Movie News & Reviews

Summer Movie Preview: What to see, what to skip

Summer is never about which movies we're "looking forward to." It's which movies we're dying to see, all breathless and fanboy/fangirl goofy.

There's a Da Vinci Code sequel, Brüno to follow Borat, more transforming robots, and one with that Brit kid with the magic wand.

"Dying to see?" Heavens, where to start?

Hot-date movie: Lots of romantic comedies May to August, from June's Nia Vadarlos Greek romance My Life in Ruins (June 5), to I Love You, Beth Cooper starring Hayden Panettiere (July 10) and Kristen Bell's Italian romance When in Rome (Aug. 7).

Will any of them be sweeter and more honest than Joseph Gordon-Levitt falling for Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer (July 17)? Not likely.

Hot farce: Will Ferrell visits Land of the Lost (June 5), and Judd Apatow goes all sensitive with the dying-comic comedy Funny People (July 31). But the only safe bet for politically incorrect comic outrage is Brüno (July 10), Sacha Baron Cohen's latest mockumentary to use a funny foreign man to tweak American sensibilities: a gay Austrian "fashionista" lures rubes into his world.

Hot sequel: It's hard to work up a lot of enthusiasm for the follow-up to a smash hit that sucked (Angels & Demons, May 15) or yet another twist in the unending Terminator saga (Terminator Salvation, May 21). Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24)? Two words: Michael Bay.

But Star Trek (May 8), a prequel, brings out the inner fanboy with a vengeance. Beam me up for this one.

Hot kids movie: Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian (May 22), has lots of kid-friendly promise in the premise of history coming to life again. But Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (July 1)? Come on! Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (July 17) has to be better than Harry the Last.

But is there a surer thing in children's' film than Pixar? Up! (May 29) is in digital 3-D and could be dazzling.

Hot horror: Rob Zombie's gory take on the Halloween legend didn't do much for me, and his sequel, H2 (Aug. 28) promises more of the same. I'm betting that Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell (May 29) will beat the albumen out of all comers for summer horror.

More hotness: Michael Mann talked Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Billy Crudup and Marion Cotillard into starring in his 1930s gangland history, Public Enemies (July 1). Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and Amy Adams a housewife who wants to be like her in Julie and Julia (Aug. 7). And Quentin Tarantino has his World War II actioner, Inglourious Basterds (Aug. 21). I can't speak for you, but nothing says "summer" to me like Jewish GIs out to kills lots of Nazis.


All dates subject to change without notice. "Limited" means limited release on that date, which means it probably won't open in Central Kentucky until later, if at all.

May 15

Angels & Demons. Tom Hanks returns in this sequel to the worldwide smash The Da Vinci Code. It promises more history, mystery and the threat of a terrorist act against the Vatican.

Management (Limited). Jennifer Aniston and Lexington resident Steve Zahn play a lonely saleswoman and the goofy hotel clerk who falls for her and comically pursues her across country in this indie comedy.

May 21

Terminator Salvation. Sort of a prequel to the many Terminator movies and sequel to The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, this picks up the story after Skynet has destroyed most of human civilization and John Connor (Christian Bale) and others struggle to survive.

May 22

Dance Flick. The Wayans family produced and stars in this riff on the dance-musicals craze on film and TV.

Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian. Ben Stiller returns as the museum night watchman whose dead exhibits come to life after dark. Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Ricky Gervais return, and Amy Adams shows up as Amelia Earhart.

The Girlfriend Experience (Limited). Steven Soderbergh's comedy about a New York call girl coping with life, boyfriends and johns in the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election.

May 29

Drag Me to Hell. Alison Lohman stars in this Sam Raimi horror thriller about a woman cursed by an old woman and forced to live out her revenge. Best title ever!

Up! Pixar's latest is about a grumpy old man (Ed Asner) who ties balloons to his house and takes a trip, with a Boy Scout trapped on his front porch.

The Lonely Maiden (Limited). Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken and Marcia Gay Harden star in this comedy about security guards who try to steal artworks they've become attached to.

June 5

The Hangover. The groomsmen lose the groom after a night of drinking and have to retrace their steps to find the guy in time for his big day.

Land of the Lost. Will Ferrell and Danny McBride are the adults in this revival of the 1970s (and '90s) kiddie TV adventure series about folks who stumble into a world of dinosaurs and other menacing creatures.

My Life in Ruins. Nia Vardalos attempts a big fat Greek comeback in this comedy about a tour guide who rediscovers romance on a trek through Greece. Richard Dreyfuss also stars.

Adoration. Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan's latest is a comment on Internet culture as a teen invents a fanciful life for himself and his family on the Web, causing controversy and consternation.

Away We Go (Limited). Sam Mendes directed this road comedy about an expectant couple (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) who travel America looking for the perfect place to raise their family.

June 12

Imagine That. Eddie Murphy's latest has him playing a failing financier whose problems are solved when he drops in on his daughter's imaginary world.

The Taking of Pelham 123. It's Denzel Washington as the cop versus John Travolta as the crook in this Tony Scott remake of the classic heist thriller about a hijacked New York subway train.

Moon (Limited). Sam Rockwell stars as a lone astronaut who wonders whether he's losing his mind when he finds an injured astronaut on the moon. Very 2001-ish, with Kevin Spacey as the voice of his computer.

June 19

The Proposal. Sandra Bullock plays a Canadian who pretends to be engaged to her long-suffering assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to avoid deportation.

Year One. Jack Black, Olivia Wilde and Michael Cera don fur for this caveman culture comedy from Judd Apatow and director Harold Ramis.

Whatever Works (Limited). Woody Allen's latest comedy stars the ever-dyspeptic Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood and Patricia Clarkson.

The Brothers Bloom (Limited). Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo star in this dramedy about veteran con men who take "one last job."

June 24

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and Co. learn that nothing metal ever "dies." It's just recycled.

June 26

Fireflies in the Garden. A Robert Frost poem was the inspiration for this all-star melodrama about a family torn by tragedy. Ryan Reynolds, Julia Roberts, Carrie-Anne Moss, Willem Dafoe and Emily Watson star.

My Sister's Keeper. Nick Cassavetes' latest is a drama about a couple who find themselves facing moral and ethical choices to save their child's life, choices that cause their other child to take them to court. Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin and Jason Patric star.

Cheri (Limited). Stephen Frears directed this adaptation of a Colette novel about the effects of a romance between an aging courtesan (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the rich young man she seduces (Rupert Friend).

The Hurt Locker (Limited). Action auteur Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break) makes a comeback with this thriller about bomb disposal teams in war torn Iraq. Jeremy Renner, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and David Morse are among the stars. (Opens wider July 10 and 24.)

July 1

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Those Ice Age mammals confront dinosaurs in this sequel to the popular animated comedies.

Public Enemies. Michael Mann's 1930s gangster epic about J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) and Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) going after the likes of Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Pretty Boy Floyd and Babyface Nelson. Marion Cotillard also stars.

July 10

Brüno. Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat brings his fey Austrian fashionista to this mockumentary designed to make Brüno, and the folks who meet him, look foolish

I Love You, Beth Cooper. A shy valedictorian decides to declare his love for the class hottie (Hayden Panettiere) in this Chris Columbus high school graduation comedy.

July 17

500 Days of Summer. Zooey Deschanel is the woman who doesn't believe in love and Joseph Gordon-Levitt just the guy to convince her otherwise in this rom-com.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. A much delayed "Who will die next?" horror thriller.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Harry's growing pains continue in his sixth year at Hogwarts, a year of deathly secrets about Lord Voldemort.

July 24

All Good Things. A missing-persons case might cause the downfall of a New York real estate dynasty in this drama starring Ryan Gosling, Frank Langella, Kirsten Dunst and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

G-Force. This 3-D comedy adventure from Jerry Bruckheimer features talking government agent guinea pigs. Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Nick Cage and Penelope Cruz have lent their voices to it.

Orphan. Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard star in this Supernanny horror tale about a couple who get more than they bargained for when they adopt a child.

The Ugly Truth. Katherine Heigl plays a TV producer and Gerard Butler is a correspondent who puts her to a series of tests to find out why she's still single in this romantic comedy.

July 31

Funny People. Judd Apatow's latest is about a veteran comic (Adam Sandler) who learns that he is dying and takes a young comic (Seth Rogen) under his wing, all in an effort to form one "genuine" friendship before he dies.

They Came From Upstairs. Kids try to protect their vacation home from alien invaders in this animation-plus-live-action comedy.

Aug. 7

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Brendan Fraser leads an elite squad into battle with an evil arms dealer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his henchmen in this film based on the animated TV series.

Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep stars as the chef, bon vivant and Francophile Julia Child, and Amy Adams plays the young woman who tries to emulate All Things Julia in this Nora Ephron comedy.

Shorts. A Robert Rodriguez child's fantasy about a magic rock that allows a kid to make his world right, until it falls into the hands of evil grown-ups.

Paper Heart (Limited). Michael Cera and Charlene Yi star in this romantic comedy about a documentary filmmaker (Yi) on a road trip/quest to discover the meaning of "love." (Wider release, Aug. 14).

Aug. 14

A Perfect Getaway. Psychopaths stalk two couples (Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez) on a Hawaiian vacation in this thriller from the director of Pitch Black.

Bandslam. High school kids bond over music when they form a group to try to win a battle of the bands.

District 9. One of Peter Jackson's protégés, Neill Blomkamp, directed this secretive sci-fi project.

Post Grad. Alexis Bledel stars in this comedy about a college grad who moves back home to try and figure out what to do with her life.

The Time Traveler's Wife. Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana star in this drama about a librarian (Bana) born with a gene that makes him travel through time, and the consequences that has on the great love of his life.

Ponyo. This animated Disney film from Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki is about a very young mermaid who longs to become human and who makes friends with a 5-year-old boy in the process.

Taking Woodstock (Limited). Ang Lee's comic version of how Woodstock was accidentally brought together in 1969. Funniest casting? Eugene Levy as Yasgur, as in "Yasgur's Farm." (Opens wider Sept. 9 )

Aug. 21

Inglourious Basterds. Brad Pitt and Mike Myers star in Quentin Tarantino's misspelled WWII thriller about Jewish commandos sent to wreak havoc on the Nazis.

Aug. 28

Final Destination: Death Trip 3D. More teenagers meet their maker when they least expect it, and this time they die in 3-D.

H2: Halloween 2. Rob Zombie's Halloween sequel.

The Boat That Rocked. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Billy Nighy are among the stars of this Richard Curtis comedy about pirate radio in the U.K. in the '70s.

Mardi Gras. Carmen Electra, Danneel Harris and Arielle Kebbel are among the stars in this girls-and-boys-gone wild at Mardi Gras comedy.