Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Think Different 

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

Wednesday, May 28 2003

Page 7 of 8

August 22

American Splendor The popular favorite at this year's Sundance festival mixes drama and documentary in its look at the life of Harvey Pekar, who chronicles his own true life story in a comic, also called American Splendor. Pekar appears as himself in the real-life segments; Paul Giamatti plays him in the re-enactments. Sounds like a tricky balance to pull off, but all indications are that husband-and-wife directing team Shari Berman and Bob Pulcini have done so with aplomb. (Fine Line)

Bollywood/Hollywood Director Deepa Mehta is best known for her hard-hitting social commentary in films like Fire and Earth, but here she tries her hand at a more traditional Indian genre -- musical comedy. Earlier this year, The Guru failed to fully integrate the Bollywood style with Western sensibilities, but if anyone can do it, Mehta can. (Magnolia)

Civil Brand Perhaps, if we're lucky, this film could spark a revival of the "bimbos in cages" genre popularized by Jonathan Demme back when he worked for Roger Corman. It's set in a women's prison, where conditions are hard, the protagonist is unjustly accused, and so the inmates rise up. Mos Def plays a sympathetic law student. (Lions Gate)

Don't Tempt Me An angel from heaven (Victoria Abril) and a demon from hell (Penélope Cruz) come to Earth to try to win over the soul of a boxer with a potentially fatal brain injury. Sounds totally insane, and an absolute must-see. (First Look)

Grind Skateboarding's the cool thing right now, so they say, and to cash in on this hot new trend that all the kids are into, here comes a movie about it. Four young would-be Tony Hawks follow the summer tour of their favorite skateboard star, hoping to learn some new tricks and get noticed by the pros. The cast and crew are all pretty much unknown, so the skating action and cinematography had better be good. (Warner Bros.)

Marci X Lisa Kudrow's a white Jewish girl put in charge of her father's gangsta rap record label! Will hanging out with black people teach her how to loosen up? Our money's on "yes." Damon Wayans co-stars as rapper "Dr. Snatchcatcher," and Christine Baranski appears as the token evil Republican. (Paramount)

My Boss's Daughter You know you've been waiting for Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid to finally do a movie together. She plays the daughter of his unpleasant boss; he winds up housesitting for said employer and uses the opportunity to hit on the young lady. Meanwhile, Andy Richter, Terence Stamp, Michael Madsen, and Carmen Electra show up. Points for creative ensemble casting, anyway. (Miramax)

August 27

Highwaymen Jim Caviezel and Rhona Mitra are pursued by a serial killer ... who likes to run people over with his car! Undoubtedly inspired by the sole occasion on which a studio executive had to drive himself on the L.A. freeways. (New Line)

August 29

Jeepers Creepers II Ya know, at least Roman Polanski doesn't make movies about raping little girls (not anymore, anyway). If writer/director Victor Salva really wanted to put his pedophiliac past behind him, he'd stop making films about a pants-sniffing ancient demon that pursues a high school boys basketball team. The creature's costume, incidentally, is the worst rubber suit to come along since Joel Schumacher said, "Batman's armor isn't gay enough." The concept and the goofy title may have suckered you into the first film, but there's no excuse this time. (MGM)

Nola Young Songcatcher actress Emmy Rossum gets musical once again in this "urban fairy tale" about a Kansas girl who leaves home to pursue her dreams of becoming a musician in the big city. Steven Bauer co-stars, just in case you've been wondering what ever happened to him. (IDP)

Party Monster Macaulay Culkin stars in this true story of club promoter Michael Alig, who bragged on TV about killing his drug dealer and roommate -- and saw his glamorous life crumble as a result. Set amid the nightclub scene of '80s and '90s New York City; also with Seth Green. (Strand)

Date Undetermined

The Battle of Shaker Heights The second film to come out of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's HBO-funded Project Greenlight, this one features a pair of directors who have actually made a film before, and a screenplay that won a separate contest. The plot involves a teenager who's obsessed with World War II, to the point of re-creating some of its battles. Well, what teen isn't? (Miramax)

Dirty Pretty Things Audrey Tautou (Amélie) makes her English-language debut in this crime thriller from stylish Brit director Stephen Frears. In it, she teams up with an illegal Nigerian immigrant (Chjwetel Ejiofor; great name, now how the hell do you pronounce it?) to solve a mysterious murder in a fancy London hotel. (Miramax)

Friends and Family It's The Birdcage meets Mickey Blue Eyes! A New York gay couple (Greg Laurin and Christopher Gartin) moonlight as mobsters, but their parents don't know, thinking the twosome runs a gay catering company. When the family shows up for a surprise visit, the charade is taken to extreme lengths, as the couple's mob buddies are coerced into pretending to be waiters and cooking up a dinner party. When rival gangs get involved, hilarity ensues. Advance word has it that this film may be the next My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but somehow the notion that Italians will embrace yet another Mafia comedy seems unlikely. (Regent)

Madison Not the sequel to Splash, alas, but it does involve water. Christ-to-be Jim (James?) Caviezel plays an Indiana air-conditioner repairman who pilots a boat in the 1971 APBA Gold Cup Championship race. Based on a true story. (Artisan)

Masked and Anonymous Hands up, who hangs around the Santa Barbara country clubs? Bob Dylan headlines this weird movie about a bogus benefit concert, also starring Jeff Bridges, Penélope Cruz, and John Goodman. Didn't anybody invite Bob Roberts? (Sony Pictures Classics)

About The Author

Luke Y. Thompson


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"