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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Glitter (2001)

"You think he'd want a song with you if you were properly dressed?"
- Dice (Max Beesley)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 22, 2002

Stars: Mariah Carey, Max Beesley
Other Stars: Da Brat, Tia Texada, Ann Magnuson, Terrence Dashon Howard, Dorian Harewood
Director: Vondie Curtis Hall

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sensuality, language and brief violence
Run Time: 01h:44m:28s
Release Date: January 15, 2002
UPC: 043396081949
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ C+B+B+ B-

DVD Review

It would be easy to rip apart pop diva Mariah Carey's film debut as a trashy, mindless and egotistical vanity experiment with little or no entertainment value. In light of her well-publicized breakdown, it's just that much more handy fuel to throw on the fire. I don't have a bone to pick with Carey. In fact, I can honestly say that the only Mariah Carey song I have ever heard prior to watching Glitter was her rendition of some uptempo Christmas song, whose title escapes me at the moment. The only reason I even remember her version is because the music video features her in a tiny Santa outfit frolicking around happily. I'm oblivious to her music, but I'm well aware of her popularity and celebrity. Glitter is the semi-autobiographical story of young Billie Frank (Carey), a girl who sings amazingly like (surprise!) Mariah Carey. The film opens with a ten-year-old Billie's boozy lounge singer mom dragging her up on stage to belt out a tune, much to the adoration of the crowd. After struggles with alcohol, Billie's mom is forced to give her up for adoption, and the girl is sent to live at a state orphanage, and it's here that she meets Roxie and Louise. The three young girls form a close friendship that lasts into adulthood, and it's here that the story jumps ahead about ten years, to 1983.Billie, Roxie (Tia Texada) and Louise (Da Brat) work occasionally as backup singers, and of course Billie is the most talented of the bunch. It's not long before she's discovered by a club D.J./producer named Dice (Max Beesley), and it's here her meteoric rise to stardom begins. Dice and Billie get mushy-mushy with each other, and soon are shacking up in his warehouse-sized loft. As Dice drives her career, Billie soon is courted by a handful of major record labels, which leads to an assortment of dramatic and romantic obstacles that cross her path for the film's duration, on her way to the top.How is Carey as an actress? It's fair to say she probably won't be receiving any awards for her portrayal of Billie, but she's certainly not alone there. She smiles coyly a lot, cries often, and spends an inordinate amount of time not saying anything at all. She wears cute outfits, and saunters around like life is just a big music video. As an actress, she's not required to deliver too many overly dramatic soliloquies in Glitter, except for her big dramatic speech to Dice about her long-lost mother.It's Carey's movie, and director Vondie Curtis Hall makes his star look very good much of the time. The musical performances are well done, and the weakness and contrived hokiness in the overall script are swept under the rug in lieu of more Mariah, though Ann Magnuson's hyper publicist Kelly is genuinely funny in a far too small role. I did find it odd that during an admittedly startling occurrence in the final act that Carey's Billie is still able to perform her big concert, and even my ten-year-old daughter Sam (who looooved this movie) found her actions disturbing and slightly weird.Glitter is well made but hollow fluff, and is much like a big, sugary made-for-tv movie. Carey is a singer, and she does a lot of it here. The story, apparently, is secondary.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.40:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Columbia TriStar has provided two quality transfers (2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame) for this release, one per side. The image transfer is a good one, with sharp, well-saturated colors and minimal compression artifacts. The source print is clean and free of any glaring imperfections, but considering this DVD releases only a few months after the film's theatrical run that fact is not surprising. Black levels are solid, with decent shadow delineation.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is ideal for a film like Glitter, with it's strong reliance on music as a dramatic narrative tool. The music sounds great, with deep, natural bass and crisp highs. Director Vondie Curtis Hall uses a series of odd sound cues between scenes, the these move across the rears nicely. Most of the action and dialogue is spread across the front channels, with the rear channels handling ambient crowd sounds and the like. Directional imaging is not extreme, but the overall sound mix is full, with a decent dynamic range.A French 2.0 surround track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Center Stage, Dance With Me
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Vondie Curtis Hall
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Music Videos
Extras Review: Normally I'm excited about a director commentary, but the full-length scene-specific track by Vondie Curtis Hall is almost comically laid back that it is difficult to listen to in one sitting. The guy is VERY low key. The good news is that instead of a "Here's Mariah walking down the street" track, Curtis Hall offers a fairly steady stream of production tales that are sometimes interesting, sometimes pointless. Lots of "ums" and "uhs", though.For the faithful there are a pair of Mariah Carey music videos also included here, for the songs Loverboy and Never Too Far. Loverboy is notable and worth a spin just for the microscopic tops and short shorts worn by the singer. The rest of the extras include theatrical trailers (Glitter, Center Stage, Dance With Me), subtitles (English, French), 28 chapters and filmographies.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

For the Mariah Carey faithful, I'm sure Glitter is nirvana. There's plenty of singing, and enough cornball dramatic tension to make her success look difficult and appealing at the same time. Predictable at times, this is a familiar rags-to-riches that consistently presents it's star in good light. For her fan base, that's all that matters.


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