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Notes from the Back Row

Part 2: Summer movie preview

And we’re back with part two of the summer movie preview. All I can say is, you know it’s gonna be a killer summer when Angelina Jolie has a new flick out.

In A Mighty Heart Angie stars as Mariane Pearl, widow of Daniel Pearl, the journalist who was kidnapped by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002 and then beheaded, all with an Internet video feed. This is a step back into a more serious realm for Angelina, a realm she’s very comfortable in — remember she won the Oscar for Girl, Interrupted and the Golden Globe for Gia. Regardless, the story is really quite amazing and director Michael Winterbottom ( Road to Guantanamo) brings his vérité style and enough good sense to keep things out of the melodrama zone and more into a sort of mystery picture with a real personal feel, not too polished. And it’s got Angelina in it so on June 22 you know where I’ll be.

And on July 4 th , riding the idea that yanks like explosions around their Independence Day, Transformers drops. Giant robots destroying planets — sign me up.

The rest of July looks so-so. You’ve got Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hitting screens on the 13 th . Daniel Radcliffe’s been doing nude theatre for the past while so you know he’s buff and ready for that little witch chick to make the first move. (On a side note, the best ever “Witch railing scene” belongs to Arnold Swarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian, now there’s a franchise that needs to come alive again).

And speaking of rails, Lindsay Lohan has two flicks out this summer, the second being I Know Who Killed Me on July 27. I’m not sure if the movie’s any good but the title blows. Who cares though because July 27 is also the release date for the much anticipated The Simpsons Movie. That’s right, the most culturally significant TV show of my generation is stepping onto the big screen. Will the usually-22-minute show be able to thrive as a full-length film? I think so. Has that show and those writers ever let us down before? No they haven’t. This might be the biggest hit of the summer.

Biggest miss, in my opinion, goes to that gaylord Travolta in a stupid woman’s fatsuit in Hairspray, also coming out on the 27 th .

July’s dark horse is 1408 , an adapted Stephen King short story about the worst hotel room ever.   It stars John Cusak and is directed by the guy who did Derailed (but don’t hold that against him). Also in the running is July 4 th ’s Rescue Dawn , a Vietnam POW flick starring Christian Bale and directed by Werner Herzog. Herzog totally rules and this looks like some Heart of Darkness-style shit.

August brings us The Bourne Ultimatum , part three of the series of old-school spy flicks that eschews the CGI effects for cool stunts, killer fights and Matt Damon. August 10 th brings Rush Hour 3 . Are you kidding me? That was so washed up last time around.

Check out Aug. 10 th ’s Stardust , an adaptation of a Neil Gaiman novel about a dude on a quest to retrieve a fallen star (played by Claire Danes) and a gay, cross-dressing pirate (Robert DeNiro). Think The Princess Bride on three hits of sunshine acid and you’re halfway there.

But I’ve saved the best for last. The flick I’m most stoked about this summer is the new Halloween remake. Why? Because Michael Myers is now a psychotic 6 foot 8 inch, throat-slashing nightmare and this movie’s directed by Rob Fu*kin Zombie, that’s why. If anyone can reintroduce fear into an overdone character (this is the 9 th Halloween flick) it’s Rob Zombie.

Have a good summer. I’ll see ya in the back row.

AT VILLAGE 8 May 11-17: Georgia Rule; 28 Weeks Later; Namesake; Spiderman 3; Invisible; Lucky You; Hot Fuzz; Blades of Glory .