BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

8mm (1999) - Blu-ray Review

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8mm - Blu-ray Review

Toning down the pornography and turning up the violence, Joel Schumacher’s 8mm remains a disturbing look at the uglier side of the pornography business.  The film stars Nicolas Cage as private detective Tom Welles and Joaquin Phoenix as an adult video clerk named Max California and, as it details the search for a missing girl who is apparently killed in an underground pornography film, goes to some pretty dark places in its development.

"the scuzzy side of Hollywood fits Cage well.  And his partnership with Phoenix is top-notch."


The film, having weathered the storm of negative reviews thanks to the performance from Cage, is now being reintroduced to the public thanks to Shout! Factory, specifically Scream Factory, and its efforts to get underperforming 1990s thrillers back into circulation with a bit more thought put into their handling.  It deserves another shot at earning your respect.  Cage isn’t as bad as some have suggested and, of course, Phoenix nails his performance in this tense thriller.

The point is that 8mm is not a bad film.  At all.  Written by Andrew Kevin Walker, the film and its “Hard Spank” theatrics is a bit more than just an exploration of snuff films, Pops.  There is a moral code that is defiled by its protagonist.  Tom Welles makes for an interesting lead and, as it features performances from James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, and The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, it offers a lot in the way of pop culture zingers.

Schumacher is a pro at this dark material and, thankfully, he doesn’t pull ANY punches as Cage leaves his family to determine the sick fate of one missing girl.  Welles journey takes him from the riches of widow Mrs. Christian (Myra Carter) and her late husband’s estate, including attorney Daniel Longdale (Anthony Heald), to the rougher areas of Hollywood, where sex sells at the cheapest of costs.  Welles, though, is not immune to these dark vices and vibes and, somewhere along the way, he loses the essence of who he was previously in his relationship with Amy (Catherine Keener) and their baby girl. 

Having said all that, the scuzzy side of Hollywood fits Cage well.  And his partnership with Phoenix is top-notch.  Perhaps the soundtrack, a middle eastern-sounding score from composer Mychael Danna, is a bit of a misstep here – announcing itself quite loudly when it should be more moody – but the film works with it in a manner that makes it work, even if it is an odd sort of relationship.  Working together, the two investigate the filthier side of the pornography business.  It is a dark place where guns are drawn, wild dogs bark, and lots of people are beaten and kicked. 

8mm - Blu-ray Review

Porn Zombies and basement sales, 8mm will make you feel like you need to take a bath.  There is a lot of bad juju involved with the hunt into the murder of the girl on the 8mm film.  But neither California or Tom will give up the chase down the rabbit hole of extreme bondage flicks.  There’s nothing harder; that’s what the street sellers say, yet we know otherwise: the film is proof.  And Schumacher is only all too happy to SHOW it all to us, so get the leather chaps ready!

Pay before you pump, assholes!  8mm is now back out on the streets.

3 beers

8mm - (1999) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
123 mins
Director
: Joel Schumacher
Writer:
Andrew Kevin Walker
Cast:
Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini
Genre
: Mystery | Thriller
Tagline:
Some doors should never be opened.
Memorable Movie Quote: "There are some things that you see, and you can't unsee them. Know what I mean?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 26, 1999
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: January 8, 2019
Synopsis: This dramatic story follows one man's obsessive search to the truth about a six-year-old crime – and his ultimate discovery of the truth about himself.

8mm - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- January 8, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Shout! Factory, through its Scream Factory label, presents 8mm with a brand new hi-def scan.  The results are crisp and immaculate for this dark and brooding journey into the soiled heart of pornography.  The image is fully resolved with the lightest, most beautiful layer of grain and no detection of digital noise reduction whatsoever.  Blacks are deep and strong.  The mastering here is impeccable.  There is a fair amount of detail and not a speck of dirt to be found in the scans of the original movie, though.  Simply put, this title has never looked better.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 takes full advantage of the thriller atmospherics.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Fans get an audio commentary from Producer/Director Joel Schumacher.

Special Features:

Schumacher leads the charge with a brand new interview about the film.  Nothing new is said, BUT it is always interesting to hear from him.  The rest has been ported over from other releases.

  • 8MM In 35MM – An Interview With Producer/Director Joel Schumacher
  • Vintage Behind The Scenes Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

8mm - (1999) - Blu-ray Review

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