Blockbustin’ in the U.S.A.

Summer movies may keep us from going crazy from the heat

Well, then, we missed our two days of spring and are sweating away in another Chico summer. Pretty much the only recourse to escape the heat is to troll the aisles of Safeway or take in a couple of flicks at McCinema. And looking over this summer’s menu, I’m tempted to say that the produce section looks particularly inviting.

Already out
After inexplicably dominating the top of the bestseller lists for nigh on three years, The Da Vinci Code finally makes it to the screen. With the atrocious writing eliminated from the equation, what’s left should be perfectly entertaining popcorn fodder. Not to mention it’s directed by the always reliable Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks and that chick from Amélie.

If you’d prefer to shield the kiddies from the blasphemous, there’s also the option of Over the Hedge, an animated adaptation from Dreamworks of a comic strip no one has ever heard of. Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell and others voice the misadventures of a group of forest critters coping with the encroachment of suburbia into their territory.

If you want to just mess with the kids’ heads, you can shepherd them on over to See No Evil, the R-rated splatterfest about a group of teens being terrorized in an abandoned hotel by WWE’s Kane.

Out this weekend
The good news? There’s a new X-Men movie. The bad news? It’s directed this time around by Brett Ratner, he of the Rush Hour franchise. Things—including the Golden Gate Bridge—blow up real good.

June 2
With The Break-Up, we get to give the rumored chemistry between Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston a trial run as they face off as a newly estranged couple each engaging in head games in order to compel the other to give up and move out of their shared condo.

June 6 (aka 6.6.6)
Dude, the date was too perfect not to remake this horror chestnut. In The Omen, Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles are dismayed to find that their adopted little darling is actually the Anti-Christ. This one looks to be a shot-by-shot remake of the 1976 original, so one also has to wonder if it was all that compelling to begin with.

June 9
Well, they finally got around to doing A Prairie Home Companion movie (directed by Robert Altman), wherein Garrison Keillor is joined by Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep and other A-listers as we go backstage behind the popular radio show.

On the other hand, we have the new Pixar entry, Cars, an animated family fest about … cars. It’s Pixar, so it won’t suck, but seriously, anthropomorphized cars? The whole NASCAR nation thing is getting out of hand. Take a walk, please.

June 16
Following up the inexplicable cult fave Napoleon Dynamite, director Jared Hess here takes to the mat with Nacho Libre, in which Jack Black dons tights and a mask and takes to the wrestling ring in order to save an orphanage.

In the other corner, we have a choice between dudeage and weepage: the third entry in the knuckleheaded but fun Fast and the Furious franchise called Tokyo Drift, and The Lake House, with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock playing time-disadvantaged lovers sharing the same house.

June 21
Adam Sandler is back. This time he has a remote chance of being amusing in Click, playing a workaholic father who comes into possession of a universal remote that truly is what it claims to be.

If you’re looking for bullets and blood and a thumpin’ hip-hop soundtrack, we’ve got Waist Deep, in which an ex-con on parole risks everything to reclaim his son from thugs who’ve car-jacked him. Word.

And for some reason, they’ve made another Garfield movie. This one’s called A Tale of Two Kitties, and my fingers cramped just typing that.

June 30
Bryan Singer bailed on the X-Men franchise to direct Superman Returns. This time around, Superman drops by Metropolis to find that Lois Lane has a kid and Kevin Spacey has shaved his head.

For the non-fanboys, there’s The Devil Wears Prada, a comedy about a young lady who goes to work under an evil-minded editor played by Meryl Streep.

July 7
A Scanner Darkly is an oddball approach to the Philip K. Dick classic, shot in the style of those annoying animated insurance ads. It used to be called rotoscoping back when Ralph Bakshi made an annoying version of Lord of the Rings, where they film the action and then animate over it—why?

Captain Jack Sparrow is back with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and there’s another on the way. Give Disney more money … although that’s infinitely preferable to giving the Wayans brothers more money, as they clock in with Little Man, in which Marlon goes all CGI to portray a midget pretending to be an adopted child in order to gain access to stashed booty.

July 14
In yet another Hollywood attempt to find the vibe that makes Japanese horror so creepy, we get a remake of Pulse, in which the spirits of the dead download themselves out from computers, with apocalyptic results.

An even more frightening scenario plays out in You, Me and Dupree, as Owen Wilson crashes the honeymoon of his best friend. Eep. Although it’s helmed by the folks that brought us Arrested Development, so there’s hope.

July 21
He’s baaaack. M. Night Shyamalan’s little spooker is called Lady in the Water (starring Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard) and it’s about … umm, a lady in the water. I already know too much about it, so I’ll leave it at that.

For the kiddies, we have an early Halloween with the animated Monster House, in which a trio of kids discovers that that creepy ol’ house has an appetite for little kids.

If you haven’t had enough of the Wilson brothers, Luke weighs in with My Super Ex-Girlfriend, in which he discovers, to his dismay, that the woman he has scorned is actually a superhero, and not a very forgiving one at that.

July 28
Michael Mann cannibalizes his past as he returns to Miami Vice, this time around with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as the fashinista cops. Hopefully, there will be no Phil Collins on the soundtrack. We’re past that now, right? Please?

Barnyard is an animated film about cows. Talking cows. From the guy who brought you Jimmy Neutron. Whee.

And when three girls attending different high schools discover that they are dating the same dude, they decide that John Tucker Must Die and go all mean girl on his ass.

August 4
Well, when you mix NASCAR with Will Ferrell, you pretty much have box office gold. With Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, it however remains to be proven whether Ferrell will deliver with comedy gold, as his track record hasn’t been all that hot lately.

And proving that karma can be instant, The Ant Bully finds a nasty-minded little boy shrunk down to ant-size after he floods a colony with his squirt gun.

August 9
Well, United 93 served as the lightning rod for the “Is it too soon?” crowd as far as the post-9/11 features goes, but now it’s Oliver Stone homing in with World Trade Center, featuring Nicolas Cage as one of a pair of cops trying to free themselves from the rubble. I’m sure they’ll find a point for making this movie in there somewhere.

And, oh my, if you haven’t had your superhero fill yet, now we have Zoom. With Tim Allen, no less. A young girl discovers that her father is … yeah.

August 18
Oooh, choices for a change! Here we have Matt Dillon getting all seedy in Factotum, an adaptation of the Charles Bukowski novel. Expect lots of booze and easy women in sleazy dives. In Clerks II, we rejoin the guys as they have to get a life after all these years.

Meanwhile, we also have the movie I’ve been waiting all year for, Snakes on a Plane, a.k.a. SoaP. Think about it. An action movie starring Samuel L. Effin’ Jackson called Snakes on a Plane. Savor the moment: Cue to Sam in the cockpit, mike in hand: “There’s snakes. On the mutha-effin’ plane!”

Seriously, how do you beat this? This sick puppy is gonna be the best blockbuster of the season. Or effin’ evah.

That’s it. The season is officially over with this one.