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ATL
DVD disk
07.25.2006 By: Scott Weinberg
ATL order
Director:
Chris Robinson

Actors:
T.I.
Evan Ross
Albert Daniels

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A group of Atlanta teenagers contend with a rather difficult summer after graduating from high school.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Take a splash of AMERICAN GRAFITTI, a healthy portion of BOYZ N THE HOOD, and a strange amount of ROLL BOUNCE, set the blender on "mild," and the result is ATL, a well-meaning but hopelessly cliché-riddled coming of age story.

The good news is that the four actors playing the main teens are all pretty solid -- even if the actual characters, as written, feel more than a little familiar and annoyingly one-note. There's the serious one, the troubled one, the goofy one ... and a little brother who's just waiting in the wings, destined to fall in with "the wrong crowd."

And the various plot threads deliver even more in the deja vu department: We got dangerous drug dealers, disapporving parents, uninspired role models, dreams of college, swanky new girlfriends, etc., etc. It feels sort of like a catalog of familiar components than any sort of true "movie."

Somewhat recommendable for the performances and Robinson's intermittently slick eye with the camera, ATL is a well-meaning and good-hearted urban melodrama -- that doesn't really seem to have anything new to say.

THE EXTRAS
In the Rink: A Director's Journey (28:44) is a fairly thorough behind-the-scenes piece that should appeal to fans of the flick and pretty much nobody else. Interview subjects include director Chris Robinson, producer James Lassiter, producer Dallas Austin, executive producer Tionne Watkins, cinematographer "Crash," production designer Robb Buono, assistant director Doug Torres, executive producer Timothy Bourne, and several of the young actors.

What You Know (4:42) is a music video by T.I. (Cool tune, actually.)

You'll also find a 5-minute block of deleted scenes and the original ATL theatrical trailer.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I admire the filmmakers for mounting an "urban teens" flick that shoots for something more hopeful and sincere, but there's very little in ATL that we haven't seen elsewere, and just a little more interesting.
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