05/26/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'Nashville': 12 Best Music Moments From TV Series ...
The Voice Finale: Alisan Porter Wins Season 10 ...
Pink's Hairstylist on Her Billboard Music Awards Look...
Adele's Send My Love to Your New Lover video: Director ...
Bryan Cranston Mesmerizes as LBJ in HBO's 'All the Way'...
Kristin Chenoweth takes on a different kind of role ...
Survivor: Kaoh Rong: And the winner is... ...
Ghostbusters Are Desperately Trying to Save New York Ci...
The Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' Turns 50: How Brian Wilson...
Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom Pack on the PDA at Cannes ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Living in Oblivion (1995)

"Sometimes I wonder what the hell I'm doing in this business. It's all just one compromise and disappointment after another."
- Nick Reve (Steve Buscemi)

Review By: Brian Calhoun  
Published: February 09, 2003

Stars: Steve Buscemi, Dermot Mulroney, James Le Gros, Catherine Keener, Danielle Von Zerneck
Other Stars: Rica Martens, Peter Dinklage, Kevin Corrigan, Hilary Gilford, Robert Wightman, Tom Jarmusch, Michael Griffiths, Matthew Grace, Ryan Bowker, Francesca DiMauro
Director: Tom DiCillo

MPAA Rating: R for strong language
Run Time: 01h:30m:04s
Release Date: February 11, 2003
UPC: 043396078819
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-A-B+ B

DVD Review

I once read an article where musician Steven Tyler exclaimed that he found no humor whatsoever in his first viewing of the rock and roll satire This Is Spinal Tap. Tyler felt that the lampoonery of this lifestyle was too realistic, hitting too close to home to possibly be the slightest bit amusing. Budding independent filmmakers may experience a similar feeling of disillusion after watching Living in Oblivion, a film that humorously but painfully chronicles the pressures and disappointments of low budget filmmaking.

Though irresistibly hilarious, the film is actually more of an ode to the heartbreak of independent filmmaking rather than a parody, a sly wink to all the struggling artists who have "been there, done that." As inspiration for this wickedly realistic send-up, writer/director Tom DiCillo drew from his own experiences in the low budget film industry and created an almost autobiographical tale of his frustrations. Originally penned as a half-hour short, DiCillo later structured Oblivion into a three-part, 90-minute film. While the first half hour is unquestionably the best sequence, the entire film works wonderfully as an hysterical exploration into the horrors and pitfalls of making a motion picture. A credit to the visceral power of the film, I actually found myself becoming as frustrated as the fictional filmmakers when one shot after another went awry.

In addition to DiCillo's shrewd understanding of his subject matter, the film thrives on fantastic performances. From the main players to the supporting roles, all of the characters are wholly indicative of those I would expect to see working on a low budget film. At the top of the ladder is Nick Reve (Steve Buscemi), the frazzled director with big aspirations undermined by faulty equipment and a neurotic cast and crew. Buscemi masterfully portrays the bitter agitation of a struggling director, yet still remains sincere and appealing to the audience. Dermot Mulroney turns in a riotous performance as the cinematographer, Wolf, the type of egocentric "artiste" who unquestionably considers himself the most valuable on the set. Nicole Springer (Catherine Keener) and Chad Palomino (James Le Gros) are also exuberant standouts as characteristically unstable actors; Nicole is ripe with talent but plagued by insecurity, while Chad is a Hollywood big shot whose smug unpredictability turns the lives of the cast and crew into a living hell.

Living in Oblivion is a movie based upon the disappointments of one thing after another going wrong. For 90 minutes, we watch these poor filmmakers endure just about every kind of problem possible. The film may sound dreadfully monotonous, but thanks to the keen sense of realism caught by DiCillo, there is never a dull moment. Unlike many fictional films, the best scenes are those grounded in reality; those that made me believe I was watching a real-life documentary on low budget filmmaking. In contrast, the moments when the screenplay resorts to unnecessary slapstick often feel silly and contrived. However, maybe these instances are also part of DiCillo's nightmarish memoirs. The bottom line is that this production is a thoroughly entertaining and successful comedy. It may not be a particularly profound film, but it is guaranteed to tickle just about anybody's funny bone—anybody with the exception of, perhaps, struggling filmmakers.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image looks quite stylish. The first half hour, predominately shot in black & white, is intentional gritty and grainy, adding considerably to the mounting tension. I was amazed by how smooth and clean the color segments appear. Though somewhat soft, these scenes boast terrific detail and wonderful color saturation. While film artifacts are prevalent at times, they are never bothersome. Overall, there is very little to complain about.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The monaural soundtrack is a perfect complement to this dialogue-driven film. Spoken words are distortion free and always intelligible. While I find that mono soundtracks often sound thin and strident, I was deeply impressed by the level of clarity and cleanliness offered by this impressive track.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Auto Focus, Love Liza, The Big Picture
1 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by writer/director Tom DiCillo
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Easily the best of the special features, Tom DiCillo has taken time to record a heartfelt and humorous feature-length commentary. DiCillo reveals many interesting tidbits about both the production and the world of independent filmmaking. This is an excellent and informative audio commentary.

The one deleted scene is bizarre, unfunny, and a welcome exclusion from the film. I am not sure where exactly this scene would have appeared in the grand scheme of things; perhaps it is merely a portion of a much larger joke.

The interview with Tom DiCillo and Steve Buscemi consists of a candid Question and Answer session conducted at the Golden Age of Cinema Film Festival in 2002. The audience members, most of whom appear to be hopeful filmmakers, question the duo about a number of topics pertaining to Living in Oblivion and independent filmmaking. The answers are informative and revealing; however, I wish that this documentary were a bit longer, offering further insight into this unique production.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Winner of a well deserved screenwriting award at the Sundance Film Festival, Living in Oblivion is a highly recommendable comedy. This parody of the filmmaking industry will leave most people hysterical with laughter, though aspiring filmmakers may find it an all too bitter portrayal of what really goes on behind the scenes.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, nashville, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, music, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, hbo, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, movie, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked, survivor: kaoh-rong, reality, michelle fitzgerald, aubry, tai, jeff probst, comedy remake, ghostbusters, melissa mccarthy, kristen wiig, kate mckinnon, leslie jones, beach boys, pet sounds, brian wilson, bob dylan, blonde on blonde, cannes film festival, selena gomez, beyonce, crazy in love, lemonade, sorry, donŐt hurt yourself, daddy lessons, dancing with the stars, nyle dimarco, bruno tonioli, carrie ann inaba, len goodman, live! with kelly and michael, kelly ripa michael strahan, beyoncŽ, jay z, rachel roy, cheating, prince, little red corvette, purple rain, linus and lucy, the bourne supremacy, the bourne ultimatum, matt damon, alicia vikander, vincent cassel, tommy lee jones, julia stiles, paul greengrass, game of thrones, sansa, ramsay bolton, theron greyjoy, reek, petyr baelish, cersei, jaime, stephen colbert, hillary clinton, carnegie deli, the late show with stepen colbert, jungle book, disney, neel sethi, bill murray, rudyard kipling, captain america: civil war, captain america, iron man, black panther, scarlet witch, the jungle book, virtual productions, avatar, gravity, jon favreau, fantasy, james cameron, avatar sequels, avatar 2, christmas 2018, movies, tribeca film festival, the first monday in may, andrew rossi, justin bieber, anna wintour, met gala, 38 interactive and virtual-reality exhibits, the bomb, the meddler, j.j. abrams, chris rock, tom hanks, john oliver, elvis & nixon, mtv movie awards, dwayne johnson, kevin hart, warner bros. studios, will smith, suicide squad, jared leto, margot robbie, cara delevingne, kiss, freedom to rock, 35 date tour, july 7, caleb johnson, dead daisies, kiss online, merle haggard, died, okie from muskogee, sing me back, mama tried, the bakersfield sound, country music. willie nelson, waylon jennings, gram parsons, eric church, hungry eyes, jimmy fallon, the boss, brand new key, x gonna give it to ya, miles ahead, don cheadle, miles davis, rock and roll hall of fame, ewan mcgregor, michael stuhbarg, lakeith lee stanfield, house of lies, finding dory, ellen degeneres, finding nemo, albert brooks, hayden rolence, animation

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store