After weeks and weeks of new films pumping us up for war—even if the wars depicted had nothing to do with the war we're about to wage, other than U.S. involvement in all of them—we're heading into a summer movie season that's relatively conflict-free. Other good news: there aren't as many sequels or remakes as in summers past. (Still, if summer sci-fi blockbusters are your thing, just look for the nearest line of geeky campers, as we've witnessed recently for Spider-Man and Attack of the Clones.)
A parental and non-parental warning about the following list: the titles are arranged based on the latest available release dates, and the movie gods tend to change things with little or no warning. Artsy and/or independent fare is listed by Los Angeles release dates because it's remotely conceivable such films will simultaneously open on the few (and getting fewer) OC screens dedicated to that stuff. Or they might arrive here later. Or never. Enjoy!
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WHAT'S LEFT OF MAY BARTLEBY Modern retelling of the Herman Melville classic Bartleby the Scrivener involves an employer whose life goes to hell when he hires a quiet, reserved clerk (Crispin Glover). Wonder if director Jonathan Parker's life went to hell after he hired notorious wack-job Glover? ELLING Foreign-language Oscar nominee from Norway about two former nuthouse patients who become roommates on the outside. ENOUGH Jennifer Lopez discovers the man of her dreams isn't who she thought he was. No, this isn't about her relationship with Puffy. THE NEXT BIG THING A con man tries to pass off a struggling New York artist's paintings as the work of a fictional genius. Based on the life of Roy Lichtenstein. NIJINSKY: FROM THE DIARIES OF VASLAV NIJINSKY "Dramatic documentary" on the Russian ballet dancer whose legendary career ended abruptly in the 1910s due to acute schizophrenia (not to be confused with "a cute schizophrenic"). THE SLEEPY TIME GAL Expecting to die from cancer, a woman (Jacqueline Bisset) searches for the daughter (Martha Plimpton) she put up for adoption at birth. THE SUM OF ALL FEARS Ben Affleck steps into the Jack Ryan role in this film based on the Tom Clancy book whose villains were Muslim terrorists. Since the film was shot pre-Sept. 11, when portraying Muslims as terrorists was politically incorrect, they were changed on celluloid into European neo-Nazis—the best kind! UNDERCOVER BROTHEREddie Griffin has a secret life as a voluminously afroed agent who fights a never-ending battle against the all-white establishment known as the Man. WARM WATER UNDER A RED BRIDGE Shohei Imamura's latest features surreal gangsters and a woman with supernatural sexual powers. Based on the life of Debby Boone. JUNE BAD COMPANY Chris Rock is a bookie recruited by the CIA to stand in for his Harvard-trained brother. He's teamed with Anthony Hopkins, but Merchant-Ivory this ain't. THE BOURNE IDENTITY Matt Damon washes up on an island suffering from amnesia and hunted by a mystery man in this thriller based on the Robert Ludlum books. CHERISH Zoe (Robin Tunney) is so unlucky in love that her only secret admirer ultimately frames her for cop killing. CINEMA PARADISO Director Giuseppe Tornatore's three-hour cut will definitely screen in New York and LA, but it's unclear whether the rest of us will get that version or the original theatrical release. CODE UNKNOWN Michael Haneke is the writer/director, Juliette Binoche heads the cast, and the story is set in Paris. Need you know more? CUBA FELIZ Wim Wenders' instant classic The Buena Vista Social Club will inevitably come to mind in Karim Dridi's documentary capturing a variety of musical styles in informal Cuban settings. DAHMER: THE MIND IS A PLACE OF ITS OWN Writer/director David Jacobson explores the serial killer who treated his victims like cereal. THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS Ripped from current events? Not exactly. A gang of Catholic school eighth-graders seeks revenge against a mean nun (Jodie Foster). DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, James Garner and Maggie Smith try to woo the Fried Green Steel Magnoliascrowd. ÉLOGE DE L'AMOUR (IN PRAISE OF LOVE) French master Jean-Luc Godard's "meditation on love told cinematically as a film-within-a-film." Uh, okay. THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES Exiled Napoleon (Ian Holm) runs into all sorts of nuttiness as he travels the countryside on his way to reclaim France. THE FAST RUNNER (ATANARJUAT) Acclaimed as the first feature in Inuit language, the film follows a love triangle in the Canadian Arctic 500 years ago—before all these love-connection shows sorted out such things. GANGSTER NO. 1An East End London gangster's violent rise and fall, starting in swinging 1968 Soho and spanning 30 years. HARVARD MAN A Harvard basketball star (Adrian Grenier) gets caught up in the fast life of drugs, gambling and the Mafia. Gee, Harvard's changed. HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE Nickelodeon's animated star tackles life in the big city. The real mystery is how they got Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Lloyd and Paul Sorvino to lend their voices. IVANSXTCDirector Bernard Rose's digital video retelling of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich is set in Hollywood and stars Danny Huston (son of John, brother of Angelica) as a high-flying agent. JUWANNA MANN Bosom Buddies meets the WNBA. If it hasn't already. THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE Documentary based on pompous Hollywood producer Robert Evans' autobiography. LILO & STITCH A little girl in Hawaii adopts a dog who is actually an alien in this animated Disney flick. Based on true events. LOVELY & AMAZING A mom (Brenda Blethyn) and her two daughters (Emily Mortimer and grrrrr! Catherine Keener) deal with the men in their lives. ME WITHOUT YOU Set in the London suburbs in the 1970s and '80s, this is about how your best friend can ruin your life. MINORITY REPORT Steven Spielberg returns to sci-fi with Tom Cruise as a futuristic D.C. cop who's being hunted by Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman's lawyers. MR. DEEDS Small-town guy Adam Sandler inherits a massive media corporation and imposes his mom-and-apple-pie values. Based on the life of Rupert Murdoch. NOTORIOUS C.H.O. Margaret Cho does standup. In Seattle. Wow. PUMPKIN A sorority girl (Christina Ricci) gets involved with a disabled athlete (Hank Harris). RABBIT-PROOF FENCE Three aboriginal girls escape from a white family enslaving them as domestics in 1930s Australia and begin the long walk home to the outback. Also based on the life of Rupert Murdoch. RAM DASS: FIERCE GRACE Documentarian Mickey Lemle profiles the guru of expanded consciousness.
SCOOBY-DOO Freddie Prinze Jr.'s career, where are you? THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY A young Brit officer journeys in the 1920s to a remote jungle, where a young lass tutors him in the native language . . . of love! SUNSHINE STATE The amazing John Sayles puts Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, Ralph Waite, Jane Alexander and Timothy Hutton on a Florida island besieged by resort developers. WAR PHOTOGRAPHER Documentarian Christian Frei follows veteran war photographer James Nachtwey to Indonesia, Kosovo and Palestine. WINDTALKERS John Woo directs a cast headed by Nicolas Cage in the story of the dangers faced by Navajo soldiers who used their native language to decode top-secret messages for the U.S. military during World War II. JULY 4 WEEKEND THE COUNTRY BEARS Disney shutters the Country Bear Jamboree attraction at Disneyland and then releases an animated flick based on said attraction. The story's villain wants to tear down the famous hall where the singing bears performed. Life certainly imitates 'toons. LIKE MIKE Slam Dunk Ernest meets The Absent-Minded Professor meets that movie from a few years back that had a kid pitching for the Chicago Cubs.
Men in Black II
MEN IN BLACK II Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are ready for more action . . . and a big-ass payday. THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup fight the bad guys in this cartoon based on a TV show that's popular with little girls and—here's what's weird—old roofers. REST OF JULY ALL ABOUT YOU LILY CHOU-CHOUA 14-year-old Japanese boy's obsession with pop star Lily Chou-Chou turns dangerous.
Austin Powers in Goldmember
AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER Dr. Evil teams up with fellow villain Goldmember to kidnap Austin's father, Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), and make Mike Myers richer than Allah. THE BILLABONG ODYSSEY Bros with boards! Philip Boston's documentary follows the world's best surfers to the world's biggest waves. BLUE CRUSH Chicks with sticks! Kate Bosworth and Michelle Rodriguez play Maui hotel maids who become such good surfers in their off time they enter an all-male contest. THE COCKETTES Documentary on an outrageous 1970s San Francisco drag troupe. Based on the Bush family. CROCODILE HUNTER: COLLISION COURSE Annoying Animal Planet host helps CIA agent search for a missing spy satellite—inside a croc. Crikey! EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS Toxic waste spill near small Nevada town causes spiders to mutate into giant, rampaging arachnids. Based on the Cheney family. GIRLS CAN'T SWIM Not if they're French. And teenagers. And angst-ridden. HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION The early release date means it should be out of theaters and in video stores in plenty of time for Halloween. HAPPY TIMES Chinese comedy about a middle-aged man whose life spins out of control when he lies to get married and save a suicidal young blind girl. K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER A captain (Harrison Ford) and his second-in-command (Liam Neeson) must figure out how to save their Russian nuclear submarine from blowing, an explosion that would be interpreted as the first strike of a nuclear war. Crikey! MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS A struggling sports writer (Yvan Attal), who is married to a famous actress (Charlotte Gainsbourg), is jealous of her new co-star (Terence Stamp). NEVER AGAIN Two fiftysomethings (Jeffrey Tambor and Jill Clayburgh) think their hetero love lives are over—until they meet in a gay bar. Based on the lives of James Carville and Mary Matalin. ONE HOUR PHOTO A one-hour photo-lab worker (Robin Williams) is obsessed with the family in a set of pictures he develops. Really obsessed. REIGN OF FIRE In post-apocalyptic future England, an American (Matthew McConaughey) and a Brit (Christian Bale) team up to fight fire-breathing dragons who had been dozing for centuries. Wonder if one of them sounds like Sean Connery? ROAD TO PERDITION Great director (Sam Mendes), great cast (Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci) and a great story (1930s Chicago hitman goes on the run and seeks vengeance after murderers cut his family in half). Probably sucks. STUART LITTLE 2 Geena Davis' career, where are you? TADPOLE An unusual 15-year-old with a passion for Voltaire decides he's going to pursue the (much older) woman of his dreams. AUGUST THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH A lunar nightclub owner (Eddie Murphy) faces danger when he refuses to sell his club to the mob or return Arsenio Hall's phone calls. BLOOD WORK Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this story of an FBI agent who receives a heart transplant and comes out of retirement to catch the killer of his heart donor. What a coinky-dink! DRUMLINE Comedy about a Harlem street drummer who enrolls at a Southern university intending to join the marching band. FULL FRONTAL David Duchovny, Nicky Katt, Mary McCormack, David Hyde Pierce, Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood and grrrrr! Catherine Keener star in the "unofficial sequel" to Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies and Videotape. FORMULA 51 American master chemist Samuel L. Jackson sets up shop in England for his last big deal: the introduction of a designer drug to the European underworld. But everything goes kablooey. THE GOOD GIRL Chuck & Buck writer/director Mike White puts married but frustrated Jennifer Aniston (typecasting?) in an affair with a coworker who thinks he's Holden Caulfield. A GUY THING Jason Lee wakes up the morning after his bachelor party in bed with a woman who isn't his fiancé or his skateboard. IGBY GOES DOWN A teen (Kieran Culkin) runs away from his dysfunctional family to live in New York with his iMac-obsessed godfather (Jeff Goldblum). JACKASS: THE MOVIE Johnny Knoxville and his insane crew go Hollywood to pull off stunts they can't air on MTV. LAN YU Stanley Kwan's story about a gay student and an older man against the backdrop of Tiananmen Square. MASTER OF DISGUISE Comedy about the last (Dana Carvey) in a long line of mimics who is taught the family secrets so he can battle a criminal mastermind. QUITTING Based on the life of a fast-rising Chinese film star in the late 1980s who fell into a pit of despair because of mental problems and drug experimentation. SECRET BALLOT Comedy about a soldier assigned to help a pollster find voters on election day in an extremely remote area of Iran that U.S. forces haven't bombed yet. SERVING SARA Comedy about a New York process server (Matthew Perry) who accompanies a beautiful woman (Elizabeth Hurley) serving divorce papers to her hubby—in Texas. SIGNS The Sixth Sense writer/director M. Night Shyamalan has Mel Gibson finding weird formations in his cornfields. They were probably left there by those old-time baseball players. SIMONE A computer-generated actress saves down-and-out producer Al Pacino—until she becomes too successful. Based on the life of Julia Roberts. SKINS Smoke Signals' director Chris Eyre's story about two Native American brothers (Graham Greene and Eric Schweig) whose lives took different turns after Vietnam. SPOOKY HOUSE Reclusive magician Ben Kingsley befriends an eight-year-old boy. SPY KIDS 2: THE ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS Antonio Banderas, his co-stars and—most important—writer/director Robert Rodriguez return for the next Cortez family adventure. SWIMFAN The new girl in school will not be ignored by the star of the swim team. THEY A graduate student's sudden night terrors make her wonder if her childhood fear of the dark was based on something real. Like Blue's Clues. TRAPPED Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love hold Stuart Townsend and Charlize Theron hostage as part of foolproof plan to extort money from moviegoers, er, wealthy families. THE TUXEDO When his boss is hospitalized, chauffeur Jackie Chan takes over a covert U.S. government mission and a computerized tuxedo that gives its wearer supernatural powers and a five-picture deal. 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE Story of the 1970s to early '90s Manchester music scene as seen by the founders of Factory Records, who launched Joy Division (later New Order), James and Happy Mondays. VIRGINIA'S RUN A grief-stricken girl is obsessed with riding horses. WELCOME TO COLLINWOOD Michael Jeter, Patricia Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, George Clooney and William H. Macy star as Cleveland misfits who try to steal a pawnbroker's safe. XXX An extreme-sports star (Vin Diesel) is recruited by a government agent (Samuel L. Jackson) to infiltrate a Russian crime ring. LABOR DAY WEEKEND DAS EXPERIMENT Thriller involving fictional research where paid recruits are divided into teams of prisoners and guards. So where the hell's the German sub? DOWN AND UNDER Two friends from Brooklyn (Anthony Anderson and former fat kid in Stand by Me Jerry O'Connell) are forced to deliver mob money to Australia. THE LAST MINUTE A cool, talented kid on the brink of fame runs into danger courtesy of the London underworld. POSSESSION Two scholars (Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart) investigate a romance between Victorian poets—and find themselves turning gooey for each other. SLAP HER, SHE'S FRENCH The best movie title ever! A French foreign exchange student tries to usurp the position of the most popular girl in a small Texas town's high school. SLATED FOR SUMMER, BUT NO FIRM DATE AUTO FOCUS The true story of Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane (portrayed by Greg Kinnear), who was obsessed with filming himself having sex until taking a fatal blow to the skull courtesy of a camera tripod. DOMANI Ensemble drama about the friendships that sprouted among the survivors of the 1997 Umbria earthquake. 8 MILE Detroit folks refer to their city limit as 8 Mile, which also becomes a psychological dividing line for Eminem, in his film lead debut. FEARDOTCOM A detective suspects a series of deaths may be linked to a website called Fear.com. I'M WITH LUCY Monica Potter goes on blind dates looking for a man of her dreams like the one who dumped her—only she doesn't want to get dumped this time. IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE Claire Danes and Joaquin Phoenix try to rekindle romance in a near future besieged by global freezing and the disappearance of gravity in Uganda. Based on a true story. LAUREL CANYON The chilly relationship between a straight-laced kid (Christian Bale) and his pot-smoking record-producer mom (Frances McDormand) changes when he returns home from Harvard Medical School with a rich fiancée (Kate Beckinsale) who digs Mom's rock & roll lifestyle. THE NAVIGATORS A group of British railway maintenance men confront the privatization and downsizing of their industry. RAW DEAL: A QUESTION OF CONSENT True story about stripper Lisa Gier King's 1999 rape case against the University of Florida's Delta Chi fraternity. THE THIRD WHEEL Things go badly for a couple (Luke Wilson and Denise Richards) on their first date after their car hits a homeless man (Jay Lacopo) who ends up tagging along for the rest of the night. God, I hate it when that happens.