DVD Review: ‘Dreaming Hollywood, ’ a Crime-Tinged Story of Bizarre Originality
Dreaming Hollywood an instant cult classic! Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas meets Tarantino action. Take a deep dive into Ray Balfi’s bizarre world of psychotic drug dealers, incompetent cops and social rejects as he tries to begin a new life-direction and shops his cartoon screenplay to 100 L.A. production companies. While facing rejection after rejection Ray learns that someone has stolen his script and made his movie, The Dog’s Meow without his permission. Now, Ray’s already messed-up life is thrown into catastrophic mayhem. This dark, action-comedy slowly reels you into its Kubrick-like world of oddballs, outcasts and sociopaths. Punctuated by magical musical interludes and hyper-violent killing sprees, Fade Out Ray delivers one of the wildest rides you’ll take this year! Audience Award Winner — Erie International Film Festival
The film appears to be presented in an anamorphic aspect ratio (between 2.35 and 2.39:1), but with the left and right edges cropped into the image. There is a relatively constant presence of digital noise in the far field which are more noticeable in darker colors but they never distract from the content in the frame. Quality is good and acceptable for the film’s DVD mastering.
The sound comes through nice and clean without any issues in clarity. Dialogue is mixed to well-intelligible levels above SFX, and the musical score is woven through at levels that complement the film rather than distract from the film’s important moments. It’s important to note that there are no subtitles for the feature, and while this omission is Quality is great and offers a healthy dynamic range which boosts the experience considerably. The mastering keeps things remarkably consistent so that loud sequences don’t tower over quieter parts of the film.
The disc offers a 16-minute feature of deleted scenes & outtakes, a music video for DMX’s “X Moves” edited from film clips, a slideshow of film stills, and a trailer for Dreaming Hollywood.
Trailers for other films in Cleopatra Entertainment’s release schedule are included as well, such as Making a Killing, Lady World, China Salesman, Chain of Death, Kiss Kiss, and Pin Cushion.
Dreaming Hollywood is on its exterior a film about the dream of filmmaking, that feeling of “give me this one chance to prove myself” go-for-broke attitude. Director Frank Martinez channels this energy through the film which, by the way, goes well beyond simple comparisons this has gotten in pitching elements of pastiche filmmaking (“X film meets X film” and so on). On its interior, this is a wholly original whack-a-doodle journey with a centering, relatable sense of humor about itself even in the face of its own burgeoning crisis. It works as both a cautionary tale and a self-deprecating one with its own main character becoming the butt of the joke in places, but not without taking a few others down a peg as well.
The real heart is within the film’s honest commitment to its weird characters. Because it lets them run the show & steer the movie through various types of terrain themselves with relatively expert regard to pacing (the film runs just over 2 hours and never feels like it), it’s a richer experience for it. This extends to the performances too, each actor having something unique to work with making even small roles stick out as memorable and instrumental in propelling the protagonist’s journey. It’s a weird and wild ride in gonzo fashion, so if you’re game for at the very least unconventional journeys like this is you’ll have something to cherish in Dreaming Hollywood. Recommended.
Disclaimer: Cleopatra Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the reviewer.