Think Distinct

This summer's movies could withstand the drought.

2 Fast 2 Furious.Star Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen may have bailed on this particular franchise, but Paul Walker's still around, now directed by John Singleton and hanging with a new bald-headed ethnic sidekick in the form of Tyrese Gibson. Multiculturalism was cited as a major part of the last film's success, so the cast also includes Ludacris, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser and the simply monikered Jin. We figure it's the fast cars people like, though, and there are plenty -- as long as they crash into stuff, it's all good. (Universal)

The Eye.From Thai directors the Pang Brothers comes this tale of terror about a blind woman who receives a cornea transplant, then starts seeing things the deceased donor saw, including ghosts, visions of gore and a reflection in the mirror that is not her own. Tom Cruise owns the U.S. remake rights; see this one now so you can sneer at your friends later about how much better the original was. (Palm)

Hollywood Homicide. Ron Shelton follows his serious cop movie (Dark Blue) with a not-so-serious one that teams up yesterday's heartthrob, Harrison Ford, with current It-Boy Josh Hartnett. Ford, of course, is the hard-bitten veteran cop saddled with rookie partner Hartnett, who has a thing for yoga and New Agey beliefs. Presumably, they learn something from one another while attempting to solve a case, the nature and location of which are described in the film's cleverly alliterative title. (Sony)

Think big: HULK is coming to town.
Think big: HULK is coming to town.
Hot stuff: Justin meets Kelly in From Justin to 
Kelly.
Hot stuff: Justin meets Kelly in From Justin to Kelly.

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd. It's possibly the worst prequel idea since The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: a Dumb and Dumber movie without Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels or the Farrelly brothers (or even Trey Parker and Matt Stone, long ago attached). Nonetheless, based on the trailer, Eric Christian Olsen's Jim Carrey impersonation looks impressively dead-on. Maybe there's hope. (New Line)

Rugrats Go Wild. Those really grotesque-looking kids meet up with the globe-trotting Thornberrys in what promises to be an exotic adventure. Where else -- apart from maybe Spago -- are you going to get Tim Curry and LL Cool J in the same place? With music by Devo's zany frontman, Mark Mothersbaugh. (Paramount)

Later in June

Sweet Sixteen. English workingman's filmmaker Ken Loach (Poor Cow, Bread and Roses) delivers the story of a Scottish lad (Martin Compston) struggling to make a new home for his mother, who's newly sprung from prison. Naturally, more hard knocks await. (Lions Gate)

From Justin to Kelly.Correct us if we're wrong here, but wasn't American Idol a test of singing ability? When did the judges stop to analyze the acting talent of the contestants? Regardless, we'll all be able to judge for ourselves as winner Kelly Clarkson and finalist Justin Guarini star in this fiction film that reportedly involves a beach party. This might just put Mariah Carey's Glitter to shame -- not that it needed the help. On the other hand, screenwriter Kim Fuller did co-write the amusing Spice World. (Fox)

The Heart of Me. Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams star in this 1930s-era British romance, based on the 1953 Rosamond Lehmann novel The Echoing Grove (a better title, all things considered). Russell Crowe's imaginary friend Paul Bettany is the unfortunate fellow forced to choose between the lovely ladies. (ThinkFilm)

Whale Rider.Not actually a documentary about Lara Flynn Boyle visiting her boyfriend Jack Nicholson. Rather, based on a novel by Witi Ihimaera, it's about a young Maori girl of the Whangara tribe who must struggle against both her beloved grandfather and a millennium of patriarchal rule to prove herself as a leader. The beach-dwelling tribe learns much from the girl when she demonstrates her spiritual connection to whales. (Newmarket Films)

Respiro.Those who found themselves briefly envying Dustin Hoffman when Valeria Golino kissed him in Rain Man may take heart as the saucy Italian cuts loose here. She plays a young mother of three on a tiny fishing island whose antics lead local villagers to think her insane. Well, duh -- she's an actress. (Sony Pictures Classics)

Alex & Emma.A Rob Reiner romantic comedy allegedly based on the Dostoevsky short story "The Gambler" (more seriously adapted with Michael Gambon a few years back). Luke Wilson plays a novelist on deadline, while Kate Hudson is the stenographer who inspires him. As Wilson enacts scenes from the book in his head, Hudson morphs into multiple characters, thereby allowing the actress to try several different hairstyles and accents on for size. If she pulls it off, people may stop comparing Hudson to her mom, Goldie Hawn. (Warner Bros.)

Hulk. Hey, brother! What'cha gonna do when the largest arms in the world run wild on you? Wait, wrong Hulk. No middle-aged wrestler's biceps can measure up to those of the fifteen-foot CGI creation who runs roughshod over San Francisco in this comic-book adaptation. Audiences will be lured in by lovely Jennifer Connelly and the promise of "Hulk smash!" but director Ang Lee hopes they'll stay for a storyline he likens more to classic tragedy. Wait'll you see the mutated "Hulk dogs." Eric Bana, who did mood swings to perfection in Chopper, stars as alter-ego Bruce Banner. (Universal)

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