Summer Movie Guide - July
By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 14, 2004; Page H02
Who's Who: Robert Redford, Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe star.
What's What: Dutch-born Pieter Jan Brugg turns from producing such classy, complex fare as "The Insider," "Bulworth" and "The Vanishing" (the good one, not the American remake) to directing for the first time, with a psychological thriller about a businessman (Redford) whose kidnapping leads to the revelation of secrets. (July 2)
Who's Who: Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd and Jonathan Pryce star. Irwin Winkler directs. Jay Cocks writes.
What's What: Accompanied by a ghostly "This Is Your Life"-style emcee (Pryce), aging songwriter Cole Porter (Kline) looks back at his life, career and romantic entanglements -- or at least a highly structured, stage-musical version of them. With a great performance by Ashley Judd as the bisexual composer's long-suffering wife, and with beautifully integrated performances of Porter's music by such contemporary singers as Elvis Costello, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Diana Krall, "De-Lovely" is less, yet so much more, than a slavishly factual biography. (July 2)
AMERICA'S HEART AND SOUL
Who's Who: Louis Schwartzberg directs.
What's What: Ordinary Americans are profiled in this cross-country documentary travelogue. (July 2)
Who's Who: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star. Richard Linklater directs and writes (with Hawke and Delpy).
What's What: Linklater's sequel to his 1995 romance, "Before Sunrise," about finding love on the train to Vienna, picks up nine years later, when the characters played by Hawke and Delpy run into each other again in Paris. (July 2)
Who's Who: Emmanuelle Beart stars.
What's What: A French World War II war widow (Beart) flees Paris with her 13-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, taking refuge in an abandoned house with the assistance of a mysterious and sexually attractive teenage boy. (July 2)
I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD
Who's Who: Clive Owen, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Malcolm McDowell and Charlotte Rampling star.
What's What: A retired crook (Owen) gets back in the game while investigating the suspicious death of his brother. (July 2)
Who's Who: Clive Owen, Keira Knightley, Stephen Dillane and Stellan Skarsgard star. Antoine Fuqua directs.
What's What: A couple of things about this period piece hint that it ain't your father's "Knights of the Round Table."1. Producer Jerry "Boom Boom" Bruckheimer. 2. Director Fuqua, known for "Training Day" and other red-meat fare. 3. Knightley, whose tattooed Guinevere looks, from press photos, like something out of "Xena: Warrior Princess." (July 7)
Who's Who: Alexa Vega stars.
What's What: Call it "Mean Girls" lite. A team of uncool middle-schoolers competes with the Queen Bees in an all-night scavenger hunt for dibs on the best cafeteria table. (July 9)
ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY
Who's Who: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carell and Fred Willard star. Adam McKay directs and writes (with Ferrell).
What's What: Expect a blend of the stupid and the surreal in this 1970s-set script by former "Saturday Night Live" head writer McKay and his pal Ferrell -- a hot ticket since "Old School" and "Elf" -- playing a boorish, sexist television news anchor threatened by an upstart female reporter (Applegate). (July 9)
BUKOWSKI: BORN INTO THIS
Who's Who: John Dullaghan writes and directs.
What's What: Hard-drinking, hard-living poet and counterculture icon Charles Bukowski is the subject of a documentary. (July 9)
THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR
Who's Who: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger and Mimi Rogers star. Tod Williams writes and directs.
What's What: Novelist John Irving's plots must be getting too big to fit in a single film. Like 1998's "Simon Birch," a radical condensation of Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany," "The Door in the Floor" is based on the author's "A Widow for One Year" -- but only the book's first half. Writer-director Williams ("The Adventures of Sebastian Cole") tells the story of a couple (Bridges and Basinger) coming to terms with the deaths of their two sons. (July 14)
A CINDERELLA STORY
Who's Who: Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray star.
What's What: Like "Ella Enchanted" and "The Prince & Me," "A Cinderella Story" attempts to freshen up the old fairy tale by replacing the fairy godmother with an Internet hookup. (July 16)
Who's Who: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Chi McBride, Bruce Greenwood and James Cromwell star.
What's What: In this CGI-heavy adaptation of Isaac Asimov's 1950 sci-fi yarn, Smith, assisted by cyborg-psychologist Moynahan, plays a Chicago cop, circa 2035, investigating the murder of a scientist with a robot as the prime suspect. (July 16)
Who's Who: Stacy Peralta directs and writes (with Sam George).
What's What: Documentarian Peralta explores the roots and history of American surf culture. (July 16)
Who's Who: Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott direct.
What's What: Abbott and Achbar (co-director of the acclaimed, left-leaning "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media") cast jaundiced eyes on corporate power. (July 16)
Who's Who: Ferzan Ozpetek directs and writes (with Gianni Romoli).
What's What: A woman in a humdrum marriage becomes close to the elderly man that her husband has taken in. (July 16)
THE BOURNE SUPREMACY
Who's Who: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen and Julia Stiles star.
What's What: "The Bourne Identity" director Doug Liman settles into the producer chair here, handing over the reins of the sequel about a professional killer/recovering amnesiac (Damon) and the woman who loves him (Potente) to "Bloody Sunday" writer-director Paul Greengrass. (July 23)
Who's Who: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt and Sharon Stone star.
What's What: It's all purrr-fectly infuriating. How did the beloved character known to every DC Comics fan as Selina Kyle turn into someone called Patience Philips? And where's Batman -- not to mention the rest of Catwoman's costume? Is she a superhero or a villain? What happened to Gotham City, for that matter? And what is French director Pitof's whole name? Meee-ow! (July 23)
Who's Who: Nuri Bilge Ceylan writes and directs.
What's What: An Istanbul commercial photographer (Muzaffer Ozdemir) frets about gulfs -- the one between his artistic ideals and his need to make a living and the one between him and his ex-wife. (July 23)
TIME OF THE WOLF
Who's Who: Isabelle Huppert, Beatrice Dalle and Patrice Chereau star.
What's What: I'd like to respect the wishes of one Internet user, who warned that "even a three-word summary can ruin" this special little film, but I've got to say something: A woman and her family show up at their country home to find it occupied by strangers. There, and I didn't even say anything about global cataclysm. (July 23)
A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Who's Who: Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Dallas Roberts and Sissy Spacek star. Michael Mayer directs. Michael Cunningham writes.
What's What: Adapted by "The Hours" writer Cunningham from his 1990 book about a love triangle, theater director Mayer's film debut probes the dynamic between Bobby Morrow (Farrell), his older girlfriend (Wright Penn) and his gay childhood friend (Roberts). (July 30)
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
Who's Who: Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight star. Jonathan Demme directs.
What's What: Neither Streep nor Washington had even seen John Frankenheimer's 1962 film before embarking upon Demme's version, updated from the Korean War to Operation Desert Storm. Their performances, as the domineering mother of a presidential candidate and an Army major who suspects that the woman's son (Schreiber) is being manipulated, will be unencumbered by comparisons with Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra -- at least in their eyes. (July 30)
METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER
Who's Who: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky direct.
What's What: The filmmakers of "Brother's Keeper" and "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" look at the behind-the-scenes bickering and therapy sessions of the heavy-metal band Metallica. (July 30)
SEDUCING DR. LEWIS
Who's Who: Jean-Francois Pouliot directs.
What's What: French Canadian yahoos attempt to seduce a cosmopolitan doctor from Montreal into setting up shop on their remote island in this comedy, nominated for several Genie Awards at the most recent edition of what is considered the Canadian Oscars. (July 30)
A THOUSAND CLOUDS OF PEACE
Who's Who: Julian Hernandez writes and directs.
What's What: A gay teenager pines for a former lover in this Mexican drama. (Aug. 27)
Who's Who: Bill Paxton, Anthony Edwards, Sophia Myles and Ben Kingsley star. Jonathan Frakes directs.
What's What: "Star Trek: The Next Generation" actor-turned-director Frakes cut his teeth helming movies spun off of the "Trek" TV franchise, so he might be the logical choice for this live-action version of the cult British TV series from the 1960s, which featured puppets playing a family of intrepid rescue pilots. (July 30)
What's What: Using flashback, director von Trotta revisits the World War II-era protest by Aryan women to save their Jewish husbands, who, despite assurances that the men would be immune from persecution, were imprisoned by the Nazis. (July 30)
HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE
Who's Who: John Cho and Kal Penn star.
What's What: The title says it all: A pair of twenty-something waste products hit the road in search of burgers. Duuude. (July 30)
MARIA FULL OF GRACE
Who's Who: Joshua Marston writes and directs.
What's What: Desperate to escape her country, a Colombian girl (Catalina Sandino Moreno) agrees to transport illegal drugs to New York in her stomach. (July 30)
ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE
Who's Who: Robert Kane Pappas produces, writes and directs.
What's What: Documentarian Pappas targets Orwellian doublespeak. (July 30)
Who's Who: Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, Bryce Dallas Howard and William Hurt star. M. Night Shyamalan writes and directs.
What's What: Something wicked this way comes, just beyond the city limits, in Shyamalan's closely guarded tale of a small, 19th-century town hemmed in by an unnamed malevolent presence. But what? And is it "Sixth Sense" spooky or "Signs" supernatural? (July 30)
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