Cemetery Junction DVD

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Written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Cemetery Junction, set in the 70's, follows the trials and misadventures of three twenty-somethings in the sleepy town of Reading.

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Released
30 August 2010
Directors
Actors
Format
DVD 
Publisher
Sony Pictures Home Ent. UK 
Classification
Runtime
93 minutes 
Features
PAL 
Barcode
5035822042537 
  • Average Rating for Cemetery Junction - 3 out of 5


    (based on 2 user reviews)
  • Cemetery Junction
    Barnaby Walter

    Let's not skirt around the issue. The Invention of Lying, Ricky Gervais's directorial debut feature (co-directed with Matthew Robinson) was rubbish. At best, it was boring. At worst, it was painfully unfunny. It had the feel of a sleazy studio sitcom, only with A-list actors degrading themselves for the sake of Gervais. It was a mistake.

    Cemetery Junction, which sees Gervais reuniting behind the camera with Extras' co-star Stephen Merchant, is not a mistake. It doesn't work entirely, and there are moments of ill-judged humour typical of the overrated comedian, but it has a lot of heart and showcases some superb performances from a group of talented young Brits.

    Set in 1973, and drawing on autobiographical material from the directors' youth, Cemetery Junction is a small town in Reading. Two choices await the young males of this cosy little place. Work, get a house and marry the first woman who comes along. The other option is not so easy: get out of the town and make it up as you go along. Freddie, Bruce and Snork all face this big decision. Freddie is an insurance salesman, who likes the idea of settling down. Bruce is a laddish, semi-thug who has no respect for his alcoholic father. Snork is the joke - overweight, funny looking and socially awkward. But the other two always have his back in a pub fight.

    When Freddie meets his bosses daughter Julie, who turns out to be a girl he knew when he was very young, he realises the second option, to escape the suffocating town, is still open to him. She wants to become a professional photographer; a vocation her stern father (a magnificent Ralph Fiennes) isn't keen on her pursuing. Bruce also plans to leave the town, but his talk of taking off and abandoning his dad and factory job is only a distant dream. He spends most of his time in trouble with the police for defacing private property and sleeping with random girls.

    It's all beautifully shot, and the opening minute gorgeously depicts an English country town to the sound of Vaughn Williams. Remi Adefarasin's cinematography is wonderful, and brings a full palette of colour to a Britain that is so often depicted as grey, gritty and depressing.

    But there are problems, and as I said earlier, these come from Gervais's inability not to write himself into nearly every character. For the most part, the characters stand up as genuine and believable creations. But suddenly they come out with a line or a joke which upsets the character balance. Some of the laddish banter between the boys is funny, but occasionally the crude humour starts to eclipse any real character depth or human warmth. It is as if Gervais and Merchant want to make both a Judd Apatow-style comedy and a heartfelt coming-of-age tale. But instead of making them separately, they've done a shaky attempt at both.


    There is also some rather awkward racist and homophobic humour. Now, I must make it clear that the film itself is not racist, and the anti-gay jokes, although treading a fine line, seem so outdated it is clear no spite is intended. Even though appropriate to the period, they seem inappropriate to the "feel-good" aspect of the film. The odd joke would be fine, to show up a character's bigotry, but there are a few too many and leave a very odd taste in the mouth.

    It is far from the low standard of his previous disaster, and features some standout performances from the older cast members (particularly Emily Watson as Julie's mother). Unfortunately there is too much smut where there should be soul. A well-meant venture, but nothing very profound.

  • Cemetery Junction
    Peter Loew

    Cemetery Junction is a coming-of-age drama set in 1970s suburban England. It follows the story of three young working-class friends with different dreams and ambitions each trying, in his own way, to grow up in the aftermath of the swinging sixties. As they think about all the parties that they missed out on as the age of free-love circumnavigated Reading, they decide that they will take control of their lives and make their own dreams come true.

    Bruce (Tom Hughes) is the strikingly, but slightly unconventionally, handsome, cocksure, ladies man that likes to flash his fists a little too often. Twisted by the rage that he tries, but often fails to keep locked up inside, at the loss of his mother when he was a kid, he's always getting himself into trouble. His mother went off with another man. His Dad wasn't enough of a man to do anything about it. Bruce reckons that he would have smashed the other guys face in, and at least then his girl would have been seeing her new fella in the graveyard. But Bruce's Dad is just a waste of space. He sits home all day drinking beer. Bruce works a dead-end factory job that keeps him in booze money, but it also keeps him trapped in Cemetery Junction - a backwater, looser town in the Reading area. He's been threatening to leave since he was fifteen but he's still here. His best mate Freddie (Christian Cooke) is also conflicted. He wants the job at the insurance firm that eventually would mean that he could move away from Cemetery Junction and buy a big house and a fancy car. He wants to be more than his work-a-day father (Ricky Gervais), but he also has a conscience and the hard-sell insurance game doesn't really sit right with him. Then he falls for his long-lost ex-flame of his early teens, the pretty, intelligent and inspirational Julie (Felicity Jones) and everything changes. Along for the ride is the lovable Snork (Jack Doolan).

    Cemetery Junction is an extremely assured debut for Gervais and Merchant as directors. They are clearly natural filmmakers that have simply taken a little while in getting to where they wanted to be in life. The Office, Extras and other projects such as The Invention of Lying have all been steps along the way for Gervais and Merchant and now they are at the point where they are really able to fully showcase their seemingly innate ability and indeed flair for writing, direction and most importantly pacing and character development on the big screen. Cemetery Junction is a British made film that can more than hold its own with Hollywood films.

    Cemetery Junction sees Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant re-teaming as co-writers and co-directors. This sort of coupling is rarely seen in the movie business and when it is, it often has disastrous results. Yet Gervais and Merchant excel together - Gervais the one keen to get to the exciting acting parts, the dramatic scenes and all the fun stuff, Merchant careful to make sure all the less exciting, but nonetheless vital, scenes are also shot to the highest levels.

    Gervais and Merchant are masters of telling stories that are delightfully character-driven. They are stories that are firmly rooted in the truths of everyday lives. Cemetery Junction is a film imbued with laughter, tears and plenty of genuinely poignant moments all wrapped up in a drama that isn't afraid to tackle the tough themes of small town ambition and strained family relationships, all played out by a cast of up-and-coming youngsters that are able to perform with subtlety and restraint when required, as well as broader comedic strokes when appropriate.

    The stunning array of big name actors that have joined up to play supporting roles ensure that the film is full rounded. Ralph Fiennes appears as Mr Kendrick, Freddie's boss at the insurance firm. Emily Watson plays his long-suffering wife and Matthew Goode plays Mike Ramsay, Freddie's mentor and love-rival for Julie's affections.

    Cemetery Junction is an extremely assured debut for Gervais and Merchant as directors. They are clearly natural filmmakers that have simply taken a little while in getting to where they wanted to be in life. The Office, Extras and other projects such as The Invention of Lying have all been steps along the way for Gervais and Merchant and now they are at the point where they are really able to fully showcase their seemingly innate ability and indeed flair for writing, direction and most importantly pacing and character development on the big screen. Cemetery Junction is a British made film that can more than hold its own with Hollywood films.

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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Be young. Be free. Be Somebody. The 1970s had arrived. Times were changing. Reading wasn't. From Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant comes a hilarious and heartwarming new comedy about three friends who dream of breaking free from the mundane world of Cemetery Junction. Knowing that they can't spend the rest of their lives drinking, fighting and joking around, they're forced to make a choice. Nothing is quite as simple as it should be though, especially when one of them falls for his boss's daughter, only to find that she is already engaged to be married. To get what they want they'll need to break the rules, whatever the cost. Accompanied by a killer '70s soundtrack and an all-star cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode and Ricky Gervais, this critically acclaimed new film from the creators of The Office and Extras is simply unmissable.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant write and direct this nostalgic coming-of-age comedy set in 1970s Reading. Three 20-something friends work together at the local building society and spend their free time larking about, drinking, fighting and chasing girls. While smooth-talking ladies' man Bruce (Tom Hughes) and lovable loser Snork (Jack Doolan) are satisfied with their lives, Freddie (Christian Cooke) harbours dreams of escaping his working-class background. When he gets a new job as a door-to-door salesman and is reunited with his childhood sweetheart Julie (Felicity Jones), Freddie is forced to make important choices about his future.

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