Cemetery Junction (Blu-ray)
Three young friends living in the dead end town of Cemetery Junction, England during the 70s are all looking for a change in life, even if a couple of them don’t yet realize it. Freddy’s new job holds the promise of a brighter future but his vision becomes clouded by his friends and his rekindled affection for a childhood sweetheart who just happens to be engaged as well as his new boss’ daughter.
CEMETERY JUNCTION was unknown to me but I’m not surprised as a lot of British based films and TV shows generally fly below radar. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (two actors made famous by one such TV show, EXTRAS, which I discovered by accident and ended up really enjoying) co-wrote and co-directed the film which gave it merit in my opinion and definitely helped the comedic bits flow as Gervais’ style of humour was all over it. Gervais in particular played a small role but despite playing a deadbeat father, his few lines were gold in the funny bank.
What humour there was (I wish there’d been more) carries the film rather well through the dramatic odds and ends. The storyline, values, drama and conflicts were a connect the dot series of clichés that have been done so much better in films like GOOD WILL HUNTING for example. The struggle with becoming worthless and living out a life of mediocrity is a common worry in us all but I fail to see the need for yet another film based upon it. The dialogue here is “win or lose” depending on how much (if at all) you enjoy British flicks and or humour. Some of it grows on you for sure but as with EXTRAS, there are cringe-worthy moments that don’t make a lot of sense.
The acting was decent for a bunch of dudes who’ve mostly starred in TV roles and then you have Ralph Fiennes (who’s mostly starred in HARRY POTTER roles lately) making a dull appearance alongside WATCHMEN’s Matthew Goode and the once hot but now frumpy Emily Watson (a shame). Fiennes and Goode have real acting potential but seem to be struggling when it comes to finding decent roles lately. Fiennes’ Potter bus will be leaving the station here soon so he needs to revisit some of his old swagger from films like RED DRAGON and even STRANGE DAYS (if you remember that one).
CEMETERY JUNCTION isn’t all bad for a film you’ve no doubt never heard of and hence don’t really care too much about seeing but even then it’s only a rental and only watchable if you can tolerate British style comedy. I liked Merchant’s brief cameo at the winner’s ball but would have liked to see he and Gervais both have some more screen time (then again, I guess they didn’t want to force their way into the film). The dramatic and romantic sides of this tale play out exactly as I figured they would (it’s quite obvious) but I’ve seen worse endings. Besides, if for no other reason, you should watch this movie simply because of Snork’s tattoo which was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time.
Video: 2.40:1 Widescreen in 1080p HD with AVC codec. I don’t know much more about the 70s than I got from movies and THAT 70s SHOW but from what I could tell it was well done and looked legit.
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD in English and French with the same subtitle options. I can’t help but laugh at British cursing as most times I have absolutely no idea what they’re saying but it still sounds cool.
Commentary (1:34:35): There are two commentaries; one with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant which is funny as hell thanks to this great duo and the second is equally well done and noteworthy as the three main cast members take it away, something most films fail to include these days.
Deleted Scenes (13:36): Most of this is junk but the extended scene with Freddy’s family and the funeral appointment scam were pure gold.
Blooper Reel (13:42): This is the longest blooper reel I’ve ever seen which wouldn’t be so bad if it was funny. The British must do things a little differently.
The Directors: A Conversation with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (15:07): Here the boys give us a making-of segment where they explain how this film was a long time coming. I thought it would be funnier but the guys said they distinctly went away from standard comedy.
The Lads Look Back: The Stars Discuss Cemetery Junction (10:14): Here the three lead actors reminisce about their auditions, meeting Ricky and Stephen and their real chemistry on and off set. These guys had a blast.
Seventies Style: Production and Costume Design (8:44): I thought they did a great job bringing back the seventies but the real deal closer for me was wardrobe, music and dancing in the nightclub.
Production Featurettes (6:45): This is just another brief making-of piece that breaks the film down in weekly intervals.
Previews: There are six very decent trailers to choose from.