Groove: Collector's Edition (2000)

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Released 11-Apr-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Camera Tests
Featurette-Auditions +/- Director's Narration
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Music Video-Heaven Scent-Bedrock
Gallery-Photo
Isolated Musical Score
Deleted Scenes-7 +/- Commentary
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Greg Harrison (Dir et al), D Renfrew (Prod) et al
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 80:24
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Greg Harrison
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Mackenzie Firgens
Lola Glaudini
Denny Kirkwood
Hamish Linklater
Vincent Riverside
Rachel True
Steve Van Wormer
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $36.95 Music Wade Randolph Hampton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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
German
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Swedish
Turkish
German Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Having reached the age where I only go to pubs if there is a place to sit down, and liking my music at a volume level where I can still hear people talking to me, I approached a movie about a rave party with a little trepidation. I figured it would be a series of drug-taking scenes coupled with pumping, thumping music that would blow up my subwoofer. Groove: Collector's Edition certainly features both those staples of the rave scene, but there is more to it than that (and my subwoofer survived).

    Groove details the events of one night in the underground San Francisco rave scene and the efforts of a group of dedicated ravers to put on a party in a disused warehouse. The plot centres around two main characters, rave first-timer David played by Hamish Linklater, and veteran Leyla, played by Lola Glaudini. There are several other characters, notably the DJs played by real underground rave DJs. Most just do their thing by spinning discs, which is a blessing if the performance by English DJ John Digweed is anything to go by. He has some lines at the end of the film and if he was any more wooden he would be used to make matchsticks.

    Drug use is evident, though it is certainly not central to the plot, neither is a stance taken on the issue. The makers wanted to show that some people take drugs at raves and some do not. They have achieved this realism remarkably well without making a social comment about it.

    Groove is a remarkably short movie (only 80 minutes in length) which I initially thought would be a good thing considering my indifference to the material, however this turned out to be my major gripe with the movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering the extremely low budget with which this movie was made (a virtually non-existent budget according to the director) the film exhibits reasonably high production values and has had a pretty decent transfer applied to it.

    It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness level is good and there is very little problem with shadow detail even though most of the action takes place in the dark recesses of a poorly lit warehouse or outside with only street lighting to provide illumination. There is no low level noise evident.

    Colours range from muted grays in the dingy interiors of the warehouse through to vibrant oversaturated coloured lighting effects on the dance floor and in the chill-out room. All the colours are handled well with no bleed.

    There are noticeable and numerous film artefacts evident. Given the low budget and the fact that the producer admits to almost losing one section of the finished film it is not surprising that there are several small nicks, scratches, and other imperfections in the final product. They are noticeable without being overly distracting.

    There many different subtitle options with nearly all languages catered for. I only checked English and found very little variation to what was actually being said. There are German and Dutch subtitles on all the director's commentaries.

    NOTE: Contrary to the packaging, this is a single layer disc. Since the movie is only 80 minutes in length and the extras are very short, this is not surprising.

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

Audio

    There are four audio tracks on this disc; English and German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track, and a welcome Isolated Music Score in Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened in their entirety to both the English soundtrack and the Director's Commentary and sampled both the others.

    Dialogue was usually clear, but because the music was often pumping out of all speakers it was difficult to hear some of the words from a couple of the characters (I guess this is what it would be like at a real rave, and the makers were after realism!). There were no audio sync problems evident.

    The musical soundtrack was provided by many real DJs from the rave scene (again more realism). It is hard to imagine it not being the real deal. Deep, reaching bass, full enveloping sound from all speakers, and mastered at a level quite a few dB higher than normal for realism. There was a noticeable difference between the quality of the video and the audio in this movie and after reading the end credits it became obvious as to why. The post production work on the audio was performed at the Skywalker Sound Laboratory. It really does pump.

    Surround channel usage was not excessive except during a couple of the music numbers when the viewer was placed in the exact middle of all the action. There was reverberation off the walls coming through the rears in addition to the music, making for quite a realistic experience. Most notable was the volume that came through the rears. It was far in excess of any other movie I have watched and was quite a revelation.

    The subwoofer received a major workout during the music numbers but very little at other times. It supported the thumping music without becoming overbearing.

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

Extras

    Groove is labelled as a Collector's Edition, and the number of extras certainly qualifies it as such.

Menu Audio

    A sample from the main theme 'Heaven Sent' by Bedrock is played on the main menu only.

Dolby Digital Trailer

    City - I've only seen this about 20 times so I'm only just getting sick of it.

Theatrical Trailer (1:50 min)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced. Sound is Dolby Digital 2.0. Doesn't give away any of the plot. More opportunity to play the soundtrack again.

Featurette - Auditions (4:10 min)

    A feature showing the auditions by several of the cast members. Pretty poor quality (shot on videotape by the look of it), it is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. There is an option to view this featurette with Audio Commentary from the Director and this does add some interest to an otherwise boring extra.

Featurette - Camera Tests (1:22 min)

    Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, 1.85:1 and non 16x9. Slightly better quality than the previous extra, it is quite an interesting short feature that shows the methods used to provide the slow-motion action towards the end of the film in the dance floor sequences. Interesting because it was all done manually. Instead of the usual 24 frames per second, the makers sped the camera up to 50 frames per second and then progressively up to 150 frames per second while manually opening the aperture (no advanced computer imagery used here!). Comes with Director's Commentary.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes (6:34 min)

    A simple and brief behind the scenes featurette, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, 1,85:1 non-16x9. Comes with Director's Commentary, and really just shows some of the locations and behind-the-scenes activity. Doesn't add all that much to the viewing experience as most of it is covered in the main movie Director's Commentary. It does reinforce the extremely low budget that forced the makers to improvise on several occasions with locations and props.

Music Video - Heaven Sent by Bedrock (3:04 min)

    Similar to the trailer. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, 1.85:1 and non 16x9. The main theme song again, though it doesn't pump anywhere near as much as it does in the main movie with Dolby Digital 5.1.

Gallery-Photo

    A series of 36 photos showing images from the film and also behind-the-scenes action. Presented in quite a good size for viewing on any size screen, which makes a nice change.

Isolated Musical Score

    A welcome addition, as most of the movie takes place during the rave itself, so there is plenty of material here. Presented in full Dolby Digital 5.1, you could crank this up and use it for your own party.

Deleted Scenes (5:49 min)

    7 deleted scenes with or without Director's Commentary. With commentary on you at least find out why they have been removed. Interesting in that usually the reason was to shorten the film and get to the rave as quickly as possible. Given that the movie is only 80 minutes in length, I didn't think this would be the reason.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Five biographies of cast and crew. A strange selection in that only four of the cast and the first time director are included. Omitted is whom I consider to be the main male lead, Hamish Linklater, who according to the Director's Commentary is an established stage actor. A pretty poor effort really, with very small text and they are far too brief.

Audio Commentary

    Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, it features first time Director Greg Harrison, Producer Danielle Renfrew, and Director of Photography Matthew Irving. Features commentary for almost the entire duration of the film with only a handful of brief pauses. It gives a good insight into the extremely low budget that the makers faced (listen for references to the use of the producer's car and Greg Harrison's shoes and clothes!). Not the most informative commentary that I have heard, though it does allow the sheer exuberance of the director to shine through.

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 version of this DVD misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;     I certainly would favour the local product and PAL formatting in this case.

Summary

    Raves do not interest me a great deal, and this is reflected in my rating for the plot of Groove. I did enjoy listening to the Director's Commentary and seeing what he was hoping to achieve and then judging whether or not he succeeded in his goal.

    I feel that the short duration of the film robbed it of the chance to develop the characters to the extent I usually appreciate, but the exuberance of the film-making and the thumping soundtrack made up for the partially-developed plot. In hindsight, I suppose you could say that the actual rave itself is the main character in the movie with the other actors merely extras in its development.

    Groove features only an average video presentation, but the audio is excellent and the isolated score is a bonus.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, April 24, 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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