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Hellaware (Factory 25) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Hellaware (Factory 25) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Factory 25
    Released on: April 26th, 2022.
    Director: Michael M. Bilandic
    Cast: Keith Poulson, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil, Brent Butler
    Year: 2014
    Purchase From Amazon

    Hellaware – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Michael M. Bilandic, 2014’s Hellaware stars Keith Poulson as Nate, a Manhattan-based photographer hoping to make it big in the city’s art scene – or at least he was until he got jaded with the incestuous nature of who makes it big and how they make it. Still, Nate would like to one day make it to the big leagues despite the fact that he feels it’s all very artificial.

    When he decides to delve into photographing more authentic subject matter, he gets high one night and finds a hip hop trio on YouTube calling themselves Young Torture Killers and becomes instantly obsessed with them and their song, ‘I’ll Cut Yo Dick Off.’ When he realizes that they live in the sticks of Delaware, he and his friend Bernadette (Sophia Takal), who occasionally sleeps with him, get in his car and make the drive south. Upon their arrival, the three guys from the group - Dr. Consequence (Zohren Weiss), MC Syke-O-Babble (Benvolio Tomauiuolo) and Rusty (Brent Butler) – let him take pictures of the group performing in one of their mothers’ basements.

    Nate sees something in the group that he figures he can transform into the art world success he’s been hoping to find, and starts trying to befriend the three members of the group. Eventually he gets gallery owner Olivier LaFleur (Gilles Decamps) to start working with him on an exhibition of his work, at which point his connections with the band and his desire to ‘make it’ start to conflict and Nate’s ego starts to swell.

    Hellaware is interesting and frequently pretty funny. It takes some well-aimed shots at hipster culture and the art world and a lot of the bullshit that surrounds those scenes, particularly when they collide, but it never feels preachy or overdone. Rather than rely on hammer its message home, the movie instead takes a more subtle approach to its take on things, letting Nate’s actions speak for themselves. At the same time, the movie also derives a lot of its humor from the Young Torture Killers, the three young men that Nate is so eager to exploit for his own benefit despite his protestations about issues he has with the scene he so desperately wants to be a part of. Essentially Juggalos, the Young Torture Killers clearly worship at the altar of Insane Clown Posse, making them easy targets, but by the time the movie is over, well, without spoiling it Bilandic do an interesting job of making us reevaluate the different characters that populate the story.

    Shot in an almost documentary style, the movie is paced well, moving at a good clip and not overstaying its welcome. The production values are pretty solid here, there’s a lot of good location photography and the use of music in the picture is also very well done. The action is pretty strong across the board, Poulson is good in the lead and the three actors that play the three members of Young Torture Killers are almost shockingly convincing in their respective roles.

    Hellaware – Blu-ray Review:

    Hellaware comes to region free Blu-ray framed at 1.78.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc, with the seventy-two minute shot on video feature taking up 15.4GBs of space. The picture quality presents the movie as the low budget affair that it is, giving it a documentary look that actually works quite well in the context of the story being told. Detail is decent, if never at the upper echelon of Blu-ray quality, and color reproduction seems lifelike and accurate. A few of the darker scenes are a bit too dark but this has everything to do with how the movie was shot rather than the technical quality of the disc.

    The only audio option is an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. Audio quality is about on par with the video in that it’s a little rough around the edges but more than fine when you consider the movie’s aesthetic. For the most part, the dialogue is clean, clear and balanced and the track is free of any hiss or distortion.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary by Commentary with director Michael M. Bilandic, actor Keith Poulson and cinematographer Sean Price Williams. It's a fairly scene specific talk that goes over the details of the making of the film, noting that it was shot in 2012. They cover what went into the opening scene in the art gallery, who did what in front of the camera, where most of the extras came from, the different locations that were used for the movie including Tompkins Square Park, where some of the ideas for the movie came from, the specifics of shooting some of the key scenes in the movie, how they got actual actors for the movie instead of just "Juggalo kids," bringing the movie in using a pretty small crew, the problem with needing specific place mats for a scene, who really took the photos used in the movie and quite a bit more.

    Behind The Scenes Of Hellaware is a quick six minute montage of footage shot on the set during the making of the movie showing off some of the YTK rap bits being shot in different locations , it gives us a fly-on-the-wall look at what it was like on set.

    There's also a selection of deleted and extended scenes running seven minutes as well as a trailer for the feature and a music video for "I'll Cut Yo Dick Off" which is pretty funny to see. Menus and chapter selection options are also provided.

    The disc comes packaged with some reversible cover sleeve art as well as a full color twenty-four page insert book with a brief forward by none other than Abel Ferrara along with essays on the movie by Nick Pinkerton, Michael Chaiken, Sean Price Williams and Michael M. Bilandic.

    Hellaware - The Final Word:

    Hellaware is an amusing, poignant and sometimes very funny look at the merits of art and pop culture and the way that certain segments of society process and digest it all. The Blu-ray release from Factory 25 offers up the movie in nice shape and with some solid extras as well.

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Hellaware Blu-ray screen caps!

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