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Duplicity (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen underwhelmingly team up in Tony Gilroy's corporate thriller, which features a lot of twists and turns. The film wants to be clever, but winds up being frustrating, with a conclusion that isn't as smart as it thinks it is.

The two leads have minimal chemistry, although Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson are pretty good as rival corporate snakes. It's a shame that their good work sort of goes to waste in a film that doesn't live up to its promise. Considering that Gilroy directed Michael Clayton, I was expecting a whole lot more.


SPECIAL FEATURES: Gilroy gives a commentary ... and that's it.

The Last Starfighter: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-Ray)





(OUT OF 10)

There is no denying the historical significance of this film. Made in 1984, it was the first movie to use CGI for all of its special effects (except for makeup). The effects are primitive, but somebody had to jump into the pool first, right?

As far as the movie goes, I must confess that I had never seen it in its entirety before. It has a great premise: A starry-eyed teenager (Lance Guest) gets the high score on a special video game, and is whisked into space to become a real-life starfighter. It also features the last film appearance by Robert Preston as the man doing the whisking.

Cinematic significance aside, The Last Starfighter is pretty hard to watch. The alien makeup is laughable at best; the pacing is amateurish; and the effects are, well, shitty. It's true that nobody could expect the film to look great while being the first to favor gigabytes over miniatures, but that doesn't make it a worthwhile experience.

Internet buzz has this one slated for a remake or a sequel. I say go for it. The premise is great, and with CGI being the way that it is now, taking another crack at it wouldn't hurt.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A look back at the movie that is actually as lame as the movie itself. Director Nick Castle also offers up a commentary.

The Last House on the Left: Unrated (Blu-Ray)





(OUT OF 10)

I don't know if it's the extra bit of footage added for this unrated version, or simply the fact that I was more prepared for this film the second time, but I actually wound up liking this a little more on the home screen. It's sick; it's depraved; and the ending still sucks, but Tony Goldwyn is pretty badass as John Collingwood, a vacationing doctor who finds himself on a vengeful rampage after his daughter (Sara Paxton) is brutally assaulted.

Garret Dillahunt is a creepy sumbitch as the leader of a sadistic gang of people who kill some cops, then wind up in the forest with two young women who know too much. Paxton and Martha Maclsaac do a nice job of being absolutely terrified; however, some of this film is just too hard to watch. I actually hated the Wes Craven original that this film is based upon, because that film's raw style made it come off as a snuff film. With the remake, director Dennis Lliadis has actually made something more atmospheric and polished. It's just a better way to go with the material.

The broken-microwave punchline ends the film on a stupid note, but not before Goldwyn, Paxton and Monica Potter (as the horrified mother/wife) deliver good work.

This is one of those movies that I could possibly watch a third time, and go right back to not liking it again.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Some deleted scenes and outtakes, and a very short look into the making of the movie. Not a very good effort with the supplements here.

The Beatles: Rare and Unseen





(OUT OF 10)

I love just about everything Beatles, but this is a shameless cash-in. Somebody found some old film clips of the Fab Four (with no audio) and decided to throw it on a DVD with some tiresome interviews. The old footage is repeated ad nauseum, with substituted audio and fake audience screams. The likes of Phil Collins and Len Goodman, one of the Dancing With the Stars judges, offer entirely unoriginal opinions on the Beatles phenomenon.

This feels like one of those late-night infomercials. I fully expected a "$19.99" offer to pop up, complete with a set of steak knives. Diehard fans will find little of interest here; there's also some footage of the Beatles hanging out poolside on vacation, and it actually feels like something we aren't supposed to see. The guys couldn't even go for a swim without us gawking at it sometime in the future.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Some unused interview footage. This is a waste of time.