DVD Review HTF Review: Hustle and Flow

Discussion in 'DVD' started by PatWahlquist, Jan 10, 2006.

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  1. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG]
    Hustle and Flow
    Studio: Paramount Home Video
    Year: 2006 (2005 Release)
    Rated: R (sex, drug content, pervasive language and some violence)
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 enhanced for 16x9 displays
    Audio: English DD 5.1/ 2.0 Surround
    Subtitles: English
    Time: 115 minutes
    Disc Format: DVD-9
    Case Style: Keep case

    Craig Brewer’s “Hustle and Flow” is a story about dreams, albeit, the dreams of a drug dealing pimp in Memphis. Terrence Howard plays Djay, the aforementioned dealing pimp, who carts his girls around in a broken down Chevy while he pontificates on his dead end life and his aspirations for something better. For Djay, this better life comes in the form of the flow (similar to rap, for the uninitiated) as a means for him to express his frustrations with what his life has become. He lives in a small home with his three working girls, one of which is pregnant, the other defiant, and the third (who appears to be his main earner) trying to get a clue of what she can be.

    Djay finds a sounding board, both literally and figuratively in his old school mate, Key. He convinces Key to help him pursue this dream, so they set up a home recording studio in Djay’s house. Key also enlists Shelby (D.J Qualls), a skinny white kid, to program the beats for Djay’s rhymes. Once the trio has their equipment up and running, they proceed to cut their tracks. While looking for a hook in a track, Shelby has the pregnant Shug (one of Djay’s “girls”) belt out a four line chorus that winds up being just what was needed to make a good crunk song great. Inspired, the group goes on to knock out their demo tape.

    Issac Hayes plays bar owner Arnel and he tells Djay a local rapper who has hit the MTV jackpot is coming in on July 4th to party. Since Djay can provide some choice bud to the rapper, Skinny Black (Ludacris), Djay decides he will give his demo to Skinny. Once Djay encounters Skinny, he is confronted with the true nature of stardom and the interjection of reality into his dream. Djay must also make the choice of how far he will go to make the dream come true.

    Brewer has assembled an outstanding cast led by Howard. Howard spent 2005 gaining notoriety for this role as well as his role in Paul Haggis’ “Crash”, where he played an LA socialite who is the victim of racial profiling taken to the extreme. In both roles, Howard puts his heart and soul into the performances, and it is a real treat to see his range in these contrasting characters. Taryn Manning, who plays the hooker who wants to break free from her derogatory life, also shines and shows us how Djay’s dream will continue, regardless of his circumstances at the end of the picture. I am not a fan of rap (or drug dealing or pimping either, for that matter), and those with similar views should look at this picture for its story and performances and bypass its somewhat scurrilous subject matter.


    Video:
    "Hustle and Flow" is presented anamorphically at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The picture's contrast seems to be boosted as originally shot to give it a very gritty urban feel that enhances the environment of the story. Brewer and cinematographer Amelia Vincent (who was also the second unit DP on "Lemony Snicket") use a 70's style bubble lettering for the film's title and does a quick homage to the 70's films "Hustle and Flow" emulates. Colors are deep and rich; most of the nighttime shots look like they were bathed in neon for effect. Flesh tones, as expected, are also nicely rendered and complement the settings. Black levels are very deep, and shadows show adequate detail. I am usually turned off by films that use these high contrast effects since it is done due to the story's inability to get its grittiness across. However, movies such as "Hustle and Flow" flourish when shot like this. There was very little edge enhancement noticed, nor was there any compression artifacts. This is a really nice video presentation.

    Audio:
    I was surprised this was a very subtle soundtrack that only really kicked in when the music was presented. Most of the action is in the fronts, utilizing the stereo effects. When Djay begins recording his first track, the LFE grabs the bass of the beat and the surrounds kick in for ambience. Voices are natural and realistic and there is no distortion noted.

    Bonus material:

    Feature length commentary by writer/director Craig Brewer.

    Behind the Hustle (27:25): discusses the background of the genesis of the picture and its production. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew, including producers John Singleton and Stephanie Allain

    By Any Means Necessary (14:36): is a little more in depth on the background of the origin of the story as well as the compromises that were made to get the picture made.

    Creatin’ Crunk (13:37): Background on the music of the picture.

    Memphis Hometown Premier (5:02): from July 6, 2005. Brewer sports a personal heirloom of the legendary Sam Phillips!

    6 promotional spots: These “shorts” (:30 – 1:00 each) feature new material of Djay and other characters introducing aspects of the picture interwoven with scenes from the picture.

    Conclusions:
    Since HTF is a family friendly website, I caution you this is an adult film due to its content. However, it is one of the best pictures of 2005 that features some outstanding performances by Howard and Manning. This is also a story of dreams, both of Brewer and of Djay, that are realized through difficult times and hard work.


    Notes:
    Due to some issues with my HT equipment, the review was done on a combination of both of my set-ups. However, my evaluations were consistent between both set-ups.
     
  2. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    I picked this up today at Best Buy and got a free copy of Beverly Hills Cop to go with it to boot. This was on my top 10 of 2005, surprising since rap/hip-hop really does nothing for me. Hopefully this finds a bigger audience on DVD than it did in the theater. It really deserves one.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This was one of my favorite films of 2005 and I will be picking up the dvd today.






    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Well...gee, with recommendations like that I
    am going to purchase this today.
     
  5. JoshB

    JoshB Supporting Actor

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    I rented this instead of buying it, and now I wished I had bought it after seeing it.

    Without a doubt one of 2005's best films. It did good business box office wise, but it should have been a much bigger sleeper hit. It will certainly find its audience on DVD.

    The performances are dead on, and Howard will get an Oscar nomination for his work. His character is extremely believable and emotional, and the rest of the supporting cast is superb.
     
  6. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    howard should get a nom for this movie.

    although didnt DJay get the keyboard from a drug dealer/junkie trying just to get some money for it and not from key?
     
  7. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    I was referring to the device Key used in the makeshift studio, which to me, at least, looks like some kind of mixing board (or soundboard).
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I've read that Terrance Howard was paid $12,000 for his role in this film. If he gets some Oscar love, maybe it'll pay off for him handsomely.
     
  9. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    I wanted to love this one, but it was too much like EIGHT MILE for me. Taryn Manning is even in both. The last section is good though.

    I got it from Netflix so I am glad I didn't buy it.

    Although some critics seem to love it (Harry Knowles of AICN named it the best film of last year) so you may like it.
     
  10. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

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  11. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    I saw this theatrically and absolutely loved it (though I hate rap/hip hop music and was not a fan of "8 Mile"). I'd be hard pressed to name a more joyous scene in 2005 cinema than the "Whoop That Trick" scene.
     

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