Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2011

ARTICLE INDEX
"Soul Kitten's Cabaret" (DVD) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Soul Kitten's Cabaret

Synopsis

The curtain rises to reveal a Detroit nightclub and a wide-eyed young girl, Brandy (Duke) who has just arrived in the Big City.  What follows is an adventure with her and six other girls who slink and sing their way through life as they try to revive the Soul Kitten’s Cabaret.  Along the way they learn more about themselves and each other than they ever thought they would.  With their dream-companions, Good Conscience (Barrino) and Bad Conscience (Evans), they face temptation, their own checkered pasts and deception from every direction.  By the end, they’ve all learned the true price of success.

Specifications

  • Image Entertainment
  • 2011, Color, Not Rated, 2 Hr 27 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Codec:  MPEG-2
  • 480i
  • English, Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Starring:  Fantasia Barrino, Sarallison Duke, Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Terrell Carter, Chrystale Wilson, Monifah Carter, Miss Sophia, Tondy Gallant, Dave Tolliver
  • Directed by Nicci Gilbert
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: Suggestive
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

If you’re thinking this is a musical adapted to the big screen, you would be wrong.  This is a live stage performance of the play with four static cameras trained on the stage.  You can hear the audience, you can hear the mistakes, and sometimes, unfortunately, you can hear a song or two.  I was expecting a musical but Cabaret is a play with a few musical numbers.  Occasionally music accompanies the dialog but there is no doubt this is a play, and a bad one at that.  It drags on for nearly two-and-a-half hours when it could easily have been one-and-a-half.  There is so much useless dialog I had to hide the remote from myself to avoid pressing fast forward.  Honestly, I can’t find anything positive to say about this presentation.

Technical

This production was shot with low-quality cameras during a live performance of the show.  There is no camera movement at all.  In fact, I noticed several instances where someone adjusted the camera because it had slipped in its mount.  Colors looked washed out and drab despite the bright lights and costumes used on stage.  The overall lighting effects were good and characters faces were easy to see.  Even though the aspect ratio is 1.78:1, the DVD is non-anamorphic which means the picture is displayed in a window at the screen’s center.  This was typical in the early days of DVD but in 2011?  I’m shocked.

The stereo audio track was little more than stage and instrumental mics piped into a mixing board.  Dialog was reasonably clear and the music actually sounded decent at times.  It was like being in a theater with poor acoustics which I suspect this was.  No composer was credited with the music.  Only a Music Supervisor and Sound Designer are listed.  The score was mostly run-of-the-mill funk with drums, synthesizers and a few brass instruments.

Extras

Bonus features include a photo gallery, trailer and a behind-the-scenes featurette.