Coming real soon to a theater near you

THE BALTIMORE SUN

There'll be familiar faces and familiar places at the movie theater this summer. It's not just the actors we know so well - although lots of big stars are accounted for - but some characters and plots we've loved elsewhere are now larger than life on the movie screen.

There are movies based on literature, such as Oscar Wilde's classic play The Importance of Being Earnest, Rebecca Wells' best-selling novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and A.S. Byatt's Possession, and the thrillers The Sum of All Fears, The Bourne Identity and Minority Report (a novel by Tom Clancy, a novel by Robert Ludlum and a short story by Phillip K. Dick, respectively).

There are movies based on television shows. Scooby-Doo makes the jump from the small screen to the big, as do Hey Arnold!, The Powerpuff Girls and The Crocodile Hunter.

And there are movies based on other movies. The ever-popular summertime sequel is back. There's more Austin Powers, more Men in Black, more Stuart Little, more Spy Kids, more Halloween and more Star Wars.

In addition to all these old friends and not-so-secret plots, moviegoers can still see some surprises: Robin Williams being scary (twice), Tom Hanks as a hit man, David Arquette as an engineer and Christina Ricci as a sorority girl. And how about the birth of punk rock, the drama of marching bands, the cuteness of singing bears, and Sean Penn narrating a documentary about skateboarding?

Here's a rundown of the films of Summer 2002. Probable release dates are at the end of each entry.

May

Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones: The summer kicks off with a little film about the battle between good and evil in outer space. Opens today.

The Cat's Meow: Based on a real unsolved killing in 1924, this film follows publisher William Randolph Hearst, actress Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin and other notables on a cruise marked by deception, jealousy and danger. May 17.

About A Boy: Hugh Grant is irresponsible bachelor Will, who goes to single-parent meetings to pick up women but learns to grow up with help from a troubled 12-year-old boy. May 17.

Time Out: A psychological thriller about a man who fabricates a new career for himself so the people in his life will not know he lost his job. May 24.

Enough: Jennifer Lopez is buffed up as a woman on the run from an abusive husband. May 24.

Insomnia: Chris Nolan (Memento) directs Al Pacino as a police detective sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate a murder and play mind games with Robin Williams, the primary suspect. May 24.

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron: An animated tale of a mustang stallion that won't be broken even as he becomes friends with a young Lakota brave and finds romance with a paint mare. May 24.

The Sum of All Fears: Ben Affleck takes on the role of a younger Jack Ryan in the latest espionage thriller based on a Tom Clancy novel. This time, Ryan must stop a sinister plot to draw the United States and Russia into World War III. Rumor has it, he doesn't succeed until after something very bad happens to Baltimore. May 31.

Undercover Brother: Eddie Griffin is a private detective who has to trade in his '70s style to pose as a preppy nerd, resist Denise Richards and stop the overthrow of the government. May 31.

Mystic Masseur: An urban teacher in Trinidad moves to the country and becomes a healer to support his writing aspirations. His knowledge and reputation for mystical healing powers soon make him famous and propel him into the less-amenable world of politics. May 31.

The Importance of Being Earnest: Colin Firth and Rupert Everett play two men in 1890s England who bend the truth a bit to woo two lovely young women. May 31.

Triumph of Love: Mira Sorvino plays a princess who uses a variety of diguises to get to the man she loves and restore him as the rightful heir to the throne. May, date to be determined.

June

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: An estrogen-o-rama based on the best-selling novel, this movie follows a group of four lifelong female friends in the South. Ellen Burstyn and Ashley Judd play the older and younger selves of one of the Ya-Yas, and Sandra Bullock plays a daughter seeking to make peace with the past. June 7.

Bad Company: Chris Rock is a streetwise bookie who has to take the place of his twin brother, an educated CIA agent, to protect national security. Anthony Hopkins also stars. June 7.

The Bourne Identity: An international spy has to discover his identity when he is found floating at sea with only the bullets in his back, a bank account number implanted in his hip, lots of snazzy spy skills - oh, and the face of Matt Damon. June 14.

The Emperor's New Clothes: What if the exiled Napoleon traded identities with a sailor, headed back to France to reclaim power, got stranded in Paris and found love with a beautiful widow? June 14.

Scooby-Doo: Those meddling kids, and a special-effects version of the titular talking and snack-scarfing dog, investigate a series of paranormal incidents at a spring-break hot spot called Spooky Island. June 14.

Windtalkers: A movie about Navajo Americans trained to use a secret military code based on their native language and the men assigned to protect them and keep the code from falling into the wrong hands. June 14.

Dogtown and Z Boys: This documentary examines how some Santa Monica youths in the 1970s changed the sport of skateboarding when they incorporated their surfing styles into it. June 21.

Juwanna Mann: Every season needs a cross-dressing comedy, and this summer has a male basketball player joining the Women's League when he's booted from his team. June 21.

Cherish: A woman (Robin Tunney) hooked on romantic pop songs is unfairly charged in a police officer's death. After falling in love with her parole officer, she embraces reality and works to solve the killing. June 21.

Minority Report: Tom Cruise plays the head of a police unit in 2054 that uses psychic technology to convict murderers before they strike. Lo and behold, he is accused of the future murder of a man he hasn't met. June 21.

Lilo and Sitch: An animated film in which a young Hawaiian girl teaches a koalalike creature (who is the result of an experiment) to stop misbehaving and care about others. June 21.

Hey Arnold! The Movie: Arnold, the animated TV hero with a football-shaped head, has to stop a powerful industrialist from knocking down his city to erect a huge "mall-plex." June 28.

Mr. Deeds: Adam Sandler stretches to play a sweet, lovable guy who leaves his small-town life when he inherits $40 billion and a huge media company. Will this fish out of water ultimately discover what is truly valuable in life? D'ya think? June 28.

Pumpkin: As Carolyn (Christina Ricci) and her sorority sisters coach mentally challenged athletes for a regional competition, she falls in love with her trainee, Pumpkin. June TBA.

July

Men in Black II: This time, the evil alien is disguised as a lingerie model, and Jay (Will Smith) must get Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) to come out of retirement and back to the job of defending Earth. July 3.

Like Mike: Hip-hop singer Lil Bow Wow stars as a diminutive young man who finds a pair of sneakers - marked with an MJ - that turn him into a basketball star and NBA sensation. July 3.

The Powerpuff Girls Movie: Based on the animated TV series, this movie explains how the big-eyed, superpower-endowed little girls - Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup - decide to use their power to fight evil. July 3.

Barbershop: Calvin, played by Ice Cube, begins to regret selling the barbershop that he inherited from his father and which serves as a center of activity for an eclectic group of characters. July 12.

Reign of Fire: Fire-breathing dragons try to take over Earth, but two dragon slayers (Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey) do the Aliens thing and go after their queen. July 12.

Blue Crush: What could distract a rebellious, adrenaline-seeking surfer women? A man, of course; in this case a professional quarterback. July 12.

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course: After years of harassing snakes, lizards and crocodiles on his popular television show, Steve Irwin must save a crocodile that turns out to be involved with a missing satellite beacon. July 12.

The Road to Perdition: In the Depression-era Midwest, Tom Hanks plays a hit man for an Irish gang who seeks revenge for the death of his wife and son. With Paul Newman and Jude Law, among others. July 12.

Eight Legged Freaks: There is more than one spider in town this summer, as the residents of a rural mining town battle giant mutant spiders created by a chemical spill. David Arquette plays a mining engineer. July 19.

Halloween: Resurrection: A group of teens spend the night in Michael Myers' childhood home for a live Internet broadcast, but - here's a shock - things go wrong and they are forced to struggle for their lives. July 19.

K-19: The Widowmaker: The character of Jack Ryan may belong to the younger generation now, but Harrison Ford is still in international-adventure mode as a Soviet navy captain ordered to take a nuclear submarine out to sea despite dangerous technical problems. July 19.

Stuart Little 2: The plucky mouse and his adoptive human family are back to help rescue a new friend from a villainous falcon. July 19.

Austin Powers in Goldmember: Mike Myers' international man of mystery is back for a third time. In this outing, he has to stop Dr. Evil from completing a time-travel scheme to take over the world. Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child) returns as Austin's old flame. July 26.

The Lady and the Duke: Set during the French Revolution and filmed against painted backgrounds of 18th-century scenery, this movie follows an English woman in Paris who has a romantic affair with a cousin of King Louis XVI. July 26.

The Country Bears: Inspired by Disney's Country Bear Jamboree, this movie has a young bear, voiced by Haley Joel Osment, leaving his adopted human family to find his bear family and reunite the once-successful singing-bear band. July 26.

Lovely and Amazing: A woman and her three daughters - a former homecoming queen, an actress and an 8-year-old adoptee - deal with body-image issues and learn to offer comfort and strength to each other. July TBD.

Cinema Paradiso: Director's Cut: This story about a famous Italian film director who returns home to reconnect with his past features more than half an hour of additional footage. July TBD.

Never Again: A love story about two people in their 50s - an exterminator turned jazz musician (Jeffrey Tambor) and an empty-nest-facing divorcee (Jill Clayburgh) - who must face their fears and decide if they can love again. July TBD.

August

Tadpole: A precocious 15-year-old boarding-school student (Aaron Stanford) has older women on his mind when he comes home for the holidays, a situation that gets more complicated when a mature friend of the family takes notice. Sigourney Weaver, Bebe Neuwirth and John Ritter play the grown-ups in his life. Aug. 2.

Signs: M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this supernatural thriller that puts together Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix and unexplained crop circles. Aug. 2.

Sunshine State: Angela Bassett and The Sopranos' Edie Falco are two women dealing with their families and changes in their Florida town. Aug. 2.

Full Frontal: Directed by Steven Soderbergh, this story about the tangled love lives of seven people stars Julia Roberts and several other familiar faces. It is billed by its distributor as "a movie about movies for people who love movies." Aug. 2.

The Master of Disguise: "Hey, it's that guy!" may echo in theaters as a waiter (Dana Carvey) discovers a magical talent for disguise inherited from his father (James Brolin). That talent allows him to thwart a criminal mastermind (Brent Spiner). Aug. 2.

Spy Kids 2: Another family-friendly installment about the adventurous Cortez family. Here they go to a distant island and fight a mysterious man and rival spy siblings. Aug. 7.

Blood Work: He's tough, he's grizzled, he's Clint Eastwood and he's back in crime-fighting mode as an FBI profiler brought out of retirement to track a serial killer. Aug. 9.

Biggie & Tupac: A documentary examining the deaths of rappers Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. Aug. 9.

The Good Girl: Jennifer Aniston plays a small-town store clerk who gets into serious trouble (obsession, blackmail, theft) after cheating on her infertile husband. Aug. 9

Swimfan: A young, all-American couple's world is turned upside down by an obsessive and seductive new girl in town. Aug. 9.

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing: The lives of five New Yorkers intersect in this movie, which explores the unrecognized impact people have on one another, and the meaning of true hapiness. Aug. 9.

XXX: Vin Diesel stars as "XXX" Cage, a notorious underground thrill seeker who, to avoid jail, agrees to go on a dangerous covert mission infiltrating an underground Russian crime ring. Aug. 9.

Serving Sara: When Sara (Elizabeth Hurley) receives divorce papers, she tries to save her fortune with the help of the process server, played by Matthew Perry. Aug. 16.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash: In the year 2087, Eddie Murphy plays a nightclub owner trying to keep mobsters from taking over the moon. Aug. 16.

Simone: A contemporary satire of Hollywood in which a producer (Al Pacino) creates the first totally synthetic actress. Aug. 16.

View From the Top: As a young woman pursues her dream of becoming a top international flight attendant, she discovers a bumpy road to success. Aug. 16.

The Tuxedo: When his boss is injured, a lowly chauffeur (Jackie Chan) discovers the man's tuxedo gives the wearer extraordinary powers. Aug. 16.

They: A psychology graduate student faces her childhood night terrors in this thriller. Aug. 23

One Hour Photo: Robin Williams plays an isolated photo developer who becomes obsessed with a family whose photos he develops and begins interfering in their lives. Aug. 23.

A Guy Thing: A little lie turns into a big lie as a man has an unexpected encounter with his fiancee's cousin. Aug. 23.

Igby Goes Down: A 17-year-old rebelling against his privileged upbringing goes on the run, ending up in New York with a deviant cast of characters at his godfather's weekend house. Aug. 23.

Madison: Jake Lloyd didn't get to feel the force in the newest Star Wars installment, but perhaps the pod racing he did in the previous film prepared him for this action flick about hydroplane-boat racing. Jim Caviezel and Bruce Dern co-star. Aug. 23.

Drumline: A comedy about a Harlem street drummer who tries to lead a Southern university marching band to victory. Aug. 23.

Possession: An English academic and an American scholar, both researching Victorian poets in London, find a cache of love letters that leads them on a journey that reflects the lovers' actions in the past. Aug. 30.

24 Hour Party People: A history of producer Tony Wilson's role in the punk-music revolution, from getting the Sex Pistols on television in 1976 to managing groups in Manchester, England, to creating the Factory Records label. August TBD.

Slap Her, She's French: A teen comedy that finds the most popular girl in a high school fending off a seemingly innocent (but really diabolical) French exchange student. August TBD

Love and a Bullet: A tough gangsta kid turned elite hit man starts to rethink his life choices, bringing him to a showdown with cold-blooded criminals. August TBD.

Secretary: An unconventional relationship entangles a woman recently released from a psychiatric hospital and her new boss. August TBD.

The Kid Stays in the Picture: A documentary following the career of Hollywood producer Robert Evans, from his first acting role in 1956 to a tenure running Paramount Pictures to a fall from grace and a return to Hollywood. August TBD.

Mostly Martha: The life of a work-obsessed German chef changes when she takes custody of her 8-year-old niece and takes exception to her flamboyant new Italian sous-chef. August TBD.

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