A few thoughts about...WALK THE LINE

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Steady like a train. Sharp like a razor.


    I never considered myself a huge fan of Johnny Cash
    and after watching Walking The Line, I don't
    foresee myself going out and buying any of his music.
    On the other hand, watching this upcoming DVD release
    was a very positive experience for me. I walked away
    with a better understanding and appreciation for the
    man behind the music.

    While watching Walk The Line, I couldn't help
    but to be reminded of the 2004 film, Ray, whose
    storyline almost runs parallel to that of Johnny Cash.
    Both are stories that involve a lackluster southern
    childhood, the death of a brother, and a sudden rise
    to fame and fortune that leads to dependency of alcohol
    and drugs.

    In the same way that Jamie Foxx captured the essence
    of Ray Charles, Joaquin Phoenix has resurrected the
    "Man in Black" from the dead, not only completely
    nailing all his mannerisms but the brooding voice as
    well.


    [​IMG]


    This film could have easily fallen into a slump
    with its repetition of depressing themes if not
    for the inclusion of Reese Witherspoon as June
    Cater. It is a performance certain to win her an
    Oscar for Best Actress. From the moment Reese walks
    on stage, we are drawn into her smile, energy, and
    relentless spunk.

    The DVD transfer is quite good, though there is a
    noticeable amount of grain in the southern childhood
    sequences that take up the first quarter of the film.
    I summized that the grain was intentional, as it quickly
    disappears as the film progresses into Johnny's adult
    years. The film has a very subdued color pallette with
    mostly earthy tones. This isn't a colorful film by
    any means, and I actually enjoyed the warmth of this
    transfer, though it's a bit on the soft side resulting
    in a slight loss in detail. Perhaps again...intentional.

    Audio is excellent. The concert sequences put Joaquin
    and Reese in the three front channels while the sounds
    of an appreciative audience can be heard roaring through
    the rears. The rear channels also make great use of
    weather effects including thunder, wind, and even the
    movement of trees in the background.


    [​IMG]


    While yet another biopic where everyone roots for
    the man who cheats on his wife and becomes dependant
    on drugs and alcohol, Walk The Line somehow
    remains very entertaining mostly for its dead-on
    performances from its stars. I'll even go on record
    saying that there was a lot of toe-tapping going on
    throughout.

    This is absolutely a film worth a blind purchase.

    Release Date: February 28, 2006

    Note: Compressed screencaps are not a proper
    representation of film ratio or transfer quality.
     
  2. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    I enjoyed the film a lot and I'm looking forward to the DVD. Thanks for your thoughts, Ron.

    The one thing I felt the film lacked, however, was a better understanding of WHY Cash's music was so important to the industry/American musical culture. Ray seemed to do that better.
     
  3. Justin Bauer

    Justin Bauer Supporting Actor

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    My favorite movie of the year by far and I cannot wait for the DVDs.

    My one problem with the movie is that it did not touch on Cash in his latter years...only his struggles. I know that alot of people did not "cheer for the man who does drugs and cheats on his wife." Most of my friends who saw the movie and know nothing of Cash did not understand why people liked him so much...one friend even claimed she hated him because of what he did to his first wife. The movie failed to show some of these people that Cash was more than just a cheating, alcoholic.

    This is one of the only biopics that I feel needs a follow up. There is soo much more they can cover, the surface was barely scratched.

    I was a casual Cash fan who knew alot about him just from my diehard friends and family. I have since bought The Legend CD box set and several other albums.

    Thanks for the initial impressions Ron. I saw the movie 3 times in theaters and each audience reacted differently to the movie. I was amazed when during 2 viewings that the audience would actually stamp their feet and clap with the songs...I have never experienced anything like that before in a movie theater.
     
  4. Shane_M

    Shane_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm right on par with you Ron. The only problem I found with the DVD was the audio. I found some of the dialog muffled. I'll be re-watching it in DTS tonight.

    I've never been a fan of Johnny Cash either. In fact the only song that I knew he sung was Ring of Fire. I won't be running out to get any of his stuff, but I must say I gained a new respect for the man in black.
     
  5. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Good Stuff...one of the year's best [​IMG]
     
  6. Juan C

    Juan C Second Unit

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    Great stuff Ron. I'm looking forward to watching this one.

    BTW...


    No kidding. When I looked at the second screencap I thought for a second that Reese Witherspoon had been replaced by Sarah Jessica Parker. [​IMG]
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Been a long time since I did screencaps
    and PowerDVD isn't saving the captures in
    the correct ratio despite the fact I select
    "keep in original aspect ratio." Not sure
    where the problem is, but I wanted to make
    certain that nobody got the wrong impression
    of the aspect ratio from those screen caps.
     
  8. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    I think it's supposed to be set as "keep in current aspect ratio" or something like that.
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Ray,

    See my post above yours. That's exactly
    what was done.
     
  10. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Been having problems with Power DVD myself in the fact that it went from working flawlessly to died completely - or lets say won't recognize any DVDs. Thought that maybe that Sony anti-copy protection thing had something to do with it and so downloaded the patch from them. It made my DVD-ROM play music again but not movies?

    As for the movie, I am a sucker for biopics and this looks like another purchase for me.

    Eric
     
  11. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Guys,

    If I right-click on the screen capture button in PowerDVD, I get some options, one of which is "By Current Video Window Size". This is what you want instead of "By Original Video Source Size". This is in PowerDVD 4.0 Not sure if it's called something different in later versions.

    And Eric, I've found PowerDVD goes wonky once in a while, and I simply reinstall, which seems to correct any issues.
     
  12. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    You said you have it set as "original size" but it should be "current size"
     
  13. Andrew Radke

    Andrew Radke Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the impressions Ron. I saw this just before Christmas and am eagerly waiting this on DVD. I of course will be getting the 2-disc set. Not only for the amazing cover art, but the music videos as well. The musical numbers to me were some of the strongest points of the film, second only to the amazing performances by the film's leads. I literally couldn't take my eyes off the screen when I first saw this, and I'm ecstatic to finally be able to own this.
     
  14. Matthew Clayton

    Matthew Clayton Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw the film yesterday and I was blown away by how good it was. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon definitely deserved their Oscar nominations and then some. It wasn't boring at all, and the musical sequences were well-edited and quite rousing. I found myself stamping my feet and clapping during those sequences (I didn't worry about anyone seeing me, as I was the only one at the matinee showing). And I was very satisfied -- it's never boring and Phoenix just captured the mannerisms and voice of Johnny Cash.

    I have to say that this is Reese Witherspoon's most serious work in her entire career, and she was just fantastic. If she choses more of these meaty roles later on and stop appearing in frothy romantic comedies, she could have a really good career ahead of her.

    I look forward to getting the 2-Disc Collector's Edition in 11 days. Funny, that movie had been playing at my local theater since November, and it's going be shown for another week.
     
  15. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    While Joaquin Phoenix's vocal impression is servicable, Johnny Cash's voice was much richer and deeper. Try listening to Johnny Cash himself, particularly his early Sun recordings. These are among the most important recordings of the 20th century, for many reasons. Then listen to the Folsom Prison concert. Even if you don't like early country music, you may come away with a different impression.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how factual the film is and how seriously it treats its subject. It avoids a history lesson, but it captures some of the atmosphere and colorful characters of the time. I particularly enjoyed the tour caravan. These early country / rockabilly singers were a bunch of misfits and freaks with an enormous talent, and they were doing something new and different in music for the very first time. Johnny Cash and his music was part of that.
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I totally agree with that assessment. I have some of Cash's early efforts because of my deep interest in early rock n roll.





    Crawdaddy
     
  17. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I also enjoyed the impersonations. Maybelle and Ezra Carter were living legends by the time Johnny Cash met their daughter June. The Carters were the first country / hillbilly singers to be recorded in the United States during the 1920s; all country music originates with them. Sandra Ellis Lafferty and Dan Beene nailed Maybelle and Ezra perfectly. Waylon Payne really stands out, investing Jerry Lee Lewis with an egocentricity and hint of danger that was no joke -- he killed three of his wives. Dan John Miller and Larry Bagby were perfect as the Tennessee Two, Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant.

    But what I like most about the film was the absence of CGI. They don't use it and we don't miss it. The mid-1950s music scene is recreated convincingly the old-fashioned way.
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    This was sort of brought out in the
    film and managed to surprised me the
    most.

    Imagine....Johnny Cash hanging out with
    Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, a bunch of misfits
    blowing shit up in the parking lot.
     
  19. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Really?
    And he's still walking the streets?
    Waylon Payne's characterization did not even begin to approach the reality of Jerry Lee Lewis, but I think that was a purposeful choice to keep the focus of the film on Johnny Cash.
    One of Jerry Lee's nicknames is The Killer, like all much loved beings he has several including The Hawk and the Ferriday Fireball.
    "Killer" comes from him calling everyone else Killer, it's not based on his activities.
    He once shot his bass player accidentally. Accidental shootings do happen. He has never been charged in the death of a wife.
    Of Jerry's six ex-wives four are enjoying good health. Jaren drowned, alone, in a swimming pool and Shawn died of a methadone overdose.
     
  20. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    You ain't seen nothin' yet. They all knew each other, because they were all recording for Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis. Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Elvis Presley before he became famous. They all toured the country together playing loud, wild music where none had ever been heard before. The reactions they provoked gave birth to rock and roll. Those tours were an adventure. Sam Phillips created a country / rockabilly renaisance in the mid-1950s. He also created a blues renaisance. A lot's been written about it. Walk the Line barely has enough time to delve into this incredible time; it's another movie, waiting to happen.

    What I meant to say about The Carter Family -- Maybelle and family virtually created and defined country music with the songs they recorded between 1927 and 1938, and by the time Cash met the daughter June, a new industry had grown up around their songs. Every performer owed their career to the Carters and looked up to them. Yet they remained unaffacted, down-to-earth people, still living in rural Virginia, still driving a pick-up, ready to scare off the drug-dealer with the shotgun. So it makes sense for Sandra Ellis Lafferty and Dan Beene to underplay their roles. If they acted like celebrities, it would have been all wrong.

    Everyone should check out those Bear Family box-sets here which collect all the original recordings for Sun in chronological order, and then some. What Criterion is to home video, Bear Family is to music.
     

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