October 2008 Forecast
By Shane Jenkins
October 2, 2008

Bugs were a problem on the set.

1) High School Musical 3

This is apparently some movie about basketball and singing. The first of these to actually hit theaters, HSM3 could be a monster. Think Hannah Montana with a much higher theater count. Basically, every tween girl you and I know will be at the movies on October 24th.

2) Saw V

This one seems to be about people with keys behind their eyes. If it's Halloween, it must be Saw, and we all must be yawning. Like Disaster Movie and its ilk, I think the Saw series has run its course. They have traded scares for grossness, and we've been fooled at least once too often. I'm only ranking this as high as I am because there is actually a shocking lack of straight-up horror being released in October. Usually, it's wall-to-wall demonic puppets and serial killers. So I think Saw V will benefit almost solely from having next to no competition in its category. October 24th looks to be one crazy night at the movies.

3) City of Ember

That brat from Atonement and Bill Murray try to generate power by solving puzzles or something. This is director Gil Kenan's follow-up to the awesome Monster House, which is all I need to know to buy a ticket. City of Ember is based on a popular book for young adults, so there would seem to be a built-in audience. Younger viewers probably don't know Murray as anything but the voice of Garfield, but he may help to draw in some adults without kids in tow. The sets and cinematography look great; I'm really pulling for this one.

4) Max Payne

Hitman meets Constantine? Maybe? I don't know, but the trailers are intriguingly strange. Max Payne is a best-selling videogame title that I always thought was a straight-up shoot 'em up, but the movie has scary winged demon things amidst its stylish explosions and gunplay. Color me interested! There is always the caveat that movies based on videogames are usually terrible, and this may not be an exception. But having a legitimate star like Mark Wahlberg should help this achieve numbers closer to Resident Evil than, say, Bloodrayne.

5) Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Or the one where yappy little bastards sing that song that you will never ever be able to get out of your head. Ever. You've seen the trailer, right? A million CG-enhanced Chihuahuas sing the most insidiously catchy song you've ever heard while prancing around some Mayan ruins or something. Supposedly, the trailer has next to nothing to do with the actual movie, and the song reportedly isn't even in it. But it doesn't matter, because every kid is going to be pestering their parents to go see those damn singing dogs. What can make you move? Can you feel the groove? Chihuahua! Seriously, this wakes me up in the middle of the night sometimes. Who can I sue?

6) Body of Lies

Russell Crowe and his BFF Ridley Scott bring Leo DiCaprio into the mix. Is it just me, or has the marketing for this been curiously muted? This should be prime Oscar-bait with the names involved, but the buzz has been deafening in its silence. Is this another A Good Year?

7) Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D

Or How to Drug Your Creator in Three Easy Steps (don't forget the slotted spoon!). This will be a two-weekend wonder, as the Goths, morbid children, and nostalgic Gen Xers celebrate Halloween in three dimensions. Since Halloween falls on a Friday, Disney should at least have two solid frames before this evaporates instantly on November 3rd.

8) Blindness

Blind people are like zombies! Early word hasn't been too great on what looked like a sure-fire awards contender only a couple of months ago. The trailers are trying for a Children of Men vibe, but supposedly the material just isn't there. Which is a shame because it is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and directed by Fernando Meirelles, who gave us the incredible City of God. If reviews aren't kind, though, the art house crowd will likely move on to another prestige project with better buzz.

9) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Superbad minus Jonah Hill and McLovin. Michael Cera has been on a hot streak lately, peddling his patented brand of Young Newhart to good effect. This should be an interesting test of his star power, since he's headlining the movie, with an assist from the somewhat lesser-known Kat Dennings. The trailer is adorable, and I'm not tired of Cera's shtick quite yet, so I'm already on board; whether he can draw teens away from Eagle Eye's second week remains to be seen.