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Spring loaded

Working out the kinks
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 12, 2007


VIDEO: The Trailer for Spider-Man 3.

It’s spring, and Hollywood has to get the kinks out of its system before it can focus on the business at hand: the sequels of summer. Kinks like domestic turmoil, genocide, war, and, most pervasively, the supernatural.

MARCH
What is it about Sandra Bullock and these love stories racked by weirdness? Last year it was The Lake House; now it’s PREMONITION (March 16) in which she plays a woman who foresees her husband’s death and tries to prevent it. Tobey Maguire also stars in this first feature for Mennan Yapo. More spousal difficulties inject comedy into I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE (March 16), Chris Rock’s directorial debut about a married man tempted by his friend’s former mistress. Kerry Washington stars alongside Rock. In THE NAMESAKE (March 16) the domestic turmoil takes a multi-cultural and multi-generational turn. Mira Nair (Vanity Fair) adapts the Jhumpa Lahiri novel about the American-born son of Indian immigrants. Kal Penn stars.

Moving from domestic trouble to the woes of the world, we have SHOOTER (March 16), which stars Mark Wahlberg as a Rambo-like Army sniper double-crossed and on the run. Anthony Fuqua (Training Day) directs. Taking a less sensationalistic look at historical conflict, Ken Loach’s THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY (March 16) dramatizes the Irish Troubles during the Black and Tan War of the 1920s. Cillian Murphy stars.

March looks likely to go out like a lion with Werner Herzog’s first studio feature, RESCUE DAWN (March 30), an adaptation of his documentary Little Dieter Needs To Fly about a German immigrant shot down as a pilot in Vietnam. Christian Bale and Steve Zahn star. Returning to the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, BEYOND THE GATES (March 30) tells the true story of a teacher and priest trying to protect their students from mass murder. John Hurt and Hugh Dancy star; Michael Caton-Jones directs. And just to remind us not to take things too seriously, BLADES OF GLORY (March 30) stars Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as skating champs who hate each other but whose only chance to compete in the Olympics is as a pair. It’s the first feature for Josh Gordon and Will Speck.

APRIL
April may not be the cruelest month, but in movie-release terms it may be the skimpiest.

You’d think it’s a little late for FIRST SNOW (April 6), though what with global warming, who knows? Mark Fergus makes his debut feature with this suspense thriller about a guy who freaks out when a seer predicts his death. Guy Pearce stars. Guy’s not the only one with problems: in THE REAPING (April 13) Hilary Swank plays an apostate whose crusade to debunk religious superstitions backfires when the Biblical plagues recur. Stephen Hopkins (Under Suspicion) directs.

MAY
Cinematic summer begins on May 4, when SPIDER-MAN 3 arrives, laden with angst and special effects, as Tobey Maguire’s wall-crawler bonds with his alien black vinyl double. Throw in the Sandman and watch the box office climb. Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, and Thomas Haden Church help out; Sam Raimi directs.

Three is certainly the magic sequel number this month. In SHREK THE THIRD (May 18), the animated ogre must fill in when his regal father-in-law gets sick. Mike Myers, Edie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz lend their voices to this first feature for Chris Miller and Raman Hui. And in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: AT WORLD’S END (May 25), Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Geoffrey Rush take the theme-park ride for another spin. Gore Verbinski directs. Will it be the end of the franchise? Either way, it will be three months before the blockbuster season is over.

Related: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Tangled web, Review: Grown Ups, More more >
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