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Thursday, May 24, 2007 01:58 am

Burning up the screen

Summer brings zombies, Romans, superheroes, and Mr. Bean

Untitled Document The summer means blockbuster films, but for some reason the three biggest sequels were released in May. A little distance might have resulted in more money for all. Don’t worry, though — the studios have many more mindless releases to fill out the summer months. All dates are subject to change, and limited releases will likely reach Springfield at later dates.
Gracie Elisabeth Shue brings a fictionalized account of her youth as a girl who tries to join a boys’ soccer team. Shue doubles as producer and as the actress playing the soccer mom.
Knocked Up Writer/director Judd Apatow follows his hit The 40 Year Old Virgin with another sex comedy. A dork has a one-night stand with a beautiful girl, and the title suggests the result.
Mr. Brooks It may be hard to imagine Kevin Costner as a serial killer, but investigator Demi Moore is convinced that he is one. William Hurt co-stars.

Rise: Blood Hunter Lucy Liu stars as a reporter who rises from the dead to avenge her murder in a plot reminiscent of The Crow’s.
Hostel: Part II The torturous fun continues as three female art students on vacation in Europe end up in the wrong place. Can it possibly be worse than the awful first installment?
Ocean’s 13 George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and company return for a third caper, this time with former adversary Andy Garcia as an ally. The new mark is casino owner Al Pacino.
Surf’s Up Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, cartoon penguins are back to participate in a surfing competition. Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, and Jon Heder provide voices.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer The four disparate comic-book superheroes band together to thwart the Silver Surfer’s plans to destroy the Earth.
Fido Ray has an unusual pet, but Fido is no dog — he’s a zombie who has eaten the next-door neighbor.
I Could Never Be Your Woman Mother Nature interferes in the love relationships of a mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her daughter (Saoirse Ronan). This is a holdover from last summer.
Nancy Drew The young female detective of kiddie-literature fame hasn’t been seen on the big screen since the 1940s. Emma Roberts plays the teen snoop, who investigates a movie star’s death.

Captivity The ad campaign for this torture thriller about a couple held captive by a serial killer has already caused controversy. Can the film live up to its notorious hype?
DOA: Dead or Alive A video-game adaptation about three female fighters entering a martial-arts tournament. Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) stars in this holdover from last summer.
Evan Almighty Steve Carell easily stole Bruce Almighty from Jim Carrey, so it is fitting that he stars in the sequel. Evan is a congressman who must build an ark in advance of a flood. Morgan Freeman reprises his role as God.
1408 A Stephen King adaptation about a debunker of paranormal occurrences (John Cusack) who checks into hotel room 1408 to encounter unexplained horrors.
A Mighty Heart Angelina Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl, who searches for her kidnapped journalist husband, Daniel (Dan Futterman), in this fact-based drama.
You Kill Me Today’s hitmen have many personal problems, and Ben Kingsley joins Alcoholics Anonymous to solve his. Téa Leoni co-stars as his smart-mouthed love interest.
Live Free or Die Hard Is Die Hard cop John McClane becoming political in his old age? Is he still fit enough to take on a group of Internet terrorists planning to shut down the American economy in this fourth installment?
Evening (limited) Vanessa Redgrave is a dying woman who reflects on her past in this generational drama. Toni Collette and Claire Danes co-star.
Ratatouille A young rat with expensive taste in food and a desire to become a chef takes up residence in an exclusive Paris restaurant in this animated Disney feature from the maker of The Incredibles.

Sicko Political filmmaker Michael Moore takes on the health-care industry in his new, already controversial documentary. Moore is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for a trip he took to Cuba while making the film.

Joshua Strange things begin to happen to the Cairn family, and all evidence points to the disturbing behavior of their weird son. Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga play the troubled parents.
License to Wed Robin Williams is the Rev. Frank, an unorthodox marriage counselor who subjects a young couple (Mandy Moore, John Krasinski) to a brutal marriage-preparation course.

Transformers Shape-shifting alien robots use Earth as a battleground, threatening the future of the planet. If an amusement-park ride can be turned into a blockbuster movie, why not toys?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix The saga of Harry Potter turns darker as the young wizard returns to Hogwarts for a fifth year and a power struggle throws the school into chaos.
Interview (limited) Steve Buscemi directs and stars as a serious journalist who is forced to follow a soap-opera actress (Sienna Miller). This is a remake of a Dutch film by murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
Rescue Dawn (limited) Christian Bale is a downed pilot in the Vietnam War who escapes imprisonment with the help of fellow POWs. Werner Herzog directs this dramatic version of his documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly.
The Strangers Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are a couple terrorized by three masked strangers in a secluded vacation house.
Talk to Me (limited) This film tells the true story of Ralph “Petey” Greene (Don Cheadle), an ex-con who became a well-known radio personality in 1960s Washington, D.C.
Goya’s Ghosts Milos Forman’s historical drama of painter Francisco Goya’s muse, who is imprisoned for the crime of atheism. Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, and Stellan Skarsgård star.
Hairspray A chunky teenager wins a spot on her favorite TV dance show. Can this musical version of John Waters’ comedy overcome the gimmick of casting John Travolta as the girl’s mother?
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Adam Sandler and Kevin James are two New York firefighters who pose as a gay couple to qualify for domestic-partner benefits. This is high concept to the extreme.
I Know Who Killed Me Lindsay Lohan stars as a young woman who develops a split personality after being held captive by a serial killer.
No Reservations Catherine Zeta-Jones is a neurotic chef whose difficult life become even more complicated when she become the guardian of her young niece (Abigail Breslin).
The Simpsons Movie Springfield’s favorite cartoon family is long past its prime, so the timing may be off for the big-screen version. Will this Springfield get the premiere?
Skinwalkers A young boy is caught in the middle of a war between two werewolf packs. One group wants to protect him, the other wants to kill him.
Becoming Jane After all the adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels, a biography of the writer was inevitable. Anne Hathaway stars as Austen in her early years.
The Bourne Ultimatum Matt Damon reprises his role as Jason Bourne, the spy with an identity crisis. As he closes in on his past, his search is hindered by the appearance of an assassin (Edgar Ramirez).
Charlie Bartlett Finding it difficult to fit in at his new high school, a wealthy teen (Anton Yelchin) achieves popularity by giving out advice as the self-appointed school therapist.
Hot Rod Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live stars in his first movie, as a klutz who plans to jump 15 buses on his moped to raise money to help his father.
Resurrecting the Champ Josh Hartnett plays a sports reporter who discovers that a former boxing champ (Samuel L. Jackson) is now homeless. The relationship with the boxer forces the journalist to reevaluate his own life.
Underdog The superhero dog from the animated TV series is unrecognizable as he gets a complete overhaul for the movie version. Jason Lee provides the voice.
Daddy Day Camp The Eddie Murphy starrer Daddy Day Care gets a sequel — but the major talent from the first one is not involved. Cuba Gooding Jr. takes over Murphy’s role.
Rocket Science A high-school student with a severe stuttering problem joins the debate team to impress a girl.
Rush Hour 3 Mismatched detectives — an obnoxious American cop (Chris Tucker) and a Hong Kong martial-arts master (Jackie Chan) — team up again to battle Chinese gangsters in Paris.

Stardust A young man ventures into a fantasy world to retrieve a fallen star for his girlfriend. Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert De Niro are among the stars.
Bratz: The Movie Pity the poor parents of young girls who must endure this movie based on the popular dolls. Was this a wise career move for Paula Abdul?
The Invasion Nicole Kidman is a psychiatrist who discovers an alien epidemic and learns that her son may be the key to stopping it. This is the fourth feature version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Penelope (limited) Christina Ricci stars as a princess born with a pig’s snout in this modern-day fairy tale. She must find true love with a prince to break the curse.
Superbad Two high-school best friends are forced to deal with separation when their beer party goes bad. Early buzz compares it to American Pie.
Good Luck Chuck Dane Cook is a womanizer who notices that every girl he dumps moves on to Mr. Right. Women notice, too, and begin using him as a stepping-stone.
The Last Legion Colin Firth is a soldier who forms a band of legionnaires to save the collapsing Roman Empire from marauding barbarians. Maybe he can also save the collapsing genre.
Mr. Bean’s Holiday Rowan Atkinson takes his priceless klutzy creation to France to wreak havoc on the Cannes Film Festival. Sadly, this may be the final appearance by Mr. Bean.
Balls of Fury A has-been pingpong player is recruited by the FBI to enter a secret tournament run by an evil crime lord (Christopher Walken).
Death Sentence Kevin Bacon becomes a vigilante to avenge an attack on his son by a gang. He vows to kill each one involved.
Wristcutters: A Love Story (limited) A teenager commits suicide and enters an afterlife reserved for suicide victims. He searches for his ex-girlfriend, who also committed suicide.
Springfield’s Marc Sigoloff writes about film for Illinois Times.

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