Follow us on:






AROUND THE FIRE ($10) is an intelligent and well acted coming of age drama that takes a look at the choices a teenage boy makes on his way to adulthood. Much of AROUND THE FIRE is told in flashback from a drug rehab center, with Simon (Devon Sawa) reliving the experiences that brought him there. As we find out, Simon is a child of privilege, coming from a wealthy, although dysfunctional home. It seems that Simon has never gotten over his mother's death and he resents his emotionally distant father for his remarriage.

Simon's strained relationship with his father only becomes worse after he is sent off to private school where he makes new friends who introduce him to a latter day hippie drug subculture. Eventually, Simon finds himself in over his head- as a drug dealer who uses far too much of the product he sells. Even the girl he loves, Jennifer (Tara Reid), is unable to save him from his own self-destructive downward spiral. Only by facing his father and the personal demons that have dominated his youth is Simon able to move forward onto the next phase of his life. The cast of AROUND THE FIRE also includes Bill Smitrovich, Eric Mabius, Colman Domingo, Charlayne Woodard, Henri Lubatti, Lisa Burgett, John Pirruccello and Daphne Brogdon.

A-Pix Entertainment has made AROUND THE FIRE available on DVD in a very nice looking wide screen edition that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The image on the DVD is clean, bright and offers a good level of detail. There are instances where film grain is noticeable during the presentation, but it never becomes objectionable. Colors reproduce with good saturation and natural looking flesh tones. Blacks are fairly accurate and the picture delivers a respectable level of shadow detail. There are no problems with digital compression artifacts, however my sample had a few glitches that caused the image to breakup for less than a second on two occasions.

While the film was originally recorded in UltraStereo, the DVD is presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Much of AROUND THE FIRE is dialogue driven, so there isn't much by way of directional effects. However, there are musical sequences that benefit from the Dolby Digital encoding. Dialogue reproduction is clean, intelligible and the mix does offer a good ambient sense of presence. Spanish subtitles have been encoded onto the DVD. The interactive menus are mildly animated and contain a bit of music. Through the menus one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well a few extras. Included on the DVD are on camera interviews with cast members, plus outtakes/behind-the-scenes footage and a theatrical trailer.


Around the Fire


DVD reviews are Copyright 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



Add to My Yahoo!  Add to Google  RSS Feed & Share Links