Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer 2009 Movie Preview (July)

With the heat of the summer starting to really crank up in July, so too will the competition at the box office, as a lot of films look to pull audiences into air-conditioned theaters while providing their own form of fireworks. Here’s a brief look at some of the notables for the month. August releases will follow soon.

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ”
Starring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah
Directed by Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier

With the first two “Ice Age” films having been big hits at the box office, there’s no reason to think equal success can’t greet this offering, as no other family-oriented pictures are scheduled near this one. It’s pre-Fourth of July spot is also ideal. (July 1)
Official Web site

“Public Enemies”
Starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang
Directed by Michael Mann

Although they have precious little screen time in the film, this crime drama does feature the great pairing of Depp as notorious bank robber John Dillinger and Bale as the FBI agent tasked to take the criminal and his gang down. Director Mann has a strong track record with crime-oriented films (“Heat” and “Collateral”). (July 1)
Official Web site

Starring Sacha Baron Cohen
Directed by Larry Charles

Those who cringed at the antics of “Borat” should take cover, as Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest big screen foray will feature more of that confrontational style of comedy. “Borat” was a bit of a surprise hit, but “Brüno” likely won’t sneak up on audiences. Still, it should generate plenty of laughs, if its ad campaign is any indicator. (July 10)
Official Web site

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by David Yates

Pushed back from its original late 2008 release date, the sixth film in the hugely popular series finally hits theaters. While positioned as a darker entry in the franchise, it sets the stage for the ambitious plan to break the next “Harry Potter” film into two parts. Big business at the box office is a given, with the film likely to compete for the top moneymaker of the year. (July 15)
Official Web site

“(500) Days of Summer”
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel
Directed by Marc Webb

Having garnered strong notices from its debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, this unorthodox movie looks at the relationship between a greeting card writer (Gordon-Levitt) and a new employee (Deschanel), who have quite different views on love. It’s hard to imagine a trailer doing a better job at selling a movie than this one does. (July 17, limited)
Official Web site

Starring the voices of Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Penelope Cruz, Nicolas Cage
Directed by Hoyt Yeatman

If you’d been wondering when there would ever be a CG/live-action combination featuring a group of crime-fighting guinea pigs, then you’re in luck here. This is a film that would seem to be primarily aimed at children, but hopefully will not be a painful cinematic experience for adults. (July 24)
Official Web site

“The Ugly Truth”
Starring Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Eric Winter, John Michael Higgins, Nick Searcy, Kevin Connolly and Cheryl Hines
Directed by Robert Luketic

It just wouldn’t be summer without the dependable romantic comedy genre in the mix, and with her success in “27 Dresses,” Heigl is a hot commodity in it. Here, she plays a TV morning show producer who has to deal with an egotistical new reporter (Butler) who takes on the task of finding a guy for her. This one looks to have cute and predictable written all over it, but maybe also has the ability to surprise. (July 24)
Official Web site

“Funny People”
Starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman
Directed by Judd Apatow

Although he has produced what seems like hundreds of films in recent years, this comedy marks only the third directing venture for Apatow. Sandler, a newcomer to the Apatow stable, stars as a stand-up comedian dealing with a terminal illness, who decides to take an up-and-coming comedian (Rogen) under his wing. The premise certainly has the potential to venture into sentimentality, but the cast would seem to be good enough to avoid that pitfall. (July 31)
Official Web site

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