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FIRST SUNDAY ($39) is a comedy with a lot more heart than actual belly laughs, which isnít what this reviewer was expecting from this particular outing. Actually, a few more belly laughs wouldnít have heart this kinder, gentler comedy, without sacrificing the wider audience appeal factor, which FIRST SUNDAY was obviously seeking. Ice Cube stars in FIRST SUNDAY as Durell Washington, a more or less average guy, who has skirted trouble most of his adult life. As the film opens, Durell finds himself facing five thousand hours of community service, thanks to his slightly dim witted best friend LeeJohn Jackson (Tracy Morgan), who agreed to deliver some pimped out wheelchairs for some less than upstanding businessmen.

Making matters worse for our hero is the fact that Durellís ex is threatening to relocate down south and take their son with her. Durell needs $17,000 fast, and desperation drives him into an ill-conceived plot to rob the building fund of a local church. Of course, this simple caper is anything but simple, as everything that could possibly go wrong does. Soon our two would be crooks are waist deep in hostages- namely the churchís pastor, deacon, choir master and a good complement of the congregation. Over the course of a very long and very hot evening the two blundering burglars learn a lot about themselves, while at the same time earning some surprising new friends. The cast of FIRST SUNDAY also features Katt Williams, Loretta Devine, Michael Beach, Keith David, Regina Hall, Malinda Williams, Chi McBride, Clifton Powell, Nicholas Turturro, Olivia Cole, Red Grant, C.J. Sanders and Rickey Smiley.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made FIRST SUNDAY available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. This is a really nice looking 1080p presentation that demonstrates how good even a simple comedy can look in high definition. Would anyone pop FIRST SUNDAY into their player as a demonstration disc? Probably not, but this is a really sweet looking presentation that doesnít give one any reason to complain. Image sharpness is fairly terrific, plus the level of fine detail allows one to appreciate textures and easily discern individual hairs. Colors are generally bright, fully saturated and very appealing. Blacks are very accurate, as are the whites. Contrast and shadow detail are just fine for a comedy. The elements from which FIRST SUNDAY has been mastered are virtually pristine. Grain is quite mild.

FIRST SUNDAY is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. For the most part, this is a fairly standard comedy mix, but there are a couple of lively moments where the outlying channels engage for discrete sound effect placement. Much of FIRST SUNDAY is on the talky side, but the track maintains natural sounding sonic environments. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. The musical component has strong fidelity and the sound effects are convincing. French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD soundtracks are also present, as are Spanish and Thai 5.1 channel tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, and Dutch.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the discís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director David E. Talbert. On the text side, one will find The Almighty Version- Subtitle Fact Track which augments the audio commentary. Next is Hood Robbin' With The First Sunday Cast & Crew; a sixteen-minute, interview based look at the production. There are over a half hourís worth of Deleted Scenes and extensions of existing scenes. Also featured is a Gag Reel, plus additional Outtakes and the directorís Wrap Speech. Bonus Trailers close out the supplements.

While it wonít have one rolling on the floor, FIRST SUNDAY is a likable well-meaning comedy. The Blu-ray Disc release looks and sounds quite good, and is certain to please anyone wanting to check out the film.



First Sunday [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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