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Take us to the Extremes!

If you are believer in universal balance (from Ying and Yang to protons and electrons) then you can appreciate the stunning cinematic conflict that exists between this week’s warring franchises: Saw V and High School Musical 3: Senior Year. On one hand, a series that will be remembered as the father of torture porn (not a good thing) and on the other, the perma-smiling descendants of Walt Disney’s original Mickey Mouse Club (good for money thing). If Saw was actually still popular, I’d fear the tension between both sets of fans stuck waiting in line for the premiere. It’s grins versus goths and songs versus switchblades.

Expect to see flocks of blissful tweens frantically pushing their way past a few SAW die-hards preoccupied with deciding what concessions will least smudge their ghoulish make-up. HSM3 will make huge amounts of money; Saw will make huge amounts of people sick. Will either deserve your time and/or money? Let’s start with the automatic NO:

“The first three Saws were at least plausible within the grotesque terms of the premise. The fourth was ridiculous and this, the fifth, is laughable.” Victor Olliver Teletext

That’s the most forgiving review available.

“It doesn’t just insult your intelligence; It assumes you have none.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

Yeesh. While Saw V currently has the dreaded double goose egg (00% positive – as of Thursday night), it will make several million dollars because is a scary movie released near Halloween. But easily frightened movie-goers might be in for a nasty surprise.

“This time, the movie theater is a trap.” Staci Layne Wilson Horror.com


In playing up the dichotomy so much I’ve left out a perfectly boring cop movie that also comes out this weekend. Pride and Glory is stuck in the middle with its tired brothers-in-blue plot and sadly misplaced actors (Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, John Voight).

“Constructed almost entirely out of cop-drama clichés.” Josh Bell Las Vegas Weekly

But you didn’t say they were all bad clichés.

“Dull, predictable, ugly, filled with bad or lackluster performances, contains objectionable racial material and just generally lacking in anything worthwhile. One of the worst movies of the year.” Devin Faraci CHUD

Okay. All bad then.

“Pride And Glory is anything but. And though rife with brutality and cynicism down a path way too over the top to make sense of it all, the journey there stings with the crushing weight of a raw and devastating emotional power. Godfather in blue.” Prairie Miller NewsBlaze

From worst movie of the year to the Godfather of cop movies? Providing an explanation for the distance between those two reviews is probably a superior mystery to the one in the movie (it currently sits at 27%).

Let’s move on to the sugar-laced smilebration of High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

“Coiffed with what must have been a budget-busting supply of styling gel, the cast of High School Musical 3: Senior Year looks not just freshly scrubbed, but manicured, exfoliated, and dipped in a vat of hot wax.” Scott Tobias Onion AV Club

Scrubbed clean and dipped in wax – Are you still talking about Saw?

“I so wanted to hate this movie – and I was doing well until halfway through, when I actually started to feel nostalgic and happy. Damn!” David Foucher EDGE Boston

Uh-oh, pessimists beware. You might find yourself smiling despite yourself. The movie currently sits at 67% positive. Aren’t there some cynics out there trying to knock the optimists down a few pegs?

“It’s hard not to see the rabidly popular series’s deliberate insubstantiality, its desire to address teendom in juvenile ways, as a depressing commentary on the dwindling standards of young entertainment consumers.” Nick Schager Slant Magazine

I get that he’s angry. After all critics have to watch movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua so we don’t have to, but I’m not really surprised that the movie addresses “teendom in juvenile ways.” Better juvenile than sophomoric. Let’s wrap this up with a final word on this weekend’s guaranteed champion.

“For those kids in the target audience, this is movie nirvana.” Christy Lemire Associated Press

Smells like teen spirit. Zing!


One’s pale and terrifying and the other’s a puppet


One Response

  1. Trust me, you don’t want to see the grandfather of torture porn – I can’t unsee the things I’ve seen…

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