2009 Summer Film Guide
Sixteen weeks’ worth of popcorn, air conditioning and ... oh, yeah, movies!Mark your calendars and buy your tickets now on Fandango. We’ve got Terminators, Transformers and two (count ’em, two) Sandra Bullock romantic comedies hitting movie theaters between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Remember: All dates are subject to change and all movies (regardless of budget) are subject to suck.
The future is finally here and it’s up to a grown John Connor (Christian Bale) to stop Skynet and its army of robotic Terminators from wiping out the last surviving dregs of humanity.
If you loved Scary Movie and Date Movie and Epic Movie and Superhero Movie ... then you’re 16 and stoned and will love this scattershot parody of teen dance movies featuring a boatload of Wayans brothers. (I didn’t even know there was a Damien Wayans.)
In this period comedy romance, a young Brit (Ben Barnes) brings his glamorous American wife (Jessica Biel) to meet the stuffy in-laws.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Ben Stiller is back as the museum security guard watching lots of expensive special effects come to life every night at his place of employment.
The Brothers Bloom
A pair of con-man siblings (Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo) try to pull one last job on a lonely heiress (Rachel Weisz).
This Academy Award-winning drama from Japan finds an unemployed cellist taking a job preparing the dead for funerals.
Drag Me to Hell
Director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead II, Spider-Man) returns to his horror roots with this tale of a young loan officer (Alison Lohman) cursed by a vengeful witch for evicting her from a foreclosed home.
The geniuses at Pixar (Toy Story, Wall•E) are back with this computer-animated tale of a 78-year-old curmudgeon who ties balloons to his house and sets off on the adventure of a lifetime—with a chubby, preteen Wilderness Scout as an inadvertent stowaway.
An unhappy housewife (Maria Bello) hires a hitman (Jason Patric) over the Internet to kill her. But when the two meet, they fall in love. Sounds like a romantic comedy, but it’s a grim thriller.
Three hapless groomsmen (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms) wake up from a wild Las Vegas bachelor party only to find they’ve lost the groom.
Land of the Lost
The cheesy ’70s kids’ show about explorers lost in an alternate world filled with dinosaurs, apemen and menacing Sleestacks returns as an action-comedy starring Will Ferrell.
My Life in Ruins
Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding returns, and this time she’s actually going to Greece as a loveless travel agent rediscovering her romantic side.
Two brothers on a road trip in search of their estranged father cross paths with an aspiring singer (Mariah Carey) questing for stardom.
Eddie Murphy tries to grab a slice of that fat Night at the Museum/Bedtime Stories money with this contemporary special effects fantasy about a failing financial executive who gets sucked into his daughter’s imaginary world.
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
There’s the original 1974 version with Walter Matthau and Martin Balsam. There’s the 1998 TV adaptation with Edward James Olmos and Vincent D’Onofrio. And now there’s the big-budget remake about a gang of robbers hijacking a New York City subway. This one stars John Travolta and Denzel Washington.
This imported-from-Australia stop-motion-animated feature collects the postmodern short stories of Israeli writer Etgar Keret into one ensemble comedy/drama about the residents of a crowded Sydney apartment complex.
Who needs a stereotypical romantic comedy? Here, a pushy executive (Sandra Bullock) forces her young assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada. I honestly have no clue how this wacky situation could possibly turn out.
Writer-director Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, stuff like that) recruits Jack Black and Michael Cera for this adventure-comedy about a pair of lazy hunter-gatherers who get banished from their primitive village and end up stumbling though various Biblical tales. (David Cross and Paul Rudd as Cain and Abel, anyone?)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) once again joins Optimus Prime and the noble Autobots in their mission to protect humankind from the evil Decepticons. ... Man, these films sound stupid when you describe them.
Fireflies in the Garden
Ryan Reynolds (who can’t stay off movie screens for more than a week these days) stars in this high-tone, semiautobiographical drama from writer-director Dennis Lee about your typical dysfunctional family torn apart by tragedy. Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Ioan Gruffudd round out the cast.
My Sister’s Keeper
Abigail Breslin plays a plucky teenage gal who seeks emancipation from her parents (Cameron Diaz, Jason Patric) so that she no longer has to serve as a bone marrow donor for her leukemia-stricken older sister. Sounds like an upbeat week at the movies!
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Never mind the fact that the dinosaurs died out a good 145 million years prior to the adventures of these popular Ice Age cartoon characters. They’re in this movie, there will be toys and kids will clamor for them.
Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Ali, Heat) directs this ’30s gangster flick starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd, Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis and Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover. Talk about your young guns!
Milking the third and final character from his confrontational sketch comedy show, Sacha Baron Cohen tricks more Americans into looking dumb in front of the camera. The defense of Borat was that it exposed xenophobia. The defense of Brüno will be that it exposes homophobia. Not sure what the defense of Ali G Indahouse could possibly be.
I Love You, Beth Cooper
A nerdy valedictorian declares his love for a popular cheerleader during his graduation speech, setting off a chain of truth-telling adventures. This one marks a return to his comedy roots for director Chris Columbus (Gremlins, The Goonies, Home Alone).
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
What was the second-to-last Harry Potter translation is now the third-to-last, given that Deathly Hallows is being separated into two films. Potter and pals battle puberty and a whole lot of flashbacks in this one.
(500) Days of Summer
This offbeat romantic comedy features a cute, quirky gal (yes, it’s Zooey Deschanel) who doesn’t believe in true love—which is quite an impediment for the young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who’s just fallen madly in love with her.
All Good Things
Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst star in this ’80s-set murder mystery about the heir to a real estate dynasty who falls in love with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. When the girl vanishes, a down-and-out detective (Jeffrey Dean Morgan from Watchmen) investigates.
Remember 2001’s Cats & Dogs, in which crudely computer-animated pets were secretly talking superspies battling one another with ridiculous high-tech gadgetry? Well, the animation has gotten better. Plus, this one has gerbils instead.
Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga (who I swear just did this with 2007’s Joshua) star as parents who adopt one of those Bad Seed-style psycho kids.
The Ugly Truth
In this prototypical romcom, a “romantically challenged” morning show producer (Katherine Heigl) is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous “tests” by a chauvinistic (but conveniently hunky) correspondent (Gerard Butler) to prove his cynical theories on relationships. I honestly have no clue how this wacky situation could possibly turn out.
Adam Sandler finally joins forces with the Judd Apatow crowd in this dramedy about a terminally ill standup comedian who takes an up-and-coming performer (Seth Rogan) under his wing.
Aliens in the Attic
A bunch of young kids must protect their vacation home from invading aliens. Think Home Alone, only with little green men instead of Joe Pesci.
In this Being John Malkovich-esque metaphysical comedy, actor Paul Giamatti stars as actor Paul Giamatti, agonizing over his role in an upcoming stage play. He finds relief in a company that promises to freeze-dry souls, eliminating existential angst. That’s all well and good until the company mistakenly gives his soul to a talentless soap opera actress.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
The popular ’80s cartoon goes live-action with Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sienna Miller and at least one Wayans brother.
Julie & Julia
Amy Adams and Meryl Street split acting duties in this true-life memoir about a woman who reflects on famed chef Julia Child’s life while trying to cook every single recipe in her landmark Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Writer-director Robert Rodriguez goes back to the kiddy fare of Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (ugh) with this pre-pube fantasy about a suburban town turned upside down by a magical, wish-granting rock.
When in Rome
An unlucky-in-love real estate agent (Kristen Bell) finds herself pursued by dozens of would-be lovers after impulsively stealing some coins from a reputed fountain of love in Italy.
An extraterrestrial race is forced to live in segregated, slum-like conditions on Earth in this futuristic sci-fi parable from South African director Neill Blomkamp.
The Goods: The Don Ready Story
Will Ferrell continues his biographical-sounding string of comedies (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) with this one about a used car salesman.
Acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle) has his latest fantasy (about a little boy who befriends a goldfish princess) brought to America courtesy of Walt Disney.
Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”) graduates college but is forced to move back in with her crazy family while she searches for a job and a love life.
Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm) directs this period comedy about the upstate New York dude (played by Comedy Central’s Demetri Martin) who helped organize the Woodstock festival in 1969.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger’s much-praised sci-fi romance comes to the big screen with Eric Bana as a humble Chicago librarian who unwittingly travels through time, causing a seemingly insurmountable strain on his marriage to a lovely artist (Rachel McAdams).
Quentin Tarantino loosely remakes a notoriously bloody 1978 Italian flick about a band of violent soldiers sent into Nazi-occupied France with the goal of slaughtering as many German soldiers as possible. Brad Pitt headlines.
The Boat That Rocked
In this based-on-a-true-story musical comedy, Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a pirate disc jockey who runs an illegal radio station in England in the ’60s, introducing rebellious American rock ’n’ roll to stuffy Old Blighty.
Final Destination: Death Trip 3D
Teenagers are still dying in ridiculously coincidental ways in this fourth outing of the budget-conscious horror series. This one takes place at a race track. And it’s in 3-D.
All About Steve
Convinced that a CNN cameraman (Bradley Cooper) is her true love, an “eccentric” crossword puzzler (Sandra Bullock) trails him all over the country trying to convince him they’re meant for one another.
How timely: A horror thriller about four friends who become a danger to themselves while fleeing an out-of-control viral pandemic. This one was shot three years ago but is getting a release due, in no small part, to the fact that co-star Chris Pine is topping the cast of the new Star Trek movie.
In the not-too-distant future, a death row inmate (Gerard Butler) becomes a pop culture icon by competing in an ultraviolent online video game in which players can control convicts and use them to fight a simulated war.
In this mind-bending sci-fi thriller, two crew members (Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster) wake up on a seemingly abandoned spaceship with no knowledge of who they are or what they’re doing there.
American expat John Cusack returns to ’40s Shanghai to unravel the mystery of his friend’s death.
Vamos a Leer Book Club at Bookworks
This month's selection is He Forgot to Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Saenz.
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