DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Coach Carter

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Jun 21, 2005.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    Coach Carter





    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 2005

    Rated: PG-13

    Length: 136 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

    Audio: Dolby Digital English 5.1

    Special Features: 2 featurettes, deleted scenes, music video

    Estimated Street Price: around $20 USD


    Release Date: June 21, 2005

    Someone pulled out an old, dog-eared playbook for this film, an all too familiar sports film / “teacher takes a stand” film. I don’t have enough fingers on both hands to count how many times this formula has played out before - and I do have a full complement of digits.

    Though based on a true story from not so long ago, this film offers nothing fresh in the plot department. It is reasonably competently directed, and there are some good performances offered by actors who are able to deliver regardless of the depth of the material.

    Samuel L. Jackson makes this film watchable, turning in a solid performance as Ken Carter, the new coach of the Richmond High basketball team. The real life Carter gained media attention a few years back when he locked the team out of the gym and canceled games because of their poor academic performance. Carter was harshly criticized by most in the community, who thought that the only chance their kids had was with basketball. Carter sticks to his guns, however, and gains the respect of most of his team for standing up for his beliefs.

    The game sequences are nicely choreographed, resulting in some exciting plays caught on film in new ways. Unfortunately, the play sequences are cut together in a way that don’t inspire any anticipation for the ultimate result - a downfall second only to the tired formula for the film.

    Coach Carter isn’t a bad film. It is competent, for the most part - and performances are strong all around. It’s just that the formula has played out. Its time for a new playbook.

    The Transfer
    Coach Carter is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is anamorphically enhanced. The image features good detail and sharpness, with only a rare instance of visible enhancement. Compression artifacts are rare, mild, few and far between.

    Contrast is outstanding, offering solid black levels without losing detail. Whites are bright without being blown out. Colors are nicely saturated and natural in tone.

    Overall, quite a nice transfer of a clean source print.

    The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Frequency response is very good, with solid bass and clear highs. My only complaint is the heavy bass in some of the music, which sometimes blocks out detail in the dialog. I doubt, however, that this is a fault of the Dolby mix on DVD - it seems likely that this is a good representation of the source. Much of the music is simply not to my liking - and that may be part of the problem.


    Special Features

    The featurettes are not anamorphically enhanced.

    Featurette: Coach Carter: The Man Behind the Movie
    This 20ish minute featurette is a visit with the real coach Carter, his family, and some of his former players. Included are comments from Samuel L. Jackson and others. This is the real story behind the movie.

    Featurette: Fast Break at Richmond High
    This is a “behind the scenes” at the basketball camp that got the actors and extras in shape to play the game on film. Includes raw rehearsal footage, on-set footage, and the creation of animatics that helped to determine camera positions and lens choices.

    Deleted Scenes
    Six deleted scenes, anamorphically enhanced, with a “play all” feature. Some of these are really good scenes. I always wish for a director’s commentary on deleted scenes so I can hear the reasoning behind the cuts. Sadly, there is no commentary here.

    “Hope” Music Video by Twista featuring Faith Evans

    Final Thoughts


    Fans of Jackson, and fans of this genre in general may well enjoy this... others may want to pass. If you like the film, Paramount has delivered a solid transfer - and thrown fans a bone with a couple of extras.
     
  2. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    thought the movie was ok.
    right out of the cookie cutter tho'.

    too much of a violin sappy type thing in alot of scenes.

    dvd was usual good quality.

    the man behind the movie was more interesting to watch, mostly for interviews with omeof the real players.
     

  3. Felt the same way about 'Friday Night Lights' and will probably skip 'CC'.

    Since I watch no sports in real life, maybe 'authentic' sports movies aren't my thing (as oppose to spoofs and whatnot).

    Only one I remember liking was 'Mystery, Alaska', but that was more about the quirky town and it's people.
     
  4. Dennis Oblow

    Dennis Oblow Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorta like Hoosiers in "The Hood" if you ask me, but I liked them both
     
  5. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    If you didn't like FNL, DEFINITELY skip Carter. I really liked the former, thought the latter was dull and formulaic.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Saw it on a plane.

    You guys are on the money....very formulatic.

    Seen dozens of films like it before.
     
  7. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Frank,
    did you ever see Rudy? It's great! [​IMG]

    As for CC, I tend to fall easily for these types of films, so I might just like it.
     
  8. Mike~Sileck

    Mike~Sileck Supporting Actor

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    I gotta say I'm a high school senior and have played ball my entire life, and I saw this movie when my "career" was winding down this past year.

    I loved it personally, films like this really move me, including FNL. Maybe it's because I'm in the age bracket that is shown in the movie, but I dunno, something about these movies always pulls at my emotions.

    I would recommend it if you have any interest in basketball.

    mike
     
  9. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    The one thing I don't understand is how you can refer to a film as "formulaic" when it's based on a true story. If this film was entirely fictitious and proceeded to borrow elements from other films, that's one thing. But when you are basically re-telling events that actually happened in real life, I think this criticism is unwarranted.
     
  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Alan,

    You are correct. It's based on a true story
    and thus the term "formulatic" may very well
    be inappropriate here.

    However...

    Not trying to insult or take away from the
    High School teens that deserve their story told --
    for many of us watching as an audience, this is
    the kind of story/film we have seen countless times
    before.

    I think all we are doing here is trying to
    help people decide whether this film will offer
    a unique viewing experience for them or not. The
    last thing I want to do is insult the kids and
    coach that this story is based upon.
     
  11. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    "Basing" something on fact doesn't mean it's fully accurate. There are plenty of liberties taken in "true stories", and they can easily be manipulated to become - dare I say it? - formulaic. Carter changes MANY facts for its purposes - it's not a documentary...
     
  12. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    I hear what you guys are saying, it just seems like there are so many times when a reviewer (mostly the 'mainstream' reviewers) criticize a movie for certain aspects that may have been done similarly before. I think most any film borrows to some degree, and some even have a nearly identical story arc. I guess I just tend to give movies the benefit of the doubt and try to let it stand on its own merit. I sort of compare it to stand up comedy. The material that each comic has is one thing, but the way he or she delievers it is often times very formulaic and/or strategic. There are certain 'theories', if you will, about how to structure a joke, deliver a punchline, etc., that many comics rely on, even though the specific material they are using is very different. I dunno, just my opinion [​IMG]

    There are times, however, when I'm watching a film and I see a scene that is done almost identically to a scene I saw in a prior film, and it's obvious it was more along the lines of 'stealing' than it was borrowing.

    Anyway, Netflix was nice enough to deliver this movie to me today, so I'm going to watch it here shortly. By the way, thanks for all the work you put into your reviews, Ron. I really enjoy reading them, as Im sure many others do too [​IMG]
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Alan,

    I haven't done a DVD review in ages. I am
    only doing a few equipment reviews even though
    hardware is not my strongest area.

    Thank You anyway!
     
  14. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Okay, well thanks for being one of the owners then lol
     
  15. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    Saw this yesterday while sitting at home nursing some softball injuries ... I enjoyed a fair bit. Formulaic -- Sure, enjoyable -- yup. I wouldn't necessarily need it as part of the collection but certainly worth 2 hours of my time.

    Greg
     
  16. ClaytonMG

    ClaytonMG Stunt Coordinator

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    There's no forced previews on this disc?! Is Paramount stopping that now?

    Clayton
     

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