First Sunday (2008) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Comedy
Sony || PG13 - 98 minutes - $38.96 || May 6, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-04-27


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: David E. Talbert
Writer(s): David E. Talbert (written by)
Cast: Ice Cube, Katt Williams, Tracy Morgan, Loretta Devine, Michael Beach, Keith David, Regina Hall, Chi McBride, Nicholas Turturro


Theatrical Release Date: January 11, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Writer/Director Commentary
  • Film Fact Track
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Outtake Reel
  • Camera Wrap Speech
  • "Hood Robbin" Featurette


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Thai (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Arabic, Dutch

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.::THE FILM::.

(Synopsis) Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan are two thieves who haven't got a prayer in First Sunday... Sentenced to 5,000 hours of community service, Durell's (Cube) life quickly goes from bad to worse. Realizing that the Lord helps those who help themselves, he eventually decides to help himself to the neighborhood church's building fund. Accompanied by his dimwitted partner-in-crime LeeJohn (Morgan), the two down-on-their-luck men are dismayed to discover the cash has already been stolen, so they hold the congregation hostage in a Hail Mary attempt to learn amongst the righteous has already run away with the loot!

Reading the synopsis above, does anyone really think this movie would be any good? The answer is no. This movie, while it does have a few small instances that got a chuckle out of me, is a waste of 98 minutes. Ice Cube plays Durell, a down on his luck father who needs to raise $17,000 so he can pay his ex girlfriend's rent so she and his son can stay and live in Maryland instead of moving out state. Ice Cubes partner in crime, LeeJohn (Morgan), is a dimwit who owes some money to what I think is the Jamaican Mafia after Durell and LeeJohn lose ten wheelchairs belonging to them. So what are these broke two men going to do? Rob a church of course!

The plot itself is just plain silly and stupid. Rather than getting jobs, both men decide to rob the local church after they find out they have been saving money to possibly build a new church or help fix the current dilapidated one. Both men decide the best time to rob the church would be at night after Sunday meeting as no one would be there and its sure to hold Sunday's collection money somewhere. Unfortunately for them, someone has already stolen the money and there is a meeting going on with the Pastor (Chi McBride), Deacon (Michael Beach), Sister Doris (Loretta Devine), the Pastors daughter (Malinda Williams), the choir director (Kat Williams) and the choir! Of course in the first few minutes its very easy to figure out who stole the money, but the remainder of the film has Durell fixing an air conditioning unit and waving a gun around while LeeJohn annoys everyone and cries.

The acting is this film is laughable at best. Ice Cube simply cannot act at all and Tracy Morgan and his little high pitched voices make me want to mute the film and simply watch the exclusive Pop-up trivia track instead. I can understand why Tracy Morgan acts the way he does in the film, but Ice Cube is incredibly stale and has no emotion at all. He reads his lines like he is reading the back of a cereal box. I guess we are supposed to feel compassion for him that he may lose his son, but I simply did not feel it. Lucky for us, the films other stars are wonderful. Chi McBride may not have very many lines in the film, but his acting was top notch compared to Ice Cube. Loretta Devine and Kat Williams both give it their all in this film which helps the sting of listening to Ice Cube's moping and screaming.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All bonus features are presented in 480p SD. Exclusive to the Blu-ray release is the Pop-Up Trivia Track.

Commentary Track (Director David. E Talbert) - Itís a sad thing when the commentary track is more entertaining than the movie and in this case, it is. If you really liked the movie I would recommend listening to this, but for most people, watching the movie once is probably enough.

"The Almighty Version" Film Fact Track (Blu-ray Exclusive) - One of the more creative fact tracks I have seen on a Blu-ray. Rather than just the typical pop-up with information, this one uses several different church related images with the facts printed on them.

Deleted Scenes (34:47) - Here we are presented with several different deleted scenes (many of which are extended scenes or alternate takes) all of which were rightfully removed from the film.

Gag Reel (4:25) - A very short, typical gag reel.

Outtake Reel (5:10) - Two very short outtakes, one of which includes New York... the "actress".

Camera Wrap Speech (3:09) - I don't really understand why this is even on the disc. Itís simply the director giving awards to Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan.

"Hood Robbin" Featurette (16:08) - An interesting featurette that delves into how the film was made and the various ideas that went into it. It includes various short interviews with most of the cast as well as clips of the film.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Film is presented in 1080p (AVC/mpeg4) 1.85:1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. The picture quality is simply average at best. Blacks looked great, but I did notice some grain and color saturation in some shots. I was not overly impressed with it, but it was certainly better than some of the more recent catalog releases I have seen. Most of the movie takes place inside of a dingy brown church so the only real color we see is on the Deacons shirt and in various other rooms. *** / *****

Sony serves up several different audio tracks which include Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (in English, French, and Portuguese) as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 (in Spanish and Thai). Itís fairly impressive that not only is Sony gravitating towards TrueHD instead of PCM, but that they provided many different audio options as well. Kudos to them on that. With that said, the TrueHD track is disappointing. Besides the opening few minutes and the few times we hear the choir sing, my rear speakers were virtually empty. Now, the movie is mostly dialog which is understandable, but even that was not very clear. **Ĺ / *****



.::OVERALL::.

The plot combined with Ice Cubes acting makes it incredibly hard for me to even recommend this movie as a rental. While it will provide a few chuckles, the majority of the film is boring and plays out like a very long SNL sketch.