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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chorus: the DVD review

As I said earlier, the DVD for Chorus, the first feature length film by Mirandum Pictures came out last week. I have been asked to write a review of the DVD for The Rambler, and you beloved readers (if there are any of you left) get to read it FIRST!

Chorus: The DVD
By. Matthew Rose

One year ago, Mirandum Pictures, the independent film company formed by Christendom alumni Colin Mason, Nick Mason, and Mike Powell with Dr. Keats, released their first full-length feature film, Chorus. On August 27th, the anniversary of the film’s premiere, the DVD for Chorus was made public. The two-disk set contains interesting goodies not only for fans of Mirandum Pictures, but also for fans of film in general.

Chorus, running at about two hours and twenty minutes, is the story of Mandy Holden (played by Laura Shrader), director of her college’s Shakespeare play. When disaster strikes the performance opening night, Mandy is left to wonder what has happened not only to the production, but to herself as well. The film weaves a tale featuring such characters as the mysterious Phil (played by Julian Ahlquist), the quirky Al (Joseph Powell), the friendly Katie (Annie Clark), and the reclusive Katrina (Anna Svendson). Chorus is their story, and begs the view as well as the characters what they consider a stranger.

The DVD is full of features to accompany this powerful movie. The first disk contains the 1:85:1 widescreen feature presentation of Chorus. The sound has been improved from the theatrical release, and the DVD even offers the choice of playing the movie in 2.0 stereo. English subtitles have been included for the hearing impaired. The first disk also contains a full-length commentary on the film, featuring Writer/Producer/Director Mike Powell, Director of Photography Colin Mason, Sound and visual designer Nick Mason, and actors Anna Svendson and Joseph Powell. The commentary answers many questions raised by one’s first viewing of the movie (such as where did so and so get that thing, or what is that character supposed to be thinking, or how did they get that shot). The commentary also draws out the message of the film and highlights spiritual themes, encouraging viewers to see at Chorus in a new light.

The second disk contains the bulk of the special features, including a fascinating documentary chronicling the production of Chorus, trailers for Chorus and Discretion (Mirandum Picture’s first film), deleted scenes with commentary by Mike Powell, bloopers, and a music video for the song “Accepted,” performed by Marie Miller. The documentary tells the film’s story, about people working to make a dream possible. Dr. Keats tells the story of the pre-production dinner where the movie’s plot first formed, as well as explaining the historical importance of the premiere (Chorus was the first movie to premiere in Front Royal in fifty years). Included in the documentary is behind-the-scenes footage filmed during production of the movie, providing viewers with a glimpse into the world of filmmaking. The deleted scenes, as Mike warns at the beginning of his commentary, may be boring, and were mostly cut to speed up the pace of the movie (the original cut of the film was three hours long). The bloopers are, well, bloopers. The “Accepted” music video cuts together clips of Marie Miller in concert with shots from the movie, making a moving song even more so. There is also a hidden treat, an “Easter Egg,” as it are called, on the Special Features disk. However, the viewer is left to find that on his or her own.

Overall this premiere release of Chorus on DVD is an interesting and fitting start to what will hopefully be the beginning of a blossoming career for Mirandum Pictures.

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