Who'da thunk Harry Potter and Tony Soprano had anything in common? Turns out both have riled their equally rabid fans with the singular question, Will they get whacked?
Sopranos watchers have their answer (sorta), and Muggles get theirs July 21, when the final book in the series hits store shelves. In the meantime, Daniel Radcliffe, last seen dropping his kit on the London stage, hits the big screen as the teen wizard in the fifth instalment of the $3.5 billion franchise, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. Expect more dastardly doings by Lord Voldemort and the addition of the deplorable Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor Dolores Umbridge (Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton) and, yes, somebody does end up sleeping with da fishes. Opens July 13.
They're here, they're queer...not
I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James as beer-guzzling, sports-loving über-hetero firefighters who pretend to be a gay couple in order to collect domestic partner benefits. Of course, the presence of hottie Jessica Biel makes it very hard for these straights to keep a queer face. Who'll get more pissed off by the premise - the anti-gay religious right, the anti-stereotype queer-positive community or fans of good comedy? There's hope this will be smart and funny and not dumb and insulting - Sideways writer-director Alexander Payne wrote the original script before Sandler "tweaked" it to his particular sensibilities. Opens July 20.
At a time when Alien Vs. Predator is an accepted example of science fiction, it fires the imagination when a stellar filmmaker takes the genre seriously. Enter director Danny Boyle and his Kubrickian space epic Sunshine, about a mission to save the sun from extinction. That involves sexy astro-babes like Rose Byrne and Michelle Yeoh and blowing up a bomb inside the gas giant. But knowing Boyle, those are only the outer rings of this space odyssey. He and screenwriter Alex Garland proved they know how to squeeze new life out of a tired premise with the zombie classic 28 Days Later. Think what they can do with this tired Star Treky premise. Let's hope it's more 2001 than Solaris. Opens July 20.
German filmmaker Werner Herzog is a bit... eccentric. He once threatened to shoot his frequent leading man, Klaus Kinski. So it's no real surprise that Herzog has made a fictional film based on his own documentary about an American pilot's fight for survival after being shot down and taken prisoner during the Vietnam War.
Christian Bale stars in Rescue Dawn as the downed airman-turned-Rambo, while Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies play fellow POWs who help him hatch his escape plan. Of course, this being a Herzog film, it won't be as simple as just shooting their way to freedom. Opens July 6.
The big festival's still a couple of months off, but there are plenty of others to lure you into a cool theatre on a hot day. The second annual Caribbean Tales festival (www.caribbeantales.ca, NFB Mediatheque, 150 John, July 13-15) showcases the latest films from the islands, with a focus this year on Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidadian director Julien "Lil X" Lutz, who's shot videos for P. Diddy, Usher, Sean Paul and Alicia Keys, is among the special guests, while Horace Ove's Pressure and Robert Yao Ramesar's Sista God are featured. The Beats, Breaks And Culture electronic music festival at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West 416-973-4000, www.harbourfrontcentre.com) offers a varied slate. Among the films are the DIY hiphop doc Rock The Bells (July 7, 2 pm, Studio Theatre) and the full-frontal eco manifesto Call Of The Hummingbird (July 7, 5 pm, Studio Theatre), which will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker and NOW CEO Alice Klein, and the doc Who Killed The Electric Car? (July 8, 2 pm, Studio Theatre), followed by a discussion with director Chris Payne.