Excess Hollywood

Some interesting horror flicks, a couple of relationship movies, and plenty of action save summer from sequels

Why it'll be fabulous: Any movie that casts Christopher Walken as a presidential candidate must ipso facto be fabulous.

Why it'll be dreadful: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson aren't the most picky actors in the world when it comes to scripts.

The Bad News Bears

Superhero motifs are prominent in this summer's crop 
of films, from 
adaptations such as The Fantastic Four and 
Batman Begins 
to the Star Wars finale; meanwhile Brad Pitt 
and Angelina Jolie are 
hired assassins in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, children 
will dig 
Madagascar, and The Sisterhood of the 
Traveling Pants 
appeals to the teenage girl market
Superhero motifs are prominent in this summer's crop of films, from adaptations such as The Fantastic Four and Batman Begins to the Star Wars finale; meanwhile Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are hired assassins in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, children will dig Madagascar, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants appeals to the teenage girl market

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Sammi Kraft, and Ridge Canipe

Directed by: Richard Linklater (Before Sunset, Dazed and Confused)

Written by: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, based on the screenplay by Bill Lancaster

What it's about: A broken-down, beer-guzzling Little League Baseball coach (Thornton) takes on a diamondful of hopeless but feisty kids who start to win and, with that, renew the old man's spirit.

Why it'll be fabulous: Thornton has a way of giving an edge to icons. If he can make Santa hip, he can do the same for sandlot ball.

Why it'll be dreadful: It's awfully hard to top 1976's original Bears as a baseball movie -- or as an endorsement of redemption. Sorry, unless the kids shoot steroids, this is bound to seem corny.

The Edukators

Starring: Daniel Brühl, Julia Jentsch, and Stipe Erceg

Directed by: Hans Weingartner

Written by: Weingartner and Katharina Held

What it's about: A trio of anti-capitalist revolutionaries likes to break into houses of rich people and "rearrange" things. When one break-in goes awry, they end up kidnapping the owner.

Why it'll be fabulous: You don't see anticapitalist movies that often nowadays.

Why it'll be dreadful: And the last great German film you saw was?

November

Starring: Courteney Cox Arquette and James LeGros

Directed by: Greg Harrison (Groove)

Written by: Benjamin Brand

What it's about: A photographer seems to be losing her mind as she repeatedly replays, in her mind, the events that led up to her boyfriend's shooting.

Why it'll be fabulous: It's about time Cox Arquette branched out.

Why it'll be dreadful: Is Cox Arquette capable of branching out?

The Aristocrats

Directed by: Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette

What it's about: Ostensibly it's about 100 comedians (from Bob Saget to Robin Williams to Gilbert Gottfried to Phyllis Diller) telling the same infamous ribald joke about 100 different ways -- but it's much, much more. It's more like a comedy jam session, during which several generations of stand-ups reveal their technique and approach, using "The Aristocrats" (a joke about a family of would-be performers auditioning for an agent, more or less) as their springboard.

Why it'll be fabulous: Because Sarah Silverman's telling of the joke alone is worth the price of admission. And because you'll remember why you or anyone else thought Gottfried was funny in the first place. And because Saget has the foulest mouth this side of Ashley Olsen. And because the South Park clip kills.

Why it'll be dreadful: It's about twenty minutes too long, but you'll have laughed yourself into a coma by the end, so you won't really mind or even notice.

The Brothers Grimm

Starring: Matt Damon and Heath Ledger

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

Written by: Ehren Kruger

What it's about: A fictionalized fantasy about the German fairy-tale authors, here portrayed as con men who lift fake curses, only to encounter a genuine form of black magic that forces them to deal with things about which they've only written.

Why it'll be fabulous: After Gilliam's aborted Don Quixote effort, The Brothers Grimm sees him back in fantasy mode, which is what he does best.

Why it'll be dreadful: Its release was postponed for a year, as Miramax's Harvey Weinstein tried recutting it. His version then scored lower with test audiences than Gilliam's.

Stealth

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, and Josh Lucas

Directed by: Rob Cohen

Written by: Cohen and W. D. Richter (Big Trouble in Little China)

What it's about: After a superadvanced stealth fighter is struck by lightning, the onboard computer takes on a life of its own and decides to initiate the next world war.

Why it'll be fabulous: WarGames meets Short Circuit? How could it not be?

Why it'll be dreadful: Okay, yeah, it's made by the director of xXx and The Skulls, so it might be pretty bad.


August

Broken Flowers

Starring: Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton, Jessica Lange, and Julie Delpy

Written and directed by: Jim Jarmusch

What it's about: Murray plays Don Johnston (heh), an aging, sweatsuit-sporting lothario who's dumped by his young girlfriend (Delpy) just as he receives news of a twenty-year-old son he never knew. (Shades of The Life Aquatic, but still ... ) Jeffrey Wright (Basquiat) is the pal who convinces Murray to take a trip down Amnesia Lane to see his old lovers, including Stone and Swinton and Lange and other all-stars, and find out if any of them might be the mother.

Why it'll be fabulous: Did you not just read the synopsis?

Why it'll be dreadful: Seriously, read it again. And then rent Coffee and Cigarettes for the Bill Murray scene with the RZA and the GZA. Dreadful. Hardly. Then again, Dead Man does kinda suck.

The Dukes of Hazzard

Starring: Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Burt Reynolds, and Jessica Simpson

Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar (Club Dread)

Written by: Jonathan Davis, John O'Brien, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, and Paul Soter

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