Moving Pictures
Mar 19, 2008, 05:45AM

Totally Recalled

Upcoming movies rehash many of last year's successful features. Is a cinematic era taking shape or is Hollywood losing their edge? From The Eagle.

When the weather finally starts to get warmer, we are promised a few absolutes - blossoming flowers, shortening hemlines and movies that are at least a little better than the gruel the industry heaped onto our plates during the bleak winter months.

This year, it looks like Hollywood has not forgotten some of the biggest hits of 2007 - whether it be the unstoppable "Spiderman" trilogy, the edgy comedy of the Judd Apatow-directed "Superbad"/"Knocked Up" variety or the surefire box office might of "I Am Legend." Since Hollywood tends to abide by the if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it rule, viewers will have to look far and wide this year to find a studio film that does not contain superheroes, Judd Apatow or Will Smith. Or, in the best-case scenario, some kind of glorious amalgamation of some or all of those ingredients.

"Drillbit Taylor"
(March 21)

Three nerdy youngsters hire a bodyguard to fend off a school bully. But this is no ordinary bodyguard: It's bumbling ladies' man Drillbit Taylor, played by Owen Wilson.

Superheroes, Judd Apatow or Will Smith: Apatow produced it, which makes it easy to write off as a middle-school version of "Superbad" without the dick jokes and alcohol, except that '80s teen guru John Hughes co-wrote it under a pseudonym, which seems unnecessarily mysterious and incredibly intriguing.

"Iron Man"
(May 2)

John Favreau directs and Robert Downey Jr. stars in this Marvel blockbuster. When inventor Tony Stark is kidnapped and forced to use his skill for evil, he instead makes the world's most badass suit of armor and plans an adrenaline-pumping escape. Hey, there's no "Spiderman" movie coming out this summer, so why not?

Superheroes, Judd Apatow or Will Smith: Just superheroes in this one.

"You Don't Mess With the Zohan"
(June 6)

Adam Sandler dons silly outfits and speaks in an exaggerated accent, except this time he's Zohan, an Israeli counter-terrorist agent who fakes his own death so he can pursue his dream of being a hair stylist in New York. How ... topical?

Superheroes, Judd Apatow or Will Smith: Apatow co-wrote this one, along with Sandler and Robert Smigel. On the heels of his recent success and ever-increasing ubiquity, it will be interesting to see if Apatow can inject some new life into Sandler's old tricks.

(July 2)

Will Smith plays Hancock, a lackadaisical homeless superhero who unwittingly leaves a trail of destruction everywhere he goes. Toss in supporting roles from Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman and a bunch of shots of Will Smith flying through the air at light speed, and you've got the most blockbuster-worthy trailer of the year thus far.

Superheroes, Judd Apatow or Will Smith: A superhuman Will Smith heaving a beached whale back into the ocean? When God created CGI, he probably had that very image in mind.

"Pineapple Express"
(Aug. 8)

Dale (Seth Rogen) scores some of "the dopest dope ever" from his dealer Saul (James Franco, looking surprisingly perfect for the role). The two witness a murder; hilarity ensues. Best-case scenario, as one YouTube commentator put it: "The most realistic weed action movie ever!" Worst-case scenario, as another responded: "Harold and Kumar II."

Superheroes, Judd Apatow or Will Smith: Produced by Judd Apatow and written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg. This formula proved golden in "Superbad." Hopefully, they can recreate the magic.

"Eagle Eye"
(Aug. 8)

Shia LaBeouf, Rosario Dawson and Billy Bob Thornton star in this thriller about two ordinary strangers who find themselves framed as terrorists. Can they free themselves from the cell before they become a part of a political assassination?

Superheroes, Judd Apatow or Will Smith: None. Is it too late to call up Will? He could only make this better.


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