This Week’s Theatrical Releases

1. Prom Night (2,700 Theaters, 88 Minutes, PG-13): I am not a big fan of horror films, especially remakes or ones rated PG-13. But this one has caught my attention.

It really is not a true remake, because it only shares a title and setting with the original, 1980 Prom Night. That film was about a quartet of teens who were hunted down at their senior prom in retribution for something they did 6 years earlier. This version is a completely different story, one ripped from today’s headlines.

This time around, the killer is an ex-teacher who had become obsessed with one of his student, so obsessed that he killed her parents. He escapes from prison on the night of the student’s prom and makes a beeline to the event. Hacking and slashing ensues.

It seems that everyday there is a news story about a teacher somewhere getting involved with a student. Sometimes, these relationships turn so obsessive that the teacher cannot bear to be apart from the kid, putting their own freedom in jeopardy just to keep in contact. It is a logical conclusion that that kind of fixation could eventually lead to murder. And this movie plays on that conclusion, which is a brilliant concept.

The best horror plays on real world fears. This movie certainly does that. Will it be executed well? That’s another question entirely.

2. Street Kings (2,467 Theaters, 107 Minutes, Rated R): We follow a quasi-remake of a film from the 1980s with one that feels like it could have been made in the 1980s. At least that how I feel after hearing the copy for the TV ad, which describes Keanu Reeves’ character as a cop on the edge that must clear his name by breaking all the rules. Sounds like that this might have been a project for Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson around 1983.

But this has a lot of things going for it. It is based on a James Ellroy story, which is a definite plus in my book. And any supporting cast that features Emmy winner Hugh Laurie and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker can’t be all bad, even if it also features no less than two rappers (The Game and Common) AND Cedric the Entertainer.

Notice I didn’t say anything about Keanu. That’s because this blog has already upset Mr. Reeves’ legion of fans, and I don’t want to antagonize them more.

So, will this movie be retro cool? Will it be a brainless cop drama? Will it be a good, cheesy action flick? Or a film more serious than it should be? I guess we’ll have to find out.

3. Smart People (1,106 Theaters, 95 Minutes, Rated R): There is a saying that goes, “nothing succeeds like success”. This maxim is especially true in Hollywood, where one successful film is sure to spawn a plethora of impostors soon after. This one, a 2008 Sundance Film Festival entry, has the feel of Little Miss Sunshine to it.

No road trip in a van this time around, but it does feature the similar quality of quirky people acting quirky. And both casts feature numerous Oscar-nominees, TV to movie émigrés, and mixtures of under appreciated veterans with hot, up and coming newcomers.

The story is about a widowed professor who finally begins to feel romantic feeling for someone; only to have his romance jeopardized by his pothead adopted brother and sullen daughter.

Usually, the copycat movies might capture the feel of the movie they are copying, but lack what made the original special. This might be the case here.

About William Gatevackes 1952 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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