Summer Movie Preview

X2: X-Men United

The sexiest mutants since, uh, the first "X-Men" fight to save themselves from destruction at the hands of the evil Gen. William Stryker (Brian Cox). Director Bryan Singer got more money ($120 million) this time, which means more action, more romance and more dazzling visual effects. The freaks never had it so good.
Opens May 2.

Daddy Day Care

Eddie Murphy plays a downsized pop who reclaims his manhood by becoming the neighborhood's Mr. Mom. Potty training, bubble-burping hilarity ensues, and Murphy learns what really matters: making $20 million per picture.
Opens May 9.

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

Actress to Watch--Carefully Entering naked is always a good way to attract attention. Entering naked on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills? Perfection. Kristanna Loken, 23, does just that when she battles Arnold Schwarzenegger on July 2 in "Terminator 3." Loken plays TX, a killing machine sent to destroy future resistance leader John Connor (Nick Stahl). "She doesn't say much," says Loken. "But then again, she doesn't really have to." Raised on a fruit farm in New York, Loken was "a rough-and-tumble girl" growing up, but acting invincible still messed with her head. "I became way more physically aggressive." When she got locked out of her house, she punched through a window. "What the hell was I thinking?" she says, laughing. But the biggest casualty? "I can never go down Rodeo Drive again and think of it the same way."

Down With Love Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor reveal how to make a fab martini, and look fab doing it, in this retro-chic homage to the candy-colored comedies of Doris Day and Rock Hudson. She's an author telling women that romance is for patsies. He's the stud out to sweep her off her feet.
Opens May 16.

Bruce Almighty

Jim Carrey plays a sad-sack journalist (is there any other kind?) who takes God to task for falling down on the job. So the Big Guy (Morgan Freeman) hands Bruce the reins for a few weeks, unbeknownst to Bruce's girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston). Sure, there are divine perks, but being all-knowing ain't easy. "You have to decide everything," says director Tom Shadyac ("Liar Liar"). "I don't want to sound sacrilegious, but it's kind of like being a director."
Opens May 23.

Finding Nemo

Pixar, the creators of "Toy Story" and "Monsters, Inc.," dive into the deep with this computer-animated tale of a timid, overprotective Clown Fish, Marlin (Albert Brooks), whose son is captured by divers. With the help of three vegetarian sharks and a Regal Blue Tang with no short-term memory (Ellen DeGeneres, in the film's funniest role), Marlin sets off to rescue his son from a dentist's aquarium. "Marlin is very afraid to enter life," says director Andrew Stanton. "We don't try to dispel that the world is a dangerous place, but if you want to live, you've got to engage." Kids will engage in droves.
Opens May 30.

2 Fast 2 Furious

Vin who? Paul Walker teams up with Tyrese for this sequel to the 2001 hot-rod hit, which grossed $145 million. Original star Diesel and director Rob Cohen passed on a second lap after Universal refused to pony up $20 million for the hunk. Director John Singleton ("Shaft") hopped behind the wheel instead.
Opens June 6.

Hollywood Homicide

Josh Hartnett is out to prove how flexible he is, playing an L.A. detective who moonlights as a yoga instructor. Harrison Ford is out to prove he can still flex his box-office muscle as Hartnett's grumpy partner. They're on the tail of a rap-star killer, but the May-December odd couple are playing this for laughs.
Opens June 13.

28 Days Later

Expect "Trainspotting" director Danny Boyle to deliver one of the most horrifying, and timely, summer movies in recent memory with this gruesome, anxiety-amping story of a "rage" virus that turns the world population into murderous zombies. A lonely band of the uninfected, led by child-eyed Irish actor Cillian Murphy, escape the empty streets of London in search of refuge. What they find is more frightening than what they left behind.
Opens June 27.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) takes that Harvard law degree to Capitol Hill, where she launches an animal-rights bill on behalf of her beloved Chihuahua, Bruiser. (Bruiser also gets a boyfriend and comes out of the closet.) But really, it's all about the clothes, including a frosting-pink wedding dress for the finale, and a Jackie O-inspired pillbox hat, skirt and jacket, which designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell crafted from vintage 1960s fabric. "Elle's now a career woman, so it seemed appropriate to bring everything up a notch," Carbonell says. "I don't know if people will get it, but there's also a Che Guevara outfit and a Barbara Bush."
Opens July 2.

Sinbad: Legend of The Seven Seas

Dreamworks, which gave us "Shrek," whips up an exotic romp that blends Arabian Nights tales and Greek mythology. Brad Pitt voices Sinbad, who's on a sea quest to recover the stolen Book of Peace. But two women--a headstrong stowaway (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and the wicked goddess Eris (Michelle Pfeiffer)--make the sea a bit rougher.
Opens July 2.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

A Sequel With Few Equals

The first crazy-sexy-campy trip to the Angels' world grossed $125 million, and this time around, director McG and stars Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu decided to dial up the action and the sex appeal. "It's all about owning your own space and shaking what your mother gave you," McG says. In "Full Throttle," which opens on June 27, the Angels try to recover an FBI Witness Protection list, face off against "fallen angel" Demi Moore and pose as members of the Pussycat Dolls. (Think garter belts and pole dancing.) Still need convincing? There's a great '80s soundtrack and assorted oddities. "Cameron gives birth to a cow while 'Born Free' is playing," says McG. Pause. "Rather, she facilitates the birth of a cow," he adds with a laugh. "She reaches in there and makes it happen." Doesn't she always?

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Based on the Disney theme-park ride, this $125 million Jerry Bruckheimer spectacle stars "Lord of the Rings" hottie Orlando Bloom as a blacksmith who, with the help of the mysterious Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), sets out to rescue his bonnie lass ("Bend It Like Beckham's" Keira Knightley) from the clutches of evil pirates (led by Geoffrey Rush). Thanks to a curse, nothing brings the pirates pleasure: not wine, wenches or wealth. "The rewards of their pillaging become pointless until they reverse the curse," says director Gore Verbinski, who recently made "The Ring." "Needless to say, that really pisses them off." That and no shuffleboard.
Opens July 9.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Angelina Jolie reprises her role as adventure junkie Lara Croft, this time seeking Pandora's box, a treasure that holds the key to life and death. Directed by Jan de Bont ("Speed"), the film features a spectacular flying jump from the top of a Hong Kong sky-scraper. The stunt, shot without special effects, required air traffic to be shut down over the city, while two stuntpeople in suits with winglike webbing leaped without wires from the world's third tallest building. "They actually fly for several miles before they land on a moving freighter in the harbor," says de Bont. "It's kind of dreamlike. I've never seen anything like it."
Opens July 25.

Seabiscuit

The Oscar buzz has already begun on this adaptation of the best-selling nonfiction book about the Depression-era racehorse that clobbered the odds. Writer-director Gary Ross ("Pleasantville") bought the film rights before the book was even written, and later cast Tobey Maguire as jockey Red Pollard, and Jeff Bridges and Oscar winner Chris Cooper as Seabiscuit's owner and trainer, respectively. "It's patriotic in the best sense of the word," Ross says. "It's about the heroism of ordinary people rising to do extraordinary things, which is both the truth and our mythology about America." Yeah, that won't play in the heartland at all.
Opens July 25.

The Hulk

Actor Who'll Be Big--And Green

Add another name to the list of hot Australians blowing up on American screens. After a pivotal role in "Black Hawk Down" and an acclaimed star turn in the little-seen "Chopper," Eric Bana gets some big-studio celluloid all to himself when "The Hulk" smashes into theaters on June 20. Bana, 34, plays scientist Bruce Banner, who, through exposure to gamma rays (and some unresolved psychological issues), morphs into a not-so-jolly green giant when his temper flares. Director Ang Lee, who's best known for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," picked Bana for the role after only one meeting and no screen test. The actor's biggest hurdle may have been flattening out his Aussie lilt to play a Yank. "There's the American accent that sounds good to the average person back home, and then there's the accent that sounds good to you guys," he says. "To get it really, really good takes a bit of work. If we're going to come into your country and steal a job, it better be bloody good, you know?"

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

The gizmo-wielding siblings are back, but this time you'll need some blue and red cellophane glasses to see them in all their glory. Writer-director Robert Rodriguez used a new 3-D camera designed by James Cameron to shoot scenes where the kids enter a videogame. "They're surfing lava, they're controlling these giant robots, and there's these toads on pogo sticks shooting their tongues out at the audience," says Rodriguez. "It's a constant barrage of coolness." And we thought that Grand Theft Auto was intense.
Opens July 25.

American Wedding

Universal has gotten fat off "American Pie," and this third slice promises to be just as rich. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are about to tie the knot, while the uncouth Stifler (Seann William Scott) tries to bag the bridesmaids. "He's trying to bang anything that moves, basically," says Scott. "This isn't 'The Godfather,' but people who enjoy the franchise are really going to be rewarded." Ah, an offer we can't refuse.
Opens Aug. 1.

Gigli

Ben and J. Lo fell in love making this tale of two gangsters--he's a bit of a loser, she's a bit of a lesbian--who bond while guarding the kidnapped son of a prosecutor. Yes, there's a sex scene.
Opens Aug. 1.

Matchstick Men

Director Ridley Scott's drama about an obsessive-compulsive con man (Nicolas Cage) whose life gets up-ended when his 14-year-old daughter ("White Oleander's" Alison Lohman) plunks herself down on his doorstep. Expect Oscar-caliber emoting.
Opens Aug. 8.

S.W.A.T.

If you didn't see enough sweaty, shirtless guys this summer, watching Colin Farrell, LL Cool J and Olivier Martinez pack heat in this adaptation of the 1970s TV cop series oughtta fix that.
Opens Aug. 8.

Bad Boys II

Sure to Explode

Bad Boys II," opening July 18, paid $250,000 to blow up a $39 million mansion slated for destruction. "You open your mouth so your lungs can take the concussion," says director Michael Bay. He laughs. "It's sick that a director knows this stuff." Sick, but so cool.