-- Since his monster breakout film, The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan has been unfairly criticized for following the same suspense-with-a-twist formula in every subsequent film. Lady In The Water could change all that. It's inspired by a story the writer/director used to tell his kids about a narf, a water-loving creature who's escaped from a children's story and ends up in an apartment pool. Sideways's Paul Giamatti plays the apartment superintendent who finds the dripping-wet woman ( Bryce Dallas Howard ) and has to deal with the nasty creatures on her tail. Kids' story? Actually, the trailers look pretty scary. Opens July 21.
If you liked that retro-cool video for OutKast 's Hey Ya!, you'll probably like Idlewild , starring André Benjamin and Antwan Andre Patton (aka OutKast's Andre 3000 and Big Boi respectively) and directed by Bryan Barber , who helmed that famous music vid. The two actors play workers at a speakeasy in Prohibition-era Georgia who get in trouble with the Mob. This could have terrific crossover potential. Actors like Cicely Tyson , Ben Vereen and Terrence Howard rub shoulders with musical stars like Patti LaBelle and Macy Gray . Can't wait for the soundtrack. Opens August 25.
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Hard to believe it's been 12 years since Kevin Smith created his slacker masterpiece Clerks, starring those lovable losers Dante ( Brian O'Halloran ) and Randal ( Jeff Anderson ). In Clerks II , the former convenience/video store dudes make the big move to working in a fictional fast food franchise. Judging from the trailers, things are pretty much the same. Jay and Silent Bob are around. Ben Affleck shows up for a cameo (maybe to apologize for Jersey Girl?). And there's a lot of discussion about Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings and other essential pop culture issues. Bloggers are already talking about whether some gross-out scenes will be cut or not. We can only hope Smith shows his usual tact. (Not!) Opens July 21.
Oh, those clever people over at Alliance Atlantis. The city's caught up in World Cup mania, so of course we need to see something after the games finish. Enter Once In A Lifetime , a fave at the recent Hot Docs fest about the New York Cosmos , the soccer team in the 1970s that brought Brazilian superstar Pele to the U.S. The film chronicles the rise and fall of the team, complete with excesses on the field, in the boardroom and on the dance floor at Studio 54. Co-director Paul Crowder was an editor of two of the best sports docs of the past while, Riding Giants and Dogtown And Z-Boys. Seems like a no-brainer, but will people flock to dark rooms in midsummer? Opens July 21.
Where there's a Will
Will Ferrell 's attempt at a serious film, Winter Passing, didn't go over well earlier this year. It didn't even get released here. But he's back on track - literally - in Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby . He plays a moronic racecar driver who goes bumper-to-bumper with a French Formula One star played by Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G ). John C. Reilly plays Ferrell's dumb sidekick. Director Adam McKay steered Farrell to a big hit in 2004's Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. This could be the big end-of-summer comedy breakthrough, much like last year's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The gentlemen start their engines on August 4.
Big surprise - it's another lousy summer for decent women's roles. Well, here's a film that features a prominent female character: U-Carmen eKhayelitsha , Mark Dornford-May 's radical resetting of Bizet's Carmen in the streets of South Africa. Pauline Malefane stars as the titular seductress who lives life on her own terms. The film, performed in Xhosa, is adapted from Dornford-May's stage version of the opera, which I have seen. Malefane is spectacular - in presence and voice. Can't wait for the film, which received operatic raves at last year's TIFF. Opens July 28.