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2004 Summer Movie Season Post-Mortem

by Scott Weinberg

So yet another Summer Movie Season comes and goes, not at all unlike a bachelor party you were so looking forward to. The night begins with such promise and excitement. And the next morning you're in a hotel room full of broken furniture, the smell of urine and many unconscious strangers. What a pointless and rambling analogy. Just click [more] and you'll learn all you'll ever want to forget about the 2004 Summer Movie Season.

May 7



Van Helsing (Universal)

May 2nd Prediction: A huge opening weekend is a foregone conclusion, especially thanks to a lack of competition. How high the box office goes depends on how enthusiastic the kids are after seeing it. The difference between "Let's see it again!" and "Yeah, it was cool I guess..." equals about 50m at the box office. ($115m - $145m)

Reality: Box Office: $120.1 million / Tomatometer: 44 Positive, 140 Negative = 24% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: $120m is nothing to sneeze at, but Universal wanted and expected more. Considering how wretched the movie is, they should be happy with what they got.




New York Minute (Warner Bros.)

May 2nd Prediction: I suppose someone in Hollywood still believes in the power of 'alternate programming', opening a Tweeny Flick opposite the season's first big behemoth. Spillover sales aren't all that likely, as those who showed up for VH sure don't want to see The Olsen Twins as an alternative. Plus I just don't think the twins can open a movie. They've sold a lot of videos. Big woop. So have the Girls Gone Wild. ($8m - $12m)

Reality: Box Office: $14 million / Tomatometer: 14 Positive, 92 Negative = 13% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: I refuse to even talk about this movie anymore. It saddens and sickens me.


May 14



Troy (Warner Bros.)

May 2nd Prediction: All kinds of factors come into play. The good: a flashy trailer, promises of action galore, lots of hunks for the ladies. The bad: it's nearly three hours long, it's undoubtedly going to be rated R, and where's the eye-candy for the boys? Regardless, this one should cross a lot of demographics and end up on a pile of money. ($175m - $190m)

Reality: Box Office: $133 million / Tomatometer: 110 Positive, 85 Negative = 56% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Domestic box office was NOT what WB was hoping for, but the overseas haul was fairly astonishing. And I was one of the critics who really dug it.




Breakin' All the Rules (Screen Gems)

May 2nd Prediction: Last week's counter-programming was a teenie flick. This week it's something for the "urban audience". It's got a solid cast, which is a good thing because the trailer is actually kind of terrible. It's a no-money-loss movie whenever you release it...but why go directly up against a juggernaut? ($13m - $17m)

Reality: Box Office: $12.2 million / Tomatometer: 26 Positive, 56 Negative = 32% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Low-budget urban comedies are generally content to make back their production costs. Profit comes via DVD and cable. I'd comment on the movie but I can't remember one single frame of the thing.


May 21



Shrek 2 (Dreamworks)

May 2nd Prediction: Kapow! Smash hit. Obviously. If it doesn't crack $200m, the Dreamworks suits will be a bit bummed. The first one did over $260m, so you do the math. I'm guessing about $210m.

Reality: Box Office: $436 million (and counting) / Tomatometer: 165 Positive, 18 Negative = 90% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Holy CRAP!! This thing just keeps on going! Would you believe this movie is now #3 on the all-time domestic box office list? Wow. Dreamworks = Happy. Fun flick, looking forward to Part 3.


May 26



Raising Helen (Touchstone Disney)

May 2nd Prediction: Hard to say. Marshall's done some huge business in this field before: The Princess Diaries, Runaway Bride & Pretty Woman Hudson was up (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and down (Alex & Emma) last year, but her combined with Marshall's patented brand of estro-schmaltz should do the trick. But it's a crowded marketplace for Helen to be raising in. My guess? $70m - $85m.

Reality: Box Office: $37.4 million / Tomatometer: 24 Positive, 89 Negative = 21% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Wow, I was WAY off on this one, and I've never been so happy about being wrong. What a force-fed piece of junk this movie is. Yay, Kate raised kids. Whoop. I guess the full-time mom with three kids and a huge mortgage didn't think it was all that cute.


May 28



The Day After Tomorrow (Fox)

May 2nd Prediction: This one is torture for me. On one hand, I'm a huge Dennis Quaid fan and the trailer for the flick is pretty damn amazing. On the other hand, Emmerich's never made one movie that I totally loved (or even liked a lot)...plus the movie is fairly star-free for a summertime movie. Still, it's the premise and the FX that sell this one, and I predict big futures in bad weather. ($150m - $165m)

Reality: Box Office: $185.9 million / Tomatometer: 85 Positive, 100 Negative = 46% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Though I guessed about $20m too little, this one's still seen as a relative disappointment domestically. Yeah, a movie that broke $180m is a "disappointment". But, like Troy, this one did gangbusters overseas. I look forward to a second look on DVD, cuz I kinda liked it. Weird.




Soul Plane (MGM)

May 2nd Prediction: Another little counter-programming, this time the farcical urban Airplane! retread against the big Nature Runs Amok movie. Sometimes these releases work; sometimes they don't. But the movie sure looks stupid enough to be a big hit. ($15m - $19m)

Reality: Box Office: $14.1 million / Tomatometer: 15 Positive, 71 Negative = 17% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Like I said, sometimes the counter-programming works and sometimes it doesn't. Still, the flick didn't cost a whole lot, plus we have the studio has the inevitable "Unrated!" DVD release to line their coffers just a bit.


June 4



Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Bros.)

May 2nd Prediction: First one did $317m. Second one did $261m. But this one, so far, looks like a better movie than both of its predecessors. Plus HP switches from a December event to a summertime adventure. I say it does at least $250m.

Reality: Box Office: $246.9 million / Tomatometer: 176 Positive, 24 Negative = 88% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: First one did $317m. Second one did $261m. Third one did $247m. The fourth one will make $232m.


June 11



The Chronicles of Riddick (Universal)

May 2nd Prediction: This is a sequel to Pitch Black, a movie that made just under $40m domestically. But it was a big hit on DVD. Since then Vin's done The Fast and the Furious ($144m), XXX ($142m), Knockaround Guys ($11m) and A Man Apart ($26m). Twohy's last movie grossed exactly $605,562 in North America. Plus the trailers hardly even SHOW you the leading man who's supposed to be, y'know, selling all the tickets! I dig Twohy's work, but I smell a stinker on this one. ($55m - $70m)

Reality: Box Office: $57.6 million / Tomatometer: 41 Positive, 139 Negative = 29% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Hey, I called this one! Stinkeroo and Diesel too. A big opening weekend took the pre-teen coin, word got out, and somewhere Vin is kicking himself hard.




Garfield: The Movie (Fox)

May 2nd Prediction: Ugh. Make this non-stop regurgitation of pop-culture kitsch. As if there was anything in the Garfield character that supports an 80-minute movie. Oh, except for the 2 billion dollars the cat has made over the years. People will go see this one without even thinking about it. ($76m - $85m)

Reality: Box Office: $74.4 million / Tomatometer: 15 Positive, 112 Negative = 13% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Ptooi. I spit on this movie. Fox should be thrilled with the $74m they stole from this freakin' furball. But worse feline fare was yet to come...




The Stepford Wives (Paramount)

May 2nd Prediction: Hey, something for grownups! At least the movie looks that way so far. With a cast like that and a solid marketing campaign, this could be an alterna-sleeper of the summer. Let's put the guess at... $70m - $82m

Reality: Box Office: $59.1 million / Tomatometer: 39 Positive, 108 Negative = 27% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Word got out that the movie was chopped, reshaped and generally jimmied with, the critics were unkind, and it didn't really "cross over" in any discernable way. All things considered, a nearly $60m haul isn't bad for something this sloppy.


June 16



Around the World in 80 Days (Disney)

May 2nd Prediction: It needs to sell a lot of tickets to make some people happy. An eclectic cast means it will sell overseas quite well, but who knows how big it will be here? At this point in the season there's no shortage of family-flavored flicks, so this one could be a relative dud. My guess is at about $65m - $75m.

Reality: Box Office: $23.7 million / Tomatometer: 39 Positive, 80 Negative = 33% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Wow, did I guess wrong on this one! (Kinda just like Disney did!) Not a terrible flick, but extremely fluffy and forgettable. Kids'll dig it on DVD.


June 18



Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (Fox)

May 2nd Prediction: The trailer is very funny in that predictably juvenile way, plus lots of us remember the humiliation of dodgeball. Looks like it could be the type of things that parents and pre-teen kids might dig together, so that helps the payday. Let's put the guess at around $70m.

Reality: Box Office: $113 million / Tomatometer: 87 Positive, 40 Negative = 69% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Wow! It's safe to say that nobody expected this one to crack $100m. And frankly I'm pretty happy about it, as I think it's one of the best comedies of the year. There was a relative dearth of quality low-brow comedies this summer, so this flick got hooked up by default. Plus it's really damn funny.




The Terminal (Dreamworks)

May 2nd Prediction: Spielberg and Hanks? A movie that adults will like? It's a bittersweet comedy with heart and romance? Hell, that's $100m easy.

Reality: Box Office: $77 million / Tomatometer: 112 Positive, 64 Negative = 64% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: See? That's what I get for being cocky. Somewhat of a disappointment, cash-wise, given the people involved. But hey, it wasn't all that great of a movie. And word-of-mouth swings both ways, particularly where this movie's demographic is concerned.


June 23



White Chicks (Columbia)

May 2nd Prediction: Guhhhhh. Give. me. a. break. OK, My Baby's Daddy made about $17m. Which means this one should do about $20m.

Reality: Box Office: $69.1 million / Tomatometer: 13 Positive, 92 Negative = 12% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Never underestimate the power of racial pandering, I suppose. Ugh.


June 25



The Notebook (New Line)

May 2nd Prediction: A fluffy romantic drama that has OLD people in it? In June? Interesting approach. Could get some coin from the grandmama crowd and the teenyboppers, but it will end up forgotten amidst all the flash. ($32m - $40m)

Reality: Box Office: $76.2 million / Tomatometer: 63 Positive, 63 Negative = 50% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: The summer's sleeper hit. Women of all ages seem to dig it. Cool.




Two Brothers (Universal)

May 2nd Prediction: Universal goes Disney with a live-action family drama about two tigers and their human friends. People will be beating down the doors for this one. ($9m - $15m)

Reality: Box Office: $18.9 million / Tomatometer: 80 Positive, 22 Negative = 78% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Came and went really quickly, but nearly 20m for something like this is pretty solid. Movie bored me to tears, by the way.


June 30



Spider-Man 2 (Columbia)

May 2nd Prediction: You're kidding, right? It's gonna be huge. Like... Passion of the Christ huge. ;)

Reality: Box Office: $365.1 million / Tomatometer: 186 Positive, 13 Negative = 93% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Huge across the board. Still, the first one cracked $400 million, so you just KNOW that someone at Sony is still disappointed. Sorry to break into fanboy mode, but...the movie just rocked! Heh.


July 2



Before Sunset (Warner Bros.)

May 2nd Prediction: I've seen this one. Excellent stuff. Who knows how it will fare coming right after the Giant Spider, but there are a whole lotta people who adore Before Sunrise and they'll go see this follow-up regardless of what month it is.

Reality: Box Office: $4.5 million / Tomatometer: 126 Positive, 6 Negative = 95% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: It's already in profit, albeit not by very much. Expect thousands of people, like me, to buy it on DVD too. One of the year's best movies. Absolutely.


July 7



King Arthur (Touchstone Disney)

May 2nd Prediction: Do moviegoers really want the "true-life" story of King Arthur? Make a movie with all the fanciful magical stuff, and you're still looking at a movie destined for $90m, tops.

Reality: Box Office: $51 million / Tomatometer: 51 Positive, 110 Negative = 32% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: I'm happy to say that my prediction was too high, and that the American public made the right call by avoiding this one...for the most part, anyway. $51m is about $30m more than it deserves.


July 9



Anchorman (Dreamworks)

May 2nd Prediction: If Elf was any indication, this one could make $120m. Trailer looks funny.

Reality: Box Office: $84.1 million / Tomatometer: 100 Positive, 58 Negative = 63% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: I guess a whole lot of Elf's coin came from the Christmas crowd, but Ferrell still proves himself a viable box office draw. Consistently funny flick and very enjoyably weird.




Sleepover (MGM)

May 2nd Prediction: Not huge. It's the Spy Kids girl minus the gadgets. I'll guess....$24m.

Reality: Box Office: $9.4 million / Tomatometer: 16 Positive, 68 Negative = 19% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Wow, I way overshot this one's chances! It was gone from the multiplexes in like 8 days. And, yeah, it's loud, shallow and very obnoxious.


July 16



A Cinderella Story (Warner Bros.)

May 2nd Prediction: Yet another tweeny flick, which makes it like the 11th this year. It'll make it's $25m and vanish before anyone even notices it.

Reality: Box Office: $50.2 million / Tomatometer: 9 Positive, 77 Negative = 10% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Like, huh? Did I just trip on LSD and see a Hilary Duff movie gross over $50m? I weep for the future.




I, Robot (Fox)

May 2nd Prediction: It'll open huge, of course. Dunno about the legs, though. Let's be nice and say... $165m?

Reality: Box Office: $138.2 million / Tomatometer: 102 Positive, 62 Negative = 62% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Guess I'm in the minority on this one, cuz it pretty much irked me to distraction. Safe to assume the studio was hoping for some longer legs, but the movie can still be accurately labeled a HIT...among other things.


July 23



The Bourne Supremacy (Universal)

May 2nd Prediction: The first one made over $120m. This one should be happy clocking in at about $100m.

Reality: Box Office: $150.3 million / Tomatometer: 115 Fresh, 31 Negative = 79% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Everyone knew this one would be a "quiet hit" - but $150m is exceedingly strong for a movie like this. And good for the, I say. One of the summer's sweetest surprises.




Catwoman (Warner Bros.)

May 2nd Prediction: I hate to pick on a movie before it's released, but I smell a bomberooski on this one. Doesn't take a Pauline Kael to make that sort of prediction. I won't hazard a dollar amount, but I expect it to be ugly.

Reality: Box Office: $39 million / Tomatometer: 15 Positive, 136 Negative = 10% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: OK, I 'pussed out' by not predicting a dollar amount, but given the amazingly savage reviews this movie has earned (and how), a final tally just over $40m has to have several WB execs wiping their brows and go "Wwwhew!" real loud. If they haven't already been fired, that is.


July 30



Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (New Line)

May 2nd Prediction: Something raunchy, stupid and pot-centric for the teens and the teens-at-heart? These ones have a way of making more money than expected. Let's say $30m.

Reality: Box Office: $17.3 million / Tomatometer: 80 Positive, 29 Negative = 73% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Hmpmh, I expected the box office to be a little larger, and the Tomatometer to be MUCH lower. Weird one here. Still, a pretty funny movie regardless. Check it out on video.





The Manchurian Candidate (Paramount)

May 2nd Prediction: Some more (rare) counter-programming for the grown-ups. The trailer looks promising. Let's put the estimate at...$110m.

Reality: Box Office: $54.5 million / Tomatometer: 123 Positive, 29 Negative = 81% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Wow, I'm not very good at predicting the dramatic-type movies. Or any other kind. Plus the critics are all swooning over this one, when I saw a pale imitation of a classic film, only with all the venom sucked out. Ah well. Moving on...




Thunderbirds (Universal)

May 2nd Prediction: It's tough to bet on the kiddie fare, because who KNOWS what the kids will want to see? Based on just the one trailer, it looks kinda broad and kinda cheesy...which means it'll make some cash. I'll guess $65m.

Reality: Box Office: $6.7 million / Tomatometer: 17 Positive, 67 Negative = 20% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Ugh, I'm so embarrased by my $60+ prediction. Sure, we're all geniuses in hindsight, but how could I have assumed that this movie would break 40, let alone 60. Mock me as I hang my head in shame.




The Village (Touchstone Disney)

May 2nd Prediction: M. Night is just about the closest to a sure thing that Hollywood has right now. It'll make at least $180m.

Reality: Box Office: $107 million / Tomatometer: 72 Positive, 93 Negative = 44% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: See, what had happened was... I was basing my prediction on the assumption that M. Night wasn't about to unleash one of the year's worst movies! So I was off by $80 million bucks. Disney's gone through that much every time theyr release a movie this year.


August 6



Collateral (Dreamworks / Paramount)

May 2nd Prediction: Cruise guarantees $100m easy. Book it.

Reality: Box Office: $69.7 million (and counting) / Tomatometer: 152 Positive, 24 Negative = 86% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: So I guess the lesson is this: when I say "Book it" - you should immediately do the exact opposite. That way you'll always be right. Anyway, darn good movie, and one that still has a little coin yet to scrape in. But it's not gonna cross the century mark.


August 11



The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (Disney)

May 2nd Prediction: First one was a sadly huge hit. Expect more of the same.

Reality: Box Office: $61.2 million (and counting) / Tomatometer: 29 Positive, 68 Negative = 30% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Man, people just lap this chaff up, don't they? Coming soon: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Freakin' Baby


August 13



Alien vs. Predator (Fox)

May 2nd Prediction: Yeah, it's a dumb idea. So what? $115m.

Reality: Box Office: $62.9 million (and counting) / Tomatometer: 21 Positive, 78 Negative = 21% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: OK, obviously I was in Psyched Fanboy mode when I predicted $115m for this one. It had a solid opening, sunk like a stone in weekend 2, and will probably top out around $78m. Plus it actually kinda stinks. Maybe the R-rated DVD version will be better. Here's me not holding my breath.


August 20



Exorcist: The Beginning (Warner Bros.)

May 2nd Prediction: Please; Other than the first one, which Exorcist movie set the box office on fire?

Reality: Box Office: $18 million opening weekend / Tomatometer: 7 Positive, 65 Negative = 10% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: Producers spent about $100m to make two separate movies. Profit seems a long way off. (And there's no WAY Schrader's version could be worse than this one!)




Without a Paddle (Paramount)

May 2nd Prediction: Can Matthew Lillard and Seth Green open a movie? We shall see.

Reality: Box Office: $13.5 million opening weekend / Tomatometer: 13 Positive, 80 Negative = 14% Critical Approval Rating

The Bottom Line: I guess the lesson here is: mid-August makes ANY movie look like a smash hit! In other words, the kids who love to hit the movies every Friday night looked up and saw this movie playing, so they went. Don't expect it to happen again next week. Never underestimate the power of "Ew, like, it totally sucked!"

-

So that's it for the studio fare, and I'm sure you'll forgive me for jumping the gun and ignoring Anancondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. I figure if we're already in the Dumping Grounds Season, why worry too much? But there were a few little indie-type flicks that actually made the rounds this summer.

Super Size Me (May 7th / IDP) Budget: $65,000 / Box Office Tally: / Tomatometer: 123p, 11n = 92% Critical Approval Rating

Saved! (May 28th / UA ) Budget: $5 million / Box Office Tally: $8.8 million / Tomatometer: 64p, 46n = 58%

Napoleon Dynamite (June 11th / Fox Searchlight) Budget: $400,000 / Box Office Tally: $19.1 million and counting / Tomatometer: 84p, 35n = 71%

Fahrenheit 9/11 (June 23rd / Lions Gate) Budget: $6 million / Box Office Tally: $116.7 million / Tomatometer: 157p, 31n = 84%

Garden State (July 28th / Fox Searchlight) Budget: $2.5 million / Box Office Tally: $6.5 million and counting / Tomatometer: 105p, 15n = 88%

Open Water (August 6th / Lions Gate ) Budget: $130,000 / Box Office Tally: $14 million and counting / Tomatometer: 104p, 38n = 73%
--

And just for fun, let's break the summer down by studio...just so we all know who to thank and who to despise. Fun.

20th Century Fox

Alien vs. Predator (D)
The Day After Tomorrow (B-)
Dodgeball (A)
Garfield (F)
I, Robot (C-)

Summer Grade: C+ (Yeah, Dodgeball made me laugh that much.)

Columbia (a.k.a. Sony)

Anacondas (-}
Breakin' All the Rules (D)
Little Black Book (D)
Spider-Man 2 (A)
White Chicks (F)

Summer Grade: D (Spidey's great, but...come on!)

Dreamworks

Anchorman (B)
Collateral (B+)
Shrek 2 (A)
The Terminal (C)

Summer Grade: B+ (Very impressive boys. Now you three keep up the good work!)

MGM

Soul Plane (C-)
De-Lovely (-)
Sleepover (F)

Summer Grade: D- (De-Lovely would have to be DAMN good to raise this GPA, and we all know it's not.)

New Line

The Notebook (C)

Summer Garde: D+ (One movie per summer season? You're just not applying yourself, Mr. Line. Plus, when are we gonna see the LOTR money turned into something impressive?)

Paramount

The Manchurian Candidate (C+)
The Stepford Wives (C-)
Without a Paddle (F)

Summer Grade: D (Limp remake, confused remake, slob comedy without an orignal bone in its laughless body. You need to hit the books, Mr. Mount.)

Touchstone / Disney

Around the World in 80 Days (C+)
King Arthur (D)
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (D-)
Raising Helen (F)
The Village (F)

Summer Grade: D- (I'm giving you a barely passing grade only because I know you're dealing with a lot of trouble at home, but you need to work a lot harder in the future.)

Universal

The Bourne Supremacy (A-)
The Chronicles of Riddick (D-)
Thunderbirds (F)
Two Brothers (C)
Van Helsing (F)

Summer Grade: D+ (Sequel, sequel, TV remake, nature movie, pathetic ripoff of classic monsters. Hire a few screenwriters and, y'know, come up with something unstale. Mr. Bourne saves you from a failing grade.)

Warner Bros.

Catwoman (F)
A Cinderella Story (F)
Exorcist: The Beginning (D-)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (B)
New York Minute (F)
Troy (B+)

Summer Grade: C- (Quality over quantity, Mr. Warner. Stop churnin' out the trendy crap and focus on your quality concepts. We expect better from you.)
--

So that's pretty much it. A summer full of a few exciting surprises and several predictably awful junkpiles. Bring on the autumn months! Before you know it, you'll be swimming in new movies from David O. Russell, Alexander Payne, Wes Anderson, John Sayles, James L. Brooks, David Gordon Green, Paul Weitz, Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Brad Anderson, Brad Bird and, of course Trey Parker & Matt Stone.

Soon this summer will be just a distant memory of giant tidal waves, lady-sized cats, swinging spiders and very wealthy ogres.

But you just know you're looking forward to the Summer of 2005 crop, arentcha, you gluttons for punishment. Yeah, me too. This time next year we'll all be bitching about:

Batman Begins - The long-awaited return to the Batman series, directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson and Rutger Hauer. I'd see it for the cast alone.

Bewitched - Nora Ephron is directing the TV adaptation, with Nicole Kidman as Samantha and Will Ferrell as her amazingly dumb husband. Also expect Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine, Joan Plowright and Jason Schwartzman

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - The second cinematic adaptation of the classic kid's book, this one will be directed by Tim Burton, and will star Johnny Depp as the crazed candymaker. Sign me up for this one now.

Chicken Little - Disney CG feature about, well, Chicken Little. You read the story when you were a kid. Voices include Zach Braff, Joan Cusack, Don Knotts, Steve Zahn and Garry Marshall.

The Dinner Party - A soon-to-be-retitled remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?...starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher. Seriously.

The Fantastic Four - The guy who directed Barbershop plans to bring the comic book to life. Signed on as the four: Michael Chiklis (Ben Grimm/The Thing), Iaon Gruffudd (the plastic stringy guy), Chris Evans (the blonde teenager who turns himself on fire) and Jessica Alba (as the girl who turns invisible). Julian McMahon will play Dr. Doom, and I really hope I end up liking this movie.

Fun with Dick and Jane - Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz star as a rich couple who turn to crime after they lose all their cash. Dean Parisot is directing a screenplay by Judd Apatow(!).

Herbie: Fully Loaded - Yep, a return to Disney's favorite VW bug, starring Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon and Breckin Meyer. Sigh.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Disney-backed adaptation of the brilliant D. Adams book, starring Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Sam Rockwell, John Malkovich and Bill Nighy. Cannot wait. No sarcasm there. I seriously can't wait.

House of Wax A director I've never heard of takes charge of Dark Castle's latest remake, starring Elisha Cuthbert, Paris Hilton and some other young, hot people.

Kingdom of Heaven - Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson. It's a Crusades story. Yep, one of those Big Epic things. Cool.

The Longest Yard - Remake of the classic football flick, this one stars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, William Fichtner, Burt Reynolds (again), plus a whole lot of professional wrestlers and a handful of former NFL players like that crybaby Michael Irvin. (Hey, I'm an Eagles fan. Sue me.)

Madagascar - CGI comedy from Dreamworks about zoo animals on the run. Voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Monster-in-Law - Robert Luketic will direct Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a story about a horrific mother-in-law. Do not sign me up for this one.

Mr and Mrs. Smith Directed by Doug Liman, it stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as married assassins. It's got Vince Vaughn too. Sounds interesting.

The Pink Panther - The director of Cheaper By the Dozen continues to hang on to Steve Martin in what might prove as one horrendous concept. Co-stars include Kevin Kline, Beyonce Knowles, Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


Stealth - Rob Cohen will direct Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx and Sam Shepard in an action-adventure that involves plans, chemical weapons, and a complete disrespect for all known laws of physics.

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith - Directed by George Lucas, starring all the guys from the other prequels plus the guys who played Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3P0. Oh, and the girl from Whale Rider. I'll leave the derisive snorts to the rest of the universe.

XXX: State of the Union - Directed by Lee Tamahori, starring Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson and Willem Dafoe. Yep, Cube replaces Diesel in the XXX2. I'm giggling already.

--Thanks for reading. Now go watch a movie.

(Resources: Coming Soon, Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo and JoBlo's.)


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1183
originally posted: 08/24/04 21:26:03
last updated: 10/30/04 14:51:26
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