Starring:Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Gong Li
Written and directed by:Michael Mann (Ali, The Insider)
What it's about:Gee, lessee. Crockett and Tubbs. Drug dealers. Speed boats. Guns. Flashy suits. Bad accents. Expensive cars. Hot chicks. That about covers it.
Why you should see it:See above.
Why you should not:See above. And no Jan Hammer theme song. Rip. Off.
The Ant Bully
Starring:The voices of Zach Tyler, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, and Nicolas Cage
Written and directed by:John A. Davis (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius), based on the novel by John Nickle
What it's about:When a little boy (Tyler) takes out his frustrations on the ant hills in his yard, the bugs fight back.
Why you should see it: If you ignore the creepy undertones (to ants, a stomping kid isn't a bully, he's Osama Bin Laden), the story's got promise; Cage and Giamatti are A-list voice talent.
Why you should not:Boy, that creepy undertone seems hard to ignore. If all ants have souls and celebrity voices, that means this kid really is a mass murderer.
Starring:Jet Li, Nakamura Shido, and Betty Sun
Directed by:Ronny Yu (Freddy vs. Jason)
Written by:There doesn't seem to be a credited screenwriter. But Yuen Woo-ping is the fight choreographer, which is what matters most.
What it's about:Jet Li kicks some ass. Then a tragedy happens, and he doesn't want to kick any further ass, so he goes into seclusion, where he learns the true way of the warrior. The claim is that this will be Li's last martial-arts epic.
Why you should see it:Sigh. If you know your Hong Kong films, you'd have no doubt that Jet Li and Ronny Yu and Yuen Woo-ping teaming up can only be awesome.
Why you should not:Steer clear if action isn't your thing.
The Night Listener
Starring:Robin Williams, Toni Collette, and Rory Culkin
Directed by:Patrick Stettner (The Business of Strangers)
Written by:Armistead Maupin & Terry Anderson (The Young Graduates) and Stettner, based on the novel by Maupin
What it's about:Williams plays a Garrison Keillor-like public radio host who tells embellished stories of his life and friends, but when he receives the manuscript of a memoir from an abused child (Culkin), he doesn't realize that it may be equally embellished.
Why you should see it:Stettner deftly dealt with similar issues of deceit in The Business of Strangers; Williams can certainly be as annoying as your typical talk radio host.
Why you should not:When it comes to drama, Williams is either spot-on (One Hour Photo) or insufferably mawkish (What Dreams May Come). His character here is a gay man whose lover has battled AIDS, which may mean lots of hugging, tears, and Williams doing that grinning thing that's supposed to make him look sad but really doesn't.
Starring:Emily Rios, Chalo Gonzalez, and Jesse Garcia
Written and directed by:Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland
What it's about:On the verge of her 15th birthday, pregnant Magdalena is thrown out of her house and moves in with her great-great uncle and gay cousin, but she may lose even this makeshift family to urban gentrification.
Why you should see it:Love the Latina mama-drama.
Why you should not:Wacky outsiders overcome forces of oppression!?
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Starring:Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Sacha Baron Cohen
Directed by:Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)
Written by:Will Ferrell and Adam McKay
What it's about:NASCAR champeen Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) finds his title being usurped by a French rival played by Ali G., a'ight?
Why you should see it: Anchormanhad some brilliant moments.
Why you should not: Anchormanhad some brilliant moments only if you were really, really high.
Starring:Justin Long (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), Adam Herschman, and Jonah Hill
Directed by:First-timer Steve Pink
Written by:Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, and Mark Perez
What it's about:A slack senior (Long) finds out that he's failed to get into college. So, of course, he and his similarly unmotivated pals fool their parents by inventing their own fraud of a university, which suddenly becomes crowded with similar rejects. Hey, it couldn't be any more worthless than your liberal arts degree, right?
Why you should see it:If a fake frat was funny (as it was in Old School), an entire fake university has to be a knee-slapper, right?
Why you should not:Of course not. Old School was only funny because it had Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn in it. No similar heavyweights present here.
Starring:Channing Tatum (Coach Carter), Rachel Griffiths, and Heavy D
Directed by:Anne Fletcher
Written by:Duane Adler and Melissa Rosenberg
What it's about:Tatum plays a streetwise punk (is there any other kind?) who trashes a performing arts school and is sentenced to community service. He comes to find it ain't dat bad a joint, once a hot dancer at the school wiggles his broom just a little.
Why you should see it:Rachel Griffiths and Heavy D in the same movie! I only dared to dream . . .
Why you should not:Because it hasto be awful.
World Trade Center
Starring:Nicolas Cage, Michael Pea, and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Directed by:Oliver Stone (J.F.K., The Doors)
Written by:Andrea Berloff
What it's about:Cage and Pea play real-life Port Authority cops who made it out of the World Trade Center alive after the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001. Word is this isn't the work of a paranoid Ollie Stone, but a sober, down-to-the-details docudramatization of the events of the day, already seen this year in United 93.
Why you should see it:Cage is at his best when playing an everyman stuck in a horrific, real-life situation (his portrayal of an EMT in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Deadremains among his career highlights, even if no one saw it).
Why you should not:Oliver Stone's a real hit-or-miss moviemaker; pray this is closer to Platoonand Salvador than Alexander or Any Given Sunday. Or Natural Born Killers. Or U-Turn. Or Nixon.
Starring:Tim Allen, Courteney Cox Arquette, and Chevy Chase
Directed by: Peter Hewitt (Garfield)
Written by:David Berenbaum (Elf) and Adam Rifkin (Small Soldiers)
What it's about:Remember that Disney movie Sky High, about a retired superhero and the superschool his kids attend? This is pretty much the same thing, but with a bigger budget. And it's based on an actual comic book, Zoom's Academy for the Super-Gifted.
Why you should see it: Sky High was fun . . .
Why you should not: . . . But do we need another version? Tim Allen instead of Kurt Russell isn't exactly what you'd call trading up.
Starring:Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor (I Shot Andy Warhol ), and Marisa Tomei
Directed by:Bent Hamer
Written by:Hamer and Jim Stark, based on the novel by Charles Bukowski
What it's about:Dillon plays Henry Chinaski (Bukowski's alter-ego) in this movie about drinking, writing, having sex, and drinking. In other words, Bukowski.
Why you should see it:Dillon hasn't had a role this dark and juicy since Drugstore Cowboy, and the wonderful Lili Taylor just hasn't had enough roles, period.
Why you should not:Aren't we, as a people, dead-tired of Bukowski yet? Mickey Rourke nailed it in 1987's Barfly, and there hasn't been anything new to say about talented but pathetic drunks ever since.
Snakes on a Plane
Starring:Samuel L. Jackson, some snakes, and a plane
Directed by:David R. Ellis (Final Destination 2)
Written by:John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez (Gothika)
What it's about:The title really says it all here. For full disclosure, it really should be Snakes on a Plane With a Bald-Headed Badass Black Guy Who Yells a Lot. Yes the snakes deserve to die, and he hopes they burn in hell.
Why you should see it:Pay attention. Snakes. Plane. Samuel L. Jackson. What's not to love?
Why you should not:Sorry, there's just no good excuse not to.Trust the Man
Starring:David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Written and directed by:Bart Freundlich (The Myth of Fingerprints)
What it's about:Four New Yorkers in various stages of relationships hash out the old issues (sex, friendship, marriage, adultery) as they struggle to make sense of modern love. With jokes!
Why you should see it:The foursome of Duchovny, Moore, Crudup, and Gyllenhaal have more than their fair share of talent (and vowels). And it looks like it doesn't take itself too seriously, which is instant death in these kinds of movies.
Why you should not:Are you really concerned about the problems of rich, white, wealthy, beautiful, and well-apartmented Manhattanites? AUGUST 25Beerfest
Starring:Eric Christian Olsen (Not Another Teen Movie), Cameron Scher, and Blanchard Ryan (Open Water)
Directed by:Jay Chandrasekhar (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Written by:Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan (Club Dread), Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske
What it's about:Two wacky lugs travel to Germany to enter, compete in, and perhaps maybe even triumph in a series of beer chugs. Seriously, that's it.
Why you should see it:It's possible to smuggle beer into a movie theater, but you're really better off with a pint of vodka to pour in a slushie.
Why you should not:Aside from the asinine concept, the label "from the director of The Dukes of Hazzard" packs the punch of a cigarette warning.DOA: Dead or Alive
Starring:Jaime Pressly, Holly Valance, and Devon Aoki
Directed by:Corey Yuen (The Transporter, Hero)
Written by:J.F. Lawton (Pretty Woman) and Adam & Seth Gross (Devour), based on the videogame
What it's about:Chicks in bikinis fight guys with swords. It's modeled after a fighting game, and the movie doesn't look like it added a ton of plot or anything, though the fanboys are already up in arms over the fact that the women aren't fighting each other in the trailer.
Why you should see it:It could be as fun as the first Charlie's Angels.
Why you should not:It could be as tedious as Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.How to Eat Fried Worms
Starring:Luke Benward (Because of Winn-Dixie) and Hallie Kate Eisenberg (The Goodbye Girl)
Written and directed by:Bob Dolman (The Banger Sisters), based on the novel by Thomas Rockwell
What it's about:Fifth-grade kid goes head-to-head with the school bully by accepting a dare to eat 10 worms in a single day.
Why you should see it:The classic children's book brings hope and courage to a new generation of victimized youth. Who don't read books.
Why you should not:How many classic-children's-book adaptations can you name?Idlewild
Starring:Andr Benjamin (Four Brothers ), Antwan Patton (ATL), and Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow)
Written and directed by:First-timer Bryan Barber
What it's about:Benjamin and Patton (the real-life duo of OutKast) play a couple of, um, ahead-of-their-times musicians in a 1930s southern juke joint. Elaborate musical numbers compete for airtime with gangster politics as big bad Howard comes to town to muscle in on the club.
Why you should see it:Musically, Benjamin and Patton are at the top of their game, the concept of injecting their tunes with the flavor of old-school jazz has major promise, and Benjamin has already shown he's got screen skills.
Why you should not:Neither period black gangster films (Harlem Nights) nor musical gangster films (Bugsy Malone) tend to stand the test of time.Invincible
Starring:Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, and Michael Rispoli
Directed by:Ericson Core (TV's Family Law)
Written by:Brad Gann (Black Irish)
What it's about:A down-on-his-luck Philadelphia Eagles fan (Wahlberg) decides to attend an open tryout for the team and gets to live out his dream of playing professional football. It's from the producers of The Rookie, is the same basic idea, and is similarly based on true events.
Why you should see it: The Rookie was formulaic, but it worked, and even appealed to people who couldn't care less about baseball.
Why you should not:Mark Wahlberg is no Dennis Quaid.
Starring:Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, and Anjelica Huston
Directed by:Martha Coolidge (The Prince & Me)
Written by:John Quaintance, Jessica O'Toole, and Amy Rardin
What it's about:Duff and Duff play sisters—how about that?—who gots plenty of dough from their family's cosmetics company. But when the family biz is bankrupted by scandal, will the Duffs ever learn how to cope with being poor?
Why you should see it:Coolidge directed Valley Girl . . .
Why you should not:. . . four years before Hilary Duff was born.SEPTEMBER 1Crank
Starring:Jason Statham, Amy Smart, and Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite)
Written and directed by:Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (visual effects artists on Biker Boyz)
What it's about:A hit man (Statham) is injected with a new designer drug that will kill him if his adrenaline level drops too low, so in order to find the person responsible and not die, he must remain agitated and excited. That shouldn't be too hard.
Why you should see it:Statham's Transporter movies have been over-the-top junk-food pleasures. Plus, how can you vote against Pedro?
Why you should not:Someone please explain how the effects guys from Biker Boyz have earned the right to direct a major movie.Crossover
Starring:Anthony Mackie (She Hate Me), Wesley Jonathan (Roll Bounce), and Wayne Brady
Written and directed by:Preston A. Whitmore II (The Walking Dead)
What it's about:A gifted basketball player (Jonathan) wants to use his sports scholarship to get into UCLA pre-med; meanwhile, his best friend (Mackie) wants to get his GED and settle a street score. When romance enters the picture for both men, things get more complicated.
Why you should see it:I got nothin'. Sounds pretty predictable really.
Why you should not:Mankind did not need more Wayne Brady.The Return
Starring:Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sam Shepard, and Peter O'Brien
Directed by:Asif Kapadia
Written by:Adam Sussman
What it's about:Gellar plays a young woman whose life gets wacky when she begins to have nightmares about the 25-year-old murder of, yes, a young woman.
Why you should see it:Buffy doing what Buffy does best.
Why you should not:Die, Buffy, die!SEPTEMBER 8I Could Never Be Your Woman
Starring:Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd (The Forty-Year-Old Virgin), and Tracey Ullman (I Love You to Death)
Written and directed by:Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless)
What it's about:Pfeiffer plays a lady growing long in the tooth (but still looking like Michelle Pfeiffer) who falls for a younger man (Rudd). Romantic Comedy blooms all around, and Ullman as Mother Nature gets all up in everybody's business.
Why you should see it:When Heckerling is on, she makes movies like Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Plus, Rudd is due for a role that pushes him into the big leagues, where he belongs.
Why you should not:When she's not on, Heckerling makes movies like A Night at the Roxbury, Look Who's Talking Too, and European Vacation. PUSHED TO OCTOBER?Flicka
Starring:Alison Lohman (Big Fish), Tim McGraw (Friday Night Lights), and Maria Bello (The Sisters)
Directed by:Michael Mayer (A Home at the End of the World)
Written by: Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner, based on the novel by Mary O'Hara
What it's about:A young girl tames wild horse in a heartbreaking attempt to win her father's love.
Why you should see it:Girls, horses, summer, love, magic.
Why you should not:If Mayer's treatment of Flickais anything like his A Home at the End of the World, we're in for a sapfest of personal triumph set to music.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon*
Starring:John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Written and directed by:David Leaf and John Scheinfeld
What it's about:Focusing on the years when Lennon turned from musical genius to long-haired hippie, this documentary traces the efforts of the American government to silence—or at least keep away—the famous peacenik. Will the film take a few jabs at the current tightasses in charge? Does patchouli stink?
Why you should see it:This is interesting stuff, explored extensively by UCI history prof Jon Wiener, and there's got to be some laughs to be had at the expense of the super-square feds who wasted time going after a musician.
Why you should not:Three words: Hippie self-righteousness. (Two more? Yoko Ono.)
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