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'Saw' director James Wan in negotiations to helm 'MacGyver' movie

From blood-splattered horror to action-filled MacGyver! Reps for James Wan confirmed to EW on Monday that the Saw franchise and Insidious filmmaker is in negotiations with New Line to direct the movie based on the 1980s television series about a secret agent, played in the original by Richard Dean Anderson, who relies on brain vs. brawn to resolve sticky situations.

Jason Richman has written the MacGyver movie’s screenplay, with revisions by Brian and Mark Gunn. Raffaella and Martha De Laurentiis, the daughter and second wife, respectively, of the late legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis, are producing, as well as the TV show’s creator Lee Zlotoff.

Wan has become an in-demand horror-thriller director, with the upcoming New Line film The Conjuring out next year, 2010’s Insidious a break-out hit, and as the creator of the box office juggernaut and creatively gruesome Saw films, which launched in 2004.

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MOVIE ON DVD REVIEW ‘Insidious’

'Paranormal Activity 3': I scream, you scream, we all scream, and wow does it feel good

I said in my review of Paranormal Activity 3 that I don’t scare easily at horror films, and that’s why I end up panning most of them. For me, it’s an occupational hazard: I see so many of these damn things that I know all the tricks. It gets harder and harder to find a horror film that can bypass that armor of genre awareness. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that I may have been speaking for a great many people who aren’t critics. Since I almost never see a horror film at a screening (most of them, these days, aren’t shown to reviewers in advance), I regularly breathe in the air of audience reaction, and I can tell you: Whether it’s a suburban Jekyll-and-Hyde clunker like Dream House or a torture-porn sequel like Saw 3D, my experience is that most audiences sit through these movies the same way I do, in a slumped-in-the-seat state of desultory, half-baked absorption. You may get jolted a few times, but the vast majority of today’s horror movies don’t get under your skin. READ FULL STORY

'Saw': I can't stand to see it. Is that okay?

I mean it: I literally, physiologically cannot bear horror movies in which people are tortured. I get sick to my stomach. I feel like I’m going to faint. I have nightmares for days. My distaste has almost become a phobia. So I don’t watch them. I do all the assignment trading I can so I don’t have to review them. And I count us all lucky that Owen not only has a true appreciation of the genre, but also the deep knowledge of repertory with which to write smartly about what is, after all, a very popular kind of movie.

I admit this here, knowing that one response might be, “It’s your job. Deal with it.” But, see, I’ve been thinking about what makes an honest critic, not to mention a reliable one with whom readers can engage. And I’ve come to the conclusion that owning up to my, let’s call it, weakness is in the end more useful than pretending I can be businesslike about a movie experience that repels me.

Perhaps if it were any other sore spot, shared by professional critics and regular movie-goers alike–maybe a particular love or hatred of chick flicks or underdog sports stories, slow-moving Iranian tales about little kids or quick-talking British pics about colorful thugs — I’d be fine keeping my secret to myself. But my horror when it comes to Saw is too visceral.

And that’s why I’ve spilled my guts. Now you spill yours.

Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie

The 'Saw' horror series: Can it bring the pain forever? And should it?

saw-jigsaw-lFor anyone who doesn’t happen to follow limb-dismembering, mechanized-torture horror films, the fact that the sixth entry in the Saw series is being released this weekend will seem unremarkable in just about every way. For decades now, gruesome new horror movies have arrived at the multiplex with big fat roman numerals stuck at the end of their titles. Only the most fanatical droolers of the “horror community” are even still counting. I mean, really, who would seriously bother to keep track of how many interchangeably cruddy Friday the 13th sequels there are? Or how many times Freddy Krueger ever came back from the dead to brutalize a new crop of Elm Street kids? Or how often the Halloween franchise has been scavenged, rebooted, Zombie-fied, and generally flogged to death? Quick, can you name all the Texas Chainsaw movies? How about Hellraiser? Who the hell cares?

Like I said, Saw VI sounds like bloody business as usual. But there’s a big difference. Every one of those other series enjoyed a brief period, of maybe two or three years, in which they really connected with an audience, followed by sequels of increasingly diminishing returns, released in a spotty, opportunistic, every-few-years fashion, during which their appeal was bled dry. The Saw series, by contrast, has been a clockwork blockbuster, a squirm-in-your-seat annual carnival for gore freaks. The first one was released on Oct. 29, 2004, and by the time Saw II came out exactly one year later, on Oct. 28, 2005, the series “owned” Halloween. The release date had become part of the brand, almost as if Lionsgate had licensed the holiday. READ FULL STORY

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