Ahh spring is in the air, my friends. You can tell if you're in Minnesota like me because it'll be 70 degrees and sunny one day and 20 degrees with flurries the next. But the best part about spring is that summer is just around the corner, and summer brings the great weather which brings out the skimpy clothing on female rollerbladers. Oh, it also brings us the summer blockbuster season at the cinema, Hollywood's bread-and-butter time when all the mad crazy ducketts are really made. But what flicks should you spend your mad crazy ducketts on? What will flop? What will make more money than the gross national product of Sweeden? What will be this summer's indie sensastion? I'll try to answer those questions and many more in my Gigantic Summer Movie Preview.

Instead of doing a week-by-week rundown of the May-August movies, I'm going to change it up a little. The major movies of each month will be broken down into three main categories: Keepers, the surefire movie winners for the summer; Sleepers, the flicks that will be under the radar but could make a big splash or ones I'm just not sure about; and Six-Feet-Deepers, the flicks that should be buried six feet underground and never unearthed again. Sounds like fun, eh? Let's get this thing kicked off with the marvelous month of May.

MAY

As per usual, the summer season gets kicked off with a big bang in early May. It seems we get even more sequels than usual this May (three #3's, one #2) with a little bit of poker, redneck infantry, Iraq wardom, zombies and even Lindsey Lohan thrown in the mix as well. Lets take a look at May's winners and losers.

Keepers

Spider-Man 3 (May 4th)

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Tobey Maguire wondering if black really is slimming...

This could get the summer off to a really interesting start. It hasn't even been a year since the scurvy pirates of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest shattered the first Spidey's opening weekend box office record. This third installment, and perhaps the last with Tobey Maguire, will bow on the same weekend the first movie opened and made $114 million and change. Those pirates set the mark at $132 million and change now, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if the Spidey crew brought the record back. All the principals (Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco) are back along with Topher Grace and the wonderful Thomas Haden Church. Alvin Sargent's script seems a lot darker and busier this time around and this should kick off the summer season just like they did in 2002, with a record-setting bang.

Shrek the Third (May 18)

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Shrek, Donkey and Puss Scour Far Far Away Land for a bank to put all the money this will make into...

Here's the second of the three-parters that will be good for at least $300 million domestic. The first two have made over $700 million just domestically, with the last flick making $436 million. A $300 million forecast is probably the most pessimistic forecast one could make. I wouldn't be surprised to see this hit close to $500 million. Like Spidey 3, all the principals (Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Ruppert Everett, Julie Andrews) are back, and they also have some newcomers as well. Justin Timberlake will voice King Artie, SNL's Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph will voice Snow White and Rapunzel, while SNL alum Cheri Oteri will voice Sleeping Beauty. Also Eric Idle will voice Merlin and Ian McShane will voice Captain Hook. Damn. This new tale will have Shrek as the heir to the throne of Far Far Away Land, a post he tries to relinquish while Fiona and some girlfriends try to stave off a rebellion by Prince Charming. High jinks and hilarity will surely ensue... along with a lot of the cha-ching.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (May 25)

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Johnny Depp wondering why Keira Knightley looks like Clea Duvall here...

The third three-parter that's good for $300 or $400 million fo sho. Again, the principals (Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Naomie Harris) and many others are back and, of course, there are some high-profile additions. Chow Yun-Fat hops aboard as Captain Sao Feng, a ruthless pirate captain, and Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards boards ship as well as Teague Sparrow, Captain Jack's father. That bit of casting has been in the works for eons it seems, after Depp revealed that Richards was one of his inspirations for the eccentricities of Captain Jack Sparrow. The second installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest broke a few records en route to its massive $426 million domestic gross, and everything about this last installment that I've seen so far indicates that this last journey with Captain Jack and crew will at least equal its predecessor's gross, if not surpass it. Who would've thought that a movie based off a theme park ride would do so well, eh?

Sleepers

Lucky You (May 4)

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Are two As a good hand

For a movie that has shifted release dates as many damn times as this flick has, they sure as crap picked a bad date to finally open on. Although it isn't slated for a limited release, you can bet that this poker flick won't get a hefty rollout going against Spidey and Co. We do get a talented cast and crew here with Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore and Robert Duvall starring (along with a host of real poker pros), and Eric Roth co-writing with director Curtis Hanson. Sure there's talent aplenty here, but this will really be a test of poker's popularity these days. If this would've been released on schedule a year or so ago, it'd be a different story, one that would've ended with a healthy box office performance. But even though that box office performance is in serious jeopardy, there is so much talent here, along with plenty of poker for the rounders, that it should be a solid movie and might even make a small dent at the box office.

Home of the Brave (May 11)

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Yes, that is 50 Cent a.k.a. Curtis Jackson in a military uniform. Intriguing, aint it...

Projects like these are always hard to gauge, but this one might work. It doesn't seem to be as much of an in-the-trenches fictional movie about the Iraq war, although there surely will be some battle scenes. This movie is really about what happens when the soldiers come back, and that aspect alone might drive people to the theaters, since people seem to be supporting the troops a lot more than the actual war itself. It doesn't hurt one bit that we get super and diverse cast of Samuel L. Jackson, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Jessica Biel, Christina Ricci and Chad Michael Murray. It could strike a chord and drum up some decent business. It could also strike the wrong chord and flop instantaneously. We shall see.

Captivity (May 18)

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Yet another example of how Elisha Cuthbert looks good in any light.

Controversy bodes different things for different films, but I'm really not sure how this film's recent bit of controversy will affect its box office performance. If you didn't hear, this flick got in a spot of trouble over a marketing banner that was shown on L.A. billboards and NYC taxi tops and they were ordered to be pulled by the MPAA because they weren't approved beforehand. CLICK HERE to check it out for yourself. At any rate, the movie is still coming out and this little buzz could bode well for Captivity. We get the lovely Elisha Cuthbert going back to horror with a story by Phone Booth writer Larry Cohen. I'm not sure about director Roland Joffe, but it looks like it might be a slick little creep-fest here that could scare up some decent business.

Bug (May 25)

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And the award for Creepiest One-Sheet of the Year goes to...

This is another project that seems to have been slated with a doomed release date, going up against Johnny Depp and Co. But it's the kind of twisted little thriller that just might fare decently. We also get to see Ashley Judd, who you probably haven't seen in awhile save for University of Kentucky basketball games, and the direction of William Friedken, the masterful director behind the classics The French Connection and The Exorcist. His last few flicks (The Hunted, Rules of Engagement) were well-made failures, so lets see if this one can be a well-made success.

Six-Feet-Deepers

28 Weeks Later (May 11)

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Why is Rutger Hauer outside....

There's a weird trend out there that's starting to develop in horror sequels, and I thought it was a trend only reserved for straight-to-DVD flicks. You know, those sequels where only the name is the same, with different actors, writers, directors. These kind of flicks are all over the DVD shelves, with a recent example being Kevin Sorbo taking over The Rock's character in Walking Tall: The Payback. Now it seems this trend is hitting the theaters, first with the dreadfully terrible The Hills Have Eyes 2 and now this. No Cillian Murphy or Naomie Harris here, but we get Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Robert Carlyle and Catherine McCormack. Doesn't sound like a fair trade, does it... I'd be as wary of this as I was wary of Hills Have Eyes 2, in which case my wariness was justified, as I'm sure it will be here.

Georgia Rule (May 11)

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Boy these happy faces sure do get you excited for the movie right...

A film for the whole family... if your family has not a male in sight. Sure, we get a solid cast here with Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman, Lindsey Lohan, Cary Elwes, Dermott Mulroney and Garrett Hedlund, but this story is as dull and overplayed as they come. Huffman and Lohan star as a troubled mother-daughter duo who escpae the rigors of city life to live with their mother/grandmother, Fonda, in Idaho. Culture shock ensues. New love ensues. Hard-nosed grandma grappling with strong-willed granddaughter ensues. Boredom ensues. Snoring ensues... What's sad is with the uncertainty of the rest of this week's flicks, this will probably end up as the #1 flick of the weekend. It's not a big deal, really, since it or whatever flick gets #1 that weekend will just be clobbered by Shrek the next weekend anyway, but still. The principle of this wretched movie being the #1 movie in the country is just wrong. Wrong, folks.

Delta Farce (May 11)

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The title spoofs Delta Force, but the poster spoofs Full Metal Jacket... Idiots

While this will surely be a terrible movie that will just be another vehicle for more "Git 'r' Done" and "Here's Your Sign," there's another reason that I'm pissed off at this movie's existence. The story seems like a much much worse version of the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy Tropic Thunder. This one features redneck comics Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall as Army reservists who are mistaken for real soldiers and dropped in a hostile environment, whereas Thunder features actors playing actors in a big war movie who must rely on their limited training when real war breaks out near their location. Thunder has a great cast and crew. This one has the Blue Collar Comedy guys and the guy who's directed all of their stuff, C.B. Harding. I'm really shocked that Keith David and DJ Qualls signed on for this because, even though they might not be A-listers, they have more acting talent in one of their fingernails than both Engvall and Cable Guy have in their entire bodies. I hope this only makes like 35 dollars total.

Other Notable May Releases

Waitress (5/2) - a film swirled in tragedy after the murder of the film's writer/director Adrienne Shelly, with Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion and Jeremy Sisto; Away From Her (5/4) - the directorial debut of the diverse Sarah Polley, with Julie Christie, Michael Murphy and Gordon Pinset; The Flock (5/11) - Richard Gere and Claire Danes star in the English-language debut of Andy Lau, who brought us Infernal Affairs which was Americanized into The Departed; Blind Dating (5/11) - Chris Pine, who was smashing as Darwin Tremor in the little-seen Smokin' Aces, stars as guy who is blind and a virgin (this guy likes to mix it up a LOT); The Ex (5/18) - Zach Braff in another relationship movie he didn't write or direct, also with Amanda Peet and Charles Grodin; The Wendell Baker Story (5/18) - Luke Wilson stars in the title role and directs here (his debut) with his non-celeb brother Andrew in this Bottle Rocket -esque tale with Seymour Cassell and the tasty Eva Mendes; Angel-A (5/25) - really odd-looking flick from Luc Besson with a bunch of French no-namers including the alluring Rie Rasmussen who plays the title character.

JUNE

So you think last month was chocked full of sequels, eh? Well buckle up for a whole lot more. You probably won't be able to throw a rock at a marquee without hitting a sequel's title this month. We get six sequels this month along with the latest from Pixar, a martial-arts chick-flick, an even dorkier new spin on Napoleon Dynamite and Kevin Costner going all baddie on us. But this month starts out with a big frickin bang with my first keeper.

Keepers

Day Watch (June 1)

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Can you say, SWEET

If you're one of the deprived souls that haven't yet caught Timur Bekmambetov's absolute genius flick Night Watch then you're missing out on the coolest thing to come out of Russia since vodka. Yes, this does sadly open in a limited release but I hope the cult status of Night Watch will drive people to the theater and elevate the theater count quick-fast in a hurry. At worst, this looks to be simply on par with the astounding Night Watch. At best, this looks good enough from the smashing trailer that this could actually make a dent in the domestic box office and score some nice bank. I just can't F___ING WAIT for this, folks!!!!!

Knocked Up (June 1)

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Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen realizing that they're not on Grey's Anatomy

I'll likely have to drive at least an hour away to go see Day Watch on June 1, but on the 2nd, this flick will be at the top of my to-do list. Judd Apatow is back writing and directing here and we get some holdovers from his smashing comedy The 40 Year Old Virgin with Seth Rogen starring and supporting turns from Paul Rudd and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann. But before I can even complain about where Romany Malco is here, Apatow his filled his cast to the brim with talent like Katherine Heigl in the other starring role, along with Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill and some faces from Apatow's past, Martin Starr and Jason Segel from the spectacular but short-lived TV show Freaks and Geeks, which Apatow wrote, produced and directed for several episodes. The trailer is absolutely hilarious and while it does lack a lot of the name recognition that Virgin had, this should be just as funny and successful.

Ocean's 13 (June 8)

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Yeah, this doesn't look suspicious at all...

Yeah, I know. I hated Ocean's Twelve too, a lot actually. But I'm confident that the blame for that debacle laid solely on the WB's terrible choice for a writer in George Nolfi. He has ruined everything he's touched, and the scary thing is they've all had solid premises (See: Timeline, The Sentinel). So there. That's why Ocean's 12 sucked. Will this one be the same way? I highly frickin doubt it. Not only do we have almost all the principals (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Elliot Gould, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck, Elliot Gould, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin... whew. Julia Roberts is the only one missing from the original), but we get even more with Al Pacino as a rival casino owner along with Ellen Barkin, Eddie Izzard and David Paymer. But the best part of all of this is they scored the solid writing team of Brian Koppleman and David Levien (Rounders) for this third time around the casino floor. There have even been some Angelina Jolie rumors, and since the last flick had a little surprise cameo, don't be surprised to see Ms. Jolie at the end here. If this is the last one or not, who's to say. But I'm game, for sure.

Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer (June 15)

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Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis wondering what a superhero's gotta do to get some Chinese food up in here

We get practically everyone back from the 2005 flick that made $154 million two years ago. The four (Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis) are back along with Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom and Kerry Washington as The Thing's blind squeeze. The only significant newbies are Andre Braugher as General Hager and Beau Garrett as Frankie Raye/Nova who, by the slashed dual character, I can surmise is some new hero or villain. No, I don't read comic books. Doug Jones will play the Silver Sufer/Norman Radd, but I'm assuming he'll just be a voice once he gets all chromed out. We haven't gotten a full trailer yet, but the teaser teases us plenty and gives us a great glimpse into what could be the next great comic franchise.

Fido (June 15)

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Billy Connolly debunking the old myth that zombies aren't good with kids.

It looks like LionsGate is getting back to its edgy self again with a wonderfully fresh take on the zombie flick. The flick takes place in a 50s-ish town of Willard. The women wear colorful dresses, the houses have white picket fences and the undead do a majority of the menial work. What the fabulous trailer doesn't tell you is that there was a war between the living and the undead and in the fallout a corporation called ZomCom was formed and they were able to domesticate the zombies into becoming docile workingmen. We get a slick cast with Carrie-Anne Moss, Tim Blake Nelson, Henry Czerny, Dylan Baker and Bill Connolly as the title zombie Fido. Andrew Currie co-wrote and directed here, and while he has a wobbly filmography, it looks like he has a home-run here, folks.

Evan Almighty (June 22)

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Steve Carell taking an ark-building break with the CareerDotCom monkeys

Most sequels don't fare so well if they lose the main character. This one will likely flourish because of it. While Jim Carrey mustered up a few laughs with Bruce Almighty (which I'm still shocked that it made $242 million two years ago...), it felt so very far over the top that it was barely worth seeing, despite it's unique premise. A lot has changed since then, with Steve Carrell, who stole many a scene in Bruce Almighty, skyrocketing way past Carrey in terms of comedic bankability, so this move to highlight him as the centerpiece of this sequel makes all the sense in the world. Morgan Freeman is back as The Almighty and we get a sweet addition in the lovely Lauren Graham. The big problem with this flick is that it needs to at least equal its predecessor's gross, with its astounding $175 million budget. Even though it'll open against some easy pickings, that's still a pretty big order to fill... even with a big fat ark.

Live Free or Die Hard (June 27)

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Bruce Willis doing his best Vic Mackey impersonation

Sure, Bruce Willis and his iconic character John McLane are getting up there in years, but at least it's fairly realistic that he'd still be a cop and I think it actually works to this flick's advantage, with that whole old school vs. new school mentality, with McLane trying to stop a cyberterrorist from crippling the nation's computer infrastructure. The new school is represented quite nicely as well with Justin Long as the youngster that helps him, the marvelous Timothy Olyphant as the terrorist. Also look for Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III), Jeffrey Wright, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as McLane's daughter and filmmaker Kevin Smith who plays The Warlock, hopefully not a derivation of Julian Sands' old character. Anyway, it was a slick move to shove this back into this Wednesday slot, a full week before the blockbuster-in-waiting Transformers, but I'm still not sure how much bank this will bring in, even though it should be a slick new take on the wonderful franchise.

Ratatouille (June 29)

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And you thought Mouse Trap was a tough game...

There's nothing that I've seen from the teaser trailer that suggests Pixar's immaculate track record for animated films is in any way about to be tarnished. While this might not be the most eye-catching or appealing flick, about a rat with good taste (Patton Oswalt) who lives under a bistro in Paris and is nearly killed every time he tries to get a tasty morsel of grub. His rat family doesn't understand his gourmet tastes and thinks he should just eat sewer food like they do. I'm sure there's more to this flick, but we only have a teaser so far, so it's hard to tell. We get some more great voices with Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo and Brian Dennehy, and this does look like another Pixar winner... although it might not win over as many as the others.

Sleepers

Mr. Brooks (June 1)

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Kevin Coster wondering why his alter-ego likes to sit in the backseat

There's plenty of reasons to be sketchy about this flick. Kevin Costner hasn't had a bonafide hit movie since the first George Bush was in office, likewise for Demi Moore and writer/director Bruce A. Evans has an even spottier track record than those two. Seriously. His last credit was for writing Jungle 2 Jungle, and that was 10 years ago. But, all that aside, the trailer does look pretty slick, folks, and a sinister William Hurt thrown in helps things a bit. I'd be willing to bet that this will flounder at the box office, despite scoring some decent reviews, and this might actually get Kevin, Demi and Bruce to start making some decent flicks again.

Rise: Blood Hunter (June 1)

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Who uses a crossbow, honestly...

I really wish there was a trailer out for this flick so I could more accurately gague my preview here, and I hope that the trailer's non-existence isn't a sign for this movie's impending delay. It does sound intriguing though, with Lucy Liu as a reporter who somehow wakes up one day in a morgue and discovers she's undead. She vows to find out how this happened and gets the help of Michael Chiklis (The Shield!!!) who plays a cop who lost his daughter in the same fashion. Those who hated those mothaf'in snakes on that mothaf'in plane probably won't like the involvement of Sebastian Gutierrez, who co-wrote that flick and wrote and directed this one. Still, there's enough here for me to check out... unless the trailer really stinks.

Hostel: Part II (June 8)

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Now be quiet or you won't make it into Part III

I warmed up to Eli Roth a little bit with his sleeper hit Hostel last year, even though I still detest his debut film Cabin Fever. This one seems to be the same deal with American college kids in peril across the pond, but it's the girls who are in peril instead of the dudes. Jay Hernandez gave a good performance in the first one, but I'm not sure why he's back for this one, if they're targeting chicks. Lauren German, Bijou Phillips and Jordan Ladd star here, and with the prime summertime release date, this one should scare up some more bank, and MAYBE will turn this into the next low-budget horror franchise. Maybe...

A Mighty Heart (June 22)

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Angelina Jolie looking out of place in a foreign country, which might be a first.

This could generate some huge buzz, folks. Angelina Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl, who goes to Afghanistan in an extensive search for her husband, Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl. Based off Mariane Pearl's book, this should be quite a powerful flick that could even solidify some serious acting cred for Jolie and solidify a sketchy career for director Michael Winterbottom. This will be one to look out for, folks.

Eagle Vs. Shark (June 29)

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I think I saw this on the Discovery Channel once...

It's an interesting twist of fate that this movie opens on the same day as Jon Heder's Mama's Boy (See: Six-Feet-Deepers), because this flick seems poised to be this summer's Napoleon Dynamite. It has the same sweet, clean and dry humor to it in this story about a nerdy guy and a nerdy girl finding each other. The trailer is hilarious and, like Napoleon, I doubt we'll hear a curse word throughout the whole flick. This New Zealander flick just might make some decent waves through the crowded sea of blockbusters.

Six-Feet-Deepers

Surf's Up (June 8)

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Two penguins walk into a bar...

Seriously, ENOUGH with the damn penguins already! This time they're surfing penguins in this animated mockumentary that looks like it riffs off Dogtown & Z-Boys in a most retarded fashion, with the voices of actors I normally enjoy: Shia LaBeouf, Jon Heder, Zooey Deschanel, James Woods and Jeff Bridges. Ugh.

Nancy Drew (June 15)

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Look it's Veronica Mars!

I'm sure this will make some decent bank behind the Fantastic Four sequel, and I doubt this cost much to make so it'll make a solid profit and we'll be seeing Emma Roberts on the silver screen for years to come as this young amateur P.I. None of that means that I'll see or even attempt to see this. I don't know if it's the success of that Veronica Mars show or what, that made them think an update of this character was necessary. What can I say. I'm a guy. This movie isn't aimed at me, or at least my age group, so I won't even bother.

I Could Never Be Your Woman (June 15)

Oh Amy Heckerling. What the hell happened to you? It's been 12 years since Clueless and you've done a whopping one film since then, the glorious flop that was Loser. Now you come at us with this mother-daughter rip-off crap that has been done eons of times during that 12-year span. Sure, the trailer has some cute lines, and it's nice that Michelle Phieffer is back out there again, and Paul Rudd will do just fine as always. Of course, the trailer doesn't include what is probably the worst part of the flick that I've read: Mother Nature (Tracey Ullman) has seen it fit to meddle with both the mother and daughter's new budding love lifes. Wow. Unreal. I hope no one was eating or drinking anything while reading that so they didn't choke. Heckerling, why don't you just call Cameron Crowe up and you two get back together like you did with Fast Times at Ridgemont High, because it's quite clear that you both need a new direction in your careers.

DOA: Dead or Alive (June 22)

MovieWeb's Gigantic Summer Movie Preview
Either they're bad-ass fighting chicks or theyre doing a promo for Billy Blanks' new Samurai-Bo workout video...

Another vidgame adaptation here and it looks like an Enter the Dragon sort of flick, only with chick fighters all invited to this mysterious island to take part in a martial arts tournament. I'm surprised that Jamie Pressly is the lead here, not because she's "above" this material at all, because she isn't, but because in most of her other work it looks like you could snap her in two with your thumb and forefinger. We also get Devon Aoki, Sarah Carter and Holly Vallance as these chickfighters along with B-movie staple Eric "My Sister is Famous" Roberts. Cory Yuen (The Transporter) directs here, and while there will probably be some slick action sequences, the rest of the flick will probably be too moronic to watch.

Mama's Boy (June 29)

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I could've swore for a second there that he was wearing moon boots

No, it's not a sequel to Grandma's Boy... but you'll probably wish it was. This one has Jon Heder as a 29-year-old dude still living with his mother (Diane Keaton), has his plans for slackery thrown asunder when she plans to marry a self-help guru (Jeff Daniels). If you're thinking this sounds familiar, you're right. You basically take the bare bones of Failure to Launch and then switch a few things around in the upcoming Mr. Woodcock (which was supposed to bow around the time of this writing) and bam. Mama's Boy. Is it just me or does Napoleon Dynamite just seem farther and farther away with each new movie that Heder does?

Other Notable June Releases

Gracie (6/1) - Carly Schroeder, who was fabulous in Mean Creek, stars as a young Elizabeth Shue, in this semi-autobiographical tale of a girl in the 70s trying to play on the boys soccer team; Pierrepoint (6/1) - period piece about a British hangman and his dual lives, starring Timothy Spall, i.e. the guy who played Wormtail in the last Potter flick; Evening (6/15) - flick with a HUGE female cast (Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Glenn Close, Natasha Richardson) about a dying mother looking back on her youth while her daughters try to cope with the impending tragedy, written by author-turned-screenwriter Michael Cunningham and directed by DP-turned-director Lajos Koltai; Martian Child - (6/29) John Cusack stars as a sci-fi writer who just lost his wife and adopts a kid who thinks he is (and may be) from Mars, in what seems like a cross between Big Daddy and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; You Kill Me (6/29) - the latest from director John Dahl (Rounders) about an alcoholic hitman (Ben Kingsley) trying to sober up when he meets a woman (Tea Leoni) who might be able to help him after he's dry; Death at a Funeral (6/29) - an interesting cast here (Matthew McFayden, Peter Dinklage, Ewen Bremmer) in a flick about two brothers trying to protect their recently-deceased father's secret.

JULY

I think it's safe to say that we might be all sequeled out by this time, and we only get one this month, though it should be big enough to suffice for the whole month. We do get a rather diverse month here with a new Stephen King adaptation, another great movie from Christian Bale, an ozone-depleting remake and a much different look at Adam Sandler and Kevin James. But, of course, the month gets kicked off with a big bang with fireworks in the sky and at the theater.

Keepers

Transformers (July 4)

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They sure didn't look like this when I was a kid

Chances are you might have heard of this project... The buzz out there is so frickin huge for this one, and I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing so far. Michael Bay's latest big-budget affair has an interesting cast with Shia LaBeouf (finally toplining!), Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson, Rachel Taylor, Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight, Anthony Anderson and John Turturro and Bernie Mac. Yeah, I'm wondering who Megan Fox and Rachel Taylor are too... But the focus likely won't be on this human cast and more on the CGI Autobots and Decepticons and, from the looks of it so far, it's worthy of all the buzz it's getting. Look for this to make some huge, possibly record-setting, bank. P.S. Hugo Weaving is voicing Megatron. I wonder if anyone's name is Mr. Anderson here...

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13)

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Daniel Radcliffe, Ruppert Grint and Emma Watson are all growns up.

This will be the first Potter adaptation to be written by someone other than the magnificent Steve Kloves, who's great work isn't just limited to this series (See: Wonder Boys). It is odd, though, because he is signed on to do the last two adaptations and he has no other films in development, so why he skipped out on this one is beyond me. Anyway, the whole crew is back (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Ruppert Grint, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, etc.) and we get some wonderful newcomers as well. Imelda Staunton appears as Dolores Umbridge, a magic official who starts to seize control of Hogwarts and Helena Bonham Carter plays Bellatrix Lestrange, and I'm not sure what she does. It looks like we're through with all this fluffy kids stuff and we're getting down to some magic fighting and stuff. I probably should read these books sometime, shouldn't I...

I'm surprised this is going up against Harry and the Hogwarts homies but, actually, there are even a few more movies bowing this week against Order of the Phoenix, although most are in limited release. Anyway, this likely won't give Harry a huge run for his money, but this looks like a really slick thriller that will hopefully do some decent business. Busy John Cusack stars here as a paranormal myth/ghostbuster who comes across something he can't control or explain in room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel. The trailer is wicked-good, folks, and Cusack gets some great supporting help from Samuel L. Jackson and Mary McCormack and while director Mikael Hafstrom might not have made a huge splash in his American film debut, Derailed, this one looks to get him back on the right track. I just hope Harry doesn't take all the money away from this one.

Rescue Dawn (July 13)

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Christian Bale and Steve Zahn getting scruffy in Vietnam

I'm hoping this shoots into a wide release rather quickly, because this looks like a marvelous movie. Christian Bale, who might be one of the best in the biz at picking his projects (I know, The New World... no one's perfect), looks to deliver another outstanding performance here in this true-story adaptation of a fighter pilot who is captured and manages to escape in the jungle of Vietnam. Some nice supporting players here with Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies and writer-director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) looks to crack into the big-time here. This just looks like a great war movie.

The Simpsons Movie (July 27)

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99 bottles of Duff on the wall, 99 bottles of Duff...

Quite possibly the most anticipated film since Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, maybe even ever. This has been in the works for years and years, and I remember series creator Matt Groening saying many a moon ago that they didn't want to do a movie until the series had ended. Well, those darn people just can't stop watching the show, so here we are. Although we've gotten a few teasers, we know absolutely NOTHING about the flick, and it's said that the first full-length trailer won't even premiere until Spidey 3. Director David Silverman has directed numerous Simpsons episodes and even was a co-director on the Pixar smash Monsters Inc.. I honestly don't care what the plot of this movie is, as long as all my favorites yellow characters from Springfield are here... and the flick indeed does open on July 27.

Sleepers

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (July 20)

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Kevin James and Adam Sandler as the happy couple at play

OK, the trailer does look funnier than I expected it to be, but I'm still a trifle leery about this one. Adam Sandler and Kevin James star here as two New York City firemen who are both straight and single and decide to pretend to be gay and coupled to receive partner benefits. Yeah. It's pretty flimsy, sure, but, much to my surprise, the indie writing team of Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor (Sideways, About Schmidt, Election) are credited amongst a few other writers here. Dennis Dugan, a Sandler regular, directs here, and if they try to make this Capra-esque like the last couple of Sandler's movies, I might just snap. OK, it doesn't seem like that's the case for now, and this might be pretty good, but, seriously, no more Capra take-off's Adam.

If this logline doesn't intrigue you, then you're unintriguable: "The life of a young boy growing up in a sheltered British community in the 1980s is forever changed after he stumbles upon a pirated copy of Rambo: First Blood" To elaborate, the kid, Will, had never even watched TV before meeting this Lee kid, a rebel who likes to make violent home movies and exposes Will to the Stallone flick, which is enough persuasion for Will to agree to be the stuntman on these home movies. This sounds like the kind of movie that the first Project Greenlight winner Stolen Summer should've been, or should've wanted to be anyway. Apparently this was all the rage at Sunance and hopefully it's given a chance to be the rage this summer in more than a limited capacity.

This looks like an American version of Night Watch, only without the zombies and with these man/beast hybrids fighting for supremacy. The trailer looks so damn cool that I'm willing to ignore director James Issac last directorial effort, Jason X. That cast isn't too experienced with Jason Behr, Rhona Mitra and Elias "Don't Call Me Casey Jones" Koteas toplining here. It's a cool premise and hopefully the the script and direction live up to its potential.

No Reservations (July 27)

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Catherine Zeta-Jones getting a look at Aaron Eckhart's meat...

If they were smart, they'd push this to the less-competitive month of August and not go against The Simpsons. This remake of the German film Mostly Martha has a cast so intriguing that I may actually see this. Catherine Zeta-Jones hasn't picked the best projects since her Oscar win for Chicago, but she looks pretty damn solid here. It doesn't hurt that she has a few of last year's fav's Aaron Eckhart and young Abigail Breslin along with Patricia Clarkson and Bob Balaban (he's not listed on IMDB, but he's in the trailer). So, as Ace Ventura once said, "Hmm, looks like I'm gonna have get myself a date."

Six-Feet-Deepers

License to Wed (June 6)

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If you think they're confused, you should see the look on your face right now...

Ha. Best of luck, you dunces. Why they didn't just scoot out of the way of Transformers, I'll never know. Maybe it'll transform Mandy Moore, Robin Williams and chick-flick helmer Ken Kwapis into the nobodies they deserve to be. Yeah, I know. I loved Mandy Moore in Saved! too, but what has she done since then? Yeah, exactly... I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this move as we near July, probably to September and hopefully to a black hole where it can't escape.

Hairspray (July 20)

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Thats seriously probably the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life, no joke.

Talk about a weird frickin adaptation/remake mumbo-jumbo. It's not based off the 1988 John Waters flick, but off the Broadway musical that was based off the Waters movie. That's like translating German into Latin into English then back into German again. I haven't heard jack for buzz about this movie from Adam Shankman (Bringing Down The House...), with John Travolta starring alongside a huge ensemble of Nikki Blonsky (who??), Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, Michelle Phieffer, James Marsden and Allison Janney. Big, talented cast aside, I doubt I could stomach this kind of dopey musical thing and, hopefully, no one else will be able to either.

Other Notable July Releases

Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler star as a couple who are terrorized by baddies whilst on vacation; Clubland (7/13) - seems like a different take on the wonderful Laurel Canyon, with Brenda Blythen as an aging comedienne and her son torn between his new love and his mother's comeback, sounds like it's worth a shot; Interview (7/13) - remake of a 2003 Dutch movie with Steve Buscemi starring, writing and directing with Sienna Miller as his interview subject; Fierce People (7/20) - Diane Lane and Anton Yelchin star as mom and son who go on an excursion with a billionaire (Donald Sutherland) which forces them to reconsider their lives

AUGUST

This is usually the month where it's still summer, but we start to see the blockbusters filter out and outlandish comedies and flicks that studios aren't as certain of to fill in the gaps. We get a few more sequels this month (with one that's BARELY a sequel) along with Rod Lurie's return to the silver screen after a TV hiatus, a look at some Star Wars geeks, some brats, and underdog and the American-language debut of a masterful German filmmaker... hopefully. This month starts out nicely too, but with an ultimatum.

Keepers

The Bourne Ultimatum (August 3)

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Matt Damon scouring the rooftops as Jason Bourne... or whoever it is he turns out to be

OK, I'm really pumped to see how this series ends, and I'm glad I haven't read the books since I've heard they vastly stray from them. Matt Damon has been spot-on in playing Jason Bourne, and mainstays Julia Styles and Joan Allen are back as well. I'm not quite sure about Edgar Ramirez as the baddie here, but the additions of Paddy Considine and David Strathairn are wonderful. There is one addition that is bothering me, though, and that is the addition of screenwriting pariah George Nolfi. That just spooks me, folks. The guy is like the opposite of King Midas; everything he touches turns to crap. But he's not alone here as Tony Gilroy, who has written the past two, also returns and they even threw in Paul Attanasio (The Sum Of All Fears, Donnie Brasco), Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love) and some rookie named Scott Z. Burns in the screenwriting mix. Hopefully they can all help debunk the film-ruining ways of Nolfi and we can end this series out on a great note.

Resurrecting the Champ (August 3)

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Josh Hartnett looking the same as usual and Samuel L. Jackson looking downtrodden, but still in a cool way.

I'm really hoping this Rod Lurie film will get a decent rollout in this jam-packed weekend. I was just blown away by Lurie's breakthrough movie The Contender, and I'm not a political animal at all, folks. After going Hollywood on us with The Last Castle, he dissappeared into the small-screen, creating a few short-lived TV shows (Line of Fire, Commander in Chief) before coming back to the silver screen here. Josh Hartnett stars here as an ambitious sports reporter who comes to the aid of a homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson) only to discover that he was a fomer boxing champ, thought to be dead long ago. I'm not only rooting for this as a success for Lurie, but also for Hartnett, since I think he's been shafted this past year for two amazing movies (Lucky Number Slevin, The Black Dahlia that were severly overlooked by the critics and moviegoers. This sounds like a wonderful film that I hope gets the recognition it deserves.

A quirky premise here, with a group of die-hard Star Wars fans in late 1998, eagerly awaiting the release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. They all decide to road-trip to Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see Episode I before its world premiere. The trailer is pretty god-damn funny, folks ("No one calls Han Solo a dirtball.") and they've assembled a great young cast with Sam Huntington, the marvelous Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Jamie King, Seth Rogen along with a slew of cameos from real Star Wars actors (including a Sith security guard) and also Danny Trejo and William Shatner. They even have an actor playing the Ain't It Cool News website editor Harry Knowles! It just looks like a hell of a lot of fun, folks, and a nice way to wind down the summer.

Sleepers

Hot Rod (August 3)

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So, I've got this box I wanna show you...

The name Andy Samberg might not be at the recognition level of a Tom Cruise or anything, but you can find him all over YouTube with his SNL Digital Shorts Lazy Sunday with Chris Parnell and, the one that made Timberlake cool in my book, Dick in a Box. He's clearly a funny dude with a lot of talent, but I'm not sure this flick was the right way to go for his first major motion picture. Samberg plays a daredevil who is attempting a risky motorcycle jump to raise money to help his bastard stepfather (Ian McShane). Sissy Spacek and Will Arnett also star. My general vibe about this isn't quite so hot... but I also felt the same way when I first heard about a Justin Timberlake skit on SNL...

Charlie Bartlett (August 3)

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Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman prepare for the body-snatching

This one sounds pretty slick, but this damn weekend of August 3 is looking incredibly congested right now and I'm not sure if this will get a fair shake. Anton Yelchin stars as the title character, a boy who doesn't fit in at his new school and goes all Catch Me if You Can on us and pretends he's actually the new school therapist. There was only a brief part in Catch Me If You Can where Leo pretends to be a teacher, but a whole movie like this sounds like a pretty good idea and Robert Downey Jr. and Hope Davis added in here won't hurt a bit. I'll wait for a trailer before deciding more on this one, but so far so good.

I was incredibly psyched for this flick for some time now. It's a very loose remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and it's also the English-language debut of the amazing German filmmaker Oliver Hischbiegel (Das Experiment, Downfall). It also stars Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, the busy Jeffrey Wright, Jeremy Northam and even rapper Q-Tip. So, why did I use the word "was" before? The same reason why I have this as a Sleeper instead of a keeper. If we believe the rumor mill, it appears this flick might be in a bit of peril. I've read on different sites that Hirschbiegel might not even be credited as the director. It's rumored that a rough cut of the flick was screened and panned, and the Wachowski Brothers were brought in to work on some reshoots. Now it's rumored that they also rewrote two-thirds of the script and have brought on their protoge James McTeague (V For Vendetta) to oversee the production whilst they work on their Speed Racer flick. Nothing is official as of now, though, and the Wachowski's and McTeague are nowhere to be found on the flick's IMDB page. According to the film's Wikipedia page, a Warner rep claimed that it's only second-unit stuff that's being re-shot and that the movie hasn't even been screened yet. So yeah. Who knows. Would it be cool to see a Wachowski Brothers/McTeague take on this? Sure. Would it be cool to see Hirschbiegel's take on this? Of course. While I'd rather see Hirschbiegel's film, I really just want to know what the crap is going on here!

First Jessica Simpson, now Jessica Alba? Man, to be Dane Cook: Lucky Bastard. This is another high-concept comedy for the funnyman, which actually looks a lot better on paper than his flop Employee of the Month. This one has Cook as a chickhopper who realizes that every woman he's ever dated has married the next man they've dated after him. Of course, he meets Jessica Alba and hopes to break this little curse of his. I'm sure Cook is hoping he can break his own box-office curse as well and establish himself as an actor, and stuff. Hell, if anything else, Jessica Alba is in it...

Six-Feet-Deepers

Underdog (August 3)

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OK, strike that Hairspray caption. THIS is the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

I can't believe this is actually going to be a theatrical movie. We have a talented cast with Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Amy Adams, Patrick Warburton and more, but who cares. This isn't CGI, by the way, all live-action and Lee and Adams will just be providing voices for the real dogs Shoeshine Boy/Underdog and Sweet Polly Purebred. So this will be a real dog flying around in the air and crap (remember Air Bud?) and it might just end up being the corniest movie of the year. Hopefully, it's the biggest flop of the year as well.

Rush Hour 3 (August 10)

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Wow. I really didn't miss that at all in the past six years...

This Chris Tucker is really something, folks. He fell off the face of the Earth after 2001's Rush Hour 2 and then, he apparently strolled into the New Line offices, wanting to do this flick and even a sequel to Money Talks. That, and he also secured a $25 million paycheck for this movie, bumping him above the likes of Tom Cruise and other top-flight actors... and he's been in just a handful of films so far AND hasn't done a thing on camera for 6 years. I know the second Rush Hour made $225 million, but that is just as shocking since it really wasn't half as good as the first. This time around, they're going to Paris, with Rosalyn Sanchez reprising her role from the second flick and also look for Vinnie Jones, Max Von Sydow and, get this, exiled director Roman Polanski as a Frenchie cop. Wow. I'd have to see a pretty damn amazing trailer for me to want to see this one.

I really thought Cuba Gooding Jr. was better than this. Don't you think it might be a bit of a warning when not even Eddie Murphy wants to come back for a sequel to one of his only successful flicks in recent years? I guess not. Cuba and Paul Rae, taking Jeff Garlin's spot, star here as daddies who start up a day camp for kids, or something. I have no idea what the oddball Lochlyn Munro is doing here, but then again, I have no idea what ANYONE is doing here. Here's another hint of warning. Know who's directing this debacle? Fred Savage. Yes, Wonder Years Fred Savage. Wow. Spooky, isn't it?

Mr. Bean's Holiday (August 31)

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Seriously. Why does the world think this guy is so damn funny

WHY?? This is America, blokes. The last flick might have made $230 million and some change worldwide, but guess how much of it came from us? $45 million. I'm even shocked it was that high. Now this time around Bean (Rowan Atkinson) has won a trip to the Cannes Film Festival (priceless...) and whilst in France he has to help a boy find his father, since he inadvertantly separated them, and he also discovers the joys of France and true love and all that crap. Tell you what, Rowan. You keep your moronic little antics on your side of the pond, and maybe we won't stone you. Savvy?

Other Notable August Releases

The Ten (8/3) - structurally-deviant indie with Paul Rudd and the busy Jessica Alba with Rudd narrating ten different stories that relate to the Ten Commandments, might be worth a look-see; Becoming Jane (8/3) - Anne Hathaway playing Jane Austen before she was a famous novelist; The Signal (8/10) - creepy-sounding indie horror vehicle told from three different viewpoints about a mysterious signal floatin