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Summer Movie Guide 

Talkin' Trailer Trash

Summer movie preview stories are nearly always misnomers. The writers have almost never actually "pre-viewed" anything, so they have no idea how good or bad the films really are. To try and get a better sense of the movies in question, we screened the trailers for some of the season's would-be blockbusters to see how they looked. After wasting an hour-and-a-half trying to download the latest versions of movie-watching software, we gave up and just watched the previews through YouTube. We came away more excited about pirates, less enthusiastic about Miami Vice cops and wondering about the haircuts of Hollywood stars.

THE DA VINCI CODE (May 19)

The gist: In Ron Howard's adaptation of the best seller, Tom Hanks plays a symbolism professor who uncovers a murderous conspiracy dating back to the Last Supper.

Carlton: His hair's fucked up. I can't take that.

Curt: Tom Hanks and the two new Miami Vice guys kind of look alike. They're both dressed in black and have kind of longish hair. It's too bad that the big buzz of the movie is how bad his hair is. It's a good trailer because it's fast, fast, fast.

Carlton: It's supposed to be an action movie? It seems like it could be boring.

Curt: It's more of a cerebral thing. The book's like a Robert Ludlum spy story with all these historical conspiracy theories. But all the action scenes might be in that trailer.

Carlton: I feel like I might be tricked into going to see the movie because the trailer's so fast, but it might end up just being a lot of conversations. I noticed that his voice didn't sound like Tom Hanks -- it sounded kind of different.

Curt: He's probably talking in an intense way, because it's a thriller, like how he says, "Da Vinci!" Maybe "Da Vinci!" will be the catchphrase of the summer.

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (May 26)

The gist: A drug that suppresses "mutant" superpowers sparks an all-out war between the X-Men of Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and the evil mutants of Magneto (Ian McKellan).

Curt: Magneto never looks good with his helmet on.

Carlton: That's why he doesn't wear it too much.

Curt: I like the twisting Golden Gate Bridge. It looks like a big movie. This looks like it has a zillion characters using their powers to fight each other a lot. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan make everything sound like Shakespeare. But some online reviewers hate the script.

Carlton: I think they raised the bar with this one. This looks a lot better than the last X-Men movie.

Curt: It looks more like the first film, only with more good mutants fighting more evil ones, on a different national monument.

Carlton: That's because the last one was X-Men United, and now they're apart.

Curt: I see Kelsey Grammer in his blue, furry makeup as the Beast and wonder if he's thinking, "I wish I saved more of my 'Frasier' money."

CARS (June 9)

The gist: In this computer-animated feature, a talking, fast-living racecar (voiced by Owen Wilson) learns to slow down and enjoy life when stuck in a sleepy town off Route 66.

Curt: It looks kind of like Michael J. Fox's Doc Hollywood, only instead of a doctor, he's a ... car.

Carlton: You've got Paul Newman doing this serious voice -- it's like it's trying to be this deep, emotional cartoon.

Curt: In the first trailer, it was like, "Look, it's Larry the Cable Guy as a buck-toothed tow truck," and people said, "This doesn't look good." I liked this one better, but mostly I'm thinking, "See how good the backgrounds and the rust look."

Carlton: With Pixar, I'm very rarely interested based on the trailer. That's the case with this, too. I can't see myself going to see it, but I'll go if someone else wants to.

Curt: I have faith in Pixar because I like their other movies so much, but with this, I keep wondering, "They're cars, but they're also people? How did talking cars make this civilization?"

Carlton: "And how do they use the bathroom?"

SUPERMAN RETURNS (June 30)

The gist: After five years in space, the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) comes down to Earth and re-encounters Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) and Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey).

Curt: I like how they're treating it like a sequel to the first two Christopher Reeve movies, which were good. But Brandon Routh looks sort of like Jason Schwartzman from Rushmore.

Carlton: The trailer's actually kind of slick. It makes you feel a little tingly.

Curt: It's good with the iconography of the movies and the comic books. It looks like a really good "Smallville" episode.

Carlton: It makes Superman look more like a Jesus-type figure. They want to give you a sense of awe. Sometimes movies don't capture that, but this looks bigger than life.

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