By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
DIRECTOR: Keenen Ivory Wayans
WRITERS: Assorted Wayanses and friends
PREMISE: African-American FBI officers go undercover as, essentially, the Hilton sisters.
OUTLOOK: Since blondes and black men absolutely never fraternize in American society, this movie should build the vital bridges of tolerance and understanding. Ha. Whatever. At least someone's finally making a joke out of that damned annoying Vanessa Carlton song.
DIRECTOR: Adam McKay
WRITERS: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
PREMISE: Will Ferrell mugs a lot as a sexist San Diego newscaster in 1973.
OUTLOOK: The trailer suggests easy summer retro laughs with no surprises whatsoever.
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater
WRITERS: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
PREMISE: The romantic Yank and Frog from the 1995 film Before Sunrise reunite nine years later.
OUTLOOK: From Slacker to School of Rock, Linklater throws his heart into his work. This quickie sequel (shot in fifteen days) may deliver the same offhand charm and believable characters as its predecessor. This time Hawke pretends that he's an author -- an obvious case of art reflecting life.
DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass
PREMISE: This time Jason Bourne (or whatever his name is) must clear his name following brutal assassinations.
OUTLOOK: The first one proved a pleasant surprise, and this sequel promises lots of dark intrigue all over Germany, Russia and India. In particular, the work of Greengrass holds appeal, as his documentary-style Northern Ireland riot reenactment Bloody Sunday was truly stunning. Production here was apparently rushed, but whatever its flaws, at least it don't feature no Affleck.
PREMISE: Jettisoning the Batman connection altogether, Halle Berry dons a Mouseketeer-meets-Matrix stripper outfit as Patience Philips, a graphic designer who gains some kind of super cat-powers.
OUTLOOK: Had this film come out in 1993, starred Michelle Pfeiffer, and been directed by Tim Burton, we'd be talking mega-hit. As is, Halle's costume looks stupid (can't wait for the inevitable drag-queen version, though), the trailer's lame (she likes sushi!), and Mattel recently canceled plans for a Barbie tie-in. Expect Gigli comparisons before the year is out, as well as endless puns like "Cat-astrophe." Sadly, this will probably cancel out any chance of the real Catwoman character appearing in the new Christian Bale Batman franchise.
DIRECTOR: Danny Leiner (Dude, Where's My Car?)
PREMISE: Stoner Indian student and stoner Korean student quest for burgers.
OUTLOOK: Sometimes the title says enough.
STARRING: Will Smith and some robots
DIRECTOR: Alex Proyas
PREMISE: Smith plays a detective investigating a crime that may be the first-ever murder of a human by a robot. Because, y'know, according to Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics, the metal guys aren't supposed to do that.
OUTLOOK: Apparently the screenplay bears very little resemblance to Asimov's book, and the teaser trailer has been laughed at by fanboy types online, mostly because the CG robots aren't very convincing. But there's hope: First of all, the CG is far from finished at this stage. And second, while not all of Proyas's films have been hits (Dark City and Garage Days failed to make Crow-level dough), they're always interesting to look at.
DIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua
PREMISE: Supposed to be a more historically accurate, fantasy-free look at the legendary king of England, though Keira Knightley's tribal-tattooed warrior Guinevere looks more like a contemporary fantasy than anything else.
OUTLOOK: There's a basic rule for Jerry Bruckheimer-produced actioners: The PG-13 rated ones usually suck, and the R-rated ones smash stuff up real good (King Arthur's rating is pending). Pirates of the Caribbean was a major exception, though, and with Disney and Knightley back on board, this could duplicate last year's formula for success.
PREMISE: John Frankenheimer's Cold War suspense film gets an update, with Washington stepping in for Frank Sinatra and Streep for Angela Lansbury. The actual region of Asia referenced by the title is no longer part of the story; this time it's a big company called the Manchurian Corporation that plans to install a puppet president (Schreiber) mentally programmed to do their evil bidding.
OUTLOOK: A president who automatically does whatever a big corporation tells him to do? Isn't that a little farfetched?