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Think Different 

Could it be that this year's crop of summer movies actually requires a brain cell or two?

Wednesday, May 28 2003
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Page 6 of 8

The Secret Lives of Dentists Alan Rudolph's latest film centers on a married pair of dentists (Campbell Scott and Judy Davis), who may not quite be telling each other the whole truth. Denis Leary gets to play angry again in his own unique fashion, as a patient who lashes out at Scott in ways the rest of us terrified dental subjects can only fantasize about. (Manhattan)

Tycoon Also known as Oligarkh, this 2002 release from Russia hits our shores with a unique perspective on capitalism infiltrating a communist nation. Director Pavel Lungin adapts Yuli Dubov's novel Bolshaya Paika (The Big Slice), about a man who made the most of Russian free trade. Global economists may enjoy this as a double feature with the terrific Chinese comedy Big Shot's Funeral. (New Yorker)

August 6

Freaky Friday Now in its umpteenth remake, the old "parent trades bodies with child" routine gets handed off to Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan (who also starred in the remake of The Parent Trap). Curiously, director Mark S. Waters made his debut with the perversely incestuous Parker Posey flick The House of Yes, so it'll be interesting to see if he can sneak any twisted subtext past the Disney folk. (Disney)

August 8

And Now Ladies and Gentlemen A jewel thief (Jeremy Irons) and a jazz singer (Patricia Kaas) encounter one another in Morocco as they both try to forget their pasts. Rumor had it earlier this year that Irons' wife was a little upset with all the steamy nudity that ensues, but that shouldn't affect your enjoyment one iota. (Paramount Classics)

Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns You probably saw that title and thought, "Hookers!" but the Johns in question are Flansburgh and Linnell, better known to the music world as They Might Be Giants. Enjoy live performances, videos, band history, and testimonials from famous fans in this documentary; that is, if you enjoy this sort of thing. (Cowboy)

Le Divorce Now that Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts are brand names, James Ivory carts them to Paris to play around at being young zany women having weird romantic issues. (Fox Searchlight)

Matchstick Men Not exactly known for his comedies, Ridley Scott dares to deliver Nicolas Cage as a con artist whose teenage daughter Alison Lohman shows up at the wrong time. Song by Status Quo (and/or Camper Van Beethoven) not confirmed at press time. (Warner Bros.)

The Princess Blade Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey, Blade II) choreographed the fight scenes in this adaptation of the Japanese comic book about samurai wars in the near future. A sequel's already in the works, so presumably international audiences have grooved to the ass-kicking. (ADV Films)

Shaolin Soccer If the Bears are bad news and the Ducks suck, perhaps there's an antidote in these wacky footballers from China. Their martial arts training allows them to do supernatural moves, but they face equally formidable opponents. Stephen Chow acts, writes, directs, and cashes the checks. (Miramax)

S.W.A.T. Oh, come on already. Fine, here's another cinematic remake of an old TV show. The thing is -- from the story by George Huang (Swimming With Sharks) to an all-star cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, and LL Cool J -- it shows significant promise. Still, it begs the question: Will S.W.A.T. be fly? (Sony)

August 15

Freddy vs. Jason The walking corpse of a drowned redneck with Down's syndrome heads to Elm Street to take on a Kentucky Fried child-murderer who only exists in dreams. Fans of '80s slashers have awaited this showdown for more than a decade; given that most of the Freddy movies are pretty good and the Jason ones shoddy, there's a 50-50 chance of suckitude, especially since the producers totally dissed Kane Hodder by recasting Jason (with another stunt guy, no less). However, Hong Kong director Ronny Yu does have a track record of stylishly resurrecting '80s horror icons -- Bride of Chucky rocked. (New Line)

The Magdalene Sisters You know those "fallen women" forced into servitude by the Irish Catholic Church in the 1960s? Here's a movie about them. Written and directed by Peter Mullan. (Miramax)

The Medallion Jackie Chan plays a Hong Kong detective with a medallion that gives him superpowers. Julian Sands plays a character called "Snakehead," so what more do you need to know? (Screen Gems)

OT: Our Town Scott Hamilton Kennedy's video documentary about inner-city high-schoolers putting on a play for the first time in 22 years isn't exactly objective, given that he cohabits with the gorgeous drama teacher at the movie's center. It's the kids' tale, though, and a triumphant one at that -- any pitch for the value of the arts in schools is a welcome one, especially when it's as eloquent as this. (Film Movement)

Passionada When a Portuguese-American singer falls for the wrong man, things go haywire. Starring Sofia Milos and Jason Isaacs, directed by Dan Ireland (The Velocity of Gary, and co-founder of the Seattle International Film Festival). (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn/Fireworks)

Step Into Liquid "The simple truth about surfing," according to the trailer -- with footage from Northern California's Maverick's, the Easter Islands, Ireland, and Cortez Banks (near San Diego), among other places -- directed by Dana Brown of Endless Summer 2. Includes a soundtrack of original music by Richard Gibbs of Oingo Boingo. (New Visual Entertainment)

Uptown Girls Brittany Murphy plays a New York socialite who becomes nanny to a little girl to impress her boyfriend. Originally called Molly Gunn, which could have led to a cool sequel called Molly Gunn 2: Gunn Control. There's still hope. (MGM)

August 20

Thirteen Evan Rachel Wood stars in this shocking tale of juvenile delinquency in Los Angeles. Shocking, that is, if it never occurred to you that teenagers do drugs, have sex, and use profanity. Co-screenwriter Nikki Reed is only 14, which puts her mental age a good two years higher than that of the average studio scribe. (Fox Searchlight)

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Luke Y. Thompson

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