Film Reviews

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

Summer is the season of high expectations and profound disappointments. That suntan looks more like sunburn, your beer stays ice cold till the moment it's opened, and fat guys are the only ones hanging by the pool in bikini briefs. So it goes with summer movies: Sequels to beloved faves have all the flavor of week-old popcorn, blockbusters make pennies on their many dollars, and somewhere there's Adam Sandler pouring sour lemonade when you were craving something more refreshing. Maybe there's more hope this year, if only because last summer was such a bummer; Monster-in-Law, Stealth, or Dukes of Hazzard, anyone? Thought not.

There is certainly more promise to the 2006 lineup. Film freaks and fanboys find it hard not to get a little worked up over the returns of Superman, Crockett and Tubbs, Jack Sparrow, and Dante and Randal (well... ). A Prairie Home Companion, with its all-star cast and NPR roots, promises to be this year's Cinderella Man: a great movie nobody sees, because the crowds will be too busy huffing Freon with Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and Vince Vaughn again. Much of what you'll find below feels like yesterday's movies reheated — like someone went to Blockbuster and cut-and-pasted everything on the comedy shelf. But they'll all need a prayer to hold their own against The DaVinci Code. Here's $20 right now that says only the pope won't see it. Though even he may get around to it, once he's checked out Snakes on a Plane. — Robert Wilonsky

The following previews were written by Luke Y. Thompson, Jordan Harper, Melissa Levine, and Robert Wilonsky. Scheduled openings can — and probably will — change.

June 6

The Omen

Starring: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, and a freaky evil kid that isn't Dakota Fanning for once

Directed by: John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines)

Written by: Dan McDermott

What it's about: A prominent ambassador (Schreiber) adopts a little boy who turns out to be the son of Satan. They already made this movie a bunch of times, but June 6 will be 6-6-06, which seems reason enough for another half-baked remake.

Why you should see it: The 1976 Richard Donner movie didn't exactly cry out for a do-over, but at least this one has a high standard to aim for.

Why you should not: Compelling remakes of '70s horror movies come around about, oh, never.

June 9

A Prairie Home Companion

Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, and Garrison Keillor

Directed by: Robert Altman

Written by: Garrison Keillor

What it's about: Set behind the scenes of Keillor's beloved National Public Radio show, the movie chronicles a fictional finale in which the St. Paul station that airs the show has been sold to a Texas conglomerate.

Why you should see it: It is a great movie — a two-hour good-time grin with some surprising moments of heartbreak.

Why you should not: Fact is, even if you don't love Keillor's show or Altman's movies, this sucker packs some profound magic. Perhaps that's not your thing either?

June 16

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Starring: Lucas Black (Jarhead), Bow Wow, and Zachary Ty Bryan

Directed by: Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow)

Written by: Alfredo Botello, Chris Morgan (Cellular), and Kario Salem (The Score)

What it's about: Brightly colored cars in illegal street races... this time in Japan. The bad news is that efforts to bring back Vin Diesel fell through. The good news is Paul Walker's gone too.

Why you should see it: Better Luck Tomorrow showed that Justin Lin had the chops to direct an edgy youth movie...

Why you should not:... but Annapolis proved he's capable of much worse.

June 16

Nacho Libre

Starring: Jack Black and Efren Ramirez

Directed by: Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite)

Written by: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, and Mike White

What it's about: Black (Nacho) plays a Mexican cook who stuffs his face into a wrestler's mask to save his financially strapped orphanage.

Why you should see it: Mike White wrote the best part Jack Black's ever been given, as Dewey Finn in School of Rock.

Why you should not: Because Napoleon Dynamite was a great four-minute movie that went on just a little too long.

June 23

Click

Starring: Adam Sandler, Christopher Walken, and David Hasselhoff

Directed by: Frank Coraci (The Waterboy)

Written by: Jack Giarraputo, Tim Herlihy (almost every Sandler movie to date), Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe (Bruce Almighty), and Sandler

What it's about: Sandler obtains a magic universal remote control that can control the universe! Pausing, rewinding, and slow-motion-replaying the world around him is a lot of fun... until the remote gets stuck in fast-forward.

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