Summer screen scene: Sequels rule

UP FRONT

May 17, 2001|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF

If you combine this summer's film trends, the plot line for the ultimate flick would read something like this:

For at least the second time, partially animated, talking criminal dogs from outer space travel back to either the early 1900s or the World War II era (your choice) and invade Paris or Vienna (or some other romantic, non-American place). There, they learn about life and love from former "Survivor" cast members, find their soul-mates and live happily ever after.

But, instead of this all-rolled-into-one-movie plot, the summer movie roster features film groupings with the splintered elements. We count six sequels, five films with cartoon qualities, three talking-animal features, five criminal-centric stories, three alien-invasion plots, three circa-1900 works, four World War II epics, five films with foreign settings, nine coming-of-age tales, two flicks with appearances by former "Survivor" members and a good number of love stories and yarns with happy endings.

So, what does all that add up to? A lot of the same film for one. But with some important differences - namely the faces on the screen. It means we get to see Julia Roberts in a 70-pound fat suit, Johnny Depp as a Gypsy, a sweaty Angelina Jolie with guns, Eddie Murphy talking to bears, Bridget Fonda as a hooker, Cuba Gooding Jr. as a World War II pilot and Nicole Kidman as the mother of two boys who can't go out in the sun. And that's just the beginning.

Here's a look at what's coming, from tomorrow through August. Probable release dates follow each entry.

May

"Angel Eyes": Jennifer Lopez stars as a tough, yet oh-so-sexy Chicago cop who falls in love with the mysterious stranger who saves her life. But the man may not be a godsend, after all. May 18.

"Moulin Rouge": Nicole Kidman is the top talent at the infamously garish - and equally glamorous - Moulin Rouge, a Paris nightclub of the early 1900s. She's also the tragic draw for writer Ewan McGregor, whose venture into her world could destroy them both. May 18.

"Shrek": The animated Shrek (Mike Myers) is a cranky ogre made more so by an influx of banished fairy-tale characters into his hermitlike life. To save his home and theirs, he sets off on a quest to bring the expulsion-happy evil ruler (John Lithgow) a bride bribe (Cameron Diaz). May 18.

"Our Song": The story follows three young members of the New York City Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band as they struggle with life-altering decisions and conflict. May 23.

"Pearl Harbor": An epic film starring Ben Affleck and Cuba Gooding Jr. as two pilots deeply affected by the fateful events surrounding Dec. 7, 1941, the day Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor. May 25.

"Chopper": Chopper is the product of a devoutly religious mother and a former soldier father, but he dreams of being like neither. To be a cult crime figure is his goal, something he achieves through lost appendages, vigilantism and murder. May 25.

June

"The Animal": Colleen Haskell, of "Survivor 1" fame, makes her big-screen debut as the love interest of Rob Schneider, a police officer whose insides have been replaced by those of various animals. June 1.

"What's the Worst That Could Happen?": Danny DeVito starts out as the victim to Martin Lawrence's thief, but before the heist is over, Lawrence is the one with missing property, and he'll stop at nothing to get it back. June 1.

"Bride of the Wind": Historical drama chronicles the life of Alma Mahler Werfel, a talented, passionate and outspoken composer in turn-of-the-last-century Vienna. June 8.

"Evolution": David Duchovny, Julianne Moore and Orlando Jones star as the Earth's only hope of preventing alien rule after a crashed meteor unleashes extraterrestrials. June 8.

"Swordfish": John Travolta and Halle Barry star as fashionable felons who lure down-and-out master hacker Hugh Jackman from his trailer-park life to their sinister world of cyber-crime. June 8.

"The Man Who Cried": World War II Paris is home to Gypsy Johnny Depp and the Jewish singer who loves him, played by Christina Ricci. As the war advances, Ricci must decide whether to save her life or her relationship. Cate Blanchett and John Turturro also star. June 8.

"Songcatcher": After being denied a promotion, a music professor leaves the city and goes to stay with her sister in rural Appalachia circa 1907. There she comes across several generations' worth of orally preserved Scots-Irish songs. She begins documenting them in the hope that her efforts will win her the promotion she seeks. June 15.

"Atlantis: The Lost Empire": Michael J. Fox is the voice of Milo Thatch, a young cartographer with dreams of solving the ancient mystery of Atlantis' location. A found journal sends him on his way. A Disney animated film. June 15.

"Sexy Beast": An ex-con is drawn into a battle of wills with his nemesis that threatens the peaceful life he's been living in a Spanish utopia. June 15.

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