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If the Zucker brothers had made Airplane with bling, this comedy about the maiden voyage of a black-owned airline might have been the result. But don't confuse Soul Plane with that 1980 classic. While some of the visual jokes score, most of the humor is of the raunchy, make-you-wince variety. Nonetheless, the cast members, including Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Kevin Hart, and Tom Arnold as the token white guy, all got game; as a result, the film reaches a steady cruising altitude, even if it doesn't quite earn its wings.
MGM presents the Mile High unrated version here; while I didn't catch the theatrical R version (which is also available on disc), there are six extra minutes; one can easily guess which scenes were restored. The film's garish production design, including purple- and gold-clad flight attendants, virtually pops in the 1.85:1 anamorphic presentation. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track, meanwhile, presents well-centered dialogue and solid bass in the R&B tunes that permeate the soundtrack.
The extras are a mixed bag, with more quantity than quality. A 25-minute behind-the-scenes, while thorough, is a bit more than this film merits. The group commentary track with Hart, Arnold, director Jessy Terrero, and other cast members (no Dogg, though) is a fun listen, but it delivers little substance. You'll also find some deleted scenes, a music video, and an assortment of other minor supplements.
Give it a try if you like your comedy a little bit off-color.—Gary Frisch
DVD: Judgment at Nuremberg—MGM/UA
It's long, talky, and, as a courtroom drama, pretty much takes place in one room. Yet Judgment at Nuremberg is also incredibly compelling. A cast with Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, and Montgomery Clift is worth the DVD price alone. Stanley Kramer effectively directed his stars and also augmented the drama with dynamic camera moves in the otherwise stagy courtroom scenes. Yet, this would all be window dressing if not for the complex and engrossing story of slippery-slope wartime morality that earned writer Abby Mann an Oscar. Given the state of the world today, the film is as relevant as ever, especially when Mann explains that the film's real villain is not Nazism but patriotism and what can happen to a society trying to be "good patriots."
Mann is featured prominently in three bonus features: his conversation with Schell, whose work in this film also won an Oscar; a tribute to Kramer; and Mann's own story of his script. A photo gallery and theatrical trailer round out the good, if somewhat skimpy, extras.
The black-and-white film's new 1.66:1 transfer is rich in its gray-scale tones, although the exterior shots of postwar Germany have a grainy, documentary look to them. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack barely registered on anything except the front speakers; I'd suggest listening to the original mono, also provided.—Drew Hardin