Thursday, May 03, 2007

Summer Movie Preview - Part 2

With the first couple of months now covered, there have been plenty of heavy hitters that have been unleashed on audiences, but July and August promise more of the same. The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Transformers, Chris Tucker and Robin Williams will all be heading up films in the second half of the summer season. So strap yourself in as this could be a fun, wild (and certainly noisy) ride.

“License to Wed”

Starring Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Christine Taylor, Eric Christian Olsen, Josh Flitter
A newly engaged couple (Moore and Krasinski) believe they have a clear path to the altar, until they run into Reverend Frank (Williams), who won’t bless their union until they have completed his marriage prep course. Doing so is as much a test of their sanity as their love for one another. It’s good to see Krasinski (Jim from “The Office”) getting a chance at a movie role. Hopefully, Williams won’t attempt to overact the cast off of the screen. (July 4)
Official Web site

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Jon Voight
Director Michael Bay (“Pearl Harbor,” “Armageddon”) helms another low-key character study about the mysteries of love. Yeah, right. OK, it’s actually another big-budget loud action movie. But this one got a bunch of robots. (Robots!) Oh, and up-and-coming actor LeBeouf as its star, with the film based on the popular 1980s cartoon. Of course, the target audience of the movie probably was too young to remember the cartoon in the first place. Maybe that’s a good thing. I always favored “G.I. Joe” myself. (July 4)
Official Web site

Starring John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
Based on a Stephen King story, novelist Mike Enslin (Cusack) regularly discredits paranormal claims with his books, leading him to the supposedly haunted Dolphin Hotel. A series of deaths have occurred in suite 1408, and Enslin is compelled to stay in the room. Needless to say, he doesn’t get a good night’s sleep. The trailer indicates this film could actually scare up a few thrills and chills, unlike most of today’s horror movies. (July 13)
Official Web site

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson
Starring a cast of thousands, (well, not really) the fifth installment of the very lucrative franchise follows more of the adventures at Hogwarts, focusing on the aftermath of Harry’s encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort. Around the same time as this movie’s release will be the arrival of the final book in the series from author J.K. Rowling, so expect Harry-mania to be at a fever pitch by July. (July 13)
Official Web site

Starring John Travolta, Nikki Blonsky, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah
If you’ve ever had a desire to see Travolta in drag, then this is your lucky day, as the actor gets all “Mrs. Doubtfire” on us, playing Edna Turnblad in an adaptation of the 2002 musical, which was adapted from the 1988 film by filmmaker John Waters. Are you following this? At any rate, it’s also a chance to see Travolta sing for the first time since 1978’s “Grease.” Musicals are a rarity in Hollywood nowadays, but when they’ve worked in recent years (“Chicago”), they’ve really worked. (July 20)
Official Web site

“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”
Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd
After his solid dramatic work in “Reign Over Me,” Sandler returns to safer, more familiar comedic territory playing Chuck, a fireman alongside “The King of Queens” star James. The two are forced to pretend to be domestic partners in order for Larry’s young children to be named as beneficiaries on life insurance forms. Of course, plenty of attention is thrust upon the two both inside the station house and out. Hopefully, the somewhat shaky premise can avoid the potential homophobic undercurrent present here. (July 20)
Official Web site

“The Simpsons Movie”
Starring the voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Albert Brooks
Not just your average, everyday adaptation of a TV show, this big screen of “The Simpsons” has been nearly 20 years and 400 episodes in the making. The actual plot of the film has been kept under wraps, but is a collaboration of 11 (you read that right) veteran Simpsons scribes. So the question that hounds most every TV show that hits theaters is will there be enough material to spread to a feature length. As the show’s still a top 20 ranking program, there will certainly be plenty of fans interested to find out. (July 27)
Official Web site

“No Reservations”
Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin and Patricia Clarkson
An attractive cast heads up this romantic comedy-drama about a master chef at a Manhattan restaurant who intimidates in the kitchen. But it’s she who becomes a bit intimidated when she’s forced to take in her 9-year-old niece Zoe (Breslin) and deal with a new brash sous-chef (Eckhart) at the restaurant. The story may not be the most original sounding, but the cast, which includes “Little Miss Sunshine” herself, Oscar-nominee Breslin, makes the film a potentially intriguing sleeper. (July 27)
Official Web site

“The Bourne Ultimatum”

Starring Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez
Playing trained assassin Jason Bourne, Damon returns for his third go around in what has become a solidly successful film franchise. Stiles and Allen also reprise their role from the last picture, as Bourne seeks out how he became an assassin, while plenty of people in various government agencies scramble to stop him from learning the truth. Director Paul Greengrass is also back for this sequel, fresh off his Oscar-nominated success with “United 93.” (Aug. 3)
Official Web site

Starring Jason Lee (as the voice of Underdog), Jim Belushi, Peter Dinklage, John Slattery, Patrick Warburton, Brad Garrett, Amy Adams
This adaptation of the classic cartoon series, a live-action affair, featuring the voice of Lee (“My Name is Earl”) and lots of special effects, could be a bit of a late summer sleeper. Dinklage as the evil scientist Dr. Barsinister and Warburton as his henchman is a bit of inspired casting. Then again, this movie could just as easily turn out to be a real dog. (Sorry, that was too easy.) (Aug. 3)
Official Web site

“Rush Hour 3”
Starring Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Youki Kudoh, Max Von Sydow, Noemie Lenoir, Vinnie Jones, Yvan Attel, Roselyn Sanchez, Roman Polanski
Clearly showing no rush to return to the movie business, Tucker is back after a six-year absence to star in his first movie since, well, “Rush Hour 2.” It’s certainly not too taxing of a life he leads. But anyway, most would have thought this series had run out of gas after the first film, but audiences keep eating it up. Hopefully, this third installment won’t be just going through the motions. (Aug. 10)
Official Web site

Starring Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Peter O'Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro
The best-selling graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess gets a big budget adaptation with a good cast that tells the story of a young man (Cox) on a quest to protect a fallen star (Danes) from a varied batch of people with selfish desires, including a witch (Pfeiffer) and the sons of an aging king (O’Toole). If properly marketed by its studio, Paramount, this fantasy adventure film with a dose of romance could become a hit. (Aug. 10)
Official Web site

“The Invasion”
Starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright, Malin Akerman
Nothing short of the entire human race is threatened by a strange epidemic that alters people’s behavior. Naturally, it turns out to be caused by something extraterrestrial and its up to a psychiatrist (Kidman) and another doctor (Craig, fresh off his success in “Casino Royale”) to save the day. You might also know this movie as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” of which this is a quasi-remake. The film had a major script rewrite and some additional footage shot in January after its studio, Warner Bros., was reportedly unhappy with some of the results. Not usually a good sign. (Aug. 17)
No official Web site.

“Mr. Bean’s Holiday”
Starring Rowan Atkinson, Emma de Caunes, Jean Rochefort, Antoine de Caunes, Willem Dafoe
Having already been established as a big hit overseas, where it has racked up well over $100 million in box office grosses, the second film based on the popular British television comedy series will hit American theaters. Atkinson plays the title character, a very quiet chap who constantly stumbles into trouble, often wreaking havoc with anyone or anything that has the misfortune of getting in his path. The film’s debut here will be a solid five months after its release in the United Kingdom.(Aug. 31)
Official Web site

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