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Fox Lorber presents
One Good Turn (1996)

"Say, Matt—you think it was just chance that we ran into each other? Sometimes I think maybe there's a greater design."
- Simon Jury (James Remar)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: July 30, 2000

Stars: James Remar, Lenny von Dohlen
Other Stars: Suzy Amis, John Savage
Director: Tony Randel

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: R for some strong sexuality and violence
Run Time: 01h:28m:41s
Release Date: August 01, 2000
UPC: 720917517322
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ BC-A- D

DVD Review

One Good Turn stars Lenny von Dohlen as Matt Forrest, a successful videogame developer whose life was saved in 1983 by a military man named Simon Jury (James Remar). Years later, Forrest encounters Jury on the street and hires a private detective (John Savage) to track him down so he can thank him properly. After introducing him to his wife Laura (Suzy Amis) and offering him a job, Forrest learns some facts about Jury's past that suggest a darker plot may be afoot.

One Good Turn is in many ways a typical made-for-cable production, with a talky, low-budget feel and few special effects (one particularly dramatic moment takes place completely offscreen). Tony Randel's direction is visually pedestrian, though he composes shots well within the limitations of the 1.33:1 frame. The physical production is unobtrusive, with competent lighting and appropriate sets and costumes—the nature of the film doesn't call for any design innovations, but everything fits well. Content-wise, the movie hits its intended late-night target market, with just enough violence and nudity to earn an "R" rating while allowing straightforward editing for broadcast purposes.

But in the final analysis, One Good Turn manages to rise above its budget thanks to a strong cast and a decent script. James Remar inhabits his character's public and private personae effectively and manages to keep Simon Jury interesting even when the script gives too much information away. Lenny van Dohlen (Twin Peaks) is a suitably affable "nice guy" who must deal with unexpected events, and Suzy Amis (rapidly becoming the Jodie Foster of the cable movie world) handles emotional scenes and contemplative silences very well, using her expressive features to good effect. The script is occasionally repetitive, but it rarely "cheats," the dialogue is credible and it stays successfully (if just barely) clear of melodramatic excess. Is One Good Turn a great movie? No, but it's better than most of its peers and it provides 90 minutes worth of honest entertainment—that's more than a lot of big-budget Hollywood productions can say.



Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Fox Lorber presents One Good Turn in its original made-for-cable 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The image is very soft due in part to the shallow depth-of-field used in many shots, and the digital transfer exhibits some shimmering on a few complex patterns. It's a slightly dark transfer overall, and some edge enhancement and ringing artifacts turn up here and there, though color and detail are passable. A watchable if slightly below-average transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: One Good Turn was originally mixed in Ultra-Stereo, the low-end Dolby Surround-compatible format. Fox Lorber's Dolby Digital 2.0 transfer preserves the original soundtrack nicely, with strong bass and good frequency range. The audio mix is front-heavy, with left/right panning of sound effects, centered dialogue, and rear speaker usage limited to Joel Goldsmith's score, but dialogue is clear and this is a solid digital transfer of a competent matrixed-surround audio track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Weblink to Winstar/Fox Lorber Video web site
Extras Review: The One Good Turn DVD features the standard minimal set of Fox Lorber supplements, with static menus and 8 chapter stops. Supplements include:

Production Credits:

A simple text screen crediting the individuals responsible for the DVD release.

Trailer:

The film's video trailer is presented in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio—the transfer is reasonably clean, though some NTSC artifacts are visible.

Filmographies:

Simple illustrated text screens with comprehensive filmographies for cast members James Remar, Suzy Amis, Lenny von Dohlen, and John Savage, plus director Tony Randel.

Weblink:

DVD-ROM drives access an .HTML file to reach the Winstar Video/Fox Lorber websites, while standard DVD players present a text screen with the www.winstarvideo.com and www.flp.com addresses.



Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

One Good Turn is a nicely executed "B-movie" with strong performances that help it overcome its obviously limited budget. Fox Lorber's DVD suffers from middling video quality and limited supplements, but the audio transfer is solid—worth a rental.

 


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