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Your forecast of the summer's top movies

Wednesday, Jun 28 2006
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Why you should see it: Because it's just like Clerks. With a Jason Lee cameo.

Why you should not: It really is just like Clerks.

Lady in the Water

(Warner Bros.)

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard (Manderlay), and Freddy Rodriguez

Written and directed by: M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village)

What it's about: A lonely apartment building superintendent (Giamatti) discovers a beautiful woman (Howard) in the building's swimming pool, who turns out to be a mermaid. And there are other supernatural creatures after her.

Why you should see it: Advance word says there's no gratuitous twist ending this time. Shyamalan's a good director when he doesn't paint himself into a corner; even The Village had its moments until that terrible "surprise" finish.

Why you should not: This film's been labeled a "bedtime story." What does that even mean?

Monster House

(Sony)

Starring: Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, and Nick Cannon

Directed by: First-timer Gil Kenan

Written by: Pamela Pettler, Dan Harmon, and Ron Schrab

What it's about: Sounds like The 'Burbs meets Poltergeist: Three kids live next door to a creepy house that turns out to be ... duh-duh-dunh ... a monster.

Why you should see it: Uh ... uh ... it's animated?

Why you should not: Have you seen the trailer? Was it made in 1992?

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

(Fox)

Starring: Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, and Anna Faris

Directed by: Ivan Reitman (Old School)

Written by: Don Payne (The Simpsons)

What it's about: Wilson plays a normal dude who dumps the super-needy superhottie G-Girl (Thurman), who proves hell hath no fury like a superwoman scorned. In other words, what if Lois Lane broke up with Superman, and he didn't take it well? At all.

Why you should see it: Ivan Reitman directed Ghostbusters, Stripes, and Meatballs.

Why you should not: Ivan Reitman directed Six Days Seven Nights, Father's Day, and Evolution.

July 28

The Ant Bully

(Warner Bros.)

Starring: The voices of Zach Tyler, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, and Nicolas Cage

Written and directed by: John A. Davis (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius), based on the novel by John Nickel

What it's about: When a little boy (Tyler) takes out his frustrations on the ant hills in his yard, the bugs fight back.

Why you should see it: If you ignore the creepy undertones (to ants, a stomping kid isn't a bully, he's Osama Bin Laden), the story's got promise; Cage and Giamatti are A-list voice talent.

Why you should not: Boy, that creepy undertone seems hard to ignore. If all ants have souls and celebrity voices, that means this kid really is a mass murderer.

Flicka

(Fox)

Starring: Alison Lohman (Big Fish), Tim McGraw (Friday Night Lights), and Maria Bello (The Sisters)

Directed by: Michael Mayer (A Home at the End of the World)

Written by: Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner, based on the novel by Mary O'Hara

What it's about: A young girl tames wild horses in a heartbreaking attempt to win her father's love.

Why you should see it: Girls, horses, summer, love, magic.

Why you should not: If Mayer's treatment of Flicka is anything like his Home at the End of the World, we're in for a sapfest of personal triumph set to music.

John Tucker Must Die

(Fox)

Starring: Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), Brittany Snow (The Pacifier), and Ashanti (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Directed by: Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie)

Written by: Jeff Lowell

What it's about: When a trio of hotties discover they're dating the same cad (Metcalfe), they plot to bring about his ruination (but not, despite the title, his demise).

Why you should see it: By July 28, the effects of global warming will have cooked our brains into pink paste. Perfect time for teen comedy.

Why you should not: As this is the 9,432rd movie to try to convince us that an obvious beauty is a plain Jane for the first 30 minutes, the idea could be losing a spot of freshness.

Miami Vice

(Universal)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Gong Li

Written and directed by: Michael Mann (Ali, The Insider)

What it's about: Gee, lessee. Crockett and Tubbs. Drug dealers. Speed boats. Guns. Flashy suits. Bad accents. Expensive cars. Hot chicks. That about covers it.

Why you should see it: See above.

Why you should not: See above. And no Jan Hammer theme song. Rip. Off.

August 4

Barnyard

(Paramount)

Starring: Kevin James, Courteney Cox Arquette, and Danny Glover

Written and directed by: Steve Oedekerk (Kung Pow: Enter the Fist)

What it's about: The owner of a farm leaves his animals to go udderly (that's all mine, baby) nuts when he leaves the place under their control.

Why you should not: You have to assume nobody saw this the first time, when it was called Home on the Range.

Why you should not: The only people who haven't tired of talking-animal animated movies haven't been born yet.

Fearless

(Focus)

Starring: Jet Li, Nakamura Shidou, and Betty Sun

Directed by: Ronny Yu (Freddy vs. Jason)

Written by: There doesn't seem to be a credited screenwriter. But Yuen Woo-ping is the fight choreographer, which is what matters most.

What it's about: Jet Li kicks some ass. Then a tragedy happens, and he doesn't want to kick any further ass, so he goes into seclusion, where he learns the true way of the warrior. The claim is that this will be Li's last martial-arts epic.

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