I Heart Huckabees (2004)

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Released 22-Aug-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-David O. Russell (Director)
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-I Heart Huckabees Production Doc
Deleted Scenes-Extended Scenes
Outtakes
Outtakes-Miscellaneous Things People Did
Featurette-Infomercial, Commercials And PSAs
Featurette-Jon Brion Brings It To Huckabees
Gallery-Photo-Montage
Music Video-Jon Brion's Knock Yourself Out
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 102:13
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David O. Russell
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Jason Schwartzman
Isabelle Huppert
Dustin Hoffman
Lily Tomlin
Jude Law
Mark Wahlberg
Naomi Watts
Angela Grillo
Ger Duany
Darlene Hunt
Kevin Dunn
Benny Hernandez
Richard Appel
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Jon Brion


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I Heart Huckabees is a bizarre and complicated comedy about people questioning reality and their own existence in a rapidly changing world. It comes from the mind of David O. Russell (Flirting with Disaster, Three Kings), who co-wrote the film with Jeff Baena and also directed. The screenplay is so original and challenging it is very reminiscent of the wonderful work of Charlie Kaufman.

    Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) is the founder of Open Spaces, an environmental group committed to less corporate development and more parkland. Albert is troubled by a series of coincidences involving an African gentleman and seeks advice from existential detectives Bernard and Vivian Jaffe (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin).

    Also on the detectives' books is Tommy Corn (Mark Wahlberg). He is a fire-fighter who is convinced all the problems of the world are based on petroleum. He even rides his bike to fires, having decided to banish the product totally from his life. However, Tommy is beginning to lean towards the teachings of the Jaffe's ex-pupil, and now arch rival, Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert). Caterine's theories are in direct contrast with the Jaffe's and she causes much friction when she arrives in town.

    The Jaffes place Tommy and Albert together, as they believe each of their individual issues may help solve the other's. However, Caterine is moving in on the pair and sets about turning them to her theories. Soon Albert and Caterine begin a very funny intimate relationship, in secret from Tommy.

    While investigating Albert's life, Bernard and Vivian discover a link with the department store giant Huckabees, in particular Sales Executive Brad Stand (Jude Law). Huckabees are keen to build on the marshland that Open Spaces are trying to protect. Brad has joined Open Spaces and plans on taking over the running of the organisation, to his and Huckabees' benefit.

    The Jaffes also discover Brad and his girlfriend, Dawn (Naomi Watts), who also happens to be the face of Huckabees, are having underlying existential problems in their own relationship. The Jaffes are soon following everyone in an effort to solve the spiritual issues of all, but their competition is never far away.

    There is much going on in this film and a lot of it is obscure. There is no doubt that I Heart Huckabees needs to be seen more than once to fully appreciate all the ideas and situations it presents.

    The performances from the entire cast are superb. While watching the behind-the-scenes extras on this disc, what was very evident was the commitment and enjoyment of all involved with the project. In particular, Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman, working together for the first time, absolutely relished their roles.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of the film is excellent overall.

    The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is sharp and clear throughout. There are very few dark scenes in the film, so this reduced possible problems with blacks and shadows. Having said that, blacks were very clean and shadows displayed nice detail. I found no evidence of low level noise.

    Colours were kept quite low key for interior scenes, with vivid colours kept to a minimum. Colours were much less controlled in exterior scenes, which created a nice contrast. Reds in particular are used only during critical moments in the film. All colours and skin tones were nicely rendered and appeared very natural throughout the film.

    I found no MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts were also very scarce, minor edge enhancement being the main offender, although nothing of great annoyance or distraction is present in this transfer. Film artefacts were not an issue.

    The available subtitles on the disc are English for the hearing impaired and English for both of the audio commentaries. All subtitles are in white, very accurate and easy to read.

    This is a single sided, dual layered disc. The layer change occurs at 52:44, which is perfectly placed and extremely difficult to detect.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is also impressive.

    There are three audio tracks available on the DVD. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). There are also two other tracks, both audio commentaries. They are both English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality was always clear and easy to understand, except when this was deliberately stifled in argument scenes. I found no obvious problems with audio sync.

    The music score by Jon Brion was really very impressive. Jon has made a reputation recently scoring films such as Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His light-hearted and very whimsical score for I Heart Huckabees is a perfect accompaniment to the film.

    The audio for I Heart Huckabees is very much front speaker driven. The film is a dialogue based film and subsequently has very little requirement for direct or precise sound placement. The surrounds are used nicely, however, mainly for ambience in selected scenes and the music score.

    Subwoofer activity was based mainly around highlighting bass elements in the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The selection of extras presented on this DVD is outstanding and highly relevant to the film.

Menu

    The main menu is themed nicely around the film and is 16x9 enhanced. It features animation in the form of a series of short clips from the film with looped music. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround encoded audio.

Audio Commentary - David O. Russell (Director)

    This commentary has David O. Russell speaking on his own. He gives some great insights into the making of the film and also provides some explanations for many of the obscure angles. Any serious fan of the film, or indeed anyone with a nagging question about the film, will enjoy listening to this excellent commentary.

Audio Commentary - David O. Russell (Director), Jason Schwartzman (Actor), Mark Wahlberg (Actor) and Naomi Watts (Actor)

    Another excellent commentary. This time David is joined by Jason, Mark and very briefly, Naomi (by telephone). Some of the information is doubled up here from the first commentary, but this is a little more light-hearted, while still being informative and offering much in the way of anecdotes.

Featurette - I Heart Huckabees Production Documentary (34:40)

    A very genuine behind-the-scenes look at the making of I Heart Huckabees. It offers interviews with cast members, with much of the early discussion relating to working with David O. Russell, but then settles into providing some genuinely interesting information about the film. This featurette contains some very funny behind-the-scenes footage and should delight fans of the film. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Extended and Deleted Scenes

Outtakes

Miscellaneous Things People Did (4:31)

    A hilarious blooper reel. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Featurette - Infomercial, Commercials and PSAs

    Open Spaces Coalition Six PSAs (1:59)

        A collection of short fake commercials for the Open Spaces Coalition, all featuring Jason Schwartzman. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

    Commercials (1:53)

        A collection of Huckabees commercials, all featuring Naomi Watts. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

    Jon Brion Brings It To Huckabees (13:25)

        A behind-the-scenes look with Jon Brion at creating the music score for the film. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

    Photo Montage (3:40)

        A short but sweet slide-show of behind-the-scenes images, with Jon Brion's music playing in the background. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

    Infomercial (28:49)

        This is a bizarre infomercial, which plays like a TV show. It features Lilly Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman playing their characters from the film in a chat show format. They interview guests about deep and philosophical subjects and throw to Huckabees commercials. Jon Brion is even on hand to provide live music. This was obviously something David O. Russell wanted to put together, just for a little fun. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Music Video - Knock Yourself OutJon Brion (2:04)

    The video clip to the song by Jon Brion, used in the score. The clip also features Jason Schwartzman and Mark Wahlberg. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I will compare the R4 version with the latest versions of I Heart Huckabees, both released in R1 on 22 February 2005. Of these R1 versions, one is a standard version, and the other is a two disc Special Edition.

    The R1 standard version differs from the R4 in that it also features:

   However, the extras on this version are limited to the two audio commentaries, which are also present on the R4 version.

    The R1 two disc Special Edition differs from the R4 version in that it also features:

    This Special Edition certainly provides a wealth of extras, which would influence a hardcore fan of the film. Although I believe the R4 version is a very well presented DVD, you make the choice.

Summary

    I Heart Huckabees might just be a little too clever for its own good, which will keep many from totally embracing it. This film is best approached with a very open mind - in other words, try not to analyse what you are seeing at the time and just go with it. I Heart Huckabees definitely benefits from repeated viewings, as there are just so many ideas being constantly thrown around. Trust me - watch the film again the following day...if you have the inclination.

    The video and audio transfers are very impressive.

    The selection of extras on this DVD are quite outstanding and will delight any fan of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Friday, April 29, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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