A slow week so far, but I am expecting a couple more home video releases that are delayed. Up first is the biggest of the releases, Spiral. The film stars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson and comes from the book of Saw. What that means is that it’s not a Saw/Jigsaw film, but it’s part of the universe. It takes place years after Jigsaw/John Kramer has died and people know of his existence. When cops start dying, videos are sent to Chris Rock’s detective character and the police department thinks they have a Jigsaw copycat on their hands. Cops are being taken, put into traps and die. Rock doesn’t trust anyone in the department because he turned in his crooked partner years back and his fellow officers stopped respecting him. Jackson plays his father, a retired/respected cop. The positives, it feels very much like a Saw film. It has traps, videos, a puppet that says I want to play a game. It has some good kills/gore and its director even directed a few of the Saw sequels. The creators of Saw, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, are executive producers on this as well. The negatives, well the biggest negative is Rock. I like Chris Rock, I’m a big fan, but him playing a cop trying to be hard is like when MC Hammer tried doing gangster rap. He’s not unwatchable, but a different actor with more drama experience makes the film much better and continues the franchise with new characters. I like the Saw movies, I did a full franchise rewatch last year including Jigsaw, so I can’t completely hate this. I liked the tone, the kills and the story and the story will work in sequels (the movie leaves it open for sequels), but I do hope Rock isn’t the lead in any future movies. Sorry Chris, but you just didn’t do it for me here. If you like the franchise give it a watch though even out of curiosity.
Second we have Hydra. I really wanted to love this movie, but it just doesn’t have enough to it. What it does have I liked, but I wanted more. Its synopsis: After retiring as an assassin, Takashi leads a quiet life as a chef at a bar, where he secretly watches over the daughter of a former associate. His peace is short-lived: soon, he is recruited for a final job that he simply can’t refuse. The action/fight sequences are great, there just isn’t enough of them. They spend too much time on the characters in the bar and not enough time fighting. Takashi is a former assassin, there’s the group he once belonged to taking out people in the shadows and a second group that’s even worse. Unfortunately so much time is spent at the bar especially with the other male character. The woman owner makes sense giving us her story, but the other male and his interactions with customers wasn’t necessary. I’m not sure if I 100% enjoyed the ending either. By the time the film builds up to a final fight (which was very good) it tries to explain a lot of backstory and have a surprise twist, but then sort of leaves it all opened. It could have been better.
Third we have Women Composers, a documentary on three women composers. I know very little about classical music so I had never heard of the names Mel Bonis, Lili Boulanger and Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel. They were all composers and the film takes a look at why they aren’t more well known, why there aren’t more female composers and why their music isn’t performed as much as men. Pianist Kyra Steckeweh works well as the storyteller because she wants answers and you understand her complaints. All three women had much different lives with the one being sick and dying in her 20s. They had different backgrounds yet loved the music and studied and composed. Now I can’t tell you if their music is great or if it’s any different than their male contemporaries, but it did make me wonder why women aren’t known for being composers. If you like the music you’ll find it pretty fascinating.
Next we have Code 3: The Complete Series. I wasn’t familiar with the series and the press release mentioned it was similar to Dragnet, using real cases as their stories. It ran for 37 episodes in 1957 and I really like the style of the show. It’s not quite noir, but like Dragnet and Perry Mason, it has a certain rhythm to its dialogue and storytelling. Richard Travis played Assistant Sheriff George Barnett and the show was pretty much through his eyes. Something about this era really works for me and I actually had a lot of fun sitting through this. I asked my parents if they remembered the show and they did so if you were a fan, this is a nice little complete series collection.
Last we have Star Trek Discovery: Season 3. Discovery isn’t my favorite Star Trek series, but I do binge it pretty quickly when the DVDs come my way to review. The end of Season 2 saw the USS Discovery travel into a wormhole and Season 3 sees them in the future, 900 years beyond the original Star Trek series. Michael Burnham is separated from her ship at first, but the captain and her crew are reunited and head to Earth to see what has become of the Federation so far into the future. They have to explain themselves and prove fit to still be part of the Federation which no longer governs the galaxy. There is a new character, Cleveland Booker, and the Discovery gets an upgrade for the time period. Burnham and the crew over the course of the season tries to bring the Federation back in control as well. I don’t know too many people who love the series, but it is an easy watch. I don’t watch it on the app, I wait for the DVDs to come my way and I’ll watch upcoming seasons when they come my way as well.