Summer 2002 delivers many anticipated films

by Tim Tevault
Managing Editor

Let the games begin.

This summer, which is proving to be one of the most anticipated movie seasons in recent history, will feature nearly 125 releases. Not surprising is the fact that the majority of the most anticipated movies are sequels. So before heading out to the nearest cineplex when the scorching summer sun begins to rear its ugly head, check out this quick summer movie guide, featuring the most interesting films made with the college student in mind.

Typically, the summer movie season begins in May, but this year that tradition was broken with the April 19 release of “The Scorpion King.” Racking in $36 million and starring WWF’s The Rock, “Scorpion King” was a prequel to the 1999 smash “The Mummy.” However, this weekend’s total will most likely fall short of last weekend’s. This was a major trend last summer, as movies opened to record-breaking debuts, only to see their totals plummet more than 50 percent the following weekend.

The next big picture on the horizon is “Spider-Man,” scheduled to be released May 3. Set in Manhattan and starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Willem Dafoe, the film’s director chose to edit out portions of the film featuring the World Trade Center. With a not-so-modest budget of $100 million, “Spider-Man” is out to best its Marvel Comics cousin, “X-Men,” which was released last year and went on to gross over $150 million.

The next blockbuster to be released is the sure bet, “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” (May 16). The newest installment of the franchise picks up some time after Episode I left off in 1999. Starring Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson, Episode II will no doubt go on to be one of the highest grossing movies of the year. Director George Lucas has nothing to worry about as this movie is being propelled by fast-paced action sequences, dazzling special effects and something new this time around: a blossoming romance between Portman’s Queen Amidala and Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker.

Pushing May even further to the head of the class is “Insomnia” (May 24), a thriller starring Oscar winners Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank; Jennifer Lopez’s new thriller “Enough” (May 24), about a woman fed up with her abusive husband (Billy Campbell) and “Undercover Brother,” (May 31) a spy spoof starring Eddie Griffin, Chris Kattan, Dave Chappelle and Denise Richards.

June is also shaping up to be a good month. For action seekers, there is “Minority Report” (June 21), Steven Spielberg’s newest, starring Tom Cruise. A futuristic spy movie, Report looks similar to Spielberg’s last sci-fi film, “A. I. Artificial Intelligence.”

Also expected to deliver the goods in June is the live action/cartoon version of “Scooby Doo” (June 14). Starring Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard and Linda Cardellini. The film features an animated version of everyone’s favorite Great Dane. With the production’s budget of roughly $85 million, the film’s crew hopes it does not bomb like last year’s remake of an old cartoon, “Josie and the Pussycats.”

Rounding out the rest of June’s most promising releases are “Mr. Deeds” (June 28), Adam Sandler’s newest, starring Winona Ryder as his female costar; “The Bourne Identity” (June 14), starring Matt Damon in his first action role; “Windtalkers” (June 14), a war film directed by John Woo and starring Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater and “Bad Company” (June 7), a comedy pairing Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock.

The two most anticipated films of July are sequels to two enormous franchises of the past.

The first, being released July 3 and keeping with Will Smith’s tradition is “Men in Black II.” Also starring Tommy Lee Jones, the two are back at their agency, but this time, Jones’ character has forgotten everything due to his swiped memory in the series’ first installment.

The second major sequel released in July is “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (July 26). Mike Myers returns, this time with Destiny’s Child’s Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Greene and scene-stealer Verne Troyer as the silent ­but­ deadly Mini-Me. Judging from the film’s trailer, the third installment in the series looks to be even more outrageous than its predecessors.

Rounding out July’s major releases are the Sam Mendes-directed “Road to Perdition” (July 12), starring Tom Hanks and “Halloween Resurrection” (July 19), the newest in the series and starring Busta Rhymes, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tyra Banks. Meanwhile, “Like Mike” (July 12) features Lil’ Bow Wow’s big screen debut; and “Eight Legged Freaks” (July 19) is a modern-day “Arachnophobia” with David Arquette.

Finally, August holds its own with some A-list movies. One of the most eagerly anticipated is M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to “Unbreakable,” “Signs” (Aug. 2). This time, Shyamalan directs Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix as they look into the mystery of crop circles on their farm.

Being released the same day as “Signs” is Vin Diesel’s latest, “XXX.” “XXX” should not have any problems at the box office, especially with Diesel’s recent star status from the success of last year’s “The Fast and the Furious.”

Julia Roberts is also back with Steven Soderbergh, who directed her in her Oscar-winning role in “Erin Brockovich.” This time she is in “Full Frontal” (Aug. 2), a movie shot in three weeks and also starring Blair Underwood, David Hyde Pierce, Catherine Keener, David Duchovny and Brad Pitt.

Rounding up the last of the summer films is “Possession” (Aug. 30), Gwyneth Paltrow’s newest romantic flick; “Igby Goes Down” (Aug. 2), a dark comedy starring Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Ryan Phillippe, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman; “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” (Aug. 16), a futuristic movie with Eddie Murphy; “Serving Sara” (Aug. 16), Matthew Perry’s latest and also starring Elizabeth Hurley and Cedric the Entertainer; and “Jackass: the Movie,” which­ well, the name explains itself.

Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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Campus and community news events for the week of Feb. 13, 2004.