Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 28th, 2015
BluRay released: April 28th, 2015
Approximate running time: 82 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: Bobby Taylor is a gifted actor with dreams of becoming one of most respected actors to ever grace the silver screen. First he most overcome the ‘elephant in the room’, if he continues doing the limited stereotype roles because of his ethnicity. Then he will never find the respect he so desperate desires.
Hollywood Shuffle was co-written and directed by Robert Townsend whose other notable films as a filmmaker include Eddie Murphy: Raw and The Five Heartbeats. Key collaborators on Hollywood Shuffle include composer Patrice Rushen, cinematographer Peter Deming (My Cousin Vinny, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) and screenwriter Keenen Ivory Wayans (I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, ‘In Living Color’).
Though Hollywood Shuffle is a film about the filmmaking process. There is nothing routine or even remotely predictable about its narrative. Sure there is a clear indication of what everything that occurs is leading up to and yet what happens onscreen has a freshness to it that the formulaic Hollywood system it is mocking so desperately lacks. With the bulk of this film’s running time consisting of a series of vignettes that are rooted in African American culture or based upon stereotypes of said culture.
And though there is an obvious tongue and cheek vibe to the humor that occurs throughout the film. There are a handful of moments that are bound to rub some viewers the wrong way and all of these moments usually involving a Caucasian character who is either telling an African American character that they need to act blacker or they try to endear themselves by mimicking African American culture. With that being said, these type of moments are few and far in between.
Thankfully the bulk of the humor in this film is strays away from this more divisive moments. And a few of the funnier moments include a Siskel and Ebert inspired skit that features two young black men who have sneaked into a theater and do a movie review show. Needless to say their rating system is priceless. Also the scenes involving auditions provide a wealth of comedy gold, especially when it comes to casting an Eddie Murphy type actor.
Performance wise the entire cast are outstanding in their respective roles, especially Robert Townsend who not only wore several hats in the making of this film. He also reportedly funded the film by maxing out several credit cards. A few recognizable faces include Keenen Ivory Wayans, Damon Wayans and Kim Wayans of ‘In Living Color’ fame and Anne-Marie Johnson who is most known for his long stints on T.V. shows like ‘What’s Happening Now!’ and ‘In the Heat of the Night’. Ultimately Hollywood Shuffle is brilliant satire about the lack of quality work for African American’s in the Hollywood system.
Hollywood Shuffle comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This film was shot over the course of two years and on a wide variety of film stocks and very limited budget. The transfer used for this release does a remarkable job considering the limitations of the source materials. For instances some scenes are grainier then others and this is source related and not something that was done in post to smooth out the image or make it look more pleasing. One moment that stands out in this regard is a pimp zombie movie clip which has a heavy layer of grain. And for the majority of this transfer that is how things look manipulated by DNR. Colors reproduction looks very good, black and contrast levels look consistently strong, details look crisp and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. The audio is in great shape as dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. There are no issues with background noise or distortion and there more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
This release comes with no extra content.
Overall Hollywood Shuffle gets a first rate audio / video presentation from Olive Films.
Note: Olive Films are also releasing this film on DVD.