Star-Bulletin Features

MAY: In "Lilo & Stitch," above, an alien creature makes friends and learns to surf in Hawaii.

JULY: "Blue Crush," below, was filmed in the islands, with surf scenes shot at Banzai Pipeline.

Surf into summer

The hot season of 2002 brings
movies both silly and deadly serious

By David Germain
Associated Press

So many summer movies, so many question marks. Will surfing the web as "Spider-Man" make an action hero out of Tobey Maguire?

Have the people who bring you Austin Powers found a film title that won't prompt countermeasures by the people who bring you James Bond?

And will the people who brought you "Little Nicky" be burned in effigy for daring a remake of Frank Capra's "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town"?

MAY: Tobey Maguire climbs walls as "Spider-Man."

If audiences could buy nice guy Denzel Washington as a bad cop in "Training Day," can they buy nice guy Tom Hanks as a hit man in "Road to Perdition"?

Might marquees collapse under the heft of Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise's names on "Minority Report"?

And the big question: "Attack of the Clones"? Fans have heaped scorn on the B-movie title of "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," a film expected to follow its four predecessors as Hollywood's blockbuster hit of the summer.

Rick McCallum, producing partner of "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, said fans initially derided most of the series' chapter tags -- including "The Phantom Menace" and the original film's "A New Hope." They eventually embrace the titles as befitting the story lines, he said.

"That's part of the fun of it," McCallum said. "There is a group of people who are seriously deranged and who we love dearly. That's what makes 'Star Wars' work, in a strange way."

The latest chapter brings back Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala, the story picking up 10 years after the action of "Phantom Menace." The main cast addition is Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker -- the future Darth Vader -- now a Jedi knight in training.

JULY: Tom Hanks, left, and Paul Newman bring major star power to "Road to Perdition."

Obi-Wan and Anakin are assigned to protect Padme from a separatist faction, setting the stage for romance between Anakin and Padme and his eventual attitude adjustment to the dark side of the Force in Episode III.

Before Anakin jumps back into action May 16, Hollywood already will have delivered two powerhouse offerings, "The Scorpion King" and "Spider-Man."

A spinoff of "The Mummy" franchise, "Scorpion King" got the summer season off to an early start with its debut Friday. The action-packed adventure starring pro wrestler The Rock was easily the week's No. 1 box office draw.

Coming on May 3 is the franchise-in-the-making "Spider-Man," starring Maguire as comic-book hero Peter Parker, who is transformed into the agile crime-fighter after he's bitten by a mutant spider. Willem Dafoe plays the villainous Green Goblin, and Kirsten Dunst is girl-next-door Mary Jane.

Like other films adapted from beloved print sources, such as "The Lord of the Rings," "X-men" and the "Harry Potter" tales, "Spider-Man" has been under microscopic scrutiny by fans. Director Sam Raimi said he used to scan Internet buzz about "Spider-Man" but found fans' pre-emptive criticism too distracting.

"At first I was very unsettled by it," Raimi said. "These fans haven't just existed for the last seven years like fans of the 'Harry Potter' books. 'Spider-Man' has existed for 40 years. There's generations of fans.

June: Christian Slater stars in "Windtalkers," a film partly made in Hawaii.

"The thing that pulled me through is, I really loved the material myself," Raimi said. "I just stuck to what I loved about the piece and the character, and by doing so, hopefully can please the fans."

Summer sequels include Michael J. Fox's return as the voice of the beloved rodent in "Stuart Little 2"; "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams," with the family that spies together facing rival junior agents; Mike Myers' latest romp as Austin Powers, the swinging spy with rotten teeth; and "Men in Black II," with director Barry Sonnenfeld reuniting Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Here's the current lineup, subject to change, of course:

Late April

MAY: "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" is summer's likely blockbuster.

"Jason X": Archaeologists of the 25th century dig up the "Friday the 13th" maniac. Fun ensues.

"Life or Something Like It": A shallow journalist (Angelina Jolie) takes stock when a street prophet predicts her end is nigh.

"The Salton Sea": A man (Val Kilmer) falls in with unsavory characters after his wife is murdered.

"World Traveler": Billy Crudup leaves his wife and son for a soul-searching road trip. Julianne Moore co-stars.


"About a Boy": From the novel by Nick Hornby ("High Fidelity"), with Hugh Grant as a womanizer hitting on single moms.

"CQ": Roman Coppola, son of Francis Ford Coppola, makes his directing debut with the quirky tale of a '60s filmmaker. Jeremy Davies stars.

"Enough": A waitress (Jennifer Lopez) marries a rich guy who turns out to be a dangerous nut case.

"Hollywood Ending": Woody Allen as a down-and-out director who goes to work for his ex (Tea Leoni).

"The Importance of Being Earnest": Oscar Wilde's classic, with Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor and Reese Witherspoon.

"Insomnia": Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank star in a murder tale in rural Alaska. Christopher Nolan ("Memento") directs.

"Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron": Animated adventure of a wild horse that finds love and friendship in the Old West.

"Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones": Obi-Wan, Padme, Anakin and the gang are back to reveal the first glimmerings of future villain Darth Vader.

"The Sum of All Fears": Ben Affleck foils World War III as Tom Clancy's CIA analyst Jack Ryan.

"Undercover Brother": Eddie Griffin as an ultracool private eye infiltrating an anti-government conspiracy.

"Unfaithful": "Fatal Attraction" director Adrian Lyne does the adultery thing again. With Richard Gere and Diane Lane.


"Bad Company": Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock in a spy comedy about a street punk impersonating his slain secret-agent brother.

"The Bourne Identity": Matt Damon is the amnesiac spy in this thriller based on Robert Ludlum's novel.

"Cherish": Robin Tunney and Tim Blake Nelson in a thriller about a woman confined in an electronic-bracelet program and threatened by a stalker.

"Cinema Paradiso": The director's cut of the beloved Italian film adds 51 minutes of fresh footage.

"The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys": Altar boys at a Catholic school rebel against authority. Jodie Foster co-stars as a nun.

"Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood": An ensemble comic-drama with Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd and Maggie Smith.

"The Emperor's New Clothes": Ian Holm as Napoleon, down and out in Paris.

"Hey Arnold! The Movie": Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Lloyd lend voices to the big-screen debut of the TV cartoon.

"Lilo & Stitch": Animated adventure about a Hawaiian girl who befriends an alien "dog."

"Love and a Bullet": Action comedy with Naughty by Nature rapper Treach as a hit man who develops a conscience.

"Minority Report": Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg team for a sci-fi tale of psychic cops who arrest killers before crimes are committed.

"Mr. Deeds": Adam Sandler is the goodhearted, wealthy heir in a remake of "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town."

"Pumpkin": A sorority girl (Christina Ricci) has her shallow life turned around by a mentally challenged athlete.

"Scooby-Doo": The live-action version of the cartoon features Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

"Windtalkers": John Woo directs a tale about Navajo code-keepers in World War II. Nicolas Cage stars.


"Austin Powers in Goldmember": Mike Myers returns as the swinging spy and his many nemeses, including a new villain with some golden anatomy.

"Blue Crush": Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez and Matthew Davis in a surfer-girl romantic adventure filmed in Hawaii.

"The Country Bears": An estranged "all-bear" rock band reunites for a benefit. With Christopher Walken.

"Eight Legged Freaks": David Arquette and Kari Wuhrer take on Buick-size spiders.

"Halloween: Resurrection": Slasher Michael Myers puts out the welcome mat for teens spending a night in his home.

"K19: The Widowmaker": A Soviet sub commander (Harrison Ford) is at the center of a Cold War crisis. Liam Neeson co-stars.

"Like Mike": Teen rapper Bow Wow finds magical sneakers that turn him into an NBA prodigy.

"Men in Black II": Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith fight an alien beast masquerading as a lingerie model (Lara Flynn Boyle).

"Never Again": Jeffrey Tambor and Jill Clayburgh in a romance between love-scarred 50-something New Yorkers.

"Possession": Gwyneth Paltrow in a story of scholars tracing a romantic mystery involving two literary figures of a century past.

"The Powerpuff Girls Movie": The TV superheroes take to the big screen to fight mutant monkey Mojo Jojo.

"Reign of Fire": Earth gets weenie-roasted by fire-breathing monsters. Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey star.

"Road to Perdition": Tom Hanks as an Irish mob hit man seeking revenge for his wife's and son's deaths. Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") directs.

"Stuart Little 2": The rodent with Michael J. Fox's voice tries to rescue a pal (voiced by Melanie Griffith).

"Tadpole": A Sundance festival favorite about a precocious teen in love with his stepmom (Sigourney Weaver).


"The Adventures of Pluto Nash": Eddie Murphy's a lunar club owner of the future who takes on the moon mob.

"Blood Work": Clint Eastwood directs and stars in the story of a retired FBI profiler tracking a serial killer.

"Full Frontal": Steven Soderbergh's "unofficial sequel" to "sex, lies and videotape" features Julia Roberts and David Duchovny.

"A Guy Thing": Bridegroom Jason Lee wakes up with a beautiful woman (Julia Stiles) who's the cousin of his fiancee (Selma Blair).

"The Good Girl": Jennifer Aniston plays a wife whose extramarital fling turns obsessive. John C. Reilly, Tim Blake Nelson and Jake Gyllenhaal co-star.

"Igby Goes Down": A teen rebel (Kieran Culkin) hits the road. Co-starring Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes and Ryan Phillippe.

"The Master of Disguise": A man of many faces (Dana Carvey) tries to rescue his dad.

"One Hour Photo": Robin Williams is a lonely photo clerk who becomes a menace to a family.

"Signs": Farmer Mel Gibson is plagued by crop circles. From writer-director M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense").

"Simone": Al Pacino as a film director whose artificial actress becomes a Hollywood sensation.

"Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams": The pint-size agents square off against rival child spies.

"Trapped": Charlize Theron and Courtney Love star on opposite sides of a kidnap-hostage thriller.

"XXX": "The Fast and the Furious" star Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen reunite for an extreme sports spy tale.

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