Not So Hot...

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

Lady in the Water
Starring: Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man), Bryce Dallas Howard (Manderlay), and Freddy Rodriguez
Written and directed by: M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village)
What it's about: A lonely apartment building superintendent (Giamatti) discovers a beautiful woman (Howard) in the building's swimming pool, who turns out to be a mermaid. And there are other supernatural creatures after her...
Why you should see it: Advance word says there's no gratuitous twist ending this time. Shyamalan's a good director when he doesn't paint himself into a corner; even The Village had its moments until that terrible "surprise" finish.
Why you should not: This film's been labeled a "bedtime story." What does that even mean?

Monster House
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, and Nick Cannon
Directed by: First-timer Gil Kenan
Written by: Pamela Pettler, Dan Harmon, and Ron Schrab
What it's about: Sounds like The 'Burbs meets Poltergeist: Three kids live next door to a creepy house that turns out to be...duh-duh-dunh...a monster.
Why you should see it: Uh...uh...it's animated?
Why you should not: Have you seen the trailer? Was it made in 1992?

Super Ex-Girlfriend
Starring: Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, and Anna Faris
Directed by: Ivan Reitman (Old School)
Written by: Don Payne (The Simpsons)
What it's about: Wilson plays a normal dude who dumps the super-needy superhottie G-Girl (Thurman), who proves hell hath no fury like a superwoman scorned. In other words, what if Lois Lane broke up with Superman, and he didn't take it well? At all.
Why you should see it: Ivan Reitman directed Ghostbusters, Stripes, and Meatballs.
Why you should not: Ivan Reitman directed Father's Day and Evolution.

Drug dealers, speedboats, guns, flashy suits, bad accents, et cetera: Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell in 'Miami Vice'
Universal Pictures
Drug dealers, speedboats, guns, flashy suits, bad accents, et cetera: Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell in 'Miami Vice'

JULY 28

Barnyard
Starring: Kevin James, Courteney Cox Arquette, and Danny Glover
Written and directed by: Steve Oedekerk (Kung Pow: Enter the Fist)
What it's about: The owner of a farm leaves his animals to go udderly (that's all mine, baby) nuts when he leaves the place under their control.
Why you should not: You have to assume nobody saw this the first time, when it was called Home on the Range.
Why you should not: The only people who haven't tired of talking-animal animated movies haven't been born yet.

Flicka
Starring: Alison Lohman (Big Fish), Tim McGraw (Friday Night Lights), and Maria Bello (The Sisters)
Directed by: Michael Mayer (A Home at the End of the World)
Written by: Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner, based on the novel by Mary O'Hara
What it's about: A young girl tames wild horse in a heartbreaking attempt to win her father's love.
Why you should see it: Girls, horses, summer, love, magic.
Why you should not: If Mayer's treatment of Flicka is anything like his Home at the End of the World, we're in for a sapfest of personal triumph set to music.

I Could Never Be Your Woman
Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), and Tracey Ullmann (I Love You to Death)
Written and directed by: Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless)
What it's about: Pfeiffer plays a lady growing long in the tooth (but still looking like Michelle Pfeiffer) who falls for a younger man (Rudd). Romantic Comedy blooms all around, and Ullmann as Mother Nature gets all up in everybody's business.
Why you should see it: When Heckerling is on, she makes movies like Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Plus, Rudd is due for a role that pushes him into the big leagues, where he belongs.
Why you should not: When she's not on, Heckerling makes movies like A Night at the Roxbury, Look Who's Talking Too, and National Lampoon's European Vacation.

John Tucker Must Die
Starring: Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), Brittany Snow (The Pacifier), and Ashanti (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Directed by: Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie)
Written by: Jeff Lowell
What it's about: When a trio of hotties discover they're dating the same cad (Metcalfe), they plot to bring about his ruination (but not, despite the title, his demise).
Why you should see it: By July 28, the effects of global warming will have cooked our brains into pink paste. Perfect time for teen comedy.
Why you should not: As this is the 9,432rd movie to try and convince us that an obvious beauty is a plain Jane for the first 30 minutes, the idea could be losing a spot of freshness.

Miami Vice
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Gong Li
Written and directed by: Michael Mann (Ali, The Insider)
What it's about: Gee, lessee. Crockett and Tubbs. Drug dealers. Speedboats. Guns. Flashy suits. Bad accents. Expensive cars. Hot chicks. That about covers it.
Why you should see it: See above.
Why you should not: See above. And no Jan Hammer theme song. Rip. Off.

AUGUST 4

The Ant Bully
Starring: The voices of Zach Tyler, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, and Nicolas Cage
Written and directed by: John A. Davis (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius), based on the novel by John Nickel
What it's about: When a little boy (Tyler) takes out his frustrations on the ant hills in his yard, the bugs fight back.
Why you should see it: If you ignore the creepy undertones (to ants, a stomping kid isn't a bully, he's Osama Bin Laden), the story's got promise; Cage and Giamatti are A-list voice talent.
Why you should not: Boy, that creepy undertone seems hard to ignore. If all ants have souls and celebrity voices, that means this kid really is a mass murderer.

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