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Summer screen scene: Sequels rule

THE BALTIMORE SUN

If you combine this summer's film trends, the plot line for the ultimate flick would read something like this:

For at least the second time, partially animated, talking criminal dogs from outer space travel back to either the early 1900s or the World War II era (your choice) and invade Paris or Vienna (or some other romantic, non-American place). There, they learn about life and love from former "Survivor" cast members, find their soul-mates and live happily ever after.

But, instead of this all-rolled-into-one-movie plot, the summer movie roster features film groupings with the splintered elements. We count six sequels, five films with cartoon qualities, three talking-animal features, five criminal-centric stories, three alien-invasion plots, three circa-1900 works, four World War II epics, five films with foreign settings, nine coming-of-age tales, two flicks with appearances by former "Survivor" members and a good number of love stories and yarns with happy endings.

So, what does all that add up to? A lot of the same film for one. But with some important differences - namely the faces on the screen. It means we get to see Julia Roberts in a 70-pound fat suit, Johnny Depp as a Gypsy, a sweaty Angelina Jolie with guns, Eddie Murphy talking to bears, Bridget Fonda as a hooker, Cuba Gooding Jr. as a World War II pilot and Nicole Kidman as the mother of two boys who can't go out in the sun. And that's just the beginning.

Here's a look at what's coming, from tomorrow through August. Probable release dates follow each entry.

May

"Angel Eyes": Jennifer Lopez stars as a tough, yet oh-so-sexy Chicago cop who falls in love with the mysterious stranger who saves her life. But the man may not be a godsend, after all. May 18.

"Moulin Rouge": Nicole Kidman is the top talent at the infamously garish - and equally glamorous - Moulin Rouge, a Paris nightclub of the early 1900s. She's also the tragic draw for writer Ewan McGregor, whose venture into her world could destroy them both. May 18.

"Shrek": The animated Shrek (Mike Myers) is a cranky ogre made more so by an influx of banished fairy-tale characters into his hermitlike life. To save his home and theirs, he sets off on a quest to bring the expulsion-happy evil ruler (John Lithgow) a bride bribe (Cameron Diaz). May 18.

"Our Song": The story follows three young members of the New York City Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band as they struggle with life-altering decisions and conflict. May 23.

"Pearl Harbor": An epic film starring Ben Affleck and Cuba Gooding Jr. as two pilots deeply affected by the fateful events surrounding Dec. 7, 1941, the day Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor. May 25.

"Chopper": Chopper is the product of a devoutly religious mother and a former soldier father, but he dreams of being like neither. To be a cult crime figure is his goal, something he achieves through lost appendages, vigilantism and murder. May 25.

June

"The Animal": Colleen Haskell, of "Survivor 1" fame, makes her big-screen debut as the love interest of Rob Schneider, a police officer whose insides have been replaced by those of various animals. June 1.

"What's the Worst That Could Happen?": Danny DeVito starts out as the victim to Martin Lawrence's thief, but before the heist is over, Lawrence is the one with missing property, and he'll stop at nothing to get it back. June 1.

"Bride of the Wind": Historical drama chronicles the life of Alma Mahler Werfel, a talented, passionate and outspoken composer in turn-of-the-last-century Vienna. June 8.

"Evolution": David Duchovny, Julianne Moore and Orlando Jones star as the Earth's only hope of preventing alien rule after a crashed meteor unleashes extraterrestrials. June 8.

"Swordfish": John Travolta and Halle Barry star as fashionable felons who lure down-and-out master hacker Hugh Jackman from his trailer-park life to their sinister world of cyber-crime. June 8.

"The Man Who Cried": World War II Paris is home to Gypsy Johnny Depp and the Jewish singer who loves him, played by Christina Ricci. As the war advances, Ricci must decide whether to save her life or her relationship. Cate Blanchett and John Turturro also star. June 8.

"Songcatcher": After being denied a promotion, a music professor leaves the city and goes to stay with her sister in rural Appalachia circa 1907. There she comes across several generations' worth of orally preserved Scots-Irish songs. She begins documenting them in the hope that her efforts will win her the promotion she seeks. June 15.

"Atlantis: The Lost Empire": Michael J. Fox is the voice of Milo Thatch, a young cartographer with dreams of solving the ancient mystery of Atlantis' location. A found journal sends him on his way. A Disney animated film. June 15.

"Sexy Beast": An ex-con is drawn into a battle of wills with his nemesis that threatens the peaceful life he's been living in a Spanish utopia. June 15.

"Tomb Raider": Angelina Jolie brings to life the video-game vixen Lara Croft, the subject of young boys' fantasies the world over. Dressed in full battle gear, Croft traverses the globe, knocking guys out, doing acrobatics and looking good. June 15.

"Doctor Dolittle 2": Eddie Murphy is the multispecies, multilingual Dr. Dolittle, and he's out to save the forest where a bunch of his animal pals live. For some reason, this requires getting an endangered female bear to mate with a crass circus bear. June 22.

"The Fast and the Furious": Rival car-racing street teams establish L.A. gang power by being faster than one another. June 22.

"The Anniversary Party": The Therrians (Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh) throw themselves a bash to celebrate three milestones in their lives. But a combustible mix of friends, enemies and old flames turns the party into shocking-confession central. June 22.

"Baby Boy": Director John Singleton returns to the setting of his first film, "Boyz N the Hood." This time the tough L.A. neighborhood is home to Baby Boy (Tyrese Gibson), a 20-year-old man. The movie follows as he tries to set right a life of bad choices. June 27.

"A.I.": Haley Joel Osment is the ugly duckling of the robot world. The first of his kind programmed to love, he finds he doesn't fit in with humans or machines and sets off in search of a place where he can belong. Jude Law and William Hurt co-star; Steven Spielberg directs. June 29.

"Crazy/Beautiful": A dramatic version of "Pretty in Pink," with teens falling in love across socio-economic boundaries and enduring their friends' badmouthing. This time, Molly Ringwald's part is played by a guy. June 29.

July

"Cats & Dogs": Cat people should skip this one. A power-mad Persian cat (Mr. Tinkles) sets in motion a war between felines and canines, with the dogs as the obvious good guys. Susan Sarandon, Tobey Maguire and Jon Lovitz lend their voices to the animal actors. July 4.

"Scary Movie 2": They lied. Despite the promise of no sequel, "Scary Movie 2" is here, and it picks up where the last one left off. But instead of spoofing teeny-bopper horror flicks, this one concentrates on making fun of the classics. July 4.

"Kiss of the Dragon": Bridget Fonda is an American woman forced into prostitution in Paris. Her future's understandably bleak, until a martial-arts expert/spy accused of murder crosses her path. The duo team up to save themselves. July 6.

"Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within": Alien invasion goes higher-tech as computer-animated people struggle to save the Earth from extraterrestrial takeover. Voices by Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi and Donald Sutherland. July 11.

"The Score": Career criminal Nick Wells (Robert De Niro) postpones "retirement" to pull off the biggest heist of his life. Edward Norton co-stars as Wells' newly acquired accomplice. July 13.

"Bully": The film is based on the true story of Bobby Kent, a bully lured into a deadly trap eight years ago by his supposed friends. July 13.

"Legally Blonde": Reese Witherspoon is the perfect California girl: president of her sorority, a Hawaiian Tropic model and Miss June on her campus calendar. But best of all, she's a natural blonde. Problem is, her blue-blooded East Coast beau wants a woman from his part of the country. July 13.

"Jurassic Park III": Remarkably, Sam Neill ("Jurassic Park," Part 1) still hasn't learned his lesson. He again puts himself and others in a position where they can be eaten by prehistoric and/or genetically mutated creatures. July 18.

"America's Sweethearts": Julia Roberts plays the dowdy personal assistant of megastar Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose marriage to megastar John Cusack falls apart. Roberts falls for Cusack and churns out yet another romantic comedy. July 20.

"Jump Tomorrow" A love story about a young Nigerian who is about to enter into an arranged marriage when he meets Alicia, a Latin beauty who makes him question the fate he always thought was his. July 20.

"Lost and Delirious": Three young women discover life, love and themselves at a posh private boarding school. July 20.

"Made": Jon Favreau ("Swingers") is a boxing hopeful who refuses to give up his ring dreams despite the urgings of his best bud, a godfather wannabe played by Vince Vaughan. Vaughan wants Favreau to focus his energy on being "made" instead. July 20.

"Planet of the Apes": Tim Burton's skewed vision this time focuses on a 1968 sci-fi classic. As in the original, a pilot (Mark Wahlberg) crash-lands on a planet where apes rule and humans forage for survival, but that's where the similarities end. Don't expect a remake of the first "Apes." Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan also star. July 27.

August

"The Deep End": A mother covers up a murder to prevent her teen-age son from being held responsible, but after someone else finds out what's she doing, she discovers she's in over her head. Aug. 1.

"Rush Hour 2": Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are again detectives chasing bad guys and performing a few karate kicks as they go. Aug. 3.

"Thomas in Love": Agoraphobic Thomas hasn't been outside his home in eight years. His therapist tries to coax him along by setting him up with an Internet dating service. Aug. 3.

"Ghost World": Based on the comic-book series of the same name, the movie tells the stories of Enid and Rebecca, friends facing high-school graduation and first loves. Aug. 3.

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch": Described by its distributor as a "punk rock, neo-glam musical odyssey," the movie tells the twisted tale of Hedwig (formerly Hansel), and his/her evolution from boy escaping Berlin to female band leader. Aug. 3.

"Rat Race": To amuse his wealthy friends, a tycoon pulls six ordinary people together, tells them there's $2 million stashed in a locker hundreds of miles away and then turns them loose to see what they'll do. Whoopi Goldberg, John Cleese and Kathy Najimy star. Aug. 3.

"Original Sin": Antonio Banderas plays a Cuban coffee mogul who mail-orders Angelina Jolie to be his bride. Aug. 3.

"The Princess Diaries": The life of a shy San Francisco teen gets a lot more exciting after she learns she's the heir apparent to a small European principality. Big decisions follow, such as whether to stick around and pursue a budding romance or take her place as royal ruler. Aug. 3.

"American Pie 2": Two summers ago, we got an eyeful of the many uses of pie. Apparently that wasn't enough, because the kids are back. The core group of teen-age guys reassemble after a year away at various schools and vow to have a rockin' summer. Hedonism ensues. Aug. 10.

"Osmosis Jones": Chris Rock and Laurence Fishburne wreak havoc inside Bill Murray - literally. The pair star as a renegade white blood cell and a villainous virus respectively, and Murray's body is the playground in which they race, chase and deface one another. Part live action and part animation. Aug. 10.

"The Others": Nicole Kidman moves to a house on a remote island with her two sick sons, but soon discovers she's not as alone as she thinks she is. Aug. 10.

"The Curse of the Jade Scorpion": Woody Allen's latest comedy, set in 1940, features him as a Walter Mitty-like New York insurance investigator with big ideas about his abilities to crack fraudulent claims. But the hypnotic Jade Scorpion just might make him crack, period. Aug. 10.

"Happy Accidents": Marisa Tomei no longer believes in love. Then she meets a near-perfect guy (Vincent D'Onofrio, "The Cell"). His minor flaw? He thinks he's a time traveler from the year 2470. Aug. 10.

"Apocalypse Now Redux": Francis Ford Coppola releases a re-edited version of "Apocalypse Now" (1979). The film now has 53 extra minutes and an expanded Playboy Playmates sequence. Aug. 15.

"Captain Corelli's Mandolin": Set in the Italian-occupied Greece of World War II, the film follows the unlikely romance between an Italian soldier (Nicolas Cage) and a Greek beauty (Penelope Cruz). The war eventually threatens the romance, and their lives. Aug. 17.

"American Outlaws": A gang of Old West vigilante farmers heads off on a Robin Hood-esque retaliation spree after they learn a corrupt railroad baron has taken their land. As their crimes mount, so does their fame, particularly in the case of a young guy named Jesse James. Aug. 17.

"Serendipity": Ten years ago, two people in their 20s fell in love at first sight. But Sara (Kate Beckinsale) wasn't convinced that Jonathan (John Cusack) was her soul-mate. So she decided that they should separate and see if fate would put them together again. They did, and ... well, time will tell. Aug. 17.

"Rollerball": Essentially a bone-breaking version of Roller Derby on inline skates and motorcycles, rollerball is the hot team sport of the near future. But the danger to one team comes less from their performance in the arena than it does from their ruthless owner. Aug. 17.

"All Over the Guy": A pair of opposites thrown together by friends can't help but fall in love - though they struggle mightily against their feelings. Aug. 17.

"John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars": A long-dormant race of Martians is disturbed and mistakenly brought back to life by humans (technically the aliens in this case) inhabiting Mars. A battle for domination of the Red Planet results. Ice Cube and Pam Grier star. Aug. 24.

"Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back": They've been the secondary characters in three movies ("Clerks," "Mall Rats" and "Chasing Amy" ), and now the annoyingly talkative Jay and his partner, the silent yet strangely tender Bob, get their moment in the sun. In their starring roles, they try to repair their reputations after someone spreads lies about them. Aug. 24.

"Soul Survivors": A horror flick about a college freshman (Eliza Dushka, "Bring It On") who's haunted by supernatural visions after a violent car crash - so much so that she begins to wonder if she survived the wreck at all. Aug. 24.

"Summer Catch": Freddie Prinze Jr. signs up to play baseball on his hometown team, hoping that will be a ticket to bigger things, but his competitive nature, a new relationship and summer partying combine to work against him. Aug. 24.

"All That Glitters": Mariah Carey joins all the other singers who fancy themselves actors by making her movie debut in this story of a singer who overcomes a rough childhood to rise to superstar status. Aug. 31.

"Knockaround Guys": Bloodshed and betrayal mark an expedition undertaken by four sons of Brooklyn mobsters. They team up to retrieve a bag of money from a Montana town watched over by a commanding sheriff. John Malkovich and Dennis Hopper star. Aug. 31.

"Jeepers Creepers": Two college kids on a road trip home make a quick stop at an abandoned church (sure, why not), discover something awful and soon have an evil and indestructible force after them. Aug. 31.

"Maybe Baby": A childless couple experiment with everything from acupuncture to hormones to get pregnant, but it's a comedic screenplay about their efforts (written by the husband) that's their riskiest venture yet. Date to be announced.

"Bubble Boy": Billed as a "coming-of-age comedy," the story follows one immunity-lacking Jimmy Livingston as he goes mobile with his protective bubble to stop the wedding of the woman he loves. Susan Hawke of the first "Survivor" show makes an appearance. Date to be announced.

"Sidewalks of New York": Six Manhattanites look for love in the wrong and right places and comment on the search along the way. Date to be announced.

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