In The Soup

In The Soup (1992)
Cast: Steve Buscemi
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Home movies, Interview, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Dance Lesson

Every so often you manage to catch a independent film that really grabs you and makes you understand why indies are so important to all creative media. Alexandre Rockwell’s "In The Soup" is definitely one such example. Winner of two Sundance film Festival Awards, the film is now coming to DVD from Fantoma and certainly deserves your attention.

"In The Soup" tells the story of Adolfo (Steve Buscemi) a struggling screenwriter on the brink of financial ruin as he tries to sell his 500-page movie script "Unconditional Surrender" to the highest bidder. Tortured by his unrequited passion for his next door neighbor, the beautiful Angelica (Jennifer Beals), he is approached by Joe (Seymour Cassel) a man who promises to produce Adolfo’s movie. But it is only too late that Adolfo realizes that Joe is nothing but a shill, an impostor who really has no way of financing the project – even though he has quite a few ideas how to obtain "alternative" financing.

Fantoma is serving up "In The Soup" in a <$16x9,16x9 enhanced> <$PS,widescreen> transfer in the film’s original 1.78:1 <$PS,widescreen> aspect ratio. The black and white transfer is crips and clean without blemishes or defects. Image detail is good and with its solid blacks and balanced highlights, the presentation is very enjoyable, especially as Rockwell has made inventive use of image framing techniques and optical filters to give the film a distinct personality. The compression is without artifacts.

A <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> audio track is part of the release, making for an engaging presentation. The track is well balanced and has a natural sounding quality. Bas extension is good and unexaggerated and high ends are clear and free of distortion. The music of the movie is also noteworthy, perfectly underscoring the image, weaving even more atmosphere and flair into the viewing experience.

As extras Fantoma has included a number of nice supplements, such as three different <$commentary,commentary track>s featuring most of the cast and crew members. The tracks are sometimes outrageously funny, informative, entertaining and technical. Especially the track featuring Buscemi, Tucci, Bracco, Kane, Jarmusch, Randazzo and Rockwell is a delight.

A new interview with Jennifer Beals, is also included on the DVD as she talks about her experience making this film some 12 years ago. It covers various aspects of the production as well as the shoot and her fellow cast members. Also included is a cool home video segment shot by Steve Buscemi during the production of the film, which gives you some cool fly-on-the-wall behind-the-scenes coverage.

You will also find six deleted scenes on the DVD which are also presented in 16×9 <$PS,widescreen>, though coming from work prints, the image is showing quite a bit of blemishes. A selection of outtakes round out this DVD release, as well as a step-by-step guide to learn the Cha-Cha-Cha in the form of the DVD inlay as an instruction manual and an accompanying video clip on the DVD.

"In The Soup" is a great flick with its passion for movies shining through every single frame. It is a hilarious story put on the screen by a phenomenal cast, including a series of cameos by well-known faces such as Sam Rockwell, Debi Mazar, Stanley Tucci, Jim Jarmusch, Carol Kane and countless others. Ultimately it is Seymour Cassel’s performance, however, that elevates this film above the rest, nicely complemented by Buscemi’s naïve play and Jennifer Beals’ radiance. Altogether it creates an imaginative mix, a funny concoction, and a visually intriguing, personal film experience that only independent movies can provide.

Make sure to grab a copy of this DVD gem when you see it and prepare yourself for some wacky, outlandish fun.