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Recliner Reviews | Jimi Hendrix biopic a major disappointment

“Low Down”

Based on the memoir of Amy Albany, she’s the daughter of Joe Albany – a talented jazz pianist who flourished in the ’60s and ’70s despite his drug addiction.

This film tells of the sweet, sad relationship between a father and daughter locked in the throes of addiction. The young and promising Elle Fanning plays Amy with nuance and a natural curiosity. The always phenomenal John Hawkes plays the drug-sick Joe with C-sharp precision. Glenn Close rolls out a powerful supporting performance.

Two “Game of Thrones” stars drop by to make nice but typical cameos – Lena Headey is a bitter mom, and Peter Dinklage is a strange man, roaming around the walls. This period piece does lag in certain scenes. But the music is terrific, and the acting makes it worth a watch.

“Rudderless”

This is not your typical drama, nor is it your typical movie about music.

After the tragic death of his son, a reeling father discovers a box of his son’s demos and lyrics and decides to form a band to deal with his grief. Award-winning actor William H. Macy makes his feature film directorial debut with a pretty heavy film. And he pulls it off for the most part.

Billy Crudup strums the role of the father for all it’s worth, showing he’s never better than when he straps on a guitar; just look back at “Almost Famous” for further evidence. Anton Yelchin adds a nice rhythm to the scenes. Felicity Huffman (Macy’s wife) sits in balance with the cast, and Selena Gomez doesn’t flub up anything when she has camera time. Macy keeps “Rudderless” moving and even provides a few turns – worth a watch.

“Jimi: All is By My Side”

There are so many surprising aspects about this film dealing with Jimi Hendrix’s time when he left the United States to find success in England. To begin with, Hendrix is played by hip-hop artist André Benjamin, who hasn’t acted in a film since 2008’s “Semi-Pro.”

Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) took the reins and wrote and directed this project. The Hendrix estate wouldn’t allow the production to use any of Hendrix’s music in the movie, so no Hendrix originals are heard and the covers in the film are performed by studio session player Waddy Wachtel.

The results – Benjamin does a fine job at mimicking Hendrix’s playing style and stoner philosophy. Ridley’s script is solid, but his direction is a bit disjointed. Hayley Atwell (“Agent Carter”) and Imogen Poots give standout performances. But the largest flaw is not being able to hear Hendrix’s music in a biopic about Hendrix, that’s inexplicable and inexcusable. Without the sounds of Jimi, this one falls on its side – pass.

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