Cover Story: The Mondo Summer Movie List

CityBeat's annual scorecard of all the celluloid happenings

 
Planet of the Apes



May
A Knight's Tale: Rock & Roll and jousting. Welcome to the land of summer films. (May 11)

The Boy: Heath Ledger, fresh off The Patriot, must step into leading man shoes quickly.

The Buzz: Audiences are torn about the Classic Rock treatment, but no one is saying it's boring.

The Biz: Oddly enough, this film is directed by Brian Helgeland, who wrote L.A. Confidential.

Shrek: A fractured fairy tale where all the shiny, happy characters get banished from the magic kingdom. (May 18)

The Boy: Mike Myers gives voice to his inner ogre.

The Buzz: Expect Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow also to bend your ear.

The Biz: Yes, the movie takes a few shots at the mouse house, but there's still a good message and a musical duet. Gee, thanks.

Pearl Harbor: The "Greatest Generation" gets the digitized treatment in the biggest war story ever told. (May 25)

The Boy: A movie so big it needs dueling hunks, Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett, to fight for the girl.

The Buzz: Spectacle squashes director Michael Bay's attempt to squeeze a romance between the action.

The Biz: Opening-day grosses will determine the fate of producer Jerry Bruckheimer's day of infamy.


June
What's the Worst That Could Happen?: Billionaire Danny DeVito turns the tables on thief Martin Lawrence. (June 1)

The Boy: Lawrence wants the same box-office love he felt with last summer's Big Momma's House.

The Buzz: A stalled initial production and several release date changes dampens expectations over director Sam Weisman's crime comedy.

The Biz: The worst thing that can happen is Lawrence won't be able to duplicate the unexpected success of Momma.

Moulin Rouge: The visionary talent who brought us William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet helms an old-school musical with a New Age twist. (June 1)

The Boy: Yes, that is Obi-Wan Kenobi, aka Ewan McGregor, singing. Better bring the kids.

The Buzz: This has to be the strangest film this summer season.

The Biz: Hollywood waits to see if the musical is indeed dead.

Evolution: This story of alien spores supposedly went from sci-fi horror to a humorous hybrid thanks to Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters). (June 8)

The Boy: David Duchovny hopes to jump to the A-list.

The Buzz: Expect Evolution co-star Julianne Moore to replace X-Filer Dana Scully while she's out on maternity leave.

The Biz: It's not really like Men in Black or Ghostbusters or the X-Files. So what is it?

Swordfish: A criminal mastermind (John Travolta) coerces a computer hacker (Hugh Jackman) to help him steal $6 billion in unused government funds. (June 8)

The Boy: Travolta returns to his Face/Off and Broken Arrow ways as a hammy baddie.

The Buzz: A stellar supporting cast (Jackman, Halle Berry and Don Cheadle) aims to make an atypical thriller.

The Biz: Travolta hopes to pull his career back together after the abysmal Battlefield Earth.

Tomb Raider: Popular computer game finds flesh-and-blood life on the big screen. (June 15)

The Boy: Angelina Jolie plays a hardball adventurer, Lara Croft. Don't let the playboy curves fool you. Croft is as tough as any guy.

The Buzz: Jolie says she was born to play a blockbuster hero.

The Biz: Paramount wants Tomb Raider to become its version of a James Bond franchise.

Atlantis: What if the lost civilization was found, and it was thriving? (June 15)

The Boy: The voice of Michael J. Fox. He'll always be a boy in our eyes.

The Buzz: Looks eerily like Heavy Metal in the commercials. Made by the Beauty and the Beast creative team.

The Biz: Disney's summer offering doesn't appear to have the cute, furry qualities of its predecessors. Might mean it's good.

The Fast And The Furious: The world of street drag racing gets a whole new set of rebels, but they're still without a cause. (June 22)

The Boy: Vin Diesel supplies the fuel.

The Buzz: Somebody's making a feeble attempt to pitch the film as a breakout for Paul Walker.

The Biz: If this film is a success, expect Diesel to earn some big paydays.

Dr. Dolittle 2: More adventures from Eddie Murphy's animal-talking doctor. (June 15)

The Boy: Murphy is hilarious as an animated donkey in Shrek. Let's see if he can make people laugh without cartoon magic.

The Buzz: Today's Dolittle audiences have never heard of the Rex Harrison musical.

The Biz: Murphy continues to push his trademark sass in a family-friendly direction.

Baby Boy: This companion piece to Boyz N the Hood takes audiences back to the tough streets of South Central, Los Angeles. (June 29)

The Boy: Writer/director John Singleton returns to personal filmmaking with this urban family drama.

The Buzz: A nude scene featuring Ving Rhames?

The Biz: After a big debut with Boyz, Singleton fizzled at the box-office until last summer's Shaft. A breakout with Baby Boy keeps his career on the upswing.

A.I.: As in "Artificial Intelligence." Directed by Steven Spielberg. No one knows more than that. (June 29)

The Boy: It-Kid Haley Joel Osment continues to steal every good part for young actors in Hollywood.

The Buzz: No one does sci-fi fantasy better than Spielberg. Comparisons to E.T. are already being made.

The Biz: The project began inside the mind of the late, great Stanley Kubrick.

Crazy/Beautiful: A Hispanic Romeo gets wooed by Kirsten Dunst's Juliet. (June 29)

The Boy: Forget The Boy. This is all about our girl, Kirsten.

The Buzz: This is being marketed as a serious teen drama, so don't look for Freddie Prinze, Jr.

The Biz: Dunst seems on course to make a very smooth transition to more mature roles. You go, girl!


July
Cats & Dogs: Pets take to action after their human owners leave for work. (July 4)

The Boy: Angsty guy Jeff Goldblum knows what it's like to play second-fiddle to special effects.

The Buzz: Live action, animatronics and computer-generated special effects are mixed into a popcorn froth.

The Biz: The effects are the real draw in this high-concept adventure.

Scary Movie 2: Clueless teens visit a haunted house and experience the expected pop culture parodies and gross-out humor. (July 4)

The Boy: Damon Wayans joins his brothers for more off-color hi-jinks.

The Buzz: Marlon Brando reportedly accepted $2 million for a cameo role, but may have been too ill to collect it.

The Biz: Scary 2 needs to surpass its predecessor's $157 million gross or end up being labeled as an under-performing sequel.

Kiss of the Dragon: A Chinese intelligence officer (Jet Li) becomes entangled in a deadly conspiracy while on assignment in Paris. (July 6)

Boy: Li once again shows off his high-flying action skills.

Buzz: The script was co-written by Luc Besson, the man behind Le Femme Nikita and The Professional.

Biz: Will Li's American profile continue to grow or will we kiss him good-bye?

Final Fantasy: Big step for the movie biz. This is the first virtual reality film that looks virtually real. (July 11)

The Boy: Animated heroine Dr. Aki will have boys talking all summer.

The Buzz: Here's hoping they saved a little animation money for the script.

The Biz: This film should renew the debate of whether human actors will be necessary in the future.

The Score: A generational clash unfolds in the criminal world. (July 13)

The Boy: Edward Norton more than expects to hold his own against the two Vitos, Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando.

The Buzz: Word is Norton hitched on to see his name on the posters alongside De Niro and Brando.

The Biz: Guess he knew we'd be curious about it, too.

Legally Blonde: A Southern California sorority girl (Reese Witherspoon) follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard in an attempt to win him back. (July 13)

The Boy: First-time director Robert Luketic tries his hand at a feature after the success of his Sundance short, Titsiana Booberini.

The Buzz: Is Reese really a true blonde?

The Biz: Like Erin Brockovich, Legally Blonde aims to prove that beautiful babes also have brains.

Jurassic Park III: How long did you think the dinos would stay dead? (July 18)

The Boy: A new-to-us dinosaur, Spinosaurus. Apparently the young tike takes on T-Rex.

The Buzz: Seems the franchise is erasing all kid-friendly shenanigans for a full-fledged monster movie.

The Biz: Word is, Spielberg is associated with this film only by name. That can't be good.

America's Sweethearts: Husband-and-wife actors (John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones) come to blows during a press junket. Julia Roberts is the wife's sister who watches it all happen. (June 20)

The Boy: Cusack works his boyish charms on Zeta-Jones and Roberts.

The Buzz: A show-biz comedy sounds perfect for today's celebrity-obsessed culture.

The Biz: Joe Roth makes his directorial debut after stepping down as the motion picture head at Disney.

Planet of the Apes: The classic sci-fi film gets re-imagined courtesy of Tim Burton. (July 27)

The Boy: Will we go ape for Mark Wahlberg?

The Buzz: This is not your father's Planet, although Charlton Heston has a cameo in simian drag.

The Biz: Batman and Sleepy Hollow were dry runs for Burton's unique imagination.

August
Rush Hour II: More Kung-fu antics from dueling detectives Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. (Aug. 3)

The Boy: Sassy Tucker looks to build his comic profile.

The Buzz: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi adds an exotic boost.

The Biz: Another hit would catapult Chan and Tucker into marquee status.

Original Sin: Angelina Jolie plays a mail-order bride in a film with the word "sin" in the title. Put me down for two tickets! (Aug. 3)

The Boy: Relax, ladies. Antonio Banderas is given plenty of time to smolder as Jolie's husband.

The Buzz: But Jolie smolders, too!

The Biz: While she's still on the radar as Lara Croft, can Angelina open a second summer film?

Curse of the Jade Scorpion: Woody Allen's yearly release is this time a romantic comedy mystery set in 1940. (Aug. 10)

The Boy: Can Woody even remember when he was a boy?

The Buzz: Expect highbrow hi-jinks from David Ogden Steirs and Helen Hunt and the nebbish routine from our favorite neurotic.

The Biz: Is Dreamworks the studio where Woody can be Woody?

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: Filmmaker Kevin Smith's long-time comic character Silent Bob finally gets star treatment. (Aug. 10)

The Boy: Smith aims to take his both-sides-of-the-camera antics up a notch.

The Buzz: Irreverent humor and comic-book-influenced storytelling remain Smith's trademarks.

The Biz: In the movie, Silent Bob is upset over someone making a movie about his life without paying royalties. Consider this Smith's way of poking the Hollywood system.

Osmosis Jones: Chris Rock and David Hyde Pierce provide the voices of a white blood cell and a cold tablet fighting off viruses inside the body of their construction worker host (Bill Murray). (Aug. 10)

The Boy(s): The Farrelly brothers return with a mix of live-action and animation.

The Buzz: Look for more patented Farrelly gags, including one with a 10-foot-by-10-foot pimple.

The Biz: Will Rock bring the Farrellys another box-office win?

American Pie 2: The randy lads are back, exactly one year later. (Aug. 10)

The Boy: Jason Biggs again leads the new brat pack.

The Buzz: Does a comedy sequel ever deserve this much secrecy and hoopla?

The Biz: Too many of these young actors were just getting past their American Pie association. Doing this sequel doesn't help their street cred.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin: A World War II love story set on a Greek Island during the Italian army's invasion. (Aug. 17)

The Boy: Nic Cage hopes to last a little longer than 60 seconds with Penelope Cruz.

The Buzz: Will Cruz bring love to this man's war and finally earn her It-Girl status in Hollywood?

The Biz: Cage gets to mix his more recent genre favorites (drama and action) in an upscale project. Am I the only one who misses his quirkier side?

Rollerball: A remake of the 1975 actioner brings back the futuristic sport that combines football with roller derby. (Aug. 17)

The Boy: This time, Chris Klein gets to wear James Caan's rollerskates.

The Buzz: Action director John McTiernan looks to prove that a movie sequel can be better than the lackluster original.

The Biz: Hollywood is in desperate need of new ideas.

Knockaround Guys: Four sons of a Brooklyn mob family team up to retrieve a misplaced bag of cash in a small Montana town ruled by a corrupt sheriff. (Aug. 31)

The Boy(s): Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper play nice with veterans John Malkovich and Dennis Hopper.

The Buzz: It's written and directed by the same duo (Brian Koppelman and David Levien) who penned the under-appreciated Rounders.

The Biz: Can a relatively small crime film find an audience amidst the behemoths of summer?

Other Notables: Rob Schneider's doofus life is changed by an operation using transplant animal parts in Animal (June 1). Sundance documentary Startup.com (June 15) follows the rise and fall of one Internet company. Actress Sarah Wynter plays Alma Mahler in the turn-of-the-century drama Bride of the Wind (June 8). Jennifer Jason Leigh co-directs/co-writes and co-stars in the drama The Anniversary Party (June 8) with her Cabaret colleague Alan Cumming. Ben Kingsley plays a ruthless gangster in Sexy Beast (June 13). John Cameron Mitchell hopes to continue his Sundance magic with the film adaptation of his Off Broadway hit, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (July 20). A cast of pretty young things are haunted by ghosts in the thriller, Soul Survivors (Aug. 24). Mariah Carey plays a superstar singer — much like Mariah Carey — in the musical drama All That Glitters (Aug. 31). and Gary Marshall directs Julie Andrews in a comic tale about an American teen-ager who discovers she's royalty in The Princess Diaries (Aug. 3).

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