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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Legal > Relationships > Murder > Mystery > Noir > Italy > Angels Crest (2011/Magnolia Blu-ray)/Dark Crimes (Mill Creek DVD Set)/The Kate Logan Affair (2010/E1 DVD)/Young, Violent, Dangerous (1976/Raro Video DVD)

Angels Crest (2011/Magnolia Blu-ray)/Dark Crimes (Mill Creek DVD Set)/The Kate Logan Affair (2010/E1 DVD)/Young, Violent, Dangerous (1976/Raro Video DVD)


Picture: B/C/C+/C+†††† Sound: B/C/C+/C+†††† Extras: C-/D/D/C-*†††† Films: C-/B-/C/C+



Thrillers are almost like horror films in that people will look down on them, but not admit that they like them or how much they really enjoy them.The following show the range of what I mean, including two dramas that cannot decide whether they are thrillers or not.



Gaby Dellalís Angels Crest (2011) is a child-in-jeopardy drama that plays at first like a thriller in implication before it backs off and is just a really, really, really bad, dumb drama.Thomas Dekker is a young father who is taking care of the new toddler he had with an alcoholic woman and they live roughly in the same small town.One day, the baby shows up dead in the middle of the snow-covered woods and he is considered the one to blame, but at first the script suggests otherwise.


His best friend was seeing his ex.Did he kill the child?Is the mother a murderer?Did they both do it to ruin his life?Is there a strange serial killer on the loose?The film nearly hints at all this and more before becoming a drama about a bunch of self-centered, dysfunctional idiots who are lucky they can take care of themselves.Some moments here are unbelievable, some embarrassing and overall the film manages to trivialize the childís death in almost every way possible.


There is some good acting here, but that is annihilated by the awful overall mess that this is and it is one of the most irresponsible films I have seen about a child dying since Peter Jacksonís The Lovely Bones.Dead children are not plot points people!


Extras include a trailer, cast interviews, HDNet promo and Deleted Scenes with optional director commentary of very limited worth.


I was reminded of the simplicity of just doing a thriller when we got the 50-film budget DVD set Dark Crimes from Mill Creek.Among the films are B-movies, authentic mystery films, gangster films and thrillers in the public domain.Even when they show their age (especially with most of the transfers squeezed onto each DVD) and might not work, all are at least ambitious, unpretentious and amusing at the least.Highlights include Cause For Alarm, the original 1949 D.O.A., Gaslight, Inner Sanctum, Mystery Of Mr. Wong, Naked Kiss, Phantom Fiend and Woman In The Shadows among the interesting choices.There are no extras, but this is a nice crash course bulk set for fans interested in these kinds of films who are not bothered by poor playback performance.


Though not as problematic as Crest, Noel Mitraniís The Kate Logan Affair (2010) has Alexis Bledel (Sin City) is a police woman with personal issues who gets involved with a married Frenchman (Laurent Lucas of The Pornographer and Pola X) sexually after falsely arresting him for suspicion of rape, then their affair gets crazier and he has a possible secret she could never expect.Yet, this is not a thriller, but a drama and though I do not think the makers did not think they were above thrillers, the drama only works so well despite some fine performances and a flow in the film that was surprisingly smooth and professional.


I also liked the ay it was shot, the look and the feel of the whole thing, yet it falls flat and the ending only works so well.In this case, maybe a rewrite as a thriller would have been better.At the rate they were going, this could have been a huge hit if it went the thriller route.Sadly, there are no extras.


Last but not least is Romolo Milianís Young, Violent, Dangerous (1976) which is anItalian thriller of three young men out on a killing spree for fun and thrills in then-modern Venice Italy and surrounding areas.Tomas Milian is the cop after the trio of young men from good families and Fernando Di Leo co-wrote the script, yet the film is a very mixed bag with some amusing moments, good casting, interesting locations and even interesting situations, but they never add up, the action is badly directed and badly choreographed, ruining what should have been a film a brutal as a Di Leo release.


Stefano Patrizi, Benjamin Lev, Max Delys and Eleonara Giorgi round out the main cast, though the rest of the supporting actors are good, that is until they are fighting or shooting guns at each other.Still, I was entertained as much as just about anything here and it is worth a look for those interested.Extras include a trailer and featurette Ragazzi Fuori, but the PDF booklet on the film was not on my DVD copy of the film despite the disc saying it was.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Crest does look good and despite a few style choices, has solid performance throughout.The 1.33 X 1 (and variations thereof) on the Crimes set can have some awful transfers and some acceptable, watchable ones, but there is plenty of compression here and it looks worse on an HDTV, so beware.The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Kate and letterboxed 1.85 X 1 image on Young are about even with Kate looking a little soft despite being a good shoot and Young coming from a print off of the original 35mm negative, which makes us wonder why it is not anamorphic too.Of course, both look better than the compressed DVD set.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Crest is also decent and despite many quiet and dialogue-based moments, it has a good soundfield throughout.The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Crimes set can be rough and aged as well as distorted and noisy, but it could have been worse overall and you know to be careful playback at high levels until youíve seen a given film.The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Logan is more subtle and this might as well have been simple stereo, though it is recorded well.That leaves lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Young sounding good on the Italian track and about as good on the English track, considering both were dubbed in post-production.However, the English track has awful, politically castrated and dumbed-down dubbing and a voiceover actor for one of the three young killers who thinks impersonating Frank Gorshin as The Riddler was a good idea over and over and over again.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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