Spielberg plays with the future, Disney plays with their formula and
“Juwanna Mann” plays dress-up (and basketball) in theaters this weekend.
“Minority Report,” a futuristic thriller blending thematic elements of “Timecop,” “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall” with the swashbuckling high-stakes adventure of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” is one of this summer’s sure-fire blockbuster bets (see “Movie House: ’Minority Report’ Is No ’Jetsons,’ Spielberg Says” ).
Like “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall,” “Minority Report” is based on a story by author Philip K. Dick. Tom Cruise plays an agent who deals with “pre-crime” in the year 2054, arresting suspects based on the predictions of three “Precogs” who can see murders before they happen. The story really gets rolling when the Precogs have a vision of a murder involving Cruise’s character. Featuring vertical freeways, virtual reality dive bars and hack eye surgery, “Minority Report” reworks many stock sci-fi staples with flashy action and rapidly unfolding mystery. (Click for photos from the movie)
In a similar break from genre convention, the ad campaign for Disney’s animated “Lilo & Stitch” has lampooned many of the company’s legendary cartoons, from “The Lion King” to “Beauty and the Beast.” Featuring the voices of Daveigh Chase (“A.I.”), Jason Scott Lee (the live action “Jungle Book”) and Ving Rhames (“Mission: Impossible 2″), “Lilo & Stitch” is about a Hawaiian girl who adopts a cuddly alien (Stitch) who is an intergalactic fugitive.
In “Juwanna Mann,” Miguel A. Nunez Jr. (“Life”) hopes to avoid becoming a fugitive himself, hoping that the women’s basketball league fails to uncover his “secret.” Nunez plays a pro basketball player whose arrogance costs him his career, forcing him to dress in drag in order to continue playing the sport. Tommy Davidson (“Bamboozled”) is on hand as a Master P-ish rapper who fancies Juwanna, not realizing that Juwanna is in fact Jamal.
All three flicks will have to contend with the unexpectedly ferocious box office bite of “Scooby Doo” (see “Movie House: ’Scooby’ Takes #1, Breaks Record — No, Really” ) as well as consistently strong numbers from “The Sum of All Fears” (see “Movie House: ’Sum Of All Fears’ Beats The ’Ya-Ya’s Out” ) and the year’s two biggest movies so far, “Spider-Man” and “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.”