DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Kinky Boots - Recommended

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DaViD Boulet, Sep 4, 2006.

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  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Kinky Boots
    Studio: MIRAMAX Year:2006 Rating:PG-13 Aspect Ratio: 16x9 encoded 2.35:1 Audio: 5.1 DD English & French (opt. Spanish Subs) SpecialFeatures: Feature Commentary, Deleted Scenes, The Real “Kinky Boots” Factory FeaturetteReleaseDate: September 5, 2006



    Feature...


    Think the Full Monty, Calendar Girls, To Wong Foo, and Pricilla Queen of the Desert. Kinky Boots is a charming story about a business owner in Northhamton that adopts an unconventional marketing strategy in order to maintain production in his small 19th Century shoe factory. Loosely based on a true story, it won’t ruin the story for you to know what the DVD packaging will tell you anyway… that Charlie Price inherits his father’s mens’-shoe-manufacturing business and, in order to keep his workforce employed, decides to take on the task of producing high-quality footwear for men in drag.

    This bombastic premise executes extraordinarily well. The film plays into predictable plot twists with the expected conflict and resolution, but is entirely entertaining all the while. Also, the three main characters who drive the story bond with a believable sense of caring that we see develop over the course of the film. This results in my favorite flavor of romantic-comedy… there’s an emotional fabric that weaves itself together while you’re being carelessly entertained… and the final phase of the film lets the deeper themes step out from the shadows to reveal the under girding behind the pretense of farce. Close to the final scene, Charlie Price delivers a soliloquy to his friend Lola that is profoundly touching. Ultimately this film is about real love, friendship, respect, and the ties that bond seemingly dissimilar people together. I have a deep admiration for the writers and lead actors in this film given their craft at making this film more than just entertaining comedy.


    Picture...


    It’s better than the usual MIRAMAX disaster of filtering and edge-halos, but it’s not free from the tell-tale signs of those MIRAMAX mastering hands either. Finely rendered detail is pleasing at time… especially on fabrics and close-up face shots. However, mid/far-ground detail dissolves into what looks like an overly-filtered effort and there is some minor edge-ringing to be seen on hard-transition objects like power-lines, horizons, or human silhouettes against the sky-line.

    Thankfully, the intrusion of these artifacts wasn’t so great as to negate the viewing pleasure of this wonderful film. And there’s also some room for praise. For one, the image often has a nice-sense of 3-dimensionality due to the film-style which communicates a refreshing sense of depth. Color saturation is outstanding in the required shots (like the color of those erotic red boots) and black-level is solid and clean. The image is satisfying from my viewing distance of about 1.6 screen-widths from my 106” diagonal screen. I think that viewers from farther away as is typical with most flat-screens and free-standing HDTV sets will see a much sharper picture and probably see no edge-haloing beyond 2 screen widths.

    So in summary, wide-angle viewers will be a little annoyed at what appears to be some mild filtering and edge-haloing. However, the image still preserves a nice film-like character and viewers from more than 2 screen widths should find little to complain about.


    Picture Quality: 3.75 / 5

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    Rating Rationale...


    Rating Key:

    SCORE Description 1-2 An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch even on a 32” 4x3 480I TV. Think Outland or Jean De Flourette (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl, PAL-NTSC conversion artifacts etc.)-- truly horrid. 2-3 Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Kill Bill Vol 1. 3-4 Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos. 4-5 A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements limited only by DVD’s 720 x 480 resolution. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW" and ask you if they are watching HD. Think The Empire Strikes Back, the Fifth Element Superbit or the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition.



    Viewing Equipment:
    Currently running DVDs on my OPPO DVD player (Faroudja deinterlacing) which scales to 720P, feeding my BenQ 8700+ PJ via DVI, projecting onto a 106” 16x9 Dalite HiPower screen, viewed from approximately 1.6 screen-widths distance. Well mastered DVDs produce a stunningly film-like image in this scenario, and lesser-mastered material quickly shows its flaws.






    Sound...


    The audio on this disc is very impressive. The engineering and recording team sound like they knew how to use the 5.1 palette to really compliment this film.

    I was as pleased by this mix in the same way I was by the mix on Holes: both films have soundtracks that depart from the conventional 5.1 style. Despite the rather sedate genre of these films, the 5.1 mix is used to good effect even when delivering information that other soundtracks would have considered mundane. For example, listen to the way that the sounds of the shoe-manufacturing machinery are recorded. They don’t recede into the background or just get looped in to suggest the context of the scene. Rather, at times the machine sounds leap out into the room with a surprisingly bold dynamic presence that outshines the spoken dialogue. The recording engineer is trying to make the machinery come to the front of the stage as one of the lead characters, and the effect works beautifully.

    The music recording is equally impressive. Musical numbers (and there are a few) come through with a brilliance that causes the soundtrack to just open up and take flight. Beware if viewing late at night… the musical cues are quite a bit louder than the spoken dialogue and I can imagine some listeners having to make an emergency reach for the remote to keep from waking up the kids. However, if you can let this soundtrack just do it’s thing and get loud when it wants to get loud, you’ll have the most fun.



    Sound Quality: 5 / 5

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    Listening Equipment:
    B&K AVR 212 processor/receiver driving my Onix-Rocket Loudspeaker system.



    Special Features...

    There is a reasonable amount of bonus material included here for a single-disc presentation.



    • Feature Commentary: Actually a little disappointing relative to most other commentaries. The upside is that you get the director as well as the lead actors all together to talk about the film. The downside is that most of their conversation tends towards inside-stories and laughter that doesn’t really bring too much to the table for the interested film enthusiasts. There are certainly moments where good information is presented, but there’s lots of in-between fill-conversation to take in stride.

      Deleted Scenes: Sadly, all presented 4x3 lbx (no 16x9) and some with optional commentary (good). I can see why most of them were pulled from the film for flow and consistency. However, I wish that the scene with the conversation on the hill would have been left in the film. See if you agree.

      The Real Kinky Boots Featurette: 16x9!! (siiiiiiggghhh....) And yes folks… there was an actual Kinky Boots Factory story upon which this film was based. This feature is well worth the time. It’s interesting and covers a wide range of material including casting and behind-the-scenes information. Definitely don’t pass this one up. Anyone who enjoyed the film should take the few extra minutes to enjoy this as well.

      Journey of a Brogue Featurette: A montage sequence of the manufacture of one of the mens’ shoes from the Kinky Boots factory. I would have also liked a similar sequence with the pair of red boots!





    All Together...


    Kinky Boots was uncommonly rewarding for this viewer. Test the water by recalling how much you enjoyed Calendar Girls, Full Monty, To Wong Foo or Pricilla. What makes Kinky Boots so special is that behind all the laughs is a real story about friendship and love. While still maintaining that “Miramax look” of a slightly over-filtered image with a bit of edge-ringing for wide-angle viewers viewing at closer than 1.75 screen widths away, the image maintains a pleasing film-like character. Those viewing from more traditional narrow-angle distances of great than 2 screen widths will probably be very satisfied. The sound quality of the 5.1 mix is outstanding and really showcases this film beautifully. The mix is one of those rare occasions where you really get the sense that the recording team were going the extra mile to compliment the story with their craft. Bonus features are perfectly fine for a single-disc presentation and the “Real Kinky Boots Factory” featurette is not to be missed.


    Recommended
     
  2. rodney_T

    rodney_T Auditioning

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    I watched this film last night and agree with everything you just said. I found the film lagged a little at the start, but after about fifteen minutes, I was hooked. A wonderful film!
     

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