Film Review: Spiral: From The Book Of Saw (2021)

Also known as: Untitled Saw Project, The Organ Donor (working titles)
Release Date: May 12th, 2021 (Denmark, Indonesia, South Korea, Norway)
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by: Josh Stolberg, Peter Goldfinger
Music by: Charlie Clouser
Cast: Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, Samuel L. Jackson

Serendipity Productions, Twisted Pictures, Lionsgate, 93 Minutes

Review:

“Whoever did this has another motive – they’re targeting cops.” – Detective Zeke Banks

This is the second time that they’ve tried to resurrect Saw and this one was worse than the first.

Spiral is the first film that doesn’t feature Tobin Bell or the Jigsaw character, other than some photographs and references to him, as the new killer is a copycat.

So like the previous film, Jigsaw, and the original Saw, we don’t specifically know who the killer is. However, after suffering through the misery of this entire franchise, it wasn’t hard for me to figure out who the killer was in the first fucking fifteen minutes. I also knew the red herrings were obvious red herrings and I felt like I was watching a gore-filled, live action episode of Scooby-Doo.

Additionally, I like Chris Rock, I always have. However, at this point in his career, it’s hard seeing him in a serious role as a detective, yelling at rival detectives, and to not almost laugh. It’s not that he can’t act but he’s been known for his loud comedic acting and stand-up specials where his distinct, loud voice is always hilarious. It’s kind of the same reason why it’s become hard for me to take Vince Vaughn seriously in dramatic roles now, as he also has a distinct voice and has primarily done comedy over the last few decades now.

Sam Jackson is in this too but just barely. The only two really notable people are Max Minghella and Marisol Nichols.

This movie also seems pretty tame compared to how far previous Saw films pushed the bar in regards to gore in mainstream film.

The traps were fairly interesting and new, as opposed to some of the sequels that started to update some of the more classic Jigsaw traps. I thought that the trap that pulled the dude’s fingers apart like perfectly smoked ribs was kind of gruesome, though. It’s about the only time I felt my balls wince up in my briefs.

Anyway, fuck this movie. It was a huge waste of time and I don’t know why I even watched it, other than I forced myself to be tortured by all the other sequel films and figured that I might as well finish it with this turd.

Rating: 4.25/10

Film Review: The Ides of March (2011)

Also known as: Farragut North (working title)
Release Date: August 31st, 2011 (Venice Film Festival)
Directed by: George Clooney
Written by: George Clooney, Beau Willimon, Grant Heslov
Based on: Farragut North by Beau Willimon
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle, Gregory Itzin, Michael Mantell

Exclusive Media Group, Cross Creek Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 101 Minutes

Review:

“If you want to be president, you can start a war, you can lie, you can cheat, you can bankrupt the country, but you can’t fuck the interns. They’ll get you for that.” – Stephen Meyers

Being the last few days before the 2020 Presidential Election, I figured I’d watch a few films that cover that very subject to some degree. I chose this one mainly due to the cast and because I hadn’t yet seen it.

While it was a decently acted film, it was also kind of boring and other than a few key plot points, nothing really seemed to happen, other than Ryan Gosling running around plotting and scheming to save his own skin and to suppress his own guilt. But I guess that’s politics.

This was directed by George Clooney and while I love the guy as an actor, his directorial efforts need a lot of work. It’s not that this is a bad movie, it’s just a severely dull one that sees an incredible cast just sort of sleep their way through the scenes.

Every performance seemed very understated and the only one that worked for me was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s. Everyone else just played what should’ve been very emotional scenes like they were devoid of emotion and feeling. While I also like Gosling, he does this quite a bit and sometimes it’s like someone needs to push him into expressing himself more passionately and less coldly.

Marisa Tomei was the best part of the film, as she exists in contrast to everyone else’s “cool as a cucumber” approach. However, she’s a fairly minor character and not maximized in a way that benefits the picture, overall. But when she’s onscreen, at least I felt something.

I guess Paul Giamatti also conveyed emotion but like Tomei, he’s used sparingly.

The story felt skeletal and I find it hard to believe that it was adapted to film if this movie is anything close to the source material. If so, it feels like a lot was left out or scrapped in favor of a more palatable running time.

Although, this movie could’ve definitely benefitted from more context, more story and a more energetic pace. You probably could’ve fit all that extra context and nuance into the picture had it moved with some actual life.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other films about presidential elections.