In anticipation of the hottest season of the year – on the beach and in the theaters – we bring you our annual Summer Movie Preview, a guide to the hottest, and coolest, movies coming out!
A MIGHTY HEART
(Paramount Vantage) – June 22
Marianne Pearl's memoir of what happened when her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002. Angelina Jolie stars, Michael Winterbottom (2006's The Road to Guantanamo ) directs.
(Weinstein Company) – June 22
The latest in Stephen King adaptations, John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, a renowned, cynical horror novelist who finds bestselling success in proving the world's infamous haunted houses and graveyards to be bogus.
Enslin's phantom-free run of long and lonely nights, however, is about to change forever when he defies the warnings of the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson) and checks into suite 1408 of the notorious Dolphin Hotel for his latest project, Ten Nights in Haunted Hotel Rooms .
(DreamWorks) – July 4
Michael Bay-directed, Spielberg/Bay-produced, intergalactic war of the worlds. With robots. Robots that turn into cars. And trucks. And planes. Shia LaBeouf's in it.
(New Line) – July 20
It was a movie. Then it was a musical.
Now it's a movie again. But not just any movie: a John Travolta-in-drag movie.
Travolta plays Edna Turnblad, the big mother of a big girl with a big dream to be on the local TV dance show. Choreographer Adam Shankman fills – ahem, tries to fill – John Waters' shoes.
(20th Century Fox) – July 27
18-years-old, “The Simpsons” is finally moving out of its parents' house (television) to the big screen.
Twenty-three Emmys, more than $2.5 billion in revenue, fans in more than 70 countries; But can it handle Coke-spilled floors and squeaky chairs?
THE HOTTEST STATE
(THINKFilm) – Aug. 24
Ethan Hawke, also directing, penned the screenplay adaptation of his own novel, about young minds, young hearts and first love. Days before his 21st birthday, William (Mark Webber), an actor, meets and quickly falls madly in love with Sara (Catalina Sandino Moreno, Oscar-nominated for Maria Full of Grace ), a seductive yet elusive singer/songwriter.
The film follows William from a Lower East Side tenement to a Mexican hotel room to a snowbound weekend in Connecticut to a sweltering homecoming in his parents' (played by Hawke and Laura Linney) Texas home – all in the pursuit of Sara.
THE NANNY DIARIES
(Weinstein Company) – Sept. 7
A Bridget Jones for the Anne Hathaway set, this runaway bestseller should be a big box-office opener with Scarlett Johansson as the 21-year-old NYU student cum Park Avenue nanny to the family from hell, “the Xs.” Also starring Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti.
FEAST OF LOVE
(MGM) – Sept. 14
Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Radha Mitchell and Selma Blair star in this adaptation of the Charles Baxter novel of the same name, about a community of friends in Oregon, who explore the magical, mysterious and sometimes painful incarnations of love.
GONE, BABY, GONE
( Miramax) – Sept. 28
In his directorial debut, Ben Affleck adapts the Dennis ( Mystic River ) Lehane novel of the same title, about two detectives in search of a 4-year-old girl kidnapped in Dorchester, one of Boston's toughest neighborhoods.
Starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as the private eyes and Morgan Freeman as their Police Chief.
BIOPICS & HISTORICAL DRAMAS
LA VIE EN ROSE
(Picturehouse) – June 8
Biopic about France's “Little Sparrow,” Edith Piaf. The film follows Piaf's life from the slums of Paris to the limelight of New York, exploring her passionate relationships with the greatest names of the period – Yves Montand, Jean Cocteau, Marlene Dietrich, etc. – and showcasing her magical voice every step of the way.
(MGM) – July 4
The story of Dieter Dengler, the only American to ever break out of a POW camp in the impenetrable Laotian jungle. After months of plotting his getaway from a harrowing prison and a death-defying journey through some of the world's fiercest wilderness, Dengler appeared at his first press conference looking like a dashing movie star.
Masterfully directed by Werner Herzog (who knew the real Dengler) and starring Christian Bale, Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies, Rescue Dawn is a blistering action-adventure and stark epic of survival.
TALK TO ME
(Focus Features) – July 13
The real-life story of Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, an outspoken ex-con who talked his way into becoming an iconic radio personality in 1960s Washington, D.C. Openly courting controversy at a white-owned station, Petey's “tell it like it is” on-air style gave voice and spirit to the black community during America's Civil Rights era. Starring Don Cheadle.
(IDP) – July 20
The film is told through the eyes of Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgård), the celebrated Spanish painter whose works are best known for their brutal and colorful depictions of life during the Spanish Inquisition.
The drama unfolds as Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), an enigmatic member of the powerful Spanish clergy, becomes infatuated with Goya's beautiful teenage muse, Ines (Natalie Portman). The film marks the return of director Milos Forman, who won Academy Awards for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus .
THIS IS ENGLAND
(IFC) – July 25
The story of an 11-year-old boy who falls in with an older neo-Nazi gang after his father dies. Set in Uttoxer, England in the '80s, the film highlights the irony that the skinhead subculture was originally born out of a love of black reggae music, before the movement was hijacked by the National Front.
(Miramax) – Aug. 3
Set in the late 18th century, and starring Anne Hathaway, the film examines Jane Austen's early years and imagines how her romantic encounters with the modern, roguish young Irishman, Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), could have influenced the novels she wrote later.
THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD
(Warner Bros.) – Sept. 21
Also known as “Brad Pitt Makes A Western.” Pitt plays America's most notorious – and charismatic – outlaw, Jesse James, who has no one to trust but himself. Rounding out the cast is Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard and Mary-Louise Parker.
THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT
(THINKFilm) – June 1
In 1984, a young, white newspaper reporter, Deborah Sykes, was raped, sodomized and stabbed to death just blocks from where she worked in Winston-Salem, N.C. Based on an I.D. made by a former Klan member, a 19-year-old black man, Darryl Hunt, was charged.
No physical evidence linked Hunt to the crime, but he was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1994, DNA testing cleared Hunt, yet he would spend another 10 years behind bars. The film chronicles this capital case from 1984-2004.
GHOSTS OF CITÉ SOLEIL
(THINKFilm) – June 27
A powerful and unsettling documentary that takes us inside the lives of the notorious gang leaders who dominate the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil, a city the United Nations has declared the most dangerous place on Earth.
Set to a score by Wyclef Jean and filmed in the months leading up to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's overthrow in 2004, the film captures the smoldering tensions between two rival gang leaders (who happen to be brothers) and their soldiers, known in Haiti as chimères, or ghosts, and said to have been employed by Aristide to silence his opponents.
SHINE A LIGHT
(Paramount Vantage) – Sept. 14
Martin Scorsese's career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones.
(Fox Searchlight) – May 18
Featuring Glen Hansard and his band the Frames, Once is a modern-day musical set on the streets of Dublin. The film tells the story of an Irish street musician and a Czech immigrant who find love and respect for each other during a week of recording new music. It's awesome.
(Sony Classics) – May 25
Luc Besson directs this gorgeous-looking fairytale about a man, Andre (the stuttering fruit vendor from Amélie ), who gets a second chance in life when he meets Angela, a tall, femme fatale whom he saves from a suicide bid in the Seine. During their night together, Angela reveals she's Andre's guardian angel, sent from the skies above.
INTRODUCING THE DWIGHTS
(Warner Independent) – July 4
The story of Tim, a teenage boy who lives in a non-traditional household where the music is always on and his intellectually challenged brother Mark helps their mother Jean (Brenda Blethyn), who still thinks her star has got to rise someday, rehearse for shows. Her larger-than-life personality gets pushed offstage, however, when Tim gets a girlfriend.
(MGM) – Aug. 3
An eccentric teenager (Anton Yelchin) gains popularity by becoming the student supplier of prescription drugs. He avoids getting in trouble by helping the school superintendent (Robert Downey Jr.) patch up his relationship with his daughter.
(Weinstein Company) – Aug. 24
A romantic comedy about a misogynistic children's book writer (Billy Crudup) who is forced to collaborate with a young female illustrator (Mandy Moore) when his writing partner and only friend (Tom Wilkinson) dies.
(After Dark Films) – Aug. 31
An offbeat comedy set in a strange way station reserved for those who have committed suicide. Starring Patrick Fugit ( Almost Famous ), Tom Waits and Will Arnett.
(Universal) – June 1
Director Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen ( The 40-Year-Old Virgin ) team up again in this story of a loser who scores with a babe … and finds himself on an express train to Daddyville.
(Universal) – June 22
Steve Carell plays a modern-day Noah commanded by God to build an ark with a little help from the animal kingdom.
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY
(Universal) – July 20
Adam Sandler and Kevin James (“The King of Queens”) play two straight, single firemen from Brooklyn who register as domestic partners, pretending to be gay, to safeguard their pensions.
(Paramount) – Aug. 3
“SNL”'s Andy Samberg is self-proclaimed stuntman Rod Kimble. He gets no respect. But that's all gonna change.
He'll show them … just as soon as he clears 15 school buses in an attempt to raise money for his abusive stepfather Frank's life-saving operation. Yeah, man. Then they'll see.
(THINKFilm) – Aug. 3
Paul Rudd, Jessica Alba, Winona Ryder, Adam Brody, Rob Corddry, Liev Schreiber, Oliver Platt and others star in 10 vignettes, each one about an individual time-honored Commandment.
(Columbia) – Aug. 17
Two co-dependent high school seniors set aside a special night to try to buy alcohol in the hopes of getting laid before going off to college. Instead, their plans go awry, and they are forced to confront their separation anxiety.
GOOD LUCK CHUCK
(Lionsgate) – Aug. 24
Everyone wants to date Dane Cook. I'm talking about the movie here!
Cook plays Chuck, a lucky charm for girls. You go out with him, break up with him and – boom! – you're engaged to your dream husband.
THE BROTHERS SOLOMON
(Screen Gems) – Sept. 7
“SNL”'s Will Forte wrote and co-stars in this movie about two good-hearted but romantically challenged brothers (the other played by Will Arnett). Having spent their formative years being home-schooled by their father in a remote arctic location, they are now on a mission to find someone to have a baby with to fulfill their dying father's last wish for a grandchild.
BALLS OF FURY
(Rogue Pictures) – Sept. 14
The secret, underground society of highly competitive ping-pong tournaments. Christopher Walken is the evil crime lord who executes all the tournament losers.
(New Line) – Sept. 21
John Farley (Seann William Scott), author of a best-selling self-help book about letting go of the past, violates his own advice when he returns to his small hometown to receive the community's highest honor.
While there, John learns, to his horror, that his widowed mother (Susan Sarandon) is engaged to be married to none other than Mr. Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton), the gym teacher whose sadistic exploits were the bane of John's youth.
RUN, FAT BOY, RUN
(Picturehouse) – Sept. 28
In David Schwimmer's directorial debut, written by Michael Ian Black and set in London, Simon Pegg ( Hot Fuzz ) plays a charming but oblivious overweight guy who leaves his fiancée on their wedding day only to discover years later that he really loves her.
To win her back, he must finish his first marathon while making her realize that her new handsome, wealthy fiancé is the wrong guy for her.
SHREK THE THIRD
(DreamWorks) – May 18
Shrek and the gang (Princess Fiona, Donkey, Puss in Boots) are back this summer with their latest adventure: how to keep Shrek from becoming king. (I guess he doesn't want the responsibility.) Oh, and Fiona's knocked up, too.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END
(Buena Vista) – May 25
Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley team up with Geoffrey Rush's Captain Barbossa to free Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow. What's different this time?
Fat. Chow Yun-Fat. The team makes its way to exotic Singapore, where they must confront the cunning Chinese Pirate Sao Feng.
( Warner Bros.) – June 8
Yes, another one. Steven Soderbergh can't seem to get enough of these guys!
George Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt and Andy Garcia team up to bring down a hotel magnate who screwed them on a deal. Sounds … eh?
Well, here's a bone. With Al Pacino playing the villain, it'll be the first time Garcia and Pacino are onscreen together.
FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
(Fox) – June 15
Reed (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue (Jessica Alba), Johnny (Chris Evans) and Ben (Michael Chiklis) meet their greatest challenge when the Silver Surfer lands on Earth to prepare it for destruction. Marvel's first family of superheroes must also confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom.
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD
(Fox) – June 27
“No mask. No cape. No problem.” Damn, Bruce Willis is one bad mutha. Oops, I mean, John McClane.
It's been 12 years. Highly anticipated. 'Nuf said.
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
(Warner Bros.) – July 13
Potter is moody. It's that time of the … development cycle.
He's got a nearly debilitating crush, regular outbursts of rage and no idea when Lord Voldemort – newly revived, still evil – will strike.
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
(Universal) – Aug. 3
Same barrage of bullets, new generation of highly trained killers. In an attempt to discover his identity, Bourne hunts down his past through Moscow, Paris, Madrid, London, Tangier and New York City.
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH
(Warner Independent) – Sept. 21
Reflecting American doubts over the military's casualty reporting, prompted in recent weeks by the testimony, for instance, of Jessica Lynch and Kevin Tillman, Paul Haggis ( Crash , Million Dollar Baby ) directs this story of a retired Army veteran (Tommy Lee Jones) and his wife (Susan Sarandon) as they search for their soldier son, reported AWOL after returning from Iraq.
(Universal) – Sept. 28
A Michael Mann thriller about a team of U.S. counterterrorism investigators (Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman) out to uncover the perpetrators behind a deadly attack on Americans in the Middle East, only to find themselves the next terrorist target.