Big Screen Fun Out of the Sun
The summer movie season kicked off with the opening of “Van
Helsing” last weekend in what looks to be a promising, though
typical, summer lineup of films. From blockbusters to sequels to
comedies to independent releases, the next few months will
hopefully provide moviegoers with quality cinematic experiences.
Here are some of the movies that I have the highest hopes for in
the upcoming days and nights of summer.
“Van Helsing” (May 7)
Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale battle a ‘who’s who’ of classic
movie monsters: Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein.
On the bright side: A triple threat of monster masters and
director Steven Sommers is responsible for the hit summer smashes
“The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns.”
However: The trailer has a few moments of wince-inducing bad
“Troy” (May 14)
Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Eric Bana, along with director
Wolfgang Petersen bring the Trojan War to the big screen.
On the bright side: The R-rating should make this an awesome
film with “Gladiator”-like appeal.
However: The combination of Pitt and Bloom could cause
“The Day After Tomorrow” (May 28)
Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal play a father and son,
respectively, searching for one another after a new ice age hits
On the bright side: It’s been a while since we’ve had a good ol’
summer disaster flick.
However: The special-effects-heavy trailer doesn’t promise much
of anything else.
“King Arthur” (July 7)
Clive Owen is Arthur and Keira Knightley is Guinevere is this
gritty retelling of the classic legend.
On the bright side: Its realistic nature could breath life into
a well-known story.
However: “Troy” may give moviegoers all the historical violence
they need two months earlier.
“The Village” (July 30)
Director M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller about a small village
surrounded by woods that are inhabited by mythical creatures.
On the bright side: Shyamalan has yet to leave me
However: How long can he continue to come up with original,
“Shrek 2” (May 21)
Princess Fiona brings Shrek home to meet her parents in this
inevitable sequel to the hit computer-animated film of 2001.
On the bright side: With the original voices returning, it would
be pretty hard to screw up this movie.
However: It will have a tough time matching or topping the
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (June 4)
Harry and friends encounter trouble with an escaped convict in
their third year at Hogwarts.
On the bright side: It will be interesting to see what new
director Alfonso Cuaron (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”) does with the third
film in this wildly successful franchise.
However: The book’s plot is more complicated and confusing than
the first two, which could leave younger audiences scratching their
“Spider-Man 2” (June 30)
Tobey Maguire returns as the web-slinging comic-book hero, this
time out to stop a villain by the name of Dr. Octopus.
On the bright side: The cast and director of the first one
returned and the trailer makes the movie look to be even better
than its predecessor.
However: It has big shoes to fill with “Spider-Man” holding the
title of the fifth-highest-grossing movie of all time.
“The Stepford Wives” (June 11)
Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick star in this dark comedy
remake of the satirical horror film from the ’70s about husbands
replacing their wives with robots.
On the bright side: Nicole Kidman was in need of a comedic break
from her Oscar-friendly dramatic roles.
However: Yahoo! Movies reports that co-star Jon Lovitz does a
“Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” (June 18)
Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller battle it out in a high-profile
On the bright side: The trailer is hilarious and dodgeball is an
untapped resource for potential comedy heaven.
However: People being hit with red rubber balls may only be
funny for so long.
“Anchorman” (July 9)
Will Ferrell heads up an all-male TV news team that is
threatened when a female reporter (Christina Applegate) is added to
On the bright side: Two words – Will Ferrell.
However: A movie about 1970s TV news anchors may alienate
“Saved!” (May 28)
When a student at a Christian high school becomes pregnant, her
classmates, including Mandy Moore, make her an outcast.
On the bright side: I haven’t heard an audience laugh so hard at
a trailer in a long time.
However: After “The Passion of the Christ,” moviegoers may not
flock to a potentially Christianity-mocking comedy.
“Garden State” (July 30)
Zach Braff (J.D. from TV’s “Scrubs”) wrote and stars in this
film about a man who returns to his hometown to attend his mother’s
funeral and tie up some loose ends, including a romance with a
character played by Natalie Portman.
On the bright side: The film’s trailer is vague though strangely
However: It may get swept away by big budget summer
“Open Water” (August 6)
A chiller based on a true story about a couple that gets
stranded out in shark-infested waters while scuba diving.
On the bright side: It looks and sounds to be extremely
However: It appears that most if not all of the movie takes
place out in the ocean, which may leave viewers yearning for a
change of scenery.