Stater columnist chimes in on weekend movies

Bob Mackey

At this point in the summer, we’re all sick of that giant orb of discomfort in the sky punishing those living in places too close to the equator (such as Ohio) without conditioned air. Luckily, the movie industry offers us two-hour refuges at pre-WWII German inflation prices. The following films coming out this Friday may not be very good, but they’ll at least give you some time in the refrigerated depths of your local Cineplex to recover from the June heat – saving you from napping in a mall fountain like so many hoboes.

1408: Those who think Stephen King is still the master of horror probably haven’t picked up one of his thrillers lately – or maybe they have. The thoughts, “I spent $18 on this piece of trash?” or, “That surely wasn’t worth the brief trip to the library!” are more frightening than any of the famed author’s recent prose. But with 1408, there remains some hope: It’s being billed as a sort of return to form, echoing The Shining in its haunted house theme. In the film, John Cusack plays a skeptical debunker of paranormal activity who seeks to prove that the myth of a deadly hotel room is just the fevered dreams of bored housewives. As we all know, however, there will be no elaborate Scooby-Doo-pulling-off-the-masks-of-monsters scenarios here – unless Stephen King has really lost his mind and that van accident from a decade ago knocked loose more parts of his brain than we originally thought.

A Mighty Heart: What’s wrong with you, Hollywood? In a month when people want to watch superheroes and intergalactic surfers made out of precious metals, you release a movie based on the story of Daniel Pearl, a journalist abducted and murdered in Pakistan. The film is already receiving criticism for putting Angelina Jolie in what basically amounts to blackface. If I were allowed to put a frowny-face emoticon in print, I would do it here. But after all is said and done, because this is an Angelina Jolie role – and despite the grim source material – within minutes after this movie premieres, perverts will have already screen-capped and uploaded all the scenes in which she’s not wearing a bra.

Contact entertainment columnist Bob Mackey at [email protected].