Directed by John Sayles
USA 2007


The movie’s uncommon pleasures derive not from any comprehensively created world but from its cast—mostly African-American veterans of the Broadway stage, of productions of August Wilson plays in particular—and Sayles’s graceful way of handling them. The plot is inspired by (rather than adapted from) “Keeping Time,” a Sayles story about a drummer published 15 years ago in Rolling Stone and collected in Dillinger in Hollywood. The story has more atmospherics than plot, but part of the movie’s narrative thread is derived from it. And not surprisingly, Sayles’s prose owes most of its energy to verbal riffs on black slang rather than to any abiding sense of lived experience.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE.


Theatrical Release: September 10th, 2007 - Toronto Film Festival

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DVD Review: Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:03:56 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) 
Subtitles Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• John Sayles Commentary

• Interviews with John Sayles (6:20), Danny Glover (3:59), Charles S. Dutton (4:43) and producer Maggie Renzi (3:56)
• Behind the Scenes (26:23)

DVD Release Date: June 24th, 200
Keep Case
Chapters: 14



This is an unusual transfer from Universal. It shows heavy interlacing in the opening credits. Thankfully this is corrected and it runs quite smoothly till about 4/5th through when the combing (from interlacing) appears again... but only briefly. This is not, in my opinion, utilizing the 'alchemist' method of transfer but rather an oversight. We'll probe Universal for an answer but overall the image quality, anamorphic on a dual-layered DVD, is quite acceptable. The image is expectantly free of damage or speckles. The screen captures below should give you a good idea of what it looks like.

I didn't find the 5.1 channel audio is particularly well separated but it does export the film's wonderful music very adeptly. Guitar riffs can sound punctuating and... quite real. Dialogue is always clean and clear. There are optional Spanish subtitles (surprisingly no English).  

Supplements include a worthwhile director commentary. Actually John Sayles is the writer/director and editor of Honeydripper. His 2.0 channel commentary is excellent and he admits to simply free-associating throughout as the film runs. As you can imagine he has so much to impart on all fronts and he is genuinely enjoyable to listen to. Sayles knows about music and I found his discussion of this the most illuminating. There are some brief interviews with John Sayles, Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton and producer Maggie Renzi. They last about 5 minutes each and are more-or-less soundbites responding to individual questions. There is a Behind the Scenes featurette running about 1/2 hour with the same participants from the interviews (and a couple more) giving input as preparation of scenes are made. 

I loved the film but it may not be for everyone. Some might find it slow and plodding but Sayles continues to demonstrate a profound ability to capture an aura - a feeling - a moment... so very well. Even with the DVDs eccentricities we recommend for presenting the film for home viewing. This is a darn good film. 

Gary W. Tooze


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Subtitle Sample (Spanish only availavle)




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Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC


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