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post #1 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=140984&d=1240857806
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2009
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 123/129 Minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Jamal Woolard, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett, Anthony Mackie, Naturi Naughton, Antonique Smith
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: Reggie Rock Blythewood & Cheo Hodari Coker
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 21, 2009







"No dream is too B.I.G."



Film Synopsis:

Chronicling the extraordinary life of Christopher The Notorious B.I.G. Wallace, NOTORIOUS follows the young rapper from the tough streets of Brooklyn to the heights of superstardom as he juggles the increasing demands of fatherhood, marriage and a music career. Amid chaos and controversy, Biggie's remarkable talent and fierce determination help to solidify his legacy as one of hip-hop's greatest MCs.



My Take:

Notorious is a biopic film that chronicles the rise of Christopher 'Biggie' Wallace from the streets of Brooklyn NY to becoming one of Hip Hops most iconic figures. The story begins with his untimely death at the hands of an assassin in California on March 9, 1997. It then turns back the clock to 1983 and follows him from childhood as it recounts his life right back to the point where the film began. It depicts him as an intelligent, ambitious young man who discovers that he has a talent that draws people to him. Early on he fall's victim to the environment where he grew up. Money comes easily when he is introduced to hustling crack on the street corner. It eventually catches up with him and he does a stretch in prison. He comes out with a slightly different outlook. He had time to reflect on his life and he poured many of his thoughts into words and subsequently his music. The birth of his daughter got him thinking about staying on the right side of the law and happenstance brought him into contact with Sean 'Puffy' Combs who offered to take him and his music via the fast track to the top. Things didn't exactly go according to plan but Combs was determined and when opportunity knocked B.I.G. was born. Biggie was fortunate to have good people around him. His mother Voletta was a driving force in his life. His best friend Damion D-Roc' Butler would make a huge personal sacrifice (that most friends wouldn't) to help Biggie. Combs and Mark Pitts were Biggies management team and together they orchestrated his rise to stardom.

On his way up the ladder he would meet West Coast rapper/actor Tupac Shakur. Tupac was charismatic, talented, well established and Biggie was impressed by him. He was unpredictable though and little did Biggie know that this friendship would ultimately be part of the reason for his death. Like most young men, Biggie had a thing for the ladies. There were three women in his life (besides his mother). Jan was the first and is the mother of his daughter. He then hooked up with an attractive and fairly volatile young lady who would come to be known as Lil Kim. Lastly, he met Faith Evans whom he would marry after a whirlwind courtship that lasted a matter of days. They had a son, Christopher, who played the role of Biggie (when he was young) in this film. The movie depicts the ins and outs and ups and downs of his relationship with these women and how he in turn affected their lives and careers. The events leading up to Biggie's death started when Tupac was invited to visit Biggie/Puffy and company at their NY City studio. When he entered the building he was attacked, shot and robbed. He survived but blamed them and accused them of setting him up. This poured gasoline on the already burning West Coast/East Coast hip hop feud. The two artists openly admitted their dislike for one another as it played out in the media. Tupac was shot and killed in Las Vegas in September 1996. Biggie was devastated by his death which gave him reason for pause. After a car accident left him with a broken leg he received a visit from D-Roc. D-Roc spoke to him prophetically about life, reflection and family. After this Biggie, decided to make time for his daughter and to take his music in a bit of a new direction. He completed his second album and traveled to California to promote it. He would never return.

Both the Director's cut and Theatrical versions are included. The Director's cut adds 6 minutes to the theatrical version's runtime. I watched the theatrical version during my evaluation. One of the reasons that I enjoy reviewing movies is because of the variety of films that show up at my door. I look forward to the opportunity to see a film that explores topics that I would otherwise not necessarily be drawn to. Hip hop music is generally not my cup of tea. I do appreciate its form of artistic expression which very much like other art forms/music speaks to life's experiences. Its use of repetitive rhythms and explicit language never attracted me but every now and then if I do hear it I find myself bobbing my head and tapping my toe to the beat. I clearly recall the deaths of both Tupac Shakur and Biggie but quite frankly never understood the whys and wherefores until now. I enjoyed this film more than expected. I found it at times to be compelling and I thought that Jamal Gravy' Woolard did a marvelous job in the lead role. I was also very impressed with Naturi Naughton who portrayed Lil Kim and Antonique Smith who portrayed Faith Evans. The film is explicit in its telling which seemed appropriate for the subject matter. I don't know how accurate the film is however I thought that the pacing and direction were on the money. As a film biopic I can't say that it broke new ground but I found it to be entertaining just he same. I think that what I took away from this film is that Christopher Latore George Wallace stands as an iconic hip hop figure that solidified the East Coast hip hop music scene. He died for nonsensical reasons and is considered by many to be the greatest rapper of all time. I think that his life stands as a testament to the fact that no dream is too big.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for pervasive language, strong sexuality, nudity and some drug content.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 88



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 94


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Notorious comes to Blu-ray from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.

This is a reference quality video presentation that boasts deep, stable blacks and bold dynamic contrast. Colors range from vividly saturated to intentionally reserved/muted. Fleshtones are lustrous with appreciable tonal delineation that highlights subtle variations in the complexions of the largely African American cast. Images are exquisitely detailed, three dimensional, and razor sharp regardless of the camera's perspective. Shadow detail is strong which provides an appreciable sense of depth during the low lit concert/club and exterior nighttime sequences. Grain is well preserved with variable texture that becomes prominent at times but never rises to objectionable levels.

The high resolution DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivers smooth, sibilant free treble, tonally rich, crystalline dialogue, and diffused, room filling ambience. The front channels are seamlessly integrated with surrounds tightly infused which creates an immersive, stable soundstage. This mix creates a two dimensional sound field that comes alive during the concert segments. The sounds of the crowd and music, gyrate around the listening area as the deep, low frequency energy thumps along to the driving hip hop rhythms. It thought that this presentation sounded great.



Bonus Features:


  • Director/Theatrical Cut of the film

  • Commentary with Director George Tillman Jr. and Co-Screenwriters Reggie Rock Bythewood, Cheo Hodari Coker, and Editor Dirk Westervelt

  • Commentary with Producer/Biggie's Mom Voletta Wallace, Producer/Biggie's Co-Manager Wayne Barrow and Biggie's Co-Manager Mark Pitts

  • Life after death: Making Notorious BonusView PiP feature

  • (HD) Behind the scenes: The making of Notorious - 27 minute featurette

  • (HD) I got a story to tell: The lyrics of Biggie Smalls - 9 minutes featurette

  • (HD) Notorious thugs: Casting the film - 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) Biggie boot camp - 6 minute featurette

  • (HD) Anatomy of a B.I.G. performance

  • Party & bulls**t - 3 minutes of rare concert footage

  • (HD) The B.I.G. three sixty - interactive view of location of shooting

  • (HD) 9 deleted, 1 extended scenes

  • Music Trivia Feature - When enabled contains pop-ups with facts/trivia during each Notorious track featured in the film. Play lists can be created and music can be downloaded through iTunes.

  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc - Contains a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable media player




Final Thoughts:

I liked this biopic film and although it follows a fairly generic formula I found the story to be engaging. It is paced well and covers the majority of bases to provide a sense of Biggie's Notorious rise from the streets of Brooklyn to becoming one of Hip Hops most talented and iconic figures. His death at 24 years of age is truly a tragedy that left his family and fans reeling. Fox brings this title to Blu-ray in a well rounded package that features supreme audio/video quality and a solid set of extras that includes Blu-ray Disc exclusives. If you're a fan this disc should have a place in your collection.








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post #2 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 01:16 PM
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Awsome movie!!

Well charged true story of BIG. Definitely getting this one. The track is just off the hook.
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post #3 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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I missed this in the theatre. But this review is good enough that I'm picking it up. The trailer made it look amazing [IMG]http://www.entertainment-place.info/smile/img/2659/*************************[/IMG]
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post #4 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 04:41 PM
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Reference video? I think I will be looking into this one myself.
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post #5 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 06:29 PM
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I got this from Netflix on release day and, man, was it a bad movie. Here is my copy/pasted review from Netflix:

I really thought I was going to like this. I'm a fan of his music, but this movie fell WAY short. You know when you never hear much hype about a movie (IIRC, I didn't hear anything negative either)? Well, now I know why I didn't hear about it at all. It was bland. I was already familiar with the story so I just wanted to see the directing and acting. The directing was ok. The acting was decent if a little lackluster. I think this is just one of those stories that should be left untold.

Edit: I rated this 2/5 stars BTW
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post #6 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 06:50 PM
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Great review. its a must have
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post #7 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 07:52 PM
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I love his music and was really pissed when he was murdered. Same with Tupac. I haven't seen this movie yet and I am not expecting Shakespeare but hopefully the actors portray the main characters faithfully. I also hope that they play alot of his music in the movie as it would sound great in hi-def.

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post #8 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 08:40 PM
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Nice review Ralph. I thought the movie was fantastic.
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post #9 of 28 Old 04-27-2009, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

I love his music and was really pissed when he was murdered. Same with Tupak. I haven't seen this movie yet and I am not expecting Shakespeare but hopefully the actors portray the main characters faithfully. I also hope that they play alot of his music in the movie as it would sound great in hi-def.

Same here.

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post #10 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 01:52 AM
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snap1!!! this movie is finally out on DVD (blueray i mean). wait it is out on DVD as well right? id ont have a blueray player = (

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post #11 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 07:50 AM
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Ralph,
If I end up watching this movie it will be mostly because of your review as I never give a chance to rap/hip-hop.
We shall see!!!
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post #12 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 09:08 AM
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Always preferred BIG to Tupac, will give this Bluray a spin. Thanx Ralph!
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post #13 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 09:14 AM
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Ralph, nice review which has piqued my interest in the movie. I was only familiar with the Notorious B.I.G. songs "Big pappa" and the movie's namesake "Notorious" so I paid a visit to the free music service Grooveshark, did a search for The Notorious Big and listened several of his other big hits. I was only slightly interested before but now I may pick it up at my local BB in the next few days.

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post #14 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 01:52 PM
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Watched this BD title last night for the first time, great movie. Good job by most of the actors. Excellent DTS-HD MA soundtrack, clean and very dynamic, well balanced.

I expected this movie to showcase B.I.G.'s music, which it did some respect. But I really appreciated, to some degree, how the story-line depicted [how] some of his early music (and rap style) was developed.

While I do consider myself a music aficionado (especially jazz, R&B/Soul, pop, rock, classic-rock, etc.,...) I'm not a rap-music fanatic. But I always loved music from B.I.G., TuPac, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre . So I really enjoyed this movie in this respect, wanted to get up and "groove" a few times
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post #15 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 02:10 PM
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Excellent, well written review.

Absolutely horrible movie.
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post #16 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 02:57 PM
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I, too, liked the movie although my musical taste is smooth jazz, not rap or hip hop. But, like the reviewer, I found the movie engaging; so much so that I purchased it after having rented it so I could see the director's cut. Both Biggie and Tupac died for nothing. Street gossip is what killed them.
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post #17 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 05:58 PM
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Its generic formula biopic, but the execution of story saved it from been a stinker. If you are into hiphop its a must have
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post #18 of 28 Old 04-28-2009, 09:31 PM
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No rap/hip-hop movies for me. I would have to watch it with the mute button ready.
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post #19 of 28 Old 05-07-2009, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tattootearz View Post

Excellent, well written review.

Absolutely horrible movie.

HAhahhaahhaha. Hilarious.

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post #20 of 28 Old 05-07-2009, 05:58 AM
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After reading this review, I decided to buy this movie, and I'm glad I did. Great movie with amazing audio and visual!
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post #21 of 28 Old 05-07-2009, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archer101 View Post

No rap/hip-hop movies for me. I would have to watch it with the mute button ready.

Then why post here?

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post #22 of 28 Old 05-07-2009, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ChoarBoy View Post

After reading this review, I decided to buy this movie, and I'm glad I did. Great movie with amazing audio and visual!

X2.. I thought it was a really good movie..

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post #23 of 28 Old 05-08-2009, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChoarBoy View Post

After reading this review, I decided to buy this movie, and I'm glad I did. Great movie with amazing audio and visual!

Greetings,

Glad to hear you enjoyed it...


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post #24 of 28 Old 05-08-2009, 09:15 AM
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Not into rap, but I'm thinking about checking this one out.
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post #25 of 28 Old 05-31-2009, 05:18 PM
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I thought it was a pretty good film and was mostly true to the subject. The only thing that bothered me was the writer not including a 4th and very important woman in Big's life, Charlie Baltimore. She is a model and rapper who had a few hits earlier this decade. She was the female in the car accident with Big when his leg was broken. Charlie was his girlfriend when he was messing with Kim and Faith. Here are some pics of her.


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post #26 of 28 Old 05-31-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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Pretty girl okie..I'm not into this kind of thing but I will definitely check this one out because of the review [IMG]http://***************/9/P/i.jpg[/IMG]
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post #27 of 28 Old 06-01-2009, 01:20 PM
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Seen this on DVD (rental) over the weekend. I thought it was good. The Actor who played BIG did a good job. Story was good and well paced. The audio was great on DVD. I bet it probably sounds great on Blu.
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post #28 of 28 Old 01-02-2010, 09:24 AM
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Ralph, now after having seen the film 3 times I agree wholeheartedly with your take on this movie. To all those who have not seen this 'near reference quality' BD I would recommend a rental. I rented it first and liked it enough to purchase a used copy on Amazon. The film is wonderfully shot and its mastering to Blu-ray shows why this medium is clearly superior to DVD when done right. I thought the first-time performance by rapper Jamal Woolard as Notorious BIG was spot on and the performances by the other actors really captured the feel of their characters.

I probably would have passed on this film if not for your review. Even though I had a cursory knowledge of Notorious BIG, based mainly on his rap remixes with R&B standards, I knew next to nothing about his life or that of Tupac Shakur. After viewing the film the first time I read his bio on Wikipedia and found that some of his life was either glossed over or omitted. Since his mother Voletta Wallace was involved in the production of this movie I can understand why it seemed to lack some grittiness and Christopher (Notorious BIG) Wallace came off feeling a little too sanitized. There are also inaccuracies like the marriage to Faith Evans which took place months rather than a few days later. Curiously I found that the true emotional punch of the film does not come with his killing in L.A. but with his funeral procession in Brooklyn, NY.

This film's dialogue and music is filled with profanities so if this bothers some folks they are advised to steer clear. There is also nudity and sex. If a viewer is open-minded to the music it's a worthwhile story. Recommended.

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