October 30th, 2007

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Saw IV" commands Halloween B.O. Gross of 32 million

The "Saw" horror franchise began four years ago as a critically acclaimed low budget flick that employed Danny Glover and Cary Elwes. The star who emerged from the muck of food colored kayro syrup was Tobin Bell, the actor who portrayed the murderous mastermind, John Kramer, alias the Jigsaw Killer.
From Saw to Saw III, Jigsaw set elaborate traps for his victims. Being a master architect and engineer, Jigsaw set up mechanical traps worthy of the cruelty of Marquee De Sade and the cunning of Adolph Eichmann. Unlike Count Dracula and Freddy Krueger, Jigsaw has more in common with the cordial manners of Hannibal Lechter.

We learn in the first Saw that Jigsaw Kramer is a man dying of cancer. He wants his victims to cherish life, so he sets up a series of elaborate traps for them. Jigsaw provides moral choices for his victims that allows them to escape. Very often, the victims make the wrong choice and traps are sprung with messy results. As the low budgeted Saw franchise has
continued it's Halloween box office domination, mainstream critics has fallen out of favor with the series and has started calling the Saw movies "torture porn" Last Halloween, Saw III featured the brutal death of Jigsaw, but the 30 million dollar box office gross resurrected the franchise, if not the character.

Saw IV opens with the naked corpse of John Kramer on an autopsy slab. This scene alone will cause people to demand a refund if ticket buyers thought they were witnesses a documentary about Bob Vila. The audience witnesses the character's dissection when a small micro cassette falls out of the stomach lining. Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is called into the mortuary to listen to Jigsaw's words; "Even though I am dead, the game has begun."

While the new game is basically the same game as the previous movies, **Saw IV* reveals a romantic back story to John Kramer. The audience learns that John Kramer was once married to Jill (Betsy Russell), a do gooder who runs a clinic for drug addicts. It is a match made in bleeding heart liberal heaven, for Kramer is the master engineer for a urban renewal group. Yet, a tragic and rotten event occurs that changes Kramer's philosophy to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Jigsaw's back story is planted in the middle of the mystery that occurs after the character's death. While an origin story can be interesting, the use of flashbacks confuses the multiple narratives featuring the flat foot's investigation the future traps of Jigsaw. To understand Saw IV, one should endure "Saw," "Saw II," and "Saw III" to understand who all these people are.

Every decade brings forth new monster that is embraced by the public box office. The 1930's had Boris Karloff's depression era Frankenstein Monster, the 1950's featured nuclear bomb produced Godzilla and the 1980s provided both Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger as the boogeymen avengers of teen sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. One wonders what cinema anthropologists will reflect upon the box office success of John "Jigsaw"
Kramer and the "Saw" franchise.

Jigsaw's ultimate plan is to pass the torch to the "next Jigsaw" so that his philosophical message can be spread, "CHERISH YOUR LIFE."With last weekend's 32 million dollar box office gross, "Saw V" has been green lit with the return of Tobin Bell and Costas Mandylor. These actors, who are enjoying a steady income from these "Saw" movies, must be saying to their fan base, "CHERISH OUR FRANCHISE."
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Resident Evil 3 Extinction" is so boring it reminds me of a Johnny Carson routine...

The Magnificent Karnac placed the envelope to his turban covered head and announced, *Saw Four. Resident Evil Three." His sycophantic assistant, Ed Mahon repeated the words;
"Saw Four. Resident Evil Three,"
much to the annoyance of his physic swami leader.

The Magnificent Karnac would open the envelope and state the question that was asked, "What was the score of the "Saw" and "Resident Evil" game?"

This paraphrased joke was lifted from a skit often performed on "The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson." It is the only humor you will find in this review of Halloween released movies; "Saw IV" and "Resident Evil 3 Extinction."

There is not much to say about "Resident Evil 3 Extinction" except that Milla Jovovich still kicks zombie butt, this time in post Apocalypse Las Vegas. "Resident Evil 3 Extinction" concludes with Jovovich being cloned for "Resident Evil Part Four." The box office for the "Resident Evil" franchise has been lukewarm. Given the expense of these movies, one wonders if we have seen the last of Milla Jovovich's "Resident Evil"
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Grindhouse presents the DVD "Planet Terror"

Robert Rodriquez has released "Planet Terror" on DVD, but he is already shilling the Special Extended Edition of "Grindhouse," which is due sometime early 2008. If it is as good as the "Sin City" extended version, it might be worth the wait to see the definitive version of "Grindhouse - "Planet Terror."

The special features of "Planet Terror" are quite interesting. "Casting Rebel" is especially intriguing. The father cast his son in a strange role. To read more, check out my original review at http://cinemadave.livejournal.com/162814.html .

Like he did in "Sin City," Rodriquez also includes the Audience reaction track. Sometimes it is good to review a movie like this to listen to other peoples reactions. Especially when Rose McGowen is introduced to her machine gun leg.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Jeannie Epper AND Zoe Bell IS "Double Dare!"

"Double Dare" is a documentary about stunts in the movies. Director Amanda Micheli presents a positive documentary about this strange profession, perhaps no stranger than NFL football nor NASCAR.

Jeannine Epper is a legendary old timer who doubled for Lynda Carter in the "Wonder Woman" television show. She is from the Epper Family Stunt Dynasty and regularly works with Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

Zoe Bell was the stunt double for Lucy Lawless on the television series; "Xena." When "Xena" died, Zoe Bell came to a "Xena" Convention in California and met Jeanine Epper. The two women hit it off and the rest is stunt women history.

Given Zoe Bell's grand introduction in "Grindhouse Death Proof," "Double Dare" is about a star in the making.