Hot Season, Hot Films A Summer Of Big-budget Movies To Screen You From The Sun

Posted: May 26, 1989

Another comic-book hero hits the big screen. Another rock-'n'-roll star gets a movie biography. Another close encounter of the third kind.

Summer in Hollywood.

More than 70 movies are scheduled to open over the next few months - a number that far exceeds recommended safe viewing allowances for everyone but highly trained professionals like myself.

So, to help you map a selective movie-going strategy, the Daily News is offering this guide to summer releases, along with a special list of the many sequels being issued in the next three months.

Warning: release dates change with the whims of the studios - which is often. Some are slated only for a particular month, and some are listed by the studio under the broad category of "summer."

Here are 11 that have the potential to be summer standouts:

BATMAN (June 23). The much-anticipated $40 million Warner Bros. blockbuster updating the adventures of the caped crusader. Michael Keaton dons body armor in the title role to do battle with the Joker, played by Jack Nicholson. The movie also stars Kim Basinger and Billy Dee Williams, and Prince has written and recorded several songs for the movie. If "Batman" is good, it probably will be the biggest hit of the summer. But it's hard to know what to expect

from a team that includes the producers of "Rain Man" and the director of ''Pee-wee's Big Adventure."

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE (June). A bio-pic that looks at the career and the often sordid life of rock icon Jerry Lee Lewis, played here by Dennis Quaid. Winona Rider co-stars as Lewis' infamous child bride.

THE ABYSS (June 28). 20th Century Fox's big hope for the summer. The movie, directed by James Cameron ("The Terminator," "Aliens"), follows civilian divers as they search for a U.S. sub in an ocean chasm. The lead diver (Ed Harris) encounters an alien force that can "change our world forever."

DO THE RIGHT THING (June 30). Spike Lee takes an insightful - some say inciteful - look at race relations in present-day Brooklyn. This potentially incendiary movie looks like a significant departure from Lee's other pictures, ''She's Gotta Have It" and "School Daze," noted for their elements of comedy. The movie stars Lee, Danny Aiello and Ossie Davis.

CASUALTIES OF WAR (August). Michael J. Fox plays a military prosecutor assigned to the case of an infantryman (Sean Penn) accused of raping a Vietnamese woman. Brian De Palma directs. Early word says this movie may be as good as, or better than "Platoon."

DEAD POETS SOCIETY (June 9). Robin Williams takes another crack at serious acting here, portraying a strict but charismatic English teacher at a stuffy prep school. The movie was filmed in Delaware. Peter Weir ("Witness") directs.

PARENTHOOD (Aug. 11). Ron Howard ("Splash," "Cocoon") tackles the now- familiar topic of child-rearing, with the help of of a stellar cast that includes Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen and Keanu Reeves.

YOUNG EINSTEIN (July 28). This Australian import was wildly popular Down Under. It concerns some of the "lesser known" (i.e., completely fabricated) aspects of Einstein's youth, such as the fact that Einstein invented the electric guitar and the surfboard. Written, directed and starring a young man named Yahoo Serious.

BLACK RAIN (Aug. 11). Michael Douglas plays a New York City police detective who teams with a Japanese cop in Osaka, Japan, to investigate the Japanese mob. Directed by Ridley Scott of "Blade Runner" fame.

HEATHERS (May 26). Black comedy about teen life in a high school where all the pretty, stuck-up rich girls go by the name Heather. Somebody gets sick of the Heather club, and starts bumping them off.

PINK CADILLAC (May 26). Clint Eastwood returns to his good ol' boy mode. He's a two-fisted bounty hunter assigned to track down a woman, Bernadette Peters, who has jumped bail and is fleeing in the title car with an infant.

Here, without prejudice, are the rest - arranged chronologically.

HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING (June 2). A vicious, hilarious British satire of the advertising business. Starring Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward.

RENEGADES (June 2). Brat Packers Keifer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips star as a lawman and his Indian pal who battle crime. And they say there are no original ideas in Hollywood.

NO HOLDS BARRED (June 2). Hulk Hogan stars in "an action/adventure story filled with revenge, greed, hand-to-hand combat, family loyalty and romance." First pro-wrestler leading man since Rowdy Roddy Piper, who was ignored by the Academy for his work in "Them."

VAMPIRE'S KISS (June 2). Jennifer Beals, who bombed in "The Bride," tries horror again. This time, she's a vampire who sinks her teeth into Nicolas Cage ("Raising Arizona").

MIDNIGHT (June). Character study of a TV personality (Lynn Redgrave) who is a nasty version of Stella from Channel 3's "Saturday Night Dead."

TRANSYLVANIA TWIST (June). More "Beetlejuice"-style hijinx about a librarian from the great beyond who collects fines from books checked out B.C.

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS (June). A physicist (Rick Moranis) tries out his new shrinking machine on the kids. Guess what? It works. A Walt Disney picture that seems to be lacking only Fred MacMurray.

SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN BEVERLY HILLS (June). Paul Bartel ("Eating Raoul") directs Jacqueline Bisset and Ray Sharkey in a satire of life in the posh Southern California community.

BLOOD FIST (June). Martial arts stuff.

NIGHT GAME (June). A police detective (Roy Scheider) on the trail of a mass murderer.

HIDER IN THE HOUSE (June). Gary Busey and Mimi Rogers star in this story of a man who buys a house and finds out there are a few things his realtor neglected to mention.

SHELL SHOCK (June). Yoel Sharon's autobiographical film about life in the Israeli military during the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

PETER PAN (July 14). Re-release of Disney's animation classic. One of the few movies this summer aimed specifically at the kiddies.

UNCLE BUCK (July 28). John Hughes directed this movie about a no-good bachelor (John Candy) left in charge of three youngsters. Candy desperately needs a hit after a string of bombs. Amy Madigan co-stars.

TURNER & HOOCH (July 28). A police detective (Tom Hanks) is teamed with a police dog. What an original idea. Why, I haven't seen a police dog movie since "K-9," and that was a good four weeks ago.

BABAR: THE MOVIE (July 28). Animated feature about the thoughtful elephant

from the people who brought you "The Care Bears."

WORTH WINNING (July). Mark Harmon plays a Philadelphia TV weatherman (probably not Herb Clarke) who bets his friends that he can get engaged to three different women in three months.

ERIK THE VIKING (July). Monty Python alumnus John Cleese and Tim Robbins ("Bull Durham") appear in this comedy about an '80s-style guy who's in touch with his feelings. Unfortunately, he's living in the 15th century and he's a Viking.

THE BORROWER (July). An alien (Anthony Vargas) stranded on Earth must scrounge for replacement body parts, and I don't mean for his car. Rae Dawn Chong co-stars.

DRUGSTORE COWBOY (July). Matt Dillon plays a desperate junkie who resorts to armed robbery. Co-starring Kelly Lynch ("Roadhouse").

LOOSE CANNONS (July). Gene Hackman is a cop whose lunatic partner (Dan Aykroyd) suffers from multiple personalities. It's a comedy.

THE BEAR (July). Here's one for the animal rights crowd. A bear's-eye view of a hunting expedition.

THE PUNISHER (July). Dolph "Red Scorpion" Lundgren punishes us with another action picture.

CHEETAH (Aug. 4). Here's more family fare from Disney. A researcher and his family, living in Kenya, attempt to retrain a pet cheetah to adapt to the wild, where he can roam free, as free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows, etc. The children, according to the press release, are "plucky."

LOCK UP (Aug. 4). Sly Stallone plays Frank Leone, an innocent man sent to a brutal prison. Leone, the Tri-Star people say, "must use all of his mental and physical powers" to outwit the ruthless warden. I hope he gets a job at a prison library.

WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S (August). Two guys spend a weekend at their boss's house. The boss turns up dead, which, according to the 20th Century Fox publicity department, leads to a weekend of "murder, mayhem, romance and farcical misadventures."

LITTLE MONSTERS (August). Fred Savage, star of TV's "The Wonder Years," has the lead here as a kid who finds out that there really are monsters lurking under his bed. With Howie Mandel and Daniel Stern.

HARD RAIN (August). An innocent man (Tom Selleck) vows to get revenge on the people who sent him to prison. Paging John Garfield.

AMERICAN EAGLE (August). Actioner about a CIA operative on a rescue mission somewhere in West Africa.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (August). Red-hot Rob Reiner's new picture stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as two people who fall in love after being friends for many years.

COOKIE (August). A young woman (Emily Lloyd) tries to reform her mobster father (Peter Falk) in this comedy directed by Susan Seidelman ("Desperately Seeking Susan").

UHF (August). "Weird Al" Yankovic stars as a Walter Mitty type who rescues a failing television station.

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (August). This is not a film version of the hit Broadway play. It's another remake of the Hollywood classic, starring Robert Englund - better known as Freddy Krueger.

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (August). A film version of the Edgar Allen Poe story about a prince who watches his country fall victim to a plague.

A MAN CALLED SARGE (August). Low-budget picture about bumbling mercenaries.

THE LEMON SISTERS (August). "Crimes of the Heart" meets "Atlantic City." three ditzy A.C. women (Diane Keaton, Carole Kane and Kathryn Grody) see their careers as local entertainers threatened by the arrival of casinos. Produced by Diane Keaton, directed by Joyce Chopra.

BLUE STEEL (August). A police detective (Jamie Lee Curtis) tracks down a serial killer (Ron Silver).

WHY ME? (August). Burt Young is a burglar who manages to steal one of the world's most valuable jewels.

COLD FEET (No release date). Three small-time crooks (Keith Carradine, Sally Kirkland and Tom Waits) hide stolen jewels inside a horse and double- cross one another attempting to get the gems back. Co-written by novelist Thomas McGuane.

MILLENNIUM (No release date). In a frightening bit of casting, Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd star in this sci-fi flick about an air crash investigator who stumbles onto galactic intrigue and a team of space commando women.

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