Think Distinct

This summer's movies could withstand the drought.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.The genius of director McG's first Charlie's Angels was that it had something for almost everyone: girls kicking ass for the ladies, fetishistic costume changes for the guys, self-satire for the hip ironists, Tom Green for those who prefer less subtle humor, Crispin Glover for the weirdos, and so on. It was a movie that made no apologies for its junk-food consistency, and neither does the new one, by the looks of things. Green and Bill Murray are gone, but instead we get Bernie Mac and, uh, Demi Moore. (Sony)

The Hard Word.Australian crossover stars Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths star in this heist movie from Down Under, which looks not unlike something Guy Ritchie might make (and remember, prior to Swept Away, that wasn't perceived as such a bad thing). There's a plan; a gang is assembled, and something goes wrong -- but the cast have funny accents, which makes it different. So funny, in fact, that the movie's trailer actually spells out key lines of dialogue on screen. (Lions Gate)

July

Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde.Everybody's...um...favorite frilly Harvard Law School grad is back. Reese Witherspoon dons the pink and heads to Washington to fight for animal rights. Obviously, she begins by removing all animal products from the craft-service tables and catering trucks, and serving her Chihuahua vegan dog food. (MGM)

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.Everybody's favorite public-domain Iraqi hero returns as a two-dimensional caricature voiced, natch, by Brad Pitt. Catherine Zeta-Jones lends her pipes to the feisty sidekick chick, and Michelle Pfeiffer is the incongruous Greek goddess Eris. This is Dreamworks' only contribution to the summer screen. (Dreamworks)

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.Arnie's back, or something like that. Probably doesn't do the "nude Terminator" thing anymore though. Anyway, as the T-850 Terminator, he once again helps save humankind from those awful machines taking over the planet. Begging help are eighteen-year-old John Connor (Nick Stahl) and his girlfriend (Claire Danes), who are being hunted by femme fatale "Terminatrix" Kristanna Loken. Franchise creator James Cameron didn't need the money, so Jonathan Mostow (U-571) directs. One question: Why don't the humans send back Robert Patrick to save everyone this time? Just curious. (Warner Bros.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Sometimes a sure thing at the box office isn't necessarily nauseatingly trite. This romp from director Gore Verbinski (The Ring) looks adventurous, atmospheric and -- Geoffrey Rush excluded -- generally sex-ay. For sale is one Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings) as a lad who must team up with thickly eyelinered pirate Johnny Depp to save Keira Knightley (Bend It Like Beckham) from bad pirate Rush. Based on the Disney ride, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and certain to earn a doubloon or two. (Disney)

Capture the Castle. Based on the debut novel by One Hundred and One Dalmations author Dodie Smith, this romantic comedy sticks a couple of wealthy Americans alongside an eccentric English family living in a crumbling castle, sits back, and lets humorous situations ensue. (Samuel Goldwyn)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.Apparently, Sean Connery plays fictional adventurer Allan Quatermain here, and apparently he absolutely hated working with director Steven Norrington (Blade). Nonetheless, the movie got made, based on Alan Moore's zesty graphic novel, based in turn on classic characters such as Dr. Jekyll (Jason Flemyng), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah) and Dracula's Mina Harker (Peta Wilson). Takes place in Victorian England, thus -- like Fox's other Moore adaptation, From Hell -- shot in Prague. (Fox)

Bad Boys II.At long last, Michael Bay has come to his senses and quit with the Ben Affleck PG-13 crap. The original Bad Boys didn't get much love from critics, but it didn't need it -- this one doesn't look like it could use the help either. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as mismatched cops, with Gabrielle Union replacing Tea Leoni as the potential love interest (good call!), and a supporting cast that includes Joe Pantoliano, Henry Rollins and Peter Stormare. (Sony)

Exorcist: The Beginning.In what may just be the casting coup of the year, Stellan Skarsgård steps in as the younger version of Max von Sydow's Father Merrin, battling demons in deepest, darkest Africa. This would have been director John Frankenheimer's final film, but the old master bowed out due to ill health early in the process, to be replaced by Paul Schrader. Thankfully, actor Liam Neeson bowed out, too; for all his strengths, he's no Swede. (WB)

Johnny English.Mr. Bean seems like an unlikely James Bond type; then again, so did Mike Myers at one time. This spy spoof starring Rowan Atkinson has already been a monster hit in England, but by the looks of things, that isn't because of any kind of sophistication on the movie's part. John Malkovich plays the villain, and heck, he'd be a worthy adversary for Bond. The film's writers are similarly worthy; they actually did write the last two Bond films. (Universal)

The Magdalene Sisters. You know those "fallen women" forced into servitude by the Irish Catholic Church in the 1960s? Here's a movie about them. Written and directed by Peter Mullan. (Miramax)

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