I Heart Huckabees in a 2004, philosophical ensemble comedy directed by David O.Russell with a cast including Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts. The film is fun, and I caught it at a film-festival when it was originally released, but it struggled to find an audience, and met mixed reviews. Since it is not available on Blu-ray, I thought I’d take a look at the iTunes HD version.
In a box somewhere I have an “I Heart Huckabees” badge that was handed out during a film-festival nearly a decade ago. This struck me at the time as trying a bit too hard to generate some buzz. I actually saw the film at the festival, and it was entertaining, but I can see why they were trying hard to market it. The performances are good, and the ideas are interesting – but overall it doesn’t quite gel.
The entire plot is… a MacGuffin and that’s really the problem, there is no meat in the story. Sure, there are some cute scenes and Hoffman and Tomlin are great, but it suffers from the lack of plot. Who cares what happens to the characters if the consequences of failures are well… nothing ?
Jonah Hill has a blink and you’ll miss it cameo which was apparently his first screen performance
I Heart Huckabees iTunes HD Review
The iTunes 1080p encoding of I Heart Huckabees clocks in at 3.52 GB. Aspect ratio is 2.35:1. Video bitrate is 4.18Mbps with a peak of 12.2Mbps. The encoding appears to date from April 2014 based on metadata in the stream. Sound is covered by a stereo AAC track with a bit rate of 160kbps and an AC-3 5.1 track with a bit rates of 384kbps.
The transfer looks a little ‘flat’ to my eye, not bad, just lacking in contrast in places, but that may reflect the original intent. There should be more grain than I’m seeing, and I’m seeing more artifacts than I like. Fine detail is present so I suspect bitrate starvation rather than DVNR is the cause.
The earlier DVD by comparison is softer, has some edge enhancement and is perhaps a tiny bit “warmer”, though colors matched well throughout and framing was identical to the pixel, so I suspect that the same transfer was used for both.
Fair: 3 out of 5. An ususual film, and a somewhat lackluster presentation. A Blu-ray would almost certainly look better due to bit-rate starvation issues here, and a fresh video transfer could give the image a little more crispness.
Worth a rental if you are a fan of any of the principals, but otherwise…