FINAL DESTINATION 5
* * * (B)
Directed by Steven Quale
Starring Nicholas D'Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Tony Todd, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Arlen Escarpeta, Ellen Wroe, P. J. Byrne, Tony Todd
Warner//Rated R//Horror//92 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray and digital download
In the fifth installment of the long-lived "Final Destination" franchise, a group of young people escape a horrific death, then slowly realize that death continues to stalk them. The same premise informs all five films. A young man foresees a terrible accident slated to take his life and those of his corporate coworkers. His vision allows him to save many from a catastrophic bridge collapse, but, as explained by baritone coroner Bludworth (Tony Todd), continuing to cheat death takes both luck and imagination. The plot moves briskly to connect the morbid accidents that befall each survivor -- Rube Goldberg puzzles, that tease and twist. Disposable, unlovable players get theirs first as the plot wends its way towards the one or two characters worth saving. To hammer home the difficulty of surviving death's onslaught, a montage of greatest "Final Destination" deaths accompany the closing credits. The film's ending, along with this tribute, might lend an air of finality to the franchise, but where there's money yet to be made, nothing's final. DVD features: UltraViolet Digital Copy, Circle of Death, Your Final Destination. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, making of, Alternate Death Scenes, Visual Effects of Death: Collapsing Bridge, Visual Effects of Death: Airplane Crash.
Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego
Starring Lloyd Owen, Warren Christie, Ryan Robbins
Anchor Bay//Rated PG-13//Science Fiction//90 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
"Apollo 18" proposes that in 1974, a secret manned moon mission intentionally put astronauts in harm's way. The film opens with the implausible claim this footage was pieced together from filmstock found online. It depicts three astronauts learning they've been selected for a mission to place cameras on the moon, supposedly to spot any impending Soviet missile strike. Something is rotten from the gitgo -- especially storytelling that fails to mine either the dread or wonder from stark lunar footage. One astronaut orbits overhead as two set down on the moon to place cameras. Houston refuses to act when the astronauts spot evidence that someone, or something, has preceded them there. It's obvious they are under attack and abandoned by Houston -- facts they are loathe to acknowledge. The filmmakers expend little effort constructing their conspiracy theory and even less depicting the attackers. I wish "Apollo 18" had simply lost momentum, but instead, it failed to launch. DVD or Blu-ray features: Commentary with Director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego and Editor Patrick Lussier, Deleted and Alternate Scenes, Alternate Endings. Blu-ray includes Digital Copy.
* * *1/2 (A-)