Welcome to MovieWeb's Summer Preview: July - By Brian Gallagher

It’s coming up on that time of the year again. The sun is shining, adults are skipping work to play golf and students are skipping class to do, well, whatever it is they do when they’re not in class. It was a case of Budweiser and a porterhouse for me on days too nice to go to class, but I digress. The best part about spring time, is that summer time is just around the corner. And summer time brings us the most extravagant blockbuster movies of the year. Last summer, Johnny Depp gained mainstream popularity (finally!), Bennifer faltered, and we saw more sequels than I can remember seeing over a summer. What’s in store for this summer? Let’s take a look at what’s coming, as they say, to a theater near you, this summer. All release dates are subject to change.

Click on a date to find more releases surrounding the date. For more information on any of the films, click the title or the poster for the film!

July 2nd

Movie PictureBefore the Sunset: Starring Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Directed by Richard Linklater

After doing a few indie flicks in the past few years, Linklater proved last year that he indeed can entertain a mass audience in the wonderful School of Rock. But he’s going back to drama here with Before Sunset. The concept isn’t entirely original – it’s basically a reunion movie, with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy running into each other on Hawke’s book tour. I’ve read that this is a movie almost completely based on dialogue. And with a script by Linklater and the usually-great Hawke (I’m not too familiar with Delpy) I’m sure this will be worth seeing.

Movie PictureThe Clearing: Starring Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe, Hellen Mirren

Directed by Pieter Jan Brugge

This movie looks a hell of a lot like Ransom. Robert Redford is a successful businessman who is kidnapped by Willem Dafoe, an employee of his. So Redford’s wife, Hellen Mirren has to get the ransom money to get her hubby back. I don’t know about this one, really. Redford, Dafoe and Mirren will all probably do a good job, but the story seems like it’s just a tad thin for me.

July 7th

Movie PictureKing Arthur: Starring Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane, Keira Knightley

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Director Antione Fuqua (Training Day) takes on his most ambitious project yet with King Arthur. This period piece set in medieval times centers around the legendary king and his Knights of the Round Table. This will likely be Clive Owen’s star-making performance here in the title role, and Keira Knightley, riding high from Pirates of the Carribbean and Bend it Like Beckham last year, will likely see her stock rise some more after her role here as Guinevere. With Fuqua’s always-slick direction, and the talent in front of the camera, this looks like a very solid movie.

July 9th

Movie Picture

Anchorman: Starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carrell

Directed by Adam McKay

This just looks incredibly funny, bar none. Will Ferrell has long been hilarious in supporting roles, and he finally proved he can hold the screen on his own in last year’s Elf. But while Elf was more of a family comedy, Anchorman seems more up Ferrell’s alley, and he’s finally doing it all by himself. He plays “newsman” Ron Burgundy, who is about as serious about real journalism as Jayson Blair is. But when the serious Christina Applegate co-anchors with him, he must finally figure out how to be a real anchor. With a great cast (including Vince Vaughn, Fred Willard, Paul Rudd, Chris Parnell), and Ferrell writing the screenplay with director and former SNL writer Adam McKay, this is almost a sure lock to be the great comedic hit of the summer.

Movie PictureSleepover: Starring Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Scout Taylor-Compton

Directed by Joe Nussbaum

I’m not that desperate for a date…

July 16th

Movie PictureI, Robot: Starring Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood

Directed by Alex Proyas

This trailer has been playing for months, and it is becoming one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. This flick, loosely based off Issac Asimov’s series, is set in 2035, where robots are widely used for assisting humans with menial tasks. They are supposed to be totally docile and follow the Laws of Robotics. Will Smith plays a detective who isn’t thrilled with this new technology, and when a robot is accused of murder, he gets even more suspicious of the robotic aides. The Actor Formerly Known as The Fresh Prince looks like he does a pretty damn good job here, and the script and direction look very solid as well. Fox will probably need some robots of their own to bring home the piles upon piles of cash this will likely earn.

Movie PictureA Cinderella Story: Starring Hillary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge

Directed by Mark Rosman

See: Sleepover preview…

July 23rd

Movie PictureThe Bourne Supremacy: Starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen

Directed by Paul Greenglass

I’m really surprised that the promotion for this movie has been lacking significantly. There isn’t even a trailer out yet, and a lot of people probably wouldn’t even know this movie existed if the one-sheet wasn’t released last month. I was a big fan of the first movie, and the sequel, the 2nd of the Robert Ludlum novel trilogy, will probably deliver as well. A Chinese leader is killed, and the killer makes it seem that Bourne was the assassin. So Bourne, now David Webb, tries to clear his name. I hope to see a trailer for this fairly soon, but I hope that replacing Bourne Identity director Doug Liman with Paul Greenglass won’t hurt the series.

Movie PictureCatwoman: Starring Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt

Directed by Pitof

No, folks, the director’s name is not a typo. It’s Pitof. Yeah. It sounds like something that Beavis and Butthead would keep repeating… Anyway, the movie should be pretty good, with Berry in the cat suit, and the great writing team of John Brancato and Michael Ferris (The Game, Terminator 3) doing the script. This movie could be very big for Stone and Bratt, because they both haven't had a hit in a few years. The story sounds pretty good, with Berry turning into the Catwoman and jumping back and forth between hero and villain. We’ll just have to see how Pita Bread…I mean, Pitof does at the helm.

July 30th

Movie PictureThe Village: Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

This could very well be the best movie of the summer. M. Night Shyamalan has consistently shocked and entertained moviegoers since The Sixth Sense, and I don’t expect the trend to stop here with The Village. The movie is Shyamalan’s first period piece, set in 1897 rural Pennsylvania, in a town surrounded by the woods that house a mysterious breed of creatures. There is a simple understanding that no one can leave the village, because the creatures protect them, and stuff. But when Joaquin Phoenix starts to challenge this understanding, strange things start to happen. I’d expect nothing less than a remarkable movie, paired with remarkable box office results.

Movie PictureThe Manchurian Candidate: Starring Denzel Washington, Liev Schrieber, Meryl Streep

Directed by Jonathan Demme

Denzel Washington stars in this update of the 1962 classic, about Gulf War soldiers who are captured and tortured. The trailer is very good, and the cast is sensational. This looks like Liev Schrieber’s biggest role to date, and hopefully he’ll finally get some long-overdue accolades. Denzel and Streep are rarely off their game, so I’m sure they’ll do rather well also. But the big question is if Jonathan Demme can make a comeback here. His last few movies have failed rather miserably (The Truth About Charlie, Beloved) and he hasn’t had a hit since Philadelphia in 1993. But, if the trailer is any indication, this looks to bring Demme back into the limelight.

Movie PictureHarold and Kumar go to White Castle: Starring John Cho, Kal Penn

Directed by Danny Leiner

O.K., they must have shifted the release date of this movie sometime after Sunday, because when I was writing my column, I read that the release date was December 10. Oh well. The summer season seems more fitting for this type of movie anyway. If the title sounds like Dude, Where’s My Car, it’s not a coincidence that both these movies share the same director in Danny Leiner. This trailer is actually really really funny, people. It just looks like dumb fun, but it looks like it was made as smartly as possible, if that makes any sense. The cast, for this type of movie, is really amazing (check out the IMDB listing on this movie) and this movie should make stars out of Cho, the guy who first coined the phrase M.I.L.F. in American Pie, and Penn, the Indian personal assistant in Van Wilder. This could very well be the sleeper hit of the summer.

CLICK HERE FOR THE AUGUST SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW!

Brian B.