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About Last Night...(1986)
Danny (Rob Lowe) and Debbie (Demi Moore) are in love--on a strictly casual basis--in this sexy comedy. Based on David Mamet's stage play 'Sexual Perversity in Chicago', director Edward Zwick's 'About Last Night...' is a funny, provocative, and often insightful look at young romance in the 1980s. At a neighborhood bar, Danny, a swinging single, meets Debbie, a bright young advertising executive who happens to be sleeping with her boss. Sparks fly, and the pair go home together to enjoy what they think is going to be a meaningless night of sex, preferring casual sex to commitment. Danny and Debbie both enjoy their own freedom, work, and friendships. Debbie relies on the support of her roommate, Joan (Elizabeth Perkins in her film debut), a cynical kindergarten teacher, while Danny is constantly exchanging dirty stories and work anecdotes with his coworker and best friend, Bernie (James Belushi). Although they desire to keep their independence, Danny and Debbie begin spending more and more time with each other and finally end up moving in together, quickly becoming domesticated in spite of their fears. However, their whirlwind romance gets the better of them and, although they have strong feelings for one another, they break up. Emotionally devastated, they both attempt to move on while realizing that they may have had something more important than their supposed freedom. This in-depth look at the difficulties of modern relationships is insightful and sexy, featuring palpable chemistry between the two seductive stars.
For more about About Last Night... and the About Last Night... Blu-ray release, see About Last Night... Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 12, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi, Elizabeth Perkins, George DiCenzo, Michael Alldredge
Director: Edward Zwick
» See full cast & crew
About Last Night... Blu-ray Review
A dull flashback to the 1980s makes for an uninspiring Blu-ay.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 12, 2009
There's a clock over your head...
...and there's a good chance that some in the audience will be watching its seconds turn to minutes, its minutes turn to hours, and its hours turn to days as About Last Night... drags its way across the screen for nearly two hours of relationship ups and downs in 1980s Chicago. Based on the stage play Sexual Perversity in Chicago by acclaimed screenwriter David Mamet (Redbelt), directed for the screen by Edward Zwick (Glory), and starring "Brat Packers" Demi Moore and Rob Lowe (the two shared the screen in another 1980s "foray into adulthood" flick, St. Elmo's Fire) alongside James Belushi (K-9) and Elizabeth Perkins ("Weeds"), About Last Night... -- with its blunt and vulgar depiction of love, lust, friendship, and everything in between -- seems the sort of film that's bound to polarize audiences as they gravitate towards a "love it" or "hate it" relationship with the material.
Dan (Lowe) and Bernie (Belushi) are best friends who share in common a love for softball; a lusting for women; a longing for drinks at their favorite bar, Mother's; and lengthy hours at the same ho-hum job selling restaurant supplies. During one of their softball games, Dan meets Debbie (Moore), sparking a brief flirtation which becomes a brisk love affair that in turn develops into a full-fledged romance. Their relationship seemingly running on full-throttle, Dan and Debbie survive the various ups-and-downs of dating and courtship, and Debbie eventually moves in with Dan, a move that upsets Debbie's best friend, confidant, and roommate Joan (Perkins), and concerns Dan's freewheeling buddy Bernie. Moving in together proves to be anything but easy. They fight a losing war against each other's bad habits, grate on one another's nerves, and attempt to salvage their relationships with their disapproving friends.
In the same vein as St. Elmo's Fire, there seems to be little-to-no real point to About Last Night..., though it may be argued -- and likely correctly so -- that its lackadaisical and meandering style is exactly what Mamet and Zwick intended for the story. It's but a lengthy snapshot of the lives of two individuals engaged in a sultry yet perilous roller-coaster of a relationship, and the film shows in some explicit detail many of the nuances and all of the major situations that come to define the relationship and influence its stability. The primary problems stem from a collection of mostly unlikable characters that flounder in spite of several decent-to-good performances, with James Belushi's effort as a potty-mouthed best friend the highlight of the film; and the picture's reliance on a seemingly uncountable number of montages that begin to grate on the nerves and add little to the picture save for additional minutes to an already overextended runtime.
Much like Starman seems the odd duck out in the John Carpenter cannon, About Last Night... seems dreadfully out of place in Director Edward Zwick's filmography. Unlike Starman, however, About Last Night... doesn't capture any magic or elevate itself above the doldrums of its genre in any way. A long, tedious, and often depressing glimpse into the relationship of two otherwise normal Chicagoans in the 1980s, About Last Night... definitely doesn't fall into usual Zwick territory, the director's films primarily action-oriented with some sort of overreaching historical, social, or ethical situations and implications framing the story. If nothing else, About Last Night... paved the way for Zwick to helm a fine array of pictures in the following years, including Glory, Legends of the Fall, Courage Under Fire, The Siege, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, and Defiance.
About Last Night... Blu-ray, Video Quality
About Last Night... makes its Blu-ray debut with an uninspiring 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. The film appears a bit soft but abundantly colorful throughout. The transfer never appears finely detailed in the least; objects tend to look flat and lifeless, but colors appear somewhat vibrant in contrast, particularly during the bookend softball sequences. Even more so than the extremely bright primaries -- red and green in particular -- the most notable element of this transfer is its abundant level of grain. There's certainly no sign of digital manipulation here; the swirly stuff is ever-present in all its glory, but the lack of definition and depth leaves the transfer appearing rather messy than film-like. Blacks and flesh tones, while not perfect, appear as adequate throughout, but the transfer does see some minor blocking and banding in a few shots. Despite its lackluster appearance, About Last Night... probably won't ever look far and away better than it does here, particularly given Sony's track record of delivering generally high quality video transfers of catalogue titles, as evidenced by the top-notch efforts as seen in the trio of additional titles receiving an August 11, 2009 release date: Starman, St. Elmo's Fire, and Blue Thunder.
About Last Night... Blu-ray, Audio Quality
About Last Night... tells its story with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. As might be expected, there's not much going on with this one. 80s music pours from the speakers during each and every montage with sufficient clarity and volume, some of the songs sure to positively energize fans of the era's music. The music is the only real high point here; About Last Night... is, otherwise, a wholly dialogue-driven film with very little else going on, but there is never any problem with dialogue reproduction. Ambience is minimal; the bar scenes offer no sense of immersion as the bulk of what little there is plays off to the front sides. About Last Night...'s soundtrack is as basic as they come; there's nothing inherently wrong with it, but listeners shouldn't expect more than the bare minimum here.
About Last Night... Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
About Last Night... offers viewers only two features of interest. Ed Zwick and Rob Lowe in Conversation (1080p, 42:03) is an extended piece that provides fans a fascinating retrospective back-and-forth between director and actor that takes a look back at the film from several angles, including casting, the film's themes of intimacy and its place in 1980s culture, some funny anecdotes from the set, the film's style, shooting love scenes, and more. Original Making-of Featurette (480p, 6:45) offers a vintage superficial glimpse into the film. Also included is BD-Live (Blu-ray profile 2.0) functionality and 1080p trailers for A River Runs Through It, The Da Vinci Code, Damages: Season One, Ghostbusters, Casino Royale, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
About Last Night... Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
About Last Montage..., er, About Last Night...'s claim to fame comes from the fact that it served as something of a springboard for Director Edward Zwick's wonderful directorial career. His followup, Glory, ranks, subjectively speaking, as one of the greatest films of all time, and his major efforts thereafter remain well-above-average to great outings. Unfortunately, fans of About Last Night... hoping for a Blu-ray release that commands attention and a place in the library may be disappointed with the results. About Last Night... sports a flat and completely uninteresting visual style, a fair but underwhelming lossless soundtrack, and only a couple of extras of note. Worth a rental for the nostalgia.
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• Sony Revisits the 80's This August - June 1, 2009
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