Reinventing an Image

Tom Cruise teams up with Steven Spielberg, Austin Powers battles Dr. Evil and Scooby Doo makes his computer-generated debut as the summer hype machine grinds into action.

Around the World — Alternative Film
By: Jim Boyle


Matt Damon plays a hunted man with amnesia in The Bourne Identity.

   It’s Memorial Day weekend, and there have already been epic battles at the local cineplex. Walls have been crawled, the dark side has
been crossed and box-office records have been shattered. Believe it or not, there are other movies to anticipate
in the next few months that don’t feature goblins or Jedi Knights.
   Plenty of sequels and animated movies will hit the screens. Veteran action stars will save
the world once again, and a few new faces will seek to steal the throne. Unlike last year’s weekly doses of
garbage like Pearl Harbor and Tomb Raider, this summer appears to have a tasteful quality. That’s
not to say the season is completely without stinkers. It just seems they will be easier to pick out than usual.

MAY   |   JUNE   |   JULY   |   AUGUST
Insomnia Memento director Christopher Nolan returns with this murder mystery, a remake of a 1997
Norwegian film of the same name. Robin Williams plays against type as a murder suspect trying to outsmart a
detective played by Al Pacino. (May
Enough Jennifer Lopez plays a woman who takes her daughter and runs from her abusive husband (Billy
Campbell). Wherever she goes, he manages to find her, so there’s only one thing left to do: learn a martial
art and use him as a punching bag. (May
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron When is a horse not a horse? When it is jumping across canyons and
falling down waterfalls with nary a scratch. This animated adventure follows the travails of an untamed horse
trying to stay in the wild. (May
The Sum of All Fears Ben Affleck picks up where Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford left off as CIA analyst
Jack Ryan. He’s on the case to prevent a terrorist organization from detonating a nuclear bomb at the Super
Bowl. Actually, the fourth film in the adaptations of Tom Clancy’s novels is a prequel to The Hunt for Red
October, yet set in the present. (May
Undercover Brother Anton Jackson (Eddie Griffin) seems like an everyday, run-of-the-mill guy. Actually,
he’s a secret agent for the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., an all-black organization out to stop the evil plots of
The Man, an all-white establishment. (May

Around the World

   If high-flying stunts and high-tech special effects aren’t your thing, look no further than
the New Jersey International Film Festival in New Brunswick for alternative entertainment May 31-July 27.

   The series is a great chance to catch some of last year’s critical darlings you may have
missed, such as Amelie, which kicks off the season-long celebration May 31-June 2, The Royal Tenenbaums
June 7-9 and Kandahar June 14-16. Don’t miss the opportunity to see some of American cinema’s greatest
classics on the big screen. Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot will be presented July 13, Disney’s Fantasia
is scheduled for July 20 and Alfred Hitchcock’s spine-tingling Rear Window closes the festival July

Nelofer Pazira

stars in Kandahar, June 14-16.

   Some New Jersey directors will present their films and discuss the process with the audience.
Highland Park native John Hulme brings Unknown Soldier June 28. Director Jay Giampietro and Fred Leeds
will offer Mr. Rose, which was shot in Bound Brook, June 29. Animator and Berkeley Heights resident
Jeff Cline presents Going Postal July 19. Videomakers April Allridge from Highland Park and Gregg Biermann
of Hackensack will answer questions following a screening of The Beasts of All Hallows Eve and The
Waters of Casablanca, respectively, July 26.

   The rest of the schedule is filled with various genres to appease the most adventurous moviegoers.
Short films, features, documentaries, mockumentaries, abstract and experimental are all offered. Those featured
include Daughter from Danang, a documentary about a mother and daughter separated during the Vietnam
War and reunited 22 years later; Legalized America, a 24-minute satire about a fictional society where
illicit drugs are legalized; and Mulletville, a mockumentary about a film student who returns to his
small town to expose his former tormentors.

   All programs begin at 7 p.m. Screening locations vary for each presentation. Admission
is free for films shown at Borders, 300 Route 18, East Brunswick, and Highland Park Middle School, 102 N. Fifth
Ave., Highland Park. Admission for films shown on the campus of Rutgers University costs $5. For the full schedule,
screening locations and other information, call (732) 932-8482. On the Web:

Bad Company After his twin brother is killed, Chris Rock is forced to take his place as a CIA agent.
It’s up to Anthony Hopkins to train the rookie and mold him into a suave and sophisticated spy. (June
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood A little counter-programming for the testosterone-heavy summer.
Based on a novel by Rebecca Wells, a daughter (Sandra Bullock) learns about her mother’s freewheeling childhood,
told through flashback. The rest of the cast includes Ashley Judd, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith and James Garner.
(June 7)
The Bourne Identity Like his pal Affleck, Matt Damon goes the action route with this adaptation of a
Robert Ludlum novel. Jason Bourne is being hunted across Europe by several organizations, including the CIA.
Bourne has highly sensitive information. Unfortunately, he also has a case of amnesia. (June
Scooby Doo Whether we asked for it or not, here comes a live-action spin-off of the classic cartoon,
because it worked so well for Rocky and Bullwinkle. The human foursome includes Freddie Prinze Jr. as
Fred, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Linda Cardellini as Velma and Matthew Lillard as Shaggy. Scooby is completely
computer generated. (June 14)
Windtalkers After being pushed back in the wake 9/11, John Woo’s war movie will finally get released.
Set in World War II, the military is using Navajo language to decode messages, thinking the Japanese will be
unable to break it. Nicholas Cage is assigned to protect one of the translators from capture at all costs.
Expect a lot of slow motion and doves. (June
Lilo and Stitch Trying to maintain its ever-slipping choke hold on animated entertainment, Disney created
this out-of-character tale of an intergalactic alien creature named Stitch who hides out on Earth posing as
a child’s pet. Recent trailers show the pesky varmint invading other Disney films with humorous results. This
could be a winner. (June 21)
Minority Report In what appears to be his most action-packed movie yet, Steven Spielberg is going back
to the future with a tale based on a Philip K. Dick story. Tom Cruise works for the PreCrime division of the
police department, where crimes are detected before they happen. It turns out that Cruise is their next suspect,
but he isn’t going quietly. (June
Hey Arnold! The Movie The popular Nickelodeon show gets a shot at the big screen. Arnold is a kid with
a football-shaped head who rallies the neighborhood against an evil land developer. (June
Mr. Deeds Frat-boy humor returns with its patron saint, Adam Sandler. The film paraphrases its title
from Mr. Deeds goes to Town and borrows its premise of a small-town guy who finds himself the owner
of a huge fortune, but that’s where the similarities end. (June


Tom Hanks (left) and Paul Newman co-star in Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition.

Like Mike It seems it would make more sense if the movie came out in the mid-1990s, when the phrase
was popular. Rapper Lil’ Bow Wow plays an 11-year-old who comes across a pair of sneakers once worn by Michael
Jordan. The shoes give the small athlete mad skills on the court, which he takes all the way to the NBA. (July
Men in Black 2 Agents J and K are back to save the planet from intergalactic terror. Will Smith and
Tommy Lee Jones reprise their roles of operatives working for a top-secret organization formed to protect Earth
from extraterrestrial threats. (July
The Powerpuff Girls Movie Another popular cable cartoon gets the silver-screen treatment. Bubbles, Blossom
and Buttercup are out to stop the nefarious schemes of Mojo Jojo. (July
Collision Course Oh boy. Apparently, somebody thought that crocodile hunter Steve Irwin was charismatic
enough to earn his own movie. The Australian maniac hooks up with a CIA agent searching for a spy satellite.
Crikey. (July 12)
Reign of Fire There hasn’t been much buzz about this one, but it could shape up to be a surprise hit.
Post-apocalyptic England is being terrorized by fire-breathing dragons (is there any other kind?) It’s up to
Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale to stop them. Don’t forget the marshmallows. (July
Road to Perdition Hoping to make an early bid for Oscar night, Sam Mendes directs and Tom Hanks stars
as a 1930s hit man out for revenge on the man who killed his family. Paul Newman and Jude Law also star in
this potentially great movie. (July
Eight Legged Freaks If Tobey Maguire didn’t fulfill your need for arachnids, this campy B-movie should
do the job. Creepy crawlers are hit with radiation and begin to mutate. A small town in Nevada becomes overrun,
and their last hope resides in the form of David Arquette. Could be fun, in a Tremors kind of way. (July
Halloween: Resurrection Come on. You didn’t actually think having his head chopped off by Jamie Lee
Curtis would put Michael Myers down for good, did you? A reality show tempts six kids to spend the night at
Myers’ old home, with disastrous results. (July
K-19: The Widowmaker Harrison Ford plays the captain of the Soviet Union’s first nuclear submarine.
Based on a true story, the submarine experiences a coolant-system breakdown. The crew has to figure out a way
to fix the problem before the ship explodes. (July
Stuart Little 2 The mouse is back. Voiced by Michael J. Fox, he is in for more adventures as he befriends
a bird voiced by Melanie Griffith. Jonathan Lipnicki and Geena Davis also return. (July
Austin Powers: Goldmember Yeah, baby! The swinging superspy returns to stop Dr. Evil and Mini-Me (Verne
Troyer). Mike Myers will also take on the role of new villain, Goldmember, as well as reprising Fat Bastard.
Destiny’s Child Beyoncé Knowles plays Powers’ partner. (July
The Country Bears Inspired by one of Disney World’s oldest attractions, the film is a first of a series
expected to be released, including a film based on the Pirates of the Caribbean. The family-friendly film is
about a cub adopted by a human family. He begins to realize he isn’t like the other kids and sets out to find
his real family, who turn out to be traveling musicians. No, I’m not making this up. (July


Jackie Chan teams up with Jennifer Love Hewitt to take down the bad guys in The Tuxedo.

The Master of Disguise Saturday Night Live alumnus Dana Carvey plays a dimwitted waiter enlisted
and trained to become what the movie’s title suggests. Carvey’s impersonation skills will definitely come into
play. (Aug. 2)
Signs Usually the weakest of the summer months, August gets a boost with M. Night Shyamalan’s new film.
Starring Mel Gibson, Signs attempts to explain the phenomenon of crop circles. Expect a great twist
at the end. (Aug. 2)
Full Frontal Steven Soderbergh directs an unofficial sequel to his debut feature sex, lies and videotape.
Shot with a digital camera in about 30 days, it follows the life of a movie star. Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood
and David Duchovny are among the stars. (Aug.
Blood Work Clint Eastwood produces, stars and directs in this murder mystery. Eastwood plays an FBI
agent who just had a heart transplant. His donor has just been murdered, and Eastwood is out to find the killer.
(Aug. 9)
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams The prepubescent pair is back to battle another pair of super-agent
children. Robert Rodriguez returns behind the camera, as well as Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino as the parents.
(Aug. 9)
XXX Vin Diesel continues his bid as the biggest action star since Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he’s got
the talent and the attitude to pull it off. Here, Diesel stars as an extreme athlete who has one too many run-ins
with the law. Instead of being put away, the government offers him a job to infiltrate a Russian crime ring.
(Aug. 9)
The Adventures of Pluto Nash Eddie Murphy plays the title character who owns a nightclub on the moon
in the year 2087. The mob wants a cut of the profits, but Nash refuses and has to avoid getting killed in the
process. (Aug. 16)
The Tuxedo Jackie Chan comes across an ordinary-looking tux. When he puts it on, he discovers the suit
is a high-tech device that gives him extraordinary abilities. He teams up with Jennifer Love Hewitt to take
down the bad guys. (Aug. 16)
One Hour Photo Robin Williams continues his ongoing campaign to reinvent his image. He works at a photo
lab and becomes obsessed with a family after developing their pictures. (Aug.