Ed Zwick has made some great films and been behind some great tv(MY SO-CALLED LIFE), and has seldom dropped the ball. There are two shining instances where he has fumbled, and fumbled greatly. "DEFIANCE" is certainly one of his arguably messed up films, and "ABOUT LAST NIGHT, while not "bad," had a lot going for it that should've made it better. To begin with, the play by David Mamet that it was based upon, "SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO," offered better dialogue and more realistic scenes. Sure, Zwick opening up the play with some terrific outdoor scenes, helps the film, but changing/deleting so much of Mamet's original dialogue hurts the film drastically. The plot follows two male friends, contrasted with two female friends, and examines their trials and tribulations of dating, finding themselves and more. Rob Lowe plays Danny, a likeable guy playing softball when he's not selling for a grocery wholesaler. His best friend, Bernie, played by James Belushi, is crass but also quite funny. Bernie's take on women is old school chauvinism with an underlying sense of admiration for the romance he can't have. When Debbie(Demi Moore) and her friend, Joan(Elizabeth Perkins) are hanging out having lunch and drinks at the park, Debbie first sees Danny and becomes attracted to him. Joan and Bernie play the perfect devil's advocates to their friends' growing interests in one another, and it's these two that are the most interesting, as the film plays out. So, when supporting characters are more intriguing than the leads, as is the case here, something's very wrong.
There are some fine moments in "ABOUT LAST NIGHT," and even a few poignant ones! But, as the film plays out, the script misses virtually every opportunity to offer something fresh and provocative. Unfortunately, these opportunities are squandered. Zwick's direction is stymied by '80s studio mediocrity and the desire for crappy, overbearing montages! There are several, and all of them are horribly dated, but also just plain bad, even for the '80s!
SONY has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. While colors are generally stable, the image is typically soft and subdued in detail. Brighter outdoor scenes look quite good, but the image never offers "jump-off-the-screen" depth. Grain is never intrusive, and contrast is impressive during darker scenes. It's a good image, notably better in detail than dvd, but only average for blu-ray expectations.
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. It's certainly a notably better mix than the dvd, however this is a front focused "dialogue" film(for the most part) so ambient effects, while natural, are restrained. The major difference between this lossy mix and standard dvd mix, lies in the few ambient effects only. The fidelity during most of the dialogue offers better clarity than dvd, but there's nothing else remarkable here. The music lacks depth and bass is minimal.
SONY has included a mediocre promo, but a great discussion in high-def with Lowe and Zwick! It's much better than the film and really worth checking out.