Monitor picks

We round-up five summer movies we think you'll really like.

Stardust

Weekend isn't too excited by all the sequels at the movies this summer. Herewith, some fresh alternatives that sound lucrative – on paper, at least. Stardust, with Claire Danes and Charlie Cox, is a fantasy that, true to its title, is a casting director's dream. Sienna Miller, Robert De Niro, and Michelle Pfeiffer spin a tale of a man who ventures into a magical realm to find a fallen star (Aug. 10).

Becoming Jane

Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen? By all accounts, the literary queen was a plain Jane. But don't hold that against Hathaway, because in Becoming Jane the American actress has done a Renée Zellweger: She's taken on the role of a British icon and wowed the locals with her accent. Already a critical hit in Britain, this weepie imagines the details of a romance that was a formative influence on the writer (Aug. 3).

Ratatouille

It's a Pixar film. It's directed by Brad Bird ("The Iron Giant," "The Incredibles"). And it stars Brad Garrett as a rat who aspires to be a French restaurant chef. Ratatouille is the film equivalent of a Cordon Bleu recipe. (June 29)

No Reservations

Don't go see No Reservations on an empty stomach. A movie for foodies, this remake of the German film "Mostly Martha" centers on a gourmet chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who suddenly finds herself looking after her young niece (Abigail Breslin, Oscar nominee from "Little Miss Sunshine"). Let the guys go see "Die Hardest," or whatever they're calling that Bruce Willis threequel. Ladies will opt for this drama, if only for Aaron Eckhart, who plays a dishy chef (July 27).

A Mighty Heart

Admittedly, not exactly the feel-good movie of the summer. But A Mighty Heart, based on the memoir of Mariane Pearl, wife of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, will resonate long into the next solstice. After this lead role, Angelina Jolie could yet become a household name (June 22).

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