Here are overviews of four genres for this summer’s field of films, from family fare to comedies.
FAMILY- Based on Carl Hiaasen’s Newberry Award-winner book, “Hoot” (May 5) tells the live-action story of a young boy who tries to solve an ecological mystery involving endangered owls.
Luke Wilson stars.
Another family movie with an environmentalist bent is “Over the Hedge” (May 19), about a motley group of forest animals displaced by suburban sprawl. Bruce Willis and Nick Nolte provide voices. Wedged between those films is “Goal! The Dream Begins” (May 12), about an up-andcoming soccer player (Kuno Becker) who leaves the barrios of East L.A. for the English Premier league.
Sony’s big entry into the family movie sweepstakes is “Monster House” (July 21), a comedy-action yarn about a haunted abode that utilizes the same motion-capture animation technique as “The Polar Express.” Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite lasagna-scarfing tabby goes to England in “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” (June 23), with Bill Murray once again lending his voice to the computergenerated hero. From director Steve Oedekerk (“Bruce Almighty”) comes “Barnyard” (July 28), a CGI comedy featuring the adventures of a bovine bon vivant.
One of the more illustrious cast lists this summer belongs to “The Ant Bully” (Aug. 4), the story of a picked-upon boy who takes his frustrations out on an innocent ant hill, only to get a taste of his own medicine when the ants shrink him down to size. Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Paul Giamatti provide voices. Based on the graphic novel, “Zoom” (Aug. 11) stars Tim Allen as an out-of-shape superhero who’s called back into action to mold a new generation of crime fighters.
Summer gets off to a chilling start with “An American Haunting” (May 5), starring Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek as a couple who find themselves entertaining a real witch of a houseguest. In “See No Evil” (May 19), pro wrestler Kane plays a homicidal maniac who preys on a group of juvenile delinquents performing community service at an abandoned hotel. And talk about prophetic scheduling: Fox will unveil its remake of “The Omen,” on June 6 (6/6/06). It stars Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles as young parents faced with the ultimate child-rearing challenge.
Street-racing enthusiast Lucas Black (“Sling Blade”) takes his hobby overseas in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (June 16) for director Justin Lin (“Better Luck Tomorrow”). Continuing a theme, former “Fast” actor Tyrese Gibson plays a father and exgang member who gets sucked back into the underworld in “Waist Deep” (June 23).
One of the summer’s most intriguing sci-fi offerings is Richard Linklater’s computer-animated “A Scanner Darkly” (July 7), based on Philip K. Dick’s mind-bending novella about an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) whose drug use leaves him with a split personality. In “Pulse” (July 14), based on the Japanese horror flick “Kairo,” a computer hacker unwittingly unleashes an evil entity that could destroy the world.
As if the viewing quality of late-summer movie offerings wasn’t horrifying enough, there’s “The Descent” (August TBA), about a group of female spelunkers who unsettle a warren of deadly critters. Speaking of deadly critters, Samuel L. Jackson has more than he knows what to do with in “Snakes on a Plane” (Aug. 18), as self-explanatory a movie title as there ever was. Based on a popular video game, “DOA: Dead or Alive” (Aug. 25) pits four martial arts vixens, including Jaime Pressly and Devon Aoki, against each other for primacy of an exotic island.
Emil Hirsch, Justin Timberlake and Bruce Willis star in “Alpha Dog” (May 12), based on the life of Jesse James Hollywood, a drug dealer who became one the youngest men to ever appear on the FBI’s most wanted list. Another early summer crime story is “Haven” (May 12), starring Orlando Bloom as a vacationing Brit in the Caymans who gets tangled in a shady, sexy intrigue.
Kevin Bacon’s directorial follow-up to “The Woodsman” is “Loverboy” (June TBA), a psychological drama about neglect and possessiveness. Sandra Bullock and Matt Dillon star. Bullock will also headline “The Lake House” (June 16), where she portrays a lonely doctor who exchanges love letters with a frustrated architect (Keanu Reeves) through a mailbox that mysteriously bridges time. Based on a best-selling novel, “The Devil Wears Prada” (June 30) stars Anne Hathaway as a literary up-and-comer who goes to work for an impossibly demanding magazine editor (Meryl Streep).
Director Michael Mann brings iconic ’80s cop drama to the big screen with “Miami Vice” (July 28), starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell as undercover narcotics detectives who go after a crime syndicate led by a beautiful Cuban-Chinese mastermind (Gong Li from “Memoirs of a Geisha”).
The late summer movie scene takes a somber turn with the blue-chip drama: “Flags of Our Fathers” (Aug. 4). Reuniting director Clint Eastwood with “Million Dollar Baby” screenwriter Paul Haggis (whose “Crash” took home best picture honors at last March’s Oscars), “Flags” stars Ryan Phillippe and Paul Walker in the tooth-and-nail story of the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Paranormal investigator Hilary Swank finds the early warning signs of Armageddon in rural Louisiana in “The Reaping” (Aug. 11), co-starring David Morrissey.
Aspiring dancers find romance and competition in “Step Up” (Aug. 11), directed by world-famous choreographer Anne Fletcher. One of the more intriguing late-summer offerings is “The Illusionist” (Aug. 18), starring Edward Norton as a turn-of-the-century Viennese magician who employs his powers in pursuit of a beautiful royal courtesan (Jessica Biel).
Sports fans should get a kick out of “Invincible” (Aug. 25), starring Mark Walhberg as a bartender who competes in an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1970s. And hip-hop fans might take special interest in “Idlewild” (Aug. 25), a 1930s period piece starring Outkast’s Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton.
Summer audiences love to laugh, and the season is loaded with mirth-inducing escapism. “Crumb” director Terry Zwigoff brings his oddball sensibility to “Art School Confidential” (May TBA), based on the underground “Eightball” comics of Daniel Clowes. Lindsay Lohan stars in the romantic comedy “Just My Luck” (May 12) as a chronically fortunate woman who accidentally swaps her kismet with a luckless hunk (Chris Pine).
Heartland personality Garrison Keillor holds court over “A Prairie Home Companion” (June 9), a Robert Altman-directed ensemble comedy (Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Kevin Kline, Tommy Lee Jones and others) based on his long-running radio show.
The latest from “Napoleon Dynamite” director Jared Hess is “Nacho Libre” (June 16), starring Jack Black as a Mexican priest who raises money for his orphanage by moonlighting as a lucha libre wrestler.
In a movie that Tim Allen might have starred in 10 years ago, Adam Sandler toplines “Switch” (June 23) as a burnt-out family man who discovers a magical remote control that lets him pause, fast-forward, etc., every aspect of his life.
Based on the Comedy Central series of the same name, “Strangers With Candy” (July TBA) stars the delightfully demented Amy Sedaris as a middle-aged woman who attempts to relive her high school years.
The dog days of summer begin with a movie that might itself prove to be a dog: “Little Man” (July 5), about an adoptive father (Shawn Wayans) who mistakes a short criminal (Marlon Wayans) for his infant son. Newlyweds Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon find their marital bliss destroyed by an unwelcome houseguest (Owen Wilson) in “You, Me and Dupree” (July 14). The other Wilson brother, Luke, stars in Ivan Reitman’s “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” (July 21) as a man who calls it quits with his controlling, A-type, superhero steady (Uma Thurman), only to see her bitterly sabotage his life.
And the comedies keep coming. Mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) and daughter (Saoirse Ronan) embark on simultaneous romances in “I Could Never Be Your Woman” (July 28) from “Clueless” director Amy Heckerling. The world of child beauty pageants gets a muchneeded sendup in “Little Miss Sunshine” (July 28), starring Toni Collette and Steve Carell. After wowing critics with “Match Point,” Woody Allen lightens up with “Scoop” (July 28), starring Scarlett Johansson as a student journalist visiting London.
Will Ferrell hams it up as a Wonderbreadsponsored NASCAR sensation who defends America’s racing honor against a French upstart (Sacha Baron Cohen) in “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (Aug. 4). College freshman-to-be Justin Long pulls one over on his parents in “Accepted” (Aug. 11).
Ten years after rewriting the book on no-frills independent filmmaking, writer-director Kevin Smith goes back to his roots with the slacker parable “Clerks II” (Aug. 18).
In a shocking display of against-type casting, Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff play spoiled sibling heiresses who lose all their money in “Material Girls” (Aug. 25). The Broken Lizard troupe (“Super Troopers”) jump the gun on autumn with “Beerfest” (Aug. 25), about some American drunkards who journey to Oktoberfest and stumble upon a centuries-old beer games competition.