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Sink or Swim?

Although “Spider-man” is as close to a sure-fire hit as possible, the same cannot be said about the rest of this summer’s lot. Go ahead—judge for yourselves

20TH CENTURY FOX

Unfaithful (May 10): As his hair gradually turns a whiter shade of gray, Richard Gere’s name has increasingly become synonymous with overly sentimental and painfully earnest “adult relationship” movies. The question is, did Gere learn his lesson after the astoundingly unsuccessful Autumn in New York? Things aren’t looking promising, as his latest effort explores the disintegration of a marriage destroyed by an obsessive affair and asks whether a marriage infected by deceit, guilt and anger can “find a way to recover.”

Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (May 16): So the title sounds like an amateur B-grade horror movie and sure, Jar Jar Binks makes his return as the most annoying character ever captured on celluloid, but nothing could deter die-hard fans from this latest installment in George Lucas’ Star Wars saga. Luke is still but a glint in his father’s eye as Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen pursue their ill-fated love affair between battles with Jedi Rebel Dooku and his band of cloned droids. Will the “force” of photogenic actors overcome the dark side of a potentially plotless prequel? As Yoda might say, “Wait you must...no more will I tell you today.” -AEL

COLUMBIA

Stars and sequels galore! In additon to Spider-Man, Columbia’s releases include Jennifer Lopez in Enough (May 24), Adam Sandler in Mr. Deeds (June 28), Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black II (July 3), Stuart Little II and Vin Diesel in XXX (Aug. 2). -MFK

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DISNEY/TOUCHSTONE

Bad Company (June 7): In this year’s mismatched cop genre entry, Chris Rock plays a street hustler whose Harvard-educated CIA agent twin dies in the line of duty. Partnered with Anthony Hopkins, Rock joins the CIA to help solve the case his brother died working on. Helmed by the director that ruined the Batman franchise, this film is hardly going to be a masterpiece—the best one can hope for is that Hopkins’ and Rock’s presences raise this film above mediocrity.

Lilo and Stitch (June 21): Though they abandoned their typical animated formula for last year’s poorly grossing Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Disney returns to standard form with the misadventures of Stitch, a fugitive alien who hides from the law in Kauai. Once on earth, he finds his way into a pound and is soon adopted by a young girl, Lilo. Crazy antics ensue.

Reign of Fire (July 12): In the not too distant future dragons emerge from London and begin to set fire to the world, establishing their dominance over humans. Mankind’s only hope is a group of dragon slayers led by Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale. This sounds like a tired old formula that has been done a thousand times and that’s probably what this film will be. On the upside, if the apocalypse does strike, London is a fitting place for it to begin.

Signs (Aug. 2): The newest film from the writer/director of The 6th Sense and Unbreakable, Signs stars Mel Gibson as a man whose life is changed after a 500 hundred foot design mysteriously appears in his crops. Hopefully Signs will be an improvement on Unbreakable, giving us a satisfying if unspectacular movie going experience. - VAB

DREAMWORKS SKG

Minority Report (June 21): As if to clean up the fiasco that was A.I., Steven Spielberg’s latest jaunt into sci-fi goes all-out, Indiana Jones-style. Based on the short story by science fiction guru Philip K. Dick, Minority Report is set in 2054 Washington, D.C., where a psychic method called Pre-Crime witnesses, verifies, arrests and convicts murderers before they even commit their crime. But when the head of the Pre-Crime division (Cruise) is accused of the murder of a man he hasn’t even met yet, he finds himself being stalked by a fellow officer (Colin Farrell)—talk about undermining infrastructure and public trust. Premise, stars, Spielberg—Minority Report has all the ingredients for success.

Road To Perdition (July 12): “Pray for Michael Sullivan.” So commands the mysterious tagline on the website for Road to Perdition, the sophomore film of Sam Mendes (American Beauty). Tom Hanks, in one of his less family-friendly roles, is the eponymous Michael Sullivan, a hit man who seeks revenge after he is betrayed and half of his family decimated. If the 1998 graphic novel of the same title by Max Allan Collins is any indication, the film should feature some stunning cinematography of noir-era Chicago. -TIH

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