Five summer movies to look forward to ...


What it’s about: “Troy” begins as the passion of two of history’s most legendary lovers, Paris of Troy (Bloom) and Helen of Sparta (Kruger), ignites a war between the Trojans and the united city-states of Greece. When the two mighty civilizations clash, legendary warrior-for-hire Achilles (Pitt) emerges as the key to the Greeks’ victory or defeat over the seemingly invincible walls of Troy.

Why watch it: Hello … Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt on the same screen?

Who to watch it with: Stick with members of your own sex.

“Hero” starring Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi. Directed by Zhang Yimou. Released in June.


What it’s about: Thousands of years ago, the king of the powerful Qin kingdom rewards an enigmatic low-ranking official, Nameless (Li), for single-handedly defeating three legendary assassins that threaten the ruler and his kingdom.

Why watch it: From the producer of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Hero” is even more sure to stun with its impressive martial arts and gorgeous visuals.

Who to watch it with: Someone able to appreciate a beautiful film by a remarkable filmmaker.

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Released June 4.

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

What it’s about: Harry (Radcliffe), a young wizard, returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his third year. He and his friends (Grint, Watson) embark on the adventure of a lifetime in which they are forced to confront their greatest fears.

Why watch it: The first two movies may have failed in their efforts to catch up to the books, but the new director promises to attract a more mature audience with its more gripping story line.

Who to watch it with: Definitely another Harry Potter fan.

“The Stepford Wives” starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken, Faith Hill, Glenn Close, Bette Midler. Directed by Frank Oz. Released June 11.

“The Stepford Wives”

What it’s about: High-power executive Joanna (Kidman) and her husband (Broderick) move to the beautiful upper-class suburb of Stepford, where Joanna soon begins to suspect that there is something wrong. As she investigates her neighbors, she discovers that there is something artificial about them, something … robotic.

Why watch it: The all-star cast isn’t enough for you?

Who to watch it with: Not someone already suffering from paranoia.

“Spider-Man 2” starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco. Directed by Sam Raimi. Released June 30.

“Spider-Man 2”

What it’s about: Two years after Spidey 1, Peter Parker (Maguire) is in college and still grappling with “the gift and the curse.” He tries to reveal himself to M.J. (Dunst) and Harry Osborn (Franco) as he faces the new challenge of fighting Dr. Otto Octavius (Molina).

Why watch it: Critics predict it may be an even bigger hit than the previous box-office winner. Plus, Doctor Octopus looks pretty bad-ass.

Who to watch it with: Your little brother when you’re babysitting.

… And the one to avoid like the plague

… And the one to avoid like the plague

“Around the World in 80 Days” … again. And Jackie Chan playing a misplaced Chinese man … again. Hollywood may think that two wrongs make a right, but that’s about as hard to believe as Bennifer making a successful movie. The makers try to spice up this version with unexpected cameos left and right-Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Turkish price, the Wilson brothers and Kathy Bates-but that doesn’t disguise the fact that this version is going to degrade Jules Verne’s classic and much-beloved tale into just another Jackie Chan flick. -A&L Staff

“Around the World in 80 Days”