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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Alex Proyas
Cast:
Kick Gurry, Maya Stange, Pia Miranda, Russell Dykstra, Brett Stiller, Chris Sadrinna, Andy Anderson, Marton Csokas
Writing Credits:
Dave Warner, Alex Proyas, Michael Udesky

Tagline:
What if you finally got your big break and you just plain sucked?

Synopsis:
From the director of the ground-breaking film I, Robot comes this hip, sexy comedy about a garage band with everything it takes to make it to the top ... except talent. Waiting for their big break, a group of young rockers and their clueless manager can't keep their heads on straight - or their hands off each other. Loaded with sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, Garage Days proves you don't have to be a rock star to party like one!

Box Office:
Budget
$6 million.
Opening Weekend
$20.600 thousand on 23 screens.
Domestic Gross
$20.600 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 8/3/2004

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Alex Proyas
• Deleted Scenes
• Goofs
• “Garage Days: Backstage Pass” Featurette
• “Behind the Garage Doors” Interviews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Garage Days (2002)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 29, 2004)

On the cover of 2003’s Garage Days, we find a blurb that tells us it’s “from the director of The Crow and I, Robot. While accurate, that statement may mislead some consumers who expect another sci-fi/action film from Alex Proyas.

Instead, Days follows a struggling Australian band led by singer/guitarist Freddy (Kick Gurry). The group also includes his girlfriend/bass player Tanya (Pia Miranda), lead guitarist Joe (Brett Stiller), and drummer Lucy (Chris Sadrinna). Manager Bruno (Russell Dykstra) finally lands them their first gig, but he botches this and it goes poorly.

After the show, we see some romantic tension between Joe’s girlfriend Katie (Maya Stange) and Freddy. At a post-fiasco bar run, Freddy chats with a rich dude and finds the wallet he leaves accidentally when he splits. Freddy checks it out and discovers he’s Shad Kern (Marton Csokas), the manager of Sprimp, the biggest band in Australia.

This gives Freddy an entry into the world of big time rock, and he attempts to take advantage of it. Much of the rest of the film follows his efforts to get Kern to listen to his band. In addition, personal matters come to the forefront. We see that Joe’s cheating on Katie and also note romantic tension between Freddy and Katie. That culminates in a kiss between the pair that causes a big reaction. When we also learn that Katie’s pregnant, matters come to a head.

Garage Days fell into the category of a movie that I thought I would like and that I wanted to like but that I didn’t actually like. After all, I’ve always dreamed of being in a rock band and watching that go somewhere, so a tale like this should be right up my alley. Unfortunately, it usually leaves rock in the back seat, it presents much more of a mix of comedy and romantic melodrama.

If one needs to look for a direct precursor to Days, I’d point toward Trainspotting. Days offers a more than slight Trainspotting vibe, a similarity played up via the mix of drug-related scenes. It also features Seventies/Eighties rock as an active participant and uses the same kind of glib tone much of the time.

Trainspotting was wild, creative and gripping, but Days can’t approach its level of inspiration. A lot of the problem stems from the flat characters. Though I suppose Freddy acts as out protagonist, the story never focuses on him to a substantial degree, and it fails to develop him or any of the others as full-blooded, interesting personalities.

This despite the emphasis on the love triangle with Freddy, Joe and Katie. For a character-based story, Days sure doesn’t do much to flesh out the personalities. This may be because the film keeps them generally light and goofy, so we don’t take them seriously enough to worry about their problems.

Really, the melodrama is what makes Days sag. I felt constantly frustrated because I wanted to see the movie concentrate on the rock band side of things. Yeah, that genre is cliché, but so is the love triangle, and at least the struggling band cliché is one I felt the movie promised and I wanted to see.

Garage Days doesn’t go down as a failure. It includes some fun moments and occasionally musters entertainment. At least it tosses in an excellent soundtrack. However, too much soap opera bogs it down, and the thin characters don’t help. Add to that greeting card sentiments that would feel more at home in a Hilary Duff movie - “You don’t have to be a rock star to feel like one!” - and Days doesn’t emerge as a winner.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Garage Days appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Despite its low-budget “indie” origins, the image of Days seemed very strong.

Sharpness created no concerns. I never noticed any issues connected to softness or a lack of definition. Instead, the film looked crisp and concise at all times. Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t interfere with the image, but a little light edge enhancement manifested itself at times. Print flaws barely intruded. I noticed a couple of specks but that was it.

Days featured a fairly stylized palette at times. Much of the movie remained fairly natural, but some sequences took on an altered tone. The colors consistently came across as well rendered, though. The hues were concise and accurate. Black levels seemed dense and deep, while shadows were appropriately opaque. In the end, Days gave us a fine visual presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Garage Days also suited the flick. Not surprisingly, the soundfield emphasized music. The film offered lots of rock tunes, and these featured solid stereo delineation. The tunes also spread well to the rears, especially when we heard original music. Effects usually stayed in the realm of environmental material; they played a more active part mainly when it came to accentuated feelings like during hallucinations. The elements were appropriately placed and connected smoothly.

Audio quality appeared consistently fine. Dialogue always came across as natural and distinct, and the speech showed no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music was clear and vivid, with concise highs and reasonably warm lows. Effects also showed good clarity and range, as they sounded accurate and lively. Some elements demonstrated nice bass thump; for example, the concert scenes were deep and rich. Overall, the track lacked the ambition to enter “A”-territory, but Days worked well enough to earn a “B+”.

A mix of extras shows up for Garage Days. We start with an audio commentary from director Alex Proyas, who offers a running, screen-specific chat. Though not without lulls, Proyas provides a generally useful discussion. He gets into the autobiographical parts of the film, visual design and concepts attempted there, locations and their stylization, casting and improvisation, choosing and acquiring music, the actors’ musical training and the band’s songs, and other subjects. Proyas doesn’t spill all the beans - he won’t tell us on whom Kern and Sprimp are based - but he seems honest as he relates his challenges and experiences. A few too many gaps pop up, but they cause no real concerns, and this becomes a valuable look at the movie.

The other elements split between both sides of this disc. On the widescreen side, we locate six deleted scenes. These run a total of four minutes of footage. All but one simply offer minor extensions to existing scenes and seem inconsequential. The other shows a surprise encounter between Tanya and Katie at a grocery, and it also doesn’t give us much of use. The Goofs last for five minutes and provide nothing more than the usual complement of giggles, mistakes and silliness. Am I the only one sick of these compilations?

Over on the fullscreen side, we start with Garage Days: Backstage Pass. In this four-minute and seven-second featurette, we find the usual allotment of movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. It offers comments from Proyas, producer Topher Dow, actors Pia Miranda, Kick Gurry, origins, the story, casting, the music and instrumental training, shooting at Homebake, and some general comments. Don’t expect much from this piece. It avoids specifics and tells us nothing we don’t already know from Proyas’s commentary. None of the behind the scenes shots add much, so this featurette seems eminently skippable.

Finally we locate some interviews under the banner Behind the Garage Door. This runs seven minutes, 12 seconds and includes remarks from Proyas and Dow plus actors Kick Gurry, Pia Miranda, Maya Stange, Chris Sadrinna, Russell Dykstra and Brett Stiller. This presents no more than general character and story notes plus some happy talk, and movie snippets fill much of the space. As with the prior featurette, it’s a waste of time.

I won’t state that Garage Days itself is a waste of time, but I do regard the film as a disappointment. I thought it’d be a lively and compelling look at rock star dreams, but instead I got an inconsistent and often melodramatic relationship story filled with poorly-drawn characters. The DVD presents very good picture and sound, but the supplements succeed only due to a strong audio commentary; the others go nowhere. The same largely applies to Days, an erratic and lackluster film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3076 Stars Number of Votes: 13
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