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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dive Into Summer Season Brings Out Hollywood’s Hopefuls For Blockbuster Box Office Returns

Summer’s coming and bringing with it numerous reasons to rejoice. At the top of the list: the prospect of sunny weather.

But while sunshine has its benefits, certified movie fans don’t much care. Sunshine is anathema to cinema. So summer, to us, is merely a time when most of the year’s biggest blockbuster-wannabes arrive at area theaters.

This summer offers the chance to spend time with a few famous friends, including Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, Nancy Travis, Matthew Modine, Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, Anjelica Huston, Debra Winger, Billy Crystal, Bruce Willis, Chris O’Donnell, Mel Gibson, Dylan Mcdermott, Quentin Tarantino, Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Matthew Modine, Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Julia Ormond, Sean Connery, Hugh Grant, Ray Liotta and Giancarlo Giannini.

More are expected, but we just haven’t finalized their arrival time. Check your daily Pretty Good Paper for further developments.

For now, just revel in the fact that the summer-movie season is fast approaching. And all of the above stars should make an appearance. A few more than once.

Let’s take a look at some of the more notable coming films (release dates are very tentative). And let’s do so by splitting them up into categories, such as:

Animal Stories: Or, How Flat is That Doggy on the Highway?

“Top Dog” (Opened Friday) - The theme here is animals, and first out of the, uh, chute is this Chuck Norris action-comedy. It features him as a hard-nosed cop whose new partner is a cold-nosed canine.

“Gordy” (May 12) - A pig inherits a fortune and makes life exciting for his human handlers.

“Fluke” (June 2) - Shades of “Look Who’s Talking Now?” This family comedy, told from a dog’s point of view, stars Matthew Modine and Nancy Travis.

“Free Willy 2” (July 21) - The lovable killer whale with the skin condition returns.

“Dumbo Drop” (July 28) - This Vietnam War-era comedy features Ray Liotta, Danny Glover and Denis Leary as a trio of American soldiers attempting to transport an elephant to a remote highlands village.

Look, Up in the Sky! It’s Sci-Fi

“Johnny Mnemonic” (May 26) - Futuristic adventure is the theme, which perfectly describes this movie featuring Keanu Reeves as a guy with a big brain (now that’s acting).

“Batman Forever” (June 16) - Val Kilmer takes over the Batcave from Michael Keaton, and his new foes include The Riddler (Jim Carrey), Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones). The Caped One’s love interest, meanwhile, is Nicole Kidman.

“Judge Dredd” (June 30) - What would the summer be without a Sylvester Stallone offering? Here he plays the title character, a vigilantetype character created for a line of British comic books.

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” (June 30) - They protect the environment, they’re dressed like Japanimation superstars and they hail from Saturday morning television - AAAAAhhhhhhhhh!!!!

“Waterworld” (July 28) - Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper and Jean Tripplehorn do their version of “Mad Max on Water Skis.”

Repeat After Me: It’s Only a (Horror) Movie

“Village of the Damned” (Opened Friday) - The theme: Horror. The format: Remake. The specifics: This version of the 1960 chiller about a horde of mind-bending blond children stars Kirstie Alley among others.

“Congo” (June 9) - Something murderous lives in the jungle, and this adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel reveals its identity.

“Species” (July 7) - Ben Kinglsey is the leading name in this “Alien”type study of research gone wrong - very wrong.

The Action Corner: Or, They Can’t Do That in a Movie, Can They?

“Destiny Turns on the Radio” (Opened Friday) - Is it a dark action-thriller? Is it a comedy? With Quentin Tarantino backing the presences of Dylan McDermott and Nancy Travis, it’s hard to tell.

“Crimson Tide” (May 12) - In the Tom Clancy vein, Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington star as dueling officers on a U.S. submarine loaded with nuclear weapons.

“Die Hard With a Vengeance” (May 19) - For the third time, Bruce Willis stars in the continuing story of a hard-nosed police detective in the wrong place at the wrong time (or is that the wrong place at the right time? Right place at the wrong time?).

“Braveheart” (May 26) - Mel Gibson stars and directs this story of Scotland’s first fight for independence.

“Under Siege 2” (July 14) - Steven Seagal returns - and the world holds its breath.

“Dead Presidents” (July 19) - A black Vietnam veteran returns to poverty and decides to get involved with a heist.

Drama: Just the Facts, Ma’am

“Panther” (Wednesday) - Mario Van Peebles directs this look at the real-life story of the 1960s-era Black Panther Party.

“Apollo 13” (June 30) - Based on the true story of NASA’s Apollo 13 mission to the moon, this Ron Howard film features Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon as the three astronauts caught up in a lifeand-death struggle.

Love is just a four-letter word

“French Kiss” (Friday) - Meg Ryan goes in search of her ex-lover (Timothy Hutton) and finds Kevin Kline instead.

“The Perez Family” (May 12) - An immigrant from Cuba, Alfred Molina is forced to choose between the charms of Marisa Tomei or Anjelica Huston.

“Mad Love” (May 26) - Chris O’Donnell, Drew Barrymore and Seattle star in this look at the anguish of adolescent lust.

“The Bridges of Madison County” (June 2) - Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep and Robert James Waller’s overheated prose add up either to a romantic interlude - or a total embarrassment.

“First Knight” (July 7) - Another telling of the Camelot legend, this one stars Sean Connery as King Arthur, Julia Ormond as Queen Guinevere and - Richard Gere? - as Launcelot.

“Clueless” (July 28) - Alicia Silverstone, heartthrob of the MTV set, stars in this updated variation of Jane Austen’s romantically comic novel “Emma.”

“A Walk in the Clouds” (July 28) - Keanu Reeves finds love in the vineyards of northern California with the daughter of Giancarlo Giannini.

Fantasy Island: The World of Herve Villechaize

“The Secret of Roan Inish” (Friday) - John Sayles explores an Irish tale of seals and seababies and the power of love.

“The Little Princess” (May 19) - Based on the novel “Sara Crewe” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this story involves a young girl who overcomes adversity in Victorian England.

“Casper” (May 26) - The friendly little ghost comes to the big screen, along with Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci.

“Indian in the Cupboard” (July 14) - A young boy enjoys adventures with his favorite toy, a miniature Indian that comes alive.

“Pocahontas” (June 23) - Disney’s hope for this year’s animation blockbuster is a retelling of the tale involving an Indian princess and early English settlers.

Did you Hear the One About…?

“The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain” (May 12) - The subject being comedy, Hugh Grant stars as a surveyor who gets entangled in a village’s quest to have the neighborhood hill be reclassified a mountain.

“Forget Paris” (May 19) - Billy Crystal and Debra Winger yuk their way back to the romance they first enjoyed in Paris.

“The Tales From the Hood” (May 26) - Clarence Williams III stars in this homeboy horror-comedy from the folks who brought you “Fear of a Black Hat.”

“Nine Months” (July 14) - Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore and Joan Cusack star in this comedy about … well, just guess.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU Following is a list of the featured movies for summer ‘95. The release dates, as always, are tentative.

Wednesday: Panther Friday: French Kiss, The Secret of Roan Inish May 12: Crimson Tide, The Perez Family, Gordy, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain May 19: Die Hard With a Vengeance, Forget Paris, The Little Princess May 26: Mad Love, Johnny Mnemonic, Braveheart, Casper, The Tales From the Hood June 2: Bridges of Madison County, Fluke June 9: Congo June 16: Batman Forever June 23: Pocahontas June 30: Judge Dredd, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Apollo 13 July 7: First Knight, Species July 14: Under Siege 2, Indian in the Cupboard, Nine Months July 19: Dead Presidents July 21: Free Willy 2 July 28: Waterworld, Clueless, Dumbo Drop, A Walk in the Clouds Coming this August (or fall): Mary Reilly, Cutthroat Island, Sabrina, Magic in the Water Coming soon to the Magic Lantern: Queen Margot, Strawberry and Chocolate, Once Were Warriors, Priest, Before the Rain.

This sidebar appeared with the story: COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU Following is a list of the featured movies for summer ‘95. The release dates, as always, are tentative.

Wednesday: Panther Friday: French Kiss, The Secret of Roan Inish May 12: Crimson Tide, The Perez Family, Gordy, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain May 19: Die Hard With a Vengeance, Forget Paris, The Little Princess May 26: Mad Love, Johnny Mnemonic, Braveheart, Casper, The Tales From the Hood June 2: Bridges of Madison County, Fluke June 9: Congo June 16: Batman Forever June 23: Pocahontas June 30: Judge Dredd, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Apollo 13 July 7: First Knight, Species July 14: Under Siege 2, Indian in the Cupboard, Nine Months July 19: Dead Presidents July 21: Free Willy 2 July 28: Waterworld, Clueless, Dumbo Drop, A Walk in the Clouds Coming this August (or fall): Mary Reilly, Cutthroat Island, Sabrina, Magic in the Water Coming soon to the Magic Lantern: Queen Margot, Strawberry and Chocolate, Once Were Warriors, Priest, Before the Rain.

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