Of Grace (2011/Cinema
Friends Of Eddie Coyle
(1967/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)
B-/B/C+ Sound: C+/B-/C Extras: C+/B/C- Films: B-/B-/C
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
for three crime dramas you should know about...
Of Grace (2011)
is an ambitious look at crime in Mexico City through three
intertwined tales from three closely-connected years that tries to
paint a larger portrait of the dark side of such activity today with
a somewhat complex narrative approach that we have seen before in
everything from The
Red Riding Hood Murders
and more. This is not to say it is derivative, as we get some
uncomfortable moments you would never see in most U.S. (let alone
Hollywood) films, but it never adds up to making the big statement.
does not mean it does not have its merits, including simply taking
itself and the audience seriously in intelligence and mature content,
which we see less and less these days. Irony is intended as all
three events are when the World Cup (not celebrated enough in the
U.S.) is going on, as the cops and criminals think each other's
guards will be down. Amusing. All in all, it is worth a look and
just a cut above most such films in the genre over the last few
decades, even when it falls short.
include Original Theatrical Trailer, Photo Gallery and four decent
Behind The Scenes featurettes, especially one on shooting the various
film formats that make up the final film.
Friends Of Eddie Coyle
(1973) has Robert Mitchum in the title role of an old criminal who
wants to make some kind of deal to stay out of prison and have the
rest of what peaceful life he has left with his life, including
agreeing to supply a cop (Richard Jordan) with information about an
upcoming heist that is part of a series of bold bank robberies where
people have been killed. He thinks he has a deal, but something
darker is going on behind the scenes.
smart film from the 1970s that not enough people saw, talk about or
was the hit it could or should have been, Yates is in comfortable
form here and has a great supporting cast including Peter Boyle, Alex
Rocco, Joe Santos and Steven Keats as a gun dealer named Jackie
Brown. Yes, the film is influential as several of Yates films have
been besides Bullitt.
Though I think there are a few flaws here, it is one worth going out
of you way for and it is additionally great Criterion took it on.
include a very thick booklet on the film with an essay by critic Kent
Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of actor Robert Mitchum from Rolling
Stone Magazine, while the Blu-ray disc adds a feature length audio
commentary by Yates and a Stills Gallery.
(1967) is one of MGM's British productions with Alex Cord as an
investigating agent trying to find out why a spy killed himself. He
finds some odd letters and starts investigating, but finds trickery
everywhere he turns. This includes a seductress (Shirley Eaton,
connection is played up in the advertising), Laurence
Naismith, Antoinette Bower, Arthur Malet, Oscar Beregi Jr. and a
brief turn by Eric Pohlmann.
script wants to be smart and serious, then goes wrong trying to be
witty and Hitchcockian, leading Thorpe to lose control of his film
and resulting in a disappointment that could have worked. At least
it was decent early on.
trailer is the only extras.
1080p image in Grace
has various aspect ratios within its 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition
presentation, shot on Super 8mm, anamorphic Super 16mm (at a 3 X 1
aspect ratio!) and 35mm that is well shot, edited and well melded
together, but the big error the makers pulled was to decolor the
images in an attempt to not be in the Hollywood mode. Instead, they
landed up looking like post-modern Hollywood films from Soderbergh's
on down. If they had just kept some of the natural color throughout,
it would have been amazing. Still, ambitious and it pays off still
enough despite some visual limits.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Coyle
can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film and often has some
exceptional shots just the same coming from a combination of 35mm
interpositive and 35mm reversal internegative from the original
camera negative. Originally issued in 35mm
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints (very valuable now if
you have one), you can see in many places how good it must have
looked in such copies. Director of Photography Victor J. Kemper,
justice for all,
uses the framing to be big, yet confining. This creates a density
indoors and outdoors that adds to the narrative heft already in the
script and situations. Thanks to Blu-ray, you can see, feel &
experience this all as intended.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Scorpio
is good for the format in its original MetroColor and has some good
shots, but could use some restoration work.
oddly only offers a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 when one would expect a
lossless track with Blu-ray, but it is not bad. It just could have
been better. The PCM 2.0 Mono on Coyle
comes from a 35mm magnetic soundmaster and is actually better
throughout with warmer, fuller playback, while the lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono on Scorpio
is a bit compressed, has its share of distortion and is not loud
enough throughout. Be careful of volume switching and high levels in
order the The
Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: