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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Drumline



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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 05 2009 - 03:20 PM

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MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURESVideo1080p high definition 16x9 2.35:1480i or 480p standard definitionAudioDTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 5.1, French 5.1StereoSubtitlesSpanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, ThaiNone

The Feature: 3.5/5
Devon Miles (Nick Cannon) is a talented and charismatic drummer, attending Atlanta A&T University on a full-ride music scholarship and primed to be the school marching band's star performer. But Devon's not a team player; he's too caught up in his own ambitions, setting him at odds with Sean (Leonard Roberts), the drumline section leader, and ultimately Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones), the school's music director. Though there's no denying Devon's skill, the young man has a lot to learn, not about music or how to play it, but what it takes to make music, especially when you're not the only one holding an instrument.

For better or worse, "Drumline" doesn't deviate much from its namesake, focusing almost exclusively on the thrilling pageantry and musicianship of a top-notch college marching band. Sure, there's a main character, but his arc isn't particularly original or compelling (though it's kind of novel to have sports film tropes applied to the world of music). Despite moments of promise - a deadbeat dad who both inspires and disappoints, an inability to read music, which almost serves as a metaphor for illiteracy - the film never slows down long enough to really explore them. In the end (literally) it's all about the band performance. In a way it's fitting, given the oft-repeated message about teamwork ("One band, one sound!"), but it needn't have taken things quite so far. Though each performance set-piece is thrilling and inspiring, it would have been nice if the same attention had been paid to developing the main character.

"Drumline" on Blu-Ray includes an extended cut that has about four additional minutes of footage not shown in theaters.


Video Quality: 4.5/5
The picture is accurately framed at 2.35:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Black levels are deep and stable and contrast is excellent throughout. The presence of visible grain structure indicates minimal or non-existent application of noise reduction, though slight edge halos pop up from time-to-time. A couple of longshots in one scene were noticeably soft, but overall sharpness and fine object detail is very good, particularly in close ups that reveal impressive amounts of texture in skin and fabrics. Color depth and saturation are equally noteworthy, particularly when the band is suited up in its yellow and blue uniforms and marching across the lush green of the football field.


Audio Quality: 4.5/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio track provides an engaging and immersive experience, particularly during the performances. You'll get a real sense of the band's size and power thanks to effective wraparound effects and an impressive dynamic range that shows off equally well the depth of the bass drum and crispness of the snare. The quieter moments with dialogue also have a real presence or sense of place, whether set in the reverberant stadium environment or the constantly musical halls of the school. If there's one fault it's that the score and pop music soundtrack can be a little overpowering of the other elements, skewing an otherwise balanced and enveloping mix.


Special Features: 3.5/5

Audio Commentary by Director Charles Stone III: Stone provides a largely technical commentary, but covers the requisite points of interest, namely the tradition and culture of the marching band and band competition. He does have a tendency towards scene description, but the commentary is overall quite interesting.

"Half-Time Heroes" (14m02s): Band directors and musicians talk about the discipline and dedication required for marching band.

"The Real Battle of the Bands" (9m01s): A glimpse behind the scenes of the Honda Battle of the Bands, held annually in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Anatomy of A Drumline" (9m28s): A closer look at the percussion section of the band.

Deleted Scenes: Four scenes totaling over six minutes, with optional director's commentary. One scene involves an all-white band performing at the Battle of the Bands, footage that was requested with the idea that it would help white audiences better identify with the film.

Theatrical Trailer (2m08s)


Recap

The Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

A film replete with thrilling musical performances but short on character development gets excellent audio and video treatment and a decent set of special features.
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#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 11 2009 - 12:15 AM

I have this disc and will try to view it this week. I always liked this movie and it brings me back to my college days.




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#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 11 2009 - 07:34 AM

Were you in the band?
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 12 2009 - 04:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
Were you in the band?
No, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express.Posted Image

Actually, I played football in college and attended a predominantly black university.

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#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted February 12 2009 - 05:07 AM

I spent a fair bit of time in my college's music school (taking any classes that didn't require me to play an instrument Posted Image), so that brought back fond memories too.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 16 2010 - 04:55 PM

The feature is good, but the extras on this disc are borderline unwatchable.  They are almost Youtube quality.  Poor to such an extent that I was shocked they made it to any disc as any sort of "deleted scene"


I really enjoyed this film, but I found this BD, because it's lack of any real set of extras, and insanely low quality of extras is really hard to recommend to anyone.  ;(


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