Diane goes to the Dogs
After that Tuscany flick, Diane Lane shows signs of becoming the new romantic comedy "it" girl - a less perky, more knowing Meg Ryan, without the lip work. She could solidify her rep in Must Love Dogs , about a 40-something who's given up on relationships until her friends and family get her into online dating. Once in cyberland, she meets John Cusack , who's ideal except for the fact that he loves dogs and she's forced to pretend that she does, too. The cast is rounded out by Christopher Plummer , Stockard Channing and rom-com regulars Elizabeth Perkins and Dermot Mulroney . Opens July 29.
I hope The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill finds an audience amidst all the noisy summer blockbusters. This absorbing documentary profiles eccentric former musician and drifter Mark Bittner , who's spent years feeding and taking care of a flock of wild red-and-green parrots outside his rent-free cottage in San Francisco's Telegraph Hill. Director Judy Irving filmed the philosophical, sensitive Bittner and the quirky birds - many of whom we come to know and recognize - over five years. The payoff is incredibly moving and insightful - not only into animal life but into human life, too. Opens July 15.
This could go down as Steve Carell 's big year. The former Daily Show correspondent starred as the bumbling boss in the American version of The Office, played a small but noticeable role in Woody Allen's Melinda And Melinda and campily channelled Paul Lynde in Bewitched. Next year he plays the title role in the film remake of the TV show Get Smart. But for now, there's The 40 Year-Old Virgin , in which he plays... you get the picture. The always watchable Catherine Keener checks in as the single mom who might take his cherry. Carell shows every sign of becoming the next Steve Martin (whose own Pink Panther movie, by the way, has just been jettisoned from August to next February - not a good sign). August, date tba.
It's Show time
Cassandra Nicolaou follows up her hilarious short film Interviews With My Next Girlfriend with Show Me , her feature debut, a psychological thriller about a woman ( Michelle Nolden ) who gets carjacked by a couple of street-youth siblings ( Katharine Isabelle and Kett Turton ) on the way to the cottage. A hit at the recent Inside Out fest, the film mixes sex, suspense and secrets, all captured in that symbolic national battleground, the northern wilderness. Opens August 5.
Paul Provenza 's documentary The Aristocrats has a nifty hook. One hundred comics tell the same filthy joke - around since the days of vaudeville - in their own inimitable way. The list of comics is a who's who of jokesters, both old-school ( Phyllis Diller , Don Rickles , George Carlin , Robin Williams ) and relatively new ( Lewis Black , Jason Alexander , Chris Rock , Jon Stewart ). One of the highlights is apparently Matt Stone and Trey Parker 's (South Park) animated version of the joke. Now, aren't you curious about that joke? The punchlines arrive August 12.
You're so off The Island
What's summer without a Michael Bay -directed movie? For years, he's pumped out noisy popcorn films like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Compared to those actioners, The Island looks positively highbrow. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson play two well-coiffed citizens in the not-so-distant future who discover they're human clones being harvested for spare parts. Think Coma meets Logan's Run. The good guys include Steve Buscemi and Michael Clarke Duncan ; the baddies include Djimon Hounsou and Sean Bean . Indie fave Johansson could use a big Hollywood film on her resume; her form-fitting white outfit's already earning style raves. Opens July 22.