Movie shorts for the week of July 13


JulY 15, Friday:

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’— It’s not a remake’—they promise!…It’s hard to imagine a more interesting and creepy Willy Wonka than Gene Wilder, but Johnny Depp will certainly give it a try in this new take on the classic Roald Dahl story by director Tim Burton.

Wedding Crashers’— It’s rare that a summer goes by without a romantic comedy with the word ‘Wedding’ in the title, and this year’s entry stars Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Christopher Walken.

Happy Endings’— Don Roos’ ensemble comedy is more in the vein of his first film (The Opposite Of Sex) than his last (Bounce). Lisa Kudrow, Laura Dern, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jesse Bradford star.

The Reception’— This dramedy finds a woman (and her new husband) visiting her mother (and her mother’s gay companion).

The Warrior’— Finally escaping the Miramax vaults is this drama about a lone warrior in ancient India.

JulY 22, Friday:

Hustle & Flow’— Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love crunk…Terrence Dashon Howard stars as a pimp who dreams of making it big as a rapper (which presumably carries more prestige than pimping) in this drama, which was a hit at Sundance.

Bad News Bears’— Although it certainly doesn’t seem necessary to remake Michael Ritchie’s beloved 1976 comedy about the world’s worst little league team ‘— and the world’s worst little league coach (Walter Matthau) ‘— the fact that this new version stars Billy Bob Thornton and is directed, oddly enough, by Richard Linklater (Before Sunset) gives us a faint glimmer of hope.

The Devil’s Rejects’— Rob Zombie makes his second attempt at directing with this House of 1000 Corpses horror sequel.

The Island’— Michael Bay’s futuristic thriller stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as clones on the run, because… well, that’s what clones do.

9 Songs’— Michael Winterbottom finds pornography and concert documentary a good match as this drama intersperses the graphic sexual escapades of a young couple with footage of the nine concerts they attend during those moments when their clothes are on. The titular songs come from bands such as Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Franz Ferdinand and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

The Edukators’— In this German drama, three teenage activists find their mission to change the world interrupted by a love triangle and a kidnapping.

Last Days’— Gus Van Sant’s drama ‘— very loosely based on Kurt Cobain’s suicide ‘— follows the final hours of a successful but disturbed musician’s life.

Monumental’— Kelly Duane’s documentary examines the many successes achieved by environmental activist David Brower. It utilizes a great deal of footage shot by Brower himself.

November’— This psychological thriller offers a departure for Courteney Cox-Arquette, who stars as a photographer whose grasp of sanity begins to loosen after her boyfriend is killed in a robbery.

In Theaters:

Fantastic Four ‘­’— Whatever outer-space radiation doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger … or stretchy or invisible or flammable. That’s what happens to scientists Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), and Susan (Jessica Alba) and Johnny Storm (Chris Evans). When they get back to Earth, they kick butt as the titular team of superheroes.

Dark Water ‘— Perhaps Jennifer Connelly should have had an inspection done before she moved into her new apartment, because evil liquid leaking through the ceiling is enough to keep a person up at night. Or kill them.

Bewitched ‘— Bothered and bewildered …It’s not quite a remake of the classic television sitcom, but rather, a movie about a remake of the classic television sitcom. No, Charlie Kaufman didn’t write the script ‘— that job fell to Nora Ephron, who also directs. Will Ferrell stars as the actor playing Darrin Stephens, and Nicole Kidman stars as the actress in the Samantha role. The catch: she’s not just playing a witch; she really is one.

George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead ‘— This is the fourth film in Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead series of zombie films, and the first since 1985’s Day Of The Dead.

War Of The Worlds ‘— Mars attacks … Steven Spielberg is the latest to take a stab at adapting HG Wells’ invading Martians story. Considering that Tom Cruise’s name will be joining Spielberg’s on the posters, we’re guessing he’ll be quite successful at it.

Rebound ‘— It’s the junior high basketball comedy you always dreamed of… Although the list of basketball movies is short, this Martin Lawrence comedy (which finds our hero as a fired college basketball coach taking a job coaching at a junior high) probably places somewhere near The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh in the final rankings.