• Bad Boy Bubby (Umbrella Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: February 17th, 2021.
    Director: Rolf de Heer
    Cast: Nicholas Hope, Claire Benito, Ralph Cotterill, Carmel Johnson
    Year: 1993
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    Bad Boy Bubby – Movie Review:

    Nicholas Hope (star of such varied films as the arthouse film Henry Fool and the big budget stupidity that was Anacondas 2!) plays Bubby, a thirty five year old man who has never left the apartment of his domineering and twisted mother (Claire Benito) his entire life. To keep him in check, she’s got him convinced that the outside world is in fact poisonous, so that he’ll stick around and take care of her womanly needs. Bubby is pretty much completely under her thumb. One day, pretty much out of nowhere, the man who sired Bubby returns home and through some odd circumstances, allows Bubby the chance to escape – which is exactly what he does.

    Once he makes it to the outside world, he runs into all manner of people and through this new found social interaction, he begins to piece together some semblance of understanding of society as a whole until utlimately he meets a nurse who works at a children’s hospital and the two begin a relationship together.

    Bad Boy Bubby is a pretty weird film. Director de Heer does a good job of presenting what could be potentially nasty material in a stylish and subtle enough manner that the film never quite crosses the line into exploitation territory, but I couldn't help but feel dirty once the end credits hit despite the rather upbeat ending that takes place. We see enough footage of Bubby and his mother in bed together to know exactly what is going on - it leaves nothing to the imagination - but no matter how foul the scene may feel it doesn't show us as much as we might think it does.

    The script and the story are quite clever, weaving Bubby into a few interesting and quirky predicaments once he discovers that life in the outside world won't automatically kill him and he begins to come out of his shell a little bit. It's these very predicaments that give Nicholas Hope a chance to really show what he's capable of in this role, as he does a fantastic job with the material and his portrayal of Bubby is both humorous and at times quite pathetic - but when it's all said and done you really do feel for the guy, even if he has been buried so far beneath his mother's shadow that it's going to prove quite difficult for him to adjust to life outside.

    Bad boy Bubby – Blu-ray Review:

    Bad Boy Bubby arrives on region B Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up 34.6GBs of space. The transfer is described as being taken from a new 2k restoration of a 35mm interpostive and it looks really good. There’s a bit of visible print damage noticeable during the opening credits sequence but otherwise the image is very clean despite some periodic specks and cigarette burn marks here and there. Detail is frequently pretty impressive, especially in close up shots, and colors are nicely reproduced. We get strong black levels and good depth and texture throughout. There are no obvious issues with any edge enhancement, noise reduction or compression artifacts. All in all, the picture quality here is quite strong!

    Audio chores are handled 24-bit English language DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo tracks with optional subtitles offered up in English only. Some of the directional effects in the sound mix are intentionally distorted and thrown at you from the opposite speaker you’d expect to get them from to replicate hearing things from Bubby’s perspective. The 5.1 DTS-HD track on this disc replicates this bizarre sound mix very nicely, providing some very effective directional effects that help us kinda-sorta relate to what Bubby is going through in the film. Levels are balanced and everything is in good shape here.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary with Director Rolf de Heer and Star Nicholas Hope. It is a very mellow track but it's quite interesting. They talk about the original intent for the opening title sequence and how it changed, working with insects and cats on the film, the use of sound in the film and the different approach to using sound that was employed in the film, working with the different actors featured in the picture, the specifics of shooting some of the stand out scenes in the picture, why specific lenses were used for certain shot, what shooting conditions were like, how Hope felt working on his first feature, how the very Catholic parents of Hope's girlfriend felt about the movie and quite a bit more. There's some dead air here and there but most of the time the two are quite engaged and interesting to listen to.

    The first of the featurettes on this release is an interview segment with writer-director Rolf de Heer that runs just under twenty-five-minutes in length entitled Christ Kid, You’re A Weirdo. De Heer comes off as a likeable enough guy, as he explains his motivations behind making such an odd film and what he was going for with some of the satire and black humor in the movie. Blue Underground has punctuated the interview footage with clips and shots from the film as de Heer explains the whys and wherefores of his film.

    After that is a video interview with star Nicholas Hope entitled Being Bubby. This one clocks in at roughly a quarter of an hour in length as Hope gives us the low down on the various techniques and methods that he employed while making the film to really make Bubby his own character. After seeing the movie you’ll note that it really is a stand out performance and hearing Hope explain how he made it so does prove to be pretty interesting.

    The Popcorn Taxi Q&A with Nicholas Hope runs twenty-seven-minutes and it features Hope discussing some of the technical issues that happened with the film. Here he covers how the first twenty-minutes of the movie were originally meant to be 4x3 only to be shown anamorphic once the character goes outside, the type of film stock that was used, effects that budgetary issues had on the picture, working with a live cat, rehearsing scenes and taking direction, his thoughts on his own work at the time, what the character of Bubby was based on and more.

    The 25th Anniversary Q&A with Nicholas Hope and Natalie Carr is a half-hour long audio only featurette that plays out over a slideshow where the two actors talk about how they came to work on the picture, what it was like on set, how it was an amazing opportunity to be involved with the production and quite a bit more.

    Confessor Caressor is a quick little twenty-minute short film that also stars Nicholas Hope. It’s a really strange little movie that gives Hope ample opportunity to strut his stuff despite the short running time. It’s also a little bit creepy, making for a nice companion piece to Bad Boy Bubby.

    The disc also includes, as an extra audio track in Dolby Digital 2.0 format, a ‘Binaural Headphone Recording.’ What is this all about? It’s explained very well here.

    “Cinefreaks and audiophiles, lend us your ears (and eyes). We’ve got a world-first screening of the controversial classic Bad Boy Bubby for you, as you’ve never heard it before: in binaural sound. Don a special audio headset and you’ll literally be plugged into the lead character’s experience.

    As the name suggests, binaural sound is recorded with not one but two microphones, positioned to create a “3D” stereo sound sensation for the listener. During production in 1993, Bubby’s maverick sound recordist James Currie experimented by placing multiple microphones and transmitters under lead actor Nick Hope’s wig.

    Currie says, “Sound isn’t just heard through your ears but through your entire body.” Through the immersive experience of binaural sound, a truck rumbling down a highway becomes a stereo vibration absorbed across the bitumen, up Hope’s body, and into the audience’s earholes.”

    It’s quite an interesting experience to view the film this way and a nice inclusion on the disc.

    Rounding out the extras are a stills and poster gallery, a theatrical trailer for the feature, a few bonus trailers (Dingo and The Tracker, both directed by Rolf de Heer), menus and chapter selection. This release also comes packaged with some double-sided cover sleeve art and a slipcover.

    Bad Boy Bubby - The Final Word:

    Umbrella Entertainment has given this weird little movie very nice treatment. Bad Boy Bubby is an odd film, but it’s an interesting one and Hope’s performance in the lead makes it all worthwhile, and the quality of this Blu-ray presentation will definitely please the film’s fanbase.

    Click on the images below for full sized Bad Boy Bubby Blu-ray screen caps!