May 092004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

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.

The Blockbusters

“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

acting.

“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

pretty-boy overload.

“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

the world.

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

disappointed.

However: How long can he continue to come up with original,

surprise endings?

The Sequels

“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

original.

“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

heads.

“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 Comedies

“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

nude scene.

“Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” (June 18)

Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller battle it out in a high-profile

dodgeball tournament.

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

the staff.

On the bright side: Two words – Will Ferrell.

However: A movie about 1970s TV news anchors may alienate

younger moviegoers.

The Indies

“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

intriguing.

However: It may get swept away by big budget summer

blockbusters.

“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

psychologically intense.

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.

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