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July 2007

Summer Releases

Evan Almighty: US-rated PG; German release August 9.

Four years after Jim Carrey starred in Bruce Almighty, movie-goers have accepted the end of the actor’s reign as America’s comedian in chief, as Carrey increasingly opts for darker projects. No actor is more capable of filling Carrey’s clown shoes than Steve Carell, star of The 40 Year-Old Virgin and The Office. Carrey’s last stand was one of Carell’s first films, and he returns now as the star of what’s also known as Bruce Almighty 2. Evan Baxter (Carell) moves his family to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in politics. They’ve hardly settled in when Baxter starts claiming that God (Morgan Freeman) has anointed him to complete a holy mission. (No, not the kind of mission that involves the Defense Department.) Baxter takes it upon himself to construct a massive ark. “It might,” he says, “be something fun for the family, go sailing on a lake, I don’t know, be great in case of floods.” The ensuing storyline is more heart-warming than gut-busting, but perfect for a rainy day matinee.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: US-rated PG-13; German release July 12.

This sequel-heavy summer, every movie title on the marquee seems to end with a number. Those “3”s and “13”s, however, can hardly match the box office clout of the Harry Potter franchise, which returns with a stunning fifth installment this July. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is back at Hogwarts after a harrowing run-in with Lord Voldemort that left him fighting for his life. Despite Harry’s status as walking proof of Voldemort’s powers, the Ministers of Magic continue to ignore the crisis situation. Desperate, Harry and his classmates form a guerrilla band of students who hold illicit training sessions for the inevitable battle to come. Returning cast members are comfortable and competent in their roles, and Helena Bonham Carter is a welcome addition as freaky teacher Bellatrix Lestrange. Though the Potter films have lost some steam along the way (not to mention a few directors), the solid base of Potter fans should conjure respectable, if not record-breaking, box office magic.

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