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Your three-month forecast of the summer's top movies.

Why you should not: Of course not. Old School was funny only because it had Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn in it. No similar heavyweights present here.

August 11

World Trade Center


Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, and Maggie Gyllenhaal

Directed by: Oliver Stone (J.F.K. , The Doors)

Written by: Andrea Berloff

What it's about: Cage and Peña play real-life Port Authority cops who made it out of the World Trade Center alive after the terror attack of September 11, 2001. Word is this isn't the work of a paranoid Ollie Stone but is instead a sober, down-to-the-details docudramatization of the events of the day, already seen this year in United 93.

Why you should see it: Cage is at his best when playing an Everyman stuck in a horrific, real-life situation (his portrayal of an EMT in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead remains among his career highlights, even if no one saw it).

Why you should not: Stone's a real hit-or-miss moviemaker; pray this is closer to Platoon and Salvador than Alexander or Any Given Sunday. Or Natural Born Killers. Or U-Turn. Or Nixon.

August 18

Snakes on a Plane

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, some snakes, and a plane

Directed by: David R. Ellis (Final Destination 2)

Written by: John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez (Gothika)

What it's about: The title really says it all here. For full disclosure, it really should be Snakes on a Plane With a Bald-Headed Badass Black Guy Who Yells a Lot. Yes, the snakes deserve to die, and he hopes they burn in hell.

Why you should see it: Pay attention. Snakes. Plane. Samuel L. Jackson. What's not to love?

Why you should not: Sorry, there's just no good excuse not to.

August 25

DOA: Dead or Alive

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Holly Valance, and Devon Aoki

Directed by: Corey Yuen (The Transporter, Hero)

Written by: J.F. Lawton (Pretty Woman) and Adam and Seth Gross (Devour), based on the videogame

What it's about: Chicks in bikinis fight guys with swords. It's modeled after a fighting game, and the movie doesn't look like it added a ton of plot or anything, though the fanboys are already up in arms over the fact that the women aren't fighting each other in the trailer.

Why you should see it: It could be as fun as the first Charlie's Angels.

Why you should not: It could be as tedious as Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

August 25


Starring: André Benjamin (Four Brothers), Antwan Patton (ATL), and Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow)

Written and directed by: First-timer Brian Barber

What it's about: Benjamin and Patton (the real-life duo of Outkast) play a couple of, um, ahead-of-their-time musicians in a 1930s Southern juke joint. Elaborate musical numbers compete for airtime with gangster politics as big bad Howard comes to town to muscle in on the club.

Why you should see it: Musically, Benjamin and Patton are at the top of their game, the concept of injecting their tunes with the flavor of old-school jazz has major promise, and Benjamin has already shown he's got screen skills.

Why you should not: Neither period black gangster films (Harlem Nights) nor musical gangster films (Bugsy Malone) tend to stand the test of time.

September 1


Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, and Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite)

Written and directed by: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (visual effects artists on Biker Boyz)

What it's about: A hit man (Statham) is injected with a new designer drug that will kill him if his adrenaline level drops too low, so in order to find the person responsible and not die, he must remain agitated and excited. That shouldn't be too hard.

Why you should see it: Statham's Transporter movies have been over-the-top junk-food pleasures. Plus, how can you vote against Pedro?

Why you should not: Someone please explain how the effects guys from Biker Boyz have earned the right to direct a major movie.

September 1

The Return

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sam Shepard, and Peter O'Brien

Directed by: Asif Kapadia

Written by: Adam Sussman

What it's about: Gellar plays a young woman whose life gets wacky when she begins to have nightmares about the 25-year-old murder of, yes, a young woman.

Why you should see it: Buffy doing what Buffy does best.

Why you should not: Die, Buffy, die!

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