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Alek Keshishian, Mark Aldo Miceli
Writing Credits:

Like you've never seen her before.

Madonna: Like you've never seen her before. This movie reveals her as she really is, on stage and off - den mother to her family of dancers, sex goddess to her millions of fans, businesswoman, singer, dancer, the biggest star in the world of music. Join her and experience an intimate backstage look at her "Blonde Ambition" tour. From her hotel room to her dressing room, from her stage show to her boudoir, here is Madonna - outrageous, hilarious, uninhibited.

Box Office:
$4.5 million.
Opening Weekend
$543.250 thousand on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$15.012 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 4/3/2012

• Trailers


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Madonna: Truth Or Dare [Blu-Ray] (1991)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 5, 2012)

Back in early 1985, Newsweek ran a cover story about the then-current popularity of "women in rock." Cyndi Lauper was pictured on the cover, and the article inside declared that Ms. Lauper would still be a major hit-making artiste well after we'd completely forgotten pop-trollop Madonna.

Whoops! Say what you will about her - for Madonna seems to inspire extremes - but the woman has shown terrific staying power. Folks tend to either love her or loathe her. I acknowledge that I fall into the former camp. No matter where opinions may fall, now that she's almost 30 years into her musical career, it seems pointless for anyone to argue against the impact she's made on music and pop culture in general. Madonna is arguably the most influential artist of the last few decades and she probably is the most successful and powerful female pop artist ever.

Her place in history wasn't quite as well established back when she launched her “Blonde Ambition” tour in 1990; in fact, this groundbreaking show definitely accelerated that process to a large degree. The tour showcased probably the best-realized and most confident Madonna we'd seen before or since.

Oh, that's not to say that the era included her greatest work, though 1990's “Vogue” remains her biggest hit and 1989's Like a Prayer album may well have been her most artistically-successful release. No, what I mean to communicate is that Madonna was at her public zenith at this time. The “Blonde Ambition” tour preceded the firestorm of negativity that greeted the (lame) Sex book and the (terrific) Erotica album. The latter experiences seemed to humble Madonna to a degree, and it's doubtful she'll ever come across quite as strong and as cocky as she did during 1990.

In retrospect, 1991’s Truth or Dare was probably the first sign that the public felt Madonna was finally taking things too far. Many more people discussed the film than saw it; in the end, it seemed like everyone knew about it but almost no one actually witnessed it firsthand.

Truth or Dare ostensibly presented itself as a concert film, but that was only partially accurate. During the two-hour movie, we view only eight live songs, a total that comes to less than a third of the flick’s running time. The rest of the film offers a behind the scenes look at the life of Madonna while on tour. The concert segments are in color, but the remainder of the movie is shot in grainy, documentary-style black and white.

I won't spend time detailing what the film shows - as I mentioned already, much of the content of the movie is generally known - but I do find it interesting to note how much of a Rorschach the film seems to be. Basically, your opinions of how Madonna presents herself in this film will tend to reflect your innate feelings toward her. Positive or negative, the movie offers ammunition for both sides.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

Truth or Dare appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. With a mix of photographic styles, the image had its ups and downs, all of which ultimately resulted in an average presentation.

As I mentioned in the body of the review, most of the movie came from the black and white documentary footage, and those shots tended to be fairly unattractive. Shot 16mm, they showed a lot of grain and mediocre definition. Close-ups looked okay at best, and wider shots were fairly soft and smudgy. Blacks were too dark and shadows could be somewhat dense. I also noticed sporadic specks and marks. The black and white shots matched the limitations of the source.

While the color sequences worked better, you shouldn’t expect them to excel. Sharpness worked better but still had weaknesses, as delineation was pretty good at best; I never saw shots that provided strong clarity, as the image lacked the accuracy usually found with Blu-rays.

At least the color shots were cleaner than the black and white ones, and they seemed more dynamic as a whole. Those were 35mm and had a stronger presence. Colors were fairly vivid and bold, though they could still be a bit runny. Blacks were tighter and shadows showed decent clarity. While this was a decent image, it wasn’t better than a “C+”.

Similar thoughts greeted the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Truth or Dare. Much of the time, the soundscape seemed pretty restricted, as lots of the film concentrated on backstage documentary material. Those sequences opened up for environmental material but didn’t tend to have a lot to do.

For the musical sequences, the soundfield broadened, though even there, it seemed erratic. Some of the songs provided lackluster stereo presence, while others used the various channels more actively. The surrounds threw in reinforcement of the music to varying degrees but tended to be fairly passive.

In terms of audio quality, the track remained mediocre. The music became a particular disappointment, as the songs simply failed to deliver much vivacity. They seemed somewhat flat and didn’t have the punch I expected, so while they didn’t sound bad, they suffered from a generally dull feel without much range.

Because of that, the documentary scenes fared best. Those didn’t ask much of the soundtrack, so they came across just fine. Speech could be a little dodgy at times due to the on the fly recording, but most of the material was intelligible. Environmental elements showed acceptable reproduction. Though nothing here impressed – and the music was less vibrant than I’d like – the track was still good enough for a “C+”.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Both picture and audio improved, especially in terms of the sound. The visuals came with limitations due to the source material; while the Blu-ray was definitely sharper and bolder in the color sequences, the general ugliness of the black and white material meant that there was only so much room for improvement.

On the other hand, the audio was a significant step up, mainly because the DVD came with a terrible 5.1 remix that heavily favored reverb and overly active surrounds. While the Blu-ray’s lossless track wasn’t killer, at least it seemed more natural and better integrated. I wasn’t wild about the Blu-ray’s sound but still felt it seemed much better than the problematic DVD mix.

The disc opens with ads for Shakespeare in Love, Velvet Goldmine, The Doors, and Dirty Dancing. We also get two trailers for Dare itself.

Ultimately, Truth or Dare limits its appeal to the Madonna die-hards. There's simply not enough performance footage to make its program more interesting to everyone, and what live songs we hear don't come across nearly as well as they should have. The Blu-ray provides acceptable but erratic picture and audio along with insubstantial supplements. With a low list price, this is a good purchase for Madonna buffs – quality-wise, it’s an improvement over the DVD – but it still lacks obvious appeal for more casual fans.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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