Escape from summer heat to a matinee

“Sex and the City”
Directed by Michael Patrick King
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon

The long-awaited big-screen continuation of the popular HBO series is finally hitting theaters at the beginning of the summer. Following the lives of the four well established, fashion-savvy friends from New York City, the film will feature all the wit and romance that made the television series a monumental hit. But there are suggestions that things are going to take a turn for the worse for the sexually liberated ladies.

Although little information has been released regarding the exact plotline of the story, interviews with cast members have created rumors of marriage and pregnancy along with hints at infidelity and death – suggesting a darker premise than the TV series. The long-running TV show has snowballed its fan base over its six seasons, leaving many anxiously anticipating its release. With the exact details of the story being kept under lock and key, fans of the series won’t know the truth until the film hits theaters on May 30.

But if the film follows the costume designs of the TV series, one thing will be sure – even if the story takes a turn for the dark and dreary, the clothes will most definitely be flashy and fabulous.

“The Dark Knight”
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger

This sequel to the 2005 blockbuster smash “Batman Begins” will be tearing into theaters this summer with both excitement and sadness. Continuing the revived “Batman” series, “The Dark Knight” will explore the darker side of Gotham City, looking to bring a taste of the macabre to the standard action genre.

The reason for the film’s somber tone is the late Heath Ledger, who, as seen in pre-screened trailers for the film, has transformed the infamous character of the Joker from the demented-yet-comical character played by Jack Nicholson in the 1989 film, to a morbidly psychopathic murderer. The death of Ledger has also put a dark tone over the upcoming film, leaving many to wonder what editing decisions the producers of the film will make to remain sensitive to the actor’s passing.

“The Dark Knight” will feature the elaborate weaponry and souped-up vehicles that have become staples of the “Batman” franchise, and with a budget of roughly $180 million, there is no doubt the film will be brimming with high-paced action sequences and other elaborate stunts.

Though Ledger’s death may hamper the film’s impact, “The Dark Knight” looks to be a movie of monumental proportions. Destined to become one of the great action films of this generation, the bat will come swooping into theaters on July 18.

“Mamma Mia!”
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan

We’ve admired our “Dreamgirls,” coated ourselves in “Hairspray” and just recently been left at the mercy of “Sweeney Todd.”

So what is the next step in this resurgence of the movie-musicals that have been jazzing up our theaters with their extravagant production values and chart-topping soundtracks? Well, now it’s the music of ABBA that will be making a resurgence this summer.

The immensely popular musical follows the story of a young girl who longs to learn the identity of her father before her upcoming marriage.

She invites three potential suspects from her mother’s past to her wedding, in hopes that she will discern which one is related.

Much singing and dancing takes place, with the fun-loving music of ABBA fitting in perfectly with the lighthearted story. The all-star cast takes on the extensive song catalogue, promising to stay true to the upbeat sound of original cast members while bringing the tracks to life on the big screen.

Though not everyone’s cup of tea, the movie-musical is here to stay, and after a few years of drab screen adaptations, this recent revival has produced blockbuster hits. Come July 18, we’ll see if “Mamma Mia!” will reap the same success of its toe-tapping peers.