HTF REVIEW: "The Banger Sisters" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Banger Sisters

    Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 98 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    and Full Frame (1.33:1) versions
    Subtitles: English and Spanish

    Some friendships last forever... like it or not.
    Twenty years ago Suzette (Goldie Hawn) and Lavinia
    (Susan Sarandon) were a pair of legendary '60s
    groupies who were the objects of affection for
    countless musicians and roadies. In fact, legend
    has it that they both made love to Jim Morrison.
    But time has a way of changing people, and through
    the forthcoming decades Suzette and Lavinia have
    lost touch with each other.
    Three decades later Suzette finds herself in the
    same game, working behind a bar in a California club.
    Tired and disgusted, she chooses to remember the
    glory days of rock and roll and drugs. When she
    suddenly finds herself fired, she decides to hit
    the road and seek out her oldest friend, Lavinia
    who is now living in Phoenix.
    Out on the road, she finds herself stranded at a
    gas station with no money, that is, until a failed
    screenwriter and neurotic named Harry (Geoffrey Rush)
    agrees to help her out in exchange for a ride to
    Phoenix. Harry has a vendetta against his father
    who seemingly ruined his life.
    To Suzette's surprise, Lavinia now lives a more
    respectable life, married to an important hot-shot
    and uptight Lawyer (Robin Thomas), and raising
    two teenage girls (Erika Christenson and Eva Amurri).
    Suzette attempts to reconnect with her reluctant
    old friend, reminding her how much fun life used
    to be.
    The Banger sisters is the perfect example
    of what happens when you pair two high profile stars
    with much promise and put them in a dull and tired
    script written by director Bob Dolman. The film comes
    off as being more celebrative and reminiscent for
    women over 50 rather than connecting with its younger
    mass audience in the process. This lighthearted comedy
    is a little too light, plays like a bad sitcom, and
    comes off as a rather poor showcase for the phenomenal
    amount of talent that stars in it. Goldie and Susan
    can be fun to watch, but the material here severely
    limits their talents. I was appalled at first to
    see Oscar nominated actor Geoffrey Rush in this film,
    but fortunately, his character becomes the most
    enjoyable presence in this movie.
    How is the transfer?
    The film starts off on a high note with its dark
    but nicely detailed scenes of downtown Los Angeles
    night life and the blue and red lit innards of the
    Whisky A Go-Go club where Suzette works. It
    was soon afterwards that I realized how lackluster
    this transfer looks. While the print is in immaculate
    condition, nothing is overly detailed here. Picture
    comes across as being soft and drab as well as a bit
    too dark. Colors don't seem to suffer too much in
    the process, but I found facial tones to be more
    red than they should be. There is no grain nor noise
    to be seen anywhere here. I am guessing that since
    this film was probably a low-budget effort, this is
    probably the most accurate representation of what
    was seen theatrically.
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is adequate for this film.
    This mix also started off with a lot of potential in
    the opening moments of the film where I was surrounded
    by 5 channels of Hard Rock music with the sounds of
    the city and a club crowd roaring through my rear
    speakers. Soon after, the mix mostly resided in the
    front channels which offered a lot of bass response.
    The rears had limited function throughout this film
    mostly supporting the film's hard rock musical tracks.
    I did find a small problem in the middle of the film
    where for a limited period, dialogue between Sarandon
    and Hawn became a bit muted in the center channel.
    I actually found myself having to turn the sound up
    to compensate for the low level audio. By the end of
    the scene, however, it seemed sound levels were back
    to normal.
    Special Features
    This film is presented in both widescreen and
    full frame versions across a dual-sided DVD.
    I was surprised to see a lack of promotional material
    here, but the included commentary and blooper reel
    sort of make up for the absence of anything else.
    The feature-length commentary by director
    Bob Dolman takes us through scene after scene of
    the film's 33 days shoot, pointing out the many LA
    locales the film was shot in, as well as many intricate
    pieces of information that went on behind the scenes.
    For instance, the reason why Goldie is wearing
    sunglasses in the film's opening club scene is because
    she was having problems with her eyes that day. She
    was a real trooper and decided to do the scene with
    eye protection. The scene after Goldie first picks
    up Geoffrey Rush has the pair driving down an empty
    road. The director explains that the entire day was
    spent filming that scene as they tried to get rid of
    a disturbing squeaking noise from the car. Working
    with Geoffrey Rush was a real thrill for the director
    as the actor did a lot of funny improvising on his own
    that the ever-rolling camera seemed to accidently catch.
    Many of those scenes, including bad takes where Rush
    had Hawn busting out in uncontrollable laughter, were
    left in the film. I really enjoyed the pieces of
    commentary I listened to for the fact that Dolman has
    a very calm demeanor about him, being careful to
    give us as much information about every shot he made
    in this film. At one point during this commentary
    the director exclaims, "I never talked so much in
    my life." Keep talking, Bob, you're an interesting
    person to listen to.
    Just running over five minutes, the film's Blooper
    Reel is pretty fun to watch mostly for the fact
    that there's a wonderful repartee between Sarandon
    and Hawn throughout. Lots of film flubs here with
    the actors trying to correct their errors through
    hilarious improvs. To be honest, I liked this blooper
    reel better than the movie itself, and the fact that
    it was backed up with the rock anthem, Who are
    , made it even more enjoyable.
    In addition to the film's original theatrical
    trailer, you can find a preview for the upcoming
    theatrical release, Bend it like Beckham.
    Final Thoughts
    Take a film where its stars outshine their material
    and you have The Banger Sisters, a movie that
    will most likely appeal to a limited audience. Rent
    it if you have nothing better to watch.
    Release Date: January 28, 2003
    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

    Sep 30, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Sorry you didn't like the movie, Ron. I found it fun if somewhat predictable and so much better than I thought it would be. Definitely an add on to my collection.
  3. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

    May 7, 2001
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    It's the third, and I am already impressed by the number of reviews you've done!
    Keep up the great work.

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