Think Different

Could it be that this year's crop of summer movies actually requires a brain cell or two?

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd It's possibly the worst prequel idea since The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: a Dumb and Dumber movie without Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, or the Farrelly brothers (or even Trey Parker and Matt Stone, long ago attached). Nonetheless, based on the trailer, Eric Christian Olsen's Jim Carrey impersonation looks impressively dead-on. Maybe there's hope. (New Line)

The Eye From Thai directors the Pang brothers comes this tale of terror about a blind woman who receives an eye transplant, then starts seeing things the deceased donor saw, including ghosts, visions of gore, and a reflection in the mirror that is not her own. Tom Cruise owns the U.S. remake rights; see this one now so you can sneer at your friends later about how much better the original was. (Palm)

From Justin to Kelly Correct us if we're wrong here, but wasn't American Idol a test of singing ability? When did the judges stop to analyze the acting talent of the contestants? Regardless, we'll all be able to judge for ourselves as winner Kelly Clarkson and finalist Justin Guarini star in this fiction film that reportedly involves a beach party. This might just put Mariah Carey's Glitter to shame -- not that it needed the help. On the other hand, screenwriter Kim Fuller did co-write the amusing Spice World. (Fox)

Hollywood Homicide Ron Shelton follows his serious cop movie (Dark Blue) with a not-so-serious one that teams up yesterday's heartthrob Harrison Ford with current "It" boy Josh Hartnett. Ford, of course, is the hard-bitten veteran cop saddled with rookie partner Hartnett, who has a thing for yoga and New Agey beliefs. Presumably, they learn something from one another while attempting to solve a case, the nature and location of which are described in the film's cleverly alliterative title. (Sony)

Jet Lag A romantic comedy set in Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, this film brings together French heavyweights Juliette Binoche, Jean Reno, and Sergi Lopez. And separates them. And brings them together again. They just keep running into one another! Lopez is better looking than Reno, so he probably gets the girl ... then again, French directors do love to offer unexpected twists. (Miramax)

Love the Hard Way Alas, not a gay sequel to the James Woods-Michael J. Fox cop buddy movie (for that groove, refer to John Hurt and Ryan O'Neal in Partners). Rather, this is one of those movies about a thief who gets involved with a woman who teaches him about life while he steals stuff. Features that uppity guy from The Pianist who looks like a mosquito, and helmed by German director Peter Sehr. (Daybreak Pictures)

Manito This gritty DV project showcases New York's Puerto Rican community through the prism of two brothers (Franky G. and Leo Minaya) at odds with each other and the world around them. (Smashing Entertainment/7th Floor)

Rugrats Go Wild Those really grotesque-looking kids meet up with the globe-trotting Thornberrys in what promises to be an exotic adventure. Where else -- apart from maybe Spago -- are you going to get Tim Curry and LL Cool J at the same place? With music by Devo's zany frontman, Mark Mothersbaugh. (Paramount)

June 20

Alex and Emma A Rob Reiner romantic comedy allegedly based on the Dostoevski short story "The Gambler" (more seriously adapted with Michael Gambon a few years back). Luke Wilson plays a novelist on deadline, while Kate Hudson is the stenographer who inspires him. As Wilson enacts scenes from the book in his head, Hudson morphs into multiple characters, thereby allowing the actress to try several different hairstyles and accents on for size. If she pulls it off, people may stop comparing Hudson to her mom. (Warner Bros.)

The Hulk Hey, brother! What'cha gonna do when the largest arms in the world run wild on you? Wait, wrong Hulk. No middle-aged wrestler's biceps can measure up to those of the 15-foot CGI creation who runs roughshod over San Francisco in this comic-book adaptation. Audiences will be lured in by lovely Jennifer Connelly and the promise of "Hulk smash!" but director Ang Lee hopes they'll stay for a story line he likens more to classic tragedy. Wait'll you see the mutated "Hulk dogs." Eric Bana, who did mood swings to perfection in Chopper, stars as alter ego Bruce Banner. (Universal)

Whale Rider Not actually a documentary about Lara Flynn Boyle visiting her boyfriend Jack Nicholson. Rather, based on a novel by Witi Ihimaera about a young Maori girl of the Whangara tribe who must struggle against both her beloved grandfather and a millennium of patriarchal rule to prove herself as a leader. The beach-dwelling tribe learns much from the girl when she demonstrates her spiritual connection to whales. (Newmarket Films)

June 27

28 Days Later A deadly biological agent breaks loose in the U.K.; in 28 days (the usual length of time for a mail-order package to arrive over there, sorta like "6-8 weeks" here) the entire nation has been quarantined, as the infected have become hideously unpleasant zombies who move in fast motion. Should mark something of a comeback for director Danny Boyle, who's floundered lately with the disappointing A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach. (Fox Searchlight)

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