Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including “Spiral,” the next chapter of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams Netflix thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison and the trippy folk horror of “In the Earth.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison and the trippy folk horror of “In the Earth.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window” and the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison.
“And Justice for All,” the last four words of the American Pledge of Allegiance, sum up the dynamic of “Spiral: From the Book of ‘Saw,’” the ninth instalment of the “Saw” franchise, now playing in theatres.
On one hand you have a murderer dispensing their own brand of justice; inventively slaughtering people who have broken a twisted moral code known only to the killer. For instance, a detective who has lied on the stand many times, is given the choice, provide justice by tearing out his own lying tongue, or be killed. “Live or die. Make your choice.”
Then, there are the police who must use more traditional means to enforce their brand of justice.
It might not be exactly what Congress had in mind, but in the “Saw” universe there is more than one definition of the word justice.
Chris Rock is Zeke Banks, an idealistic-but-disillusioned big city detective trying to get out from under the shadow of his father Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson), a decorated, hero cop and retired police chief. When Zeke and his partner, an eager rookie named William Shenk (Max Minghella), catch an unusual, grisly case, the game is afoot.
A new serial killer, playing from the same gamebook as the notorious villain Jigsaw, who put his victims through deadly scenarios he referred to as “games” or “tests,” is terrorizing the city’s dirty cops, looking to avenge wrongs perpetrated by the South Metro Police and “reform” the department. “A Jigsaw copycat,” says Marcus. “That could be difficult.”
As the bodies pile up Zeke suspects the killer isn’t just playing around, that he has another motive. Something personal.
After eight instalments of the “Saw” franchise, countless deadly traps and one iconic baddie, “Spiral” finds a newish way in to tell an old story. Billy the Puppet and Jigsaw are gone, as is much of the gore that splattered the screen in earlier incarnations of the series. They’ve been replaced with a timely but underdeveloped subtext regarding police corruption and the addition of humor, an element often sorely lacking from previous instalments.
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed the second, third and fourth “Saw” movies, “Spiral” is as character based as it is consequence based. Bousman, and “Jigsaw” screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, have dialed back the grim stuff. There are still enough traps and gore to keep “Saw” purists happy—there’s a finger ripping machine and some nasty hot wax—but an increased emphasis on character raises the stakes so the gory stuff has more impact. It’s still a horror film, but Bousman structures it like a thriller, even if his reliance on flashbacks and exposition mutes some of the thrills.
There’s also loads of uninspired hard-boiled dialogue and lots of yelling but also just enough of the nasty stuff and deadly game playing to keep fans satisfied.
The spiral logo that gives the movie its name is supposed to be emblematic of change and progress, but the movie doesn’t quite live up to the symbol’s meaning. It shakes some of the dust off the old franchise without reinventing it or doing justice to it.
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” the inspirational comedy “Uncle Drew” and a glimpse at the life of Vivienne Westwood called “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases,“Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” the inspirational comedy “Uncle Drew,” the sci fi b-movie “Upgrade” and a glimpse at the life of Vivienne Westwood called “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.”
The new thriller from Leigh Whannell, the co-creator of “Saw” and “Insidious,” is part ripped-from-the-headlines, part “Twilight Zone.” News outlets are reporting on the trend of implanting microchips to function as contactless credit cards and key cards in humans. Whannell took that premise, ran it through the RodSerling-izer™ and added a dollop of “RoboCop” to come up with a silly and sentient piece of sci fi.
Set sometime in the near future “Upgrade” sees mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green), an “unaugmented” man in an increasingly augmented world. Microchips and other human upgrades are common, but Grey is old fashioned, favoring humanity over any kind of mechanization. In a world of self-driving cars and “energy walls” he’s a DIY guy. When four strangers murder his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) and leave him a quadriplegic he is wheelchair-bound and depressed until he is offered a unique opportunity.
One of his former clients, tech wizard Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), offers to implant a chip called STEM, kind of an auxiliary brain, into Grey’s spine. The bio mechanic enhancement would leave him “ungraded, better, stronger and faster than everyone else,” and, of course, in perfect shape to get bloody revenge on the men who killed his wife and shattered his life.
Like Whannell’s other movies “Upgrade” is a dark, atmospheric and grim film. Blood flows but so do ideas about our addiction to computers and what happens when machines start thinking for themselves. But don’t worry, it’s not that heady. Like all good idea-soaked sci fi b-movies, it’s more about engaging your gut with visceral, i.e. violent, action, and even some humour. It’s gutsy and gory futurist Cronenberg-esque body horror made interesting by the speed at which technology approaches some of the film’s ideas about biotechnology.
“Upgrade” becomes conventional when the police procedural subplot kicks in but until then it is B-movie fun.