|Year Released||1988||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||99:41 minutes||Other Extras||Filmographies - Cast and Crew|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16 x 9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, although the airline no longer exists|
|Action In or
|Yes, in credits|
Angela de Marco (Michelle Pfeiffer) is married to mobster hitman Frank "Cucumber" de Marco (Alec Baldwin) and is not exactly thrilled with the life they are leading. However, when Frank is rubbed out by family head Tony "The Tiger" Russo (Dean Stockwell), Angela is left to the mercy of the family that she does not want. Things get a little worse when Tony starts putting the moves on Angela (on the day of the funeral), and Connie Russo (Mercedes Ruehl) starts to get a tad jealous and possessive about her husband. Further complicating matters is the fact that FBI special agent Mike Downey (Matthew Modine) is convinced that Frank was murdered by Tony in cahoots with Angela and sets out to prove it. Angela gives away everything she owns to head to New York to start a new life, but the baggage seems to follow her there, with some interesting results. Naturally Mike falls for Angela, which creates a few problems work wise, especially as Angela has no idea that Mike is an FBI agent. Suffice to say that everything gets sorted out to the general satisfaction of all concerned.
Not exactly a great story here, and really not especially well brought to life by a decidedly B-grade cast. Part of the problem is that the film does not know what it wants to be, although comedy seems to be the general consensus. At best it is black comedy, and still fails to hit the mark by about the width of the Hudson River. So we have a comedy that really isn't, a story that really isn't and a cast that does not exactly inspire. Sounds like a fine recipe for disaster. The fact that it isn't a complete disaster can only be attributed to the fact that credulity is so stretched here that whatever happens, you have to take it with a pinch of salt and enjoy what is left. Michelle Pfeiffer probably wonders why she ever took the role, and she is the best thing going here! Alec Baldwin is so unessential to the film, and gets bumped off so early, that is surprising that he even got a star billing. Matthew Modine has never inspired me with his talents and this does nothing to change my mind about that. Dean Stockwell is at least steady in his role, unlike Mercedes Ruehl who goes so over the top that she is excruciating at times. And the pot was not exactly stirred well by Jonathan Demme.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer was generally sharp throughout, but is over ten years old and shows it in many respects as it simply does not compete with more recent films. Definition was not the greatest either, but that is probably more due to the way the film was shot. The shadow detail was generally good, although again not able to compete with more recent transfers. In general the tone of the transfer is a little dark, but this reflects the way the film was made and is not a transfer problem.
The colours were reasonably well rendered throughout the film, although it is generally anything but a bright, vibrant transfer until the scenes in Miami. In that respect I suppose it captured the drab New York Lower East Side feel quite well. Apart from one scene where there was an intended reddish saturation, there was no hint of oversaturation of colours at all throughout the film.
There were no significant MPEG artefacts noted in the transfer, nor did there appear to be any significant film-to-video artefacts. Film artefacts are quite prevalent throughout the film, but were not especially distracting.
The English subtitles default to on which is a minor mastering glitch that should not really happen these days.
There are five audio tracks on the DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded, French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded, German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtracks. I listened to the English default but also sampled the German soundtrack.
Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand throughout the film.
There were no apparent audio sync problems with the disc.
The score by David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame is not especially memorable, and really the most memorable musical contributions to the film came from the songs selected, that really do transport you back to the eighties.
Whilst this is a surround encoded soundtrack, there did not seem to be an awful lot of use made of the surround channels, especially the rear channels, which seemed virtually unused. This is not an overly great problem as there is not an awful lot of possible usage of strong surround presence in the film. The resultant sound picture seemed to be a little two dimensional as a result but came across reasonably well. There was no use made of the bass channel.
The Region 4 version misses out on;
The Region 1 version missed out on;
There are no compelling extras to recommend one over the other.
A decent enough video transfer.
An acceptable audio transfer.
A disappointing extras package.
© Ian Morris
5th December 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|