Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Down Time (2001)

"This is how it always works. They just yell 'man down!' The guards come in and cart them away."
- Slim (William Van Nolan)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: August 21, 2003

Stars: William Van Nolan, Peter Quartaroli, Sam McBride
Other Stars: James Anthony Cotton, David Fine, Mario Montes, Joy Garner, Sir Dyno, Lowdown, Taydatay
Director: Sean Wilson

MPAA Rating: R for drug use, language, some violence, and nudity
Run Time: 01h:30m:00s
Release Date: March 18, 2003
UPC: 012236138372
Genre: crime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- C-C-C- C-

DVD Review

Down Time, a prison film produced on a shoestring budget by ex-convict turned film student Sean Wilson, is the latest in a long line of direct-to-DVD premieres from Artisan Entertainment. The studio loves to buy up the rights to ultra-low-budget independent releases, slap on some fancy cover art and menus, and then reap the profits from rentals and sales.

Slim (William Van Nolan), a small time drug dealer, finds himself in prison after a friend sells him out and a sale goes wrong. Slim isn't built for prison life at first, but slowly, he discovers what must be done to survive life behind bars, and what kind of man he really is. Except everyone has doubtless already seen countless cruel "real" depictions of life in jail in everything from The Shawshank Redemption to Scared Straight. And nothing that much happens to Slim, anyway. He plays a lot of cards and gets beaten up a few times, but the most dangerous thing he faces is boredom (not unlike the viewer).

Director Sean Wilson seems to be overreaching a bit, trying to give the story weight, despite the familiar subject matter. I do give him credit for trying to create something more impressive than his obviously limited budget would allow (note the "warehouse" with the top of the set showing, or the "sheriff" whose only costume is a small, Old West-style star on his shirt). Most of the time, his digital camera is locked down, filming static conversation scenes. Occasionally he goes handheld, but the jittery movements rarely feel like a response to onscreen emotion rather than simple jostling by the cameraman. Wilson does try for a few more inventive scenes, as when he shows Slim going through withdrawl, but it just looks like he's zooming the camera in and out.

Wilson wrote the script as well, basing it on his own days in prison while stringing together every genre cliché from the past 100 years of cinema history (there isn't one line spoken or plot twisted that hasn't been seen before, likely in a better movie). What grates on me the most is the faux-authentic dialogue. It's supposed to sound "tough" and "real," but instead comes off as script clippings from a particularly hammy episode of Oz. Says a DEA Agent to Slim at the start of the film: "You're not going to be so tough when some n***** is going up your a**! Get out of here, you make me sick." Yeah, me too.

Wilson's clumsy dialogue is certainly not done any favors by a cast of amateur actors (including a few minor rap stars). They bring enthusiasm to their roles, if not any particular skill (though lead William Van Nolan does handles the job ably). The same could be said of Wilson, too. He hasn't made a very good film, but it was his idea, after leaving prison, to make a movie about his experiences, and he did it.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: I wouldn't be surprised to find that full frame is the original aspect ratio for an independent film like Down Time, but the back of the box indicates that "this film has been modified," so who knows. Otherwise, the image isn't pretty, but the limitations seem to stem from the source materials, which were filmed on the cheap and with varying equipment. The majority of the film looks like it was shot on digital video, and looks crisp, but flat, without the rich colors and depth of film. Other scenes are fuzzy, as if recorded on regular analogue equipment. Aside from a severe digital edge to some early scenes, I saw no errors that could be attributed to the DVD mastering. The transfer doesn't look great because the film doesn't look great.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The audio fares slightly better than the video, but is still obviously the product of a limited budget. Both DD 5.1 and 2.0 mixes are included, and they sound more or less the same. Most everything is confined to the center channel, and dialogue has a flat, unnatural quality, and it sometimes difficult to make out due to background noise on the track. Effects and score are mixed out a bit to the mains, and even less to the surrounds (I barely noticed any activity from the rears). A serviceable presentation of the low-budget feature, I suppose.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Eastside, Urban Jungle, Road Dogs
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Sean Wilson
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Low Down Music Video Pond Fulla Convicts
Extras Review: Sean Wilson contributes an enthusiastic director's commentary, during which he describes how the film was financed and produced independently. He points out which cast members were amateurs, which were ex-cons, and which were friends of the production. He's proud of his movie, and perhaps blind to its faults, but he offers some interesting information on how to get a movie produced in your spare time.

Also included is a music video from Low Down, the trailer, and spots for Eastside, Urban Jungle, and Road Dogs.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Down Time is a laudable, if not entirely enjoyable, indie effort from Artisan. The DVD isn't bad, despite the confusion over the proper aspect ratio, and genre fans might want to give it a rent.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store