News & Features » Miscellany

It's déj… vu all over again as sequels dominate this summer's movies.

Sizzle or Fizzle?


An initial take on this summer's slate? Promising. Despite the preponderance of remakes, revisits and re-imaginings, this summer's schedule also offers a strong showing of female leads as well as days of infamy, apes, ogres, dinosaurs, tomb raiders, romance and Spielberg. To help prevent you from getting burned at the box office, here's Style's own "SPF" — summerscreen protection factor — list. But remember, release dates are always subject to change.

May 25

Disney and action-meister Jerry Bruckheimer join forces in hopes of blowing away the competition with "Pearl Harbor." Starring Ben Affleck, Cuba Gooding Jr., Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, it's directed by Michael Bay ("Armageddon," "The Rock") and written by Randall Wallace ("Braveheart). After focusing on the initial brutal Sunday morning bombing, the epic tale is really a love story with best friends and flyboys Affleck and Hartnett both falling in love with Beckinsale's no-nonsense nurse. "Pearl Harbor" is officially the most expensive movie ever made. The cast however is not, so expect to see the money spent in those opening attack scenes.

June 1

Rob Schneider and "Survivor's" Colleen Haskell co-star in "The Animal," a tale of a wimpy, wannabe cop who survives a terrible car crash thanks to some unorthodox surgeries. Yes, Schneider's life is saved by a mad scientist who transplants animal organs into his body.

Fresh from his moneymaking turn as "Big Momma," Martin Lawrence teams up with Danny DeVito for the comedy "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" Lawrence is a professional thief; DeVito, the billionaire who ends up holding up Lawrence.

At the opposite end of the creativity and intelligence spectrum is "Moulin Rouge." Described by writer-director Baz Luhrman ("Romeo + Juliet") as a re-imagining of the musical form, this love story promises to mix past and present with singular, visual flair. Though set in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, the musical numbers include a Marilyn Monroe standard as well as The Police's "Roxanne." Nicole Kidman stars as Satine; Ewan McGregor is her lover.

June 8

"X-files" star David Duchovny leads a ragtag crew of believers in "Evolution," a sci-fi comedy about a meteor filled with alien organisms that multiply faster than those pesky "Star Trek" Tribbles. Julianne Moore, looking to flex her humor muscle, and Orlando Jones are part of Duchovny's A-team.

In "Swordfish," John Travolta plays a dangerous — and charismatic — spy looking to finance his own brand of patriotism with a high-tech bank heist. To pull it off, he and gal-pal Halle Berry enlist the help of down-on-his-luck superhacker Hugh Jackman. But things are not what they seem and Jackman's character soon realizes he's involved in something sinister.

June 15

Featuring the voices of Michael J. Fox and James Garner, Disney's animated "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" follows museum cartographer Milo Thatch (Fox) who dreams of finishing his late grandfather's quest to find the lost empire of Atlantis. When a long-lost journal provides new clues to its location, Milo's wish comes true. But when Milo and crew find the underwater kingdom, they also encounter something that goes far beyond their expectations.

Then move over Lucy, Cameron and Drew, here comes "Tomb Raider," with Angelina Jolie as the butt-kicking, real-life version of video game femme fatale Lara Croft. Rumor has it that this big-screen adaptation picks up where the third installment of the interactive game leaves off. Talk about your built-in audience, the video game has earned more than $500 million in sales.

June 22

Co-written, co-directed and co-acted by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh, "The Anniversary Party" follows 24 hours in the life of a couple who have been separated for a year but find themselves back together for an anniversary party where things get interesting when a game of Truth or Dare breaks out.

Then Eddie Murphy fans get a second helping of the talented comic in "Dr. Dolittle 2." In this sequel, Murphy's good doc and his stable of amusing animal pals attempt to save the forest habitat and a near-extinct species of native bear.

Then mangled metal rules as "The Fast & The Furious" roars onto screens. Paul Walker plays an undercover rookie cop who infiltrates an L.A. street racing team so he can investigate a series of truck-hijackings. But along the way he falls for gang leader Vin Diesel's sister. Not a good idea, it seems.

June 27

Writer-director John Singleton returns to the 'hood that made him famous with "Baby Boy," a tale he describes as a follow up to his star-making "Boyz 'N the Hood." This time out, Singleton introduces us to the emotionally complicated world of 20-year-old Jody (Tyrese Gibson), a father who's still living with his mother but is having relationships with two women.

June 29

Steven Spielberg returns to the big screen with "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence." Said to be the project Stanley Kubrick was developing at the time of his death, the story is basically a retelling of "Pinocchio," with "Sixth Sense's" Haley Joel Osment playing an 11-year-old robot boy of the future who dreams of becoming real.

Then Kirsten Dunst returns to high school for yet another teen drama. This one's called "crazy/beautiful" and stars Dunst as a troubled teen who defies her wealthy family by befriending and then falling in love with a Latino boy attending her prestigious school on scholarship. Their romance is beset by culture clashes from both sides.

Next up, "Run Lola Run" writer-director Tom Tykwer reunites with "Lola" star Franka Potente for "The Princess & The Warrior," a tale about a nurse's strange encounter with a drifter who causes an accident that leaves her injured and unable to breathe. When he comes to her aid, she believes him to be her destiny. He doesn't feel the same fateful attraction.

July 4

In the animatronic comedy "Cats & Dogs," we're privy to a secret war that's being waged under the noses of unsuspecting and adoring owners. It seems the cats have developed a plan to destroy a new vaccine that would stop all human allergies to their archrivals, dogs. Stopping their dastardly plan falls into the paws of a young pup. Tobey Maguire, Jeff Goldblum and Susan Sarandon provide the voices for the primary cats and dogs.

Then Keenan Ivory Wayans returns with "Scary Movie 2," which features another killer who kills lots of dumb teens while spoofing every slasher movie that ever made money at the box office. Marlon and Shawn Wayans reprise their roles as Shorty and Ray.

July 6

Bridget Fonda joins Jet Li for "Kiss of the Dragon," about a Chinese intelligence officer (Li) who travels to Paris on a mission so secret he's not really sure about the details. But when he's about to be framed for murder, he finds himself thrown together with a desperate American (Fonda), and together they set out to defeat a mysterious adversary.

July 11

Sony's Columbia Pictures arm tries its hand at computer-generated animation with "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within." The movie is set in the year 2065 and pits Earth against mysterious aliens that steal the life force form all living things.

July 13

Reese Witherspoon stars in the romantic comedy "Legally Blonde," as a California girl who desperately wants to marry her East Coast blue-blooded boyfriend. But when her dumps her 'cause she's not good enough and heads off to Harvard Law School, guess who follows suit and turns into the legal champion of harassed blondes everywhere.

Then Robert De Niro returns to the mean screen with "The Score," as an aging thief who's pulled out of retirement to do one more heist with young upstart Edward Norton.

July 18

Regardless of whether we really need it or want it, here comes "Jurassic Park III." Tea Leoni and William H. Macy join Sam Neill for this third installment, but conspicuously absent is Steven Spielberg.

America's sweetheart and newly minted Oscar winner Julia Roberts stars with Billy Crystal, John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the aptly titled comedy "America's Sweethearts." Roberts plays the self-conscious personal assistant to a well-known star whose celebrity marriage to an even bigger star is on the rocks. But she and press agent Crystal have their work cut out for them as the two actors agree to fake marital bliss to promote their last movie together.

July 27

Then "Bow your heads!" moviegoers. Here comes Tim Burton's revisit of the sci-fi classic "Planet of the Apes." This time out, Mark Wahlberg is astronaut Leo Davidson whose spacecraft crashes on a remote planet where apes are in charge and humans are rural scavengers. Inspired by the 1968 classic, fans of the original will enjoy the fact that Charleton Heston gets a cameo here as one of the apes.

Aug. 3

In an odd move, MGM opens two movies on the same weekend. First it's "Ghost World," where the lives of two best friends (Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson) take different directions after they graduate from high school. The movie is based on and bears the name of the extremely popular graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, who also wrote the screenplay. Then Antonio Banderas, Angelina Jolie and Thomas Jane co-star in "Original Sin," a romantic thriller about a husband who finds himself married to a mysterious femme fatale.

Whoopi Goldberg and Cuba Gooding Jr. co-star in "Rat Race," a remake of the comedy "Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." They're part of a group invited by wealthy Las Vegas businessman to compete for $2 million dollars hidden in a locker hundreds of miles away.

Julie Andrews reunites with Disney for "The Princess Diaries." She plays the queen of a faraway principality who claims a San Francisco teen (Anne Hathaway) is really a princess. Andrews offers the princess lessons to ready the heir-apparent for life as royalty. Problems arise when our teen doesn't want to leave her boyfriend.

Then Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan reunite for the sequel, "Rush Hour 2." Reprising their original roles, these two very different crime fighters find themselves in Hong King where Chan's character gets to show Tucker the ropes.

Aug. 10

The sequel frenzy hits high gear with a second helping of the popular gross-out flick "American Pie." "AP 2" picks up with the guys reuniting after a year apart in a rented beach house for the summer. Nearly everyone from the original movie drops by, and yes, Jim (Jason Biggs) still doesn't feel he's sexually ready for Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth).

Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz play star-crossed lovers in the World War II romance drama "Captain Corelli's, Mandolin." When the war turns in the Allies favor, Cage's character must make some decisions about his political allegiance versus his growing love for Cruz.

Woody Allen returns to the world of caper comedy as writer, director and star of "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion." Allen plays an insurance fraud investigator who undergoes a personality and morality change when he falls under the hypnotic spell of a jade scorpion. Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd and Charlize Theron are part of the shenanigans.

Then things take an internal turn for "Osmosis Jones," an animated epic about the battle within the body of hapless human Frank (Bill Murray) when a lethal virus (Laurence Fishburne) invades his immune system. Renegade white blood cell Osmosis (Chris Rock) must join forces with a 12-hour cold capsule (David Hyde Pierce) to save Frank.

Aug. 17

Get ready for another re-imagining of a classic. Yes, director John "Die Hard" McTiernan revisits the 1975 cult fave "Rollerball." This time out Chris Klein ("American Pie") is the arena-sport star who finds himself fighting treacherous team owner (Jean Reno) who will do anything to boost ratings.

Aug. 24

Has it been 22 years since Francis Ford Coppola released his seminal work on the Vietnam War? Get ready for "Apocalypse Now Redux," sporting 53 extra minutes of previously unreleased footage, including the famous French plantation scene, more Marlon Brando moments and more of those Playboy Playmates.

Up against Coppola's classic is "John Carpenter's 'Ghosts of Mars,'" a sci-fi tale set in 2025 when the Red Planet has become overrun with former citizens of the overpopulated Earth. It seems a long-dormant Martian civilization has come awake and is slowly taking over the bodies of the human intruders.

Another classic — from the pen of William Shakespeare — gets a redo in "O," which is short for "Othello." Mekhi Phifer stars as Odin, a young man told by a close friend (Josh Hartnett) that his girl (Julia Stiles) is playing him. Of course, Odin learns too late that his best bud was really motivated by jealousy of Odin's good

Add a comment