Ali/ B, A-
Columbia/2001/157/ANA 2.35

    Too bad Ali doesn't float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. In fact it moves at a leaden pace, more like a fighter whose seen better days and is carrying too much around the middle. It's not easy to take on an imposing and controversial public figure in a biopic covering a significant number of years; but making great movies isn't supposed to be easy. Ali fails to capture an definitive sense of time producing an uncomfortable sense of confusion.

Champion of the world. ©Columbia

     There's a moment in the film; it's the best moment in the film; and it probably runs only fifteen seconds. During a break in a live television interview, Cosell takes Ali aside and basically says they are out to get you Mohammed, they're going to take you down on the draft dodging indictment because of what you represent. More intimate moments like that one might have shined a special light on the characters. It made you feel you were let into the secret world behind the paste up of history that is presented for the majority of the film. The story by Gregory Alan Howard has been turned into a screenplay by a tag-team of writers including Eric Roth and Michael Mann and Steven J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. Maybe it's the multiple voices, but the script fails to fight a convincing fight and lacks the focus necessary to capture the championship belt.
     Will Smith is truly splendid as Muhammad Ali and is probably the great strength of the movie. He is thoroughly convincing as this great public figure. You never have a feeling that he's simply trying to do an imitation of Muhammad. You feel his force of weight as an individual. There's a sense of mystery to this Ali, part from Smith's internal interpretation and part from a script that isn't very judgmental.
     Jon Voight is fine as television sports commentator Howard Cosell, however, the make-up mask they put him in looks like a mask. His mask is far worse than the standard rug that Cosell wore in real life. It undermines the performance and even the film. Mario Van Peebles is excellent as Malcolm X. He lends a weigh of authenticity the supporting cast. Jamie Foxx is also excellent a Drew "Bundini" Brown.
     Mann chooses a strange looking palette for Ali. It almost appears solarized. The high contrast look in a way, it isolates Ali from the world around him and that's part of Mann's statement that Ali is an individual. Yet, you never really get to know Ali the man in this film, which is less than satisfying. You don't understand the motivations behind his actions. The great courageous act of refusing to be inducted into the Army; there's no clear cut reasoning behind and it saps significance fromt he act.
        Columbia's DVD  transfer of Ali preserves the artistic intent of the film very well. Colors accurately replicate the unusual Mann palette. There's plenty of light output to illuminate Ali and contrast range is outstanding. Darker moments in the film and interior lighting is delivered with a nice range of shadow detail. The picture remains free of any undue edginess. Black level is very good. Overall color saturation is outstanding. The ring scenes deliver a  high impact sonic punch of leather connecting with skin.


Starship Troopers/A-,A

 A great, modern, war movie that skewers genre conventions. Director Paul Verhoeven controls the Scifi flick with a perfect flight plan.

Selections from the Feature Archive include articles on Akira KurosawaFrank Darabont, Blonde Bimbos, Hollywood Street Gangs, or Vietnam: The Hollywood Pariah, and many more....
Body Parts

Hollywood's long fascination with parts of the body is explored piece by piece.

Have you visited Home Theater Talk lately? One of the friendliest places on the Net for Home Theater and DVD discussion, you can get help for installation problems or simply share your opinions with other Vidiots.

ISF Monitor Calibrations in the Tristate New York area. Lots of hardware info and frequent hardware peaks from video expert Kevin Miller. They may be judgmental, but that's the point, isn't it. Lots of DVD reviews plus news and more.

DVD Reviews and more. The credo behind DVD Angle is "we cater to no one, and we call it as we see it." 

Everything you wanted to know about animation on DVD. Reviews, news, forum. Webmaster Chris Beveridge