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Like THAT 70'S SHOW, DETROIT ROCK CITY ($25) takes a fond and very funny look at that decade of impossibly bad fashions from the point of view of typical teenagers. Set in 1978, DETROIT ROCK CITY tells the story of four rock loving teenage friends who go through hell, just so they can see their favorite band KISS- live in concert. The calamities begin the morning of the concert, when the religious fanatic mother of one of the teens discovers that her son has four tickets to see the Knights In Satan's Service. Of course, the tickets go up in a puff of smoke. Undaunted, the four make their way to Detroit where they have one misadventure after another, as they do whatever it takes to get into the KISS concert.

I really hate to give away any significant parts of the plot, because to do so would spoil the fun of watching DETROIT ROCK CITY for yourself. However, I will say that while not everyone grew up in the 1970's, DETROIT ROCK CITY is a terrific coming of age comedy that anyone who remembers his or her teen years can relate. Additionally, DETROIT ROCK CITY has a very likable and very funny cast that make this movies a genuine delight. Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello and Sam Huntington do a terrific job as the four obsessed KISS fans, while Lin Shaye, who was hysterical in KINGPIN and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY gives another inspired performance as the fanatical KISS hating mother. The cast of DETROIT ROCK CITY also includes Melanie Lynskey, Natasha Lyonne, Miles Dougal, Nick Scotti, Emmanuelle Chriqui, David Quane, Shannon Tweed, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

New Line Home Video has done another superb job with their Platinum Series Edition of DETROIT ROCK CITY. The 16:9 enhanced wide screen transfer restores the film's 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio and looks absolutely incredible. A sharp, well-defined image combines with stunning color reproduction to create another top-of-the-line New Line DVD. The image is absolutely crystal clear and the well-saturated colors are recreated without a hint of chroma noise or bleeding. Blacks are perfectly rendered, plus the image provides excellent shadow detail and has very smooth contrast. Digital compression artifacts are completely non-existent on this beautifully authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a kicking mix that really shows off the classic rock songs on the track. After listening to this track, all I can say is forget stereo- all rock music should be re-mixed into the 5.1 channel mode. In addition to the great sounding music, the mix provides clean dialogue reproduction and an open, atmospheric soundstage. The bass channel is heavy duty, which also goes a long way to enhance the sound of the film's rock music. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

Like the movie, the interactive menus are goofy, good fun. Offering the viewer a choice, the menus can be accessed from a spoken interface or a traditional text interface. The menus provide the access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVDís fine array of supplements. Unlike the typical special edition DVD, DETROIT ROCK CITY features three really cool audio commentaries. On the first commentary, director Adam Rifkin talks about the production, giving a good deal of insight into the production and how the decade of the seventies was recreated for the film. The cast and crew commentary is the most fun for the listener; there is an infectious funny atmosphere filled with plenty of jokes and great on the set stories. Finally, the third commentary includes all four members of the band KISS talking about the band and their careers.

There are 15 minutes of deleted scenes that are supplemented by the actors audition tapes, which are accessible via the DVDís multiple angle feature. The DVD also utilizes the multiple angle feature for concert footage of KISS performing the song Detroit Rock City and the scene in which the four teen protagonists perform Rock n Roll All Night. DETROIT ROCK CITY also includes two making-of featurettes. Looking Into The Sun is short, disjointed and amusing look at the insanity of movie making, while Miscellaneous Sh*t is more informative, running over thirty minutes and includes cast and crew interviews. The DVD also includes a Song Xpress instructional video that teaches one to play Rock n Roll All Night on guitar. Additionally, the DVD includes two music videos, first The Donnas perform Strutter and Everclear does The Boys Are Back In Town. Filling out the standard supplements is a theatrical trailer and cast/crew filmographies. DETROIT ROCK CITY also includes a number of DVD-ROM features that work off the PC Friendly interface.

DETROIT ROCK CITY is a very likable and very funny movie that many people missed while it was in the theaters. New Line Home Video has created a terrific DVD that looks and sounds sensational, as well as offering a number of great supplements. If you missed DETROIT ROCK CITY in the theaters, you wonít want to miss it on DVD. Recommended.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 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.



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