What's the Buzz?

Guide to Summer Films

Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Lopez in <i>The Cell</i>
Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Lopez in The Cell

Fighting for Their Life

Cause This Is Thriller Night

Halloween hits Hollywood a few months early this summer with a trio of supernatural thrillers that promise plenty of high-tech (and human!) eye candy. In Robert Zemeckis' heavily guarded What Lies Beneath (Jul 21), Michelle Pfeiffer is possessed by the ghost of a former student -- and lover -- of her professor husband (Harrison Ford). The film's trailer hints at a few Hitchcockian surprises, updated with the visual bravura and special effects that Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) so expertly weaves into his films. Ford, still suffering from his Random Hearts crash landing, and Pfeiffer, in a glut after a string of pedestrian films, look poised to redeem themselves finally. While Pfeiffer wrestles with ghosts from the past, Jennifer Lopez looks into the future and finds herself not far from hell. The Cell (Aug 18) casts Lopez as (deep breath) a psychotherapist who enters the mind of a serial killer (Vincent D'Onofrio) in order to save one of his victims. Once she enters, science gives way to disaster and traps her inside his mind, forcing her to experience the world through his distorted lens. The Cell marks the feature debut of Tarsem (the one-named director who previously won awards with his beer commercials) and looks to provide, if nothing else, a visual marvel exploring the inner workings of the human mind. Style over substance isn't necessarily a good thing (see Stigmata), but media magnet Lopez, along with Swingers' Vince Vaughn as an FBI agent, should at least raise some eyebrows. And speaking of visual marvels, Miramax is hoping to set America's loins ablaze with The Wisdom of Crocodiles (July), a sexy thriller that casts English toffee Jude Law as a vampire who finds himself unable to separate his sexual desire for his next victim from his will to live. Law made Wisdom long before his star turn in The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Miramax acquired it off the shelf hoping to cash in on his rising popularity. Quality or not, the casting of Law as a vampire alone proves the wisdom of casting directors.

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