Monday, November 25, 2013

Boogie Nights (2010)

Boogie Nights"Boogie Nights" is one of those movies that defies categorization. It's about the porno industry, and has its fair share of sexual content, but never titillates. It's often funny but the humor is usually of the dark variety. Much of the content shouldn't be entertaining, but the movie succeeds grandly as entertainment.

It's the oblique nature of "Boogie Nights" that makes it so special. It's not a film that will give you pat answers; rather, it'll challenge you in a way few films do. What other movie in recent memory was able to take an explicit sex scene and make it sexually unexciting? "Boogie Nights" has just such a scene, and it serves one purpose: to de-glamorize the world of porno and portray it for what it doubtless is: a business where people do nothing but try to make a living.

"Boogie Nights" centers around the life and times (the late 1970's and early 1980's) of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg, who's dynamite), who is discovered by porno impresario Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds, in another dynamite performance) and soon changes his name to Dirk Diggler and becomes a porno star.

Dirk's story is intertwined with the stories of others who share his world: coked-up porn queen Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), who plays surrogate mother to Dirk because she is legally barred from seeing her own child; Reed Rothschild (John C. Reilly), his best buddy and co-star; Rollergirl (Heather Graham), a porn performer who insists on "acting" with her rollerskates on; Buck Swope (Don Cheadle), a black porn bit player who dresses like Gene Autry and dreams of owning a stereo store; and Little Bill (William H. Macy), Horner's quietly enraged right hand man, whose wife literally does it with everyone and anyone and doesn't care if her husband sees her doing it.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson tells the characters' stories vignette-style, much as Robert Altman would.

In particular, Dirk's rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches story is alternately funny, horrifying, sad and uplifting. In particular, there is a scene in which a strung-out Dirk tries to make a drug deal with a crackhead dealer. Problem is, the cocaine he's trying to sell is fake, the dealer's house is full of armed thugs, and his friend keeps lighting firecrackers as the whacked-out dealer listens to Night Ranger's "Sister Christian". Anderson directs this scene so beautifully that the tension and fear is absolutely unbearable after a while, but the whole setup is so bizarre that you can't help but smirk your way through it. That's great directing, folks.

The performances are all standouts, but Reynolds' and Moore's are especially fine. In addition, the period feel (down to the Cheryl Tiegs poster on Dirk's bedroom wall) and music is right on target.

This is a brilliant film, and though it's too in love with its own brilliance from time to time, the flaws are greatly outweighed by the film's tremendous energy and superb performances.

This Platinum series is a noticeable improvement over the last release. Paul Anderson, the director, says this is the "definitve version" of Boogie Nights. While I agree with him in many ways, I STILL had the need for MORE supplemental material. The packaging is really nice. It opens like a book, revealing 2 attractive discs, one with the film, the other with supplemental material. Trying to release these discs with your fingers may be the hardest thing you ever did. They are VERY difficult to release from the case. This edition does not come with a booklet, but gives you plenty to read on the inner sleeves. Once you pop the DVD's into your player, you'll see that the menu's are simple and very easy to navigate. You can set-up your monitor with a simple 'color bars' set-up. The picture quality is beautiful. Color saturation is noticeably improved over the previous release, and overall the widescreen image is attractive and clean. The sound is also greatly improved over the previous release. It is cleaner and more vibrant and the stereo separation seems to be much more precise. The music sounds incredible and the vocals are clear and sharp. The firecracker scene at the drug dealers house sounds wonderful! The audio commentary is reason enough to get this DVD. Paul Anderson has almost every person you'd ever want to listen to on this DVD. They are all talking in their own vulgar and natural ways throughout the film, and most of the time, it is quite amusing and informative. This version has an additional few minutes of a deleted scene that is great to watch including Becky, Jerome and a car crash with Mark Whalberg driving! John C. Reilly is a really funny guy, and his scenes in this DVD, (The John C. Reilly Files), are a pleasure to watch. The DVD also includes the "Try" video, a nice little addition. In conclusion, I love this film, and anyone else who does should get this DVD. I recommend it highly, I just really wanted to see more supplemental footage, (probably because I love this film so much). Besides that, this DVD is excellent, great picture and wonderful sound, and the supplemental footage is incredibly entertaining. **By the way, go to the 'color bars' and let it play for about 30 seconds....something shocking will appear on your screen** Enjoy this DVD!

Buy Boogie Nights (2010) Now

Boogie Nights may not only be the best movie in the best year for film since 1976 but the best of it's decade. Mark Wahlberg sheds his Marky Mark persona by play Dirk Diggler, an up and cuming porn star who finds a family in his co-stars. Director Jack Horner, played by a resurgant Burt Reynolds, is the father figure to Dirk while Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) assumes the role of mother. It's a dysfuncial family at that but maybe the most stable a young man in the 1970's San Fernado Valley could have. Dirk starts out a wide-eyed kid from Torance who gets swept up by Horner and co. after a blow-up with his emotionally abusive, acholic mother. Paul Thomas Anderson directs with such skillful hand that we come to understand the decisions he makes but realize where it's going to lead. The assemble cast includes a lintany of names too long to metion all of them but particularly good is John C. Reilly, collaberating again with Anderson who'd given him his best role yet in Hard Eight. The reissued DVD is absolutely worthwhile even for those of you who already have the previous. The most notable inclusion is a Scorsese-esque scene in which Dirk attempts to come to Becky's aid after her marriage turns sour. In his voice over commentary PTA explains he wanted somebody in the film to get away clean thus decided to make the difficult cut. The other nine deleteds are just as good, nothing new but still as entertaining as they were when the DVD was first released. I hate to turn people off to such a fabulous film but I've found most people have a very strong reaction to it, you'll either love it or hate it, there's no middle ground here. And while I hate to discard great films such as Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction into a runners-up catogory I can't help but think this was the best film of the 90's and it's reach could easily span two decades if not for Raging Bull (which is given proper credit for inspiring the film's final scene). It's not to be missed!

Read Best Reviews of Boogie Nights (2010) Here

The Film:

Sprawling, messy, and relentlessly entertaining, Boogie Bights was, in my book, one of the two or three best films of the 1990s. Its themes include the innocence of an era, the relentless march of time, and the attempts of people caught in this march to create a family structure whether it be a traditional family or a non-traditional one. Like many of Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson's films, this is a real actors' showcase, with Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Don Cheadle, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, among many others, turning in bravura performances. But it is, of course, Mark Wahlberg who sells this film. I haven't liked everything he's ever done, but his unpretentious style really fits the character here.

The Blu-Ray:

This is the best this film has looked on home video. The New Line DVD, which was one of the best DVD discs in its day, was very good. This is better in every way. Blacks are darker and more solid, film grain is more evident, color is richer, and detail is much stronger. That said, this isn't a disc that will blow away some of the more CGI-heavy modern action material you can throw at your HD setup on Blu-Ray. Part of this is due to the way Anderson shoots scenes, with naturalistic lighting, focus, and different film stocks. When we're in a brightly lit scene with close ups, detail is very strong. I am glad that they didn't overdo this transfer and try to make it "overly" HD. There is little to no visible edge enhancement, and definitely no visible noise reduction.

Sound is very strong, with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD that excels in almost every way. The music, so important to this film, is separated throughout the sound field with lots of detail.Dialogue is clear and never drowned out.

In terms of extras, we get almost all of the material from the New Line Platinum Series DVD. Two very entertaining commentaries, 30 minutes of deleted scenes (also with commentaries), extra improv footage, a music video, and the theatrical trailer are given to us. Unfortunately, all of these features are in standard definition, directly lifted from the DVD. We are also not given the "color bars" from the original DVD, which contained a blooper outtake of the prosthesis Wahlberg wore. I also would have liked to see the "Exhausted" documentary about John Holmes that Anderson used (and references frequently) as the inspiration for the documentary sequence in the film. It's not terribly long, and having it as a point of comparison to the filmed scenes would have been really good.

One final note this disc has NO commercials. You pop it in, get an FBI warning, a brief New Line logo, and then the movie starts up. No fuss, no muss. I LOVE IT.


Anyone who is a fan of great cinema should get this movie. If, somehow, you've avoided seeing this and you have a Blu-Ray player, this is a must-buy. It's by one of the great young filmmakers of our era, and it may be his best movie. If you love Scorsese, Kubrick, Robert Altman, Oliver Stone, and the like, you'll love this.

If you have the DVD set already, I would say this is a still a recommendation. The picture and sound are quite a bit stronger, without a doubt, and you get almost everything from the original DVD extras.

Want Boogie Nights (2010) Discount?

One tends to think of adult entertainment as a bastion of scumbags and perverts, but Boogie Nights presents a loving glimpse of the unacknowledged human face behind it all. It's a fun film, no doubt, but its morality play on human frailties is heartwarming.

The tail end of the 70s saw a small cadre of porn directors who honestly believed they could combine realistic raunch with an engaging plot. Lofty goal, and one that sure enough proved impossible to realize, with VHS forcing movies to be made cheaper and faster.

Boogie Nights chronicles the quick rise and demise of this so-called "artistic porn" business and the unusual people who participated in it.

To the extent that the film is a reflection of reality, its strengths lie not in its accuracy but in its warmth in relaying the hopes and dreams within this makeshift family.

As we follow a regular well-endowed Joe's rise to (and inevitable fall from) stardom, a handful of subplots seep in -the allure of stardom and the price some are willing to pay to attain it, the difficulty of rehabilitating after one's name has been tainted by association with porn, the compelling urge to belong.

There's much to be seen, literally. Thankfully genuine comedy lurks in the crevices. Characters are well-sketched, and we feel for most of them. Clocking just over 2.5 hours the film is not for the faint of heart, but the sheer vitality of bravura performances keeps us spellbound.

A word for the energetic camerawork. The movie opens with a five-minute unbroken crane shot that swirls around the streets of LA, then enters a club and circles the dance floor introducing us to almost every major character. This fabulous shot sets the standard for the rest of the film, a delight for anyone interested in this sort of thing.

In a nut, the film excels on many levels. As unabashed as it is touching, this is a film you have to see.

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