By AMY NICHOLSON
By ALAN SCHERSTUHL
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By STEPHANIE ZACHAREK
By R. Scott Moxley
Explosions, pratfalls, and robots; heroes, aliens and blondes—it must be summertime at the movies.
Beyond the flash, though, it's striking to note just how many movies will require us to actually think this summer—aren't we supposed to save thinking for the fall? Maybe it's the election, but there are some pretty serious and intense flicks coming our way—docs and foreign films and dramas that don't guarantee a happy ending. The distributors must be nuts, but in a sweetly brave and naive way. And so, as an act of solidarity, we're taking the pledge: For every movie we see that's playing on more than one screen at the multiplex, we hereby vow to see one film that might be good for us. Because, as with pop idols and presidents, we get the movies we deserve.
[As with summer weather, baseball, and presidential race forecasts, all dates are subject to change. Opening dates are approximate for some films, meaning that they may not necessarily be opening in Orange County.]
THRILLS & CHILLS
The summer in action and horror
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.Man. Hat. Whip.
Stuck. A retirement-home caregiver (Mena Suvari) hits a newly homeless executive (Stephen Rea), and his body gets stuck in her windshield. She goes to bury him, but—uh, oh—he's still alive. Based on a true story. From Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon.
The Mother of Tears.Dario Argento directs his daughter, Asia, as an art student who inadvertently frees a demonic witch from an ancient urn. Concludes a trilogy that began with 1977's eternally creepy Suspiria.
The Incredible Hulk.Edward Norton goes green.
Hancock.Will Smith as a modern-day superhero who's becoming more famous for being drunk than for his ability to lift a whale with one hand.
Mad Detective.Hong Kong action masters Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai team up for this tale of an insane detective (literally) and his search for two missing cops. Watch for the split personality/split screen scene.
Midnight Meat Train.Bradley Cooper stars as a Manhattan photographer who becomes obsessed with finding a subway serial killer. The first in a series of films to be based on Clive Barker's hardcore-horror collection, Books of Blood.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.Brendan Fraser, lifelong Mummy catcher, goes to China.
Mirrors. In this remake of a South Korean film, Kiefer Sutherland battles a vengeful ghost in a haunted department store. In other words, stay out of the dressing room.
Babylon A.D.Vin Diesel in a near future world all gone to hell, trying to protect a woman whose baby will be the next Messiah. Don't worry: Vin will save us.
BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS
The summer in drama
Savage Grace.Scandalous events in the lives of the Baekeland family—heirs to the inventor of plastic—are recounted by director Tom Kalin (Swoon) and actors Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane and Eddie Redmayne
When Did You Last See Your Father?Colin Firth as an English writer attempting to reconcile with his ailing, larger-than-life father, played by Jim Broadbent. Based on Blake Morrison's acclaimed memoir of his 1950s childhood.
Expired. Love—or is it abuse?—blossoms between a shy meter maid (Samantha Morton) and her aggressive co-worker (Jason Patric). This film marks a welcome return to the screen by the recently ill and always delightful Teri Garr, in a dual role.
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