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DRUMLINE

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, Orlando Jones, Leonard Roberts
Director: Charles Stone III
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 118 Minutes
Release Date: April 14, 2003

“Ladies and gentlemen, the radio is off now…it’s time for some real music!”

Film ***

With a wicked beat and a lot of rhythm, Drumline rolls onto the screen in fine formation!

This movie, featuring the acting talents of Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, Leonard Roberts, and the 7 Up yours man himself, Orlando Jones, is a behind the scenes look at Atlanta A&T’s marching band.  More specifically, the cocky Mr. Devon Miles’ attempts at proving he’s more than just the little drummer boy next door!

Devon Miles is playing to the beat of a different drum, in this movie, that drum being his own!  Dr. Lee, (Orlando Jones) the director of the schools marching band, sees a lot of talent and potential in this young man, but will his attitude and stylish cornrows be more than the Dr ordered?

Orlando Jones does a great job as the stoic Dr. Lee is this film.  It seems to be a break away from his typical comedic efforts into a more direct and serious role.   I also felt the interaction between Jones and the character of Devon played by Nick Cannon worked very well.  They had a chemistry that allowed each person to bring their performance to the table in their own way and still have it feel believable. 

We learn very quickly that in his own mind, Devon has drumsticks, of gold.  Fellow drummer and captain of the Drumline Sean thinks this new kid on the block needs a few lessons as to who’s in charge and how the game of real life is played on and off the field. 

Drumline doesn’t stray very far from formula we have come to expect from modern day films of this genre.  It does, however, have the flash and sizzle of some pretty hard-core drumming that will definitely keep your attention. 

Right out of the box, Devon meets a well to do sorority girl played by Zoe Saldana, and thinks he is In Like Flint, only to find out when the going gets rough, his girl got going!  No worries, though…she’s back in baby boy’s arms before long and we get to see some very sweet apologies. 

Drumline is a comedic and very entertaining ride that just about everyone will enjoy.   This movie builds up rather quickly and goes out with a bang, but you’ll have to give this disc a spin for yourself to find out if Devon snares himself a piece of the spotlight!

BONUS TRIVIA:  Director Charles Stone III is the creator of the famous "Wassup?" series of Budweiser commercials!

Video ***

Drumline is mastered in a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format.   With most of the scenes shot out doors and at night, this DVD is a wonderful example of how to shoot in those conditions and do it well.  The colors were very vibrant, and the lighting was wonderful.   The vivid colors in each scene seemed to jump right off the screen.

The transfer showed no visible flaws and there was no dirt or graininess to any of the images.   All in all, this disc was a very nice visual experience.

Audio ***

Finally, audio worth talking about!   This movie, which depended heavily on its audio tracks, came through in a big way.  The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound experience was absolutely wonderful to listen to.   The balance and mix of this DVD was right on the mark.  There were no audible dips or drops in audio throughout the duration of the disc.  The spoken dialogue was blended very well with the background tracks especially during the scenes where the background noise is a football crowd and a marching band. 

This was a great digital audio experience, and with a plot that relies heavily on good sounding drumbeats, this movie delivers in a big way.

Features ***

The features on this disc came from the land-o-plenty, so get ready to sit back and enjoy!

Interactive menus will lead you to feature length audio commentary by director Charles Stone III.   Then it’s on to a BET special music video by Joe featuring Jadakiss “I Wanna Girl Like You!”.  “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)” by JC Chasez brings to a close the music video features of this disc.

Ten deleted scenes and a thirty-minute making of the movie special are included for your viewing pleasure.  A soundtrack promo for Drumline is included, along with a trailer for the movie Antwone Fisher.

This disc is presented with subtitles in English and Spanish and your choice of English, French, or Spanish spoken dialogue.

Summary:

I don’t wanna work, I wanna bang the drum all day, and you can (even if it’s only in spirit) by letting this movie march through your DVD player. Drumline is a fun, entertaining way to spend the evening.  So head on down to the video store and bring it home on DVD today.