Screen encounters of the third kind
Three is the magic number this summer as the blockbusters dip into the pot a third time. So it’s threequels for Pirates, Shrek, Jason Bourne and the Oceans crew. Michael Dwyer has a week-by-week guide to this season’s openings
THE NIGHT OF THE SUNFLOWERS/ LA NOCHE DE LOS GIRASOLES Beginning with the discovery of a dead woman in a field of sunflowers, Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo’s Spanish thriller is six overlapping chapters from different points of view. 28 WEEKS LATER Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes over from Danny Boyle as director for the sequel to 28 Days Later, and Robert Carlyle and Rose Byrne head the new cast. The US army has declared London free of the deadly virus and open for repopulation when a carrier unwittingly infects the city. MAY 18 BLACK SNAKE MOAN Writer-director Craig Brewer follows his overrated Hustle & Flow with a melodrama starring Samuel L Jackson as a middle-aged blues musician who chains a promiscuous young woman (Christina Ricci) to a radiator and spouts scripture to her. With Justin Timberlake. ZODIAC Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo feature in David Fincher’s intriguing, factually-based thriller dealing with a notorious serial killer who terrorised San Fransisco in the 1970s, leaving cryptic clues to taunt the police. JINDABYNE Based on a Raymond Carver short story ( So Much Water So Close to Home), Ray Lawrence’s compellin Australian drama addresses the moral dilemmas that ensue after four men find a dead woman in a river and continue their fishing weekend before reporting the discovery. Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney head a fine cast.
The saga picks up where it left off last summer – on a cliffhanger ending – as Johnny Depp camps it up again as pirate Jack Sparrow. Geoffrey Rush returns from the first film, and joining the JUNE 1 regular cast are Chow Yun-Fat and Rolling FLYBOYS Tony Bill’s aerial action adven-
SMY BEST FRIEND/MON MEILLEUR AMI Patrice Leconte’s highly entertaining serious comedy features Daniel Auteuil as an arrogant Paris antiques dealer who realises he has no friends and then has a fateful encounter with a loquacious taxi driver (Dany Boon). UMMERTIME, and the business is booming. Admissions are jumping and Hollywood expects an all-time high. The season’s heavy with high-profile franchises, and there’s no competition from the Olympics or the World Cup. The only impediment to a bumper season would be a heatwave, but that would be a boon in many countries such as the US where audiences flee humidity for air-conditioned cinemas.
The season kicks off today with the global release of Spider-Man 3, the first of many “threequels” to some of the most profitable productions in history (see panel) – Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Ocean’s Thirteen, Shrek the Third, Rush Hour 3, The Bourne Ultimatum.
Then there are the sequels – Evan Almighty, 28 Weeks Later, AreWe Done Yet?, The Fantastic Four 2 (“bigger, much more expensive” than the first, according to 20th Century Fox), and Hostel Part II, which joins Vacancy and Paradise Lost in that CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN cheaper, much gorier but lucrative cycle of First-time directorHans Canosa makes exmovies featuring tortured tourists and travtensive use of split screen as he explores ellers. We’ll get the fourth Die Hard movie, the relationship between a man (Aaron the fifth Harry Potter film, and spin-offs Eckhart) and a woman (Helena Bonham from television ( The Simpsons Movie), toys Carter) who meet at a wedding reception. ( Transformers), books ( Nancy Drew) and Broadway ( Hairspray).
You might well ask if there is anything remotely original on our screens this summer. Thankfully, some distributors will risk counter-programming against the blockbusters with such diverse and critically admired movies as Zodiac, Knocked Up, Hallam Foe and an international lineup that includes more than a dozen new French movies.
Chacun à son goût. Bon appetit. JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN Five years after his death at the age of 50, the former lead singer and guitarist with The Clash is the subject of a documentary directed by Julien Temple. MAY 11 GOODBYE BAFANA Bille August’s South African drama spans over 20 years to chart the captivity of Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert) on Robben Island and his relationship with warden Joseph Fiennes. MAY 24 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: AT WORLD’S END
Stone Keith Richards as Teague Sparrow. ture is set in 1916, as young Americans fly with the French forces before the US enters the war. With James Franco, Martin Henderson and Irish actor Keith McErlean. PARADISE LOST Yet another movie in which a holiday turns into hell for backpackers, this time in the Brazilian jungle. Released in the US as Turistas, it stars Josh Duhamel, Melissa George and Desmond Askew. WATER In Deepa Metha’s Oscar-nominated drama a headstrong young widow (Lisa Ray) rebels against the harsh restrictions of Indian society in the 1930s. WEDDING DAZE Comedian Michael Ian Black directs a romantic comedy in which a lovelorn young man (Jason Biggs) impulsively proposes to a waitress (Isla Fisher), who, to his surprise, agrees to marry him. JUNE 8 ARE WE DONE YET? Audiences may be chorusing the title if this sequel is as inane as its predecessor. The central characters are played again by Ice Cube and Nia Long. OCEAN’S THIRTEEN After a thoroughly disappointing tale of European heists in Ocean’s Twelve, the crooks led by Danny Ocean (George Clooney) return to Las Vegas for another major scam. Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin join the regular cast, which includes Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle. SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN The godlike genius of the reclusive singer-songwriter is celebrated in Stephen Kijak’s fascinating documentary, which is packed with archival material – and features a rare, expansive interview with Walker. MAGICIANS David Mitchell and Robert Webb, from the Channel 4 comedy Peep MAY 25 Show, play former partners in a celebrated THE FAMILY FRIEND/L’AMICO DEL FAMIGLIA stage magic act, pitted against each other Writer-director Paolo Sorrentino follows in a tournament with a valuable prize. The Consequences of Love with the story of an odious 70-year-old loan shark (Giacomo Rizzo) meeting his match in a young woman (Laura Chiatti) whose wedding he is funding JUNE 15 in return for sexual favours. DANS PARIS Writer-director Christopher Honore pays homage to the Nouvelle Vague movement in his engaging picture of two brothers – one irresponsible (Louis Garrel), the other depressed (Romain Druis) – living with their divorced father. EXILED/FONG JUK Hong Kong action movies virtuoso Johnnie To follows Election and its sequel with a gangster thriller. The setting is Macau in 1998, a year before the Portuguese island colony is due to be handed over to China.
FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER The superheroes return, played again by Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklin. This time they have to deal with intergalactic herald Silver Surfer (Doug Jones) and the return of their nemesis, Dr Doom (Julian McMahon). TELL NO ONE Young French actor Guillaume Canet’s second movie as a director is a murder mystery with a formidable cast featuring Francois Cluzet, Marie-Josee Croze and Kristin Scott Thomas. TEN CANOES Director Rolf de Heer collaborated closely with an Aboriginal community for his film rooted in ancient myths and triggered by a man’s lust for his brother’s third and youngest wife. VACANCY Nimrod Antal, the Hungarian director of Kontroll, makes his US debut with a thriller starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale staying at a seedy hotel where guests become the subjects of slasher movies. Long Engagement, A Good Year) plays Edith Piaf from her teens to her untimely death at 47. Olivier Dahan directs.
LA VIE EN ROSE Marion Cotillard ( A Very ian peasant family on a journey in search of a new life in the US. HOSTEL PART II Expect more gore in what sounds less like a sequel than a remake with a change of gender. This time the US students blithely wandering into a torture chamber in Slovakia are women – played by Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo and Bijou Phillips. Eli Roth directs again. PARIS, JE T’AIME A compilation of 18 short films set in the French capital and commissioned from an eclectic collection of directors, among them Alexander Payne, Gus Van Sant, Gerard Depardieu, Tom Tykwer, Walter Salles, Wes Craven, and Joel and Ethan Coen. year for his provocative picture of an inarticulate young farmer (Samuel Boidin) going to war in an unnamed Middle East country. THE FLYING SCOTSMAN Jonny Lee Miller plays amateur Ayrshire cyclist Graham Obree who set a new world record in 1993 – on a bicycle he assembled from scrap metal and parts of a washing machine. Irish author Declan Hughes is one of the screenwriters. Douglas Mackinnon directs. THE UGLY DUCKLING AND ME The new animated feature from Galway-based Magma Films is an adaptation of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, scripted by Irish writer Mark Hodkinson. The voice cast includes Morgan Jones, David Tylack, Barbara Brennan and Michelle Read. SHREK THE THIRD Shrek (Mike Myers) and his friends find a successor (Justin JULY 12 Timberlake) to the ailing king, while PrinHARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE cess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) tackles a coup PHOENIX Playing Luna Lovegood, 15-yeard’etat plotted by Prince Charming (Rupert old Irish actress Evanna Lynch joins cast Everett). The voice cast also includes Edregulars led by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert die Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie AnGrint and Emma Watson for the fifth movdrews and John Cleese. ie in the entertaining series. David Yates di-
rects. JUNE 22 GHOSTS OF CITÉ SOLEIL The Haitian slum of Cité Soleil – named as the most dangerous JULY 4 place on earth by theUN– features in a rivetJULY 13 LUCKY YOU Eric Bana plays a poker player DIE HARD 4.0 Bruce Willis dons his dirty
Romain Duris plays the 17th-cening documentary directed by Asger Leth. coping with personal problems as he tries white vest for the first time in 12 years to MOLIÈRE
tury playwright and actor in a movie that to win a tournament in Las Vegas. With reprise his role as the remarkably resource-
imagines a scenario for his mysterious disTHE HITCHER The remake of the taut, lowDrew Barrymore, Robert Duvall and Robful detective, John McClane, this time tan-
appearance early in his career. Directed by budget 1986 thriller inserts a woman ert Downey Jr. Directed by Curtis Hangling with terrorists intent on shutting
Laurent Tirard. (Sophia Bush) into the car (and the plotson. down the US computer infrastructure. line), as she and her boyfriend (Zachary Knighton) make the big mistake of giving a JUNE 29 JULY 6 lift to a mass murderer (Sean Bean). THE GOLDEN DOOR Charlotte GainsFLANDERS/FLANDRES French writer-direcbourg stars in Emanuele Crialese’s Italtor Bruno Dumont took the runner-up ian drama set in 1913 and following a Sicilaward, Le Grand Prix du Jury, at Cannes last
SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (see panel) Summer movie previews continue on next page
Yo ho ho ho: Third time lucky for Pirates of the
Caribbean starring (left to right) Geoffrey
Rush, Keira Knightley and Johnny Depp