By Eric Hughes
October 1, 2008
Splinter – Opens October 31st
At least in this horror movie, the attractive (and young) protagonists won't make the mistake of running up the stairs (because in typical gas stations there are no stairs). That's right. This Halloween treat, Splinter, takes place almost entirely inside a gas station after the movie's main couple (played by Paulo Costanzo and Jill Wagner) are carjacked by an escaped convict and his girlfriend, setting up a horrific showdown at the local fill up joint. There, our heroes come into contact with some kind of thing - a being? virus? - that causes its victims to look just a bit more porcupine-like (hence the title).
The trailer contains the standard horror elements: quick cuts, fades to black, lots of terrified screaming. Yet this does nothing to aid the movie's struggling plot, which just sounds (and looks) rather silly.
Also expected to be released on this date: The Haunting of Molly Hartley, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, The Other End of the Line, Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, Fear(s) of the Dark
Soul Men – Opens November 7th
Not that Bernie Mac has ever starred in anything extraordinary - Mr. 3000 anyone? - but it's a shame Soul Men is slated to be one of the final movie releases of the late actor, who died from an inflammatory lung disease in early August. This one, which pairs up Mac with Samuel L. Jackson as two former soul singers who are forced to reconcile their differences for a planned benefit concert, looks like one of those really dumb comedies that most of America will thankfully skip (and those that don't will surely wish they had).
It's Jackson punching Mac, Mac punching Jackson and Mac's too-tight pants launching one of its front buttons squarely into the eye of an unlucky audience member. Need I go on? The film's saving grace is the duo sporting outdated, bright blue suits on and off the stage. Yep, you can forget about that Mac/Jackson banter. I was most impressed with a costuming decision discovered in the trailer.
Also expected to be released on this date: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Role Models, Killshot, Repo! The Genetic Opera, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Bedtime Stories – Opens December 25th
Bedtime Stories can best be described as this year's Night at the Museum. Both were (or are slated to be) released on or around Christmas Day, and both have jokes that the kids will love (and so will their parents) by sticking one of today's most renowned comedians in a mysterious, yet fun fantasy scenario.
In Bedtime Stories, Adam Sandler stars as Skeeter Bronson, a man whose life takes an interesting turn when the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start coming true the next day. Skeeter attempts to benefit from this mysterious power by incorporating lovely women and prize money into his stories, but finds himself facing an uphill battle because of the kids' dangerous, yet creative story contributions.
Some of the subtler story ideas - rain instantaneously falling from the sky, a dwarf kicking Skeeter in the shin, Skeeter avoiding catching on fire at all costs - were both clever and funny. Skeeter re-imagined as a Roman gladiator or that outrageous bug-thing near trailer's end? Not so much. But this one's kid vid, so surely the target demo is going to eat it up.
Also expected to be released on this date: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Spirit, Hurricane Season, Marley & Me, Shanghai