Touch (1997)

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Released 7-Sep-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:31)
Gallery-Photo
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Facing Windows, I'm With Lucy, Happy Texas
Trailer-The Rage In Placid Lake
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 93:05 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Paul Schrader
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Bridget Fonda
Christopher Walken
Skeet Ulrich
Tom Arnold
Lolita Davidovich
Paul Mazursky
Janeane Garofalo
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music David Grohl


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Touch stars Bridget Fonda and she does appear rather scantily clad briefly.

    That is the good news about the film - and then depending on how much you happen to be a fan of Bridget Fonda. If you are no fan of the lady, then you might be struggling to find any other reason to indulge in this rather insipid film with an obvious lack of direction.

    The story is rather painful in some respects, but centres around a young man, a former Franciscan monk who has returned from the jungles of Brazil to work at a de-tox centre in Los Angeles. Going by the name of Juvenal (Skeet Ulrich), the handsome newcomer seems to have little unusual about him, other than he has the visible marks of stigmata at times and appears to perform miracles. When former evangelist and con artist Bill Hill (Christopher Walken) witnesses an apparent miracle from the hands of Juvenal in the form of the curing of a young, terminally ill boy, he sees a possibility of some exploitation for personal gain. Needing to find out more about Juvenal, he coerces a former colleague and record promoter, Lynn Faulkner (Bridget Fonda), to do the task. So she seeks out Juvenal and, naturally enough, ends up entering into a relationship with the guy.

    Along the way to the pot of gold for Bill, there are of course other distractions - a religious fundamentalist by the name of August Murray (Tom Arnold) amongst them. Exactly what is going to happen, and to whom? Well, I am not sure that even novelist Elmore Leonard had much clue where this one was heading. Blessed with a number of superfluous characters, the film simply does not know whether it wants to be a romantic comedy or a religious drama or simply a drama. At the end of the film, you can only sit back and ponder exactly what you have just seen - and why you have just spent ninety pointless minutes of your life. Okay, for me it was a diversion from the onslaught of guests for Christmas but even so it provided less diversion that I would have hoped.

    Given the bitty nature of the film, and the lack of quality in most areas of the DVD, this is one that you could probably cheerfully miss and know that you have not missed anything important in your life.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced. The conundrum is whether or not this is a Pan and Scan effort or a Full Frame effort. I have not been able to track down any conclusive evidence as to the format, with some claims either way to be found. Giving the framing of some shots in the film, I would almost opt for Full Frame, but in general it would appear as if it is a Pan and Scan effort. However, if anyone has definitive information, it would be much appreciated.

    Whatever the actual format, the actual transfer itself is pretty woeful. The transfer is reasonably sharp throughout, which is rather nice when Bridget Fonda is in her underwear, but this does contribute to one of the major problems with the transfer, of which more anon. Detail is generally very good, although it has to be said that the relative lack of budget here is quite evident in the sometimes rather sparse set decoration. Shadow detail is generally adequate enough, but some of the interior shots (in the bar for instance) really show far less than adequate shadow detail.

    Where everything starts to go pear-shaped is in the colour, which has a very poor presentation. Whilst some of this might be intended, the whole film is robbed by the lack of some serious tonal depth and the resultant wishy-washy look. It is so not conducive to the mood of the film it is not funny. Just about every frame of the film features something lacking in the tonal depth, but at least this means that we don't have any issues with oversaturation or colour bleed. The lack of vibrancy at times is rather annoying, as this really should have been more vibrant to capture some of that Southern California feel (or better yet the bright lights of Reno).

    There is nothing much awry in the MPEG department, but everything else is just plain garbage. The is barely a moment in the film when aliasing is not present and sometimes it gets rather ugly - such as on the car at 28:54 and again at 38:22. This is almost the worst aspect of the transfer as it simply becomes way too obvious, way too often. Rather indicative of a lack of care in proceedings I would guess, and not the first time noted in a Palace Films release outside of the World Cinema Collection. You can then add into the mix some annoyingly obvious moiré artefacting courtesy of some rather close striped shirts - quite frequently between 17:20 and 18:20, but elsewhere too. There is some edge enhancement at times, which at some points results in a green aura around heads. But by far and away the worst aspect of this transfer is the fact that this must have been the worst source print that could be located for the DVD. And we are not talking about small little specks here. We get the full blown effects of emulsion damage, scratches, hairs, reel change markings and just about any other obvious defect that you care to name. Indeed, these are so bad that those who complain about MGM's cheap approach to their releases would probably cease their criticism immediately upon seeing this effort.

    This is a single sided, single layer DVD so we have no layer change to worry about. The lack of disc space might be a contributing factor to the poor look of the transfer at times.

    Staggeringly, there are no subtitle options on the disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The DVD features just a single soundtrack, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 effort.

    Whilst there is some variability in the dialogue, and at times it has a slightly unnatural feel to it, overall it is quite easy to understand. There is the odd lapse in the audio sync, possibly the result of some sloppy ADR work (which might also account for the slightly unnatural feel to the dialogue).

    Dave Grohl of Nirvana provides the music and perhaps it is my antipathy to that band that contributes to my lack of enthusiasm for the score. I don't think it really aided the film much, and that is possibly part of the reason that the film really does not know what it wanted to be. It simply lacks any sort of distinction and no real merit.

    The soundtrack really is not that terrific at all, but does enough as far as the film is required. Although not flagged as being surround-encoded, it certainly sounds as if there is some surround use here. Still, the film requires little other than something reasonably clean and clear to carry the dialogue and that is pretty much what we get. It would have been just nicer if we got some real clarity in the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    An entirely uninspired package that really makes you wonder why they bothered.

Menus

    Another so-so effort with modest audio enhancement in the main menu.

Theatrical Trailer (2:31)

    The presentation is Full Frame that is not 16x9 enhanced, with decent enough Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Not exactly a great effort and as usual gives away a fair deal of the film. Overall the technical quality is pretty decent.

Gallery - Photo

    A collection of fifteen unannotated stills, which look quite soft in definition. Nothing exciting at all.

Filmographies - Cast and Crew

    Pretty basic stuff for the main actors and the director.

Trailers (4)

    Trailers for Facing Windows (1:50), I'm With Lucy (1:34), Happy Texas (2:06) and The Rage In Placid Lake (2:24). Aside from the first, which is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, they are in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, are not 16x9 enhanced and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Facing Windows also features non-selectable English subtitles. Facing Windows is quite excellent in quality and would certainly encourage me to buy the DVD, I'm With Lucy and Happy Texas are of very decent quality (although the latter is perhaps a tad too dark at times) and The Rage In Placid Lake is little better than average with some obvious film artefacts.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can ascertain, this film has not yet been released in Region 1. It has been released in Region 2 (at least in the UK), but details are somewhat lacking as to its contents. From what information I can find, there would appear to be no extras on the release, but it does come at a cheaper price than the Region 4. There is some indication that there is a different version of the film in Region 2 (Germany), which has a six channel soundtrack, although I stress that I can find no reference to this release anywhere other than on IMDB. It would therefore seem that no matter how bad the Region 4 release might be, it is still the preferred choice.

Summary

    Touch suffers enormously from the fact that it really does not know what it wants to be, but even so seems to progress in a totally predictable manner with nothing to really raise any interest in the film, nor provide any sort of dynamic. The presentation is in all respects below average and given that the film is less than ten years old, you would be hard pressed to work out if it was possible to get a worse source print than the one used. Okay, it is not a film where great care would have been lavished upon it but I have seen fifty year old films that look better than this. The only reason that I stuck my hand up to take this off the dud pile was the presence of Bridget Fonda and Janeane Garofalo. They are about the only interest here and they are barely enough to encourage me to watch the film ever again.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Re: TOUCH - Anonymous
Re: Re: Touch - Anonymous
D*** straight! - Anonymous