A note to future studio executives: don’t bother opening movies on Halloween. The box office took a hit last weekend with nearly every movie in the top-five coming in with lower numbers then had been anticipated. This week that should change with the release of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, which is expected to pull down huge numbers even though we don’t know one person who will ever see it. Here’s a handy guide to the weekend’s other new releases.
What’s the story: Jean-Claude Van Damme (yep) stars as "Jean-Claude Van Damme" in this meta tale about the down on his luck actor coming to grips with his own failures while also being caught up in a bank heist gone wrong. The trailer is bananas and leads us to believe that Mr. Van Damme’s comeback film, which owes large debts to Dog Day Afternoon and the works of Charlie Kaufman, could be pretty awesome.
Who should see it: Steven Seagal.
What’s the story: Two estranged soul singers come together for one last concert. Snore. Mostly, Soul Men will be remembered for the late Bernie Mac and for the possible lawsuit that Sam Moore, the surviving member of 60s soul act Sam & Dave, might bring against the Weinstein Company for stealing his life story. Great! Mr. Mac looks appropriately funny in the trailer, even if the film itself seems like an arch combination of Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Grumpy Old Men coated in every African-American stereotype you can imagine. The late Isaac Hayes also co-stars along with Samuel L. Jackson who, in a twist, delivers every line by yelling.
Who should see it: Sam Moore’s lawyers.
What’s the story: We’ve been watching the trailer for Role Models since August when it played in front of Pineapple Express, and we’re still laughing-out-loud. Sure, Role Models is an Apatow rip-off in premise–two man-children realize they can’t be kids forever and are forced to grow-up–but this time it actually looks funny. That probably has a lot to do with director David Wain, the fertile mind behind The State as well as Wet Hot American Summer (we’ll pretend The Ten didn’t happen). Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Seann William Scott (Stifler!) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin!) co-star, but we’re most interested in Bobb’e J. Thompson. With a foul mouth and whip crack timing, Mr. Thompson steals the trailer in ways we haven’t seen since… well, McLovin.
Who should see it: Kevin Smith.