Think Different

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

Lucia, Lucia A Mexican woman (Celia Roth) loses her husband and discovers her life needs a makeover. Based on the novel by Rosa Montero, written and directed by Antonio Serrano. (Fox Searchlight)

Seabiscuit Tobey Maguire takes time out from slinging webs and wooing the daughter of a high-ranking Universal executive to pretend he's short enough to jockey a horse. Gary Ross (Pleasantville) takes on the novel by Laura Hillenbrand about the titular racehorse and the joy he brought to the country during the Great Depression. (Universal)

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Robert Rodriguez returns to his beloved adventure franchise for the third time in as many years. Young spy Alexa Vega gets caught in a virtual-reality video game designed by the evil Sylvester Stallone and must be saved by her brother Daryl Sabara, and probably their parents Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino. With Salma Hayek and Ricardo Montalban, thank goodness. (Dimension)

The Weather UndergroundEverything ignites in local filmmaker Sam Green's riveting, revelatory portrait of uncivil disobedience. Three decades on, former members of the left-wing group -- which concluded that violence against the government was the only way to stop the Vietnam War -- talk candidly about those volatile days. At its core, The Weather Underground is a profound and profoundly relevant salute to idealism, its limits and its costs. (Shadow Distribution)

August 1

American Wedding For all the so-called immorality that goes on in the American Pie movies, it now seems that in this third one, long-suffering protagonist Jim (Jason Biggs) will end up marrying the first and only girl he's ever had sex with (Alyson Hannigan). Cast members who've gotten progressively more expensive (Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, Chris Klein, Shannon Elizabeth, Natasha Lyonne) have been jettisoned, but Fred Willard (yes!) joins the series as Hannigan's dad. Bob Dylan's less famous son Jesse (How High) directs. (Universal)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Just in case you missed George Clooney's impressive directorial debut last December, Miramax is rereleasing it, thereby delaying the DVD even further. Sam Rockwell stars as Chuck Barris, the Gong Show host who later claimed to be a CIA assassin. Clooney has a way with the camera; he's evidently been taking lessons in directing from his pal Steven Soderbergh. (Miramax)

Gigli At last you get to see it, folks: the movie that brought Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez together. What's the plot? Glad you asked: "B. Af" is Gigli, a hit man assigned to kidnap a retarded kid (Justin Bartha) and hold him for ransom. "J. Lo" is the lesbian hit woman assigned to baby-sit Gigli when it seems he won't be up to the job. Both become better (heterosexual) people thanks to the innocence and purity of their mentally challenged prisoner. Sounds like a blast, right? (Sony)

The Secret Lives of Dentists Alan Rudolph's latest film centers on a married pair of dentists (Campbell Scott and Judy Davis), who may not quite be telling each other the whole truth. Denis Leary gets to play angry again in his own unique fashion, as a patient who lashes out at Scott in ways the rest of us terrified dental subjects can only fantasize about. (Manhattan)

Tycoon Also known as Oligarkh, this 2002 release from Russia hits our shores with a unique perspective on capitalism infiltrating a communist nation. Director Pavel Lungin adapts Yuli Dubov's novel Bolshaya Paika (The Big Slice), about a man who made the most of Russian free trade. Global economists may enjoy this as a double feature with the terrific Chinese comedy Big Shot's Funeral. (New Yorker)

August 6

Freaky Friday Now in its umpteenth remake, the old "parent trades bodies with child" routine gets handed off to Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan (who also starred in the remake of The Parent Trap). Curiously, director Mark S. Waters made his debut with the perversely incestuous Parker Posey flick The House of Yes, so it'll be interesting to see if he can sneak any twisted subtext past the Disney folk. (Disney)

August 8

And Now Ladies and Gentlemen A jewel thief (Jeremy Irons) and a jazz singer (Patricia Kaas) encounter one another in Morocco as they both try to forget their pasts. Rumor had it earlier this year that Irons' wife was a little upset with all the steamy nudity that ensues, but that shouldn't affect your enjoyment one iota. (Paramount Classics)

Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns You probably saw that title and thought, "Hookers!" but the Johns in question are Flansburgh and Linnell, better known to the music world as They Might Be Giants. Enjoy live performances, videos, band history, and testimonials from famous fans in this documentary; that is, if you enjoy this sort of thing. (Cowboy)

Le Divorce Now that Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts are brand names, James Ivory carts them to Paris to play around at being young zany women having weird romantic issues. (Fox Searchlight)

Matchstick Men Not exactly known for his comedies, Ridley Scott dares to deliver Nicolas Cage as a con artist whose teenage daughter Alison Lohman shows up at the wrong time. Song by Status Quo (and/or Camper Van Beethoven) not confirmed at press time. (Warner Bros.)

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