on 12 August 2014
JOYFUL NOISE  [Movie Only Edition] [Blu-ray + Ultraviolet Digital Copy] [US Import] ‘Joyful Noise’ is a Reason To Celebrate! Dream A Whole Lot Louder!
Oscar® nominees Vi Rose Hill [Queen Latifah] and G.G. Sparrow [Dolly Parton] star in this Alcon Entertainment and Warner Home Video ‘Joyful Noise.’ A funny and inspirational story of music, hope, love and renewal. The small town of Pacashau, Georgia, has fallen on hard times, but the people are counting on the Divinity Church Choir to lift their spirits by winning the National Joyful Noise Competition. But the discord between its two leading ladies now threatens to tear them apart. But Vi Rose Hill [Queen Latifah] stubbornly wants to stick with their tried-and-true traditional style, while the fiery G.G. Sparrow [Dolly Parton] wants to shake things up even more with the arrival of G.G. Sparrow's rebellious grandson, Randy [Jeremy Jordan].
Cast: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Jeremy Jordan, Dexter Darden, Courtney B. Vance, Jesse L. Martin, Kirk Franklin, Angela Grovey, Andy Karl, Dequina Moore, Kris Kristofferson, Paul Woolfolk, Francis Jue, Roy Huang, Judd Lormand, Karen Peck, Ivan Kelley Jr., David Dwyer, Stevie Ray Dallimor, Kevin Bulla, Ziah Colon, Rana Kirkland, Bruce Williamson, Maurice Johnson, Ceasar Davis, Michelle Kabashinski, Promise Ramsey, Rivka Levin, Valerie Payton, Natalie Ragins, Takara Clark, Dixie Light, Shari Dyon Perry, Brian Ashton Smith, Karen Beyer, Whitney Christopher, David Faust, Jyn Hall, Katie Kneeland, Craig A. Meyer, Shameik Moore, Isabella Amara, Chloe Bailey, Valencia Barnes, Trey Best, Nia Imani, Tyler Silva, Sydney Lee Thompson, Mervyn Warren (Piano), Jason Young (Trumpet), Richard 'Rip' Gager (Lead Guitar), Sheryl Harper (Drummer), Michael 'Hurly' Hurwitz (Bass Guitar), Chance Bartels (uncredited), Aisha Bryant (uncredited), John T. Ford (uncredited), Walter Hendrix III (uncredited), Ashlyn R. Hendrix (uncredited), Patrick Morgan (uncredited), Moses J. Moseley (uncredited), Bryana Salaz (uncredited) and Steve Warren (uncredited)
Director: Todd Graff
Producers: Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Catherine Paura, Joe Cecchini, Joseph Farrell, K.C. Hodenfield, Michael G. Nathanson, Timothy M. Bourne and Yolanda T. Cochran
Screenplay: Todd Graff
Composer: Mervyn Warren
Cinematography: David Boyd
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD master Audio and Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH and Latin Spanish
Running Time: 118 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Like 'Sister Act' for instance, pretty much sums up 'Joyful Noise' because you see, I actually have a strange fondness for Sister Mary Clarence and her band of singing nuns. Now, 'Joyful Noise' isn't as successful as those two influences that it strives to emulate, but the films brilliant sweet fusion of pop and gospel presents a singing harmony that is a beautiful uplifting delight, and is definitely a light foray into family entertainment. Despite being slightly predictable, by-the-numbers, the film does have a certain likeable beautiful charm, to elevate to wonderful heights and mind you, it's a truly amusing effort all the same that will uplift your heart and soul.
The story follows a small town church choir as they practice for an upcoming competition. The choir's director, Vi Rose Hill [Queen Latifah], wishes to continue taking the group in a traditional, gospel oriented style, but conflict arises when the boisterous G.G. Sparrow [Dolly Parton] recommends a more modern, pop influenced approach. At the same time, a young romance develops between G.G. Sparrow's grandson, Randy Garrity [Jeremy Jordan], and Vie's daughter, Olivia Hill [Keke Palmer], further complicating matters. With the national competition fast approaching and the very fate of the choir at stake, the two women will have to compromise or accept the group's dissolution.
The film presents a new legendary cinematic pairing for the ages in the form of Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. All kidding aside, the two actresses are both very talented and really do have great chemistry together. Their feisty dynamic leads to some of the films more entertaining moments and it is fun to see them butt heads. Keke Palmer is also a real standout, delivering a very solid performance. Actually, all of the actors are good in their roles, and while the material they have to work with isn't always the best, they infuse the proceedings with an appealing splash of charisma.
Though not a musical in the traditional sense, the film is home to numerous musical performances. The characters don't break out into random song, but within the context of the choir's practices and competitions we are treated to many soulful melodies. These numbers are all staged and executed well, blending gospel music with contemporary hits. As far as I know, the cast all handle their own vocal duties and do a remarkable job.
Despite the cast's charm and the music's allure, the script and direction are all rather basic. The plot offers nothing we haven't seen before, with all of the same dramatic beats we've grown accustomed to in similar films. Even ignoring the familiarity of the story, the filmmakers stay pretty close to the surface of all the conflicts, failing to engage the audience on a deeper level. Character development is also lacking, and a few of the films more heated moments don't connect as well as intended.
Going along with the films thin characterisations, are some underdeveloped and at times quite superfluous subplots. G.G. Sparrow's relationship with her deceased husband, Bernard Sparrow [Kris Kristofferson] is mostly skimmed over, especially as you only get a glimpse of him at the start of the film. This makes a fantasy duet between the two that occurs later in the film. Another subplot focusing on one of the adult choir members, Earla [Angela Grovey] who sadly has a misfortune half way through the film and its conclusion is extremely abrupt with a convenient resolution that comes out of nowhere and happy ending to her dilemma.
'Joyful Noise' now carries the fine distinction of being a big favourite film of mine about a singing church choir, especially when nothing beats 'Sister Act' as you might have guessed! The cast is good and the musical performances are strong, but the script could of done with a re-write, and slightly formulaic, but despite this, I can tell you that is a fantastic feel good film, especially for the whole family and by the end of the film you feel your heart has been uplifted, especially with the final song in the Competition.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The film is provided with a beautiful 1080p encoded transfer image in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. With a few bursts of lively colour and an overall pleasing level of clarity, this is a good video presentation. The source is in pristine shape with a light layer of grain visible throughout. Detail is pretty good, but some indoor scenes tend to look a bit soft and dim. Outdoor sequences, however, feature a great sense of depth and pop with a very sharp image. Colours are vivid and nicely saturated without ever overpowering the picture. The opening and closing choir performances are particularly impressive, with sumptuous lighting design that bathes the screen with bold blues and purples. Contrast is high and blacks are steady.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The audio is presented in an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track along with an optional Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also included. While the various musical numbers are quite impressive, the rest of the track's sound design is rather ho-hum, resulting in a decidedly mixed but still satisfying audio experience. Speech and vocals remain full, clear and well prioritised throughout. The musical numbers are all enveloping, deep and aggressive, packing a wide dynamic range with strong fidelity. Stereo separation is strong for the songs and some faint but welcomed surround cues and audience reactions help to open up the soundstage further. The narrative portions of the film are not as impressive, however, with a comparatively small sound field. Effects work is fairly sparse and while there is some very minimal environmental ambiance, the rear speakers remain very quiet. Bass activity is solid during the songs but is otherwise negligible. The audio elements are well balanced together, but the musical performances are mixed a bit higher, making transitions just a little jarring at times. The mix is a little manic, but even though the narrative sections of the film aren't as immersive as the musical performances they suit the material just fine. A bit more immersion throughout would have been welcomed, but the track manages to succeed anyway.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Make Some Noise  [1080p] [2:00] Get an inside look as the young stars light up the screen, this is basically just an extended trailer with a few fleeting comments from the cast mixed in.
Special Feature: Leading Ladies  [1080p] [2:00] Get an all-access look at the recording studio with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah talk about how fun it was to work together. Again, there really isn't much here outside of empty praise.
BONUS: The film has twelve songs inspired by the film under the name “Joyful Noise Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” including "Fix Me, Jesus," "In Love," "Higher Medley" and much much more. The soundtrack is performed by all the stars of the film. Dolly Parton wrote three of the songs, including "Not Enough Love," "From Here To The Moon and Back" and "He's Everything" and is an absolutely fantastic musical extravaganza and if you are feeling down, put this Compact Disc on and your worries will float away and at some of the tracks on the Compact Disc you will definitely get up and have a good dance marathon, as the songs are just totally brilliant and a lot of them were penned by Dolly Parton and this Compact Disc is a good companion to the ‘Joyful Noise’ Blu-ray disc and you will not be disappointed, as there is not a duff track in any of them and on top of all that, you get to hear the full versions of the songs in the film. Very Highly Recommended!
Finally, ‘Joyful Noise’ occasionally flirts with being a very interesting character driven piece, but does not want to make the leap into the field, instead reverting to safe, slightly saccharine convention and loses my interest in the process. Technically the Blu-ray is decent, though from a bonus material perspective it is somewhat bland. Unless choirs, Dolly Parton, Queen Latifah or any combination therein are your cup of tea, then this is the film for you. On top of all that, I think the Blu-ray Cover design is the BEST out of all the different Blu-ray release of the film and is the same image that is on the Original Soundtrack Compact Disc and check it to see what I mean. All in all I found this film simply fantastic and as an added bonus it has the very talented and prolific song writer Dolly Parton, who in my mind can do no wrong in any of her films, apart from the disastrous and embarrassing film she did with Burt Reynolds, which was a tight turkey and Dolly says it was a total embarrassment to do and sadly was contractual to finish the film. It makes me so mad how other reviewers has been so derogatory in their remarks towards ‘Joyful Noise’ and as far as I am concerned their negative views are vacuous and obviously they must of watched a different film, as I loved it and I am so proud to add another Dolly Parton film to my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom