DVD Picks

THAT THING YOU DO!(Fox Entertainment) Tom Hanks wrote, directed and co-starred in this chronicle of the rapid rise of an early '60s rock band and the

(Fox Entertainment)

Tom Hanks wrote, directed and co-starred in this chronicle of the rapid rise of an early '60s rock band and the subsequent internal friction that ensues. Aside from the quality of the original songs, their individual mixes progress in linear fashion from scene-to-scene, becoming fuller and richer as the band evolves from talent show winners to indie recording artists to festival circuit performers and beyond. One of the most memorable scenes occurs when Fay (Liv Tyler) elatedly races through town to tell the bandmembers that they are being played on the radio. The title song builds from a thin, hand-held radio mix to a booming stereo once the drummer blasts it throughout the appliance store where he works. After hearing the crispness and clarity of the film's retro songs, one might pine for the day when distortion, flanging and other effects were not so prevalent in pop music.

Re-recording Mixers: Chris Carpenter, Bill W. Benton, Bob Beemer. Supervising Sound Editor: Richard King. Music Editor: Alex Gibson. Score composed by Howard Shore. Audio: 5.0 Surround, Dolby Surround.
Bryan Reesman


Ang's Lee brilliant and visually arresting tale of romance and rebellion in 19th century China explores many central themes, one of which is the impetuousness and arrogance of youth. Of course, many people simply went to see the surreal, dynamic fight scenes that express the warriors' states of mind as much as their physical prowess. These sequences spotlight sonically striking motifs: the melodic ringing of the Green Destiny sword when it is struck; the gentler, padded sounds of hand-to-hand combat that go against the traditionally hard punches thrown in Hollywood; and the deeply resonant, propulsive Chinese percussion that perfectly accompanies the magnificent martial arts ballet onscreen. The excellent sound editing intensifies the poetic, orchestrated fighting and adds another layer to this engrossing film.

Re-recording Mixers: Reilly Steele, Robert Fernandez. Supervising Sound Editor: Eugene Gearty. Music composed by Tan Dun. Mixed at Sound One, NYC. Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Surround and Stereo.
Bryan Reesman

(Touchstone Home Video)

Written, directed and produced by Joel and Ethan Coen, O Brother, Where Art Thou? tells the tale of Homer's Odyssey through the exploits of three escaped convicts in the Depression-era South. While O Brother earned Oscar nominations for Screenplay and Cinematography, T-Bone Burnett's music supervision and production of the music is the major story here.

Burnett gathered a notable collection of artists, including Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, The Whites, Chris Thomas King and others. And while the music is all old-style acoustic country-blues, the soundtrack has gone on to become a multi-Platinum Number One album on the country charts — a format that these days bears no resemblance to its roots. The success of the soundtrack has been read by many as a commentary on the vacuous state of mainstream country. And they just may be right. Name one thing on country radio that compares to the three country divas singing “Down to the River to Pray.”

Music Producer: T-Bone Burnett. Executive Music Producer: Denise Stiff. Associate Music Producer: Gillian Welch. Musicologist: Sandy Wilbur. Music Coordinator: Lee Olsen. Additional Music By: Carter Burwell. Music Editor: Sean Garnhart. Music Recorded By: Michael Piersante. Music Recorded At: Sound Emporium and Ocean Way Nashville. Audio: DTS 5.1 and Dolby 5.1; Dolby Stereo.
Rick Clark


Cormac McCarthy's award-winning novel about the exploits of two young men from Texas in 1949, seeking to embrace the life of cowboys in the twilight of the classic Old West, is given an expansive, yet intimate treatment by director Billy Bob Thornton. The cinematography absolutely captures the majesty of the Wild West, while the music by Marty Stuart ranges from soulful acoustic guitar punctuations to classic sweeping symphonic themes that draw from Tex-Mex border music. Also, Raul Malo (of The Mavericks) turns in a very cool performance of “Porque,” written by Malo, Dennis Britt and Daniel Lanois. The haunting closing credits song, “Far Away” (written, produced and performed by Stuart), perfectly captures the ending's wistful sense of longing and loss.

Sound Design: Stephen Hunter Flick, Peter Brown. Re-recording Mixers: Michael Minkler, Lora Hirschberg. Mixed At: Todd-AO West (Liberty Livewire). Additional Music By: Daniel Lanois. Music Supervisors: Christopher Covert, Barry Cole. Additional Orchestrations By: Chris McDonald. Score Mixer: Jim Mitchell. Audio: Dolby Digital and Dolby Stereo.
Rick Clark