10/23/2014  
Beethoven's Treasure Tail on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 28Plastic on DVD Oct 28Dear Secret Santa on DVD Nov 4The Girl Hunters (Limited Edition) on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 21Mona Lisa Is Missing on DVD/Digital Oct 21Misfire on DVD and Digital Download Oct 21 [corrected]The 100Th Anniversary Commemorative World War One Collection on DVD Nov 4

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Defending Rene Zellweger: Iggy Azalea, Russell Brand, ...
Beethoven's Treasure Tail on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 28...
Plastic on DVD Oct 28...
Foo Fighters Announce Wrigley Field Show...
Dear Secret Santa on DVD Nov 4...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

RR Rich Rosell

LES VAMPIRES (BLU-RAY)...
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE (BLU-RAY)...
EXORCISMUS...
THE DEVIL'S ROCK...
THE NESTING...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d't)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Layer Cake (L4yer Cake) (2005)

"You're a smart boy. But you keep very bad company."
- Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: August 22, 2005

Stars: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Michael Gambon, Kenneth Cranham
Other Stars: George Harris, Jamie Foreman, Sienna Miller, Sally Hawkins, Tamer Hassan, Paul Orchard, Burn Gorman, Louis Emerick, Stephen Walters, Ivan Kaye, Neil Finnighan, Dragan Micanovic, Steve John Shepherd, Dexter Fletcher, Nathalie Lunghi
Director: Matthew Vaughn

MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal violence, sexuality, nudity, pervasive language and drug use
Run Time: 01h:45m:14s
Release Date: August 23, 2005
UPC: 043396108899
Genre: crime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AA-A- B

DVD Review

The resurgence of the quirky British gangster genre owes a lot to writer/director Guy Ritchie and his films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch in which multitudes of violent low-level criminals with strange names like Soap, Bacon, Barry the Baptist, Bullet Tooth, and Franky Four Fingers live and usually die amidst strange and twisting storylines. One of the producers for those two films was Matthew Vaughn, and in 2004 he slid into the director's chair for the first time for Layer Cake—a project very much in the Guy Ritchie vein—based on a book by JJ Connolly, who also penned the screenplay.

Layer Cake centers on a successful London drug dealer (Daniel Craig, whose character is never named), who has grown weary of the new breed of gangster, and plans on doing one more job, cashing out and retiring while he is still young enough to enjoy life. If only it were that easy, because Craig gets selected by his powerful boss, Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham), to track down the missing daughter of a friend, and so begins a series of interconnected, violent events that propels a steady stream of oddball characters along a very deadly path involving a large shipment of stolen Ecstasy, Serbian gangsters, and a headhunting hitman.

There are quite a few duplicitous twists and turns in Connolly's screenplay, enough that revealing too many of them would take the enjoyment out of Layer Cake, and Vaughn steers clear of some of the outright comical moments that Ritchie employed, even if there are characters with equally offbeat names like Tiptoes, The Duke, Slasher, Mr. Lucky, and Kinky. The plot is built upon compounded danger and double-crosses, and even moments that seem like they would be the standard issue movie sex scene (here featuring the lovely Sienna Miller) evolve into unexpected fits of violence.

Casting is first rate, with Craig handily carrying the film as an against-the-grain type, a quiet, gun-hating "businessman whose commodity happens to be cocaine"—his descent into the dirtier end of the crime world is wholly unpleasant, and though we know he's a criminal, he's the film's anti-hero that we find ourselves rooting for. Colm Meany gives a fun turn as Gene, an old-school enforcer working for Jimmy Price, and George Harris wonderfully scowls his way as Craig's henchman Morty, contributing one of the film's most memorable bits of violence during an encounter in a diner. Michael Gambon almost steals this one from Craig as the wise and powerful Eddie Temple, appearing heavily in the film's second half, spouting delicious lines of dialogue in that familiar deep rumble of a voice.

For better or worse, Vaughn appears to have absorbed much of Ritchie's clever visual trappings, utilizing things like unusual scene transitions to give his project a carefully stylized and purposely disjointed flow. The use of music—particularly well-placed songs by The Cult, Duran Duran, XTC, The Rolling Stones—are not just padding on the soundtrack, but manage to really heighten the dramatic punch of a given scene.

The Ritchie comparisons are viable, but Vaughn would be dead in the water had his film been dull or purely an outright rehash of something we had seen before. If Layer Cake is any indication, he shows great promise as a director.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Sony has issued Vaughn's Layer Cake in an attractive 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer—not quite Superbit quality—but impressive nonetheless. Image detail and black levels are generally quite strong, save for a few instances of slightly softer sharpness, most noticeably during the darker night sequences. Colors have a bright, well-rendered balance throughout, and things like blood and certain colorful articles of clothing really leap off the screen. A bit of haloing is evident, but hardly a distraction.

Be warned, there is also a full-screen edition out there, so check the cover to make sure you get the correct version.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: There is a very aggressive Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track here, one that offers deep, resonant bass and enough movement in all directions to lift the presentation up a few notches. Dialogue—especially for a film sprinkled with more than a few thick accents—remains clear, and though I had to pop on the subtitles a couple of times for clarity so I could make out some of the slang terms, I had no difficulty following the twisting storyline. Music really shines here, with the frequent use of songs on the soundtrack coming across loudly, with great clarity and separation.

A 2.0 French language dub is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Chinese, French, Korean, Thai with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dave Chappelle: For What It's Worth, Kung Fu Hustle, Snatch
14 Deleted Scenes
2 Alternate Endings
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
Storyboard
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Matthew Vaughn, J.J. Connolly
Packaging: AGI Media Packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Generally nice supplements on this one, beginning with a commentary from director Matthew Vaughn and writer J.J. Connolly. Vaughn is very soft-spoken, and Connolly is even quieter, with his thick accent often making it very difficult to understand, so this track requires a careful ear. The pair talk about the adapting of Connolly's book, the differences in the various drafts and how things were condensed and reworked over time. Vaughn expounds on the battle to keep Morty's big diner fight scene in the film, something he refers to as "original and fun," as well as the creation of a special camera harness to capture the action. On addressing the film's wealth of characters and subplots, Vaughn states, "If it's too complicated, go watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Well said.

Next is a Q & A Screening with Matthew Vaughn and Daniel Craig (29m:01s), recorded in London in September 2004. The segment is moderated by Dave Calhoun from Time Out magazine, and Vaughn and Craig field an assortment of strong questions, including the concerns of the "knives being out" on the move from producer to director. The Making of Layer Cake (05m:56s) is a quickie, with comments on the explanation of film's the title, but really not much time to go into any great detail on anything. This really should have been longer.

A set of 14 deleted scenes and two alternate endings runs just over 20 minutes, with the scenes available with optional commentary from Vaughn and Connolly. The deleted scenes are brief, none of which are especially key, but the two alternate endings offer dramatically different takes on the final moments. I prefer the one Vaughn went with on the finished product, but it is interesting to see what other possibilities existed.

A couple of storyboard comparisons runs just over four minutes, with the finished scene running in the lower right corner, and a section of poster explorations offers 24 examples of different designs. The disc is cut into 19 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, Chinese, French, Korean or Thai.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Here's a rough and tumble British gangster flick in the tradition of Guy Ritchie, which should not be all that surprising considering first time director Matthew Vaughn served as Ritchie's producer. Vaughn's film is intentionally less funny than those, but with the same violent, serpentine plot full of colorful and explosive small time thugs.

Highly recommended.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

celebrity, renee zellweger, kathie lee gifford, nicole wallace, surgery question, comedy, crime, drama, music, foo fighters, wrigley field show, chicago, sonic highways, hbo series, movies, box office, mystery, documentary, movie, fury, world war ii, brad pitt, logan lerman, shia lebeouf, jon bernthal, michael pena, war, warner bros, 10 super hero movies, jason mormoa, aquaman, ezra miller, the flash, batman v superman: dawn of justice, television, internet, cbs all access, $5.99, hbo, web-delivered television, holiday, oscars, neil patrick harris, host, the academy of motion pictures arts and sciences, tonys emmys, abc, elizabeth pena, mario-francisco robles, la bamba, down and out in beverly hills, blue steel, modern family, matador, out of the woods, good morning america, 1989, jack antonoff, bleachers, yamaha dx7, minimoog voyager, superhero, robert downey jr., captain america 3, marvel studios, chris evans, syfy, incorporated, matt damon, ben affleck, the middle man, american horror story, fifth season, fx, freak show, jessica lange, sarah paulson, american music awards 2014, iggy azalea, john legend, katy perry, pharrell williams, lorde, surveillance, epic, action, kids, animation, george clooney, amal alamuddin, disney, new york comic con, tomorrowland, hugh laurie, adam west, batman, night time fake news, sunday morning news, nbc, jon stewart, chuck todd, meet the press, rock and roll hall of fame, 2015 inductions, green day, nine inch nails, the smiths, bill withers, stevie ray vaughan

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Snappy Planet

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store