Articles: Ultimate Summer Movie Guide!




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Laurence Washington

  You've been waiting for them and they are the summer films slated for release between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Keeping with its usual summertime tradition, Hollywood is rolling out big-budget sequels, like Mission Impossible, The Flintstones and the Nutty Professor that at one time were big-budgeted remakes. But that's Hollywood folks. Speaking of the Hollywood system, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy have starring roles in major motion pictures this summer, and Keenen Ivory Wayans is at the helm again as director as African-Americans are getting more functional roles in Hollywood. There's nothing else to say 'cept, "Roll 'Em!"

  Tom Cruise and Ving Rhams blow the roof off the beginning of summer reprising their roles as IMF agents in Mission: Impossible 2. Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin star as everyone's favorite Stone Age buddies Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble in The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas. Forest Whitaker and John Travolta are in the futuristic Earth where man is an endangered species in Battlefield Earth. The computer wizards at Disney take moviegoers on a spectacular journey in the live action/animation adventure Dinosaur. Jackie Chan kicks his way through the wild, wild west this summer fighting gunslingers while trying to rescue a kidnapped Chinese princess (Lucy Liu) in Shanghai Noon.

BEST BET: Dinosaur
How So?: Disney pics are usually better than the average bear. In this case, Dinosaur. Plus Labor Day pictures are the flicks fans anticipate to be the best of the summer fair, and Disney isn't in the habit of placing losers on such an important day when the world is watching.
Prediction: It won't slip through the cracks. Disney projects make money.

     FBI agent Martin Lawrence impersonates a crass Southern granny to save Nia Long from bad guys in Big Momma's House. Rubber face Jim Carrey stars as a State Trooper suffering from a split-personality disorder in the comedy Me, Myself and Irene. Robert De Niro and Jason Alexander star as those villainous Pottsylvania spies Fearless Leader and Boris Badenov in the live-action/animated comedy The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle. George Clooney and Allen Payne are caught in a "Force Twelve" storm in the thriller The Perfect Storm. Bruce Willis magically meets himself as an 8-year-old child in Disney's The Kid. Kenneth Branagh swears an oath to give up women for three years and devote himself to studying philosophy in the Shakespere comedy set in the 1930s Love's Labour's Lost. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Claire Forlani go from hating to dating in the romantic comedy Boys And Girls. A rebellious teenager named Cale (voice of Matt Damon)embarks on an adventure through space to find a legendary spacecraft in the animated feature Titian A.E. Delroy Lindo stars with Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie in the high stakes carjacking caper Gone In Sixty Seconds.

BEST BET: Big Momma's House
How So?: Martin Lawrence has really come into his own lately and has become a bigger box office draw than Eddie Murphy or Chris Rock.
Prediction: Even though the trailers look funny and Lawrence is a hoot in drag, after Toosie, every flick in this genre seems to be predicable. However, predictably is a good thing, because the filmmakers have to protect the box office receipts.

     Samuel L. Jackson won't cop-out when there's danger all about in Shaft. Donning long white hair and eerie opaque eyes, Halle Berry stars as the merry-Marvel Comic mutant Storm and Patrick Stewart stars as Professor X leader of the uncanny X-Men. Eddie Murphy stars as the large and lovable Sherman Klump the comedy sequel Nutty Proffessor II: The Klumps. Gene Hackman plays a professional football coach who is seeking out players who play with their hearts, not their wallets when the league goes on strike in The Replacements. Keenen Ivory Wayans directs Carmen Electra and Regina Hall in the slasher spoof Scary Movie. Mekhi Phifer stars with well-respected scientist Gary Sinise who wakes one morning to discover he's suddenly public enemy number-one in Impostor. Jude Law plays a lady killer who is aiding the police in the search for a serial killer in The Wisdom of Crocodiles.

BEST BET: Nutty Proffessor II: The Klumps
How So?: Eddie Murphy still draws strong box office receipts which he proved with The Nutty Professor and Doctor Dolittle.
Prediction: The X-Men and Shaft are going to give the Prof. A run for his money. All three flicks have presold audiences. But if the X-Men turn out to be hokey and audiences don't buy Samuel L. Jackson as the smooth super sleuth, John Shaft -- Murphy might score a knock out as July's box office champ.

     Singer/actor Usher Raymond rides the rugged range with James Van Der Beek and Dylan McDermott against ruthless renegade outlaws in Texas Rangers. Tyra Banks stars as one of the sexy young women who tantalize customers at Coyote Ugly, the hottest bar in town. Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones are retired hot shot 1950s test pilots who finally get their chance to blast off into space when a satellite Eastwood designed is about to slam into Earth 42 years later in Space Cowboys. Brendan Fraser plays a nerdy technical advisor who makes a deal with the devilish Elizabeth Hurley to become rich, powerful and sexy in Bedazzled. Burt Reynolds and Richard Dreyfess are fossilized former wiseguys who scheme to save their retirement residence in The Crew. Former hairdresser Alan Rickman finds himself in hairdressing mayhem and foul play in the comedy Blow Dry. Jamie Foxx stars in the action comedy, Bait.

BEST BET: Texas Rangers
How So?: OK, so Texas Rangers is more of a long shot than a best best. But after She's All That and Light It Up, the third time as to be a charm for Raymond Usher. Plus, a good Saturday afternoon shoot 'em up always makes great movie fair.
Prediction: Should arrest the August competition.

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