The Good … The Bad … And The Indie

The Good …

The Matrix: Reloaded

Fear not, sci-fi fans — this Episode 2 won’t disappoint. After the letdown that was last summer’s second installment of the Star Wars prequel, The Matrix: Reloaded promises to dominate the summer movie scene and restore some luster to the science fiction genre. Armed with the knowledge that he is The One, Neo (Keanu Reeves) joins with Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and the rest of the Resistance to battle a new legion of agents, led by the indomitable Agent Smith. If the trailer is any indication, Reloaded will have just as much jaw-dropping action as 1999’s The Matrix, which has since had its slow-motion hand-to-hand combat and bullet-dodging copied in a multitude of movies. Reloaded will be hard-pressed to duplicate that success, but don’t bet against it. By the time its run is done, Reloaded will likely be the top-grossing film of the year and the trilogy will be well on its way toward epic status. (May 15) — Khari Williams

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

Drew Barrymore in a mullet? Another installment of Crispin Glover (aka George McFly) as the villain? Who could ever pass that up? This movie is full of hits — from clever puns to shake-it-all, strut-it-all dance sequences. Combine this with tight leather pants, which will please the gentlemen, and girl-power action, which will please the ladies, and the comedy will rock theaters and audiences as much as, if not more than, the first chapter in what seems to be a long-lived series. (June 27) — Olga Robak

The Hulk

Forget any comic book crossover ever made. X-men was moderate. Daredevil and Spider-Man were sub-par. Lou Ferrigno was a chump. The long-awaited Hulk, should be the be all, end all of pop comic masterpieces. Directed by the reputable Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), this movie should have everything: mind-blowing special effects, brilliant direction and a hero who isn’t simply a good guy, but your classic anti-hero. The Hulk is a character who knows nothing of right or wrong. In fact, only vocabulary he possesses is “hulk smash!” (June 20) — John Duda

X2: X-Men United

X-Men United’s plot is simple: A mutant with extraordinary powers makes an assassination attempt on the president. With a huge backlash by the public against mutants, the government seeks to eradicate the mutants. From the trailers alone, this movie looks to be a doozy. The special effects look outstanding and there are plenty of promising cameos by X-Men favorites such as Beast, Colossus and Gambit. For X-Men fans, this wait will be worth it. (May 2) — Thomas Carrigan

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

The fact that this movie has a tagline in its title gives it a feeling that this is a first in a series of movies. This is a terrible fact which may slightly upset audiences nationwide. But how can anyone possibly miss this brilliant chance to see both Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom on-screen together. And I’m sure among the fights and love scenes, each will take his shirt off and expose what he’s really worth. Oh, yeah, there’s fighting, treasures, curses and action. But that’s only good if you’re paying attention to anything other than the stars. (July 9) — Olga Robak

Bruce Almighty

Jim Carrey becomes God, makes Jennifer Aniston’s boobs bigger and trains his dog to squat on the toilet. How can you go wrong? It marks Carrey’s overdue return to comedy, and after The Majestic a year and a half ago, this flick couldn’t have come sooner. Even though the trailer has him strutting down the street lip synching to Snap’s “I’ve Got the Power,” this still looks to be a blast. It may not be as inspirational as him flashing his palm at a bus in The Truman Show, but at least here, he has seven fingers at one point, thanks to Morgan Freeman (the real God), who turns over his divine powers for a week. (May 23) — Will Albritton

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

There are few working actresses in Hollywood who are as talented and charismatic (not to mention as beautiful) as Reese Witherspoon. She has built her career on intelligent, slightly out-of-the-mainstream films. So when she wants to do a quirky, up-front comedy about how a Valley-girl yuppie makes it in the real world, it’s fair to indulge her. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde is about how now-practicing lawyer Elle Woods goes to Hollywood to stop animal testing. Bob Newhart puts in a cameo appearance as a friendly doorman. It promises to be a good date mo ie. (July 2) — Jeff Novak

American Wedding (American Pie 3)

After rounding third base with a warm apple pie and an unfortunate super glue accident in the first two films, Jim (Jason Biggs) is about to take that walk down the aisle with Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) in the concluding chapter, American Wedding. Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), Oz (Chris Klein) and Vicky (Tara Reid) have decided they’ve had enough Pie and opted out this go around. American Pie 3 does appear to have widened the humor beyond that of a grade schooler and has wisely taken its characters through a slow growth period that has now led to the chime of wedding bells. (Aug. 1) — Pablo Saldana


Tobey Maguire will get a chance to show off his true stature when he trades in his red spandex from Spider-Man for a jockey uniform in Seabiscuit. The film is a true story of a forgotten racehorse that rose to fame with the help of a reclusive trainer (Chris Cooper), a brash tycoon (Jeff Bridges) and a gruff jockey (Maguire). Not only is the movie full of talent, it will pull at the heartstrings of the sensitive nation we live in. The movie is set during the Depression, and Seabiscuit is looked at as a symbol of strength and perseverance in a time of great turmoil. Plus, the film is based on the best-selling inspirational novel by Laura Hillenbrand. (July 25) — Chris Wagenheim

Freddy Vs. Jason

In a summer already crowded with highly anticipated sequels and spin offs, Freddy Vs. Jason is an attempt to return the franchises back to the success of the 1980s. This is Freddy Krueger’s glorious return to the multiplexes since 1994’s Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Jason’s chance to redeem himself after last year’s flop, Jason X. In the new film, Freddy Krueger uses Jason to slaughter the now dream-deprived children of Elm Street. OK, the screenplay isn’t going to win an Academy Award or even a Golden Globe, for that matter, but the movie promises to be the most fun at theaters this summer for those looking for a good scare. (Aug. 15) — Pablo Saldana

The Bad …

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life

One question: Do you remember the plot from the first Tomb Raider? Here’s another: Was there a particular scene that sticks out in your head that two years later you say, “Wow, that was cool?” Me neither. Angelina Jolie won the Oscar in 1999 for Girl, Interrupted and she’s done Original Sin, Life or Something Like It and two Tomb Raiders since. You’re a talented young actress, Ms. Jolie, it would be nice to see you do some work that matters. (July 25) — Will Albritton

2 Fast 2 Furious

Two summers ago, I walked out of the theater after viewing The Fast and the Furious. It was easily one of the worst movies I had ever seen, but what ensued afterward in the theater parking lot made me laugh. Scrawny, testosterone-driven men kicked their Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, Fords, Kias and Saturns into neutral and depressed the gas, revving their engines. The collective sound didn’t match the fierce, shrieking sounds emitted from one of the suped-up models from the movie. It was a sad effort in movie star emulation. So, no, 2 Fast 2 Furious isn’t on my list of must-see movies this summer. Watching kids make fools of themselves afterward, though, is something I’ll be sure to stick around for. (June 6) — Ryan Meehan

Daddy Day Care

Eddie Murphy makes another attempt at humor. Although the movie’s chances at being No. 1 in the box office are big (although the X-men momentum from the previous weekend may be hard to beat), it’s a movie that tries to target both kids and adults, and may, unfortunately, fail at both. (May 9) — Olga Robak

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The long anticipated third installment in the Terminator series is an undoubted flop. Beyond the fact that the second edition of the series was the absolute maximum for director James Cameron, the over used catch phrase “I’ll be back” has mutated into “She’ll be back.” Yes, in the finale to the three-part story, we have a female terminator. How predictable. (July 2) — John Duda

From Justin to Kelly

The summer’s worst nightmare, former American Idol Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini have their eyes set on becoming movie stars before even securing their music careers. From Justin To Kelly is a glaring example of executives taking advantage of the hype surrounding a television series, and a bad one at that. Maybe a year from now, Kelly and Justin will reunite for Unemployed: The Tale of Two Former American Idols. (June 13) — Pablo Saldana

… And The Indie


A movie about a 13-year-old girl doing drugs, having sex and stealing can win top awards at Sundance, but can it really make its way into mainstream cinema? Holly Hunter stars as a mother who finds out her daughter is involved in more than a handful of socially unacceptable habits. The film was inspired by the experiences of one of the co-writers and stars, Nikki Reed. Thirteen is something to look forward to, especially since well-made films warning people about having kids and being responsible for them are hard to come by. (Aug. 20) — Olga Robak

Shaolin Soccer

It’s part soccer and part kung-fu. That’s right, it’s the greatest movie ever. Shaolin Soccer (sometimes called Kung-Fu Soccer for American audiences) was released more than a year ago in Hong Kong and became an award-winning blockbuster. This is the original version of the film, so it won’t lack the quality that so many remakes tend to miss. Although I’m not sure that there is too much to get confused in this plot, which is very simple (as if you couldn’t have guessed). A once great kung-fu master meets a once great soccer star and they decide to form a team (made up of other Shaolin kung-fu masters) and enter the obligatorily prestigious tournament. Surely, the team has to overcome insurmountable odds with a rag-tag bunch à la Major League. And if it’s anything like that opus of baseball film perfection, well, we can only hope for two sequels. (Aug. 8) — Nick Margiasso