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Summer Movie Preview

The season of big budget bangs uses its brain.

July 23

Boy A

After spending most of his life in prison for a notorious crime, a young man (Andrew Garfield) adjusts to life on the outside.

July 25

Baghead

In a film reported to be heavier on character development than psycho-terror, two couples in a remote cabin are being watched by a potential killer. Oddly, this is a mumblecore movie (by the brothers Duplass).

Brideshead Revisited

A wildly popular '80s PBS miniseries, Evelyn Waugh's classic novel of English manners comes to the screen with Matthew Goode as Waugh's narrator and Emma Thompson as the lady of the manor.

Henry Poole Is Here

A dying man (Luke Wilson) is forced to face his religious beliefs when his neighbors begin to see Christ's face in a stain on the side of his house.

The Longshots

Although it's probably the last film people would have expected him to helm, rock star Fred Durst makes his directorial debut with the true story of the teenage girl who became the first female to play on a Pop Warner football team. Akeelah and the Bee's Keke Palmer stars, with Ice Cube as the coach.

Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America

Two Vikings lost in eleventh-century North America attempt to survive and then rebuild, while struggling to overcome their instinct toward war. Features very little dialogue and a reportedly intense rock soundtrack. Headbangers take notice.

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Director Wayne Wang (Eat a Bowl of Tea, The Joy Luck Club) returns to his indie roots with the story of an elderly man (Henry O) who comes from China to Spokane to visit his newly divorced daughter.

August 1

Choke

A sex-addicted con artist (Sam Rockwell), his deranged mother (Anjelica Huston), and a recovering chronic masturbator (Brad Henke) populate Clark Gregg's adaptation of Chuck "Fight Club" Palahniuk's novel.

Frozen River

The great Melissa Leo finally gets top billing, in filmmaker Courtney Hunt's story — a Sundance hit — of a single mother who gets involved in human smuggling on the U.S./Canada border.

August 8

Elegy

Ben Kingsley is a womanizing English professor who's slowly come unraveled by his obsessive affair with a student (Penelope Cruz). Based on a novella by Philip Roth, with Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson.

Towelhead

A love-it-or-loathe-it film from Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under) about a thirteen-year-old Lebanese-American girl (Summer Bushil) who encounters racism and sexual abuse when she moves to Houston. With Aaron Eckhart.

August 22

Crossing Over

Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and Summer Bushil crash into each other in director Wayne Kramer's multi-story exploration of life in immigrant Los Angeles.

STUDY ABROAD: The summer in foreign film

May 30

The Unknown Woman

Cinema Paradiso director Giuseppe Tornatore's complex thriller about a Ukrainian woman (Kseniya Rappoport) with a tragic past but questionable motives who insinuates herself into the life of a young Italian family.

June 6

Mongol

This recent foreign film Oscar nominee recounts the early years of Genghis Khan, the mighty twelfth-century warrior and conqueror of all he surveyed.

June 27

Elsa & Fred

Manuel Alexandre and China Zorilla star as two seventy-something neighbors who fall in love and travel to Italy to re-enact the Trevi Fountain scene from Fellini's La Dolce Vita.

The Last Mistress

Director and provocateur Catherine Breillat (Fat Girl) heads to nineteenth-century France, where a young nobleman (Fu'ad Ait Aattou) tries to shake his obsession with his longtime mistress (Asia Argento, 2008's most prolific actress).

Tell No One

In this Cesar Award-winning French adaptation of an American novel by Harlan Coben, François Cluzet stars as a pediatrician under suspicion of murder.

August 15

A Girl Cut in Two

Reportedly inspired by the 1906 murder of New York architect Stanford White, this thriller by French director Claude Chabrol concerns a TV reporter (Ludivine Sagnier) torn between two charismatic and possibly treacherous men (Benoit Magimel and François Berleand).

JUST THE FACTS: The summer in docs

May 30

Bigger, Stronger, Faster

The war over steroids in sports, as experienced by filmmaker Christopher Bell and his pro-wrestler and pro-lifter brothers, both unapologetic juicers.

June 11

Encounters at the End of the World

Werner Herzog, who knows a thing or two about living life to the extreme, heads to Antarctica to meet the researchers who man one of the world's most remote science stations.

June 13

Chris & Don: A Love Story

In this moving documentary, artist Don Bachardy looks back on his forty-year relationship with writer Christopher Isherwood, whose Berlin Stories inspired the musical Cabaret.

My Winnipeg

Utilizing his signature mix of silent film, animation and delightfully weird melodrama, Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin composes a love letter to his Canadian home town.

The Sky Turns

After 35 years away, filmmaker Mercedes Alvarez returns to the tiny Spanish village where she was the very last child to be born.

June 27

Gunnin' for That #1 Spot

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch tracks eight high-school basketball players — NBA contenders all — as they prepare for a showcase game in Harlem's legendary Rucker Park.

Trumbo

This tribute to blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Roman Holiday, Johnny Got His Gun) written by his playwright son, Christopher, features readings by Joan Allen, Kirk and Michael Douglas and Paul Giamatti.

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