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Reelin' in the Summer

Here are the Joys of Summer...and the Oys of Summer, the nearly 100 movies scheduled to open between now and the end of August. Many of them may even make it to Denver.

They're listed in the order of their L.A. release:

May 30
Drunks. Peter Cohn's look at the inner workings of a twelve-step group provides funnyman Richard Lewis with his first non-comic role--excepting, of course, Robin Hood: Men in Tights. (The film originally aired on Showtime and is only now making its way to theaters.) The cast also includes Parker Posey, Faye Dunaway, Dianne Wiest, Amanda Plummer, Spalding Gray and the late Howard Rollins, Jr.

Gone Fishin'. National Lampoon's Fishing Vacation meets Lethal Weapon 3 as anglers Joe Pesci and Danny Glover tangle with jewel thieves. Director Chris Cain continues on the career arc that has already taken him from The Stone Boy to The Amazing Panda Adventure.

La Promesse. A fifteen-year-old boy tries to keep his promise to a worker whose death is the fault of the boy's father. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne wrote and directed this new French drama.

Ripe. Thelma and Louise, adolescent style. Daisy Eagan and Monica Keena are sisters who take to the road when their parents are killed. Mo Ogrodnik directed.

Rough Magic. A magician's assistant (Bridget Fonda) flees to Mexico with evidence that could convict her boyfriend of murder. Russell Crowe, Jim Broadbent and Kenneth Mars co-star.

Saint Clara. In 1999, an junior-high student discovers she has the power of prophecy. Ari Folman and Ori Sivan directed this bizarre Israeli feature.

'Til There Was You. Jeanne Tripplehorn and Dylan McDermott (of TV's The Practice) are two destined lovers who can't quite seem to meet--just like in Alan Rudolph's 1987 Made in Heaven! Scott Winant (thirtysomething) directed from a script by Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life).

Trial and Error. When a lawyer (Jeff Daniels) is too hung over to show up for his most important criminal trial, his best friend (Seinfeld's Michael Richards), an actor with improv experience, takes over for him. Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) directed.

The Van. Two out-of-work buddies in Dublin decide to open a fish-and-chips takeout business. Snapper director Stephen Frears and star Colm Meaney reunite for the film version of yet another of novelist Roddy Doyle's Barrytown novels, which were the source for The Commitments.

June 6
Bliss. Terence Stamp teaches young couple Sheryl Lee and Craig Sheffer about tantric sex. Lance Young wrote and directed.

Buddy. Rene Russo and a gorilla. Caroline Thompson wrote and directed; Francis Ford Coppola executive-produced; and Coppola look-alike Robbie Coltrane co-stars.

Con Air. Las Vegas is endangered when a plane transporting super-felons is hijacked in an escape attempt. In short, this is last January's Turbulence with a higher-profile cast--Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames and Colm Meaney. Simon West directed; Jerry Bruckheimer produced.

The Designated Mourner. Musical chairs: David Hare, primarily a playwright (Plenty), directs it; Wallace Shawn, an actor, wrote it; Mike Nichols, a director, stars in it. Nichols, Miranda Richardson and David de Keyser address the camera and recite their characters' ideas and experiences.

Hijacking Hollywood. Henry Thomas (of E.T. fame and Legends of the Fall infamy) stars as a moviemaking hopeful who moves from the Midwest to L.A., landing a gig as production assistant on Moby Dick 2. Also starring Kids in the Hall and Larry Sanders Show regular Scott Thompson and Animal House bad guy Mark Metcalf, this low-budget indie was directed and co-written by Neil Mandt.

Mouth to Mouth. An out-of-work actor takes a job at a phone-sex company in this screwball comedy from Spanish director Manuel Gomez Pereira. Javier Bardem (Jamon Jamon) and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (A Walk in the Clouds) star.

The Pillow Book. Peter Greenaway, purveyor of such family entertainment as The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, brings us this story of a woman (Vivian Wu) with a fetish for practicing calligraphy on human bodies. Ewan McGregor co-stars.

Timothy Leary's Dead. Yes, he certainly is, and more's the pity. His transition between two worlds last year is recorded for posterity in this documentary from Paul Davids, apparently right down to the removal of the doc's head.

To Have (or Not). Laetitia Mason directed this French Gen-X romance, for which star Sandrine Kilberlain won the Cesar for Most Promising Young Actress.

June 13
Salut Cousin. In a plot that recalls Cheech and Chong's Next Movie, an Algerian rube and his more sophisticated Parisian cousin hunt for a valuable suitcase.

Speed 2: Cruise Control. An ocean liner instead of a bus, Jason Patric instead of Keanu Reeves. Director Jan DeBont returns to the scene of the crime.

Squeeze. Ultra-low-budget slice of life about rowdy teens at a youth center, written and directed by Robert Patton-Spruill from his own experiences as an acting teacher.

Temptress Moon. This melodrama from mainland Chinese director Chen Kaige (Farewell, My Concubine) stars Leslie Cheung and Gong Li in a story of drugs, incest, crime, betrayal, and everything else that makes life worth living.

Ulee's Gold. Peter Fonda plays a reclusive Florida beekeeper who must re-enter the world to rescue what remains of his family. One-sentence descriptions of films from writer-director-producer Victor Nunez (Ruby in Paradise) never do them justice, but Nunez always delivers.

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