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“About last night…” (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 19, 2009 by  



“‘About last night…’ is a smart, witty and sexually charged film that although predictable, it’s very real but overall, entertaining.  The film is just as relevant today as it was over 20 years ago.  A major plus with the Blu-ray release over the previous DVD release is the inclusion of a near-45 minute featurette reuniting Director Edward Zwick and Rob Lowe and the original 1986 featurette.”

Images courtesy of © 1986 TriStar Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: “About last night…”

DURATION: 113 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English, French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish 5.1 (Dolby Digital)

COMPANY:  TriStar Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R

Release Date: August 11, 2009

Directed by Edward Zwick

Based on the play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” by David Mamet

Screenplay by Tim Kazurinsky and Denise De Clue

Executive Producer: Arnold Stiefel

Produced by Jason Brett and Stuart Oken

Associated Producer: E. Darrell Hallenbeck

Music by Miles Goodman

Director of Photography: Andrew Dintenfass

Edited by Harry Keramidas

Casting by Gail Eisenstadt

Production Design by Ida Random

Set Decoration by Chris Butler

Costume Design by Deborah Lynn Scott

Starring:

Robe Lowe as Danny Martin

Demi Moore as Debbie

James Belushi as Bernie Litgo

Elizabeth Perkins as Joan

Rob Lowe doesn’t want to get serious. Demi Moore doesn’t want to get used. Together, they’re an unforgettable couple in the sexy, contemporary comedy, ABOUT LAST NIGHT…After drinks at a favorite Chicago hang-out, Danny Martin (Lowe) and Debbie Sullivan (Moore) head to Danny’s place to indulge in the predictable single’s quest: the one-night stand. Their affair is casual, sensual, and supposedly over until something surprising happens. They want to see each other again. It’s the start of an intense relationship that irritates Danny’s rowdy best friend (James Belushi) and astounds Debbie’s cynical buddy/roomie (Elizabeth Perkins), who do everything possible to break them up. But, Danny and Debbie wind up living together and amidst the daily drudge of domestic life, they begin to realize that making love is easy, saying I love you is more difficult, and being in love the hardest of all. Based on David Mamet’s Obie Award-winning play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, ABOUT LAST NIGHT… is an insightful, provocative and often funny look at romance in the ’80s.

In 1986, the film “About last night…” based on the early 70’s David Mamet (“The Unit”, “Hannibal” and “Ronin”) Award-winning play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” was released in theaters.

Where many 80’s romance films were typically teenager or a college-driven storyline, “About last night…” received attention for its focus on relationships (or lack of thereof) but most of all, the sexual lives of four individuals.

The film was directed by Edward Zwick (“The Last Samurai”, “Traffic” and “Defiance”) and a screenplay by Tim Kazurinsky (“Saturday Night Live”) and Denise DeClue (“The Cherokee Kid” and “Missing Persons”).  The music was composed by Miles Goodman (“Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit”, “Sunset Park” and “Larger Than Life”) and cinematography by Andrew Dintenfass (“Memories of Me” and “The Cure”).

The film would feature an all-star cast with Rob Lowe (“Brothers and Sisters”, “The West Wing”, “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Austin Powers” films), Demi Moore (“Indecent Proposal”, “Ghost”, “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “A Few Good Men”), James Belushi (“According to Jim” and “Mighty Ducks”) and Elizbeth Perkins (“Weeds”, “28 Days” and “Big”).

The film revolves around four individuals in Chicago and showcasing romance in the mid-80’s.  Danny (Rob Lowe) and his sarcastic friend Bernie (James Belushi) meet Debbie (Demi Moore) and her friend/roommate Joan (Elizabeth Perkins) at a bar in Elk Grove Village.  Danny and Debbie end up having a one night stand, as does Bernie and Joan.

But the difference is that from the one night stand, both Danny and Debbie are confused.  Are they just sleeping buddies but what if one wants more than that.  What if one wants a relationship?  The two are like a rollercoaster as part of them feels they should be in a relationship, then not be in one, then living together and not living together.

“About last night…” is a film that features one man’s fear of commitment and a woman truly wanting one.  Meanwhile, as both Danny and Debbie are confused, Bernie is against anything that deals with relationships and Joan can’t stand Danny.  Thus, their friends are against the two having any remote relationship.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“About last night…” is presented in 1080p High Definition (aspect ratio of 1:85:1).  Having owned the previous releases of “About last night…” on DVD, I was hoping for the film to look great but knowing that many 80’s films (shot in a lower stock of film) that have been released on Blu-ray are not exactly looking all that great and some that have been DNR’d (digital noise reduction) too much and making the film looking absolutely soft and waxy.

“About last night…” is a film that doesn’t have the DNR treatment which is great and exhibits grain (I’m talking about, plenty of grain) and as much as I would love to say the film looks absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray, unfortunately the film looks aged.  I’ll be truthful, there is not a huge difference between the DVD and HD release via picture quality.  Of course, you’re going to have the marginally better transfer on HD but for those hoping for spectacular picture quality, unfortunately “About last night…” does not make a huge jump in picture quality compared to its DVD counterpart.

As for audio, audio is presented in English, French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD5.1.  Audio for the most part showcases clean dialogue coming from the center channel, front channels showcase the film’s mid-80’s musical soundtrack and there are certain scenes such as at the bar where you can hear the people in the room on the surrounds.

The film’s soundtrack is satisfactory and for the most part, gets the better end of the HD transfer.  Dialogue is understandable and music is nice and clear and the film utilizing crowd scenes for the surrounds.

As for the subtitles, the film sports subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Unlike the old DVD release which really had nothing in terms of special features, “About last night…” on Blu-ray has two.

  • Edward Zwick and Rob Lowe in Conversation – (42:00) This was an awesome featurette as both Zwick and Lowe get-together nearly 13 years later to talk about the film and their experiences.  How today’s films like “Knocked Up” are able to have humor and have film with sexuality but with “About Last Night…”, there was only so much that they were able to get by through the censors.  Also, interesting to find out that both Moore and Lowe nearly suffered Hypothermia by standing out in the cold weather for so long and that during a sex scene with Rob Lowe carrying Moore, his leg gave out and he was in significant pain.   Very interesting and a humorous featurette.   This special feature does have profanity and is featured in High Definition.
  • Original Making-Of Featurette – (6:44) The original making-of featurette from 1986 in old school, standard definition glory.  Interviews with the director and cast and behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the movie.

“About last night…” was not the best romantic comedy from the 1980’s but it was a film that focused on young adult romance and the fears of commitment that many men and women go through.  So, in a way, you can say that the realism experienced by the characters was quite attractive for audiences.

Also, it was great to get that glimpse of Chicago and its various scenery at that time and of course, the performances by all four major talents were well-done.  If anything, Demi Moore and Rob Lowe who were both in “St. Elmo’s Fire” didn’t really shine in that film but with “About last night…”, these two talents did a great job and everything looks quite natural.

Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins definitely are impressive as the friends who try to tear the main characters from pursuing a relationship and they bring the comedy relief to the film.

Does this 1986 romantic comedy have the captivating magic and allure of the 1989 film “When Harry Met Sally”, no.  But what the film does well is expressing the sexuality and the fears of commitment.  These are real issues that many people go through.  Over 20 years later, its safe to say that the fears these characters have are quite relevant today.

“About last night…” is a smart, witty and sexually charged film that although predictable, it was great to see how these characters start to grow as individuals.  Again, very real but overall, entertaining.

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