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Danny Clinch
Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Matt Cameron, Mike McCready)
Writing Credits:

Immagine In Cornice: Picture In A Frame, the new live concert film from Pearl Jam, chronicles the group's performances and features behind-the-scenes footage from five Italian shows during their 2006 European tour. The dates marked the first time they'd toured Europe since 2000.

Rated NR

Widescreen 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English PCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 9/25/07

• Three Bonus Songs
• Booklet


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Pearl Jam: Immagine In Cornice (Picture In A Frame) (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 19, 2007)

For a look at Pearl Jam circa 2006, we check out a concert film entitled Immagine in Cornice. Shot during the band’s five Italian concerts that occurred in September 2006, we follow PJ at the various venues.

The film’s 15 live performances come from a mix of PJ sources, though don’t expect many rarities. From 2006’s self-titled album, we find “Severed Hand”, “World Wide Suicide”, “Life Wasted”, “Comatose” and “Come Back”. The movie completely skips anything from the 10 years prior to that release, as it leaps to 1994’s Vitalogy for “Immortality”, “Corduroy” and “Better Man”, while 1993’s Vs. gives us “Blood”. A 1992 non-album track called “State of Love and Trust” appears, and 1991’s Ten features “Porch”, “Alive”, and “Even Flow”. Finally, “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Picture in a Frame” offer covers of tunes by Neil Young and Tom Waits, respectively.

While live shots dominate Immagine, it doesn’t provide a standard concert film. In between tunes, it often shows us PJ out and about as they tour Italy. We also see some backstage shots as we get a feel for life on the road – sort of.

These moments pass pretty quickly, as they present quick interludes and not much more. That came as a relief, for before I saw Immagine, I got the impression it’d be art flick first and concert presentation second. I guess I heard bad information, but the notes I’d learned left me with the clear concept that it would rather show us meandering shots of tour buses and scenery than live performances.

I’m happy to report that’s not the case. As I mentioned, the live footage heavily dominates, and even when we leave the stage, Immagine doesn’t dilly-dally for long. The non-concert elements usually entertain in their own right. We see Eddie getting help with the translation of his comments to the crowd, and we hear thoughts about playing Italy. Mike tells a story about his own youthful rock fan escapades and relates stories about his tattoos, Eddie moans about politics a little, and a few other innocuous moments occur.

Do any of these add to the presentation? Not particularly – I won’t hide that I’d prefer a straight concert film, even one that cobbles together a “show” from five different venues. Nonetheless, I can’t complain about the non-concert interludes. They’re moderately interesting at best and painless at worst. Jeff’s skateboarding adventure is the most tedious of the bunch, but his discussion of how Eddie comes up with the set lists is the most compelling.

When Immagine stays on stage, it does well. Granted, I can still find fault there. For one, 90 minutes and 16 songs seems too brief. PJ put on much longer shows, so there’s no reason to be so stingy in this regard.

And as I already alluded earlier, the track listing won’t dazzle most fans. Oh, the casual partisans will probably like it since it mostly tends toward well-known tunes, but I’d prefer more variety and depth. PJ vary their sets so much that it’s a shame we find such a vanilla track list here.

All this fanboy moaning aside, I like most of what I see here. This is easily the best-shot and best-looking of all the PJ concert DVDs. The live footage keeps gimmicks and quick cuts to a minimum. Even when it goes for an unconventional choice, it works. For instance, the overhead cam that peers down on Eddie offers a cool view. The concert material comes across really well, as the movie shows the performances with good clarity and life.

While I may not rave about the song choices, I sure can’t fault the renditions themselves. PJ have become one of the world’s best live bands, and Immagine shows them to their best advantage. Virtually all the performances shine.

Because it concentrates on one full concert, 2003’s Live at the Garden remains the best Pearl Jam concert DVD. Nonetheless, Immagine works well in its own right. It provides some excellent live performances and creates a very nice piece of work.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Pearl Jam: Immagine in Cornice appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The mix of sources made Immagine a little iffy at times, but most of it looked great.

That’s because the majority of the film used professionally shot high-def footage, and these elements fared very well. They showed rock solid sharpness, as almost all the concert bits presented tight definition. A couple were just a little soft, but those were exceptions to the rule. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and source flaws were absent.

For those high-def shots, colors looked great. The various lighting tints featured during the shows appeared full and rich. At times, reds became slightly thick, but overall the hues seemed vivid and vibrant. Blacks were deep and dense, and shadows appeared clear. When the film stayed with high-def, it looked great.

And since most of Immagine used high-def, most of it offered fine visuals. A smattering of shots from crummier film stocks cropped up, though, and those provided the expected drop in picture quality. I can’t blame the transfer for these drop-offs, of course, since they stemmed from the footage itself. As much as I liked most of Immagine, I didn’t feel comfortable with a grade above a “B+” due to those sketchier shots. Nonetheless, rest assured that the vast majority of this presentation was definitely “A” level.

While perfectly fine, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Immagine wasn’t quite as impressive. Audio quality was the main culprit, particularly in terms of low-end response. The film lacked the expected depth, as bass was a little lackluster. Mid-range seemed slightly harsh as well, though some of that may have stemmed from the iffy low-end; with warmer bass, it would’ve taken the edge off the mids. Highs showed good clarity and definition, though, and the music was always more than listenable. I just didn’t think the tunes sounded as good as they should have.

The soundfield fell within the expected “concert film” parameters. The forward spectrum provided the lion’s share of the material, as that’s the area from which all the music emanated. The surrounds were reserved for the usual crowd noise. In the front, we got good stereo separation of the instruments. These created a nice sense of the band onstage and formed a fine impression of a performance. All of this was good enough for “B”.

In terms of extras, not much appears here. We find three bonus songs. We can check out “Yellow Ledbetter” as well as covers of the Who’s “A Quick One (While He’s Away)” and Hunters & Collectors’ “Throw Your Arms Around Me”. “Quick One” is easily the most interesting because a) PJ don’t play it much, if at all, and b) it features a guest appearance from the members of My Morning Jacket, PJ’s opening act. It’s a pretty literal cover of the original, but it’s a lot of fun.

“Arms” offers a solo turn from Eddie, and that’s fine. Honestly, it’s not one of my favorites, and since we already have a similar performance of it on the Garden DVD, I wish this set had used the space for something rarer. Ditto that sentiment for “Ledbetter”. It’s a popular tune among PJ fans, and I like it, but I gotta admit that I could live without it at this point. It’s a good song that has simply been played to death.

We also get a booklet. Bound into the DVD’s book-like package, this piece includes 22 “lobby cards”. They show photos of the band on stage or in various parts of Italy. It’s a nice little extra.

Though I feared Pearl Jam: Immagine in Cornice would be too artsy, it actually provides a pretty good representation of the band on stage circa 2006. The non-concert interludes embellish more than they distract, and the performances themselves soar. The DVD offers surprisingly excellent visuals along with pretty good audio. Only the lack of substantial extras disappoints. Nonetheless, Immagine is a solid concert flick that will please PJ fans.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 9
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