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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Food > Biography > Cooking > Restauranting > Action > Crime > Gangster > Korea > Murder > Serial > A Matter Of Taste (2010/First Run DVD)/Hindsight (2011)/No Mercy (2010/CJ Entertainment DVDs)/Sound Of Noise (2010/Magnolia DVD)/Stitch In Time (2012/aka Gutter King/Cinema Epoch DVD)

A Matter Of Taste (2010/First Run DVD)/Hindsight (2011)/No Mercy (2010/CJ Entertainment DVDs)/Sound Of Noise (2010/Magnolia DVD)/Stitch In Time (2012/aka Gutter King/Cinema Epoch DVD)


Picture: C (Taste: C+)     Sound: C+ (Time: C)     Extras: C/C+/C/C/C+     Main Programs: B-/C+/C/C/C+



Food, music and murder tend to mix in unusual ways, though not always unexpected.  Here are some new titles that intersect with each other by coincidence.



Sally Rowe’s A Matter Of Taste (2010) is a new documentary about how a chef with something different to offer named Paul Liebrandt works at some of the best, nicest and some of the most interesting spots in New York City, but he cannot seem to fit in to any one of them and they eventually part ways with him.  But then things start to turn for him and this latest of an interesting series of food-themed documentaries shows us the results.


He is interesting and is definitely struggling to make it, but there are odds against you, especially with the competition and in a big city with so much food to offer.  We see some of that city and this is also a look at the restaurant industry now.  This reminded me of Le Cirque: A Table In Heaven (also from First Run, reviewed elsewhere on this site) in more than that respect and it is worth your time.


Extras include two shorts about Liebrandt making his dishes and extended interviews.



Making food becomes a key part of Lee Hyeon-Seung’s Hindsight (2011), but this is a thriller and the woman the lead meets in a cooking class who he may be falling for, but it will not be that simple as it seems in this somewhat comical but not always effective thriller.  Doo-heon (Song Kang-ho) used to be involved in organized crime, but is trying to have a peaceful future with non-criminal involvement, stresses or other troubles.  He even gets into a cooking class.


He would even like to open a restaurant, but the old gang and its competitors are about to gets nuts and this will take him back into the madness of crime and killing, so can he have romance and permanently cut these ties for good for as happy an ending as possible or will all lead to his early fatal ending?


I enjoyed some of the humor and other interesting moments, but they cannot overcome the clichés and formulaic script that gives us the idea that we have seen much of this before, just transplanted in another country.  It might be worth a look for fans of this kind of storytelling, but it was still a bit of a disappointment.  Extras include four Making Of featurettes and a preview for the MNET Network.



Kim Hyoung-Jun’s No Mercy (2010) is an even less nuanced, more formulaic serial killer film that is more like a restricted TV police procedural with the oddest sense of misplaced humor and it is a problem so early that it throws off any chance this will work early on and just gets goofier and goofier in ways they may not have even considered.


The actors are not bad, but this never rings true, blood and gore are overdone in ways that make it all look phony and we have seen just about all of this before, save being in a different country.  You can tell men made this because the female co-star/lead is made out to be too much of a ditz and in ways that further undermine the material.  No Clarice Starling is she, but even the Koreans cannot bring a new angle to this played-out storytelling, so it is only for those who want to see what went wrong.  Extras include a Music Video, three interview segments, four trailers, a Making Of featurette and a preview for the MNET Network.



Johannes St. Jarne Nilsson’s Sound Of Noise (2010) is also a comic thriller of sorts, but it instead involves a band of moistly drummers who become musical terrorists intent on destroying Sweden and anyone in their was with bizarre, sudden music concerts that ruin property, disturb the peace, ruin peoples lives and just generally cause trouble.  They have a policeman who happens to be from a family involved in music on their trail, but he is having hearing problems and they just keeps getting worse as he goes after them.


I guess I’ll blame Jean-Pierre Jeunet for some of the style here with limited point and comedy that usually does not work, but it is limited in effectiveness overall, has little point and is just not that funny.  Even if you are a big music fan, musicologist and wrote music for a living, this is only going to be so amusing, but it gets points for being different.  Extras include five featurettes and a slideshow.



Finally we have the other better of the four dramas here; Jigeesh Magar’s Stitch In Time (2012) which wants to be a straight-out modern Gangster crime thriller and has the energy to do it.  Though some of the dialogue works and makes sense, there are other parts throughout that unfortunately cover ground we have seen in the genre time and time again.  However, the unknown actors here are not bad and this is at least as ambitious an attempt at pure cinema as anything on the list.


Like the lead in Hindsight, our lead character Roy (Jesse Staccato) was involved with the crime business (collecting for his uncle in this case) and cannot get out, but this time it is because of violence more closely related to him, so he has to do something about it just to survive.


The problem again is that we have seen much of this and Magar just cannot find more new places to go or more new things to do, though he may also want to stay within the bounds of the genre to stay legit, but that gives us mixed results.  Still, it is far from the worse of the U.S. entries in the genre of late and diehard fans will want to take a look at it.


Extras include a Trailer, Stills Gallery and Director’s feature length audio commentary track.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Taste is the best of the five entries here, despite some motion blur and it’s explicitly HD video look.  Color is consistent enough and though not perfect, a nice and nicely edited work.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Time and anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the remaining DVDs are softer than I expected, with more motion blur and even styling choices that backfire.  Time has an excuse for being an independent work, but the others are more expensive professional shoots and Hindsight and Mercy are the debut DVDs for CJ Entertainment’s own new home video division.  They both have good color and come from solid-looking sources, yet they tend to be softer then they should be, even with styling included.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Time is the slightly weakest presentation here with some compression and location audio issues, something Taste does not quite have as many problems with but could have.  That leaves the other DVDs with lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes (all in foreign languages) that spread out some sound, have inconsistent soundfields and though have well-recoded elements, are only so good here.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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