2009 Summer Movie Preview: July
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (July 1)
If you know anything about the "Ice Age" franchise, you should know that there's no sensible way for dinosaurs to have anything to do with the plot of the third installment. But if you can forgive a screwball twist or two, and you don't mind your kids believing in the possibility of a tropical paradise existing underneath thick layers of ice, then you should have no problem getting on board with the latest adventures of Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), Diego (Denis Leary), Ellie (Queen Latifah), Eddie (Josh Peck), Crash (Seann William Scott) and Scrat. Plus, if you're lucky enough to live near a theater that was willing to pay for its own equipment upgrade, you can watch it in 3-D!
Public Enemies (July 1)
Michael Mann directing a movie about a brilliant criminal facing off against a driven law enforcement official? No, this isn't "Heat" redux, it's "Public Enemies," featuring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent who doggedly pursued him during his legendary crime spree. Aside from its insanely high pedigree, "Enemies" has the advantage of arriving at a rather opportune time for a movie about an era in which banks were so unpopular that a man who made his living robbing them could be made into something like a folk hero. Oh, and it's also got plenty of action, as attested to by Bale's half-joking comment about firing off so many rounds during filming that he tasted metal for weeks. And if that isn't enough, well, it's also got Marion Cotillard and Emilie de Ravin. Ready to buy your ticket yet?
Brüno (July 10)
After the phenomenon that was 2006's "Borat," Sacha Baron Cohen should never have been able to make himself anonymous enough to pull off anything like it again -- and yet he did: "Brüno" returns to the savagely funny mockumentary territory that unleashed a torrent of guffaws (and lawsuits) three years ago. This time around, Cohen ups the ante by dropping his pants during an interview with Ron Paul, mistaking "Hamas" for "hummus" while speaking with a former Mossad agent, and making out with another man in front of an arena full of pissed off Ultimate Fighting fans in Arkansas. The first cut of the film earned an NC-17 from the MPAA, so even though the theatrical version is sure to be softened up somewhat, you can look forward to plenty of bonus footage on the DVD.
I Love You, Beth Cooper (July 10)
Hayden Panettiere shakes her pom-poms once more, this time as the titular object of affection in the Chris Columbus-directed adaptation of former "Simpsons" writer Larry Doyle's bestselling novel. Paul Rust stars as Dennis Cooverman, the shy-'til-now valedictorian who uses his graduation speech as a forum for telling a series of pent-up truths, including his feelings for -- you guessed it -- Beth Cooper. A night of progressively more ridiculous fallout ensues, from attacks by Cooper's enraged boyfriend to some naughty locker room hijinx and all manner of high-speed auto escapades. Call it "Sixteen Candles" crossed with "Running Scared," and savor what is very likely your last chance to see Panettiere play a cheerleader.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15)
You remember this one, right? The "Harry Potter" sequel that was supposed to come out last November, but ended up getting a last-minute bump to summer '09 after the writers' strike screwed up Warner Bros.' tentpole schedule? Yeah, well, now it's finally ready to reach theaters, and if the trailers Warners has been steadily leaking are anything to go by, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was well worth the wait -- especially if you've missed the more lighthearted tone of the series' early installments: director David Yates promises a respite from the sturm und drang of more recent chapters.
Funny People (July 31)
Judd Apatow produces a ton of movies, but he's much more selective about his directorial efforts -- which is why it may come as a surprise that "Funny People" is the first film he's helmed since 2007's "Knocked Up." Also surprising? The more dramatic tone of the movie, which follows the emotional journey of a successful comedian (Adam Sandler) who discovers he has less than a year to live, and how it affects his assistant (Seth Rogen) and ex-girlfriend (Leslie Mann). Expect something a little more sedate than, say, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," but if you've followed Apatow's work since his "Freaks and Geeks" days, you know he's always been good at mixing gutbusting laughs with affecting drama.