Take a sneak peek at this summer’s hottest flicks

(U-WIRE) MANHATTAN, Kan. – When looking at many of this summer’s movie releases, at first glance, it looks to be a season of mundane remakes and cheesy crossovers. However, the hype surrounding many of these flicks would testify otherwise. Here are some movies you might not want to miss, as well as a few you’d be wise to pass up, as you enjoy a break from classes:

<strong>”Shrek 2″</strong>

Release date: May 21

Starring: The voice talents of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas.

The plot: This sequel to 2000’s “Shrek” chronicles the struggle of newlyweds Shrek (Myers) and Fiona (Diaz) as they try to gain acceptance from Fiona’s parents and foil the plans of a fairy stepmother (Jennifer Saunders of the Britcom “Absolutely Fabulous) to marry Fiona off to a prince.

What you shouldn’t miss: Antonio Banderas makes an appearance as the egomaniacal Puss in Boots, and Murphy’s character, Donkey, has some competition in the talking animal department.

<strong>”The Day After Tomorrow”</strong>

Release date: May 28

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sela Ward, Ian Holm and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The plot: The entire planet faces imminent armageddon in the form of abrupt global warming. Cities around the globe are plagued by catastrophic tornadoes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes and hurricanes. A professor and his staff and students attempt to save the world before it is destroyed by multiple disasters.

What you shouldn’t miss: The state of New York enters into a new Ice Age. And you thought New Yorkers complained about the weather now …

<strong>”Soul Plane”</strong>

Release date: May 28

Starring: Tom Arnold, Snoop Dogg and Method Man.

The plot: A black-owned airline takes to the skies and things get interesting with sexy flight attendants, plenty of music and a full dance floor.

What you shouldn’t miss: Snoop Dogg as the pilot in this comedy that just might put “Airplane” to shame.

<strong>”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”</strong>

Release date: June 4

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Gary Oldman.

The plot: Young Harry Potter (Radcliffe) and his friends try to elude the clutches of the sinister Sirius Black (Oldman), an escaped convict from Azkaban Prison, in the students’ third year at Hogwarts.

What you shouldn’t miss: Gary Oldman finally gives the popular villain Sirius Black a face, and Michael Gambon dons the wizards hat as Professor Albus Dumbledore, taking the place of Richard Harris, who died shortly before production on this film began. Also new to the cast and crew is director Alfonso Cuaron (“Great Expectations”).

<strong>”The Stepford Wives”</strong>

Release date: June 11

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close and Faith Hill.

The plot: Joanna (Kidman) and Walter Eberhart (Broderick) move into a seemingly utopic community full of successful husbands and attractive, annoyingly subservient wives. Joanna discovers, however, that there’s a darker side to this paradise, and she must put an end to it before she becomes assimilated into it.

What you shouldn’t miss: The message about gender roles, as well as Midler’s astonishing and comedic transformation from feminist into happy housewife.

<strong>”Spider-Man 2″</strong>

Release date: June 30

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Alfred Molina.

The plot: Peter Parker’s old nemesis, Harry Osborn (James Franco) teams up with Dr. Otto Octavius (Molina) in an effort to destroy Spiderman (Maguire) once and for all.

What you shouldn’t miss: Eye-catching special effects and the numerous, hilarious failed attempts at Spiderman-baseball cross promotions.

<strong>”King Arthur”</strong>

Release date: July 9

Starring: Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane and Keira Knightley.

The plot: King Arthur comes to the big screen for what looks to be the most entertaining version of the classic tale since “The Sword and the Stone.”

What you shouldn’t miss: Many scholars would say “The Once and Future King,” but if you’re looking for a condensed version to enjoy, this would be it.


Release date: July 23

Starring: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone and Benjamin Bratt.

The plot: Patience Prince is reborn as Catwoman, this year’s answer to Batman, after she is murdered by her employers.

What you shouldn’t miss: The aesthetically displeasing Catwoman costume isn’t so bad to look at with Halle Berry filling it.

<strong>”The Village”</strong>

Release date: July 30

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt and Adrien Brody.

The plot: A group of villagers in a 19th-century community face destruction at the hands of mythical creatures that surround their village.

What you shouldn’t miss: This is director M. Night Shyamalan’s first movie since “Signs.” Shyamalan is known for his cerebral thrillers with unexpected plot twists, and this one doesn’t look to disappoint.

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