COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough

PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Brighton Rock” — A handsome hoodlum murders a man at the Brighton Boardwalk, and the only loose end is a pretty young witnessing waitress who says she never forgets a face. Pinkie (Sam Riley) then seduces the naive Rose (Andrea Riseborough), figuring that even if he has to murder or marry her, it beats getting the death penalty in the last year before it’s outlawed.

What follows is a smoldering — if a little slow and melodramatic — story of a good Catholic girl who falls hard for the wrong bad boy. Riley’s brooding Brit feels a little too one-sided. He knows what game he’s playing and doesn’t seem all that conflicted about it. The themes from the source novel by Graham Greene are well-preserved, and that adds the necessary weight to the story. Is Rose’s faithful nature her secret strength, or is it leading her to the slaughter?

“Apollo 18” — It’s found-footage madness from the dark side of the moon! It turns out that there was one more top-secret moon mission in 1974, and the classified footage collected by the astronauts tells the real story of why we never went back. Budgetary concerns and shifting policies had little to do with it — creepy crawlies hiding under moon rocks is what scared mankind away from our greatest symbolic achievement.

All the parts are in place — isolation, unfamiliar terrain, claustrophobic settings and a premise that suspends enough disbelief — but the second-phase rockets never kick in, so this not-so-scary dud never makes it into orbit. What’s missing from the mission checklist is suspense, characters we care about, sufficient thrills and a script. This one shoots for the moon and somehow lands among the “Blair Witch” sequels.

“Final Destination 5” — Like so many decent horror franchises before it, “Final Destination” embraces repetition, and it works. Once again, a lone nobody gets a clairvoyant glimpse of massive freak accident (this time it’s a bridge collapse) just in time to save a few people, forming a diverse cast of folks who will die one by one in their own, personalized freak accidents. No monster, no psychopath, just the raw malice of fate and gruesome occupational hazards.

DOG OF THE WEEK
“A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” — It’s not funny. It’s not sexy. It’s not worth seeing. Jason Sudeikis should not burn any bridges at “Saturday Night Live,” because between “Hall Pass” and this irredeemable mess, his movie career is courting the short theatrical run enjoyed by sexless sex-comedies for unfunny Gen Xers. And I didn’t even know that was a genre.

TV PICKS
“The Borgias: The First Season”
“Archer: Season 2”
“Shameless: The Complete First Season”
“Looney Tunes Pepe Le Pew Collection”
“Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret: Season 1”

© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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