By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
The Devil's Double
The true story of the Iraqi army lieutenant who was forced to undergo plastic surgery to become the body double for Uday Hussein, Saddam's psycho-killer son, inspired this Scarface-like thriller. Dominic Cooper plays both versions of Uday; Ludivine Sagnier co-stars for director Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day).
* AUG. 5 *
Two buddies—a hunky single guy (Ryan Reynolds) and a bored married guy (Justin Bateman)—experience a magical body switch and discover the pros and cons of living the other's life in this film directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers).
The infamous 1964 cross-country trip novelist Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters took across America—while happily blitzed-out on a new drug called LSD—is recalled in this new documentary by Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Alison Ellwood (American High) that's narrated by Stanley Tucci.
Rachel Weisz stars as the real-life Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who went to Bosnia in 1999 as a U.N. peacekeeper and eventually uncovered a sex-trafficking operation with ties to the U.N. itself. Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn co-star for director Larysa Kondracki.
* AUG. 12 *
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Once upon a time—1973, to be exact—a made-for-TV movie about a woman being terrorized by whispering, invisible goblins living beneath her bricked-up basement fireplace scared the heck out of many a viewer. Katie Holmes stars in this long-in-the-works remake, with Guy Pearce as her clueless husband. This thriller was co-produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by newcomer Troy Nixey.
In 1962, a budding journalist (Emma Stone) returns to her Jackson, Mississippi, hometown and stirs up trouble when she begins interviewing and writing about the black women who work as maids for the town's rich whites. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Sissy Spacek, Bryce Dallas Howard and Cicely Tyson co-star in this film written and directed by Tate Taylor, who adapted his friend Kathryn Stockett's bestseller.
30 Minutes or Less
The only method Dwayne (Danny McBride) can devise to raise the cash he needs to hire a hitman (Michael Peña) to kill his father (Fred Ward) is to strap a bomb onto a pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) and order him to go rob a bank. The comedy was directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland).
* AUG. 19 *
The rarely discussed U.S. occupation of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th Century is dramatized in the new film from writer/director John Sayles (Matewan). Joel Torre stars as a mild-mannered village elder torn between loyalty to his people and a desire to appease the Americans. Garret Dillahunt co-stars.
Conan the Barbarian
Jason Momoa stars as the sword-and-sorcery hero who battles ancient gods, monsters and other big-pec'd men. Rose McGowan co-stars for director Marcus Nispel.
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World
Only a retired secret agent (Jessica Alba) and her stepkids (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook) can save the world from the evil Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven), as written and directed by Robert Rodriguez.
* AUG. 26 *
Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) produced this documentary-style thriller that purports to tell the true story of the alien life forms that ate the crew of Apollo 18, as directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
The Hamptons home where 30-year-old Eric (Jason Sudeikis) and his friends have partied for years is being sold. What to do? Throw an orgy, of course. Lake Bell, Leslie Bibb and Will Forte co-star in this film, written and directed by Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory.
Our Idiot Brother
Paul Rudd stars as the idiot in question, who is broke and homeless and creating havoc in the lives of his three sisters (Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel and Elizabeth Banks), in this film directed by Jesse Peretz.
This article appeared in print as "This Season Opener: Superheroes, sequels and TWO Conans! Summer 2011 has arrived."