, and Paul Simon, among others.

This Lennon profile is special in that it's not a documentary about his entire life, but as the title suggests, focuses on his time in New York City with Yoko Ono, using numerous interviews with friends and bandmates along with never before-released in-studio recordings of Lennon. This is a documentary that assumes you already know quite a bit about Lennon and know why his time in New York is important and then goes on to both explain why this is true and give you a behind the scenes look at his life at this time. Without glossing over any of the rough patches (including the hiatus John and Yoko took and his subsequent time in Los Angeles), writer and director Michael Epstein gives audiences a true portrait of the legendary musician and activist as seen through the eyes of those around him (including Yoko Ono) and captured in in-studio recording sessions.

The film is thoroughly engaging, though not always structurally clear. Epstein begins with the story of Lennon as an immigrant, looking to make New York City his home though the United States government (the Nixon administration to be more specific) is seeking to get him deported for his various activist causes. This is an intriguing theme, and we're privy to many of those around him discussing being followed and the FBI keeping records on them, but this storyline builds quickly and then goes on the backburner for over an hour before reappearing briefly at the very end. It's an incredible part of Lennon's story and well presented, but Epstein plays up Lennon's immigration status so much in the opening that I always felt like I was waiting for that piece of the story to come back into play. The best parts of the film are the clips of Lennon in the studio and those around him discussing his studio style. Listening to Lennon in the studio is even more fascinating than you might suspect.

The portion of the film (near the end) that deals with John's time after mending ties with Yoko, the birth of his son Sean, and the work on his last album is especially touching. As with any Lennon documentary, the ending left me wishing that there was a documentary about some alternate universe where Lennon was still alive so that the ending didn't have to be so sad.
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
John: The New York Years (1971-1980) Nov. 24 2010
By Dave "Fever Tree" Sigmon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Here's a documentary that exclusively chronicles John's post-Imagine life which, until now, seemed to be the most glaringly overlooked era of his existence on film. There's footage from previous documentary sources, but it's necessary in tracing John's story moving from England in August 1971 to New York City. John's life during this nine-year period is addressed seriously and intelligently and is spiced with interviews from those that knew him best at that time.

This invites the audience to contemplate his struggles through his political regime. His agenda inclines him into staging concerts for humanitarian issues: the "Ten For Two Concert" in 1971 and the "One To One Concert" in 1972. And it's in this year that John and Yoko are being blacklisted by the Nixon Administration and the FBI for the subversive nature of their political views. The deportation process is well outlined here. What makes this part of his story so incredible is that his influence is so strong that he's able to rankle the sensibilities of the U.S. officials in power for the next few years. Topping all this is a pointed interview with Yoko indicating that the downward spiral in their marriage leading to their eventual separation germinated on the evening that Nixon defeated George McGovern.

The next year and a half will show John and Yoko coming to terms with their separation. Producer Jack Douglas provides fascinating tidbits of John's popcraft as he explains John's compositional and lyrical techniques during the making of "Mind Games". There's fine footage on that evening at Elton John's Madison Square Garden performance when the reconciliation between John and Yoko gets underway.

The film essays the spirit that, in the last five years of John's life, he actually has a sense of belonging - particularly telling once Sean is born. It's made more clear that by 1980, John had come full circle and he seemed revitalized in making interesting music again while securing his family life. Although this omits interviews with Julian Lennon and Sean Lennon, the value of this film is that it offers a display of the charismatic hold that John exerts on his fanbase well past that fateful night. A worthy addition to what may be a much-shared knowledge.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
The Journey Of An Artist And A Man--A Fitting Tribute To Lennon's Last Decade Nov. 23 2010
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon's death, there is quite a bit of new material being produced. As the BBC has just released "Lennon Naked," a fictionalized bio-pic of John's tumultuous last years in England--this accomplished documentary by Michael Epstein takes up right where that piece left off. (I mention this only because I happened to watch them in conjunction, not that it has any relevance to this particular item). Initially, "LennoNYC" starts out as a real love letter to New York City--and I thought that this might be an intriguing and different approach. Within a couple of minutes, though, this documentary settles into a familiar chronological framework and begins to recount the last decade of Lennon's life. Lennon, being a public personality, obviously has tons of archival footage to utilize. Epstein has done a nice job integrating actual press footage, home movies, and modern day interviews to flesh out a complicated artist on a journey to contentment.

"LennoNYC" can essentially be broken into four segments, but of course there is some overlap:
1) Activism: The sequence of Lennon's arrival and first years in NYC is populated with much political and social activity. From the awareness rallies to the immigration department's effort to deport Lennon and Ono--there is a idealism at work to change the system. When Nixon gets reelected, Lennon's despondency leads to the next phase represented in the documentary.
2) Artistry: Lennon separates from Yoko Ono after a very public infidelity and heads to drunken debauchery as a recording artist in Los Angeles. He won't return to New York again until he is sober and ready move on to more serious matters.
3) Domesticity: Reunited with Ono and happy at home with his new son Sean, Lennon withdraws from the music scene. His obvious joy with Sean is touching (poor Julian rates a 30 second mention).
4) Contentment: Lennon is putting it all together--awareness, music, and family life for once seem to balance and everything seems on tract. There is obviously a bittersweet quality to this last segment as we know what is to come.

"LennoNYC" doesn't break any new ground as a film and, in truth, doesn't offer too much in new material. Of course, Lennon is one of the most documented figures of the last 50 years--so it's no surprise! But Epstein's documentary is an effective and affecting portrait of Lennon's last years. It doesn't shy away from some of Lennon's more unpleasant moments, but I think it was both hopeful and uplifting. A fitting tribute to an artist, who while not always likable, came to a place of serenity. Lennon's legacy and legend remain a unique and poignant part of history. KGHarris, 11/10.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Journey Of An Artist And A Man: A Fitting Tribute To Lennon's Last Decade Aug. 13 2012
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
As we've arrived at the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon's death, there is quite a bit of new material being produced. As the BBC has just released "Lennon Naked," a fictionalized bio-pic of John's tumultuous last years in England--this accomplished documentary by Michael Epstein takes up right where that piece left off. (I mention this only because I happened to watch them in conjunction, not that it has any relevance to this particular item). Initially, "LennoNYC" starts out as a real love letter to New York City--and I thought that this might be an intriguing and different approach. Within a couple of minutes, though, this documentary settles into a familiar chronological framework and begins to recount the last decade of Lennon's life. Lennon, being a public personality, obviously has tons of archival footage to utilize. Epstein has done a nice job integrating actual press footage, home movies, and modern day interviews to flesh out a complicated artist on a journey to contentment.

"LennoNYC" can essentially be broken into four segments, but of course there is some overlap:
1) Activism: The sequence of Lennon's arrival and first years in NYC is populated with much political and social activity. From the awareness rallies to the immigration department's effort to deport Lennon and Ono--there is a idealism at work to change the system. When Nixon gets reelected, Lennon's despondency leads to the next phase represented in the documentary.
2) Artistry: Lennon separates from Yoko Ono after a very public infidelity and heads to drunken debauchery as a recording artist in Los Angeles. He won't return to New York again until he is sober and ready move on to more serious matters.
3) Domesticity: Reunited with Ono and happy at home with his new son Sean, Lennon withdraws from the music scene. His obvious joy with Sean is touching (poor Julian rates a 30 second mention).
4) Contentment: Lennon is putting it all together--awareness, music, and family life for once seem to balance and everything seems on tract. There is obviously a bittersweet quality to this last segment as we know what is to come.

"LennoNYC" doesn't break any new ground as a film and, in truth, doesn't offer too much in new material. Of course, Lennon is one of the most documented figures of the last 50 years--so it's no surprise! But Epstein's documentary is an effective and affecting portrait of Lennon's last years. It doesn't shy away from some of Lennon's more unpleasant moments, but I think it was both hopeful and uplifting. A fitting tribute to an artist, who while not always likable, came to a place of serenity. Lennon's legacy and legend remain a unique and poignant part of history. KGHarris, 11/10.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Saw This On PBS The Other Night & Enjoyed It Very Much!! Nov. 26 2010
By HE WHO FUNKS BEHIND THE ROWS!! - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I DVR'd this documentary the other night while I was doing my pre-thanksgiving cooking.
On thanksgiving day, after all the cooking was done and the family was engorged with food,
I stole away upstairs to watch this from my recliner and though it didn't really hit on many
things that I didn't already know about Lennon during this period, the final decade of his life,
I did think it was done well and yes, I would and will buy it for my collection.
I just liked John Lennon's whole vibe and what he stood for in his life.
The other reviewers have already articulated alot of the particulars, so I kept mine
straight to the point! (-:

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