Admin
Monday, 17 May 2021 11:28

‘Spiral’ spins its wheels

Sure, I’ll ask the question: did we really need another “Saw” movie?

It shouldn’t be a surprise, really – we live in a world of sequels and reboots and franchises, and with the horror genre being one of the few generally reliable box office draws, it makes sense that we’d see a horror film or three kicking off what appears to be a wider reopening of movie theaters.

But the truth is that while these movies have been undeniable commercial successes – even the “Jigsaw” reboot from a couple of years ago did nine figures at the box office – the transgressive nature of the earlier installments has definitely been backlined in favor of more and gorier action. So it was interesting to see the latest incarnation at least make the effort to try and say something beyond “Look how gross this is!”

“Spiral: From the Book of Saw” is effectively the first spinoff from the series. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (his fourth go at the series) from a script by Josh Stoolberg and Peter Goldfinger, the film adds some unanticipated star power with star Chris Rock (who also executive produced) and tries to use its still-effective gory torture devices to say something about the wider world – in this case, police corruption and by extension systemic racism.

No, you’re not going to get a lot of nuanced commentary from a “Saw” movie – no one is showing up to one of these to get a lecture on world affairs; they’re here to see people die in horrible ways – but at least it allows the film to feel like it’s about something, rather than just an excuse for inventive torture devices.

But the truth is that while the filmmakers seem well-intentioned, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. While there are some solid performances here – Rock in particular is quite good – the story is scattered and haphazard, with questionable decisions regarding the pacing. The result is a horror movie with plenty of gore that is never fully able to articulate what it wants to convey.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 15:03

Exactly what I expected

What to Expect When You're Expecting' cliched and contrived

I've learned to be leery of films that trumpet their all-star casts. These ensemble rom-coms (they're always rom-coms unless Stallone is involved, anyway) feature more name talents than you can count on both hands, but they also run the danger of having too much of a good thing. The tendency with big-name casts is to try desperately to get everyone as much screen time as possible. This leads to multiple storylines with forced connections between them featuring a whole mess of characters that we as an audience simply don't have time to care about.

This leads to 'What to Expect When You're Expecting.'

Ostensibly based on the 1984 pregnancy advice book of the same name, the movie follows a number of couples as they feel their respective ways through the minefield that is pregnancy. There's Wendy (Elizabeth Banks, 'The Hunger Games') and Gary (Ben Falcone, 'Bridesmaids'), a couple that finally gets pregnant after years of trying. Celebrity trainer Jules (Cameron Diaz, 'Bad Teacher') met Evan (Matthew Morrison, TV's 'Glee') on a reality dance competition and wound up pregnant. Holly (Jennifer Lopez, 'The Back-Up Plan') and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro, 'Rio') can't conceive, so they're going through the adoption process.

Published in Movies

Advertisements

The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine