Soul Men (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-06-2009, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

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

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 Minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac, Sharon Leal, Sean Hayes, Affion Crockett, Adam Herschman
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Music by: Stanley Clarke
Written by: Robert Ramsey & Matthew Stone
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 10, 2009

"Out of sync. Never out of style.. "

Film Synopsis:

Two estranged, former backup soul singers, Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) who have not spoken to each other in 20 years reluctantly agree to travel across the country together to a reunion concert to honor their recently deceased lead singer (John Legend).

My Take:

This road trip style comedy has a brief dramatic side and a flair for late 60's early 70's music nostalgia that was fun. Louis and Floyd are backup singer's (ala The Pips) for lead singer Marcus Hooks (John Legend) who leaves them high and dry to start a successful solo career. With the nickname The Real Deal they strike out on their own and complete one album before having a difference of opinion that causes a 20 year rift between them. When Marcus dies suddenly, a tribute is put together at the Apollo Theater, and the arrangers ask Floyd and Louis to perform. Floyd is recently retired and Louis is working as an auto mechanic. Louis has been in trouble with the law and Floyd is living with family and feeling frustrated with retirement. Floyd happily agrees to perform but Louis is not so inclined and feels bitter toward Floyd. It turns out that their falling out years ago was over their former female vocalist and Louis' ex-wife Odetta. Floyd convinces Louis to go along and the two have to drive across country because Louis doesn't fly. Along the way the two stop a several scheduled venues and perform in order to re-establish their old form. What they also end up doing is coming to terms with their grievances and making an unknown discovery.

This is a formulaic dramedy that brings together two very colorful people in Jackson and the late Bernie Mac. I enjoyed watching them perform and appreciated the story's nostalgic theme. It was interesting to note that both of them did their own singing although I have heard Jackson sing before when he starred in Black Snake Moan. The F and mother F word get used extensively and of course with Jackson they have a razor sharp edge. He did is requisite scene (at work with his boss at the gas station) where he waxed poetic in his classic threatening demeanor with nostrils flared and eyes popped. That's okay because it wouldn't be a Jackson film without it. Bernie Mac's quick wit, lazy eye, and charming personality all made him unique and it was indeed a pleasure watching him have fun in this role. I thought that the story was just average with a light comedic edge that offered a few funny moments. The stage performances and chemistry between the two stars is what made this a more enjoyable experience than it probably would have been otherwise. Isaac Hayes had a bit part which seemed a little ominous as he passed away on August 10, 2008, which was one day after Bernie Mac's passing. Regardless both men have made significant contributions in the respective fields and will be sorely missed. The bonus supplements contain short tributes to both men and are worth checking out.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for pervasive language, and sexual content including nudity.

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: 82

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

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

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

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

Video: 90

(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=109946&d=1210373699

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

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

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

Soul Men comes to Blu-ray from The Weinstein Company featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 38 mbps lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.

The is a high bitrate video encode that features transparent imagery that delivers opulent detail, three dimensional depth, and razor sharp definition. There are only a few instances where resolution isn't definitive but these appear to be related to the photography and don't infringe upon fidelity. Blacks are deep and gradationally satisfying but fall short of the rich, inky levels of the best that I have seen. When onscreen with lighter elements such as the vestibule and street lighting outside the Peabody Hotel, the black of the nighttime sky in the background had excellent contrast and depth. Primary colors were vivid, deeply saturated and pleasing to the eye while secondary colors were less engaging but still boldly stated. Flesh tones were tonally natural with excellent delineation that made subtle complexional differences easy to discern. This was a great looking high definition video presentation.

This is predominantly a dialogue driven film but the musical aspects of the soundtrack offer a platform for it to show off its surround sound chops. Dialogue is exquisitely rendered and features crisp, defining texture and prominent soundstage depth. Detail, imaging and dynamics are on point and bass presence is readily apparent and palpable when appropriate. The film's quieter moments are heard through the center channel with some left/right channel support that overall gives it a one dimensional perspective. The soundstage comes alive during the musical performances and balances the front/rear channels to deliver an immersive surround experience that captures the feel of sitting in the audience during a live performance.

Bonus Features:

  • The Soul men: Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson - 9 minute featurette

  • The cast of Soul men - 7 minute featurette

  • Director Malcolm Lee

  • Tribute to Bernie Mac - 7 minutes

  • Tribute to Isaac Hayes - 4 minutes

  • Boogie ain't nuttin: Behind the scenes documentary capturing the studio recording made by Mac/Jackson

  • (HD) Bernie Mac at the Apollo (Shreveport L.A.) - 4 minutes of stand up

Final Thoughts:

Soul men is an average yet entertaining comedy that features the last onscreen film appearances by the late Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. The colorful portraits of Floyd and Louis as painted by Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac are at the heart of the enjoyment of this film. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from The Weinstein Company offers fans the opportunity to see it looking and sounding its best and it doesn't disappoint. The bonus content presents an average look at the production while offering fans the chance to bid a fond farewell to Bernie Mac, with a short tribute to Isaac Hayes. This as a must have for Mac fans and is recommended as a rental for those looking for a comedy on movie night.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld Ultraviolet & BetterCables Silver Serpent Reference HDMI Cabling
Best Deal Cables - Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 4 Old 02-06-2009, 04:20 PM
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Direct TV on this one.
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-07-2009, 12:10 AM
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good comedy but it does miss enough points not to be a decent classic. I wasn't expecting a Blues Brothers feel but was hoping it could have been close enough to deserve multiple views.

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post #4 of 4 Old 02-07-2009, 03:34 AM
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38mbps is quite nice for average video bitrate. I will have to check this one out. I wish all movies would have higher bitrates like this if possible.
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