“Burning Down the House” replays the familiar black comedy riffs of how rotten Hollywood is at the core. Michael Cole Dinelli’s adaptation of his “Hurlyburly” wannabe play, “High Tension in the Tropics,” is a gabfest involving a director so desperate to raise cash for his pic that he decides to torch his beloved abode for the insurance payout. Helmer Philippe Mora (“Snide & Prejudice”) and his notable cast appear clueless from first frame to last. Shot in 1998, recently recut and going direct to vid in May after Method Fest preem, this is a sure dust-collector.
Upon the accidental death of filmmaker Sy (Orson Bean), director Jake Seiling (John Savage) options the latest novel by Arthur Kranson (William Atherton) which had been on Sy’s radar. Money via a sleazy Gallic producer (Rene Auberjonois) isn’t enough, so partner Arnie (James Wilders) cajoles Jake to burn his house. Jake’s ex-wife Brenda (Joanne Baron) is one of a dozen and more irritants in his life, which goes downhill fast. Screened pic was shown in a botched blowup from 16mm.