Madonna-I'm Going to Tell You a Secret (2005)

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Released 12-Jul-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Bike Ride, The Other Side, Steve/Stuart In L.A.
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Vocal Coach
Featurette-Choas, Birthday Party, French Triology,
Featurette-Steve/Stuart In Paris, Fans Singing In Paris, After Show
Featurette-Wailing Wall
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 126:18 (Case: 148)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5 Directed By JONAS ASKERLUND
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
French
German
Dutch
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It is probably about time that everyone stopped calling Madonna the Material Girl. After all, that song and the memorable video clip featuring her in a Gentlemen Prefer Blondes homage was made 20 years ago. Still, it is undeniable that that nickname has a better ring to it than the "Kabbalah Kid" which is pretty much where Madonna is today.

    I'm Going To Tell You A Secret is a documentary chronicle of her 2004 Re-Invention World Tour, which came on the back of her American Life album. Fans of Madonna will see this as a good thing and a bad thing. Hugely controversial on its release, and more so after the pulling of the video clip for the title song (ironically due to its depiction of the brutality of war), it was the lowest selling album of her career. Therefore the casual Madonna fan may be concerned about the number of songs in the film and also in the accompanying CD from that album.

    Still, there is no commercial stigma surrounding the Re-Invention Tour. Over 56 performances across USA, Canada and Europe (but not Australia), it became the highest grossing tour of the year, earning $125 million. On the strength of this film the shows were visually and sonically spectacular.

    I'm Going To Tell You A Secret is directed by Jonas Akerlund, a talented video clip director. He has made a number of influential video clips over the years including U2's Beautiful Day, Come On Down for Robbie Williams, as well as three key Madonna videos: Ray of Light, Music and American Life.

    Madonna is no stranger to either the filmed concert, as several of her previous concert tours have been released on video, nor to the tour chronicle. In 1991 she appeared in In Bed With Madonna, also known as Truth or Dare, which followed her on the Blonde Ambition tour. I'm Going To Tell You A Secret is both similar and different to the previous film. It is similar in some of the style in that the off-stage footage is largely filmed in black and white, making a strong contrast to the vibrant live footage. However, the Madonna of the two films is quite different. At the time of the earlier film she was immersed in the S & M of Justify My Love and came across as an immensely powerful but somewhat empty celebrity. After 15 years she has grown up considerably with a new husband and two children, Lourdes and Rocco. In fact, the best parts of the film are probably those featuring the Ritchie family. They serve to ground her character in the real world, or as much of the real world as you can get from penthouse suites and limos.

    Akerlund no doubt spent a great deal of time in the editing room. At times it seems like one long video clip (and that's not a criticism). The documentary footage is highly treated. Not only is it frequently inter-cut with subliminal images but also there are a number of scenes processed to give the impression of grainy 8 mm footage. Not only is Madonna's music used but there are some instrumental passages backing the images which are quite profound and affecting. In fact, at times I'm Going To Tell You A Secret is a moving and engrossing documentary. Sure, Madonna's just as daffy and pretentious at times, particularly in her pre-show speeches to her dancers, but she also allows Akerlund to construct the film using footage not only of her but of those around her which casts an interesting light on the nature of celebrity. Previously we have seen the physical toll which comes with a highly energetic stage show but this film gives a deeper insight into the difficulty of being Madonna, particularly as she ages and assumes other responsibilities. Although the music which dominates this film is not as star-studded as the songs from In Bed With Madonna, this is a deeper and more impressive document. It is not a short film and features a coda of Madonna travelling to Israel as part of her Kabbalah beliefs. It is a pity that this ending, which was no doubt heartfelt by Madonna, comes after the natural end of the film and at a point where it had said everything it needed to say. Still, the Re-Invention Tour was all about Madonna's place in the world and that place had a strong accent on faith.

Aside from the documentary the DVD contains a live CD from that tour. The track listing is below. Starting with the frankly scary The Beast Within, it contains a number of tracks from the latest album and only a few early songs. In keeping with the Re-Invention theme, songs such as Holiday and Into the Groove are stomped into industrial anthems. The CD itself is a good listen, however, you get the feeling that the visuals played such an important role in the show that it only tells half the story.

    Ultimately it would be naive to think that I'm Going To Tell You A Secret actually shows the real Madonna. After all, she has made a career of skilfully manipulating the media to her own ends. There are some quite moving moments in this documentary as well as some funny scenes (my favourite being where Madonna meets a gushing Iggy Pop in his trailer after requesting that he and the Stooges open the show for her - the looks on the punters' faces as the Stooges launch into their trademark flailing wall of noise is priceless!). If the show goes on a bit too long it is still forgivable. This is not a rock star documentary that can stand alongside the greatest works in the genre but it still has more than enough to entertain the fans and even intrigue the casual Madonna enthusiast.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. THE BEAST WITHIN
2. VOGUE
3. NOBODY KNOWS ME
4. AMERICAN LIFE
5. HOLLYWOOD(REMIX)
6. DIE ANOTHER DAY
7. LAMENT
8. LIKE A PRAYER
9. MOTHER AND FATHER
10. IMAGINE
11. SUSAN MacLEOD/INTO THE GROOV
12. MUSIC
13. I LOVE NEW YORK

Transfer Quality

Video

    I'm Going To Tell You A Secret is presented on DVD in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. This would seem to be the original aspect ratio.

    As previously said, the film combines a number of differing types of image. There is the concert footage, black and white "fly on the wall" footage, as well as some highly treated colour segments.

    The latter segments are grainy and full of artefacts by design. It appears that the director tried to emulate 8 mm footage and has achieved this effect quite well.

The black and white footage is luminous at times. It is clear and sharp with no visible defects. The concert footage is in gorgeous colour. The image quality is impeccable. There is no aliasing or noise in the image. There is no grain. The image is beautifully sharp and no doubt intended to give a vivid contrast to the other elements of the film.

    There are a range of subtitles for the film. I sampled the English subtitles and they appeared to give a clear rendition of the spoken word.

    All in all, and as could be expected from an artist well known for her demand for perfection, this is an impeccable transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    I'm Going To Tell You A Secret has two soundtracks; English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536 kbps) and English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps). I sampled both tracks and found, as expected, that the 5.1 track was the better of the two, giving a fuller range of sound.

    I was initially concerned about the absence of a DTS soundtrack. However, my fears were quickly put to rest as soon as the film began. It is worth noting that although the concert footage relies upon high quality sound the most, there is music throughout the film.

    The American Life album and the Re-Invention Tour were an electro-clash paradise. The sound has to convey both the sharpness of the electrified acoustic guitar as well as the booming bass of the beats. Rest assured that this soundtrack does both. The guitar sounds so sharp it could cut you and the bass is deep and resonant. It is room shaking without being indistinct or muffled. Any of the tracks could be used as an example of the bass, however, for a natural high there is a crack of thunder at 112:20 that threatened to shake the glass out of my leadlight windows.

    The dialogue in the film is very clear and there are no audio sync problems.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The DVD contains only one set of extras being 15 deleted scenes from the movie. Mostly these were justifiably cut although I found a few to be interesting, such as her visit to a vocal coach to help with her voice which was struggling to cope with the gruelling concert schedule, a birthday party for Madonna involving a blow-up male doll and interviews with some prominent Frenchmen including Jean-Paul Gaultier about the nature of Madonna

    Aside from the DVD extras there is also the live CD mentioned above and a booklet containing the credits for the DVD which includes some nice photos from the tour.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    After an experience with Miramax over In Bed With Madonna which left her without significant proceeds from the film, she apparently approached the marketing of this film differently. It was sold for television distribution in the USA. It appears that as yet there is no Region 1 version of this DVD, although it appears in other Regions with packaging features that appear to be the same.

Summary

    I'm Going To Tell You A Secret is an interesting concert chronicle and a profile of a complex and sometimes difficult icon.

    The audio and visual transfer of the film is impeccable bearing in mind that it uses a number of techniques to deliberately to produce a grainy image at times. The extras are watchable although not outstanding. However, if you include the live CD as an extra, then it is certainly value for money.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Friday, September 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP300, using Component output
DisplayNEC PlasmaSync 42" MP4 1024 x 768. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJBL Simply Cinema SCS178 5.1

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