Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blockbusters with Brains

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blockbusters with Brains

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK CURTIS

EVENT-MOVIE season is upon us, but it won't all be the popcorn nonsense promised by forthcoming epics such as Troy and The Day After Tomorrow. Here's what's coming up for more discerning tastes ...

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Director: Alfonso Cuaron Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson.

Concept: Boy wizard hits puberty and learns about loss, as real life and the supernatural intrudes into Hogwarts.

Why it should be good: The film's director, Mike Newell, says Cuaron "has darkened the tone brilliantly".

Release date: 4 June.

The Stepford Wives Director: Frank Oz.

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close.

Concept: The Seventies feminist dystopian nightmare is remade - as a musical comedy.

Why it should be good: With a director as quirkily inventive as Oz it might just work. And we know Kidman can sing.

Release date: 18 June.

Shrek 2 Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon.

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz (voices).

Concept: Princess Fiona's parents try to split her up from Shrek in the sequel to the smart, sarky animated hit.

Why it should be good: "We took the satire, humour and action up a notch," says Vernon. New voices include John Cleese and Jennifer Saunders.

Release date: 2 July.

Spider-Man 2 Director: Sam Raimi.

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina.

Concept: Maguire's likeable web-slinger battles Molina's Doctor Octopus, and his own feelings for Dunst's Mary Jane.

Why it should be good: Raimi favours psychological depth and complex characters over cartoonish stunts.

Release Date: 15 July.

King Arthur Director: Antoine Fuqua.

Starring: Clive Owen, Keira Knightley.

Concept: Mud, blood 'n' woad version, complete with love-triangle.

Why it should be good: Fuqua wants to take the tale back to its Dark Ages roots. …

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