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While some may find the subject matter of BOOGIE NIGHTS ($25) to be distasteful, I thought it was an excellent film that doesn’t glamorize the adult film industry nor drug use. If fact, BOOGIE NIGHTS could be one of the best anti-drug films ever made. That aside, BOOGIE NIGHTS is a wonderful return to an era not so long ago, when America was less uptight and the party never seemed to end. Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson has created a fascinating slice of the seamier side of life with his look at the adult film industry during the disco era. Anderson’s writing and direction are right on the money. He wrangles all humor, passion and irony from every situation.

The production design is an amazing recreation of one of the tackiest eras ever, but BOOGIE NIGHTS wouldn’t work without it. Mark Wahlberg stars as Dirk Diggler, a young man whose particular physical endowment makes him an overnight sensation in the adult film business. The story takes Dirk from his days as a high school drop out with no prospects for his future, to the top of the world, as the "biggest" star in his industry, then finally crashing back to earth when excessive drug use takes its toll on his only talent. While the story of Dirk Diggler predominates BOOGIE NIGHTS, the film is actually an ensemble piece that features a number of excellent performances. Wahlberg is great as the somewhat naive teenager who rises to the top of his field, only to get caught up in a destructive lifestyle. Julianne Moore is totally captivating in her Oscar nominated role as Amber Waves, the seasoned professional who plays surrogate mother to the acting troop, when she loses her own child in a custody fight. Burt Reynolds proves once again that he is first and foremost an actor with his Oscar nominated portrayal of Jack Horner, adult filmmaker. Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Robert Ridgely and Joanna Gleason all turn in memorable performances, making BOOGIE NIGHTS one of the best acted films of 1997.

BOOGIE NIGHTS is another addition to New Line Home Video’s marvelous Platinum Series of DVDs that offer tremendous bang for the buck. BOOGIE NIGHTS is presented in the Letterboxed format, very close to its 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. This Letterboxed presentation looks great and features the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. Image quality on the DVD is excellent thanks to a transfer created on the state of the art Spirit Datacine. Everything is crisp, detailed and faithfully rendered. Color reproduction is just great; the hot neon colors of the disco era appear well saturated without any trace of distortion or color noise. Digital compression artifacts were seldom noticeable on this DVD.

BOOGIE NIGHTS has a fine sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that has great channel separation. The track highlights the funky disco music that is used throughout the film. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible track, a French language track, plus an audio commentary featuring director Paul Thomas Anderson. The commentary has some coarse language; this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the subject matter of the film. However, the commentary is interesting and worth listening to. Subtitles are available on the DVD in English French and Spanish. The film’s extended running time and supplemental features are handled through the use of dual layer technology, giving BOOGIE NIGHTS virtually uninterrupted playback.

The funky interactive menus are animated and feature access to the DVD’s extensive supplements. Included in the supplements are nine deletes scenes, a music video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, character biographies, plus cast and crew biographies/filmographies.

This Platinum Series DVD is a knockout- kudos to New Line for continuing to define state of the art on DVD. BOOGIE NIGHTS is an important film that should be seen. Nothing beats this New Line Home Video DVD edition, except for seeing the film in a top-notch theater. Recommended.


Boogie Nights - New Line Platinum Series (1997)


DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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