My Cousin Vinny (1992)
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Jonathan Lynn|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
My Cousin Vinny successfully blends two genres - the 'courtroom drama' and the 'fish-out-of-water comedy' - to produce a fun and thoroughly enjoyable movie. While the DVD is reasonable, it is definitely not a 'demo disc'.
Bill (Ralph Macchio) and Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) are two New Yorkers innocently driving through the Deep South, when they get arrested for murder. The evidence against them looks fairly convincing, and Southern justice looks pretty daunting (and final).
Bill's cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci) and his girlfriend (Marisa Tomei) arrive in Alabama to help out. Vinny is a lawyer (only just), but with only six weeks experience. This murder trial is to be his first case, and his first time in court. Vinny fails to observe court protocol and even some fundamental basics of the adversarial system. He manages to upset the Judge (Fred Gwynne) at every turn, much to the bemusement of the District Attorney (Lane Smith). Things seem to have gone from bad to worse for Bill and Stan.
I have seen this movie a few times, and I can really relate to the pressure and stress that Vinny's character undergoes. As a final-year law student I was once asked to help defend someone in a criminal matter. They had failed in their application for legal aid, and could not afford a 'real' lawyer. It was the first time I had ever walked into a local court. Anyway, justice was done and the innocent walked away free, but I will never forget what it was like to sit in that courtroom, having some understanding of the law, but very little knowledge of the customs and procedures. It has been (and hopefully will be) my only involvement in a criminal case.
The dialogue and acting really make this movie work well as a comedy. While Pesci is great as the argumentative, Brooklyn 'hustler' turned lawyer, Tomei as his long-suffering, outspoken girlfriend and Gwynne as the tough judge really steal the show. Of course, Ms Tomei was awarded an Oscar for her performance, which is simply brilliant.
One of the first aspects of this movie that caught my attention is the cinematography. Peter Dening, the Director of Photography, has used a number of angled shots, and careful hand-held camera work to subtly manipulate the audience's feelings at certain times.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, but sadly the transfer does not do the movie justice.
The image is very grainy throughout. The sharpness is variable, but is often soft, for example during the court scene at 26:08. The black level is good, as evidenced by Vinny's T-shirt and black leather jacket at 17:03, but the lack of shadow detail is problematic. The entire movie appears to be a little dark - for example, consider the lack of shadow detail at 7:54.
The colour is good, but muted. As stated above, the entire movie appears to be a little dark, which makes the fleshtones a little orange or brown.
There are a few MPEG artefacts on display. Pixelization occurs a few times, such as at 31:27 and 44:40. There is frequent posterization, as can be seen on Bill's face at 9:57 and 18:20. There is also some macro-blocking on the background walls at 68:32 and 83:44.
Aliasing never becomes a real problem, but there is a very mild shimmer on a few objects, such as the car grille at 4:37.
Tiny film artefacts appear frequently throughout the movie. They did become a little distracting at times. Examples can be seen at 6:02 and 10:49.
Edge enhancement is on display on a few occasions, such as the halos around the characters at 4:31 and 68:39.
There are thirteen sets of subtitles, and the English subtitles are very accurate.
This is a dual-layered (RSDL) disc, but I did not spot the layer change.
There are two audio tracks on this DVD. Apart from the English Dolby Stereo-Surround track, there is also the director's commentary.
For the most part, the dialogue quality and audio sync are good. There are a couple of problems, such as when Vinny is speaking at 32:56. His words obviously do not match the way his mouth is moving.
The musical score is credited to Randy Edelman, and it is mainly comprised of Southern Blues music, which suits the movie well.
As one might expect with a Dolby Stereo-Surround audio track, the sound is quite front-heavy. The rear speakers are used very subtly to help carry the score, such as at 13:49 and 22:42, and to provide ambience, such as the train at 59:32 and the electrical storm at 65:35. As this is a dialogue-based courtroom drama/comedy, the surrounds are not missed too badly.
The subwoofer was very quiet throughout, although at one point there appeared to be some redirected bass when a train rumbles past at 53:03.
|Surround Channel Use|
A very simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. It is static and silent.
Theatrical Trailer A (1:56)
This accurately represents the movie, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
Theatrical Trailer B (1:22)
This also accurately represents the movie, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
English Director Jonathan Lynn makes a few interesting observations, and does provide some anecdotes, but he doesn't appear to be overly enthusiastic giving this commentary. He discusses at length the difficulties caused by the restricted budget, and his experience of shooting this movie in Georgia.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
My Cousin Vinny was released on DVD in Region 1 in August 2001.
The Region 4 DVD misses out on:
The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
Well again the R4 consumers get a dual-layered disc. I also personally favour the local release for its superior PAL image.
My Cousin Vinny is a fun night's entertainment, and well worth renting if you have not already seen it. Fas of the movie may consider buying it, as the technical matters that I've mentioned didn't prevent me from enjoying it again.
The video quality is slightly disappointing but still very watchable.
The audio quality is good, albeit very front-heavy.
The extras are slim, but interesting.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|