Johnny Skidmarks (1998)

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Released 23-May-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 94:48
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Raffo
Studio
Distributor
CFP
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Peter Gallagher
Frances McDormand
John Lithgow
John Kapelos
Jack Black
Geoffrey Lower
Charlie Spradling
Michael D. Weatherred
Lee Arenberg
David Doty
Michael Beach
Bill Lee Brown
William Preston Robertson
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music Brian Langsbard
Anthony Di Pippo
Edward Forehand


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Johnny “Skidmarks” Scardino (Peter Gallagher) is a freelance photographer that specialises in working for insurance companies and the police, photographing car accidents and crime scenes. Johnny is completely impassive about his work, showing no empathy towards the people involved. They are just victims waiting to be photographed. He is however a perfectionist when it comes to his work - the photographic prints must be just right.

    By night Johnny takes photos of a different kind. He works for a blackmailing ring, taking photographs of prominent people in compromising positions with prostitutes. Johnny is able to detach himself emotionally from the process of ruining other people’s lives and simply sees the job as a means of making money. The true instigators of the blackmailing ring are Walter Lippinscott (John Kapelos) and Ernie (Michael Weatherred). As a team they have stung so many people that they can’t even recall how many there have been.

    When Ernie and Lorraine (Charlie Spradling), a prostitute working for the blackmailing ring, turn up dead Johnny begins to suspect that one of the blackmail victims is involved. Unfortunately he is unable to turn to his friend Sergeant Larry Skovik (John Lithgow), the principal Police investigator, due to his involvement in the blackmailing ring.

    Feeling increasingly isolated Johnny turns to Alice (Frances McDormand) for comfort, despite having only recently met her at the Burger Clown restaurant.

    Director John Raffo brings together a cast of interesting characters that, in addition to those already mentioned, include Jerry (Jack Black), the owner of Burger Clown, and Detective Woody Washawski (Geoffrey Lower).

    At times the plot appears to move along quite slowly but what is really happening is character development. I found myself growing attached to many of the characters and although the ending was a little predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed Johnny Skidmarks. Recommended viewing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer looks very good and could even be considered excellent, if not for the film artefacts that are present.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is sharp and the shadow detail is good. There is no low level noise, with blacks appearing black.

    The colour palette is a little subdued but this actually suits the noir style of the movie. Skin tones look natural.

    MPEG artefacts are almost non-existent with just a touch of grain in the darkened apartment at 57:21. There are no film-to-video artefacts to speak of and the only real problem with the transfer is the film artefacts that occur evenly throughout the movie. Although they are quite noticeable if you look for them they are not intrusive.

    There are no subtitles available on this disc.

    The test disc provided was single layered so there is no layer change to report.

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

Audio

    The single English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio track is surprisingly good and more than adequate for what is a dialogue driven movie.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand most of the time. The only problem I detected was some high frequency distortion on some of John Lithgow’s lines. An example of this occurs at 21:50.

    I did not notice any audio sync problems with this disc.

    Numerous original songs accompany the musical score by Brian Langsbard. The various components are well mixed and pleasing to listen to.

    Being a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track the surround channels and subwoofer are not utilised.

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

Extras

    Where are the extras?

Menu

    The themed menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, though it is not 16x9 enhanced. With the disc containing no extras whatsoever the non-animated menu simply offers the viewer the option of playing the movie or selecting one of the 14 available chapters. The menu is accompanied by a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 musical score.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    As 16x9 enhancement appears to have fixed many of the reported video flaws attributed to the Region 1 version of this disc I am inclined to nominate the Region 4 version the winner, despite its obvious lack of extras.

Summary

    As the old saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, or in this case, “don’t judge a movie by its title”. Director John Raffo combines interesting characters and a solid plot to create an intriguing suspense thriller. Johnny Skidmarks is sure to please those who enjoy noir detective movies.

    The video transfer is very good.

    The single English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is surprisingly good.

    There are no extras on this disc, not even a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

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