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4 items from 2007


Saw IV

29 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- He's dead, and he's back.

Jigsaw, the diabolical mastermind whose elaborately twisted torture concepts have fueled this ultrasuccessful horror franchise, returns for this fourth installment that demonstrates that, while it hasn't yet jumped the shark like such predecessors as the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies eventually did, diminishing returns are beginning to set in. Not that it will matter to the gorehounds who have made the series as much of a Halloween ritual as donning silly costumes.

Saw IV, which naturally was not screened in advance for the squeamish press, opened Friday.

The fact that the villain (the ever-creepy Tobin Bell) passed away in the last installment is literally hammered home in the opening sequence, in which an autopsy is performed in gruesomely sickening -- or delightful, depending on your predilection -- detail. Of course, a mere annoyance like rigor mortis can't prevent the inventive Jigsaw from continuing his brand of gruesome mayhem. As he declares from the grave via a tape recording found in his stomach, "I promise that my work will continue."

As so it does, with Jigsaw attempting to turn the tables on the cops pursuing him, especially a SWAT team commander (Lyriq Bent) with control issues.

A series of flashbacks detail how the mild-mannered engineer John (Bell) was transformed into a vengeful moralist, via a tragedy inflicted on his pregnant wife (Betsy Russell) by a violent junkie. But as with the recent Hannibal Rising, this attempt at a backstory and psychological motivations only demystifies a character who would have been better left in the murky shadows.

The plotting, mainly involving the efforts of a team of FBI profilers (Scott Patterson, Athena Karkanis) and a police detective (Costas Mandylor) to prevent further Jigsaw-fueled mayhem, is more perfunctory than usual. More problematically, the famously inventive torture sequences here seem depleted of imagination. Only a couple of the gruesome set pieces, most notably one in which a battered wife and her abusive husband are impaled together -- I won't spoil the resolution -- display the usual cleverness.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who also helmed the past two installments, doesn't deviate from the stylistic formula, which includes grinding industrial music, frenzied editing and a blue-gray color palette.

SAW IV

Lionsgate

Twisted Pictures, Lionsgate

Credits:

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Screenwriters: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan

Story: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Thomas Fenton

Producers: Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, Mark Burg

Executive producers: Daniel Jason Heffner, James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Stacey Testro, Peter Block, Jason Constantine

Director of photography: David A. Armstrong

Production designer: David Hackl

Music: Charlie Clouser

Costume designer: Alex Kavanagh

Editors: Kevin Greutert, Brett Sullivan

Cast:

Jigsaw/John: Tobin Bell

Hoffman: Costas Mandylor

Agent Strahm: Scott Patterson: Jill: Betsy Russell

Rigg: Lyriq Bent

Art: Justin Louis

Agent Perez: Athena Karkanis

Lamanna: Simon Reynolds

Fisk: Mike Realba

Running time -- 95 minutes

MPAA rating: R

»

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Saw IV

26 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

This review was written for the theatrical release of "Saw IV".NEW YORK -- He's dead, and he's back.

Jigsaw, the diabolical mastermind whose elaborately twisted torture concepts have fueled this ultrasuccessful horror franchise, returns for this fourth installment that demonstrates that, while it hasn't yet jumped the shark like such predecessors as the "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" movies eventually did, diminishing returns are beginning to set in. Not that it will matter to the gorehounds who have made the series as much of a Halloween ritual as donning silly costumes.

"Saw IV", which naturally was not screened in advance for the squeamish press, opened Friday.

The fact that the villain (the ever-creepy Tobin Bell) passed away in the last installment is literally hammered home in the opening sequence, in which an autopsy is performed in gruesomely sickening -- or delightful, depending on your predilection -- detail. Of course, a mere annoyance like rigor mortis can't prevent the inventive Jigsaw from continuing his brand of gruesome mayhem. As he declares from the grave via a tape recording found in his stomach, "I promise that my work will continue."

As so it does, with Jigsaw attempting to turn the tables on the cops pursuing him, especially a SWAT team commander (Lyriq Bent) with control issues.

A series of flashbacks detail how the mild-mannered engineer John (Bell) was transformed into a vengeful moralist, via a tragedy inflicted on his pregnant wife (Betsy Russell) by a violent junkie. But as with the recent "Hannibal Rising", this attempt at a backstory and psychological motivations only demystifies a character who would have been better left in the murky shadows.

The plotting, mainly involving the efforts of a team of FBI profilers (Scott Patterson, Athena Karkanis) and a police detective (Costas Mandylor) to prevent further Jigsaw-fueled mayhem, is more perfunctory than usual. More problematically, the famously inventive torture sequences here seem depleted of imagination. Only a couple of the gruesome set pieces, most notably one in which a battered wife and her abusive husband are impaled together -- I won't spoil the resolution -- display the usual cleverness.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who also helmed the past two installments, doesn't deviate from the stylistic formula, which includes grinding industrial music, frenzied editing and a blue-gray color palette.

SAW IV

Lionsgate

Twisted Pictures, Lionsgate

Credits:

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Screenwriters: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan

Story: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Thomas Fenton

Producers: Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, Mark Burg

Executive producers: Daniel Jason Heffner, James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Stacey Testro, Peter Block, Jason Constantine

Director of photography: David A. Armstrong

Production designer: David Hackl

Music: Charlie Clouser

Costume designer: Alex Kavanagh

Editors: Kevin Greutert, Brett Sullivan

Cast:

Jigsaw/John: Tobin Bell

Hoffman: Costas Mandylor

Agent Strahm: Scott Patterson: Jill: Betsy Russell

Rigg: Lyriq Bent

Art: Justin Louis

Agent Perez: Athena Karkanis

Lamanna: Simon Reynolds

Fisk: Mike Realba

Running time -- 95 minutes

MPAA rating: R

»

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Empire of '300' still intact

19 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Warner Bros. Pictures' "300" fell a precipitous 56% in its second weekend in release, but with an estimated $127 million in boxoffice receipts after only 10 days, the CG-heavy spectacle had one soft landing, remaining at No. 1 overall for the frame with an estimated $31 million.

Hollywood's new releases had more trouble gaining traction at the North American boxoffice.

Sony Pictures' Sandra Bullock starrer Premonition grossed solidly, with an estimated $18 million for a third-place finish, but Fox Searchlight had difficulty luring in Chris Rock fans for his second directorial effort, I Think I Love My Wife; the remake of the French comedy Chloe in the Afternoon grossed an estimated $5.7 million, good for fifth place.

Universal Pictures also struggled with Dead Silence. The horror film from Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell grossed an estimated $7.7 million for the three-day frame, finishing No. 4 overall.

Still, the boxoffice held off last year at this time by a solid 10% margin. The top 12 films grossed an estimated $102.4 million for the frame compared with $92.7 million last year, when Warners bowed V for Vendetta.

Meanwhile, Buena Vista Pictures wins the title of lowest drops for the frame with both of its top-10 pictures. The road-trip comedy Wild Hogs fell close to 32% its third weekend in release to earn the No. 2 slot.; the ensemble featuring John Travolta, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen has crossed the coveted $100 million mark with an estimated $104 million overall.

Even more impressively, Walden Media's Bridge to Terabithia fell just 24% in its fifth weekend. The family-friendly film finished sixth for the frame, grossing an additional $5.1 million to put its cume at $74.9 million. Terabithia is on track to outgross Walden's previous film, Charlotte's Web, which topped out this year at $82 million.

Paramount Pictures might have had some tough luck with its two most recent openings. »

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Bousman revs up 'Saw IV'

20 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Darren Lynn Bousman is set to direct Saw IV. The director, who helmed the last two installments in the horror franchise, Saw II and Saw III, will begin production in Toronto April 16, Lionsgate and its production partner Twisted Pictures announced Monday.

Also reuniting on the project is the "Saw" production team, with Twisted's Mark Burg and Oren Koules producing and Daniel Jason Heffner, James Wan, Leigh Whannell and Stacey Testro executive producing.

Executive producing for Lionsgate are president of acquisitions and co-productions Peter Block and senior vp acquisitions Jason Constantine. Key contributors to the first three films returning include editor Kevin Greutert, director of photography David Armstrong and production designer David Hackl.

"Having Darren behind the camera gives 'Saw IV' a real edge, so to speak," Block said. "He has led this franchise into boxoffice history while proving himself a modern master of psychological terror."

The film is slated for worldwide release on Oct. 26. The "Saw" series has thus far grossed more than $400 million worldwide. »

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4 items from 2007


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