Spider-Man, Shrek return to silver screen this summer

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It’s the season for the big blockbuster smashes, andHollywood has been working hard to give us the biggest, loudest,flashiest movies that money can buy. These are just a few ofthem:

 

May Movie Releases

 

Van Helsing (PG-13)

(Directed by Stephen Sommers. Starring Hugh Jackman, KateBeckinsdale, Richard Roxburgh)

Armed with an automatic crossbow, whirly-blade throwing things,and an assortment of other gadgets, Van Helsing (Jackman) is amonster hunter with a really nice hat. In this film by The Mummyand The Mummy Returns director Stephen Sommers, Van Helsing ishired by a secret society to travel to Transylvania and kill thediabolic Count Dracula. Along the way he runs into the Wolf Man,Frankenstein’s monster, and Kate Beckinsdale.

Expect a lot of action, a lot of special effects, and a reallybad accent from Beckinsdale.

 

Troy (R)

(Directed by Wolfgang Peterson. Starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana,Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger)

Okay, so over here in Troy, we’ve got Prince Paris(Bloom). He’s a real “love conquers all” kindaguy. Now, he’s in love with Helen (Kruger), but the thing is,she’s married to the King Menelaus of Sparta (BrendanGleeson). We clear so far? Good. Paris wants Helen for himself, sohe steals her away from Menelaus. The thing is, Menelaus is thebrother of Agamemnon (Brian Cox), king of the Myceneans, and if youtick off one brother, you tick off the other. One thing leads toanother, and suddenly there’s this massive Greek army headingtoward Troy, led by renowned warrior Achilles (Pitt) It’s upto Prince Hector (Bana) and King Priam (Peter O’Toole) todefend the walled city of Troy, which no army has ever managed tooverrun. It winds up being one of the biggest battles in history,and all of it over a woman. Go figure.

 

Shrek 2 (PG)

(Directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon.Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, JohnCleese, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas)

If you’ve seen the first movie, you’ll know thatloveable ogre Shrek (Myers) and Princess Fiona (Diaz) got marriedafter they discovered that Fiona was an ogre. If you haven’tseen the first movie, well, I guess you know how it ends now. Inthis sequel to the Academy Award-winning 3-D animated film, Shrek,Fiona, and Donkey (Murphy) are off to meet Fiona’s parents,the King (Cleese) and Queen (Andrews) of a Kingdom Far, FarAway.

However, Fiona’s parents don’t know that theirprecious daughter is now a green ogre, and married to one as well.This upsets the King’s plans to have Fiona marry PrinceCharming (Rupert Everett), and he enlists the aid of aGodfather-esque Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) andhired killer Puss-In-Boots (Banderas) to put things right again.Along the way, we meet many characters from the first film, as wellas some new ones, like an Ugly Stepsister voiced by Larry King.Yes, the Larry King from CNN. That’s gotta be worth the priceof admission right there.

 

The Day After Tomorrow (PG-13)

(Directed by Roland Emmerich. Starring Dennis Quaid, JakeGyllenhaal, Sela Ward, Ian Holm)

Roland Emmerich has a thing about destroying the world. TheIndependence Day director brings us another summer blockbusterextravaganza, but this time, instead of Jeff Goldblum and WillSmith fighting aliens, we’ve got Dennis Quaid and JakeGyllenhall fighting the weather. Quaid plays climatologist JackHall, who discovers that the world is about to undergo abruptglobal warming, which would lead to massively devastating climatechanges. It turns out that he’s right, and while tornadoestear Los Angeles apart and grapefruit-sized hail pelts Tokyo, Halltries desperately to warn officials about the impending disaster.In true Hollywood fashion, he is ignored and has to take mattersinto his own hands if he wants to save lives, including his son,Sam (Gyllenhaal), who is trapped in New York. If you’ve everwanted to see New York wiped out by an enormous tsunami, this isthe movie you’ve been waiting for.

 

 

June Movie Release

 

Spider-Man 2 (PG-13)

(Directed by Sam Raimi. Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst,James Franco, Alfred Molina)

Two years after the events in the first Spider-Man, PeterParker (Maguire) continues to struggle with balancing hisday-to-day life and his secret life as superhero Spider-Man. Thestress of living two lives begins to unravel his relationships withfriends and family: Harry Osborn (Franco) blames Spider-Man for hisfather’s death; Peter’s secret love for Mary Jane(Dunst) becomes unbearable; and even his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris)begins to have doubts about Peter. Add to this a new foe in theform of Dr. Otto Octavius (Molina), a scientist-gone-mad who hassix tentacle-like metal arms grafted onto his spine, and Peter hasto push himself to the limit to take out this new threat, andprotect his loved ones.

Considering the great job that Raimi did with the first film, Ionly expect good things from this sequel. Casting Alfred Molina asthe evil genius, Doc Ock, was a stroke of brilliance.

 

 

July Movie Releases

 

Catwoman (PG-13)

(Directed by Pitof. Starring Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, BenjaminBratt)

I include this film in this listing only to warn people. If youhave been unfortunate enough to see the leaked trailer for thisabomination of a comic book film, you’ll know what I’mtalking about. It seems poised to be the single worst film of thedecade, and that’s no small task. Since the project wasannounced, every piece of news related to the film’sproduction has been a portent of doom.

The first sign of doom: the writers of the film announced that,even though the movie was based on the DC Comics characterCatwoman, they would not use anything from the comic in the film.Imagine if Peter Jackson had announced that the Lord of theRings films would only be based on the Tolkein books, but withnone of the characters, plot, or themes. That is the severity ofthis situation.

The second sign: Have you seen Halle Berry’s costume?It’s something out of a 12-year-old boy’s fantasy.Leather bikinis and vaguely cat-like masks may be great for a pornfilm, but it just looks really, really bad in this context.

The third sign: The following is a scene from the movie —Catwoman beats up some guys in a club. The bartender, grinning likea smarmy idiot, slams a bowl of milk onto the bar. “Cream,straight up,” he says. Catwoman gulps it down, purrs, andlicks her lips.

For the love of God and all that is holy, do not see this movie.If you give them your money, they’ll use it to make a sequel.Think of the children!

 

The Village (not yet rated)

(Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Joaquin Phoenix,Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Brendan Gleeson)

I will be the first to say that Signs, M. NightShyamalan’s last film, was not all that great. With any luck,The Village will more than make up for it.

The Village tells the story of a small, picture-perfectvillage that just happens to be bordered by a forest inhabited bydark, mysterious creatures. The knowledge that these creatures areso close keeps the villagers away from the forest and an uneasy”truce” arises between the creatures and the villagers.The villagers stay out of the forest, and the creatures stay out ofthe village.

Things stay this way until Lucius Hunt (Phoenix) defies the ruleand explores the forest, threatening to destroy the truce.

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