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Blu-ray Review Roller Boogie Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    XenForo Template Roller Boogie Blu-ray Review

    Very much a product of its time but possessing some entertaining qualities even now despite its low production values and some uninspired performers, Mark L. Lester’s Roller Boogie can be a lot of fun until it tries to take itself too seriously. Then, the shabbiness of the script points up its weaknesses without taking away what are its best elements: some tuneful songs of the disco era and some impressive skating stunts.


    Cover Art


    Studio: MGM

    Distributed By: Olive

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA

    Subtitles: None

    Rating: PG

    Run Time: 1 Hr. 44 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    keep case

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: All

    Release Date: 07/07/2015

    MSRP: $29.99




    The Production Rating: 2.5/5

    Flute prodigy Terry Barkley (Linda Blair) is spending her summer before heading off to Julliard enjoying the roller disco scene at Venice Beach in southern California. There she meets skating whiz Bobby James (Jim Bray) and is so impressed with his skills that she offers to pay him to give her advanced skating instruction. Attracted at once to her sass and pluck, Bobby offers to teach her for nothing hoping she’ll be his partner at the Roller Boogie Disco Contest held at the end of the summer. However, their favorite skating venue Jammer’s run by former roller derby star Jammer Delany (Sean McClory) is being pressed to sell out to underworld interests who want to put a mall in its prime location. Mob boss Thatcher (Mark Goddard) who is legally represented by Terry’s wealthy attorney-father Roger (Roger Perry) is using threats and coercion to force Jammer to sell forcing Bobby and his pals to try to rally support for their favorite rink owner.

     

    The script by Barry Schneider from a story by the movie’s producer Irwin Yablans collects a bunch of wizened plot notions from scores of previous movies (blue collar/white collar opposites attracting, beleaguered good guy at the mercy of the mob), but the less said about it, the better. What makes the movie worth watching are the skating production numbers choreographed by David Winters (one of the Jets from West Side Story) and shot with director Mark L. Lester offering a decent balance of long shots (to see the actual skating) and medium cuts (to see the faces of the skaters). The movie gets off with its best (skating) foot forward to Cher’s “Hell on Wheels,” a terrific song showing a group of skaters bursting with energy, slick moves, and ebullient camaraderie. It’s followed rather quickly by two more songs “Good Girl” and “One for All, All for One” which allows us to see Jim Bray’s immense talent and charisma as a skater. All of these three numbers are rather group-oriented, however, cut together without any sense of a real musical number. That happens later with “Come On” where we finally see a production number with thought and execution behind it combining line dancing with couples later paired off making impressive visuals to go with the decent tune. If the title song that accompanies the climactic skate contest is a bit underwhelming (where Linda Blair’s skate double is clearly the one doing all those fancy tricks with Linda actually doing a few lifts and twists with her partner in close-up), that doesn’t denegrate the excellence of the skating which has preceded it. The movie also includes a sequence set in a skate park which seems to be a first for a movie where all sorts of skateboard-like tricks are being performed on conventional skates.

     

    The character of rich and spoiled Terry Barkley doesn’t offer an excellent actress like Linda Blair much to sink her teeth into, and she certainly doesn’t mime being a flautist very well, but she shifts in performance from good to terrible rather often trying to bring life to such a hackneyed character. Jim Bray, obviously a champion skater making his film debut here, is natural enough before the camera without possessing any great talent for acting, but his solo skate number late in the movie shows why he was hired: a graceful routine filled with deeply felt choreography and a thrilling series of double loop jumps (some shot in slow motion), axles, lutzes, camel and sit spins. Veterans Beverly Garland and Roger Perry playing Terry's neglectful parents likewise have cardboard characters to act which they do without effort but with no real conviction either. Jimmy van Patten and Kimberly Beck do what they can with their best friend characters for Bobby and Terry respectively. Mark Goddard has some fun with the mob boss, and Sean McClory is similarly on firm ground with the under-fire Jammer.



    Video Rating: 3.5/5  3D Rating: NA

    The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully reproduced in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness varies from mediocre (long shots) to outstanding (much of the film) with the fine grain of the master giving the transfer a film-like appearance even if color occasionally seems dated. At other times, it’s bright and richly hued, and flesh tones are almost always spot-on. Black levels are just okay, and there are occasional bouts with dirt and dust specks though they’re basically not an intrusive problem. The film has been divided into 8 chapters.



    Audio Rating: 3.5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix is unexceptional. The closing credits claim the movie was shot in Dolby Stereo, but the mono mix here just doesn’t have great reach or zip to it. Dialogue has been well recorded and has been combined with the music and sound effects adroitly, but with disco, one longs to hear that bass throbbing throughout song sequences, and here the low end is particularly meager.



    Special Features Rating: 0/5

    There are no bonus features on the disc.



    Overall Rating: 2.5/5

    A great musical? Hardly, but Roller Boogie brings back memories of an era that Baby Boomers especially will find hard not to tap their toes to. Olive’s Blu-ray release offers a decent video and audio presentation, probably more than most fans of the movie ever expected it would receive.


    Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Ron here.


    Thanks so much for the review. How could I not take the opportunity to read this?
     
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  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    :laugh:

    2.5/5 for the production, Matt? Methinks you took your generous pills today! :D


    Matt: This is a testament to your ability to make a film of this stature sound relatively reasonable. But meager lower frequencies in the soundtrack? And nary a word about the hairstyles?
     
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  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Still shocked Criterion didn't do their own release of this title.
     
  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    They are kicking themselves over a missed opportunity, for sure.
     
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  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    It was a tough decision. I mean, most of us know this is junk, but even inside junk there can be something of real merit. I liked several of the tunes and thought Jim Bray a fantastic talent (only not for acting). I really liked seeing Venice Beach at the end of the disco era, and that skate park sequence was the first time I ever saw one of those places represented in the movies, so it caught my attention immediately.


    And about those hairstyles (and all the double knits while we're talking about it), I DID say it was very much of its era.
     
  7. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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    Charles here.

    Criterion, HELL. This should have been at the top of Twilight Time's agenda -- and now look at the missed opportunity.
     
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  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    ...and of course, this thread is with love to Kyrsten Brad. Glad you have a sense of humor!
     
  9. davidmatychuk

    davidmatychuk Cinematographer

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    You had me at "Flute prodigy".
     
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  10. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    This rounds out the "Boogie" trilogy...

    Roller Woogie Nights

    Some day...things are going to get brighter...
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    Where is Brad's Briefs on this film?
     

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