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The Final Cut

Lions Gate
Movie C+
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 4.5 (out of 10)

Back in the day, a Robin Williams movie usually meant a zillion magazine covers, lots of stupid riffing on talk shows and his damned face covering every other movie screen at the local Hellplex. Such was not the case with The Final Cut, which received a limited release last year amidst mediocre reviews. Williams stars as a "cutter," somebody who edits people's lives together for post-death memorial services. This is made possible via chips implanted at birth that record people's experiences through their own eyes and ears. It's an interesting premise that shares more than a small percentage with Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days.

Unfortunately, writer-director Omar Naim's film never really engages. It's clever for sure, but Williams seems lost in the central role, and a supporting cast that includes Mira Sorvino and James Caviezel looks sleepy. This is science fiction on barbiturates.

On the plus side, the camerawork by Tak Fujimoto lends to a film that looks great. If Naim had come up with a plot as interesting as his premise, he might've had something here. Instead, we're looking at mediocre fare.

Special Features: Naim offers a compelling-enough audio commentary, while features dedicated to the making of the movie and deleted scenes are decent for the curious.

Spike & Mike's Twisted Festival of Animation: Caught in the Act!

Shout Factory
Movies (a series of shorts) C
Special Features D
DVD Geek Factor 4 (out of 10)

Over the years, I've seen a couple of Spike & Mike's animated sickness collections that cracked me up, but Caught in the Act is terribly dull. The majority of the 20 shorts on this DVD are pointless, with poor animation quality and content. I got the impression that Spike & Mike had little to choose from this time around. The Legend of Raggot, about a hamster going up some guy's ass, wins the award of best among the 20, while the cruelty of Stinky Monkey (a little girl kicks the crap out of monkey) made me chortle. An overabundance of bad computer animation with no point drags this collection into the dirt. Hey, if you have a decent-enough animated short with a touch of sickness, send it to these guys. If this collection is an indicator of the stuff they accept, you've got a damn good chance of making their next collection, even if your stuff is nothing but stick figures.

Special Features: All that's offered is The Making of Here Comes Dr. Tran, a so-called 3-D animated short within the collection. The DVD comes with a pair of 3-D glasses for what amounts to a pretty decent joke.

Apollo 13: 2-Disc Anniversary Edition

Universal Studios
Movie A
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.75 (out of 10)

The best damned astronaut movie ... ever! And that includes 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Right Stuff. Director Ron Howard and a cast including Tom Hanks do a superb job of taking one of the greatest survival stories in recorded history to the screen. It's beyond unbelievable that three guys could make it around the moon and back with a gaping hole in the side of their space capsule. What's even more amazing is that Howard and the cast keep you drilled to your seat despite knowing how the story turns out. Hanks has two Oscars, but he didn't get one for this, his very best performance. As Jim Lovell, he gets the chance to play one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known. This is a guy, who under the most terrible of circumstances, kept his cool like no other. Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton are first-rate as the crewmembers, and revisiting this film reminds of what a triumph it was in the special-effects department. This is an American classic.

Special Features: Most of the features here were contained on the first disc, but if you never bought that one, you are in for some fun. Lovell and his wife provide a commentary that defends the authenticity of Howard's film, and he's an incredibly entertaining speaker. Howard provides his own commentary, and an hour-long documentary on the making of the film is captivating.


Buena Vista
Movie B-
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 5.5 (out of 10)

The idea of Tom Sizemore playing Pete Rose is pretty funny, but director Peter Bogdanovich makes it work well with this film about Rose's fall from grace. Yes, the wigs are awful (Sizemore looks like Moe from the Three Stooges; you can see black hair under the blonde wig worn by the actor playing Buddy Bell), but Sizemore brings an appropriate level of sleaze to Rose. Dash Mihok is quite good as Paul Janszen, the alleged Rose fall guy who eventually blew the whistle on Charlie Hustle's gambling fetish. The movie could've used better makeup personnel, but on the subject of Rose's demons, it occasionally hits the mark.

SPECIAL FEATURES : Plenty of interview archives, including Rose interviews before his admission, and the televised revelation that he did indeed gamble on baseball. For sports fiends only.

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