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Pitch The 1954 World Cup brings a family of war-battered Germans together. Stars Louis Klamroth, Peter Lohmeyer, Johanna Gastdorf. Mirko Lang. Lowdown Football movies don‘t seem like such a dodgy prospect any more following the success of Bend it Like Beckham, and this feelgood period piece is further proof that it's not all drooling fanboys or rampaging hooligans. A box office smash on its release in Germany. this is the sweet tale of a young boy called Matthias who is the sidekick to football star, Helmut Rahn. As Rahn prepares for the World Cup finals in Switzerland, Matthias' life is sent into tumult when his father returns after being in a Russian prison camp for 13 years. Torn between father and idol, he needs to get to Bern or he thinks Rahn's previous scoring

success will be jinxed. In the cinemas 16 July.

Pinq Pong

Pitch A ping pong competition may be about to destroy the childhood friendship of Peko and Tsukimoto. Stars YOsuke Kubozuka, Arata. Sam Lee. Shido Nakamura. Koji Ookura. Lowdown This delightful little film from Japan enjoyed considerable art house success when it opened in the larger American cities last year. It has even drawn comparisons to The Karate Kid, for heaven's sake. Here is a film that investigates the idea of talent, discipline and male bonding with the feather-light touch of a Hal Hartley tragicomedy. This will be the feelgood sleeper of the year.

In the cinemas Late August.

Spider-Man 2

Pitch The wall-crawling superhero returns and there are yet more bloody hassles: women and murderous inventors for a start.

24 THE LIST 24 Jun—8 Jul 2004

Stars Tobey Maguire. Kirsten Dunst. Alfred Molina.

Lowdown Spidey was always the sensitive, misunderstood superhero of the clan and in pulling the webslinger's red mask on for this sequel. geekboy Maguire does Peter Parker real justice once again. The demise of the Green Goblin in the first movie has meant the hilariously destructive Doctor Octopus taking the reigns as chief baddie but it's Pete‘s love life that causes

waaaaaay more problems than an insane. eight-armed monster. Sam Raimi has made a rare thing: a comic book movie with heart.

In the cinemas 15 July.

King Arthur

Pitch The real story of King Arthur without all the mysticism and with Clive Owen.

Stars Clive Owen. Stephen Dillane. Keira Knightley. loan Gruffudd. Stellan

Skarsgard, Ray Winstone. Lowdown From the director of The Replacement Killers and Training Day and the writer of Gladiator comes an epic of well mythological proponions. But the ‘big concept' behind this epic is that the makers intend it to be a serious focus on the history and politics of the period during which Arthur ruled when the Roman empire collapsed and skirmishes over power broke out in outlying countries and not all that Merlin and Holy Grail malarkey. To be honest. this is one of the borderline films in this line-up: it could be an absolute donkey. but the pedigree is good and Owen is an interesting choice to lead a big historical epic. Let’s face it. it's got to be better than Troy.

In the cinemas 30 July.

' Heflboy

Pitch The son of the devil tries to be good as he hunts ancient Nazis. ghouls and other undead. Based on Mike Mignola's superb graphic novels. Stars Ron Perlman. John Hurt. Selma Blair. Rupert Evans, Karel Roden. Lowdown The greatest comic superhero creation since Stan Lee's The Hulk (OK, comic book fans, that may be slightly over-egging the pudding) finally gets his own feature film forum under the steady. geeky hands of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Cronos. The Devil's Backbone. Blade 2). This has been out in North America and Asia for some time now but for various reasons has taken a while to be distributed here. The film went belly up in the US but that doesn't mean it will do the same in the UK, especially considering the following Mignola's extraordinary work has over here. With that square jawed giant of a man Ron Perlman (The Name of the Rose. The City of Lost Children) taking the lead. you certainly can't accuse del Toro of casting his film to the whims of Hollywood fashion. Bring on the darkness and the apocalypse.

In the cinemas 3 September.


The upcoming movies to avoid like the plague

To be fair, Catwoman, starring Halle Berry. could go either way. It is. after all, directed by Pitof. the visual effects designer behind Delicatessen and Alien: Resurrection. But a few things do need to be taken into account Pitof's first directorial outing Vidocq, starring Gerard Depardieu (about an 1800s Parisian detective), looked great but was actually a bit lame. And when has Berry been able to carry a movie? Now down to the real crap: as usual, US teens will be badly served in anything that doesn't star Lindsay Lohan.

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Worst of all is A Cinderella Story. There really is no need to explain the plot. Shifty, horrible. thankfully almost forgotten Garfield gets the titular big screen treatment. a must for annoying lovers of cats and the 80s. lssac Asimov gets well and truly shafted in the big screen take of I Robot starring Will Smith. Mambo Italiano flies the flag for gay Italian Canadians and manages to be insulting, stereotypical and altogether patronising. Jean-Jacques The Bear Annaud just can't leave those cuddly wild animals alone. In “no Brothers he goes after

the baby tigers with the help of Guy Pearce doing his best David Niven impression. The Thunderbirds live action film is just the pits. Wimbledon is. unsurprisingly, a film about tennis. starring Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst. The Rock’s new film Walking Tall was supposed to be a serious acting departure but is just poo. And kiddie yawn fest Young Black Stallion has all the charm of Christmas pudding on a sunny day.