ART MOVIES and foreign films give way in the next few weeks to movies that say summer: action adventure, light comedy, teen topics and, more than ever before, science-fiction.
Teenage meets sci-fi in seven of the twoscore movies opening in the next three months. Beef's also back in bulk this season, with iron-pumpers in leading roles in five films.
Westerns, vampires, Chevy Chase and movies with long titles also figure prominently, along with re-releases and several promising prospects for little kids and adolescents with more earthbound concerns. There are two movies about reporters, two about yuppies, three about perfect (or are they?) women, and several about spies.
(Dates are firm until mid-June, but companies are more apt to shuffle playdates as the summer moves along.)
The season officially opens on May 24 with Sylvester Stallone in "Rambo: First Blood II," which finds the feral veteran seeking MIAs in Vietnam. And James Bond returns in "View to a Kill," with Roger Moore playing the debonair 007 this time opposite villainess Grace Jones. (It seems to be a season for salt-and- pepper teams as Mel Gibson meets Tina Turner in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.")
THE THREE R'S
There will be re-releases -- the digital "Fantasia" at the revamped Avalon on May 24, "E.T." and "Ghostbusters." There'll be reunions -- "Return to Oz" on June 21 and "National Lampoon's European Vacation" on June 26. And there'll be comic remakes -- "Brewster's Millions," with Richard Pryor and John Candy, and "The Man With One Red Shoe," with Tom Hanks, Jim Belushi and Lori Singer in mid-July.
"Red Shoe" was one of two new releases shot in Washington; the other is Columbia's "St. Elmo's Fire," which bridges the ugly years between "The Breakfast Club" and "The Big Chill." Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy are among six recent college grads who learn about love and friendship "in their freshman year of life."
Chevy Chase plays an investigative reporter disguised as a beach bum, among other things, in "Fletch," which opens May 31. That leaves the following week clear for John Travolta as an investigative reporter in "Perfect." Jamie Lee Curtis plays an aerobics overachiever in this one.
Most fans, however, will be looking forward to Chase's new "European Vacation," in which the Griswald family tours the Old World. Clark Griswald is nearly killed while doing a Bavarian "Slap Dance" and the family survives a car accident. Prehistoric Stonehenge is permanently rearranged.
Chase is also an anchorman in Big Bird's movie debut, "Follow That Bird," in which the yellow guy is adopted by a family of Dodos -- Daddy, Mommy, Donny and Marie. "Bird" opens on August 16.
Other kid's adventures include Disney's "The Black Cauldron," an animated fantasy that was 10 years in the making, and "Pee- wee's Big Adventure," a tribute to childhood in which kid impersonator Pee-wee Herman sets out to recover his most prized possession.
I WAS AN ALIENATED TEENAGER
Eerie beings from other dimensions, galaxies and age groups stalk the screens, beginning with "Goonies," in which a group of teenagers go on a magical adventure. The Steven Spielberg/Richard Donner film opens June 7 with much attendant secrecy. And it is expected to be BIG.
Ron Howard's highly anticipated, first- encounter fantasy "Cocoon" opens on June 21. Intergalactic visitors return to earth to retrieve a secret buried on the ocean floor, but their mission is jeopardized by their well- meaning human allies. (Also BIG.)
Space vampires ascend in the sci-fi thriller "Lifeforce," directed by Tobe ("Poltergeist") Hooper on June 28. And in "Fright Night," a teenage boy and a TV horror show host (Roddy McDowall) stalk your average earth- type vampire.
HOW TO HANDLE A WOMAN
Dr. Frankenstein is regenerated in "The Bride," with the rock star Sting as the Doc and Jennifer Beals as the creature's fiancee.
In a teenage variation on the theme, "Weird Science," three boys create the perfect woman (Kelley LeBrock, "The Woman in Red") using their own software. Next, three teenage boys create a spacecraft out of parts from a junk yard in "The Explorers" by Joe Dante. (Also expected to be BIG.)
Spielberg produces "Back to the Future," with Michael J. Fox of TV's "Family Ties" as a young man who travels back in time to meet his parents when they were teenagers.
A less appealing parent-child relationship emerges in "D.A.R.Y.L.," a thriller about an adopted child who turns out to be a robot, which brings us to another category, films with capital letters. There are only two, the aforementioned and "BEER," the story of a young adverising executive who must find a slogan for a client.
Another for yuppies is "Key Exchange," in which a mystery writer and an up-and-coming TV producer must choose between career or commitment. Other lovers, though stranger, are Kathleen Turner and Jack Nicholson as "a couple of professional killers who make the mistake of falling in love" in "Prizzi's Honor."
Teenagers' love letters reach the wrong hands in "Secret Admirer," while English schoolgirls come of age in "Secret Places," the more promising of the two titles.
Male passages include "American Flyer," the story of two brothers (David Grant and Kevin Costner) who restore their relationship during a grueling bicycle race. And "Bad Medicine" chronicles the misadventures of a medical student (Steve Guttenberg) at a zany Latin American med school.
Women bodybuilders are featured in "Pumping Iron II" (which opens at one of the spanking new baby Keys June 7).
Brigitte Neilson debuts as the female Conan in "Red Sonja," an adventure that also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Barbarian girlfriend Sandahl Bergman. It opens July 3 along with "The Emerald Forest," a mystical adventure based on a true story from the Amazon rain forest. John Boorman directs this film about an American engineer and his son who are reunited 10 years after the boy is kidnapped by a tribe of Stone-Age Indians.
They're really back in the saddle again, beginning with "Rustler's Rhapsody," a singing cowboy spoof that opens this Friday. "Pale Rider" is next, on June 28, and "Silverado" follows on July 19, presaging a revival of the American western, after several Australian and Canadian successes in recent years.
Clint Eastwood directs, produces and stars in "Pale Rider," his first western since 1976. It takes place inthe gold rush town of LaHood, California, where a ruthless entrepreneur runs roughshod over the hopes and dreams of the honest miners. A young girl's simple prayer, "And I looked, and beheld a pale horse," coincides with the appearance of an enigmatic horseman, a nameless stranger played by Eastwood.
"Silverado," directed by Lawrence Kasdan of "The Big Chill" and "Body Heat," is a traditional story set in the 1880s. It stars Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner and Danny Glover as four reluctant heroes, with Linda Hunt as hostess of the Midnight Star saloon and Rosanna Arquette as the lovely homesteader. Jeff Goldblum, John Cleese and Brian Dennehy complete the cast. This is not a comedy, says a film spokesman.
Other dramas include "Death of an Angel," with Bonnie Bedelia as a widow in search of her daughter, a handicapped girl who has joined a cult led by a charismatic Nick Mancuso. "To Live and Die in L.A." and "The Year of the Dragon" are the only choices for fans of mean streets-type action.
And on August 23 or thereabouts, some comic relief. Rodney Dangerfield has the last laugh of the summer season in a comedy appropriately called "Back to School."