Damn Dirty Remakes
Computer geeks, anyone stuck in the '70s, and simpletons who cannot relate to movies without II, III, IV or V in the title have plenty of reasons to clog local cineplexes this summer. Most blockbusters coming out over the next few months are either science-fiction fantasies, remakes from the disco era, sequels, or some combination of the three.
Oh, well: there's always autumn.
Here is a quick breakdown of movies scheduled for release this summer. Dates are subject to change. Check your local listings. Void in 17 states. Consult your physician. May induce vomiting.
JUNEThe Adventures of Felix. A French flick about a gay man who searches for the father he never knew. With English subtitles. The Animal. Rob Schneider is at death's door when he's saved by transplants of animal parts that wind up giving him animal attributes. Based on a true story. The Anniversary Party. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming wrote, directed and star in this allegedly well-done ditty about a party that devolves into an X-rated game of truth or dare. Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Disney's latest animated entry has a young cartographer fulfilling his grandfather's dream to find the underwater empire—and the future product tie-ins it holds. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Steven Spielberg returns to science fiction! The Sixth Sensekid stars! Blade Runner-like sets! Perhaps this should be titled A.B.: Artificial Buzz. Baby Boy. John Singleton may not return to the form he showed in Boyz 'N the Hood, but he's apparently returning to the subject matter: a young black man facing adulthood in the 'hood. Better Than Sex. A man and a woman go to an apartment. They take off their clothes. They have sex. The end. Big Eden. A lonely New York artist returning to his Montana home to care for his ailing grandfather so inspires the townsfolk that they fix him up with another guy. Too bad the artist has his eye on someone else. Bride of the Wind. Bruce Beresford's portrait of Alma Mahler (Sarah Wynter), an accomplished composer who married Gustav Mahler (Jonathan Pryce) before doin' the nasty all over town. The Burning Sensation. Documentary on the 1999 Burning Man gathering. Eminem does not star. The Closet. Grard Depardieu—come on, let's say it together: Jair-ahh-red Depp-arr-doo!—stars in this Miramax comedy about a bored accountant who starts a rumor that he's gay. Crazy Beautiful. Kirsten Dunst is a Palisades girl who rebels by romancing an East LA boy. Dr. Dolittle 2. Eddie Murphy returns to make all who know his genius wonder why the hell he makes crap like this. Everybody's Famous! A laid-off factory worker (Josse de Pauw) is so desperate to make his overweight teen daughter a pop singer that he kidnaps Belgium's most famous pop star. Can you say The King of Comedy? Evolution. A meteor crashes into the earth bearing one-celled organisms that evolve billions of times faster than we do. And then the yuks begin! Ivan Reitman directs, so there's a chance it's not lame. The Fast and the Furious. A policeman infiltrates LA gangs vying for power via street racing. Then he gets whacked by dirty Rampart cops. Okay, we made up the last part. For Da Luv of Money. Young African-American comic Pierre tries to pull a Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) by producing, writing, directing and starring in this low-budget tale about the changes a guy goes through after stolen loot is buried in his yard. Kiss of the Spider Woman. Hector Babenco's 1985 indie hit makes a revival run hot on the heels of the successful Broadway musical version. Lumumba. The true story of Patrice Lumumba, who in 1960 became the first leader of the new nation of the Congo, only to have his term cut short by enemies on all sides—including the CIA. The Man Who Cried. A young Russian Jew (Christina Ricci) flees from Germany to England during World War II and gets entangled with a gypsy (Johnny Depp), a Russian dancer (Cate Blanchett) and an Italian opera singer (John Turturro). Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I'm not dead yet. Pearl Harbor. Michael Bay's bombs-away fest actually opens May 25, but it's being hyped as the first blockbuster of the summer. Why? Because everyone loves seeing rows and rows of U.S. Navy ships and a plot get blowed up at the same time. Pootie Tang. This comedy—based on a character created for HBO's The Chris Rock Show—is about a crime-fighting recording artist who speaks in an indecipherable language—but the kids love him! Lance Crouther has the title role. David Cross and Andy Richter co-star. The Princess & the Warrior. Run Lola Run's writer/director (Tom Tykwer) and star (Franka Potente) reunite for this comedy about a psychiatric nurse who frantically searches for the stranger who saved her life. Sexy Beast. Ex-con Ben Kingsley is living an idyllic life—until he's lured back into da gangster biz. Songcatcher. A music scholar collects folk songs in Appalachia. It actually sounds halfway interesting. Strictly Sinatra. Chairman of the Board wannabe gets tangled up in Glasgow's underworld. Swordfish. Fed-up CIA operative John Travolta uses sexy associate Halle Berry and computer hacker Hugh Jackman to steal $9 billion. In box office? Yeah, right. Tomb Raider. Pity Angelina Jolie. She's got the lips, the Oscar and the overpadded breasts. Unfortunately, gamers who choke their joysticks to Lara Croft find no living woman a match for the real pneumatic video-game heroine. Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? In the late '70s, a young man switches from disco to punk, perplexing his friends and his father, Harold, who demonstrates telekinetic abilities. What's the Worst That Could Happen? A professional thief (Martin Lawrence) thinks an unoccupied mansion is easy pickings—until he comes face-to-face with its billionaire owner (Danny DeVito). Actually, given that it's DeVito, it must be face-to-belt buckle. JULYAmerica's Sweethearts. Personal assistant Julia Roberts helps a celebrity couple headed for Splitsville maintain a cheery public front before their final movie opens. Billy Crystal co-wrote and stars. Brother. A Yakuza gangster flees Tokyo for LA, where he hooks up with his long-lost brother and a street hustler (Omar Epps). The trio forms a successful drug biz, using Yakuza leadership techniques. Bully. Troubled teens are caught up in a murder in Florida. So what else is new? Burnt Money. Set in 1965 Argentina, director/co-writer Marcelo Pieyro (Ashes from Paradise, Wild Horses, Wild Tango) follows two gay lovers who become bank robbers on the run. Cats & Dogs. Unbeknownst to humans Jeff Goldblum and Elizabeth Perkins, cats and dogs voiced by Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and others wage war. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Alec Baldwin's voice gets more work in this animated film featuring earthlings fighting off aliens who sap energy from living things. Greenfingers. Writer/director Joel Hershman's comedy is loosely based on a true story about British prison inmates who enter a big flower show. Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Star/director/co-writer John Cameron Mitchell reprises his off-Broadway hit about a botched-sex-change victim who forms a band. This already has Oscar buzz. Higher Ed. An athlete (Pras) escapes the inner city through a scholarship to a Southern college, only to be hounded there by gangbangers. Jackpot. The second film in Mark and Michael Polish's trilogy that began with Twin Falls Idaho(Jackpot is a town in Nevada) finds an aspiring singer (Jon Gries) searching for an audience for his music. Jump Tomorrow. A shy Nigerian immigrant comes to England for an arranged marriage that will win him citizenship, but he falls hard for a Latina . . . who's engaged. Jurassic Park III. With old softie Steven Spielberg out of the director's chair, hopes are high that III will accomplish something only the original book did: scare the shit out of people. Kiss of the Dragon. Jet Li and Bridget Fonda star in this action flick about a Chinese intelligence officer battling a bad guy in Paris. Legally Blonde. Campus queen Reese Witherspoon is dumped by her Harvard-bound boyfriend. So she enrolls in law school there and winds up involved in a big murder case. Lost and Delirious. Based on Susan Swan's novel The Wives of Bath, this film features a girl arriving at a boarding school and finding her roommates involved in a hot lesbian relationship. Unfortunately, the plot doesn't just end right there. Planet of the Apes. Freakmaster Tim Burton calls his take on the pop trash film from 1968 a "re-imagining," not a remake. Judging by the trailer, he's re-imagined some of the simians as Muppets. Scary Movie 2. Since Wayans Brothers Inc. already spoofed all the recent teen-horror flicks, the big question is: What's left to lampoon? Some think they'll target older shockers like The Exorcist, while others bet they'll just attack a different genre. The Score. Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett and Marlon Brando star in . . . STOP RIGHT THERE! Need we say anything more with a cast like that? Oh, all right: a thief teams with a young accomplice for one last score. Sidewalks of New York. Edward Burns writes, directs and stars in what sounds like the male version of HBO's Sex in the City—right down to the Manhattan locale. The Vertical Ray of the Sun. Writer/director Tran Anh Hung's tale about three sisters living in Hanoi with a family secret hanging over their heads. AUGUSTAll Over the Guy. Can two mismatched gay men resist romance? Not bloody likely. All That Glitters. Mariah Carey stretches as an actress by portraying a singer with issues. American Outlaws. Jesse James rides again! Starring Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, Timothy Dalton and the amazing Kathy Bates. American Pie 2. Gee, do you suppose Jason Biggs will do something even naughtier to a pie? And do you suppose Eugene Levy will catch him in the act again? Apocalypse Now (redux). Francis Ford Coppola's enigmatic epic has been re-edited and is now 53 minutes longer. So, doesn't that mean it's been un-edited? Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Director John Madden's first film since Shakespeare In Love stars Nicolas Cage, Penlope Cruz, John Hurt and Christian Bale in a tale about an Italian invader's exploits on a Greek island during World War II. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Woody Allen's latest is about an insurance investigator who gets caught up in a jewel heist. Allen stars with Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, Dan Aykroyd, Wallace Shawn and David Ogden Stiers. The Deep End. Based on Elisabeth Sanxay's novel The Blank Wall, this suspense thriller from writers/directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel centers on a Lake Tahoe murder cover-up gone awry. Ghost World. Terry Zwigoff's first film since the documentary Crumb is based on Daniel Clowes' serialized comic book about two hip girls trying to figure out life after high school. Oh, and someone's watching them. The Girl. Only the chicks get speaking parts in this story about two women's passionate relationship being threatened by someone from the past. Happy Accidents. Marisa Tomei falls for Vincent D'Onofrio, only to learn he's a time traveler. The shit. The Heist. Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Ricky Jay, Delroy Lindo and Patti LuPone star in this David Mamet film about a gang of thieves planning that "one big heist." Innocence. Writer/director Paul Cox's story about a man (Charles Tingwell) and a woman (Julia Blake) re-igniting the fling they had 50 years before. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Can Kevin Smith's recurring stoners (Jason Mewes and, uh, Smith) carry an entire movie by themselves? Hell, if Adam Sandler can . . . Jeepers Creepers. A brother and sister on a road trip encounter a terrifying supernatural force. And it ain't Ebert and Roper! John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. Earthling colonists come up against an ancient Martian civilization. Warning: Carpenter's best flicks don't have his name in the title. Knockaround Guys. Brooklyn mob wannabes think they can run all over small-town Montana sheriff's deputies. The shits. Made. A guy climbing the mob ladder tries to take his boxer buddy along. Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn and the media-shy Sean "P. Diddy" Combs star. Maybe Baby. A busy London couple trying to get preggers is fertile ground for writer/director Ben Elton. The Monkey's Mask. Based on the Dorothy Porter novel, this has a lesbian private detective (Susie Porter) searching for a missing poetry student in Australia, but first, she finds love with a poetry lecturer (Newport Beach-bred Kelly McGillis). My First Mister. Christine Lahti makes her feature-film-directing debut in this comedy about a recent high school grad (Leelee Sobieski) who takes a job at an upscale boutique and falls for her much-older boss (Albert Brooks). O. Not to be confused with Cirque du Soleil's production at the Bellagio, this drama is about a basketball player who loses his ethics—and then his game. On the Edge. Self-destructive teens bond in a psych ward. Think The Breakfast Club meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Original Sin. Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie star in an erotic thriller based on Cornell Woolrich's book. Director Michael Cristofer also helmed Jolie's movie debut, the cable flick Gia. Osmosis Jones. White blood cells battle a new virus inside Bill Murray. The live action was directed by the Farrelly brothers, while the animation was overseen by Piet Kroon and Tom Sito. Molly Shannon and Chris Elliott also star, as do the voices of Chris Rock, Laurence Fishburne and William Shatner. The Princess Diaries. A Garry Marshall comedy about a California teen who discovers she's the heir to a European throne. Punks. We've seen films about tight-knit groups of black women and tight-knit groups of black men, so it was only a matter of time before we got a tight-knit group of gay black men. Rat Race. Jerry Zucker has a directing credit for Airplane! going for him. Which is nice. As is a game cast for this Vegas romp: Rowan Atkinson, Jon Lovitz, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg and Cuba Gooding Jr. Raw Deal: A Question of Consent. This documentary examines a high-profile Florida rape accusation. No, not the 2000 presidential election. Rollerball. John McTiernan (Die Hard, Predator) directs this remake of the '70s action flick about a team that plays a deadly version of roller derby and the corrupt corporation that owns the franchise. Rush Hour 2. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan return to the well as mismatched detectives. Serendipity. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are a couple who reunite 10 years after first falling in love. Soul Survivors. Eliza Dushku survived a car crash. Or did she? Speedway Junky. A teen runs away to Vegas to earn enough money to become a race-car driver, but he becomes a street hustler instead. Summer Catch. A wealthy girl (Jessica Biel, best known for appearing nearly naked on the cover of Gear in an attempt to get out of her contract on TV's 7th Heaven) summers in Cape Cod, where she falls for local working-class baseball prospect Freddie Prinze Jr. Thomas In Love. A guy who has spent eight years in his apartment staring into his computer screen is urged by a psychologist to make human contact. The entire film is shot from his POV. In French with English subtitles. Together. Writer/director Lukas Moodysson's look at life in a Swedish hippie commune. Tortilla Soup. Mmmm, tortilla soup. Retired chef Hector Elizondo senses sparks when he meets a babe. Vulgar. A clown becomes a transvestite, trading kiddie parties for bachelor parties. This is courtesy of Kevin Smith's production company. SUMMER(NO RELEASE DATE YET) The Bubble Boy. A young man (Jake Gyllenhaal) born without normal immunities builds a mobile bubble suit so he can break out of his bubble room, set off across the country and stop the girl-next-door's wedding. Italian for Beginners. Single Danes learning Italian find love in more than the language. With English subtitles. The Sleeping Dictionary. In the 1920s, a young British officer (Hugh Dancy) journeys to a remote jungle outpost, where his love affair with a beautiful young woman throws the military and local tribe into turmoil.
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