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You don't have to be stupid to like summer movies 

Hi, boys and girls! Do you know what time it is? That's right --- it's Summer Movie Preview time! And we totally love summer movies, what with all the car chases, naked chicks, gore galore, bells, whistles, and other shiny stuff! Plus there's popcorn! And candy! And cupholders! How lucky we are!

I'm sorry. You're probably wondering why I sound so condescending. That's because Hollywood believes that when the mercury rises, our IQs take a nosedive. How else to explain the uneagerly awaited Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo?

Don't tell the movie industry, but I don't think we're that stupid (except for a couple of you --- you know who you are). I'd hate to incur Tinseltown's wrath, however, so I've decided to try to bamboozle them with this year's setup. On the surface it looks like your basic alphabet lesson, but hidden within are films for those of us who are more smartish.

(Shhh! I know! It's all part of the illusion... )

A is for The Aristocrats

If you watched Comedy Central at all in the '90s, you probably saw standup Paul Provenza occasionally and wondered how he kept his family fed. But now he's directed this side-splitting documentary which features 101 comedians --- including George Carlin, Sarah Silverman, and Gilbert Gottfried --- each putting their own unbelievably foul-mouthed spin on one notorious joke. (July 29)

B is for Bad News Bears

Richard Linklater follows up last summer's swoony gabfest Before Sunset with this remake of the 1976 Walter Matthau comedy about a group of ragtag ballplayers and their uncouth coach, this time played by Billy Bob Thornton. But I will refrain from pointing out that Linklater's School of Rock is basically the same movie, only with guitars. I'm just that disciplined. (July 22)

C is for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Every time I cop to never having seen 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory I catch oodles of hell. I'll try not to miss Tim Burton's spin on the Roald Dahl classic, but Johnny Depp looks awfully creepy in the trailers. Charlie also features Depp's Finding Neverland co-star Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, and Christopher Lee. (July 15)

D is for Dark Water

Brazil's Walter Salles already has an Oscar (for Central Station), and after the success of The Motorcycle Diaries, he goes Hollywood with this Western version of Hideo Nakata's (Ringu) hit Japanese horror flick about a really soggy apartment building... which doesn't sound all that frightening. But Tim Roth is in it, and that's reason enough to empty your wallet. (July 8)

E is for Everything is Illuminated

The critically acclaimed novel by Jonathan Safran Foer is brought to the big screen by actor-turned-director Liev Schreiber. It stars Elijah Wood as a young Jewish-American on a quest to find the Ukrainian woman who rescued his grandfather during World War II. (August 12)

F is for Four Brothers

John Singleton's career resurgence continues (hopefully) with this crime drama about four men (including Mark Wahlberg and Andre 3000... I mean Benjamin) who return to Detroit for the funeral of their foster mother, only to find that her untimely death is shrouded in mystery. (August 12)

G is for Gilliam

Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam's latest film is The Brothers Grimm, which stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as titular brothers Jake and Will, whose investigation into a haunted forest leads to adventures involving an evil queen (the luscious Monica Bellucci) that echo the fables for which the siblings would go on to become renowned. (August 26)

H is for Hustle & Flow

They shelled out $9 million out for the distribution rights to this Sundance Audience Award winner about an unsuccessful Memphis pimp (Terrence Howard, Ray) in the throes of a midlife crisis who takes a stab at the rap game. (July 15)

I is for The Island

If you thought Bruckheimer-Bay was an unholy alliance, try Spielberg-Bay. E.T.'s dad produced Mr. Pearl Harbor's summer submission about futuristic clones that must... um... the plot sounds kind of confusing. But maybe something will explode! (July 22)

J is for Jim Jarmusch

The King of Kool was recently honored at (please forgive me) Kannes for Broken Flowers, which stars Bill Murray as an aging Lothario whose newfound 20-year-old son prompts him to hit the road in search of the kid's mom. Possible suspects include Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone and Six Feet Under's Frances Conroy. (August 5)

K is for Keira Knightley

England's hottest It Girl has a couple of flicks coming out this summer, including one in which she plays a real-life bounty hunter (!), and I continue to be puzzled by the fact that she's an above-the-title star.

L is for Last Days

The end of Kurt Cobain's life gets the fictionalized treatment in Gus Van Sant's latest. The juicy-lipped Michael Pitt (The Dreamers) plays the doomed rock star and shares the screen with people as diverse as Harmony Korine, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, and the combustible Asia Argento. (July 22)

M is for Murderball

The title of the Documentary Audience Award winner at Sundance 2005 is the cute little nickname for quad rugby, a brutal sport played by paralyzed guys in tricked-out wheelchairs. The film looks at the lives of these dedicated athletes on and off the field of battle. (July 8)

N is for 9 Songs

The Guardian has called the new film from chameleon Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People) "the most sexually explicit film in the history of British cinema." A yearlong fling is intercut with nine songs performed from each of the concerts the couple attends, such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Dandy Warhols, and Franz Ferdinand. (July 22)

O is for Ozon

François Ozon (Swimming Pool) cements his reputation as one of France's most important and interesting filmmakers with 5x2, a kind of Eternal Sunshine-meets-Memento look at five scenes chronicling the unraveling of a marriage in reverse. (June 10)

P is for Penguins

Morgan Freeman narrates potential sleeper hit March of the Penguins, which was filmed in Antarctica over the course of 13 months and follows the exploits of a group of emperor penguins as they raise their furry babies in a place where they're the only existing life-form... well, them and a pesky film crew, who wore tuxedoes to blend in. Maybe. (June 24)

Q is for Quizno's

I really don't like the idea of a toasted sub. I worry that the heat would eventually make the bread tough and the toppings mushy. Is the toasting mandatory? I've never actually eaten there. And there is nothing movie-related this summer that starts with the letter Q, which you have likely figured out by this point.

R is for Romance & Cigarettes

John Turturro wrote and directed this story about a cheating husband forced to choose between his wife and his mistress. The massive cast is led by James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, and Steve Buscemi. Did I mention that it's a musical? (August 19)

S is for Saraband

Ingmar Bergman one-ups Linklater with what he claims to be his final film. It's a sequel to his 1974 Scenes from a Marriage, in which Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson reprise their roles 30 years later as the now-divorced couple. (July 8)

T is for Touch the Sound

Documentary filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer (Rivers and Tides) turns his lens on a year in the life of Evelyn Glennie, a woman who lost most of her hearing around the age of 8 yet went on to become a famous solo percussionist. (August 19)

U is for An Unfinished Life

Finally, Jennifer Lopez and Robert Redford together in a movie about... oh, who cares. I'm just going to sit here and reminisce about the once-upon-a-time when director Lasse Hallström made interesting films instead of treacly Miramax Oscar bait. (September 9)

V is for Valiant

This is a Disney cartoon... I mean animated feature film about a runty bird who dreams of joining an elite squad of homing pigeons and doing battle with Nazi falcons during World War II. Features the voices of Ewan McGregor, Tim Curry, and The Office's Ricky Gervais. (August 19)

W is for War of the Worlds

Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, and Tim Robbins modernizing H.G. Wells for Steven Spielberg. I just thought they could use a little publicity. (June 29)

X is for X-rated movies

They're out there. Go see 'em if you want to --- I don't mind. Neither does Spielberg.

Y is for Yes

Joan Allen stars as an American scientist who embarks on a passionate affair with a Lebanese cook, despite already being married to a British politician (Sam Neill). Overrated arthouse darling Sally Potter (Orlando) directs, but I remain optimistic. (June 24)

Z is for Zhang Ziyi 

The seemingly ubiquitous Asian stunner has two movies unspooling this summer. She plays a prostitute in 2046 (August 12), Wong Kar-wai's long-awaited (by me, at least) follow-up/sequel to In the Mood For Love, and straps on the wires for Zu Warriors (August 19), yet another martial arts adventure that I will probably adore.

Release dates are never carved in stone, kids, so don't demolish your piggybanks just yet!

In This Guide...

  • Summer's the thing

    Looking for a bandwagon? Summer's very hot right now.

  • School's out? Guess again

    Afraid your kid's brain will turn to mush over the summer but don't have the bucks to pay for tutoring? Fear not.

  • California is right around the corner

    It's one case where wine and lawmaking do mix: A recent Supreme Court ruling may change how New York State wine lovers get their wine and how local wineries sell it. In May the Supreme Court decided that in New York and Michigan --- two states being sued for unfair trade practices --- both interstate and instate wine shipping should follow the same rules.

  • Find the nooks and crannies

    In the Jazz Fest afterglow, it might be easy to view the rest of the summer concert season as a letdown. Don't be fooled --- you'll really miss out if you don't dig in the nooks and crannies.

  • You don't have to go inside

    Hardcore fans of live music don't ever let the local inclemency keep them housebound. Slogging through the mush and over mountains of snow is a small price to pay for good live music in clubs throughout Rochester.

  • Everything's going swimmingly

    You don't need to wait for an invitation to dip into your neighbor's pool when there are at least 15 pools around the city that are open to the public. Many community and recreation centers around Rochester use their indoor or outdoor pools to offer free-swim times and lessons to the community.

  • There's no need to follow the beaten path

    Okay, so Western New York may not be Bend or Boulder, or even Lake Placid. But for the precious few months that summer visits these parts, the discerning outdoor enthusiast can find plenty of challenges.

  • The accidental camper primer

    Camping can happen to anyone. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Learn how to sell it

    There's really only one valid reason to get out of bed early on summer weekends, and that's to hit the garage sale circuit. In the past I've been rather diligent about it (as long as the preceding evening didn't involve too much in the way of booze or boys, or that tricky combination of both), and as Summer 2005 looms I'm slowly getting back in the swing of things.

  • Tourism Toronto

    Sure, it's been a comedy of errors. (Maybe we'll all be laughing about it later.)

  • Your money's no good here

    Like fun? Low on cash, or just hate to part with it?

  • What's so amusing?

    Seabreeze Park 4600 Culver Road

  • City's Summer choices

    City's choice: Bills Training Camp There are only 32 teams in the National Football League, and every summer Rochester plays host to one of them.

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