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Summer of Sequels 

Summer Movie Preview & r & & r & MAY & r & & r & SPIDER-MAN 3 * PG-13 * May 4


With what a fumbly, geeky little unassuming hero Peter Parker's been in installments one and two, hubris hasn't been a major problem. Reluctance, yes. Guilt, yes, but not hubris. When Spidey gets hit with a substance that makes him a lot stronger but also tons more aggressive, his attitude toward his powers begins to shift. Credit comic creator Stan Lee with writing the perfect way to get such a duty-bound scamp to experience power's most self-destructive trait: arrogance. Comics are often good cautionary tales. This one is potentially archetypal. If you're not into, like, art, go for the studio largess. Certain unconfirmed estimates for production and marketing have Spidey 3's budget topping half a billion. If true, that'd make it the most expensive film ever made (inflation or not). (LUKE BAUMGARTEN)





LUCKY YOU * PG-13 * May 4


Here is the entirety of IMDb plot summary: "A hotshot poker player tries to win a tournament in Vegas, but is fighting a losing battle with his personal problems."





What's missing? I'll tell you what's missing, the word "more" in hyperlink blue that takes you to the rest of the plot summary.





Oh, well, Eric Bana, who plays the gambler Huck Cheever, was excellent in Blackhawk Down and as Brad Pitt's nemesis, Hector, in Troy. And, the role of his dad, L.C. Cheever is played by Robert Duvall, who is in my pantheon of movie gods for his acting in Tender Mercies and The Great Santini.





Wanna bet Lucky You may be shallow on plot and deep on character? (KEVIN TAYLOR)





AWAY FROM HER * Not Rated * May 18


When Julie Christie's character realizes that her mind is deteriorating with Alzheimer's, she and her husband (Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent, The Shipping News) decide that she needs to institutionalize herself. But what does a man do when his wife starts slipping -- has slipped -- away from him?





The premise of director Sarah Polley's film may sound sentimental, but because it's based on an Alice Munro short story ("The Bear Came Over the Mountain"), Away From Her contains a surprising second-act twist involving characters portrayed by Michael Murphy and Olympia Dukakis. The word of mouth from September's Toronto International Film Festival, especially regarding Christie's performance, is strong. (MICHAEL BOWEN)





CAPTIVITY * R * May 18


During horror movies, people don't like to be confined. During the course of the movie Saw, a man even took a hacksaw to his own leg in order to escape a shackle. What depravity the prisoners in Captivity will have to sink to has yet to be determined, but the billboard that depicts a vulnerable Elisha Cuthbert as a model being tortured and terminated has already made people squirm -- in L.A., no less. (MD)





THE EX * PG-13 * May 18


Zach Braff (Scrubs) gets to do what he does best -- play a lovable goofball slacker, Tom. In The Ex, his rainmaking New York City lawyer wife, Sofia (Amanda Peet), decides to become a stay-at-home-mom. Luckily her dad (the hilariously deadpan Charles Grodin in his first film part in 13 years) will hire Tom at his firm -- in Ohio. That's where Sofia's ex (Jason Bateman of Arrested Development) works, and of course he gets to be Braff's boss and tormentor. (TED S. McGREGOR JR.)





SHREK THE THIRD * PG * May 18


Another damn sequel. The ogre (Mike Myers), the princess (Cameron Diaz), the donkey (Eddie Murphy), the cat (Antonio Banderas) ... and the rest return. The story tells what happens when the king (John Cleese) falls ill, and a search for a replacement is started -- and, of course, what's to be done when the nasty, full-of-himself Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) goes after the position. The big question, though, is do we really need both Regis Philbin and Larry King providing voices in this film? (ES)





PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END * PG-13 * May 25


Is there anybody out there who can't take a guess about the trilogy's grand conclusion? In POTC2, Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) and Will (Orlando Bloom) joined unlikely ally Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Now, they must call together the world's remaining pirates -- including the notorious Sao Feng (Chow-Yun Fat) -- to bring down their nemeses, Davey Jones (Bill Nighy) and Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), once and for all. (Or until the fourth installment.) One of the most buzzed-about films of the summer, POTC3 is going to be full of dreaded curses and plenty of swashbuckling, both silly and serious. Just like the first two. (ANN M. COLFORD)





JUNE & r & & r & MR. BROOKS * R * June 1


Kevin Costner appears to be an upstanding WASPy guy who -- cue the evil body double! -- secretly goes out and murders people in the guise of William Hurt. Damn WASPs, they never get their hands dirty doing anything.





But consider, Spokane, this movie played out right here in our streets (only the family man with the blood-soaked secret double life was blue-collar and lumpen) and it wasn't entertainment. It was horrible and sad. When will Hollywood get it? (KT)





KNOCKED UP * R * June 1


The fat, hairy oaf from The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Seth Rogen) has an unlikely, booze-fueled one-night stand with one of the knockout docs from Grey's Anatomy (Katherine Heigl). Eight weeks later, she calls with unpleasant news: a baby. The odd couple decide to give it a go. Whether Rogen can pull off a leading man is uncertain. He's directed by Judd Apatow (40-Year-Old, Talladega Nights, Anchorman) and joined by 40-Year-Old partner Paul Rudd ("you know how I know you're gay?"). Meaning it could be innovative and funny, or it could be a re-hash of the same old shtick. Which might not be all that bad. (JOEL SMITH)





HOSTEL: PART II * R * June 8


The first Hostel was a marvelous film, prompting arguments among filmgoers over whether the torture-filled tale was exploitative, satirical, obscene or if it even qualified as a work of art. Anything that generates that much serious discussion is, as far as I'm concerned, the very definition of a work of art, so my hopes are high for Hostel: Part II. Writer/director Eli Roth returns, with encouragement and blood money provided by producer Quentin Tarantino. Expect calm, cool cannibalism and some crazily screaming American girls. (MD)





OCEAN'S 13 * PG-13 * June 8


Boy, oh boy, have we not been waiting for this one. The two previous Ocean's movies have been fun -- and funny -- but not particularly clever heist films. More than serious cinema (even heist films can be serious), this is an opportunity for a visually exacting director to show off his technical chops and celebrity friends. Scorsese, after Casino, said shooting in a casino is about the hardest thing you can do. Soderbergh's done it three times now, just to prove he can. Sweet. (LB)





SURF'S UP * PG * June 8


It may not be a sequel to anything, but I feel certain there have been enough animated penguin movies to last us well into the next decade. In this one, with the Penguin World Surfing Championship at its center, a "documentary crew" goes behind the scenes of the event to check the movers and shakers and the birds who "invented the sport." With the voices of the great Jeff Bridges, the terrific James Woods, the intriguing Zooey Deschanel, the boring Jon Heder, and the mystifyingly, suddenly popular Shia LaBeouf, whose name I still don't know how to pronounce. (ES)





I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN * PG-13 * June 15


On paper, this doesn't compute as anything even mildly entertaining. But the trailer makes it look fresh and funny. I mean, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jon Lovitz as an ex-married couple? That's nutty! Thankfully, all the trailer gives away is that she's now interested in a younger guy (Paul Rudd), and her daughter has started to get interested in boys. What appears to be a casting coup is Tracey Ullman as Mother Nature -- who, as we all know, is not nice to fool. (ES)





NANCY DREW * PG * June 15


Director Andrew Fleming, who co-wrote the screenplay, brings everyone's favorite teen detective into the 21st century. Small-town Nancy (Emma Roberts) travels to L.A. with her father (Tate Donovan) and -- of course -- gets caught up in "one of the greatest unsolved cases of all time." Nancy's been updated from her 1930s pearls and twinsets -- she has a cell phone and she texts Ned Nickerson (Max Thieriot) and her new buddy Corky (Josh Flitter) -- but she's really just a mystery-solving nerd at heart. Turns out her retro style is hot, though, putting cool girl Jane Brighton (Rachael Leigh Cook) in her place. (AC)





DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE * PG-13 * June 22


The DOA videogames are all about young girls kickboxing each other (and the occasional epic dude). That's not an exaggeration or a dismissal -- it's just the aesthetic. There has always been a plotline woven among the boobs and fights, however -- usually one involving a world championship title fought for among an elite gang of well-endowed international fighters. Nothing suggests the movie will be any different, except that in a movie theater you have both hands free. (MD)





EVAN ALMIGHTY * PG * June 22


Jim Carrey wasn't interested in reprising his role as a wacky newscaster endowed by God (Morgan Freeman) with superhuman powers in Bruce Almighty. God doesn't look too far afield in his search for a successor, though, settling on Bruce's newsroom rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell), who's now become a congressman and whose God-given charge to build an ark has him (inexplicably) growing hair at an exponential rate and suffering the bafflement of his family and congressional colleagues, who believe he's lost his mind. With the ark-building, the requisite flooding and the scores of animals involved in shooting, the L.A. Times reports, Evan could be the most expensive comedy of all time. Judging by the bonehead slapstick humor in the trailer, it doesn't look like it's going to pay off. (JS)





LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD * Not Yet Rated * June 27


Just what we need -- another sequel. But, truth be told, I haven't yet been disappointed by any segment of this series. This time, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is up against a nationwide (or is it worldwide?) terrorist plot to disable the biggest and most powerful computer system imaginable. He's aided by a young hacker (Justin Long) who spends most of the film staring wide-eyed at Willis' veteran cop as he mows down anything in his way. The unreported but obviously humongous budget has enabled the filmmakers to up the quotient of flying bullets, fiery explosions and insane car stunts. (ES)





DEATH AT A FUNERAL * R * June 29


Perhaps best known as the voice of Yoda in all those Star Wars movies, Frank Oz is also an accomplished director (What About Bob?, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Now he's back for the first time in years with Death at a Funeral, a British black comedy about all the mayhem that ensues after a rich patriarch passes away... and his young, gay lover arrives to join in the grieving. Of course the kids visualize their trust funds going up in smoke, Anna Nicole Smith-style, so they hatch a hilarious plot, if Oz still has the touch. (TSM)





MAMA'S BOY * Not Yet Rated * June 29


Napoleon Dynamite enlists the help of some serious dramedy talent and the quasi-indie hip-generators at Warner Independent to maybe, perhaps, succeed in giving his career some credibility where Will Ferrell failed. Diane Keaton and Jeff Daniels co-star in a story about a 29-year-old who still lives at home. Charming.





Keaton's been on a slide (Because I Said So, y'all) but Daniels has been on an uptick, so who knows where this one's headed. Really, though, the onus for a career path change is on Heder. Post-Napoleon acceptance won't really come until he finds a new character he can play. (LB)





RATATOUILLE * Not Yet Rated * June 29


Used to be you had to wait 18 months or even two years for the next Pixar film, but this one's out just a year after Cars. This is director Brad Bird's second feature for Pixar (after The Incredibles), and Pixar's eighth. Expect to see Paris aglow in mega-pixels, as a humble rat dreams the impossible dream -- to be a chef in France's finest restaurant. After the aimed-at-parents nostalgia of their last two films, hopefully this one will be for kids, with slapstick comedy and goofy action. Still, for a film set in Paris, the vocal talents of Brad Garrett, Janeane Garafalo, Ian Holm and Peter O'Toole seem odd choices. (TSM)





YOU KILL ME * R * June 29


The cold precision of assassination for hire gets all pathos-y when an ex-hit man -- who gets out of the biz by taking a job at a mortuary -- meets the widow of one of his victims. Ben Kingsley is good; Tea Leoni is less so. (LB)





SICKO * Not Yet Rated * undetermined June release


If you transport ailing 9/11 victims to Cuba for treatment, are you grandstanding or are you demonstrating the benefits of socialized medicine? Michael Moore puts his oversized ego and self front and center in a documentary that hits the American medical system. Hard. Physician, heal thyself from the effects of ambush: You're about to have a mike stuck in your face. (MB)





JULY & r & & r & TRANSFORMERS * PG-13 * July 4


Oh how I loved the Transformers. They and Voltron were my favorites. Something about man and machine dueling it out against bad guys and evil machines. I still get verklempt thinking about it. For the feature, they went live-action -- a ballsy choice, given the number of truly horrible cartoon-to-live-action adaptations in the world -- and ultimately, I think, the correct one. Michael Bay directs. With luck, he'll be able at least to approach the emotional depth of the Saturday morning cartoon he's emulating. (LB)





1408 * Not Yet Rated * July 13


1408 is a movie about a hotel room, which makes it unique. It's also a movie based on something written by Stephen King, which makes it a far-from-unique thing in Hollywood. John Cusack stars as a paranormal investigator who checks into a supposedly haunted hotel room, then talks to... something on the telephone. Samuel L. Jackson gets a chance to be creepy and ominous as the hotel manager who doesn't want things to get bad. (MD)





HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX * PG-13 * July 13


The franchisists at Warner Brothers have made a bunch of odd but, so far, solid choices about who should direct the Potter series. First the Home Alone guy, then the Y Tu Mama Tambien guy, then the Donnie Brasco guy. Now, it's David Yates, the TV guy. He's directed one fabulous teleplay (The Girl in the Caf & eacute;). Other than that, though, dude's an unknown quantity helming a crucially important chapter in the saga. (LB)





THE STRANGERS * Not Yet Rated * July 13


When you're on vacation, you're relaxing. You don't worry about things like diets or e-mail, and the last thing you expect is for a group of insane killers to start terrorizing you in your vacation home. Alas, Liv Tyler must put up with that when she and her man go on vacation. Expect confusing, tense "Why me?" scenes in the beginning just before Tyler gets righteously angry and hauls herself to safety. (MD)





HAIRSPRAY * PG * July 20


Can a highly theatrical do-wop musical cartoon that combines silliness with serious messages about discrimination (racial and otherwise) make the transition to the big screen? It can if Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken and John Travolta have anything to shout about it.





The original Tracy Turnblad, Ricki Lake, has a cameo in the new version, with 18-year-old Nikki Blonsky, who's all of 4-foot-10, shimmying in the role now: Ricki to Nikki, two decades later. Meanwhile, consider that director Adam Shankman brought us Vin Diesel in The Pacifier -- fortunately, given that Hairspray is a dance-heavy show, his background is in choreography. (MB)





I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY * PG-13 * July 20


When New York firefighter and single dad Larry (Kevin James) can't see how he'll be able to get the benefits he needs to keep custody of his kids, he does what anyone would do -- he marries his best friend Chuck (Adam Sandler) to get domestic partner benefits. Making light of a serious subject like gay marriage can be tricky territory, but when handled with care, we can all benefit. Rather than have some kind of idiotic "national discussion," we can laugh and maybe learn something. Sprinkle in some nice cameos (Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd), and you've got the makings of the summer's funniest movie. (TSM)





DUNGEON SIEGE * Not Yet Rated * July 27


Things are getting thin in the storymill of Hollywood if this already-clich & eacute;d videogame story is going to support a movie. The game used the "monsters attack your farm -- pick up a pitchfork and fight" premise to get players involved, but the movie will require a little more subtlety, provided in the form of Jason Statham (The Transporter) as "Farmer" and John Rhys-Davies (Gimli from Lord of the Rings!), Ray Liotta, and Burt Reynolds as the king. The film, which has the full title of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, is directed by Uwe Boll, who has made a career of directing mediocre (and less-than-mediocre) videogame adaptations. (MD)





SKINWALKERS * Rated R * July 27


Skinwalkers wins the contest for creepiest horror title of the summer, though it's not immediately obvious that this is a werewolf film. The skinwalkers (taking their name from Navajo demons) of the title are shape-shifters who eat human flesh, lending a suitably gruesome supporting cast to a film in which two warring groups fight over a prophetic 13-year-old boy. Director James Isaac is a veteran of working with creepmaster David Cronenberg, but his last attempt at proving his own chops was the unwatchable Friday the 13th sequel Jason X. (Unwatchable, that is, except for Cronenberg's cameo.) (MD)





THE SIMPSONS * Not Yet Rated * July 27


It's gotta be nice to have a franchise so big you can create a single trailer that shows absolutely nothing, put it in theaters 15 months before a film's release (and on April Fool's Day!), go completely silent for a year, and still have people salivating.





Of course, the show's writers haven't exactly been doing good by their large and rabid fan base. Still, the film seems to have a big scope (nuclear war, y'all), so let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the show has sucked lately because they've been saving like six seasons' worth of good jokes for this film. (LB)





NO RESERVATIONS * PG * July 27


Stomping around a high-pressure, upscale restaurant kitchen, Catherine Zeta-Jones is too busy with reductions and glazes to really notice that she's just taken on little Amber Breslin as her ward. Plus she has to deal with Aaron Eckhart's arrogant sous-chef. Let's hope they don't overcook this remake of Mostly Martha. (MB)





AUGUST & r & & r & THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM * PG-13 * August 3


What do you do for a (presumably) concluding chapter when you've stripped your hero of his memory in the first installment, then murdered his sexily mannish German girlfriend in the second? You give him his memory back and get him final, cathartic revenge. This has been one of the better action series in recent memory. Hope the director of the second film and the screenwriter from the first can hold it together. (LB)





CHARLIE BARTLETT * R * August 3


Antonin Yelchin, whom you lu-hu-huve as the mop-headed shrink's kid in Hutch, is becoming a shrink himself. Or at least playing one in the school bathroom. Charlie, like many precocious millionaire children, has a hard time not getting expelled from school. After he exhausts all the private institutions in his area, he winds up at the local poor kid factory: public school. There, he finds he has a real knack for helping people with their problems... and their prescription drug needs. Hope Davis and Robert Downey Jr. also star. (LB)





HOT ROD * Not Yet Rated * August 3


The kid who gave Saturday Night Live "Dick in the Box" and other digital shorts now gets his own feature. Supported by Isla Fisher, Ian McShane and SNL cohorts Bill Hader and Chris "Every Character's the Same" Parnell, Andy Samberg stars as a bumbling, self-proclaimed stunt man who jumps 15 buses to raise money for a life-saving heart operation for his abusive stepfather -- whose ass Samberg intends to kick upon recovery. Could be feeble, but odds go to anybody who can weave comedy gold from a gift-wrapped johnson. (JS)





BECOMING JANE * PG * August 10


Back in the 1790s in England, before Jane Austen was a published author, she was a 20-year-old woman who dallied romantically with dashing Irishman Tom Lefroy. Many have suggested that their relationship became the model for the romances depicted in her fiction. Here, American actress Anne Hathaway (last seen as Meryl Streep's hapless assistant in The Devil Wears Prada) plays Jane to James McAvoy's Lefroy in a Pride and Prejudice-style treatment of the author's own life. (AC)





DADDY DAY CAMP * PG * August 10


Oh, man, not another sequel. This is more like the sequel that wasn't supposed to be. First there was Daddy Day Care, in which Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin started a daycare center. The film made so much money, another was ordered right away. Garlin was thrilled; Murphy was not; Murphy dropped out; the script was scrapped; Garlin was gotten rid of. Now we've got Cuba Gooding Jr. in the Murphy part, and Paul Rae (who?) in the Garlin part. The title says it all, except for this: This marks the feature directorial debut of Fred Savage (The Wonder Years; he's 30 now). Sounds like it's still not meant to be. (ES)





RUSH HOUR 3 * Not Yet Rated * August 10


You guessed it: another sequel. Too bad there was nothing very funny amid the action of the first two to merit this action "comedy." Jackie Chan's Inspector Lee is having a bad time of protecting a Chinese ambassador when recently demoted detective Chris Tucker -- now a traffic cop -- tries to get back with his partner to help out. He of course gets in the way. The film features such antics as the two heroes trying to fight off an 8-foot Chinese bad guy. Like I said, nothing very funny. With guest appearances by Max von Sydow and Roman Polanski, slumming. (ES)





STARDUST * PG-13 * August 10


A rural peasant boy chases after a falling star and catches the comely Claire Danes. Not bad for a day's work. But in order to get to Ground Zero, homeboy had to hop a forbidden fence that leaves him in most unfamiliar territory. A fantasy about coming home again (with hot new friends), Stardust has wicked witches, air pirates (in dope Final Fantasy-style dirigibles), Robert De Niro and, by the looks of it, enough whimsy for, like, three Terry Gilliam films. (LB)





FANBOYS * Not Yet Rated * August 17


After losing Miramax, the Weinsteins launched the Weinstein Co. So far, they've flailed badly, even with the seemingly surefire Grindhouse. And it's hard to see how Fanboys will right the ship. It's about a group of Star Wars superfans whose friend has been diagnosed with cancer; he's not expected to live to see the May 1999 release of Episode I. So they pack up the gang and head out to California, where they plan to break into George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch to commandeer a copy to preview. This could be funny if they make merciless fun of the whole fan scene, but that would offend said fans, who would seem to be the target audience. At least they had the brains to include a scene in which our boys meet a pack of rabid Trekkies. Set your phasers on "Get a Life." (TSM)





THE INVASION * Not Yet Rated * August 17


Nicole Kidman is starring in a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which could mean that blonde-bombshell horror heroines are about to make a comeback. She's joined in this update by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, playing a colleague who helps Kidman defend the earth from the alien menace. Despite the promising cast and premise, the studio didn't like the first version of the film, and hired The Matrix creators Andy and Larry Wachowski for rewrites. (MD)





GOOD LUCK CHUCK * Not Yet Rated * August 24


Every woman Dane Cook sleeps with finds her true love right after him. The phenomenon has love-hungry women flocking to him -- a fact he enjoys until he meets a girl (Jessica Alba) he actually wants to hang onto. Thus, it turns into a frat-ish, Cook-ian version of Josh Hartnett's 40 Days and 40 Nights, as he tries to resist Alba's endless come-ons, in the name of love. Fat jokes, sex jokes and fatty sex jokes ensue. (JS)





THE LAST LEGION * PG-13 * August 24


The Goths have overrun Rome. (Sense any terrorist parallels?) The young emperor-in-waiting flees to Britain to find a cadre of loyal supporters known as... [cue title sequence]. Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones' Diary), Kevin McKidd (Trainspotting), Aishwarya Rai (Bollywood's superstar, trying to pout and pillage like Angelina Jolie) and Ben Kingsley (that's Sir Ben Kingsley to you) do a lot of grunting in a sword-and-sandals epic that's trying to cash in on Alexander and Troy mania but looks likely to fall short. A Dino De Laurentiis Company production filmed in Italy and Slovakia. (MB)





HALLOWEEN (2007) * Not Yet Rated * August 31


Why remake a classic? Because Rob Zombie is willing to direct it, that's why. Even though he made his early reputation with a band (White Zombie), his forays into film have already earned him serious respect from horror fans. House of 1000 Corpses was a fun, formulaic slasher film, but the sequel, The Devil's Rejects, showed that Zombie could work with characters and cinematic style. (He particularly favors enigmatic psychos and dramatic freeze-frames.) John Carpenter, the creator of the legendary original Halloween, wrote the remake's screenplay and hand-picked Zombie, so things are OK in the credibility department. The only hitch? Relative newcomer Scout Taylor-Compton takes over the Jamie Lee Curtis role. At least she has the right number of names.... (MD)





MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY * PG * August 31


Ten years after the original feature, 52-year-old Rowan Atkinson is back as the clueless, bumbling Mr. Bean, this time stumbling from Paris to southern France on his way to an idyllic vacation on the beach. Along the way, he gets his tie stuck in a vending machine, accidentally kidnaps a film director's child, outpaces cyclists on the Tour de France, disrupts the Cannes Film Festival and learns how not to eat seafood -- all without more than a handful of lines. (JS)





DATE UNCERTAIN & r & & r & HOME OF THE BRAVE * R * May 11


Spokane's own North by Northwest's production of the back-from-Iraq war story has had plenty of drama behind it. After a December release in New York and L.A., a national run was scrubbed. Usually that means the film gets a recut. Now it's expected to open May 11 -- but even that could change. Despite the rocky start, the film has top-notch credentials -- Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Christine Ricci and 50 Cent are the stars, while Hollywood veteran Irwin Winkler directs. Heck, even Sheryl Crow sings the theme song, "Try Not to Remember." For locals, it will be fun to watch actors famous to us, like Nike Imoru, Wes Deitrick, Jhon Goodwin and Joyce Cameron chew up some Spokane scenery at the Spokane Valley Mall, Deaconess, Anthony's restaurant and the Dutch Bros. coffee shop on Second Avenue. The story is topical, too, as post-traumatic stress disorder related to the war in Iraq is just getting recognized in the mainstream media. (TSM)





CUT SLEEVE BOYS * Not Rated * June release


Two gay men of Chinese ancestry living in London take different paths to find true love, with a subtext of comic desperation following the death of a friend. Ash (Chowee Leow) goes online, searching transvestite sites, while the more studly Mel (Steven Lim) aims for an open relationship. Reviews from the U.K. say it's light and trite but explores a rarely portrayed subculture. (AC)





THE GOLDEN DOOR * PG-13 * June 22


Sometimes romance erupts, even amid sweaty immigrants cooped up aboard a transatlantic ship and then in quarantine at Ellis Island. The Golden Door -- in its Italian release, known as Nuovomundo -- recounts an affair between a Sicilian peasant (Vincenzo Amato) and a proper British lass (Charlotte Gainsbourg). But their fate lies in the hands of unfeeling customs officials. Mixed reviews so far, with praise for the Italian cinematography but disdain for the stereotyped characterizations and situations once we get across the pond. (MB)





RESCUE DAWN * Not Rated * July 4, limited release


For an artist who has made a career exploring obsession, existentialism and madness, the really surprising thing is that it took Werner Herzog this long to make a war film.





Christian Bale does it again, losing 55 pounds to play an ethereal fighter pilot/POW (based on the true story of Dieter Dengler, subject of a 1997 Herzog documentary) who is shot down in the secret war in Laos, tortured, and then leads a doomed escape into the jungle, Herzog loves to have his characters go mad in the jungle (Aguirre: Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo). This is the first time Herzog (Grizzly Man) has a Hollywood budget and actual stars in Bale, Steve Zahn (Shattered Glass, Sahara) and Jeremy Davies (the terrified soldier from Saving Private Ryan). So of course now there's a huge catfight brewing between Herzog acolytes who fear Hollywood will corrupt his genius, and Hollywood people who think Herzog's genius will screw up a simple "action vehicle." Look, if it's Werner Herzog and a jungle.... (KT)





ELEVEN MEN OUT (STRAKAMIR OKKAR) * Not Rated * July, limited release


I've seen one other Icelandic film: Reykjavik 101, a gut-buster that also had a homosexual theme in which a boy gets the hots for a girl who turns out to be his mom's... but I don't want to give anything away. This one, where Iceland's star footballer reveals he's gay during a magazine interview... well, one reviewer says this: "No amount of penises can save this wannabe comedy that is just not funny." (KT)

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    Spokane joins national protests over the failure to indict white officers for killing black civilians
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
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