Reviews & Columns
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info


Hurly Burly

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Bfast]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
"HurlyBurly" is an interesting film, full of characters who are simply full of themselves. We watch episode after episode of these people doing ugly things. The film strings these episodes together into a loose plot thread, but the most interesting thing is that the film works best when it's not trying to go anywhere, and lets these characters talk their problems out in one place: there are scenes that are based in the main house of the film, that of Eddie(Sean Penn), that contain wonderfully sharp dialogue. It's a pleasure to hear great actors do what they do best. There isn't a normal, conventional plot to this story, it simply follows the characters along on their days and nights.

There's a few really great performances in the film and the best is simply Kevin Spacey. Spacey always seems amused and above the rest of the characters in a lot of his films and simply, he's focused that here into a performance with fantastic timing. It also helps that his is the only character that isn't spiraling out of control in this film and as such, he has many chances for great lines and wisecracks, such as the breakfast scene towards the begining of the film(chapter 3 of the DVD). The film is all talk, talk, talk and there's a sense that I felt that these characters can't stop talking: in a town where attention is craved, they can't bare to lose attention, even from people they know, even if they really aren't listening to what each other are saying. There's enough in the way of variation and contrast to these characters, from Penn's energy to Spacey's calm amusement to Chazz Palmentari's unstable character to keep the conflicts interesting throughout the film.

"Hurlyburly" is definitely a dark film, but it's such an emotional roller coaster, from the sort of cynical comedy of Spacey to the darker moments, that as terrible as these people are, we can't help but be fascinated by the events and where these people are headed as the story pushes forward. It's a little too long and could have used some cutting, but I think that I enjoyed enough of "HurlyBurly" to recommend it.

The DVD:

Note: This isn't one of New Line's "Platinum Series", but there are some interesting extras included.

VIDEO: A decent 1.85:1 image. The picture quality varies, usually it's clear, but not always as sharp as I'd like. Some of the lower-light indoor scenes look a little dark and hazy at times. The sort of color scheme that exists here doesn't look that vibrant and it's not supposed to be, the image usually is made up of a lot of greys, blacks and browns and I definitely say they look accurately rendered and natural to the film's intended quality, sort of an "overcast" look- that sort of muted look of a cloudy day. Blacks in the image look very good; solid and well-defined. The only problem is that there were quite a few noticable instances of artifacts, and that's the only thing that really keeps this from being a clean image- there's no problems with the quality of the print used. Flesh tones and contrast levels are fine throughout. New Line has done a lot of very good transfers; this one is definitely passable, but it isn't their best work.

SOUND: All dialogue, literally. "Hurlyburly" consists of scene after scene of dialogue, and it sounds fine here, clean and natural with no problems. It's a talky film and there's some very great dialogue here; thankfully the audio gets the job done.

MENUS: Basic film-themed menus that are clean and have sort of a cool "basic" look.

EXTRAS: Commentary ONE: Director Anthony Drazan and writer David Rabe contribute a fairly unenergetic but informative and interesting commentary about the history of "Hurlyburly" from the play to transforming the play to a screenplay and into the production of the film. There is also a lot of talk about some of the worries of taking a play that was set in one room to a full-length film. There's questions of if people will want to sit and watch dialogue back and forth for 2 hours, and it's up to the actors to keep our interest- Drazan talks about how he reshaped that "one-room" play and opened up the story. There are a lot of small pauses in the commentary before the other part of the duo begin talking. This commentary really gets better as the film goes on, especially a speech about re-inventing Hollywood.

Commentary Two:: I liked this commentary a little better: Sean Penn, Rabe and social commentator Janet Brown talk about the themes of the story on this track. Rabe contributes a lot of additional interesting material on this track as well, but there are some really entertaining and informative comments by Brown and Penn. Brown actually succeeds, in my opinion, in getting deeper into the concepts during her discussion and bringing in comparisons from other stories such as MacBeth that I found very interesting. When you have a star like Penn listed as contributing to a commentary, a lot of the time you don't expect them to contribute much, just throw in their occasional comment or viewpoint, but Penn here really does contribute a lot to the commentary, talking about his views on the characters and especially what he brought to the role. This isn't a group commentary, unfortunately. It would have been quite interesting to hear all of these people in the same room. Composer David Baerwald also contributes to the commentary, talking about his choices for the score and a bit about his ideas and concepts about the film itself. Janet Brown is really a highlight on this track. Her comments, looking at the layers beneath these characters and their ideas was really fascinating.







Rent It

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links