Not So Hot...

Air conditioning helps as sequels and remakes compete for your summer movie dollar

JUNE 30

The Devil Wears Prada
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Adrien Grenier
Directed by: David Frankel (Entourage, Sex and the City)
Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna (Laws of Attraction) and Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex), based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger
What it's about: Big-screen adaptation of Weisberger's thinly disguised "fiction" book about working as assistant to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (Streep).
Why you should see it: Streep rarely chooses unredeemable projects.
Why you should not: Do we care how hard it is to work for a fashion magazine?

JULY 5

Little Man
Starring: Marlon and Shawn Wayans
Directed by: Keenen Ivory Wayans (Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2)
Written by: The Wayans brothers
What it's about: A digitally remastered Shawn Wayans plays a weensy little criminal mistaken for a baby by a wannabe dad (Marlon).
Why you should see it: Consider it your biennial dose of Wayans charm.
Why you should not: Perhaps you recall White Chicks?

JULY 7

The Heart of the Game
Starring: Ludacris (Crash), Devon Crosby Helms, and Maude Lepley
Directed by: Ward Serrill
What it's about: The world of high school basketball gets another documentary treatment, this one about a Seattle girls team and its irrepressible coach.
Why you should see it: The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and you are there!
Why you should not: There's no reason to believe the gender switch will help circumvent the sports-movie clichés.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley
Directed by: Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)
Written by: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio (Shrek), based on the Disneyland ride
What it's about: Bill Nighy joins the fun as supernatural part-man/part-octopus villain Davey Jones, out to collect the soul of Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) just in time to ruin the marriage plans of Will (Bloom) and Elizabeth (Knightley).
Why you should see it: Depp's Jack Sparrow is one of the most entertaining characters in cinematic history.
Why you should not: Bloom's still a stiff. And Chow Yun-Fat is in part three, not this one.

Strangers With Candy
Starring: Amy Sedaris, Matthew Broderick, and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed by: Paul Dinello
Written by: Stephen Colbert (The Daily Show), Paul Dinello, and Amy Sedaris
What it's about: A feature-film spinoff of the popular Comedy Central series starring Sedaris as a 46-year-old ex-con high school student.
Why you should see it: If you don't think Stephen Colbert knows funny, you don't know funny.
Why you should not: It could feel like one long inside joke made for those who've seen the show.

JULY 14

Pulse
Starring: Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder (Lost), and Christina Milian
Directed by: First-timer Jim Sonzero
Written by: Stephen Susco, with Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street), Tim Day, Vince Gilligan, and Ray Wright, based on the film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
What it's about: A remake of the J-horror flick Kairo: When the souls of dead kids start popping up on her server, Kristen Bell needs to seriously think about getting a firewall.
Why you should see it: Bell is fantastic as a teenage private eye on Veronica Mars, so she should be up for teen ghostbuster too.
Why you should not: If Hollywood is good at anything, it's taking a subtle, moody piece of art (like Kairo) and turning it into one long, steaming, bespangled turd.

A Scanner Darkly
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Woody Harrelson
Written and directed by: Richard Linklater, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
What it's about: In the near future, a government drug-enforcement agent (Reeves) winds up being ordered to spy on himself. Like Linklater's Waking Life, the entire movie is done in rotoscoped animation, so it's hard to tell whether or not it really counts that Winona Ryder does her first-ever nude scene.
Why you should see it: Previous Philip K. Dick-based movies: Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall...
Why you should not: ...also Paycheck, Screamers, and Impostor.

You, Me and Dupree
Starring: Matt Dillon, Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, and Michael Douglas
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo (Welcome to Collinwood)
Written by: Mike LeSieur
What it's about: Wilson's the best man in Dillon and Hudson's wedding, and when he loses his job after traveling to Hawaii for the wedding, they let him stay in their house.
Why you should see it: The Russos have estimable TV credits, including stints on Arrested Development and FX's woefully unappreciated Lucky.
Why you should not: There hasn't been a lovable Owen Wilson movie since...since...Bottle Rocket? That can't be right.

JULY 21

Clerks II
Starring: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, and Rosario Dawson
Written and directed by: Kevin Smith (Clerks)
What it's about: Dante (O'Halloran) and Randal (Anderson) are still slacking away their lives, except their 20s have turned into their 30s, and both work at fast-food joint Mooby's. In other words, this is what Kevin Smith does when his attempt at maturity (Jersey Girl) tanks, and he's left going back to the well. Again. And again.
Why you should see it: Because it's just like Clerks. With a Jason Lee cameo.
Why you should not: It really is just like Clerks.

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