Fri, Oct 24, 2008 - Page 16 News List




Saw V

Gruesome, moralistic game player Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is back for more torture tests, even if he’s been dead since Part III. His cop acolyte Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) now carries the flag for giving deadly lessons in ethics, but he has to be careful because seemingly every investigator in the state is on his tail — those that aren’t dead, at any rate. No previews were available for this entry, and it doesn’t need them, because it’s going to make another killing. Part VI is on the way.


In a classic example of predatory programming, the management of the Scholar theater complex jumped at the release of Saw V to slot in this similarly titled horror flick (especially in Chinese) with the added gimmick of 3D. A woman travels back to her hometown in Colorado to visit family and before long the killing begins. Problem is, the deaths resemble a macabre incident that prompted her to leave town many years before. There’s torture, too, but Jigsaw devotees are unlikely to get their fix.

Death Race

The Saw series is fundamentally about body abuse and serpentine plots, so car chases have not featured prominently. Those who prefer the latter while preserving a body count would be better off seeing this loose remake. Jason Statham stars as an unjustly imprisoned man whose jail runs Rollerball-like contests, except with souped-up cars, novelty weapons and a lucrative online following. Has all of the action and aggression of Paul Bartel’s 1975 original, but by most accounts none of the smarts. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Resident Evil), whose frenetic films lobotomize interesting actors — in this case Joan Allen, who plays the evil head of the prison.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

This is the first theatrical entry in the Disney stage and screen franchise that started on cable TV and is now a favorite among tweens and pre-tweens the world over. Typically American offering of high school cliques and sports worship makes up for the cliches with solid dance sequences and tunes for the younger set. The kids are as pure as the driven snow, and hardly remind one of the high schools that most of us attended. Hard to know where Part 4 might go ... High School Musical 4: The Repeat Students, perhaps?

The Lazarus Project

The writer of Eagle Eye debuts as director in this leisurely paced mystery about an ex-con (Paul Walker from The Fast and the Furious and Eight Below) whose latest robbery turns into a bloodbath. He is caught and apparently executed — only to wake up in an asylum with a head full of doubts about what is real and what is not. This Taiwanese-financed film more or less went to DVD in the US after some screenings at festivals. Happily, Paul Walker completists now have a chance to see him on the big screen here with this well-received if greatly under-exposed effort.

The Feelings Factory

A professional woman makes new acquaintances at a speed dating function. One of the men turns out to be fine for a time, while another turns out to be a little more than she expected. The audience discovers some mortal secrets about her, and from there things only get more complicated. This French film about growing alienation from natural expression of feelings impressed reviewers, with special regard for lead actor Elsa Zylberstein.


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