GET IN LINE. Everyone else has their ticket to the biggest movie of the summer. Maybe you've heard of it: Seems George Clooney is a

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Forget serious

'Tis the season of the popcorn flick.

GET IN LINE. Everyone else has their ticket to the biggest movie of the summer. Maybe you've heard of it: Seems George Clooney is a fisherman who gets lost in a perfect storm while fighting in the Revolutionary War, aided by Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise, who's some kind of secret agent. Nicolas Cage also helps them steal some cars in 60 seconds, but they might get busted by Jim Carrey, who's a schizoid cop in love with Ren頚ellweger. Then a bunch of mutants—based on some comic book—have to fight Russell Crowe in the Roman Colosseum, and Eddie Murphy plays a bunch of fat people who help out. Anyway, the plot's a little complicated, but everyone ends up in space, where Clint Eastwood and a bunch of other old geezers have to rescue them (after watching Keanu Reeves play football while Kirsten Dunst cheers from the sidelines).

Confused? Don't be. It's summer, and the whole point of moviegoing is to forget about art and Oscar pretensions (which will resume again in the fall), and just concentrate on being, well, distracted. School will soon be over, and youthful repeat viewing is the mandate from Hollywood. That means easily digestible plots, simple-to-remember formulas, and a minimum of dialogue. To that end, here's our official Seattle Weekly summer movie roundup, guaranteed to be intelligible to anyone with a high school education.

MAY

Gladiator's already out; M:I-2 and Shanghai Noon are reviewed in this issue. Box office-wise, high-tech toys should trump togas. Meanwhile, locally, thank god for SIFF. Also, the West Seattle and Fremont Outdoor Cinema series get under way—harbingers of summer barbecues and patio chairs.

JUNE

SIFF drags on, summer heats up. Clooney's The Perfect Storm looks to be another tense exercise in male bonding from the director of Das Boot, but what a bummer of an ending! Since we all know the outcome, it's hard to know how the youth market will react to a hero who drowns sans Kate Winslet. (Maybe they'll add a Celine Dion tune to the final credits.)

Gone in 60 Seconds borrows the title of a forgotten flick of the '70s but is updated with the attitudes of Nicolas Cage and Angelina "Don't Need an Oscar to Act Crazy" Jolie. It'll probably be a relief after Storm, but the remake of Shaft (with Samuel L. Jackson) could be more fun. Still, for pure dumb summer comedy, the Farrelly Brothers' Me, Myself & Irene is probably your best bet— although Jim Carrey deserves better than their usual fart-and-booger script. Then there's that animated/live-action Rocky and bull- winkle movie with De Niro—more pointless boomer nostalgia run amok. As for Mel in The Patriot, people also paid to see The Last of the Mohicans and Costner's Robin Hood, but don't say we didn't warn thee about this action-costume drama. The claymation Chicken Run will have to be pretty smart to match Toy Story 2, while the manga-style 'toon Titan A.E. had better feature some bosomy action babes to draw an audience beyond preteen boys. Meanwhile, at SAM, an evening of Kenneth Anger films plays 6/29. 911 Media Arts Center has about one event a week, while the monthly Independent Exposure short film series also extends through the summer. Several SIFF faves begin running at the Varsity and Egyptian through most of the summer (including a two-week run of a restored, recut Blood Simple in July). On its calendar, the Grand Illusion has a fortnight showing of Lars von Trier's The Idiots, which raised some hackles at Cannes in '98.

JULY

X-Men? If you read the (comic) book, you'll probably go, but the whole superpower-misfit theme will only appeal to teens and other self-styled minorities who wish they could get back at their parents and playground tormenters. As with last summer's Mystery Men, the soundtrack will probably outshine the picture. Eddie Murphy goes back into padding in the Nutty Professor sequel, although one wonders if June's similar Martin Lawrence picture (Big Momma's House) won't steal his thunder. (Recall Mike Myers' disgusting Scotsman in the Austin Powers sequel, and you question the wisdom of a wholly fat-themed film). Adults may favor the still-untitled John Travolta-Nora Ephron movie about lottery rigging (after Michael, thankfully, she's not writing this one). Scary Movie will have more teen appeal, but it's unlikely to be any funnier or more self-conscious than the Scream flicks it's supposedly spoofing. Locally, there's the Bellevue Art Museum Film and Video Festival, 6/28-29, and the Summer Children's Film Series (7/8-8/22), and the Grand Illusion, which is also hosting a Summer Blonde Bombshell series (7/21-8/3). Meanwhile, the Jet City Improv troupe accompanies outdoor B-movies in Fremont (6/23-8/18), SAM begins a Thursday night series of classic Cary Grant flicks, and look for another Super-8 show with a DJ spinning choice tunes (7/22).

AUGUST

So just how old is Clint Eastwood in light years? If we put him into space, will he get any younger? These are just some of the questions raised by Space Cowboys, or, as we like to think of it, Matlock In Orbit. Without Bruce Willis and Matt Damon saving us from a comet, this one seems destined for the outer reaches of cable. On the lighter side, there's another film about a serial killer, The Cell, this time with the novel twist that . . . who are they kidding? There aren't any novel twists left in that exhausted airport paperback genre! Then there's the Robert Redford period golf movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance, with Matt Damon—which sounds about as dull as A River Runs Through It without the river. (Wait a minute! The serial killer is a golfer—there's your movie!) Sports themes continue with football (Keanu Reeves' The Replacements) and cheerleading (Cheer Fever, with Kirsten Dunst), making for a logical double feature. At SAM, the original Twin Peaks pilot plays in a 35mm print, along with various series outtakes, actor appearances, etc. (8/19). Also, look for family-oriented outdoor movies at Marymoor and Gasworks parks (8/4-26), while 1999 Cannes prize-winner L'Humanit頼/B>highlights the Grand Illusion's schedule.

 
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