In the world of movies, summertime is the great "sequelizer" - and this year there are more big-money, high-profile sequels than I can ever remember coming out in a single summer:
"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," "Star Trek V," "License to Kill" ("James Bond XVI"), "Ghostbusters II," "Karate Kid III," "Fright Night 2," "Return of the Musketeers," "Delta Force 2," "Eddie and the Cruisers II," and, of course, this year's annual "Friday the 13th" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" pictures, parts eight and five, respectively.But the real question is, how many of them look really hot?
Certainly outings with "Indiana Jones," the "Star Trek" crew and James Bond can be counted on to please fans, and I include myself in that category.
But can the reunited "Ghostbusters" live up to their first adventure? Well, maybe. Will "The Karate Kid" learn anything interesting enough to make the film more than merely a rehash? No promises. And "Fright Night" and the "Musketeers" are real unknowns at this point.
And I hold out very little hope for "Delta Force," "Eddie and the Cruisers," "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street." None of those films had much to offer the first time around.
Of course, the real biggie is "Batman," certainly the most talked about and widely anticipated movie of the summer - and perhaps the year. Will it be a blockbuster or just a bust? We'll find out next month. And another live-action comic book adaptation is "The Punisher." And "The Return of Swamp Thing."
Remakes include "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "House of Usher," and the usual teen comedies and horror fantasies also dot the summer listings, indicating that - with few exceptions - it will be a fairly typical fluff-filled May-to-August period.
Here is the tentative - emphasis on the word "tentative" - schedule as it presently exists. Some dates have been changed several times already, such as "Pink Cadillac" going back and forth between May 24 and May 26 as an opening date. And it is quite likely some of these movies will never show up and others will appear at the last minute. But at the moment, here's the summer rundown:
THE DRESSMAKER - British drama during World War II has two embittered sisters (Joan Plowright, Billie Whitelaw) in conflict when their young neice falls in love with an American soldier. (May 17.)
ANOTHER WOMAN - Woody Allen's latest drama stars Gena Rowlands, Gene Hackman, Blythe Danner, John Houseman. (May 19.)
COLD FEET - Sally Kirkland, Keith Carradine and Tom Waits are double-crossing bank robbers in this offbeat comedy. (May 19.)
HOW I GOT INTO COLLEGE - Anthony Edwards in a college-recruiting comedy, from Savage Steve Holland ("Better off Dead," "One Crazy Summer"). (May 19.)
LOST ANGELS - Psychiatrist Donald Sutherland helps hoodlum Adam Horovitz in an L.A. detention center in this look at affluent kids gone wrong. (May 19.)
MISS FIRECRACKER - Beth Henley ("Crimes of the Heart") wrote this comedy-drama about Holly Hunter trying for the title crown. Mary Steenburgen, Alfre Woodard, Tim Robbins, Scott Glenn. (May 19.)
ROAD HOUSE - Bouncer Patrick Swayze takes on corrupt Ben Gazzara in this violent comedy-drama. (May 19.)
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE - Indy (Harrison Ford) is back battling Nazis again, this time with his Dad (Sean Connery) in tow. Steven Spielberg directs, George Lucas executive produces. (May 24.)
38: VIENNA BEFORE THE FALL - Austrian film about lovers in 1938 Vienna unaware of the impending Nazi takeover. (May 24.)
COVER UP: BEHIND THE IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR - Documentay about the Oliver North scandal, which suggests Reagan and Bush had more to do with it than has been heretofore revealed. (May 26.)
PARENTS - A black comedy about a typical '50s suburban family revealed to be cannibals. Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Sandy Dennis. (May 26.)
PINK CADILLAC - Bounty hunter Clint Eastwood inadvertantly teams up with the Bernadette Peters, the wife of his prey. (May 26.)
TEEN WITCH - A teenage girl discovers she has bewitching powers in this comedy. Shelley Berman is a teacher-victim. (May 26.)
36 FILLETTE - French drama about a 14-year-old girl who still has the mind of a child though her body is has developed into womanhood, causing conflict as she is eyed by men. (May 31.)
Without specific booking dates, but scheduled for May:
FOR BETTER OR WORSE has Kim Cattrall as a CIA agent who quits to marry innocent Robert Hays, but the honeymoon is interrupted by gunfire and car chases; FRIGHT NIGHT 2 reunites Roddy McDowall and William Ragsdale for more vampire comedy-horror; HOUSE OF USHER is a remake of the Poe yarn; JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is a remake of the Verne yarn; MY MOM'S A WEREWOLF is fairly self-explanatory, with Susan Blakely, John Saxon, Ruth Buzzi and singer Marilyn McCoo; THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING, with the vegetation superhero in love with Heather Locklear instead of Adrienne Barbeau this time; THE RAINBOW, Ken Russell's prequel to "Women in Love," with Glenda Jackson and Sammi Davis; and ROCKULA, a teen spoof about reincarnated vampires.
NO HOLDS BARRED - Hulk Hogan is a modern-day superhero after an evil network television executive. (June 2.)
RENEGADES - Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips team up for the second time ("Young Guns") in this cop-buddy comedy-thriller. (June 2.)
HOTEL TERMINUS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF KLAUS BARBIE - A 41/2-hour documentary by Marcel Ophuls ("The Sorrow and the Pity") about Nazi crimes in Lyons. (June 3.)
THE DEAD POETS SOCIETY - Robin Williams is a teacher in a boy's prep school in the late '60s, helping them enter manhood in this drama. Direced by Peter Weir. (June 9.)
I, MADMAN - A sadistic killer comes to life from the pages of a novel through a young girl's imagination in this horror yarn. (June 9.)
STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER - The original TV cast reunites once more, this time in an Old West setting - sort of - in space. William Shatner directs. (June 9.)
RED SORGHUM - A Chinese film about a young bride in the late 1920s whose arranged marriage is interrupted by a bandit. (June 14.)
FRIENDSHIP'S DEATH - A British journalist in embattled Jordan in 1970 meets an extraterrestrial woman who has landed in the wrong place on earth and needs his help to get out. (June 16.)
GHOSTBUSTERS II - The entire cast - yes, even Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis - has come back for this sequel, again directed by Ivan Reitman. (June 16.)
UNDER THE SUN OF SATAN - A French film about a tortured country priest who discovers he has healing powers. (June 21.)
BATMAN - How will Michael Keaton fare as the title character? Hard to say. But it is safe to guess that Jack Nicholson will be terrific as the Joker. (June 23.)
THE KARATE KID III - Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita have a falling out in this one, but you can bet they'll be together for the "Rocky" finale. (June 23.)
GROWING UP IN AMERICA - A documentary about what happened to '60s counter-culture personalities Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman (prior to his recent suicide), John Sinclair, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and others. (June 23.)
STREAMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS - Thirteen animated shorts that are surrealistic or expressionistic in theme. (June 23.)
HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS - Rick Moranis is a distracted scientist who unwittingly shrinks his children and throws them out with the trash in this special effects kids' comedy. (June 28.)
DO THE RIGHT THING - Writer-director-star Spike Lee's latest is about race relations between Italians and blacks in Brooklyn. Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee. (June 30.)
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE - In the 1950s Jerry Lee Lewis (Dennis Quaid) marries his 13-year-old cousin (Winona Ryder) in this biograpical musical-drama, which also features his cousin Jimmy Swaggert (Alec Baldwin). (June 30.)
Without dates: NIGHT GAME has tough cop Roy Scheider pitted against a former ballplayer who sadistically kills young women to coincide with his former team's games; SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN BEVERLY HILLS is a comedy from Paul Bartel ("Eating Raoul"), starring Jacqueline Bisset, Ray Sharkey, Mary Warnov.
THE ABYSS - James Cameron ("The Terminator," "Aliens") wrote and directed this thriller set 2,000 miles below the ocean's surface. Looks like the feeble "Leviathan" and "Deepstar Six," but Cameron gives it distinct possibilities. Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn. (July 7.)
LETHAL WEAPON 2 - Mel Gibson and Danny Glover team up again, this time battling drug-smugglers in Los Angeles. (July 14.)
LICENSE TO KILL - James Bond (Timothy Dalton) is back in the series' 16th entry, this time out for personal revenge against drug lords in Latin America. Wayne Newton is one of the villains. (July 14.)
PETER PAN - The classic 1953 Disney animated feature about Peter, Tink and the Lost Boys hosting Wendy, John and Michael, while battling Captain Hook. (July 14.)
LOOSE CANNONS - How about Gene Hackman and Dan Aykroyd as cops, Aykroyd with a multiple-personality disorder? (July 21.)
TURNER AND HOOTCH - Tom Hanks is a cop teamed with a mutt in this "K-9"-ish comedy. (July 21.)
UHF - "Weird" Al Yankovic is the manager of a rundown UHF TV station in this wild comedy with lots of TV and movie spoofs. (July 21.)
BABAR: THE MOVIE - Animated feature based on the popular books about the baby elephant prince and his family. (July 28.)
DRUGSTORE COWBOY - Matt Dillon is the title character in this small-town comedy-drama. (July 28.)
THE PUNISHER - Dolph Lundgren stars as Marvel Comics' hero, up against the Mafia and Japan's Yakuza. Louis Gossett Jr. (July 28.)
UNCLE BUCK - John Candy is an avowed bachelor who finds himself straddled with two kids in this John Hughes comedy. Amy Madigan. (July 28.)
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . - The latest from Rob Reiner ("The Princess Bride," "Stand By Me") is a romantic comedy with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. (July 28.)
WORTH WINNING - Mark Harmon is a Philadelphia TV weatherman in this romantic comedy in which he becomes engaged to three different women on a bet. But they get revenge. (July 28.)
YOUNG EINSTEIN - Australian comic Yahoo Serious wrote/directed/stars in this farce about the "real" Albert Einstein story. (July 28.)
Without dates: THE BEAR is a unique French film from Jean-Jacques Annaud ("Quest for Fire") about a bear cub in the Canadian Rockies; DELTA FORCE II has Chuck Norris once more leading the title rescue squad; SHAG is a '60s teen tale of four girlfriends on a wild weekend at Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and WARLOCK offers Julian Sands ("A Room With a View") as the title character, attempting to prepare the earth for Satan, but dogged by a witch hunter who follows him through time.
CHEETAH AND FRIENDS - A Disney adventure set in Africa, where two American children try to rescue their pet cheetah. (August 4.)
FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VIII: JASON DOES MANHATTAN - The hockey-masked one somehow makes his way from Crystal Lake to New York City. (August 4.)
BLACK RAIN - Manhattan cop Michael Douglas battles the Yakuza in Japan in this thriller directed by Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Blade Runner"). (August 11.)
LITTLE MONSTERS - Young Fred Savage encounters a real monster under his bed in this comedy-horror yarn. Daniel Stern, margaret Whitton. (August 11.)
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, PART 5: THE DREAM CHILD - Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is back, this time to terrorize the pregnant lone survivor of "Elm Street 4." (August 11.)
PARENTHOOD - Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen head up anensemble cast in Ron Howard's domestic comedy. Rick Moranis, Tom Hulce, Jason Robards, Dianne Wiest. (August 11.)
EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS, PART II - Michael Pare returns for this followup to the cult favorite. No Tom Berenger or Ellen Barkin this time around, however. (August 18.)
STAYING TOGETHER - Three brothers plan to work the family busines, but Dad sells it out from under. A comedy-drama with Dermot Mulroney ("Young Guns") and Stockard Channing. (August 18.)
Without dates: CASUALTIES OF WAR has Brian DePalma directing Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn in a story of murder in the jungles of Vietnam; ERIK THE VIKING is from former Monty Python member Terry Jones, with Tim Robbins ("Bull Durham") in the title role, and a large cast that includes John Cleese and Mickey Rooney; HARD RAIN stars Tom Selleck as an innocent man who serves a prison sentence then sets out to clear his name; MILLENIUM has earthling Kris Kristofferson in love with extraterrestrial Cheryl Ladd; RETURN OF THE MUSKETEERS os a sequel to "The Three Musketeers" and "The Four Musketeers," again directed by Richard Lester and reuniting Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Oliver Reed and Frank Finlay; and WIRED, based on Bob Woodward's book about John Belushi's death.