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July movies

The Clearing, King Arthur, Anchorman, De-Lovely, Sleepover, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, I, Robot, A Cinderella Story, Napoleon Dynamite, Catwoman, The Bourne Supremacy, The Manchurian Candidate, The Village, Shall We Dance?, Open Water, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Published May 20, 2004

Summer Movie Preview
[Photo: DreamWorks Pictures]
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The Clearing
King Arthur
I, Robot
A Cinderella Story
Napoleon Dynamite
The Bourne Supremacy
The Manchurian Candidate
The Village
Open Water
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Beyond the facade
The Clearing
First to snooze is winner
Sleepover is best left for its target young teen audience.
Not the storybook Arthur
King Arthur
This is bad news
It isn't pretty
The same old 'Story'
A Cinderella Story
Just call this movie 'I, Will Smith'
I, Robot
The perfect 'Sunset'
Before Sunset
'Bourne' is better the second time around
The Bourne Supremacy
Feature-length cat fight
Teen humor, piquantly sauced
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
The latest front-runner
The Manchurian Candidate
An impressive place
The Village


The Clearing - Willem Dafoe squares off against Spider-Man again but in a different movie. He plays a kidnapper with personal motives for snatching a rich businessman (Robert Redford).


King Arthur - After Hobbits, Greeks and Trojans cashed in, another version of the Knights of the Round Table legend couldn't be far behind. Clive Owen plays the titular monarch with Kiera Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean) as Guinevere. Rumored to be less mystical and more political than previous film versions. At least nobody sings.


Anchorman - Will Ferrell (Elf) gets his mojo working as an egotistical, sexist news reporter during the disco era. Film at 11, or whatever times the local theater wants to show it.

De-Lovely - Proof that the accelerated Oscar schedule will bring serious contenders earlier in the year. Kevin Kline stars as composer Cole Porter whose frisky songs were inspired by a friskier social life. Ashley Judd co-stars as his tolerant wife while Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette perform classic Porter tunes.

Sleepover - Teenage misfits challenge a popular school clique to an all-night scavenger hunt. Topping the list of items to find is a new agent.

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi - It turns out Tom Cruise wasn't the last samurai after all. Beat Takeshi (Brother) plays a sightless warrior on a mission, as all good samurais should be.


I, Robot - In 2035, a detective (Will Smith) leads the investigation of a robot servant who may have murdered his owner. An extended preview at ShoWest showcased a look borrowed from Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence and its pacing inspired byMinority Report. Not bad sources to imitate.

A Cinderella Story - Hilary Duff plays to her audience as a girl oppressed by a wicked stepmother and wishing to meet her prince at the Halloween dance. Whether the movie's a trick or treat depends upon your age.

Napoleon Dynamite - Hate the title but it's the name of the hero, a weird teenager (Jon Heder) bidding to become class president. Jared Hess' film surprised viewers at this year's Sundance Film Festival, making this a contender as the summer's cult favorite.


Catwoman - It will require more than Halle Berry in a strategically ripped costume to make this one work. Without Batman to kick around, the feline warrior settles for a corporate villain (Sharon Stone) and a sexy detective (Benjamin Bratt).

The Bourne Supremacy - Sequel to 2002's hit, The Bourne Identity, with Matt Damon reprising his CIA agent role as David Webb, a.k.a. Jason Bourne. The killer of a Chinese official frames Webb, who must clear his name to prevent a war.


The Manchurian Candidate - Oscar winner Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) updates the 1962 classic to Gulf War veterans trapped in an assassination conspiracy. Denzel Washington takes Frank Sinatra's role, Liev Schreiber combines the Lawrence Harvey and James Gregory characters and Meryl Streep should have a field day scheming in place of Angela Lansbury.

The Village - M. Night Shyamalan creeps us out again. The director of The Sixth Sense and Signs devises a 19th century community shared by humans and mysterious beings in the woods. Nobody told them good fences make good neighbors.

Shall We Dance? - A perfectly charming 1996 Japanese import gets Americanized. A bored businessman (Richard Gere) sees a dancer (Jennifer Lopez) through a window and is smitten. He begins ballroom dance lessons to be near her, leading to a feel-good finale.

Open Water - Based on a true story, this low-budget film has been favorably compared to Jaws for its story of two scuba divers stranded in shark-infested waters. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. Again.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle - Yes, like the hamburgers. Two stoners (John Cho, Kal Penn) go road-tripping for munchies. Dude, where's my ketchup?

[Last modified May 19, 2004, 11:37:25]

This Weekend


  • Postwar postscripts

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  • Food and wine events
  • Sushi goes sublime

  • Film
  • Family movie guide
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  • Independent films, documentaries and foreign imports
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  • Summer reunion

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  • Down the road
  • Mummy dearest

  • Inside information
  • Pretty in pink
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