Upcoming flicks offer cool alternative to summer heat

By Mark Vitale

Arizona Daily Wildcat

When the temperature starts climbing into the triple digits, Tucsonans like to do a few things: Hang out in the pool with a cool drink, stay inside the house with the cooler turned on high, or go to the air-conditioned movies. The first requires a swimming pool while the second creates an enormous electric bill. Going to the movies, however, is a relatively cheap strategy for beating the heat.

And this is no secret to movie studios. After all, summer is one of the two most popular times of the year for the film industry (winter holiday season being the other). Summer has become the time for most of the big-budget movies to be released.

Summer 1994 followed this trend well with the release of movies like The Chase, Speed, and True Lies. All three flicks relied on two things: action-orientated plots and explosive special effects. The Chase contained exactly what it's name implied: a two hour, high speed car chase. True Lies also had car chases, in addition to a fighter plane crashing through buildings and the Florida Keys getting nuked.

Summer 1995 also has a couple of big-budget action films on the way. Batman Forever (release date June 23) is the next chapter in the Bat-film franchise. This time around, Batman (Val Kilmer), along with Robin (Chris O'Donnell) will be fighting the evil machinations of the Riddler (Jim Carey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones).

Another strong action contender will be Die Hard 3 (July release date). Bruce Willis reprises his role as policeman John Mclaine, who will be stopping some drug dealers in possesion of massive weaponry in New York City. During filming, the city reported having building windows being cracked from explosion shockwaves originating over four blocks away. Sounds about right for a Die Hard film.

Movie studios also like to release animated films targeted at kids during the summer, which makes sense since this is when they're out of school. Last summer's blockbuster film, The Lion King provided quality entertainment for families. Disney is hoping to repeat Lion's success with Pochahontas (release date, June 23), a musical retelling of the American Indian princess' encounter with English colonists.

Old television shows are also a popular springboard for movies. Last summer Steven Spielberg produced The Flintstones, a live-action film that is faithful to its cartoon roots. Spielberg is continuing the trend with his upcoming Casper the Friendly Ghost (haunting season begins May 26). In the tradition of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Casper will feature animated ghosts with live actors.

Movie studios release many films during the summer in hopes that everybody's favorite type of movie will have at least one contender. Seeing a movie one wants to see certainly makes paying seven bucks for a ticket easier to swallow and it is still cheaper than running the air conditioning

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I Like to Watch" is a column in which Wildcat arts reporters recommend favorite movies available on video.

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