Only the strong survive
Legally Blonde 2:
Red, White & Blonde
With: Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, Bob Newhart, Luke Wilson.
The idea: Now a lawyer (make that a fired lawyer), Elle negotiates Washington’s corridors of power, and she almost never goes anywhere without her Chihuahua.
Writer: Kate Kondell; story by Eve Ahlert & Dennis Drake and Kate Kondell; based on characters created by Amanda Brown.
Director: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld.
So? Blond momentum.
New Yorker Films
With: Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgard
The idea: The name of conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, who elected to remain in Germany during WWII, is tainted after he is forced to appear before the American De-Nazification Committee.
Writer: Ronald Harwood, based on his play.
Director: Istvan Szabo.
So? Morality play.
With: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Emilie Dequenne.
The idea: After his wife walks out, a fiftysomething Parisian takes a shine to his new housekeeper.
Writer: Claude Berri, based on the novel by Christian Oster.
So? A French midlife crisis.
A Woman Is a Woman
With: Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Claude Brialy.
The idea: Romantic roundelay with a lovesick stripper, her dull boyfriend and his vagabond pal.
Writer-director: Jean-Luc Godard.
So? The 1961 work was Godard’s first in color and CinemaScope.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
With: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley.
The idea: Captain pursues pirates who have stolen his ship and kidnapped the governor’s daughter.
Writers: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio; story by Stuart Beattie; based on Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean.
Director: Gore Verbinski.
So? Promises to be as much fun as the ride that inspired it.
I Capture the Castle
With: Romola Garai, Marc Blucas, Rose Byrne.
The idea: Family moves to remote castle in Suffolk, England, so Dad can finish a book. It doesn’t work out.
Writer: Heidi Thomas, based on novel by Dodie Smith (“101 Dalmatians”).
Director: Tim Fywell.
So? Impoverished Europeans court rich Americans.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
With: Sean Connery, Shane West, Stuart Townsend, Peta Wilson.
The idea: Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man and other proto-superheroes try to save the world.
Writer: James Dale Robinson; based on the comic books by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.
Director: Stephen Norrington.
So? Super stew: Norrington directed “Blade.”
With: Cecilia Roth, Kuno Becker, Carlos Alvarez-Novoa.
The idea: The mysterious disappearance of her husband leads a woman to reinvent her life.
Writer-director: Antonio Serrano, based on the Rosa Montero novel.
So? In Mexico, it was intriguingly titled “The Cannibal’s Daughter.”
With: Peter Coyote, Anthony Edwards, Duel Farnes, Daryl Hannah, Nick Nolte.
The idea: Locals hold out against plans to flood a Montana village.
Writers: Mark Polish, Michael Polish.
Director: Michael Polish.
So? Idiosyncratic to the max.
With: August Diehl, Christian Redl, Nadeshda Brennicke.
The idea: Investigators trail a serial killer into a fetishistic criminal underground.
Writer-director: Robert Schwentke.
So? Grisly suspense.
The Anarchist Cookbook
Innovation Film Group
With: Devon Gummersall, Dylan Bruno, Katharine Towne.
The idea: College dropout joins a freewheeling commune.
Writer-director: Jordan Susman.
So? Familiar cuisine.
With: Kick Gurry, Maya Stange, Pia Miranda, Brett Stiller.
The idea: The struggles of an aspiring Australian garage band.
Writers: Dave Warner, Alex Proyas, Michael Udesky.
So? Change of pace for director of “The Crow,” “Dark City.”
How to Deal
With: Mandy Moore, Trent Ford, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher.
The idea: Disillusioned teen finds unexpected love.
Writer: Neena Beber, based on novels by Sarah Dessen.
Director: Clare Kilner.
So? Based on series of successful teen novels.
The Magdalene Sisters
With: Geraldine McEwan, Dorothy Duffy, Annie-Marie Duff, Eileen Walsh.
The idea: Follows four “fallen women” forced into servitude by the Catholic Church in 1960s Ireland.
Writer-director: Peter Mullan.
So? Not a flattering portrait.
Bad Boys II
With: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union.
The idea: Mismatched cops tackle a drug kingpin.
Writers: Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl, John Lee Hancock; based on characters created by George Gallo.
Director: Michael Bay.
So? Fast, funny, loud.
On the Run / An Amazing Couple / After the Life
With: Ornella Muti, Francois Morel, Catherine Frot, Lucas Belvaux.
The idea: An escaped convict, a deceitful couple, a drug-addict teacher and her policeman husband figure in the three separate, linked movies.
So? Interesting but less than epic.
With: Rowan Atkinson, Natalie Imbruglia, Ben Miller, John Malkovich.
The idea: Unlikely agent pursues the Frenchman who’s stolen the crown jewels.
Writers: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and William Davies.
Director: Peter Howitt.
So? Phenomenally popular in England.
Boys Life 4: Four Play
The idea: The series continues with a new quartet of gay-themed shorts.
Directors: Brian Sloan, Eric Mueller, Alan Brown, Phillip Bartel.
So? Gay fest faves, repackaged.
With: Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Anna Paquin.
The idea: New sergeant comes in to clean up the larceny at an Army base.
Writers: Eric Axel Weiss & Nora Maccoby, based on the book by Robert O’Connor.
Director: Gregor Jordan.
So? Not the military’s ideal recruits.
With: Daniel Letterle, Joanna Chilcoat, Robin de Jesus.
The idea: A group of serious misfits learns more than acting at kids’ summer theater camp.
Writer-director: Todd Graff.
So? Based on an actual institution, Stagedoor Manor.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider:
The Cradle of Life
With: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Noah Taylor, Ciaran Hinds.
The idea: The heroine undertakes a multi-vehicle, international quest.
Writer: Dean Georgaris; story by Kirk M. Petrucelli & Lloyd Levin.
Director: Jan De Bont.
So? More extreme acrobatics.
With: Lazaro Ramos.
The idea: Gay performer descended from slaves becomes a star in the Brazil underground of the 1930s.
Writer-director: Karim Ainouz.
So? Based on the life of Joao Francisco dos Santo.
Masked and Anonymous
Sony Pictures Classics
With: Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Bob Dylan, John Goodman, Jessica Lange.
The idea: A bogus benefit concert is the centerpiece of this political allegory.
Writers: Sergei Petrov & Rene Fontaine.
Director: Larry Charles.
So? This was apparently Dylan’s idea.
Mondays in the Sun
With: Javier Bardem.
The idea: Laid-off dockworkers contemplate their fate while trying to cope.
Writer-director: Fernando Leon de Aranoa.
So? Gritty, touching.
Mission Without Permission
With: Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Beals, Sam Robards, James LeGros.
The idea: Three kids rob a state-of-the-art bank -- but they have a good reason.
Writers: Michael Brandt & Derek Haas and Bart Freundlich; based on the film “Klatretosen” by Nikolai Arcel, Hans Fabian Wullenweber and Erlend Leo.
So? Mixed message.
Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator
The idea: Charts the ‘80s rise of skateboard culture and finds its dark side in former star Mark “Gator” Rogowski, now a convicted murderer.
Director: Helen Stickler.
So? Lethal on wheels.
With: Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier, Charles Dance.
The idea: Mystery author visits publisher’s home in France, triggering uneasy domestic dynamics.
Writers: Francois Ozon, Emmanuele Bernheim.
So? Feminine clash of wills.