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Summer of sequels (and prequels)
Michael Clark takes a look at the long list of upcoming films

Although the calendar might beg to differ, Hollywood is certain that it's summertime and is ready to unleash its highest-profile, most action-packed titles of the year.

This is a time when the roster is top heavy with sequels, but there are more than the usual number of prequels, and as has been the case recently, a bevy of promising, late-season comedies.

Here's a list what's in store, including some interesting looking independent titles. As always, all release dates are subject to change.

May 1

· Battle for Terra - Post-apocalyptic, 3-D animated adventure which suggests "WALL-E" by way of "Star Wars." From the look of the trailer, it might be a little too intense for most tykes.

· Ghosts of Girlfriends Past - Here's a novel idea: a romantic comedy that uses the blueprint of "A Christmas Carol." Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner star as the lovey-dovey leads with Michael Douglas offering support as the principal ghost.

· Is Anybody There? - Michael Caine stars as a senior citizen who distracts himself from his terminal illness by striking up a friendship with the son of the owners of the rest home where he lives.

· X-Men Origins: Wolverine - The first of what could be several prequels based on the highly lucrative "X-Men" trilogy. It made headlines recently when a pirated rough cut hit the Internet and was downloaded more than 100,000 times by eager fans before being removed.

May 8

· Star Trek - Another "origins" prequel featuring the characters of the original '60s TV series at the start of their space traveling careers. Director J.J. Abrams ("Lost," "Alias," "Felicity") pushed the release date back nearly six months to tweak it to his liking.

· Wild Child - More than likely, this comedic teen chick flick was held over from last year due to its too-close resemblance to "The House Bunny." Emma Roberts plays an unruly California brat sent back east by her father to cool off and ends up turning her prim roommates into party girls.

May 15

· Management - Bearing a strong resemblance to "Mr. Wrong," this poorly titled indie stars Jennifer Aniston as a traveling saleswoman who is being pursued by an overaggressive hotel worker (Steve Zahn). Just what we need: a romantic comedy stalker flick.

· Tyson - Director James Toback's highly anticipated documentary chronicling the bizarre life of boxer Mike Tyson has already generated huge positive buzz while making the rounds on the festival circuit.

May 21

· Terminator Salvation - He was partly responsible for breathing new life into the waning "Batman" franchise, so there's no reason to think Christian Bale can't do the same thing for the once-glorious Arnold Schwarzenegger series.

May 22

· Dance Flick - Yet another Wayans Brothers ("Scary Movie") genre spoof, this one is the first directorial effort from younger sibling Damien (not to be confused with older brother Damon). "Real" dance movies are by nature unintentionally funny, so this one could go either way.

· Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - The inevitable sequel to the box office busting first installment has most of the original cast returning along with many newcomers including Amy Adams, Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy and "SNL's" Bill Hader.

May 29

· Drag Me to Hell - After conquering the movie world with the "Spider-Man" trilogy, filmmaker Sam Raimi returns to his roots with this Stephen King-flavored horror flick about a loan officer (Alison Lohman) who becomes cursed after evicting a senior citizen from her home. How's that for art imitating current real life headlines?

· Up - Pixar's first entry into the 3-D animation field finds another senior citizen being relocated, this time on purpose and by means of helium balloons that uproot him and his dwelling and then head for South America.

June 5

· Adoration - The always interesting filmmaker Atom Egoyan bends and twists a bunch of genres in this drama about a high school French student who takes some "Roots" inspired research on his family, weaves it into a what-if terrorist scenario and unleashes in on the Internet.

· The Hangover - Think "Very Bad Things" minus the murder and bile. Due to overwhelmingly positive response to the trailers for this bachelor party comedy from director Todd Phillips ("Old School," "Road Trip"), the studio has already reportedly asked for a sequel.

· Land of the Lost - Loosely based on the mid-'70s TV series of the same name, this comedy adventure stars Will Ferrell as a bumbling park ranger who gets transported into a parallel universe inhabited by dinosaurs. Danny McBride and Anna Friel as the romantic interest co-star.

· Little Ashes - Lead "Twilight" vampire Robert Pattinson gets the chance to prove he's more than just a vacant, pretty face starring as famed artist Salvador Dali in this art house bio flick.

· My Life in Ruins - Nia Vardalos, the writer/star of the surprise smash "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" attempts to rekindle her fledgling career playing a woman looking for love during a visit to her ancestral Greek homeland. Don't be surprised if it takes on the air of "Mamma Mia!"

June 12

· Easy Virtue - Recognized more for her beauty than acting skills, Jessica Biel is offered the opportunity to display her comedic talents in this period piece as a brassy American girl who marries a British man and is called on to charm his stuffy, uptight family.

· Imagine That - At first glance, this Eddie Murphy comedy appears to be too much like Adam Sandler's "Bedtime Stories." Murphy plays a guy trying to shake up his less-than-stellar life by putting serious stock into make-believe games shared with his daughter.

June 19

· Every Little Step - Already tagged by some as the next winner of the Best Documentary Oscar, this expose covers the history of the smash Broadway musical "A Chorus Line" with the emphasis on its recent revival.

June 24

· Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Another inevitable sequel that will likely match or exceed its predecessor's box office performance. Given that returning director Michael Bay has already declined to make a third and lead Shia LeBeouf was in trouble with the law during production, don't look for this one to recapture the unexpected high quality of the first.

June 26

· Fireflies in the Garden - Mainstream regulars Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe and Ryan Reynolds star in an art house drama about a writer coming to terms with the death of his mother and an abusive past at the hands of his father.

· My Sister's Keeper - Unapologetic and manipulative weeper about the sister (Abigail Breslin) of a cancer victim (Sofia Vassilieva) who takes her parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) to court in a wish to be emancipated from them.

July 1

· Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - The 3-D third installment of the successful animated franchise sees the return of the four principals along with Simon Pegg and Seann William Scott in what will likely be more of the same family friendly mediocrity.

· Public Enemies - Johnny Depp stars as infamous, most-wanted outlaw John Dillinger trying to stay one step ahead of G-men Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) and J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) in this explosive action drama helmed by Michael Mann ("Miami Vice," "Ali").

July 4

· When in Rome - Kristen Bell ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall") plays an unlucky-in-love woman who attends her sister's Italian wedding and, after pilfering coins from a magic fountain, finds herself many men's object of desire.

July 10

· Bruno - "Borat" star Sasha Baron Cohen's other alter-ego - a closeted gay Austrian fashion reporter - essentially goes through the same motions as an undercover documentarian tricking unsuspecting hidden-camera American subjects into doing and saying all things stupid.

· I Love You, Beth Cooper - The high school beauty queen and title character (Hayden Panettiere, "Heroes") is so impressed by the class geek's graduation day proclamation of his love for her that she decides to reward him by making his fantasies come true.

July 15

· Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - This movie adaptation of the next- to-last book of the now concluded series could suffer not only from anti-climactic burnout, but also from the perpetually shifting release date. Whatever the quality, Potter fans will surely be happy.

July 17

· 500 Days of Summer - Thanks to its always dependable young leads (Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel), this second stalker comedy of the summer looks quite promising. Pessimistic girl meets optimistic boy and all genre expectations are turned on their ear.

· All the Boys Love Mandy Lane - Horror/

thriller starring the increasingly impressive Amber Heard as the most popular girl at her school who attends a year-end party where the revelers start dropping like flies.

July 24

· G-Force - This is another interesting concept that could go either way. Live-action comedy adventure with celebrity voices about guinea pigs who are tired of being test subjects.

· Orphan - A horror/mystery about a despondent married couple who try to replace a recently deceased child with an evil look-alike.

July 29

· Adam - A potentially awkward romantic comedy about an autistic man (Hugh Dancy) who develops a crush on an upstairs neighbor (Rose Byrne).

July 31

· Bandslam - In her first post "High School Musical" role, Vanessa Hudgens takes the lead in this battle-of-the-bands tribute to Ska. Lisa Kudrow and David Bowie are among the notable players.

· Funny People - Industry moguls Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow join forces for what will either be a laugh riot or a maudlin downer. Sandler plays a veteran stand-up comedian who, upon learning he has terminal cancer, becomes the mentor to a promising upstart.

· They Came From Upstairs - Pop singer Ashley Tisdale ("High School Musical") leads a mostly teen cast in a sci-fi fantasy that suggests a lighter, bouncier version of "The Last Mimzy."

Aug. 7

· G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA - Being that this action/adventure is directed by Stephen Sommers ("Van Helsing," "The Mummy"), expect a barrage of pyrotechnics, hyperactive editing and little in the way of plot or depth.

· Shorts - Robert Rodriguez ("Spy Kids") revisits the juvenile fantasy genre with an action comedy about an outcast child who discovers a magical rock and becomes the target of envy of his colorful neighbors. James Spader stars as the devious villain.

Aug. 14

· The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard - Multi-Emmy award winner Jeremy Piven ("Entourage") stars as a slick used-car salesman hired by a competitor to help boost sales.

· Paper Heart - Co-writer/leading lady Charlyne Yi ("Knocked Up") travels the world looking for love and eventually finds it in the form of Michael Cera ("Juno," "Superbad").

· Post Grad - In another bit of art reflecting the economy, Alexis Bledel plays a recent college graduate who can't find a job and reluctantly moves back home with her dysfunctional family.

· The Time Traveler's Wife - Based on the popular novel, Eric Bana stars as a Chicago librarian born with a rare time travel gene. The trouble is, he has no control over when it happens or where he goes, something that understandably upsets his wife (Rachel McAdams).

Aug. 21

· Inglourious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino's long-delayed and bizarre World War II epic about a band of American soldiers whose principal mission is to hunt down and scalp Nazis. Brad Pitt plays the sick puppy commander.

Aug. 28

· The Boat That Rocked - Filmmaker Richard Curtis' follow-up to "Love Actually" is a musical comedy about a group of 1960s renegade DJs who start a pirate radio station at sea.

· Final Destination: Death Trip 3-D - For the fourth installment of the dead-out-of-the-gate horror franchise, director David R. Ellis uses a racetrack for his setting. Even if it's bad (which is likely), the 3-D visuals should provide a spectacular thrill ride.

· H2: Halloween 2 - Rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie's logical follow-up to his first remake. If it's anything like the first, look for lots of gore and an interesting soundtrack.

· Mesrine: A Film in Two Parts - Vincent Cassel stars as Jacques Mesrine, the infamous celebrity French fugitive who eluded capture for more than two decades. The first half focuses on the crime and part two concentrates on the resulting popularity.