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Summer of the three-quel

Brian Larson /The Week

(Published May 3, 2007, 3:01 p.m.)

The wait is almost over fellow flicksters and popcorn munchers out there.

That’s right, the summer movie season is about to land right on top of us and it’s truly hitting with a bang—no less than three, count ‘em three, of the biggest movies of the summer (Spider-Man 3, Shrek the 3rd and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) are coming our way in the next month.

Usually Hollywood will give us a mega blockbuster at the beginning of May and not another until sometime in June, but not so this year.

And speaking of three … there is no doubt in my mind that three is the magic number this summer.

Like any other summer, there’s a barrage of blockbuster sequels headed our way, but this year a surprising amount of them seem to be threepeats … there’s the aforementioned Spider-man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Shrek 3 for starters. Then there’s Ocean’s 13 (a cleverly disguised 3), The Bourne Ultimatum (a 3 in denial) and Rush Hour 3 (hey, there’s that number 3 again). Then there’s Transformers. It’s got three syllables. Yeah, okay that one’s a stretch.

Kicking things off this year is everyone’s favorite web-slinger who, I hear, does whatever a spider can … spins a web — any size — catches thieves .... well, you know the rest. Look out, here comes …

 

Spider-Man 3 — Opening this weekend, Tobey Maguire returns as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (as opposed to that jerk Spider-Man in the next town) to duke it out with a new baddie whom he learns is the true killer of his Uncle Ben (anyone else suddenly craving rice? Sorry, bad joke. There’s more where that came from.)

 

Enter the Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church), an escaped convict who is involved in an accident that swaps out his molecules with sand and gives him incredible shape-shifting abilities.

At the same time, Peter Parker also finds himself falling under the influence of a mysterious black ooze that fuses itself to the Spider suit and not only greatly enhances his powers, but brings out his dark side.

If that’s not enough for poor Pete to deal with, he also has to contend with his ex-friend Harry (James Franco), who still believes Spider-Man killed his father (the first film’s villain, the Green Goblin) and is now completely consumed with revenge.

And I haven’t even gotten to his troubled romance with MJ (Kirsten Dunst) or his rivalry with fellow Bugle photographer Eddie Brock (Topher Grace). Yikes … sounds like enough for at least a couple movies.

Here’s hoping it’s not overkill. Spider-Man 3 also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell, Rosemary Harris and J.K. Simmons and was directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man 2). Official Web site: spiderman3.sonypictures.com

 

Also this weekend

 

Lucky You — Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore star in this drama (with just a hint of romance for the women out there) about a card shark who faces off against his own estranged father (Robert Duvall) in a championship poker game. Lucky You also stars Debra Messing and Robert Downy Jr. and was directed by Curtis Hanson (In Her Shoes). Official Web site: www.luckyyoumovie.com

 

September Dawn — Based on true events, this controversial drama details the tragic story of the massacre of 140 settlers traveling west through Utah in 1857 by native Mormons. September Dawn stars Jon Voight, Jon Gries, Dean Cain, Terence Stamp and Lolita Davidovich and was directed by Christopher Cain (Young Guns). Official Web site: www.septemberdawn.net

 

May 11

 

28 Weeks Later — The sequel to the zombie horror flick 28 Days Later, this one picks up six months after the last one left off in plague-ridden London as the U.S. Army is arriving to help rebuild. Unfortunately, an unknowing carrier of the deadly Rage virus has returned to the city, thereby possibly setting us up for 28 Months Later? 28 Weeks Later stars Jeremy Renner, Rose Byrne and Robert Carlyle and was directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Official Web site: www.28weekslatermovie.com

 

Delta Farce — Blue Collar Comedians Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall team up again to star in this laugher about a hapless trio of friends (D.J. Qualls is the third) who are mistaken for Army Reservists and are thrown on a plane headed for Iraq. A funny thing happens on the way to Fallujah, though, as they unknowingly get dropped in the middle of Mexico and have to contend with a local druglord. Delta Farce also stars Danny Trejo and Keith David and was directed by C.B. Harding (Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie). Official Web site: lionsgate.com/deltafarce

 

The Flock — Richard Gere heads up this thriller as a federal agent who vigilantly tries to track down a missing girl seemingly connected to a paroled sex offender he has been investigating. The Flock also stars Claire Danes and was directed by Andrew Lau. Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

Home of the Brave — This delayed war drama sees three soldiers having troubles readjusting to “normal” life after returning home from their lengthy tour of duties in Iraq. Home of the Brave also stars 50 Cent, Jessica Biel and Samuel L. Jackson and was directed by Irwin Winkler (Life as a House). Official Web site: www.mgm.com/sites/homeofthebrave

 

Georgia Rule — In this drama from director Gary Marshall (Pretty Woman), Lindsay Lohan stars as a rebellious teen (there’s a stretch) named Rachel. In an effort to curb her daughter’s persistent bad behavior, Lily (Felicity Huffman) sends Rachel to spend some time on the family farm with her noononsense grandmother Georgia (Jane Fonda). Georgia Rule also stars Dermot Mulroney and Garrett Hedlund. Official Web site: www.georgiarulemovie.net

 

May 18

 

Captivity — In this horror-thriller, a high-profile fashion model (Elisha Cuthbert) is kidnapped and tortured by a twisted serial killer. Feel-good movie of the summer? You be the judge. Captivity also stars Pruitt Taylor-Vince, Daniel Gillies, Laz Alonso and Michael Harney and was directed by Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields). Official Web site: captivitythemovie.com

 

The Ex — “Scrubs” star Zach Braff (Garden State) stars in this comedy about a guy named Tom who is forced into working for his father-in-law (Charles Grodin) when his wife (Amanda Peet) decides to be a stay at home mom. Complications arise when Tom’s co-worker (Jason Bateman) reveals he has had a past with his wife. The Ex also stars Amy Poehler and Mia Farrow and was directed by Jesse Peretz. Official Web site: www.theexmovie.com

 

Shrek the 3rd — This computer animated sequel begins with the big green guy coming to a shocking realization. It seems that Fiona’s father is ailing and that means he’s next in line to become the ruler of the kingdom of Far Far Away. To make matters worse, the jilted Prince Charming is plotting a coup to take back what he believes is his. Shrek the 3rd features voices by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Rupert Everett and Justin Timberlake and was directed by Chris Miller and Raman Hui. Official Web site: www.shrekthethird.com

 

May 25

 

Bug — William Friedkin (The Exorcist) directs this bizarre-sounding thriller about a lonely waitress (Ashley Judd) hiding out from her abusive ex-husband in a run-down motel room. One day, a somewhat unhinged Gulf War vet turned drifter arrives the motel and the two begin an affair with one another. Things seem to be going well for the two, until (here comes the bizarre sounding part) the vet confesses a violent obsession with ridding himself and others of bugs he thinks are living under everyone’s skin. Bug also stars Michael Shannon and Harry Connick Jr. Official Web site: bugthemovie.com

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End — Jack … sorry, Captain Jack (Johnny Depp) is back in this continuation of the last Pirates movie that saw our favorite swaggering, mascara-wearing buccaneer becoming kraken snack(en). This time out, the crew of the Black Pearl, captained once again by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), will travel to the Far East and to the ends of the world (hence the subtitle) in order to bring Jack back from the belly of the beastie (and beyond). Standing in their way once again is squidhead Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), now under the control and command of Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander) who has a firm hold on his disembodied heart. Betrothed sweethearts Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) are back for the adventure, too. Oh, and yes, the rumor is true—Jack’s dad, played by none other than Rolling Stone (and supposed inspiration for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jack) Keith Richards will finally make an appearance. Just keep him out of the coconut trees. Pirates 3 also stars Jonathan Pryce, Chow Yun-Fat, Stellan Skarsgard, Kevin McNally, Mackenzie Crook and Lee Arenberg and was directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2). Official Web site: piratesofthecaribbeanmovie.com

June1

 

Knocked Up — The director of The 40 Year Old Virgin (Judd Apatow) returns to bring us yet another comedy that’s raunchy, yet morally centered. In it an average guy (Seth Rogan) has a one-night stand with a beautiful girl (Katherine Heigl) who is way out of his league and, as the title so bluntly suggests, ends up with an unplanned pregnancy. Yes, this is supposedly a comedy. Knocked Up also stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. Official Web site: www.knockedupmovie.com

 

Gracie — In this drama in the spirit of Bend It Like Beckham, a young girl in New Jersey fights for the chance to play on her high school’s boys varsity soccer team. Gracie stars Carly Schroeder, Andrew Shue and Elizabeth Shue and was directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth). Official Web site: www.findinggracie.com

 

Mr. Brooks — Kevin Costner heads up this psychological thriller as a successful businessman with a hidden alter ego, that of an insatiable serial killer. Hot on his trail is a tenacious detective played by Demi Moore. Mr. Brooks also stars William Hurt, Dane Cook and Johann Urb and was directed by Bruce A. Evans (Kuffs). Official Web site: www.theressomethingaboutmrbrooks.com

 

Rise: Blood Hunter — Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels) stars in this seemingly female version of The Crow as a murdered woman who “wakes up” in the morgue and is destined to walk the Earth as a member of the undead, in search of those responsible for her untimely demise. Rise: Blood Hunter also stars Michael Chiklis, Carla Gugino and James D’Arcy and was directed by Sebastian Gutierrez. Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

June 8

 

Ocean’s Thirteen — An unlucky number for some, Warner Bros. and movie goers alike are both no doubt hoping this Thirteen turns out better than the previous 12 which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for some. Most of the gang (including George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon) is back again (sans Julia Roberts and the 1st sequel’s Catherine Zeta-Jones) and back in Vegas for yet another heist to end all heists, this time against a conniving casino owner (Al Pacino) who has double-crossed one of their own. Ocean’s Thirteen also stars Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Andy Garcia and Ellen Barkin and Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven). Official Web site: oceans13.warnerbros.com

 

Hostel: Part II — The bloodlust continues with this torture-horror sequel that sees three young and unsuspecting American women (who are studying art in Rome) lured away to a Slovakian hostel where more horrific atrocities await them. Hostel: Part II stars Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo and Bijou Phillips and was directed by Eli Roth (Hostel). Official Web site: www.hostel2.com

 

Surf’s Up — The penguin parade continues with this computer-animated family flick, a behind-the-scenes look at the annual Penguin World Surfing Championships. Didn’t know penguins surfed, huh? Well last year you didn’t know penguins danced either, did yah? Surf’s Up features the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Jeff Bridges, Jane Krakowski, Michael McKean and Diedrich Bader and was directed by Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck (Tarzan). Official Web site: www.sonypictures.com/movies/surfsup

June 15

 

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer — First we’ll get surfing penguins (Surf’s Up) and now we’ve got what appears to be Oscar’s long lost silver twin brother hangin’ ten in this sequel to the superhero flick from ’05. This time around, Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), the Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), The Human Torch (Chris Evans) and The Thing (Michael Chiklis) jump into action when a mysterious silver dude from outer space shows up on his surfboard and threatens planetary destruction in his wake. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer also stars Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Andre Braugher and Beau Garrett and was directed by Tim Story (Fantastic Four). Official Web site: www.riseofthesilversurfer.com

 

Nancy Drew — What’s old is new yet again in this update of the classic kids mystery book series that started in the 1930s. In it, Emma Roberts (Aquamarine) stars as the girl detective of the title who goes on a trip to Los Angeles with her father only to get mixed up in a mystery involving a movie star. Nancy Drew also stars Rachael Leigh Cook, Tate Donovan and Max Thieriot and was direct by Andrew Fleming (The In-Laws). Official Web site: www.nancydrewmovie.com

 

I Could Never Be Your Woman — In this delayed romantic comedy, Michelle Pfeiffer plays an older woman who falls for a younger man (Paul Rudd). I Could Never Be Your Woman also stars Stacey Dash and was directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless). Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

Evening — Vanessa Redgrave leads this drama about a dying woman who looks back on her life and when she met her true love, while her daughters deal with their feelings of losing their mother. Evening also stars Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Patrick Wilson, Natasha Richardson, Glenn Close and Hugh Dancy and was directed by Lajos Koltai. Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

Fido — In this bizarre comedy/horror flick that takes place in a world (cue the movie trailer voice-over guy) where zombies are kept as pets, a young boy’s best friend (a zombie named Fido) eats the next-door neighbor and the boy’s parents threaten to get rid of him as a result. Sounds like a real heart warmer, doesn’t it? Fido stars Billy Connolly, Carrie-Anne Moss, Dylan Baker and Tim Blake Nelson and was directed by Andrew Currie. Official Web site:

www.fidothemovie.com

 

June 22

 

Black Sheep — This horror comedy import from New Zealand tells the tale of a genetic experiment that goes horribly awry and leads to the country’s 40 million sheep turning violent. Black Sheep stars Oliver Driver, Peter Feeney and Tammy Davis and was directed by Jonathan King. Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

Evan Almighty — Bruce learned his lesson and now it’s Evan’s turn. Steve Carrell’s newfound fame (thanks to starring in the hit comedy movie The 40 Year Old Virgin and the hit comedy TV show The Office) helped bring about this Carrey-less (as in Jim) sequel in which his small role in the first movie now takes center stage. In it, Evan has moved on from being a television anchorman and has taken up politics. Unfortunately for him, in the middle of Evan’s campaign for Congress, God (Morgan Freeman again) comes calling, telling him to follow in Noah’s sandaled footsteps and prepare for a great flood by building an ark. Evan Almighty also stars Lauren Graham, Wanda Sykes, John Goodman and Molly Shannon and was directed by Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty). Official Web site: www.evanalmighty.com

 

DOA: Dead or Alive — In this action flick based on a video game, four beautiful yet deadly women are summoned to an exotic island to partake in an extreme fighting tournament. DOA: Dead or Alive stars Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Sarah Carter, Holly Valance and Eric Roberts and was directed by Corey Yuen (The Transporter). Official Web site: www.gscmovies.com.my/msite/doa

 

A Mighty Heart — Angelina Jolie stars in this true story about a woman who desperately searches for her missing husband, a journalist who was abducted while on assignment in Pakistan. A Mighty Heart also stars Dan Futterman, Irfan Khan, Adnan Siddiqui and Alyy Khan and was directed by Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People). Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

June 27

 

Live Free or Die Hard — Yes, it’s a dorky title (so you’re saying Die Harder and Die Hard with a Vengeance weren’t?), but it’s true, detective John “Yippee-Kii-Yii-Yay” MacClaine (Bruce Willis) is back (but apparently his hair isn’t) to single-handedly take on a new batch of terrorists. This time, the bad guys are plotting to throw the entire United States back into the dark ages via an attack on the Internet. Justin Long plays tag-along as MacClaine’s obligatory sidekick. Live Free or Die Hard also stars Maggie Q, Jeffrey Wright and Timothy Olyphant and was directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld: Evolution). Official Web site: www.livefreeordiehard.com

June 29

 

Mama’s Boy — Jon Heder (forever Napoleon Dynamite) stars in this comedy about a 29- year old slacker who still lives with his mom (Diane Keaton) and sees no reason to move out. Unfortunately for him, his mom falls in love with a motivational speaker (Jeff Daniels) who moves in and threatens his seemingly perfect world. Mama’s Boy also stars Anna Faris and Sarah Chalke and was directed by Tim Hamilton. Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

The Martian Child — John Cusack stars in this drama about a guy who adopts an eccentric young boy who believes he’s been sent from Mars to study humans. Think Big Daddy meets K-Pax … or maybe don’t. The Martian Child also stars Amanda Peet, Bobby Coleman, Joan Cusack and Oliver Platt and was directed by Menno Meyjes. Official Web site: www.martianchild.com

 

Ratatouille — It’s pronounced Rat-a-too-ee and it’s the latest offering from those computer-animation geniuses at Pixar. Directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles), this family flick tells the story of a rat living in a Paris bistro who dreams of becoming a chef, despite being severly unwelcomed in every restaurant he visits. Ratatouille features the voices of Patton Oswalt, Peter O’Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm and Brian Dennehy. Official Web site: www.ratatouille.com

 

You Kill Me — Ben Kingsley stars in this comedy about a recovering alcoholic assassin who gets a job in a mortuary and meets a young woman (Téa Leoni) who turns out to be a relative of one of his previous hits. You Kill Me also stars Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina and Philip Baker Hall and was directed by John Dahl (Rounders). Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

Death at a Funeral — Frank Oz (Bowfinger) directs this comedy/drama about a family gathering for their patriarch’s funeral only to be shocked when the deceased unknown gay lover arrives and threatens blackmail. Death at a Funeral stars Matthew MacFayden, Peter Dinklage, Ewen Bremner, Rupert Graves and Alan Tudyk. Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

July 6

 

Transformers — Director Michael Bay (Armageddon) brings on the fireworks, robot-style, this Independence Day weekend in this ’80s toon turned live-action special-effects extravaganza. In it, two factions of shape-shifting robots descend upon our planet—one group, of course wants to destroy us, the other, to save us. Both want us to buy their toys. Standing pitifully in their way are a group of humans played by Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Bernie Mac and Anthony Anderson. Robots in disguise? Clearly. More than meets the eye? We’ll see. Official Web site: www.transformersmovie.com

 

License to Wed — Fans of TV’s The Office will see a lot of familiar faces in this comedy about an engaged couple (Mandy Moore and John Krasinski) who are put through a grueling marriage prep course by the preacher (Robin Williams) of the church in which they wish to marry. License to Wed also stars Eric Christian Olsen, Christine Taylor, Rachael Harris, Peter Strauss and DeRay Davis and was directed by Ken Kwapis (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Official Web site: www.

licensetowedthemovie.com

July 13

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — Wizard in training Harry Potter is back for a fifth time and it appears he and his friends Ron and Hermoine are in for a bumpy road ahead. Last time we saw Harry, he narrowly escaped an attack from Lord Voldemort, but with no other witnesses to back up his story, no one (other than Professor Dumbledore) believes his warnings of the evil wizard’s threat to return. Because of this, Harry takes matters into his own hands and forms his own small army of fellow students in an effort to prepare for the worst. Harry Potter 5 stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith and Imelda Staunton and was directed by David Yates. Official Web site: www.harrypotterorderofthephoenix.com

 

The Strangers — Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler star in this psycho-thriller about a couple whose vacation home is targeted by three masked assailants. The Strangers was directed by Bryan Bertino. Official Web site: Coming soon.

 

1408 — John Cusack heads up this thriller (based on the story from Stephen King) as a supernatural writer who bunks up in a New York City hotel room that has been deemed haunted. 1408 also stars Samuel L. Jackson and Mary McCormack and was directed by Mikael Håfström (Derailed). Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Rescue Dawn — Christian Bale (Batman Begins) stars in this adventure thriller set during the Vietnam War about a U.S. fighter pilot who is shot down and captured. With the help of other POWs in the camp, he’s able to escape, but must brave the jungles and hope that someone will rescue him. One guess as to what time of day he’ll be rescued. Rescue Dawn also stars Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies and Marshall Bell and was directed by Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man). Official Web site: www.gibraltarfilms.com/projects/rescuedawn

 

 

 

July 20

 

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry — Adam Sandler and Kevin James are the Chuck and Larry of the title in this romantic comedy (just kiddin’) about two manly men firefighters who pretend to be gay and get married in order to receive “domestic partner benefits.” I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry also stars Jessica Biel, Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd and Ving Rhames and was directed by Dennis Dugan (Big Daddy). Official Web site:

www.chuckandlarry.com

 

Hairspray — This remake of the bizarro John Waters comedy tells the tale of a heavyweight teen living in the ’60s who wins a spot on a local TV dance show. Oh, and if that’s not enough to bring in the crowds, it has John Travolta in drag. Hairspray also stars Nikki Blonsky, Amanda Bynes, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer and James Marsden and was directed by Adam Shankman (Bringing Down the House). Official Web site:

www.hairspraymovie.com

 

Son of Rambow: A Home Movie — In this British import coming of age comedy, a sheltered young boy growing up in the ‘80s stumbles upon a pirated copy of First Blood and is forever changed. He soon forms an unlikely friendship with a bully who enlists him to be the stuntman in all his home movies. Son of Rambow stars Bill Milner, Will Poulter, Zofia Brooks, Neil Dudgeon, Tallulah Evans and Adam Godley and was directed by Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Official Web site: www.sonoframbow.com

July 27

 

Skinwalkers — In this horror/thriller, a young boy who is half human, half werewolf holds the key to breaking the curse that plagues his kind, but there are those who will stop at nothing to make sure a cure is never found. Skinwalkers stars Jason Behr, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Kim Coates and Sarah Carter and was directed by James Isaac (Jason X). Official Web site: www.skinwalkers.com

 

The Simpsons Movie — It’s been a long time coming, but the family Simpson (and darn near everyone else in Springfield) are finally hitting the big screens this summer. The plot is being kept tightly under wraps, but if you’re already a fan you probably don’t really care what it’s about anyway, right? The Simpsons Movie features the voices of Dan Castellaneta, Juli Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Minnie Driver, Kelsey Grammer, Albert Brooks and Joe Mantegna and was directed by David Silverman (Monsters, Inc.). Official Web site: www.simpsonsmovie.com

 

No Reservations — Catherine Zeta Jones leads in this drama about a workaholic chef whose life is turned, yes, upside down when she suddenly becomes the guardian of her young niece (Abigail Breslin). No Reservations also stars Aaron Eckhart, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade and Lily Rabe and was directed by Scott Hicks (Shine). Official Web site: noreservationsmovie.warnerbros.com

 

Stardust — This star-packed fantasy/romance tells the tale of a young man who goes in search of a falling star in order to woo the girl of his dreams. Stardust stars Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Robert DeNiro, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ian McKellen, Peter O’Toole, Ricky Gervais and Rupert Everett and was directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake). Official Web site: www.stardustmovie.com

 

 

August 3

 

Underdog — As another classic toon gets the live action treatment, faithful fans of the canine superhero are sure to be hoping that “there’s no need to fear” here. Trading a traditionally (or even CG) animated pooch for the real deal (albeit CG-enhanced to allow him to talk and sound a lot like Jason Lee), this Underdog for the 21st century is adopted by a 12-year-old boy all while taking a bite out of crime. Wait, that’s McGruff the crime dog. Underdog also features the voice of Amy Adams (as love interest Polly Purebred) and stars Alex Neuberger, Patrick Warburton, James Belushi, Taylor Momsen and Peter Dinklage and was directed by Frederik Du Chau (Racing Stripes). Official Web site: disney.go.com/disneypictures/underdog

 

The Bourne Ultimatum — Amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) returns in this second action/thriller sequel (good luck to future movie watchers in figuring out the order of the movies in this numeral-less titled series) to continue his search for secrets about his true identity and past. I could tell you more about the plot, but he would have to kill you. The Bourne Ultimatum also stars Edgar Ramirez, Joan Allen, Paddy Considine, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox, Chris Cooper and David Strathairn and was directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy). Official Web site: www.thebourneultimatum.com

 

Hot Rod — Saturday Night Live cast member Andy Samberg stars in this comedy about a hapless daredevil who announces he plans to jump his moped over the Snake River in an attempt to impress his unimpressed, distant stepfather. Hot Rod also stars Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek, Isla Fisher, Chris Parnell and Will Arnett and was directed by Akiva Schaffer. Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Charlie Bartlett — In this drama, a wealthy teen (Anton Yelchin) finds a way to fit in at his new public high school by following in Lucy Van Pelt’s footsteps and becoming the school’s resident psychiatrist. Charlie Bartlett also stars Robert Downey Jr. and Hope Davis and was directed by Jon Poll. Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Becoming Jane — Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada) stars in this drama as young Jane Austen before she became the famous novelist we all know and (some) love. Anyone else see the title and at first fear this to be a long lost Ed Wood movie (Glen or Glenda sequel anyone)? Becoming Jane also stars Julie Waters, James McAvoy, Maggie Smith and Jessica Ashworth and was directed by Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots). Official Web site: www.becomingjanemovie.co.uk

 

Resurrecting the Champ — Josh Hartnett stars in this drama as a young sports reporter who stumbles upon a homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson) whom he believes is actually a former boxing champ that everyone has long forgotten and assumed to be dead. Sounds like he needs a better manager. Resurrecting the Champ also stars Teri Hatcher, Alan Alda, David Paymer, Peter Coyote, Kathryn Morris and Dakota Goyo and was directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender). Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

August 10

 

Rush Hour 3 — Motor-mouth Chris Tucker teams up once again with motor … uh, limbs I guess, Jackie Chan in this sequel that sees the odd couple oui oui-ing and fighting Chinese gangsters in Paris. Rush Hour 3 also stars Vinnie Jones, Hiroyuki Sanada, Max von Sydow and Noémie Lenoir and was directed by Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand). Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Daddy Day Camp — Cuba Gooding Jr. continues his seemingly downward career decline by filling in for Eddie Murphy in this somewhat needless sequel to the family comedy hit Daddy Day Care. Daddy Day Camp also stars Paul Rae and Brian Doyle-Murray and was directed by Fred Savage (yup, the kid from “Wonder Years”). Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

August 17

 

The Invasion — Nicole Kidman stars in this somewhat troubled (see next sentence for details) sci-fi thriller about a psychiatrist who stumbles upon the beginnings of an alien epidemic. The first cut of this remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers didn’t completely please the suits at Warner Bros. so they brought in the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix) to reshoot the ending. The duo did just that, but ultimately also wound up redoing nearly 2/3 of the entire film. Incidentally, this is the film with the stunt car accident involving Kidman that made the news a while back. The Invasion also stars Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam and Malin Akerman and was directed by (at least at first) Oliver Hirschbiegel. Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Superbad — This teen comedy (which seems to tread similar ground as American Pie, sans the defiled dessert) tells the story of a couple of friends in their senior year at high school who face separation anxiety when they realize they’re slated to attend different colleges. Superbad stars Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Bill Hader and Evan Goldberg and was directed by Greg Mottola. Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Wedding Daze — Speaking of American Pie (see above), former dessert defiler himself Jason Biggs stars in this comedy as a guy whose marriage proposal goes horribly awry (basically she dies … doesn’t get much more awry-ier than that). Years later, his best friend coaxes him back into the dating world and, on a whim, he proposes to a beautiful girl (Ilsa Fisher) who shockingly says yes. Hilarity ensues. Wedding Daze also stars Rod Corddry, Edward Hermann and Michael Weston and was directed by Michael Ian Black. Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Bratz: The Movie — A best selling toy line, a hit after school toon and a series of direct to video CG animated movies … it was only a matter of time when the four ethnically diverse girlfriends with a passion for fashion (their words, not mine) would get their own live action, theatrical movie. The real question is are they going to use CG to enhance the girls’ live action counterparts to have bigger heads with huge eyes and lips, clumpy big feet and no noses? Sorry, you can tell I’m not the target market for this one. Bratz: The Movie stars Paula Abdul, Skyler Shaye, Janel Parrish, Malese Jow and Kim Moran Green and was directed by Sean McNamara (Raise Your Voice). Official Web site: www.bratzthemovie.com

 

August 24

 

Good Luck Chuck — Stand-up comedian Dane Cook stars in this comedy as a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy who is shocked to learn that the women he’s been lovin’ and leavin’ are actually are using him as a good luck charm to find their own true loves. Good Luck Chuck also stars Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Michael Teigen and Chiara Zanni and was directed by Mark Helfrich. Official Web site: lionsgate.com/goodluckchuck

 

The Comebacks — In this comedic sports flick, a college football coach (David Koechner, Anchorman) vows to turn his losing streak around by utilizing the tried and true movie method of putting together a new team of misfits with hidden potentials. The Comebacks also stars Melora Hardin, Matthew Lawrence, Eric Christian Olsen, Carl Weathers, Jon Gries, D.J. Qualls and Andy Dick and was directed by Tom Brady (The Hot Chick). Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

The Last Legion — In this epic adventure set in ancient Rome, a group of soldiers set out to rescue their emperor, a 12-year-old boy, who is being held captive by a horde of barbarians on the island of Capri. The Last Legion stars Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, Aishwarya Rai, Thomas Sangster and Peter Mullan and was directed by Doug Lefler (Dragonheart: A New Beginning). Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

August 31

 

The Brothers Solomon — When their ailing father makes his final wish to be that of a grandchild, his two socially inept sons (Will Forte and Will Arnett) go on a desperate hunt for Mrs. Right Now. Where there’s two Wills, there’s a way, right? The Brothers Solomon also stars Chi McBride, Malin Akerman and Kristen Wiig and was directed Bob Odenkirk (Let’s Go to Prison). Official Web site: Coming Soon

 

Mr. Bean’s Holiday — Nearly speechless man-child Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson, Rat Race) returns in his newest comic adventure (which is already a hit internationally) that sees him vacationing in France and inadvertently ending up with a hit film in the Cannes film festival. Viewing the trailer should give fans reason to rejoice, as it seems more on par with the original short episodics than with the disappointing feature film debut Bean that came out in 1997. Mr. Bean’s Holiday also stars Willem Dafoe, Max Baldry, Steve Campos and Emma de Caunes and was directed by Steve Bendalack. Official Web site: www.beansholiday.com

 

As always, dates are subject to change without notice. Happy movie going!

 

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