Disappearing Acts (2000)

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Released 23-Jan-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Egypt
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 111:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gina Prince

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sanaah Lathan
Wesley Snipes
John Amos
Case Soft Brackley-Opaque
RPI $34.95 Music Meshell Ndegeocello

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I put my hand up for this disc because it starred Wesley Snipes. I was expecting an action movie but ended up with a relationship drama. This turned out to not be a bad thing as the movie was quite enjoyable - in a non-action, relationship-oriented, dialogue-driven-drama kind of way. This is a made-for-television movie, proudly stating the production company as HBO Films.

    Disappearing Acts tells the story of Franklin Swift (Wesley Snipes), an aspiring renovation contractor who spends more time out of work than in it. Zora Banks (Sanaa Lathan) is a schoolteacher and aspiring singer/songwriter with a steady job and dreams aplenty. Franklin and Zora meet on the doorstep of Zora's recently-renovated apartment, sparks fly from the outset, and a tumultuous relationship ensues.

    Franklin and Zora fight through all the usual problems (and more) in this up and down story. Poverty and lack of work loom large, and the situation in 2000 for black construction workers is fairly bleak, especially without a GED (the equivalent of our VCE or HSC) and contractors license.

    Although lengthy and somewhat predictable, this is an enjoyable story about the all-too-real struggles involved in a committed relationship. Not a movie to watch if you are after light-hearted entertainment, this certainly has a bit more meat to it.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality of this transfer is truly remarkable. This made-for-TV movie has a wonderfully sharp and vivid transfer that leaves a lot of big budget blockbusters for dead. Yet more proof that little-known movies often receive impressive transfers.

    The transfer is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

    This transfer is so sharp that you could shave with it. With the level of sharpness on display you would expect plenty of aliasing - but no! There was only one obvious occurrence of aliasing at 97:41 on a bench. Shadow detail is good but could have been a little better, as shown by the theatrical trailer.

    Colour was well-rendered and saturated throughout, and I had no complaints about it.

    There were no MPEG artefacts on display, and the DTV source ensured that film artefacts were not presented. The only film-to-video artefact was the aliasing mentioned above. Very impressive.

    The subtitles (English for the Hearing Impaired) were accurate for the first 30 minutes of the feature so I assume they remained accurate throughout.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality of this transfer is very good, especially for a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. One thing to be aware of - the transfer is mastered at a high level. I had to watch the DVD about 7-8 dB below my usual reference level.

    There was only one Dolby Digital 2.0 surround mix available in English at a bitrate of 320Kbps(!).

    Dialogue quality was fine throughout with no lip sync issues. Occasionally the New York street dialogue that Snipes uses can be a little difficult to understand but this is certainly no fault of the transfer.

    The music used throughout is from contemporary artists. Mostly bass-heavy hip hop tracks, they do support the on-screen action well. In a story about black Americans, the hip-hop tunes are not annoying. Indeed, they are well-suited to the movie.

    I didn't hear anything from the surrounds at any stage. Not really surprising given a dialogue-driven movie of this calibre.

    Unlike the surrounds, the subwoofer gets a huge workout. The heavy beats of the hip-hop music used throughout really hammer through from the sub in this transfer. However, a few dB less on the bass in the mastering probably would have been good.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are basically non-existent.


    The menus are static with music.

Dolby Digital Trailer - Egypt


Trailer (1:40)

Quite good audio and video with some pixelization. Presented in 1.78:1 16x9 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Shadow detail is marginally better than the feature.

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 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Based on the R1 reviews that indicate the extras are quite poor I would recommend the R4 disc due to the 16x9 enhanced transfer.


    Disappearing Acts is a good movie with an excellent transfer and a very relationship-oriented storyline. Not made for light viewing.

    The video quality is superb.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are almost non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, December 18, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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