The Early Report for July 1, 2002

A weekly rundown of the upcoming releases.

Opening July 3, 2002

Group (Artistic License): A support group for eight women in Olympia, Washington, is filmed over the twenty week period of the group, in this digitally photographed pseudo-docudrama by Anne de Marcken and Marilyn Freeman. The cast is lead by Sleater-Kinney frontwoman Carrie Brownstein. Opens at the Village East in New York on July 5, expands to Boston July 26 and Los Angeles August 2. Not rated. 100 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby Stereo

Like Mike (20th Century Fox): Young rapper Lil Bow Wow makes his screen debut as an orphan who becomes an NBA star after finding an old pair of Nikes with “MJ” written on the tongue. Opens on 2500 plus screens on July 3. Rated PG for brief mild language. 100 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, DTS

Lan Yu (Strand): Liu Ye and Jun Hu star in director Stanley Kwan’s gay romantic drama. In Cantonese with English subtitles. Opens in San Francisco on July 3 with an expansion into New York City on July 26. Not Rated. 86 minutes. 1.85:1

Me Without You (IDP): Michelle Williams puts her Dawson’s Creek character behind to play Holly, who makes a new friend in Marina (Anna Friel) during a long, hot summer in seventies London in this coming of age drama. Opens in New York City on July 5. Not yet rated. Running time unknown at this writing. 1.85:1. Sound format: Dolby SR

Men In Black II (Columbia): The sequel to 1997’s top film. Will Smith andTommy Lee Jones continue to fight the scum of the universe. Opens on 3300 plus screens on July 3. Rated PG13 for sci-fi action violence and some provocative humor. 88 minutes, including 5 1/2 minute The Chubb Chubbs short. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, SDDS, DTS

The Powerpuff Girls (Warner Bros.): The origin of the Powerpuff Girls is retold and expanded upon in their first big screen adventure. Opens on 2000 plus screens on July 3. Rated PG. 80 minutes, including 5 minute Dexter’s Laboratory: Chicken Scratch short. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, SDDS, DTS

Read My Lips (Magnolia): Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Devos (who beat Amelie‘s Audrey Tatou for a Cesar Award for this role) star in Jacques Audiard’s romantic crime drama about a deaf girl and a crook who provide a tangible need in each other’s lives. Opens in New York City on July 5. Not Rated. 115 minutes. 1.85:1

Songs From The Second Floor (New Yorker): Roy Anderrson writes and directs this dramatic comedy inspired by poet Caesar Vallego, concerning modern life, religion and humanity. Opens in New York City on July 5. Not rated. 98 minutes 1.85:1. Sound format: Dolby SR

Tattoo Bar (Tatawo) (Distributor Unknown): Director/Screenwriter Jo Sol’s drama about a tattooed dancer in a Barcelona bar/tattoo parlor, whose lover disappears from her life. The owner of the bar, who is secretly in love with the dancer, tries to raise the money to have her tattoos removed so she will forget all about her lover. Opens at the Quad Cinema in New York on July 5. Not Rated. 90 minutes. 1.85:1. Mono sound

Expanding this week

Notorious C.H.O. (Wellspring Media): Comedian Margaret Cho’s second concert film. Opened in Los Angeles on June 28, expands to New York and San Francisco on July 3. Not Rated. 95 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound format: Dolby SR

Week of July 12 to 18, 2002

All About Lily Chou Chou (Cowboy): Japanese filmmaker Shunji Iwai’s romantic thriller has been called “an epic story” of teenage life in the age of the Internet. The lives of a group of Japanese teenagers are explored in an intimate, powerful way. A young boy takes refuge from school bullies and parental scrutinywhen he enters chatrooms devoted to Lily Chou-Chou, a songstress whose melancholic lyrics and visuals sooth his real life experiences: teenage prostitution, raunchy sex and unexpected death. In Japanese with English subtitles. Opens in New York City on July 12. Not Rated. 146 minutes. 1.85:1

Choice Of Weapons (Outrider Pictures): Documentary featuring a successful fencing academy in Harlem. Opens in New York City on July 12. Not Rated. 80 minutes. 1.85:1

Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (MGM): Aussie adventurer Steve Irwin has avoided the death-roll and nabbed another feisty croc, hoping to save it from poachers. What Steve doesn’t know is that the crocodile has innocently swallowed a top secret U.S. satellite beacon, and the poachers are actually American special agents sent to retrieve it. An adventure comedy set to open on 2000 plus screens on July 12. Rated PG for action violence/peril and mild language. Running time not known at this writing. 2.40:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, DTS, SDDS

Halloween: Resurrection (Dimension): In 1998, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) did what she finally had to do and killed her homicidal brother, the infamous Michael Myers. But a few years later, Laurie is found butchered like a hog in her Californian home. The news spreads to their home town, Haddonfield, that the psychotic Myers isn’t dead while a group of teens decide to do a live webcast from the Myers’ house on Halloween night, a la The Blair Witch Project. And one by one, they start to disappear. Is Michael Myers really dead or has he come back to slaughter the innocent again? Opens on 2000 plus screens on July 12. Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality and brief drug use. 85 minutes. 2.40:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, DTS, SDDS

Last Dance (First Run): Behind the scenes documentary of a stormy collaboration between the iconoclastic dance company, Pilobolus, and legendary author-illustrator Maurice Sendak. Over months of improv work in the studio, they transform a haunting holocaust legacy into a compelling, disturbing dance-theater piece. Opens in New York City on July 12. Not Rated. 84 minutes. 1.85:1

Metropolis (Kino): Newly restored reissue of Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic. Opens at Film Forum in New York City on July 12. Not Rated. 120 minutes. 1.33:1. Mono sound

My Wife Is An Actress (Sony Pictures Classics): French actor Yvan Atal makes his writing and directing debut in this screwball romantic comedy which he created for his wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg. A successful sports writer (Atal) is married to a popular movie star (Gainsbourg), with whom he’s madly in love. The problem is that everyone else in Paris seems to be in love with her too. Her latest film role, opposite John (Terence Stamp), a suave international star, is enough to send Yvan over the edge, devising all kinds of schemes to test his wife’s fidelity. In French with English subtitles. Opens in New York and Los Angeles on July 12. Rated R for language and nudity/sexuality. 93 minutes. 1.85:1

Never Again (Focus): Jill Clayburgh and Jeffrey Tambor star in writer/director Eric Schaeffer’s latest comedy, about two older adults who find love. Opens in New York and Los Angeles on July 12, with additional select markets on July 19. Rated R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, and for language. 97 minutes. 1.85:1

Road To Perdition (DreamWorks): Sam Mendes’s follow-up to American Beauty features Tom Hanks as Michael O’Sullivan, a hit man known as The Angel of Death, who with his elder son sets out to avenge the massacre of his wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and family. The star cast includes Jude Law, Al Molina, Stanley Tucci and Paul Newman. Opens on 2500 plus screens on July 12. Rated R for violence and language. 119 minutes. 2.40:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, DTS, SDDS.

Reign Of Fire (Buena Vista): A new breed of dragon is discovered in the London underground. Within a year, most of humanity hasbeen wiped out, and only a band of fighters lead by Quinn Abercromby (Christian Bale) and Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) will dare to take back our planet, in this action adventure from X Files director Rob Bowman. Opens in 2000 plus screens on July 12.. Rated PG13 for intense action violence. Running time not known at this writing. 2.40:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, DTS, SDDS

Expanding this week

Dahmer: Expands to Chicago and San Francisco

Me Without You (IDP): Opens in Los Angeles

Lovely And Amazing (Lions Gate): Limited expansion

Week of July 19 to 25, 2002

Eight Legged Freaks (Warner Bros.): David Arquette and Kari Wuhrer star in Ellory Elkayem’s debut feature, a sci-fi horror throwback to the 1950s films like The Blob, about the residents of a small mining town discover that an unfortunate chemical spill has caused hundreds of little spiders to mutate overnight to the size of trucks. Opens on 2000 plus screens on July 19. Rated PG-13 for Sci fi violence, brief sexuality and for language. 99 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, SDDS, DTS.

K-19: The Widowmaker (Paramount): The biggest, most expensive action film ever made by a female director. Not too surprising when that woman is one of James Cameron’s many ex-wives. Kathryn Bigelow attempts to join the big leagues again in a bug way, in this submarine drama featuring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. Based on a true story of Soviet Submarine K-19, the pride of the Soviet fleet, as its crew fights to keep their nuclear reactor from melting down after a cooling system fails, which leaves the sub stranded at the bottom of the sea for two days. The captain (Ford) and his crew fight bravely and risk deadly radiation poisoning to contain the accident and avoid a catastrophic explosion. Opens in 2500 plus screens on July 19. Rated PG-13 for disturbing images. 138 minutes. 2.40:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, DTS

Stuart Little 2 (Sony/Columbia): Sequel to 1999’s successful adaptation of E.B. White’s childrens book about a little mouse who becomes a part of a human family. Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie and Jonathan Lipnicki return along with the vocal talents of Michael J. Fox and Nathan Lane. This time, Stuart must journey through the city with a reluctant Snowbell to rescue his new friend, Margalo, from a villainous Falcon. Opens on 2000 plus screens on July 19. Rated PG for brief mild language. 70 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, SDDS, DTS

Tadpole (Miramax): One of ten digitally shot features with budgets under $150,000 initiated by startup production company InDigEnt. Unlike Chelsea Walls, the previous film produced by InDigEnt, this film has been getting rave reviews for starts Sigourney Weaver, Bebe Neuwirth and newcomer Aaron Stanford, and was purchased by Miramax for an estimated $5,000,000 at Sundance. Gary Winnick’s comedy/drama looks at the life of Oscar Grubman (Stanford) a sensitive and compassionate young man who speaks fluent French, is conversant in the classics, and can tell all he needs to know about a woman with one look at her hands… and happens to be 15 years old. As he returns from boarding school to his parents’ New York City apartment for Thanksgiving, Oscar has one thing on his mind: older women. When a beautiful 40-something friend of the family actually takes notice of his infatuation, the complications start up. Opens in New York and Los Angeles on July 19. Expands to other cities July 26 and August 2. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, mature thematic elements and language. 77 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound foramts: Dolby SR and SRD

Expanding this week

Never Again: Expands to select markets.

Week of July 26 to August 1, 2002

Austin Powers In Goldmember (New Line): Mike Meyers returns for his third go-around as the groovy time travelling spy from England. This time around, Austin travels back to the 1970s to stop his archenemy Dr. Evil, who collaborates with Fuji Moriyama to take over the World. Opens on 3000 plus screens on July 26. Rated PG-13 for sexual innuendo, crude humor and language. 95 minutes. 2.40:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, SDDS, DTS

The Country Bears (Buena Vista): The first of many planned Disney films based on Disney attractions at Disney parks. A 10-year-old bear named Beary who is raised by humans, is unaware that he is adopted. Discovering the truth about his heritage, Beary sets out to Tennessee, seeking his family and purpose in life. There, he discovers that the famous Country Bear Hall is about to be torn down by a human banker, Reid Thimple. Beary then seeks out the legendary band, The Country Bears, such as Big Al and Liver Lips, in the hopes that they can reunite and save the concert hall. Opens in 2500 plus screens on July 26. Rated G. 88 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, DTS

Happy Times (Sony Classics): Acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou returns with this small but broad Chinese language comedy about human nature when it comes to love and the pursuit of happiness. A middle-aged man visits a matchmaker to find a wife. Finally, she sends him the perfect one. Desperate to impress his potential bride, the man promises her a far more extravagant wedding than he can afford, leading her to believe he is rich. Desperate for funds, he turns to his best friend and they hatch the idea toraise money by refurbishing an abandoned bus they will rent out by the hour, the Happy Times Hotel, to young couples starved for privacy. But this plan goes awry when one friend is too old-fashioned to allow the couples to have the privacy they are looking for and no one will pay for the Happy Times Hotel if they can’t shut the door. Opens in New York City and New York on July 26. Rated PG for thematic elements and language. 106 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD, SDDS, DTS

I’m Trying To Break Your Heart (Cowboy): Behind the scenes documentary about the country rock band Wilco and the making of their critically acclaimed new album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Opens in New York City on July 26, expands to select markets on August 2. Not Rated. 92 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR

The Kid Stays In The Picture (Focus): Documentary on the life of Robert Evans, the former actor who became one of Hollywood’s biggest larger-than-life personalities. Opens in New York and Los Angeles onJuly 26, expands to other cities August 9 and August 16. Rated R for language and some brief violent and sexual images. 93 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound foramts: Dolby SR and SRD

Nightcap (First Run): Legendary French filmmaker Claude Chabrol returns to the screen with this crime thriller about a virtuoso pianist, whose wife died in a mysterious car accident on the day of his son?s sixth birthday, who discovers a young female pianist preparing for the Budapest piano competition who has learned she was almost switched at birth with the son of the pianist. In her quest for her own origins and a mentor, the young girl enters the Polonski family that is not her own. Opens in New York on July 31. Not Rated. 99 minutes. 1.85:1. Mono sound

Who Is Cletis Tout? (Paramount Classics): Tim Allen, Christian Slater, Richard Dreyfuss and Portia de Rossi star in director Chris Ver Wiel’s comedy, as two ex-cons plot to retrieve a treasure of diamonds buried before their incarceration, but the diamonds are now behind the walls of a minimum security prison. Opens in 500 plus screens on July 26. Rated R for language, some violence and sexuality. 95 minutes. 1.85:1. Sound formats: Dolby SR and SRD

Expanding this week

Lan Yu (Strand): Opens New York

Tadpole (Miramax): Expands to top ten markets

Lovely And Amazing (Lions Gate): Expands to select markets

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