Drama, chills and thrills hit theaters this summer

By Collegian Staff

THE MATRIX: RELOADED – The long-awaited newest Matrix installment brings back Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne as rebels who discover that they have 72 hours to find Zion and destroy its inhabitants. The film introduces new characters, like Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Niobe as well as new conflicts and high-energy action. (May 15)

THE ITALIAN JOB – In what looks to be the next big action movie, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green and others take on Edward Norton and his buddies after he rips them off after a heist. This movie looks like it could be the next “Snatch.” With a great cast, and a fast paced plot, this looks to be a big summer movie. (May 30)

WRONG TURN -“Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’s” Eliza Dushku leads the cast of pretty young things targeted by a band of deformed, inbred cannibals when they make, well, a wrong turn in rural West Virginia. The legendary Stan Winston is handling make-up, and yes, this is yet another film that supposedly mimics late 70s shockers (“House of 1000 Corpses” and this fall’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake being the others). (May 30)

PROZAC NATION – The Miramax release, based on the best-selling Elizabeth Wurtzel novel, has an all-star cast. Christina Ricci, Jason Biggs, Jessica Lange, Anne Heche and Dawson’s Creek alum, Michelle Williams star in this mid-1980’s exploration of a Harvard first-year’s bout with depression before the convenient availability of anti-depressants. (June 6)

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS -When Vin Diesel’s asking price grew higher than Universal execs were willing to front, the actor declined to participate and original director Rob Cohen followed suit. Now it’s up to Paul Walker (the only returning cast member) and “Boyz N The Hood” director John Singleton to see if the can rev up the audience’s engines again. This time Walker’s young cop, now badgeless and on the run in Miami after letting Diesel’s character go, must infiltrate a smuggling operation to redeem himself. Model-actor-rapper Tyrese this time plays his partner in crime, Cole Hauser does the bad guy thing this go-round and Eva Mendes and newcomer Devon Aoki provide token love interests and eye candy. (June 6)

LOVE THE HARD WAY – A petty thief falls in love with an innocent woman. This romantic drama is notable for the fact its Adrien Brody’s first film following his surprise Oscar win. (June 6)

THE HULK – Adapted from the popular Marvel Comic series, “The Hulk” is one of the most anticipated movies coming out this summer. Dr. Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is exposed to a lethal dose of gamma radiation, but instead of dying, he turns into the monster/super hero the Hulk. This summer, expect planes, tanks, the army and hulk dogs to take on the Hulk. “The Hulk” also stars Jennifer Connelly as Dr. Betty Ross, Nick Nolte as Dr. David Banner and is directed by Ang Lee. (June 20)

28 DAYS LATER – Animal rights activists accidentally unleash a deadly virus that wipes out most of London and leaves the unlucky survivors to battle the flesh-eating undead in “Trainspotting” director Danny Boyle’s shot-on-video chiller, written by Alex Garland (whose novel “The Beach” Boyle previously turned into a movie.) (June 27)

CABIN FEVER – Could Eli Roth’s low-budget indie horror flick be the next “Blair Witch Project?” David Lynch gave his stamp of approval to Roth so it’s quite possible that the movie some film festival patrons have declared as truly horrifying, may be our next horror hit. Once again, it’s young people being stalked in the woods, but the killer here is a ghastly flesh-eating virus. Prepared to be disgusted, if not frightened. (June)

The Legend of Suriyothai – Written and directed by Chatrichalerm Yukoi, The Legend of Suriyothai is a historical epic. With a plot that spans nearly 60 years, the tale traces the political history of the Kingdom of Ayothaya. The film takes place in the 16th century, making for elaborate aesthetics as well as brutal combat. (June 20)

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas – Featuring the voices of Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Joseph Fiennes, this animated feature takes some license with the content of the original seven stories of Sinbad. The film introduces two characters, Eris (Zeta-Jones), the Grecian goddess of Chaos and Proteus (Fiennes), the god of the sea. (July 2)

PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL – Hopefully it will be better than “The Country Bears.” Another Disney theme park ride gets turned into a movie, this time as a part-swashbuckling/ part-supernatural adventure produced by none other than Jerry Bruckheimer. “The Ring’s” Gore Verbinski directs, Johnny Depp plays the drunken hero Jack Swann, shiny-new heartthrob Orlando Bloom is the blacksmith who hires him to save his beloved (Keira Knightley) and Rush plays the skeletal bad guy after a magical pendant Knightley holds. (July 9)

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN – “Prepare for the extraordinary” in this movie based on the comic by Alan Moore. Now famous figures from contemporary literature form a team of heroes to save the world from madmen bent on world domination. The group includes Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery), Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), Mrs. Mina Murray Harker (Peta Wilson), Detective Thomas ‘Tom’ Sawyer (Shane West) and others. (July 11)

THE EXORCIST: BEGINNINGS – Okay, so making a fourth “Exorcist” film is a dicey proposition. Yet this prequel, which follows a young Father Merrin (here played by Stellan Skarsgaard) battling the demon Pazuzu in the recesses of Africa, looks like it may be interesting. Paul Schrader, of “Autofocus” and “Taxi Driver” fame, directs; acclaimed novelist Caleb Carr co-wrote the script. (July 18)

SEABISCUIT – Tobey Maguire follows up his star-making turn in Spider-Man with a truth-based period drama about an unlikely racehorse that becomes a star. Maguire plays Seabiscuit’s jockey, with brand new Oscar winner Chris Cooper as the trainer. Yes, this is based on the unlikely non-fiction bestseller. (July 25)

MASKED AND ANONYMOUS – Bob Dylan takes his first acting role in years in an epic post-apocalyptic ensemble drama that is rumored to have been written by the singer himself. The story casts Dylan as Jack Fate, a singer who is sprung from jail for a benefit concert. The huge cast includes Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, Luke Wilson, John Goodman, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Cheech Marin and Mickey Rourke. Buyers beware: this was considered the worst film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. (July 25)

GIGLI – Also known as “Tough Love” (a permanent title is still being debated), this thriller is the movie on which tabloid couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez met. Both actors play hitmen, but will audiences be sick of the “Ben-and-Jen Show” by the time the movie comes out? (Aug 1)

S.W.A.T. – Yet another old TV show hits the big screen: Colin Farrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J are S.W.A.T. Team members who must prevent a criminal genius (Olivier Martinez) from escaping their possession. There are two directions this movie can go: “The Fugitive” (a good thing) or “The Mod Squad” (gulp!) Let’s pray for the former. (Aug 8)

FREDDY VS. JASON – At long last it’s here – the movie horror fans have been drooling over for more than a decade is finally seeing the light of a movie screen. “Bride of Chucky” director Ronny Yu updates the horror universe mythology by pitting burn-scarred Freddy (once again played by Robert Englund) against hockey-masked Jason over the right to slaughter Elm Street’s prettiest teens. Monica Keena, Jason Ritter (son of John) and Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland are among the young, potential mincemeat for the scare flick titans. (Aug 15)

HIGHWAYMEN – In what could quite possibly become the summer’s biggest scary sleeper, Jim Caviezel stars as a vengeful widower out to takedown a serial killer who uses a classic muscle car to run down lonely women along the highway. The director is Robert Harmon, known for his chilling 80s thri
ller “The Hitcher” and, most recently, “They.” Buzz has already linked “Highwaymen” as this year’s “Joy Ride.” (Aug 27)

JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 – The first film did reasonably well when it was released on this weekend two years ago – even breaking records as the biggest Labor Day debut ever. Now we get a second helping of the winged demon the Creeper as he looks for more juicy organs to eat – and he has set his sight on a stranded busload of high school jocks and cheerleaders. Victor Silva encores as writer/ director. (Aug 29)