About Last Night (UK - BD)
Marcus has never enjoyed knitwear in a movie quite as much as on this Blu-ray
Based on the David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, About Last Night brings together Danny (Rob Lowe) and Debbie (Demi Moore) and follows them as they start their relationship, move in together and through the outside influence of their friends, begin to drift apart.
However bleak that opening paragraph sounds, About Last Night’s biggest draw is that for the most part it’s a whole lot of fun. Both Demi Moore and Rob Lowe are at their best and there’s a real chemistry between the two characters that feels realistic and natural in its pacing. How their relationship forms has many well observed junctions and Edward Zwick handles the majority of them expertly without giving in to the more clichéd Hollywood route, that it could have slipped into with ease.
Coming out of watching St. Elmo’s Fire last week, About Last Night was a refreshing surprise in my eighties movie watching. Again this is the first time I’d ever watched this eighties classic, but the huge difference with About Last Night is that it feels enjoyably modern, despite having characters impressed by 'double' headphone sockets and the dubious fashions on offer. Also look out for the scene in the downpour. With all that bad eighties hair flattened down and the fact that Demi and Rob don't look too different today, you could almost mistake it as a movie made recently... almost. Also, as another side order that no one involved in the movie probably ever predicted would be so much fun, is the knitwear. Seriously, the amount of jumpers and cardigans on show here is shocking and when movie lovers discuss bad fashion choices of the eighties, Demi Moore needs to be considered a poster child just for this movie alone. Her jumpers are so insanely over the top that they became a hugely enjoyable part of the viewing experience.
About Last Night treats the relationship movie with respect, despite using eighties sensibilities like songs telling us exactly what characters may be feeling at any given moment. It still manages to depict just how influences from outside sources, such as friends or work issues, can add an unnecessary weight to what is working fine for a couple. It captures the insecurities of the early days of a relationship, the fun playfulness that comes with it and the careful step approach to really committing (though the amount of time it takes one of them to say “I love you” seems to come a bit late in the game). It also holds no punches when it comes to the break up and thankfully the two lead actors, who up until this movie I’ve never really rated, do a fine job at selling the heartbreak. All in all About Last Night was a great little romantic comedy that focuses far more on relationships and leaves the comedy element in the careful hands of eighties fashion and lets James Belushi run with the rest.
As with St. Elmo’s Fire, once you get past the opening credits which have a slightly heavier amount of grain, you step into HD transfer town, though About Last Night is nowhere near as consistent as St. Elmo’s.
When the transfer is good, it’s very good, with a clean image, acceptable detail (for the age of the movie) and some vivid colours, though it has to be said the vividness of some of the reds here felt as if I was watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie and they were subliminally offering me some kid of code, especially when against some of the drabber backdrops
Where the transfer suffers is in some of the darker scenes, especially in hallways or corridors in the middle of the night with no set lighting. The picture can be packed with grubby grain and feel decidedly more standard definition than high and has very much the feel of watching an eighties movie... in the eighties.
Based almost solely in the front speaker, this TrueHD track feels a little small but the spread over the front speakers is pleasant and captures the dialogue and music well (though I'm pretty sure the best 5.1 system in the world couldn't make some of the songs on this soundtrack sound good).
Bass is used well, adding a bit of extra pep when it's called for, but generally this is a pretty standard track for the type of genre and even more so for the age of the movie.
Not too much to report here but it has to be said that 'Ed Zwick and Rob Lowe in Conversation' (42:03 HD) was fantastic. Little chats like this can be better than a commentary for me and this really is one that proves it. It's a shame Demi wasn't involved as well, but she's covered in plenty of the stories the two share.
Besides that all we get is 'The Original Making of Featurette' (06:45 SD) which is so original it has video track lines and really shows off the movies age (as well as how much better the HD transfer is).
Lastly there’s some BD-Live and a trailer for Blu-ray is High Definition.
About Last Night was a joy and a movie I genuinely feel that I've missed out on not seeing until now. It's not that it's the best in its genre or comes with anything particularly special, but About Last Night is a solid movie that I could easily enjoy again (even if it's for a drinking game revolving around Demi's jumpers).
Disc wise the upgrade is a mixed bag, but I can't imagine it's looked this good elsewhere and fans of the movie will enjoy the Zwick/Lowe conversation. So if you want to revisit an old favourite, or venture into a good movie for the first time (twenty odd years too late), you shouldn't be disappointed.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 3rd August 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Italian, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hindu, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Commentary Subtiles
Extras: Ed Zwick and Rob Lowe in Conversation, Original Making of Featurette, Trailer, BD-Live
Easter Egg: No
Director: Edward Zwick
Cast: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi, Elizabeth Perkins
Genre: Comedy, Drama and Romance
Length: 113 minutes
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