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July movies, July films

Bullz-Eye Summer Movie Preview: July
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JULY: A Month to Follow June

July’s not such a bad month. After all, it starts with the celebration of our independence from England, and that’s cool. It’s just, well, that most of the good movies have come out by now. Will Smith made his career out of movies that opened on Fourth of July weekend, but since the “Men In Black” sequel, that slot has lost significant luster. Look at the movies coming out this year, and you’ll see what we mean.

Undead (Lions Gate)
Actors: Felicity Mason, Mungo McKay, Rob Jenkins, Lisa Cunningham
Director: Michael & Peter Spierig
Rating: R
Opens: July 1

The Pitch: A meteorite storm in Australia unleashes an army of flesh eating undead.
The Buzz: The trailer is apparently very misleading. They made the movie look like “28 Days Later” or “Dawn of the Dead.” In truth, it’s more like “Shaun of the Dead,” with deliberately corny dialogue and humor. Unless they re-edit the trailer, they’re going to have a lot of pissed off moviegoers on their hands.
Trailer Highlight: The cheesecake shot of the babe taking off her shirt in the truck.
Bottom Line: Keep your expectations low and hope for the best.
Official Web Site: www.undeadmovie.com

Rebound (20th Century Fox)
Actors: Martin Lawrence, Megan Mullally, Breckin Meyer, Horatio Sanz, Patrick Warburton
Director: Steve Carr
Rating: PG
Opens: July 1

The Pitch: A college basketball coach gets bounced for his nasty temper, and is reduced to coaching a group of middle school rejects.
The Buzz: Martin Lawrence movies are generally lame, but this one actually looks promising. That said, why isn’t it opening during basketball season?
Trailer Highlight: The girl player. She scares the daylights out of us.
Bottom Line: Worse movies have been made for the sake of entertaining kids.
Official Web Site: www.reboundthemovie.com

Dark Water (Buena Vista)
Actors: Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Ariel Gade, Pete Postlethwaite, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott
Director: Walter Salles
Rating: PG-13
Opens: July 8

The Pitch: A woman (Connelly) fighting a custody battle shacks up in a run-down apartment building. Troubling events ensue, making her question her sanity.
The Buzz: This is another remake of a Japanese horror movie, and the original was supposedly even scarier than the original “Ring.” Getting the director of “The Station Agent” was smart, since he’ll put the story first. This is in a position to clean up before August’s Four Weeks of Terror begins, though we wish the trailer were a little creepier.
Trailer Highlight: Daughter Ceci fighting against the movement of her paintbrush like she’s using a Ouija board.
Bottom Line: Flat trailer aside, we have high hopes for this one.
Official Web Site: www.touchstone.movies.go.com

Fantastic Four (20th Century Fox)
Actors: Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Kerry Washington
Director: Tim Story
Rating: PG-13
Opens: July 8

The Pitch: After five astronauts are exposed to cosmic radiation, they gain superpowers. Four of them use it for good. One doesn’t.
The Buzz: This is the reward for directing “Taxi”? We’re not sure that’s fair, but no one asked us for input on the matter. The CGI shots are reportedly running behind schedule, so don’t be surprised if this gets bumped a week or two.
Trailer Highlight: The Thing stopping that semi rig dead in its tracks, crumbling it like a piece of paper. Sure, it’s straight outta “Hellboy,” but it’s the best thing here.
Bottom Line: As much as we love the spot-on casting of Chiklis as Thing, the movie looks questionable from here.
Official Web Site: www.fantasticfourmovie.com

"This movie's going to be funnier than 'Shanghai Noon.' I swear."
The Wedding Crashers (New Line)
Actors: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Jennifer Alden, Christopher Walken
Director: David Dobkin
Rating: R
Opens: July 15

The Pitch: Two professional womanizers (Wilson and Vaughn) make a career out of crashing weddings and bedding babes. Things get interesting when one of them meets the girl of his dreams, while the other one inadvertently bags a psycho.
The Buzz: After a slew of movies with Luke Wilson, Vaughn teams up with Owen “The Butterscotch Stallion” Wilson (nickname courtesy of Defamer), and their chemistry looks strong. Should definitely please fans of “Old School.” Having Will Ferrell make a cameo doesn’t hurt, either.
Trailer Highlight: Vaughn making a three-foot tall balloon bicycle for a bratty kid in order to impress a girl.
Bottom Line: Wilson’s a funny guy who makes generally unfunny movies. Here’s hoping that stops here.
Official Web Site: www.theweddingcrashers.com

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Warner Bros.)

Actors: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, David Kelly, Christopher Lee
Director: Tim Burton
Rating: PG
Opens: July 15

The Pitch: Everyone’s favorite psychedelic eccentric gets a makeover. Think weird, not trippy.
The Buzz: All concerned have their work cut out for them. The original, which contains some truly awful acting, is nonetheless widely loved, and everyone and their brother is armchair quarterbacking the choice of Depp to play Willie Wonka. (Our favorite IMDb post: “Tom Green would have made a great Willie Wonka!”)
Trailer Highlight: Danny Elfman’s spectacular song that plays throughout.
Bottom Line: We’ll see anything Burton does anyway, and besides, it has to be better than “Planet of the Apes.” Man, oh, man, did that suck.
Official Web Site: www.chocolatefactorymovie.warnerbros.com

Bad News Bears (Paramount)
Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, Marcia Gay Harden, Sammi Kraft
Director: Richard Linklater
Rating: PG-13
Opens: July 22

The Pitch: A drunk takes over as the coach of the biggest bunch of misfits in the California little leagues.
The Buzz: Linklater showed a deft touch at directing kids in “School of Rock,” so he’s a pitch perfect choice, while the casting of Thornton as Buttermaker is inspired. The script was written by the men who made “Bad Santa,” which means this should have a good dose of mean. It’s a pity there is no way they didn’t tone down the Tanner character.
Trailer Highlight: “You can love the game, but it don’t always love you back. It’s kinda like dating a German chick.”
Bottom Line: Hey, it’s a baseball movie. We’re there.
Official Web Site: www.badnewsbearsmovie.com

So, wait -- does that mean there are actually two Scarlett Johannsons running around out there?
The Island (DreamWorks/Warner Bros.)
Actors: Ewan MacGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi, Sean Bean, Michael Clarke Duncan,
Director: Michael Bay
Rating: PG-13
Opens: July 22

The Pitch: In a twist on the “Matrix” setup, MacGregor and Johannson live an idyllic life on a beautiful island, but soon learn that they are in fact “harvested” clones whose entire purpose is to act as replacement parts for humans. See clone run. Run, clone, run. See Bay blow shit up.
The Buzz: Well, that would certainly explain the physical perfection that is Scarlett Johannson. Of course, she’s a clone! All kidding aside, the script was written by two “Alias” scribes, so while it will no doubt have more than its share of crane shots and preposterous explosions, it should be smarter than the average Bay.
Trailer Highlight: The helicopter going sideways, with a guy standing outside of it on the landing gear, ready to shoot someone.
Bottom Line: We’re approaching it with cautious optimism.
Official Web Site: www.theisland-themovie.com

Night Watch (Fox Searchlight)
Actors: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Mariya Poroshina
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Rating: R
Opens: July 29

The Pitch: The forces of light and darkness fight over Moscow.
The Buzz: Looks like “Underworld” done right to us. Very strong word of mouth on this; a sequel, “Day Watch,” is almost finished, and the third installment is about to begin production. Clearly, there’s something good here.
Trailer Highlight: The battle on the bridge, frozen in time.
Bottom Line: Might be the second best action movie of the summer.
Official Web Site: www2.foxsearchlight.com/nwnd

Stealth (Columbia TriStar)
Actors: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Joe Morton
Director: Rob Cohen
Rating: PG-13
Opens: July 29

The Pitch: A Navy fighter jet with artificial intelligence goes rogue, threatening to attack U.S. soil. It’s up to their three best pilots (Lucas, Biel, and Foxx) to stop it.
The Buzz: Goodness gracious. Any movie plots that weren’t stolen to put this together? A little “Iron Eagle,” a little “Top Gun,” and a lot of “WarGames.” And with hackmeister Rob Cohen in the director’s chair, you can rest assured that no movie cliché will go untouched.
Trailer Highlight: The ring of fire that the “smart” jet creates in order to vanquish Foxx.
Bottom Line: Good looking cast, bad looking movie.
Official Web Site: www.sonypictures.com

Sky High (Disney)
Actors: Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker, Bruce Campbell
Director: Mike Mitchell
Rating: PG
Opens: July 29

The Pitch: Will is the son of two superheroes, but his grades at the superhero academy he attends are pushing him toward sidekick status.
The Buzz: Hey, if you have a hit on your hands, why not make it twice? This is clearly modeled after Pixar smash “The Incredibles,” but cheaper. The director’s last credit is “Surviving Christmas,” which is more of a debit than a credit, if you ask us.
Trailer Highlight: N/A
Bottom Line: It’s doubtful that even Bruce Campbell can save this one.
Official Web Site: www.disney.go.com



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