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Sci-Fi and animation plan to dominate summer movies

With a franchise reboot of the Star Trek series, an Adam Sandler comedy set in NYC and a World War II epic directed by Quentin Tarentino, this summer’s movie season promises to be an action-packed thriller with a few hidden gems. Here are five of the most anticipated and understated films of summer 2009:

1. Star Trek-Release: May 8-Starring Bruce Greenwood as Capt. Christopher Pike, Chris Pine as James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock-Directed and produced by J.J. Abrams

Scotty will be beaming up many more fans after the latest in the Star Trek series hits the theaters. This Star Trek movie dwells in the past as it recounts the early days of the crew of the USS Enterprise and promises some epic cinematography. Bruce Greenwood rises to carry on William Shatner’s legacy as the legendary Captain James T. Kirk. Many are hoping Star Trek will bring a revival to a bygone franchise, similar to the effect that the successful Casino Royale had on the aging Bond series. Star Trek is certainly aiming to be, and most likely will be, the summer blockbuster of the year.

2. Inglourious Basterds-Release: August 21-Starring Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson -Directed and written by Quentin Tarentino

What could be better than a World War II team up between Director Quentin Tarantino and actor Brad Pitt? Basterds tells the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers who go through occupied France, scalping and murdering Nazis. During their journey, the soldiers run into a French-Jewish girl who runs a movie theater in Paris. Though many are skeptical of the casting of Pitt for the role of the hard-nosed, Nazi-hunting lieutenant who leads “The Basterds,” Basterds has potential to do for our age what Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction did for the early ’90s: demonstrate Tarentino’s ironic spin through the use of actors playing slightly non-traditional roles.

3. Up-Release: May 29-Starring the voices of Edward Asner as Carl Fredricksen, Jordan Nagai as Russell and Christopher Plummer as Charles Muntz-Directed by Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson

Pixar’s ingenuity is displayed again on the silver screen with its tenth film, which is the first one shown in 3D. Up stars Carl Fredricksen, an old, adventure-seeking balloon salesman whose journey around the world is made possible by attaching hundreds of balloons to his house. Much to Fredricksen’s dismay, an 8-year-old Boy Scout named Russell ends up tagging along for the ride. The mismatched duo lands in the wilds of South America, and from there the two have to find their way home. With a history of classics including Finding Nemo, Toy Story and The Incredibles, Pixar’s untarnished reputation precedes it.

4. Funny People-Release: July 31-Starring Adam Sandler as George Simmons, Seth Rogen as Ira Wright and Leslie Mann as Laura-Directed by Judd Apatow

Coming off of the heels of multiple successful comedies, Judd Apatow, director of The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, enlists the comedic prowess of actors Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. Sandler plays a seasoned comedian who, after discovering his terminal illness, develops a friendship with a novice comedian portrayed by Rogen. Funny People’s appeal does not, however, solely lie in its ability to make the audience laugh. It also promises to give a sort of indie twist that is absent from many of Apatow’s strictly raunchy comedies of the past. Look for Funny People to be the hidden gem of the summer.

5. Public Enemies-Release: July 1-Starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis and Marion Cotillard as Billie Frechette-Directed by Michael Mann

After the mediocrity of Miami Vice in 2006, director Michael Mann figured he could do better. This time, instead of Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp stars in the true-life story of John Dillinger, a Tommy Gunwaving, bank-robbing playboy who criss-crossed the nation in the 1930s. Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) co-stars as Billie Frechette, Dillinger’s girlfriend and Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) plays Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent charged with bringing Dillinger down.

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