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Pandas and the Hulk roam summer screens

Summer Preview 2008

POSTED: May 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.
/Warner Bros.

Emile Hirsch stars as the title character in "Speed Racer."

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The 2008 summer movie season won’t make us wait on the big releases, since most of the highly anticipated movies come out during May. It’s impossible to predict how good the summer season will be, but there will at least be plenty of choices. Here’s a dash through the prospects.

May 2

‘Made of Honor’

Tom (Patrick Dempsey) is a womanizer, yet his best friend is a woman, Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). Hannah goes to Scotland on business, Tom realizes he loves her, then Hannah returns with a fiancé and insists that Tom be maid of honor in her wedding. "My Best Friend’s Wedding" meets "Friends" meets "Will & Grace."

‘Iron Man’

Wealthy weapons designer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) builds an armored suit and fights evil. You roll the dice with any comic-based movie, but the effects look great and the cast is outstanding, with Downey joined by Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terence Howard.

‘Son of Rambow’

I mentioned this indie movie last week and snuck it in again because I heart it that much.

‘Redbelt’

David Mamet directs Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Allen and Emily Mortimer in a martial arts movie. Everything in that sentence is true, and I have no idea what to expect.

May 9

‘Speed Racer’

The Wachowski Brothers ("The Matrix") direct Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman in an adaptation that took years to make. The visuals make this seem like digital animation with a few humans thrown in for the occasional bit of dialogue.

‘What Happens in Vegas...’

This will definitely be the best movie of the year based on a tourism slogan! Joy (Cameron Diaz) and Jack (Ashton Kutcher) have a drunken fling in Vegas, wake up married and hating each other, then Jack wins $3 million. For the rest of the movie they fight and pratfall toward an ending we know is coming. Footage of Cary Grant’s and Katherine Hepburn’s tombstones would make a better romantic comedy than this or "Made of Honor."

May 16

‘Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’

Most of the crew and cast from the first Narnia are back, so expect the same quality. Narnia three and four are already planned.

May 23

‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’

Easily the most anticipated movie of the year. But you know what high expectations for summer movies usually leads to, right?

May 30

‘Sex and the City: The Movie’

Can anyone give me a good reason this movie was made?

June 6

‘You Don’t Mess with the Zohan’

Adam Sandler plays a Mossad agent who reinvents himself as a New York City hairstylist. I don’t care if Judd Apatow helped with the script, I’m still angry at Sandler over "Chuck & Larry," and the same guy who directed that stinking mess helms "Zohan."

‘Kung Fu Panda’

In Dreamworks Animation’s summer entry, a panda becomes a martial arts master. Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, and Dustin Hoffman top an outrageously loaded voice cast. Your kids will surely enjoy seeing an animated panda, but remember the cute and cuddly star will be kicking and punching other animals. Ah, American kids movies ...

June 13

‘The Incredible Hulk’

"Hulk" came out only five years ago, but this incarnation of Bruce Banner without his meds has a whole new crew and cast, including Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, and Robert Downey Jr. Expect bad dialogue but top notch action sequences.

‘The Happening’

M. Night Shyamalan directs his latest twist with a movie attached to the front of it.

June 20

‘Get Smart’

Update of the classic TV series, starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Alan Arkin. I’m optimistic about this one even though it has no chance of matching the original.

‘The Love Guru’

Pitka (Mike Myers) was born in America but raised ... somewhere vaguely mystical. He returns to America to become a self-help guru. This looks just awful.

June 27

‘WALL-E’

The latest from Pixar is about a robot with a heart. We’ll all see it and probably love it, so let’s not waste any more space here.

July 4

‘Hancock’

Action/comedy with Will Smith playing a superhero in need of an image makeover. Director Peter Berg has one success ("Friday Night Lights") and a handful of lousy movies, but hopefully Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman will give him a boost this time.

July 11

‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’

What can I say that the title doesn’t?

‘Meet Dave’

Eddie Murphy playing multiple roles in a Science Fiction movie. "Pluto Nash" meets "Norbit." Are you sold? Me neither.

July 18

‘The Dark Knight’

My favorite cast of the summer: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman and so many other great actors that I barely have room to mention that Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts, Cillian Murphy and Anthony Michael Hall also appear. Let’s hope this one can escape the pall of Ledger’s overdose.

‘Mamma Mia!’

Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski in a musical built around ABBA songs. I’m oddly excited about this.

July 25

‘Step Brothers’

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are adult men who behave like spoiled adolescents. Wait — I mean their characters are grown men who refuse to mature. Expect more of what you saw in "Talladega Nights."

‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’

The TV series is now just a cultural footnote, but I’m curious what a decade has done to the ’90s favorite nutjob (David Duchovny) and cynic (Gillian Anderson).

Aug. 1

‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’

This third Mummy movie is the last action hurrah of the summer. Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello lead the cast, but Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh lead an impressive supporting cast of martial artists who should ramp up the action.

Jeff Marker is a media studies professor at Gainesville State College.



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