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More Flick'd Archives

— by Larry Carroll, with additional reporting by Corey Moss and Jennifer Vineyard

Does art imitate life? Does life imitate art? Does it even matter? After all, chances are pretty good that you won't see an imitation of your life at the multiplex this summer — unless you happen to be a mutant superhero Mexican wrestler infiltrating an international drug-smuggling ring via a pirate ship rife with snakes.

Here are our picks for the 10 flicks aiming to imitate nothing in the coming months but likely to inspire countless air-conditioned, 120-minute vacations all summer long — complete with our highly sophisticated "suntan lotion" rating system. (Patent pending.)

All of us, at one time or another, have felt like outsiders. But if you woke up tomorrow as a freakishly powerful being, would you seek a way to become "normal" again? "There's a struggle going on within my character," Famke Janssen says of the third "X-Men" film's plot. "She's partly the Jean Grey that we've known in the past, and partly Phoenix, an extremely powerful creature who's very destructive and has no control." Ostensibly the final film of the blockbuster franchise, the third flick marks the series debuts of Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones), Angel (Ben Foster) and Beast (Kelsey Grammer), and might also mark the exits of several characters we've grown to love. "They are fighting for their lives, and fighting for their identities," promises Patrick Stewart. "We lose people in this movie."
    Opened May 26
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A tongue-in-cheek Mexican-wrestling comedy from the writers of "Napoleon Dynamite" and "School of Rock" promises a chance for Jack Black to bust out all his signature moves: the gross-out belly shot, the fat-guy acrobatics and, of course, the wide-eyed madness that sells it all. "Being a master Luchador is almost like being a ninja — you have to develop some skills that normal humans don't have," Black insists. "I don't laugh at very many movies; you would think I'd be laughing all the time because I'm in the comedy business, but the opposite is true, only super-duper things make me laugh. 'Napoleon Dynamite' gave me some sweet gut-busters." Here's hoping that the cheesiness of this "Nacho" snack will have a similar effect.
    Opened June 16
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Adam Sandler's presence has transformed plenty of bad scripts into comedic pleasures, while his more intelligent efforts ("Punch Drunk Love," "Spanglish") have had a hard time attracting his unabashedly lowbrow loyalists. "Click" seems poised to unite the two: the "Bruce Almighty"-like concept has a man attaining an all-powerful remote control and dealing with the consequences that follow his unrestrained button-pushing. According to Kate Beckinsale, who plays Sandler's wife in the film, it's a formula that has universal appeal. "It was such a solid, good, funny script and it was really moving," she says. What? A Sandler comedy that tugs at the heartstrings? Beckinsale promises that the film's themes of appreciating life's precious moments will have people shedding tears, and they won't necessarily be induced by laughter. "My daughter was inconsolable at the end," she reports of a recent screening beside her 6-year-old. "She said she hates the movie because it made her cry."
    Opens June 23
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If the setup alone for this flick doesn't raise those tiny hairs on your arm, you're colder than the Fortress of Solitude: "The film takes place five years after Superman has departed the Earth in a futile attempt to take a look at the old neighborhood — the destroyed remains of Krypton," says director Bryan Singer. "It begins when he comes back. Lex Luthor has wormed his way out of prison and Lois Lane has moved on and now has a fiancé and a child. She's become disillusioned, and he comes back and enters her world." Ultimately, "Superman Returns" may surprise us all by emerging as the loudest, most expensive romantic comedy ever made. "It's kind of about what happens when old boyfriends come back into your life," Singer laughs. (Click here to watch our exclusive interview with Bryan Singer on Overdrive.)
    Opens June 30
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After three years of audiences awaiting a sequel, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are finally ready to fork over the booty. The oh-so-cool trailer taps into the original film's unique mix of thrills, humor and fantasy while also providing a quick glimpse of a spectacularly slimy new threat. Remembers Knightley: "I was being dragged across the deck by an invisible giant squid; invisible because it was being put in by CGI afterwards. I just spent the entire time pretending that there were tentacles everywhere, and the director was running around going 'I'm a tentacle! I'm a tentacle!' " This time around, the group does battle with an army of sea-phantoms who've come to claim Captain Jack's soul.
    Opens July 7
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"We're not even gonna rate it," writer/director/Silent Bob Kevin Smith says of his low-budget summer blockbuster. "We're gonna go out unrated. If we went in front of the ratings board, they would just be like, 'You're insane. We'd have to create a new rating for the movie.' " If that doesn't make you want to race to the theater, maybe the movie's status as the sequel to one of the crudest, filthiest, most quotable movies of all time will. This time around, Dante and Randall hate you even more, because they're in their mid-30s stuck at a fast-food restaurant. Make sure you bring your street-hockey stick, a pack of wraps and your love for four-letter words.
    Opens July 21
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Hollywood has made enough big-budget flicks that didn't take their source material seriously ("The Dukes of Hazard," "Charlie's Angels"). Now, in a town where original ideas are rare, the startlingly refreshing decision has been made to not only keep the tongue out of cheek while remaking a TV drama, but to even go so far as to hire the original creator (Michael Mann) to keep it real. "It's going to be nuts," Jamie Foxx says of his teaming with Colin Farrell in the high-adrenaline tale of rogue vice detectives. "They showed the trailer before 'King Kong,' and people were yelling at the screen! It was crazy!" And the best part is that if the film's a success, you just know that a "Riptide" movie will get the green light on the Monday after opening weekend.
    Opens July 28
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The bad news is that Ferrell's been running a bit cold lately ("Bewitched," "Kicking & Screaming"), and the idea of a NASCAR comedy sounds about as appealing as a sequel to "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector." The good news is that "Talladega" has already yielded the funniest trailer of the year and advance buzz indicates that the funnyman is back on the right track. "I caress the steering wheel, and I lick the instrumentationing," Ferrell says of Ricky Bobby's unique driving technique, perfected after a lengthy training process. "[In real life] I had gone 57 miles per hour, but I drive a Prius, so in that type of car it seemed like 120 miles per hour." We're rooting for Ricky Bobby to win, if only so we can watch the "Anchorman" star make the bad choice of chugging a bottle of milk in the hot sun all over again.
    Opens August 4
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"I smell a hit," laughs Justin Long ("Dodgeball") about his upcoming "Van Wilder"-like comedy. "It's either poop, or a hit." Every year, a "Napoleon Dynamite" or "40-Year-Old Virgin" comes out of nowhere to become the comedy catch-phrase movie of the summer, and we're placing our money on this still-under-the-radar offering. The fun begins when Bartleby Gaines (Long), a smooth-talking slacker, invents his own college in an attempt to avoid going to a real one. Joined by a lively student body of assorted lunatics, Gaines ends up overseeing an asylum where the students take classes like "Bong Construction," "Hanging Out", and "Blowing Sh-t up With Your Mind."
    Opens August 11
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"Everyone I mention it to loves the title," the film's Rachel Blanchard ("Without a Paddle") grins while discussing the most memorable film moniker since "Electric Boogaloo." The film has generated some of the biggest Internet-bred movie speculation since "The Blair Witch Project," and even mainstream audiences seem obsessed with the question of how many times Samuel L. Jackson will label his co-stars, the snakes and the plane itself as entities that would have sex with their own mothers. To even describe the plot seems nonsensical, so we'll let Blanchard deliver the good news: "It's got these enormous, 17-foot pythons and black mambas. It's got a lot of humor, and it doesn't take itself seriously," she laughs. We're in.
    Opens August 18
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