'Hustlers: 4K Ultra HD' [+ Blu-ray + Digital Code]
(Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, et al / 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: Inspired by a true story, 'Hustlers' follows Destiny (Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians), a young stripper struggling to make ends meet.
That is, until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), the club's savvy top earner, who shows her the way toward making big bucks.
But when the 2008 economic collapse hits their Wall Street clientele hard, Destiny and Ramona concoct a plan with their fellow strippers to turn the tables on these greedy power players.
Blu-ray Verdict: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the wildly entertaining Jennifer Lopez-led 'Hustlers’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this December 10th, 2019.
For my money, this 'Hustlers: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is 'Hustlers' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the pulsating strip club dances performed by all the ladies, but especially the close up shots of J-Lo! It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the scenes, again, sorry, where the strip club dances are in full pole effect and the lights are flashing around the ladies and their concentrated expressions, even allowing their tiny "costumes" to sparkle and amazingly quiver enough to seemingly become alive) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.
As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, as we are reminded right from the off, 'Hustlers' is "Inspired By a True Story". As the movie opens, it is 2007 and an Asian-American girl named Dorothy is getting ready for work at a strip club.
Then a Latina woman named Ramona makes her grand entrance and does a spectacular pole dance as Fiona Apple's 'Criminal' blasts from the speakers.
Duly impressed, Dorothy reaches out to Ramona for some dancing tips, and the two hit it off. We then move to 2014 where we see Dorothy being interviewed by a journalist (Julia Stiles).
At this point we are still only about ten minutes into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience (you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out).
This the latest movie from writer-director Lorene Scafaria, whose Seeking a Friend For the End of the World some years ago was one of my favorite movies of that year.
Here she takes a New York magazine article and turns it into a wild, wild movie. Beware: not much is left to the imagination. The grand entrance of Jennifer Lopez in that opening scene's pole dance is nothing short of stunning!
In fact, the same can be said about Lopez's overall performance, which should be Oscar nomination-worthy, and certainly is a career-best performance.
I mean, Lopez turned 50 this year and still only looks about 35! She takes control of the movie and in every scene demands your attention (of which you are more than happy to give it to her, of course).
Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhardt round out the primary performers. Oh and check out Cardi B and Lizzo as part of the "strip gang"!
When a movie's principal set is a strip club, you can expect a lot of fist-pumping music, and the movie more than delivers on that level. In addition to the aforementioned Fiona Apple track, there are songs from Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Fat Joe, Queen She, 50 Cent, and many more.
This all said, 'Hustlers' is a film that predominantly centers around the economic collapse of 2008 and the lives it upturned in trickle-down effect.
It critiques capitalism brilliantly, as it arguably captures one of the most obvious ways we assign inherent value to individuals; through sex work.
Furthermore, 'Hustlers' focuses on a raw look at women living a life that is both hard and reflective of the struggle that every woman faces, including the responsibility of caring for one another and their children.
This amazing and compelling experience of a slice of life is powerful and sensitive portrayal of the connections and the travails of the lives of what seems to amount to be essentially single women living in a high-stakes life in an effort to survive.
The only weaknesses that stand out are the absence of a more descriptive understanding of Wu's interaction with her boyfriend and their evolving relationship and Lopez's apparent willingness to retain a connection with one of her more questionable "hustlers".
In closing, 'Hustlers' reminds us that we're all the same players in this violent game we call the American dream and that some of us are simply better, smarter, more ruthless players at that game than others; those who learn to work the system.
As for the short-in-demand Special Features included, the only real one (aside from two trailers) is a Feature Commentary with Director Lorene Scafaria.
Here she explains why she took the project on whilst scenes play out slowly, which is a nice touch. Like she admits she took the directing gig on because she thought it wasn't a world that we had ever seen before, at least from the dancers perspectives.
Not heavy on any real behind-the-scenes facts or easter eggs and such, Lorene is more about how the movie came to be. Such like how the "value system" (for both men and women) is broken and that a movie like this showcases that perfectly.
She admits she went to a lot of strip clubs and spoke to a lot of strippers (and even former strippers) to make this film as authentic as possible. How they also sat down and talked specifically about the 2008 financial crisis and how it impacted everyone; not only the strippers and those at Wall Street, but what a $20 bill then suddenly meant to the ladies.
Lorene goes on to say in spacious soundbites, especially the moment where Janet Jackson's 'Control' is heard, that Janet was actually written into the script for that moment as a "voice over," and how control is actually the theme for the entire movie. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:
Feature Commentary with Director Lorene Scafaria
Official 'Hustlers' Trailer
'Hustlers: 4K Ultra HD' Blu-ray Amazon Purchase Link
Official 'Hustlers' Website
Official 'Hustlers' Instagram Page