Spring brings a welcomed end to the slow movie months of winter. Could things have gotten much worse than that fine weekend in January that brought us "The Big Bounce," "The Perfect Score" and "You Got Served"? That was a better sign than that pesky groundhog that we were in for a long winter.
Thank goodness, then, that spring has finally arrived. The months of May and June are full of highly anticipated films. The sequels to “Shrek,” “Spider-Man” and “Harry Potter” as well as the return of the event film with “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Troy.” Will Brad Pitt be this year's Russell Crowe? Will people line up at the theaters to see a tidal wave hit New York City? Time and box office numbers will tell the tale.
Note: Dates are subject to change
Spring Movie Guide, April 30
Spring Movie Guide, April 301Pfalsefalse
1PfalsefalseStarring: Robert De Niro, Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Cameron Bright
Director: Nick Hamm
The story: Take a bit of modern science — in the form of cloning — mix in a bit of “Rosemary’s Baby” and you just might get this thriller about a couple (Kinnear and Romijn-Stamos) who lose their young son (Bright) in an accident, then with the help of a stem-cell scientist (De Niro) have him reborn as a clone. In the tradition of “Frankenstein,” playing God this way doesn’t exactly lead to a happy ending.
What’s the buzz: While the idea of De Niro as a mad scientist type is appealing and he’s one of our best actors, let’s face it, the man does not always make the most compelling choices as far as film roles go (“Showtime” or “City by the Sea” anyone?). Still, we will keep our fingers crossed. Kinnear hasn’t quite convinced us that he’s the real deal yet. He made an interesting turn in “Auto Focus” but does this guy really have the acting chops? Here’s hoping this thriller is more “The Others” than “Cold Creek Manor.”
“Laws of Attraction”
New Line Cinema
1PfalsefalseStarring: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn
Director: Peter Howitt
The story: Do opposites attract? Well, how about if they’re both divorce attorneys? Brosnan stars as the freewheeling Daniel while Moore plays the by-the-books Audrey. After a night of celebrating, they find themselves married to each other, and to avoid further embarrassment, they decide to pretend that the marriage was intentional and stay together. How much do you want to bet they end up falling in love?
What’s the buzz: Brosnan’s most appealing role to date was the remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair,” a movie that seemed like a throwback to another time and one where he got to play opposite a smart actress (in that case Rene Russo), both of which lead us to believe Brosnan may be in his element here. Also, the prospect of Posey chewing some scenery as one of the divorcees is fairly delicious.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey, Lizzy Caplan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Daniel Franzese, Tim Meadows
Director: Mark S. Waters
The story: Lindsay Lohan stars as a girl who, after being home schooled in Africa, finds herself thrust into the cut-throat world of teen girls in high school. After she makes the mistake of dating the ex-boyfriend of the most popular girl in school, she finds out just how mean these girls can be. In turn, she learns that she can be just as nasty.
What’s the buzz: The thing that makes us think this film may just rise above the typical teen junk is that the script was written by “Saturday Night Live” head writer — and Weekend Update co-host — Tina Fey. Which means it will probably have a wicked sense of humor. That said, the wonderful “Heathers” throws a fairly large shadow, and this film will have to be fairly bold to outdo that ’80s classic.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler, Ving Rhames, Christopher Walken
Director: Barry Levinson
The story: Black and Stiller star as life-long friends. After Black’s character invents Vapoorizer, a product that can make dog poo disappear — a concept that just screams wacky, and not necessarily in a good way — Stiller’s character gets crazy with envy. The always fun to watch Christopher Walken is on board as a drifter who fans the flames of Stiller’s jealousy.
What’s the buzz: Black and Stiller are basically playing the same characters they always do, but it might be fun to see them in a movie together. The real reason to not write this movie off is Levinson. As he proved with the offbeat 2001 comedy “Bandits,” (not to mention his great Baltimore trilogy, “Diner,” “Tin Men” and “Avalon” — all of which are worth owning on DVD), he has a way getting beyond a studio’s wacky high concept to an actual story and with characters who are genuinely funny.
“Stroke of Genius”
1PfalsefalseStarring: James Caviezel, Claire Forlani, Jeremy Northam, Aidan Quinn, Malcom McDowell
Director: Rowdy Herrington
The story: Hot off his role as Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ,” Caviezel stars as real-life golf legend Bobby Jones, the only player to ever win the Grand Slam of golf. Set in the 1920s, the film follows him from boyhood to his founding of the Augusta Golf Club as an adult. Forlani, who’s never done a good film other than a semi-decent turn in 1996’s “Basquiat,” co-stars as Jones’ wife.
What’s the buzz: Is it possible to make a really interesting movie about golf? “Legend of Bagger Vance” certainly doesn’t qualify. With a feel that’s very reminiscent of “The Natural,” we get the sense that this film will be a celebration of Jones rather than delving too deeply into his life. Still, Caviezel is the “it” actor of the moment, which makes us think this might be worth a look.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham
Director: Stephen Sommers
The story: Fresh from his starring turn in Broadway’s “The Boy from Oz,” Jackman stars as the Dr. Gabriel Van Helsing, based on the legendary foe of Count Dracula. In this version, not only does he take on Dracula, he also battles the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster. He teams up with Anna Valerious (Beckinsale), who comes from a long line of vampire fighters.
What’s the buzz: This film looks promising. Sommers helmed both “The Mummy” and its sequel and knows his way around an action movie. Jackman has proved in the “X-Men” films that he has the charisma to rise above all the special effects and actually create a character. This will probably be the film that makes him a star.
“New York Minute”
1PfalsefalseStarring: Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Eugene Levy, Andy Richter, Andrea Martin, Darrell Hammond
Director: Dennie Gordon
The story: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen play sisters who are so different from each other. One is an uptight overachiever and one is a wild punk rocker (yes, one of the Olsen twins is a punk rocker — don’t blame us, we didn’t write the screenplay). Eugene Levy is an overzealous truant officer who chases the girls all over New York City.
What’s the buzz: Obviously, as part of “corporation Olsen” this film is going to make money, but it’s hard to imagine anyone who isn’t a teenage girl going anywhere near this film. Director Dennie Gordon also helmed “What a Girl Wants,” which means if you’re looking formula film starring the latest teen dream girl, he’s your man. Eugene Levy is always funny, but it seems a pity for him to waste his talents here.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Diane Kruger, Peter O'Toole
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
The story: When Paris (Bloom) steals Helen (Kruger) away to Greece, Agamemnon (Brian Cox) decides in the name of family pride — not to mention greed — he is going to wage war on Troy and get Helen back. Achilles (Pitt) leads the Greek army, while Hector (Bana) leads the Trojans.
What’s the buzz: With Peterson (“Perfect Storm,” “Das Boot”) directing, the battle scenes here should be fairly amazing, especially those that take place on water. Pitt, however, seems about as comfortable as Tom Cruise does in period films — as in, not at all. Add in the accent and we’re really frightened. Here’s hoping Pitt proves us wrong.
1Pfalsefalse“Breakin’ All the Rules”
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Morris Chesnutt, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Esposito, Peter MacNicol
Director: Daniel Taplitz
The story: Jamie Foxx stars as a man, who after being dumped by his model girlfriend, writes a “how to” book on breaking up, which becomes a best seller. In attempting to help his best friend (Chesnutt) with his girlfriend (Union), Foxx inadvertently falls for her.
What’s the buzz: The cast here is appealing. Foxx is reliable for laughs and as he proved in “Ali” and “Any Given Sunday,” he’s also a talented actor. You may remember Morris Chesnutt from his first film, “Boyz in the Hood.” Union continues to be just the cusp on really hitting it big — she does seem to get stuck playing a lot of thankless girlfriend roles.
Sony Pictures Classics
1PfalsefalseStarring: Caio Blat, Gero Camilo, Milton Goncalves, Nelson Machado
Director: Hector Babenco
The story: Based on the real-life experiences of Dr. Drauzio Varella, who worked in the Sao Paulo House of Detention in Brazil for 12 years, this film tells the prisoners’ stories through the doctor’s eyes, leading up to a massacre that took the lives of 111 men. The film is in Portuguese and was an official selection in the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
What’s the buzz: Babenco is best known for directing “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Ironweed.” Like Terrence Malick, Babenco doesn’t make many films, so when he does they are definitely worth a look.
Web site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/carandiru/
“Coffee and Cigarettes”
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/040408/040408_movieguide_coffee1p.jpg119816200right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comUnited Artists1PfalsefalseStarring: Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, RZA, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Alfred Molina, Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright, Joie Lee, Cinqué Lee, Joe Rigano, Vinny Vella, Vinny Vella Jr., Renée French, E.J. Rodriguez, Alex Descas, Isaach de Bankolé, Meg White, Jack White, Steve Coogan, GZA, Bill Rice, Taylor Mead
Director: Jim Jarmusch
The story: From the director of “Night on Earth” and “Ghost Dog” comes this collection of vignettes featuring a multitude of actors, musicians and personalities discussing topics like caffeinated popsicles, Paris in the 1920s and the use of nicotine as an insecticide. Different people are paired up for conversation. Iggy Pop talks with Tom Waits. The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and GZA chat with Bill Murray. Alfred Molina talks with Steve Coogan.
What’s the buzz: Jarmusch’s best films (“Mystery Train,” “Stranger than Paradise”) usually revolve around interesting conversation; with this new film he’s simply removed the pretense of plot. The centerpiece of the film is the talented Cate Blanchett in duel roles conversing with herself. We’re officially intrigued.
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, John Lithgow, John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders
Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
The story: In this installment (and you have to believe there will be more “Shrek” sequels to come), Shrek (Myers) and Fiona (Diaz) go home to meet Fiona’s parents (Cleese and Andrews), who aren’t happy to find that she’s an ogre, and are even less happy to learn that she’s married to Shrek. They enlist the help of Puss ’n Boots (Banderas), Fairy Godmother (Saunders) and Prince Charming (Everett) to set things right. Larry King is also on board as an Ugly Stepsister (that alone may get us into the theater).
What’s the buzz: The story sounds intriguing, but the directing and writing teams are new to the “Shrek” experience, which may make a difference. The addition of Banderas, Cleese and Andrews sounds promising, though, and who wouldn’t want to give “Shrek” a second chance? Web site:http://www.shrek2.com/
1PfalsefalseStarring: Kate Hudson, John Corbett, Joan Cusack, Felicity Huffman, Helen Mirren, Abigail Breslin, Spencer Breslin, Hayden Panettiere, Hector Elizondo
Director: Garry Marshall
The story: After her sister and brother-in-law die in a car accident, Helen (Hudson) is tasked with raising their three kids. But can she balance her career as a modeling assistant in the world of high fashion with her new role as guardian? Corbett co-stars as a local pastor who woos Helen. Cusack plays Hudson’s older sister, who heckles her sister’s parenting skills along the way.
What’s the buzz: It’s hard not to be wary of a comedy that begins with a death, but if it worked for “Finding Nemo,” it could work here. Marshall (“Pretty Woman,” “Runaway Bride”) is the king of the lightweight, heart-warming comedy. There probably won’t be any surprises here; if the precocious kid quotient is kept to a minimum, this could be watchable.
“The Day After Tomorrow”
20Th Century Fox
1PfalsefalseStarring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sela Ward, Emmy Rossum, Arjay Smith
Director: Roland Emmerich
The story: Global warming and atmospheric changes come to a head in this film about the dramatic (read: special-effects laden) coming of a new ice age. Quaid stars as the climatologist who sees the disaster coming. Gyllenhaal co-stars as his son, who is trapped in New York. Quaid must try to reach his son, going north, as the rest of humanity heads south, searching for warmer climes. Ward is on board as Quaid’s wife.
What’s the buzz: Are we ready in this post-9/11 world to see our cities destroyed on film? Yes, yes we are. Roland Emmerich is still looking to redeem himself for “Godzilla” and to show that “Independence Day” was no fluke. Special effects here look pretty impressive. This movie looks to be a monster hit at the box office.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Kevin Hart, Tom Arnold, K.D. Aubert, Mo'Nique, Sommore, Loni Love, Snoop Dogg, Method Man
Director: Jessy Terrero
The story: A broad comedy about an “airline with soul,” this is the story of a man (Hart) who wins $600 million in a lawsuit and decides to launch his own airline, N.W.A, specially directed at African American passengers. Snoop Dogg plays the pilot. Tom Arnold plays the father of a white family that accidentally gets booked on N.W.A.’s maiden flight.
What’s the buzz: Though Snoop Dogg has proved to be very funny in roles where he can basically play himself, Tom Arnold is enough to keep us away from this film. Does anyone really want to watch two hours of Tom Arnold?
Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics1PfalsefalseStarring: Anne Reid, Daniel Craig, Cathryn Bradshaw, Steven Mackintosh
Director: Roger Michell
The story: From the director of “Notting Hill” and “Changing Lanes” comes this British drama about a woman (Reid), who, after the sudden death of her husband, decides to stay in London with her children and ends up having an affair with a much younger man (Craig, most recently seen in “Sylvia” as Ted Hughes).
What’s the buzz: A very good screenwriter like Hanif Kureishi (“My Beautiful Laundrette,” “Sammy and Rosie Get Laid”) means that, at the very least, the writing here should be top-notch. Michell, beyond the films mentioned above, also directed a really great version of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion,” which may make him the perfect man to tell a love story.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, Heather Matarazzo, Eva Amurri, Martin Donovan, Mary Louise Parker
Director: Brian Dannelly
The story: A dark comedy/coming-of age film about a girl (Malone) who during her senior year in a Christian high school, gets pregnant and finds herself ostracized by all her friends. Moore plays her devout best friend. Culkin is on board as Moore’s wheelchair-bound brother, who’s trying to convert the Jewish Amurri to Christianity. Fugit (“Almost Famous”) plays a skateboarding missionary.
What’s the buzz: Producer (and R.E.M. singer) Michael Stipe described this film in Variety as being “like those monster vampire high school kind of movies, only here the monsters are Jesus-freak teenagers.” That’s enough to make us think this isn’t your standard teen comedy. Malone continues to do solid work; this could be a breakout role for her.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
1PfalsefalseStarring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Peter Best, David Bradley, Julie Christie, Robbie Coltrane
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
The story: It’s Harry’s (Radcliffe) third year at Hogworth’s Academy. This year, he, Hermine (Watson) and Ron (Grint) delve into the mystery of Sirius Black (Oldman), an escaped prisoner from Azkaban Fortress, a wizard’s prison. What Harry doesn’t realize is that Black escaped to look for him. Michael Gambon takes on the role of Dumbledore, following Richard Harris’ death. Emma Thompson joins the cast as Professor Sylvia Trelawney.
What’s the buzz: With the director of “Y Tu Mama Tabien” helming the latest Harry installment, you may think that this is the erotic Harry-undergoes-puberty episode, but don’t count on it. Cuaron also directed a beautiful version of the children’s story “The Little Princess” so this isn’t new territory for him. There is the pressing question about Radcliffe: Is he getting too old to play Harry?
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Getty Images file
2004 Vanity Fair Oscar Party - Arrivals
040316_scoop_kilmer_bcol1pHollywoodCAUnited States13020516PfalsefalseStarring: Val Kilmer, LL Cool J, Christian Slater, Eion Bailey, Will Kemp, Jonny Lee Miller
Director: Renny Harlin
The story: While learning to hunt serial killers, a group of FBI trainees discover that there’s a killer in their midst during a training exercise on a remote island. Now the trick is figuring out who the killer is. Kilmer stars as the agents’ trainer.
What’s the buzz: It’s hard to believe, looking at Renny Harlin’s list of credits that he was ever considered a “hot” director. He directed the weakest “Die Hard” sequel: the second, “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane,” and the impossibly bad “Cutthroat Island.” His only “good” movie was 1993’s “Cliffhanger.” On the positive side, the screenwriter, Wayne Kramer, wrote the indie hit “The Cooler.”
Web site: NA
“The Chronicles of Riddick”
1PfalsefalseStarring: Vin Diesel, Judi Dench, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban, Colm Feore, Linus Roache, Keith David, Alexa Davalos
Director: David Twohy
The story: This sequel to the 2000 release “Pitch Black,” once again stars Diesel as anti-hero Richard D. Riddick. In a story that takes place five years after the original feature, Lord Marshal (Feore) leads a gang of Necromongers who are wrecking havoc on the planet Helion. Dench co-stars as Aereon, a member of the Elemental race who helps Riddick discover more about his origins. Davalos is on board as the grownup version of Kyra from the first film. Will Riddick be able defeat the Necromongers?
What’s the buzz: You’ve got to appreciate the combination of Vin Diesel and Judi Dench. Was “Pitch Black” really popular enough to warrant a sequel? Vin Diesel is much more popular than he was in 1990; that should put fans in the seats. Let’s hope you didn’t have to see the first film to understand the sequel.
“Garfield: The Movie”
20Th Century Fox
1PfalsefalseStarring: Bill Murray, Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Debra Messing, Brad Garrett
Director: Peter Hewitt
The story: Bill Murray provides the voice of the CGI-created cat in this live-action film that chronicles how Odie came into John’s (Meyer) life and how he was subsequently abducted. It’s up to Garfield to track down the pooch. Hewitt co-stars as Garfield’s veterinarian.
What’s the buzz: Gollum really raised the bar for CGI characters and this cartoonish-looking cat really doesn’t live up to that standard. While Murray’s attitude seems just right for the cynical fat cat, the fact that this script was written by “Cheaper by the Dozen” scribe Joel Cohen does seem like a bit of a bad sign. Peter Hewitt is probably best known for directing “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.”
“The Stepford Wives”
1PfalsefalseStarring: Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Roger Bart, Glenn Close, Faith Hill, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken, Mike White, Lisa Masters, Jon Lovitz
Director: Frank Oz
The story: Kidman and Broderick star as a couple who move into a suburb where all the wives seem just a bit “robotic.” Midler co-stars as the one other woman in the neighborhood who still seems normal. Though the original film was rather a straight sci-fi thriller, this remake is more of a dark comedy, complete with musical numbers from Midler, Hill and Kidman.
What’s the buzz: According to Entertainment Weekly, Midler and Walken both clashed with director Oz (“Bowfinger,” “Dirty Rotten Scandals”) on the set, which may not bode well. However, Oz and screenwriter Paul Rudnick did successfully team for the film “In & Out.” It will be interesting to see what kind of chemistry, if any, Kidman and Broderick cook up; undoubtedly, she had to pull out those low-heeled shoes she used to wear when she was married to Tom Cruise.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
1PfalsefalseStarring: Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell, Tina Majorino, Haylie Duff
Director: Jared Hess
The story: The story of a quirky teenager in Idaho (Heder) who loves to dance and lives by the way of the ninja. Napolean lives with Uncle Rico (Gries) is a former high-school football star who has shady business dealings and his brother Kip (Ruell), an uber-nerd, who’s just looking for love on the Internet. This film tells the story of how Napolean helps fellow outsider Pedro (Ramirez) run for high school president. Hilary Duff’s sister Haylie appears in the film.
What’s the buzz: This film was one of the more popular entries at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Hess also wrote and directed the short it was based on, “Peluca,” which screened at the 2003 Slamdance Festival.
“Around the World in 80 Days”
Walt Disney Pictures
1PfalsefalseStarring: Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Cecille de France, Jim Broadbent, Kathy Bates, John Cleese
Director: Frank Coraci
The story: Steve Coogan (“24 Hour Party People”) stars as Phileas Fogg, an inventor who bets Lord Kelvin (Broadbent) that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days, using transportation modes including a hot-air balloon, elephants, boats, trains and more. Jackie Chan co-stars as Fogg’s sidekick, Passepartout, who must make it to China to return a jade Buddha that was stolen from his family. The governor of California makes a cameo appearance. Owen and Luke Wilson make cameo appearances as the Wright Brothers.
What’s the buzz: It’s hard to believe that the rather creaky 1956 version of this story starring David Niven won the best picture Oscar. It’s even harder to think that this brightly colored, CGI-filled, Jackie Chan-infused remake will be much more than a pleasant diversion for the kids.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Anna Paquin, Stephan Enquist, Iain Glen, Lena Olin, Giancarlo Giannini
Director: Jaume Balaguero
The story: A family moves into a house with a dark and horrifying past that threatens the current occupants. Paquin (“The Piano,” “X2”) stars as the daughter who tries to find out the house’s terrible secret. Olin (“Chocolat,” “Alias”) plays her mother.
What’s the buzz: This film was originally set for release in August 2002 until Dimension films pulled it from the schedule. Which begs the question: How come? The director, Balaguero, is known primarily for a very stylized Spanish-language horror film (“The Darkness” is in English), “The Nameless.” Since Dimesion didn’t release this straight to video, perhaps it means the company realized it had something good and scary on its hands. Let’s hope.
“Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”
20Th Century Fox
1PfalsefalseStarring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Julie Gonzalo, Stephen Root, Chris Williams, Gary Cole, Jason Bateman
Director: Rawson Thurber
The story: Stiller and Vaughn star in this story of a group of social misfits who enter a dodgeball contest in Las Vegas to save their local gym. Cole and Bateman play the World Dodgeball Championships announcers.
What’s the buzz: Though the concept seems humorous, hasn’t this country hit its Stiller saturation point yet? With “Envy,” “Starsky & Hutch” and “Along Came Polly” — all released this year — we must be getting close. What's particularly strange about Stiller's character in this film is that he seems to be using the same accent as he did for his character in “Zoolander.” Vaughn (“Old School”) always seems more comfortable in comedy than in drama (anyone who's seen the “Psycho” remake knows this), which bodes well. Writer-director Thurber makes his feature film debut with this film.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Tom Janet McTeer, Olympia Dukakis, David Bradley, JJ Feild, Brenda Fricker
Director: Kristian Levring
The story: Set in 1924, this is the story of a 40-year-old woman (McTeer) who travels with her young lover (Feild) to an ivory post deep in Malaysian jungle. Unfortunately, the post is run by a greedy ivory trader (Fricker), the head of a very dysfunctional family, who takes an instant dislike to the couple. With the advent of some bad weather, the tension between the family and the couple takes a murderous turn.
What’s the buzz: You may remember McTeer from her Oscar-nominated performance in the small 1999 film, “Tumbleweeds” (she won the Golden Globe that year). Levring is part of the Dogme 95 crowd (though this film doesn’t follow those strict guidelines). This film was originally set for release last spring, before IFC pulled it from their schedule.
Web site: NA
TOM HANKS AND WIFE RITA WILSON AT PREMIERE OF THE LADYKILLERS
PREMIEREHOLLYWOODUnited States of America1LAB03DPfalsefalseStarring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride, Diego Luna, Barry "Shabaka" Henley, Kumar Pallana, Zoe Saldana, Eddie Jones, Jude Ciccolella, Kevin Weisman
Director: Steven Spielberg
The story: In this romantic comedy, Hanks stars as a refugee fleeing a war in a small European country. When his nation suddenly ceases to exist, he finds himself stuck in a New York airport terminal with a passport that’s no longer valid, unable to officially enter the United States. Zeta-Jones co-stars as the flight attendant who wins his heart.
What’s the buzz: The combination of Hanks and Spielberg, who teamed for “Saving Private Ryan” and “Catch Me if You Can,” tends to produce good films. Spielberg casts Hanks in roles that are more interesting than the nice-guy roles he normally plays. We’ll be curious to see if Hanks can pull off the Eastern European accent.
“The Door in the Floor”
1PfalsefalseStarring: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Mimi Rogers, Bijou Phillips, Jon Foster
Director: Tod Williams
The story: Based on the first third of the John Irving novel, “A Widow for One Year,” this film tells the story of a famous book author (Bridges) whose two sons were killed in a freak accident. He hires an assistant (Foster), who bears an uncanny resemblance to one of the sons and ends up having an affair with Bridges’ wife (Basinger).
What’s the buzz: The story sounds a bit more “made for TV movie” than feature film, but you can never count out Bridges (“Seabiscuit,” “The Contender”), who is one of the most underrated actors around, turning in solid performances nearly every time out. Basinger, on the other hand, hasn’t had a good role since her Oscar-winning turn in “L.A. Confidential.”
New Line Cinema
1PfalsefalseStarring: James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Marsden
Director: Nick Cassavetes
The story: Based on the best selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, this sweeping love story is about a couple (Gosling and McAdams) who fall in love but are separated by World War II. When they meet again after the war, McAdams is engaged to Marsden. Garner stars as the older version of Gosling who reads from the story from notebooks to Rowlands, the older version of McAdams. Allen co-stars as McAdams mother.
What’s the buzz: There is a trio of good young actors here in McAdams (“Mean Girls”), Gosling (“Murder by Numbers”) and Marsden (“X2”). Allen, Garner and Rowlands also bring a lot of talent to this film. Cassavetes (“John Q,” “She’s So Lovely”) is the son of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands. He hasn’t made a truly good film yet, but perhaps this will be his breakthrough.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Maitland Ward, Anne Dudek, Jaime King, Brittany Daniel, Busy Philipps
Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans
The story: From the makers of “Scary Movie” comes this story of two disgraced FBI agents (the Wayans brothers) who go deep undercover, dressing up as hotel heiresses, the Wilton sisters, and infiltrating their world.
What’s the buzz: This twist on “Some Like it Hot” definitely wins the prize as the silliest premise for a movie we’ve come across this spring. Will this fish-out-of-water concept provide enough laughs to sustain an entire movie? We have our doubts. Screenwriter Xavier Cook was previously a writer for “Mad TV” and here makes his feature film debut.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce, Angie Hill, Keith Allen, John Barrowman
Director: Irwin Winkler
The story: Kline stars as Cole Porter, who looks back on his life as if it were one of his staged productions, complete with musical numbers like “Anything Goes” and “Night and Day.” Judd co-stars as his wife Linda. Just to ensure that at least some of the songs will be on key, Winkler has loaded the deck by casting Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Alanis Morissette, Robbie Williams and Sheryl Crowe in supporting roles.
What’s the buzz: After the success of “Chicago,” it seemed like we were due for a flood of musicals, but that flood is more like a trickle. Can “De-Lovely” repeat “Chicago's” success? “Gangs of New York” scribe Jay Cocks penned the screenplay. Director Winkler (“Life as a House,” “The Net”), is better known as a producer, and hasn’t directed a really good film to date.
1PfalsefalseStarring: Guy Pearce, Christian Clavier, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
The story: From the director of “The Bear,” comes this story of two tiger cubs, one shy, the other bold, in the ruins of Angor Wat, Cambodia, who become separated and taken into captivity. One becomes a circus performer while the other is used for sport. Guy Pearce (“Momento,” “The Time Machine”) co-stars as an adventurer who first finds the cubs.
What’s the buzz: Anyone who saw the beautiful film “The Bear,” which did an incredible job of telling the story from the bear’s point of view will probably want to check out this movie. “The Bear” was one of those rare films that seemed equally suitable for adults and children. Annaud also directed the film “The Lover” and just seems to have a way with quiet, elegant storytelling.
“Spider Man 2”
1PfalsefalseStarring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina, Brooke Adams, Dylan Baker, Elizabeth Banks, Bruce Campbell
Director: Sam Raimi
The story: Maguire, Dunst and Franco reprise their roles in this sequel that features Spidey (Maguire) facing off against Dr. Otavius (Molina), who has four extra steel-like appendages. Gillies co-stars as J. Johan Jameson’s (J.K. Simmons) astronaut son John, who is Mary Jane’s (Dunst) new love interest. Bruce Campbell fans take note; the actor once again appears, this time as a “snooty usher.”
What’s the buzz: Michael Chabon, the novelist who wrote “Wonder Boys” and “The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” penned the screenplay for this sequel. It’s his first foray into screenwriting and we can’t wait to see what this writer, who obviously loves comic books, comes up with. Raimi (“A Simple Plan,” “The Evil Dead”) is back on board for the sequel.