The Best Man (1999)

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Released 7-Mar-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Spotlight On Location (17:50)
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1 non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:19)
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 115:19
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:26) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Malcolm D. Lee
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Taye Diggs
Nia Long
Morris Chestnut
Harold Perrineau
Terence Howard
Sanaa Lathan
Monica Calhoun
Melissa De Sousa
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $36.95 Music Stanley Clarke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Portuguese
French
Arabic
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Oh no! A  movie about a wedding. I thought I was going to regret choosing this one as my debut review, especially after my recent experiences with wedding movies (My Best Friend's Wedding and the ghastly Muriel's Wedding). I can now say that I was pleasantly surprised with The Best Man, in no small part due to the excellent quality of the transfer.

    Commitment-shy writer Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) is just about to release his novel Unfinished Business which details his past experiences in college - some of which he would prefer his old college friends not to know about. He is about to be the best man at Lance and Mia's wedding and he and his closest college mates gather for the event. Throw in a girlfriend who wants to take their relationship to the next step, a previous love interest in the gorgeous Jordan (Nia Long), and several skeletons in the closet, and the wedding is set to be the occasion of the year.

    While sticking to a reasonably standard Hollywood formula in its story, The Best Man offers an interesting angle on the wedding romantic comedy/drama tale. All the characters are African Americans, yet none of them follow the black stereotypes that usually appear in other Hollywood movies. There isn't a jock in sight, nor an actor with a one word name!  Director Malcolm D Lee wanted to remove all the stereotypes that usually exist with African American characters and I believe he has succeeded very well. Throw in a soundtrack featuring artists such as Stevie Wonder and Lauren Hill, and you will not be disappointed with this movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    There is very little to say about this transfer other than it is superb, and definitely one of the best DVDs I have viewed in the  short time that I have been collecting them.

    The Best Man is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is always spot on. In fact, it is one of the best DVDs I have viewed for sharpness and detail. Shadow detail is never a problem as most of the action takes place in well-lit areas. There is no low level noise to speak of.

    The colour levels are fantastic, with many bright and vibrant colours on display. There is no oversaturation nor bleeding evident.

    The only noticeable artefacts are a handful (and I mean only one handful) of very small film artefacts that are almost too small to even pick up. They do not affect the film in any way and I'm probably only being picky mentioning them.

    Subtitles for English, Portuguese, Arabic, and French  are available. I did not notice any problem with these.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 58:27. It is noticeable without being too disruptive.

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

Audio

    There are no fewer than four Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks on this disc. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1 with French, Italian, and Spanish 5.1 also available. I watched the entire movie with the English soundtrack and briefly sampled the other soundtracks.

    This a dialogue-heavy film, but one with excellent audio quality. Some of the characters speak very quickly in African American slang, and this can occasionally become difficult to understand, but it actually adds to the viewing experience. There were no audio sync problems.

    The music in this film is comprised of a musical score by Stanley Clarke which suited the style of the movie well, and several songs by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Lauren Hill, and a great closing credits number by Cameo.

    Although this is very much a dialogue-based movie, there is good use of the left and right channels, especially in the punchier music numbers. As expect, the rear channels are used sparingly, being limited to streetscape sounds.

    The subwoofer received little workout, although during some of the songs it came into its own and provided some nice deep bass response.

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

Extras

   There are a reasonable number of extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is of simple design with easy navigation and is 16x9 enhanced. It has a looping background instrumental track.

Theatrical Trailer (2:19 mins)

    This is presented Full Frame and is therefore not 16x9 Enhanced. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Featurette - Spotlight on Location (17:50 mins)

    The stock standard promotional making-of piece that doesn't really add too much to the movie experience but does allow the director to explain what he was hoping to achieve with the movie.

DVD-ROM Content

    I was unable to review the DVD-ROM content as my PC decided to misbehave at the desired time and is now in for repairs.

R4 vs R1

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

   The Region 4 disc misses out on:    The Region 1 disc misses out on     Due to the nature of the film and the fact that it is primarily dialogue-based, I see no substantial benefit going for the DTS soundtrack. With the other extras on the Region 1 disc being of a  minor nature, I would give the superior PAL image the thumbs up and go with the Region 4 disc.

Summary

    The Best Man was something of a revelation, with a fairly standard story being given a surprisingly fresh slant by a very good ensemble cast. It is presented on an exemplary DVD.

    The video quality is superb, as is the audio, although I wouldn't use it as a demo disc for your system.

    The extras are satisfactory, though a Director's Commentary from first-time director Malcolm D Lee would have been an added bonus.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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