It looks like the unofficial motto for this summer’s movie season is, “The third time’s a charm!”
Between Labor Day and Memorial Day, cineplex patrons will be greeted by a swarm of franchise films offering up their third installment. We’ve already had Spider-Man 3. Shrek the Third is about to open. Still on the horizon: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Ocean’s Thirteen, The Bourne Ultimatum and Rush Hour 3. Of course, they’re all trumped by Bruce Willis returning for the fourth time as Detective John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard. Then again, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has got that beat with the fifth installment of its particular series. But if you really want to start adding up numbers, this August’s release of Halloween is technically the ninth outing for Michael Myers and pals.
Perhaps the motto of this summer should be, “If you haven’t seen it before, we don’t got it!”
Note: All opening dates are subject to change.
It Came from Hollywood (Or Not!)
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Angel-A French action director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) changes gears with this arty romantic fantasy about a suicidal beauty who helps an inept scam artist save his hide from some nasty gangsters.
Bug William Friedkin of Exorcist fame directs this psycho thriller about a paranoid, crazy war vet who sees insects everywhere and holes up with a lonely woman (Ashley Judd) in a spooky Oklahoma motel room. Based on the stageplay by Tracy Letts.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End The cast of the mega-blockbuster smasheroo return in another effects-filled sequel. This time around, Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom are sailing to the ends of the Earth and joining forces with all the world's pirate lords (including Chow Yun-Fat) to battle the bad guys.
Paprika Japanese master animator Satoshi Kon (Tokyo Godfathers) contributes this surreal sci-fi film about a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams.
Waitress In this comedy-romance, a pregnant, unhappily married waitress (Keri Russell) falls in love with a newcomer to her small Southern town.
Crazy Love This documentary explores the stranger-than-fiction world of Linda Riss, who married prominent tort lawyer Burt Pugach—16 years after he blinded her by throwing acid in her face!
Gracie This family film mixes feel-good sports action with girl power as a teen gal fights for the right to play on a boys soccer team.
Knocked Up From the makers of The 40 Year-Old Virgin comes this comedy-romance about a dude (Seth Rogen) who gets a girl (Katherine Heigl) pregnant on their first date.
Mr. Brooks Kevin Costner plays seriously against type as a mild-mannered family man sometimes controlled by his evil alter-ego (William Hurt). Dane Cook is also there playing against type as an opportunistic photographer blackmailing our split-personality serial killer.
Rise: Bloodhunter Lucy Liu stars as a female reporter who wakes up in a morgue and vows to hunt down the evil vampire sect that turned her into one of the living dead.
Hostel: Part 2
Hostel: Part 2 This time around it's a trio of female college students who are lured to a Slovakian hostel and tortured for fun. Ah, progress!
Ocean's Thirteen Add one more to the roster as Danny Ocean and his gang of lovable con men go after an evil casino owner (Al Pacino) who double-crossed one of their own.
Surf's Up Penguins are still a hot topic in Hollywood. Here, we have a faux-CGI documentary about a maverick penguin who dreams of becoming a surfer dude. Featuring the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jon Heder and Jeff Bridges.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Day Watch It's the long-awaited sequel to Night Watch, the stylish Russian fantasy flick about warring bands of modern-day wizards, vampires, shapeshifters and what-have-you.
Fido This warped horror comedy finds suburban America living hand-in-hand with “pet” zombies. Of course, when little Timmy's beloved Fido eats the next-door neighbor, he goes to the ends of the Earth to keep Fido a part of the family.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer The super-powered members to the Fantastic Four (Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans) are called upon to save the world when the powerful Silver Surfer, herald for a planet-eating cosmic entity, arrives on Earth.
The Golden Door A widower crossing the Atlantic to Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century decides to marry a woman with a mysterious past in this European import.
Nancy Drew Carolyn Keene's long-running teen sleuth character comes to the big screen in the form of Emma Roberts (niece of Julia), who is called upon to solve a mystery involving a movie star.
DOA: Dead or Alive
1408 This adaptation of a Stephen King short story finds an author (John Cusack) who specializes in debunking supernatural phenomena checking into a most definitely haunted hotel room.
A Mighty Heart
Captivity What would the summer be without a heaping helping of torture porn? In this one, a man and a woman awaken to find themselves trapped in a cellar. As their kidnapper drives them psychologically mad, the truth about their horrific abduction is revealed. Oddly enough, it’s from the director of The Killing Fields and the writer of It's Alive.
DOA: Dead or Alive This long-delayed action flick adapts the popular videogame about scantily clad kung fu babes who beat up on each other. Our real-life babes include Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki and Eric Roberts. Wait, scratch that last one.
Eagle vs. Shark This Kiwi import is described as Napoleon Dynamite times two. In it, a pair of socially awkward misfits join forces to find love in high school.
Evan Almighty Steve Carell takes over for Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty) as an egotistical congressman who is chosen by God (Morgan Freeman) to build an ark and fill it full of animals—much to the chagrin of his neighbors.
A Mighty Heart Angelina Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl, wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl in this based-on-a-true-story drama.
Live Free or Die Hard Bruce Willis is back as beleaguered cop John McClane. This time around, he's fighting computer terrorists who are systematically shutting down the United States.
Mama’s Boy A 29-year-old slacker (Jon Heder) fears the easy life sponging off his mom (Diane Keaton) is threatened when she plans to marry a self-help guru (Jeff Daniels).
Death at a Funeral Frank Oz of Muppet fame directs this black comedy about the chaos that ensues when a man tries to expose a dark secret regarding the recently deceased patriarch of a dysfunctional British clan.
Evening In this adaptation of Susan Minot's novel a dying woman reflects on the time in her youth when she met the love of her life. Meanwhile, her two daughters wrestle with their mother's impending mortality. Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close headline a stellar cast.
Ratatouille The latest must-see from Pixar and filmmaker Brad Bird (The Impossibles) is this animated comedy about a Parisian sewer rat who dreams the impossible dream of becoming a world-famous chef.
License to Wed A young couple (Mandy Moore and John Krasinski) is put through a grueling marriage preparation course by a nutty, overbearing Reverend (Robin Williams).
Rescue Dawn Mad German filmmaker Werner Herzog (Aguirre: The Wrath of God) chronicles a U.S. fighter pilot's struggle to survive after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War. Christian Bale stars.
Transformers The popular ’80s toy line/cartoon gets the big-budget live-action treatment courtesy of bombastic director Michael Bay (Bad Boys, Armageddon).
Joshua Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga (the only woman inThe Departed) star in this update of The Bad Seed, in which a young Manhattan family is torn apart by a malicious tot.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix In this fifth theatrical outing for the Harry Potter series, the young wizard and his pals find themselves battling bureaucrats who have taken over Hogwarts School in the wake of Lord Voldemort's resurrection.
Interview Steve Buscemi writes, directs and stars in this drama about a fading political journalist forced to interview America's most popular soap opera star (Sienna Miller), who turns out to be more than he bargained for.
The Strangers A young couple (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) hanging out in their vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants. Thrills ensue.
Shortcut to Happiness This notoriously unreleased film is actually a straightforward(ish) adaptation of The Devil and Daniel Websterstarring Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin and (wait for it ...) Jennifer Love Hewitt as The Devil. After more than five years on the shelf, perhaps a name change will do it some good.
Talk To Me Don Cheadle stars in this biopic about ’60s Washington, D.C. radio personality “Petey” Greene, who became a sensation by spinning vibrant soul music and controversial social awareness.
Arctic Tale Hoping to cash in on some of the March of the Penguinsaction, this family-style documentary follows the life cycle of a mother walrus and her calf and that of a mother polar bear and her cubs.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Fierce People Diane Lane plays a massage therapist who dreams of getting out of New York City to join the father of her son, an anthropologist in South America who's studying the Yanomami people.
Goya's Ghosts The life of painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgård) is portrayed in this historical biopic by Milos Foreman, the man who gave us Amadeus.
Hairspray John Waters' 1988 classic about life in music-mad ’60s Baltimore got turned into a hit Broadway musical. Now, it gets turned back into a movie—just like The Producers! Newcomer Nicole Blonsky stars and John Travolta dresses in drag.
Introducing the Dwights This coming-of-age comedy is set in Australia where a shy, inexperienced 20-year-old tries to break free of his raucous comedienne mother (Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn) with the help of an assertive girlfriend.
I Know Who Killed Me In this twisty thriller, a troubled young woman (Lindsay Lohan) appears to develop a split personality after being abducted and tortured by a serial killer.
No Reservations A hotshot chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones) finds her life turned upside down after she becomes the guardian of her cute little niece (Abigail Breslin). Aaron Eckhart is the hunky love interest.
The Simpsons Movie The Simpson family makes its move to the big screen in their first feature-length animated film. Apparently, it’s up to Homer to save the world from a catastrophe he (naturally) caused.
Skinwalkers Tired of sexy vampires? Here, a mother and her daughter are caught between warring factions of sexy werewolves.
Who’s Your Caddy? Rap star Big Boi stars as rap star C-Note, a hip-hop music mogul who tries to join a conservative Carolina country club with wacky results.
El Cantante Self-absorbed husband-and-wife duo Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez are probably well-cast in this true-life biopic about Héctor Lavoe, who started the salsa movement in 1975 and eventually succumbed to drugs, AIDS and poverty.
The Bourne Ultimatum Matt Damon returns as Robert Ludlum's amnesiac assassin working hard to figure out the final mysteries of his past while dodging assorted killers and government agents.
Hot Rod In this goofy comedy, a self-proclaimed stuntman ("SNL"er Adam Sandberg) attempts to jump 15 buses so he can raise money for his abusive stepfather's lifesaving heart operation.
Resurrecting the Champ An up-and-coming sports reporter (Josh Hartnett) rescues a homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson) who claims to be a long-lost boxing legend.
Underdog Remember the live-action Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinklefilm from 2000? No? Well, now the cult cartoon series "Underdog" is in for the same treatment. Jason Lee ("My Name is Earl") voices our canine crimefighter (who, it must be noted, is played by a real beagle). This one already belongs in the "bad idea" file.
Daddy Day Camp Hungry for a sequel to 2003's slapstick stupid Eddie Murphy vehicle Daddy Day Care? Well, I know how to sweeten the pot for you: Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Boat Trip, Snow Dogs) takes over as Murphy's Mr. Mom character.
Rush Hour 3
Bratz: The Movie The saucer-eyed, shopping-obsessed, hoochie mama Barbie Doll knockoffs get their own live-action movie, featuring a cameo by Paula Abdul! The plot involves ... um ...
Rush Hour 3 Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker return for more kung fu and fast-talking. This time around, our mismatched cops are mixed up with some nasty Chinese gangsters in Europe.
The Signal This high-tech horror film concerns a mysterious transmission which invades every cell phone, radio and TV, turning people into killers—kinda exactly like Stephen King's last book, Cell. Oh well, at least the screenplay adds fresh content by telling three different stories from three different perspectives.
Stardust This lavish adaptation of Neil Gaiman's popular fantasy novel has been winning rave comparisons to The Princess Bride. In it, a young man embarks on a quest to rescue a beautiful fallen star from a magical land. Cast includes Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Peter O'Toole and Ian McKellen.
Fanboys Four guys from the Midwest race across the country to honor the wish of a dying friend: to watchStar Wars: Episode 1 at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch before it's released.
Superbad In this American Pie-inspired teen comedy, two dorktacular high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.
The Comebacks A college football coach with the worst record in the history of the sport vows to turn things around with his new team of ragtag recruits. The difference between this and other inspirational sports movies? This one's a spoofy comedy featuring Dennis Rodman, Drew Lachey, Carl Weathers, Stacy Keibler and Andy Dick.
Dedication This romantic comedy follows a misogynistic children's book author (Billy Crudup) who is forced to work closely with a female illustrator (Mandy Moore).
Good Luck Chuck Dane Cook is the romantically challenged Chuck, who finds himself branded a "good luck" charm by the ladies. Seems they invariably end up engaged to their perfect Mr. Right immediately after dumping him. This becomes a problem when he meets the girl of his dreams (Jessica Alba) and becomes determined to keep her.
The Last Legion This historical action epic follows young Romulus Augustus on a perilous journey to Britain to track down a legion of supporters and reclaim the crumbling Roman empire.
Death Sentence After his family members suffer at the hands of gang members, Kevin Bacon goes all Death Wish on us, setting out on a mission to kill each thug involved with the crime.