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Drumline (Blu-ray)

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Director Charles Stone III, responsible for the accomplished, gritty urban crime drama, Paid in Full, shows some versatility in bringing us the competent, high-energy competition drama, Drumline. Stone's film is pretty formulaic stuff, in terms of the basic plot outline. It fits into the same mold as Rocky and Top Gun, wherein a supremely talented but undisciplined outsider has to overcome various contrived obstacles, prove himself a valuable part of a team, and save the day. The specific setting of Drumline sets it apart, though, because it takes place in the uniquely exciting and vibrant world of "show-style" marching bands. Young leads Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, and Leonard Roberts are attractive and appealing, and Orlando Jones delivers an effectively toned-down performance. While the film is generally well acted, and the script is modestly efficient, the film works best as a splashy musical, coming to vivid life when the bands take the field to perform and compete. Stone, with help from cinematographer Shane Hurlbut (crazy/beautiful), does an excellent job of capturing the complex percussive rhythms and precise choreography of the drumline, and the energy and excitement these bands bring to the field. Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

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