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Think Different

Could it be that this year's crop of summer movies requires a brain cell or two?

Hulk Hey, brother! Whatcha gonna do when the largest arms in the world run wild on you? Wait, wrong Hulk. No middle-aged wrestler's biceps can measure up to those of the 15-foot CGI creation who runs roughshod over San Francisco in this comic-book adaptation. Audiences will be lured in by lovely Jennifer Connelly and the promise of "Hulk smash!" but director Ang Lee hopes they'll stay for a story line he likens more to classic tragedy. Wait'll you see the mutated "Hulk dogs." Eric Bana, who did mood swings to perfection in Chopper, stars as alter ego Bruce Banner. (Universal)

Capturing the FriedmansThis documentary follows the dissolution of a seemingly typical family, after the arrest of father and son and subsequent ostracism of the clan by the local community. But all was not as it seemed, and as the filmmakers took a closer look, disturbing questions were raised. (Magnolia)

Charlie's Angels: Full ThrottleThe genius of director McG's first Charlie's Angels was that it had something for almost everyone: girls kicking ass for the ladies, fetishistic costume changes for the guys, self-satire for the hip ironists, Tom Green for those who prefer less subtle humor, Crispin Glover for the weirdos, et cetera. It was a movie that made no apologies for its junk food consistency, and neither does the new one, by the looks of things. Green and Bill Murray are gone, but instead we get Bernie Mac and, uh, Demi Moore. (Sony)

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and BlondeEverybody's…um…favorite frilly Harvard Law School grad is back. Reese Witherspoon dons the pink and heads to Washington to fight for animal rights. Obviously, she begins by removing all animal products from the craft service tables and catering trucks, and serving her Chihuahua vegan dog food. (MGM)

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven SeasEverybody's favorite public domain Iraqi hero returns as a two-dimensional caricature voiced, natch, by Brad Pitt. Catherine Zeta-Jones voices the feisty sidekick chick and Michelle Pfeiffer the incongruous Greek goddess Eris. This is DreamWorks's only contribution to the summer screen. (DreamWorks)

Terminator 3: Rise of the MachinesArnie's back, or something like that. Probably doesn't do the "nude Terminator" thing anymore, though. Anyway, as the T-850 Terminator, he once again helps save humankind from those awful machines taking over the planet. Begging help are 18-year-old John Connor (Nick Stahl) and his girlfriend (Claire Danes), who are being hunted by femme fatale "Terminatrix" Kristanna Loken. Franchise creator James Cameron didn't need the money, so Jonathan Mostow (U-571) directs. One question: Why don't the humans send back Robert Patrick to save everyone this time? Just curious. (Warner Bros.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black PearlSometimes a sure thing at the box office isn't necessarily nauseatingly trite. This romp from director Gore Verbinski (The Ring) looks adventurous, atmospheric and -- Geoffrey Rush excluded -- generally sex-ay. For sale is one Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings) as a lad who must team up with thickly eyelinered pirate Johnny Depp to save Keira Knightley (Bend It Like Beckham) from bad pirate Rush. Based on the Disney ride, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and certain to earn a doubloon or two. (Disney)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Apparently Sean Connery plays fictional adventurer Allan Quatermain here, and apparently he absolutely hated working with director Steven Norrington (Blade). Nonetheless, the movie got made, based on Alan Moore's zesty graphic novel, based in turn on classic characters such as Dr. Jekyll (Jason Flemyng), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah) and Dracula's Mina Harker (Peta Wilson). Takes place in Victorian England, thus -- like Fox's other Moore adaptation, From Hell -- shot in Prague. (Fox)

Bad Boys II At long last, Michael Bay has come to his senses and quit with the Ben Affleck PG-13 crap. The original Bad Boys didn't get much love from critics, but it didn't need it -- this one doesn't look like it could use the help either. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as mismatched cops, with Gabrielle Union replacing Téa Leoni as the potential love interest (good call!) and a supporting cast that includes Joe Pantoliano, Henry Rollins and Peter Stormare. (Sony)

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of LifeNow that she's gotten over the loss of Daddy Dearest, maybe Ms. Croft (Angelina Jolie) can get back to shooting stuff, jumping off things and running afoul of armored primates made of stone. Jan DeBont takes over the directorial reins of this latest adventure, which sees Lara in Africa, looking for Pandora's Box (wait, wasn't Pandora Greek? Does it matter?). (Paramount)

Seabiscuit Tobey Maguire takes time out from slinging webs and wooing the daughter of a high-ranking Universal executive to pretend he's short enough to jockey a horse. Gary Ross (Pleasantville) takes on the novel by Laura Hillenbrand about the titular racehorse and the joy it brought to the country during the Great Depression. (Universal)

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Robert Rodriguez returns to his beloved adventure franchise for the third time in as many years. Young spy Alexa Vega gets caught in a virtual-reality video game designed by the evil Sylvester Stallone and must be saved by her brother Daryl Sabara, and probably their parents Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino. With Salma Hayek and Ricardo Montalban, thank goodness. (Dimension)

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