The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Hindi
Starring: Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson, Ricky Gervais, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, Steve Speirs
Written & Directed by: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
Music by: Tim Atack
Region Code: A B
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 17, 2010
"Be young. Be free. Be somebody."
England is in full swing as three outcast friends find themselves drinking, joking, fighting and chasing girls, while dreaming of escape from their blue-collar hometown of Cemetery Junction. Freddie (Christian Cooke) is a salesman suddenly thrown onto the fast track when he gains the attention of his boss, Mr. Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes). Torn between a prior life of partying with his friends, Bruce and Snork (Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan), and the promise of a brighter future, life gets more complicated when the bosses daughter becomes the focus of Freddie's affection.
Freddie, Bruce and Snork have grown up in the same town, and shared many of the same experiences but are very different which is probably what enables them to be such great friends. Their relationship is counterbalanced by their lives apart, which for each represents a source of angst. In a small town like Cemetery Junction, everyone knows everyone and the workforce consists of laborers who have jobs that have passed from one generation to the next. Freddie comes from a blue collar family of modest means where his father (Ricky Gervais) works two jobs to support them. Freddie isn't satisfied working with his father and Bruce at the local machine shop and hopes to someday leave Cemetery Junction. He decides to quit and take a job as a life insurance salesman after reading about Mr. Kendrick (Fiennes) a former Cemetery Junction resident who now runs the company and lives high on the hog.
Bruce seemingly has little ambition and it appears that his only lot in life is the rush he gets from doing the wrong thing. He lives at home with his father, a beer drinking shell of a man, who Bruce deeply resents for his mother's departure (for another man) from the family. To say that their relationship is strained would be an understatement. Snork is exactly the type of guy you would expect to have earned such a nickname. He is a goofy, loser type, who enjoys waxing poetic about the reason he is called Snork. He talks about his way with the ladiesyeah right. Bruce, Freddie and Snork like to spend their evenings together joking, drinking, fighting, and chasing girls. Freddie has grown disenchanted with that and hopes that his new job offers a new lease on life. He finds that it may not be as simple as that thanks to the dog eat dog nature of the business. After bumping into and reconnecting with his preteen flame Julie (who also happens to be his Mr. Kendrick's daughter) he can't help but be attracted to her. After spending time with her family he sees that perhaps life isn't so perfect in the land of the ambitious and wealthy.
Meanwhile Bruce's explosive temper and violent nature keep him at odds with the local constabulary. Luckily for him Sgt. Davies, a veteran officer and old friend of his father's, consistently ensures that he finds his way home and avoids serious charges. Unfortunately Bruce has little respect for life or the people in it that care about him the most. Snork finds out that he has a secret admirer at the local café. He sees her as beneath his standards although his hasty reaction may warrant reconsideration as she is the only person in the world that appreciates the ridiculous self designed tattoo he now proudly wears on his chest. After a series of events that come to define the men that they have been, Freddie, Bruce and Snork find themselves at a crossroads. Whereas they had always planned to take to same path in life they are now faced with the reality that perhaps their paths lead in different directions.
Cemetery Junction is set in the 1970s' era that I grew up in and is a film that depicts the unqualified friendship between three twenty something buddies from a small town in England. It is more than just a nostalgic throwback story that revolves around the good ole days. Writers/directors Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant draw from some of their own roots along with a little help from a Bruce Springsteen ditty, Thunder Road. This is a wonderfully crafted film that depicts a coming of age story about friendship while examining the complexities that can sometime revolve around family. It has a warm, funny and feel good appeal that provides an engaging blend of drama, humor and escapism that is thoroughly entertaining. The cast of young talent is terrific and they are well supported by the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode, and Steve Speirs who I thought was amazing in role of Sgt. Wyn Davies. While it can be a little melodramatic and occasionally excessive in execution Cemetery Junction is witty, honest and speaks from the heart which makes it a worthwhile film experience.
The rating is for language and some sexual material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Cemetery Junction comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
This is a stylized high definition video presentation that utilizes a muted level of chroma that works toward conveying the time period, theme and locations depicted in the story. Primary colors like blue and red are vividly reproduced and pop against the sepia tones and darker colors used in the sets and costumes. All are cleanly rendered cleanly with natural looking texture and delineation. The photography doesn't lend the video to glossy, eye catching definition however images are detailed and sharp which provides appreciable depth and dimension. Close ups reveal lucid subtle nuance that allows the pores, stubble, peach fuzzy hair and subtle skin variation among the cast to be distinguishable. This also applies to the surface structure of objects and clothing within the frame. Black levels and contrast are spot on with estimable detail visible within dark backgrounds and shadows. Grain is present but never intrusive as the video had a clean/pristine quality that looked great.
This is essentially a dialogue driven film however the mix utilizes the entire surround platform to help drive the story. This is primarily done via the wonderful selection of 70's era music which is not overt in its message but expresses the theme of the movie quite well. There are instances where it's essentially in your face as it radiates from the front and rear channels at nearly equal volume levels. This appears intentional as it goes hand in hand with certain dramatic aspects of the story however I must admit to finding it distracting. When this isn't the case the musical focus is less prominent with front channel emphasis being supported by ambience bled to the surrounds. Directional sounds are distinctive across the front soundstage with dialogue planted firmly in the center channel. Vocal reproduction is fine but the dialogue probably should have been mixed higher as I had some problems with intelligibility although part of this could easily be attributable to the accents of certain members of the cast. The surround activity during the sequence in the nightclub provides a fair level of envelopment, and sounds great. Clarity and detail are excellent so that even low level sounds within the recording are detectable. There are no extended low frequencies associated with the soundtrack but it provided solid bass response where appropriate.
- Audio commentary with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
- Audio commentary with Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, and Jack Doolan
- (HD) 10 Deleted scenes
- (HD) 13 minute blooper reel
- (HD) The directors: A conversation with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant - 15 minute featurette
- (HD) The lads look back: The stars discuss Cemetery Junction - 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Seventies style: Production and costume design - 8 minute featurette
- Production featurettes (totaling 7 minutes) - The start of filming, Week 1, Meet the boys, The director's onset
- (HD) Previews: Salt, Grown ups, The back-up plan, Death at a funeral, The karate kid, The other guys
- MovieIQ: BD-Live enabled access to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more
Cemetery Junction is a wonderfully crafted dramatic film that depicts a coming of age story about friendship while examining the complexities that can sometime revolve around family. It has a warm, funny and feel good appeal that can be a little melodramatic and excessive in execution but results in a witty, honest and thoroughly entertaining film that speaks from the heart. It debuts on Blu-ray Disc in a technically strong offering that features great looking high definition video and satisfying lossless surround sound. The cache of bonus features includes Blu-ray exclude content, two audio commentaries, behind the scenes footage and personal insights from the cast and crew. Cemetery Junction is a film worth of your time so throw it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
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