Think Distinct

This summer's movies could withstand the drought.

Blossoms of Fire. Documentary about the apparently matriarchal society of Juchitan in Oaxaca, Mexico. Homosexuals and transgenders are also treated as equals in this society, so does that mean it's the way to go? Might the world be better if women ran it? See the movie, and perhaps those answers will be revealed. (New Yorker)

Cabin Fever. Director Eli Roth's big-screen debut has a buzz surrounding it similar to that of Sam Raimi's original Evil Dead. The plot sounds similar, too, with a bunch of unsuspecting friends trapped in a cabin by a mysterious threat. The danger in this one, though, comes from a flesh-eating virus. As Joe Bob Briggs might say, "Anyone can die at any time." (Lions Gate)

Capturing the Friedmans. This documentary follows the dissolution of a seemingly typical family, following the arrest of father and son, and the subsequent ostracism of the clan by the local community. But all was not as it seemed, and as the filmmakers took a closer look, disturbing questions were raised. (Magnolia)

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.

Casa de los Babys. Who cares what this one's about? Any movie with that title has to be worth a look. Okay, turns out it's directed by John Sayles, which makes it even more of a must-see. And check out the cast: Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Mary Steenburgen and Rita Moreno. The story involves six women who go to South America to adopt babies, then find out that the law requires them to live there. (IFC)

Don't Tempt Me. An angel from heaven (Victoria Abril) and a demon from hell (Penélope Cruz) come to Earth to try to win over the soul of a boxer with a potentially fatal brain injury. Sounds totally insane, and an absolute must-see. (Fine Line)

Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary. In the beginning, there was Bram Stoker's vampire novel. Then the Royal Winnipeg Ballet turned it into a dance, scored with selections by Gustav Mahler. Canadian public television filmed this, and now it's coming to big screens here in the U.S. Mostly black and white, and entirely dialogue-free, this ain't your father's Dracula -- it's more like your great-grandfather's Dracula. After Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000, though, anything's an improvement. (Zeitgeist)

Ken Park. Self-appointed chronicler of juvenile delinquency Larry Clark teams up once again with his Kids screenwriter Harmony Korine (himself a former juvenile delinquent, currently minus only the "juvenile" part except perhaps in sensibility). The story involves skaters, but this is no Grind -- expect Clark's usual heavy doses of underage sex, violence and profanity designed to titilla...er, shock you out of your suburban naiveté. (Monograph Films)

Madison. Not the sequel to Splash, alas, but it does involve water. Christ-to-be Jim (James?) Caviezel plays an Indiana air-conditioner repairman who pilots a boat in the 1971 APBA Gold Cup Championship race. Based on a true story. (Artisan)

May. Angela Bettis, star of NBC's Carrie remake, once again plays a misfit girl who lashes out in gruesome fashion when it becomes clear that the outside world wants nothing to do with her. This black comedy-cum-slasher blew 'em away at Harry Knowles's Butt-Numb-a-Thon; Lions Gate is hoping it'll do the same for folks with more alert glutes. (Lions Gate)

The Princess Blade. Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey, Blade II) choreographed the fight scenes in this adaptation of the Japanese comic book about samurai wars in the near future. A sequel's already in the works, so presumably international audiences have grooved to the ass-kicking. (ADV Films)

Ripley's Game. Matt Damon, it seems, will grow up to be John Malkovich in this adaptation of one of author Patricia Highsmith's sequels to The Talented Mr. Ripley. Tom Ripley is older, and married, but he's still a psychopath, and given that there were two subsequent Ripley books, he presumably still gets away with it. (Fine Line)

The Secret Lives of Dentists. Alan Rudolph's latest film centers on a married pair of dentists (Campbell Scott and Judy Davis), who may not quite be telling each other the whole truth. Denis Leary gets to play angry again in his own unique fashion, as a patient who lashes out at Scott in ways the rest of us terrified dental subjects can only fantasize about. (Manhattan)

Sex Is Comedy. Of course, it is. French director Catherine Breillat, who likes to shock and arouse audiences with sex and cruelty, delivers a self-reflexive parody of her own work in this film about a female director (Anne Parillaud) determined to get her lead actors to have real sex on camera. (IFC)

The Three Marias. So, these three girls named Maria walk into a bar.... Actually, it's no joke. In this Brazilian crime drama, the three Marias are sisters out to avenge the murder of their father and brothers at the hands of one of their mom's spurned ex-boyfriends. You'll feel better about your own family reunions afterward. (Empire)

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