W ell, we've made it to June, which means we've made it through a month of overrated, over-hyped, so-so summer blockbusters, like "The Da Vinci Code" (46 percent favorable reviews), "X-Men: The Last Stand" (58 percent favorable reviews), "Poseidon" (50 percent favorable reviews) and "Mission Impossible III" (66 percent favorable reviews).

So what's on the summer blockbuster horizon?

Well, for those of you who really care, "Superman Returns" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" are the main items on the menu, along with this week's "The Break-Up" (staring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston) and next week's "Cars," from Disney/Pixar.

Beyond that, we're mostly looking at dumb comedies, like "Nacho Libre" (Jack Black), "Click" (Adam Sandler) and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (Will Ferrell). Iffy action/dramas, like "Snakes on a Plane," "Miami Vice" and "World Trade Center" follow.

I know -- it sounds pretty sad. But there are a few upcoming films that look interesting. While we can never be entirely sure they will make it into this neck of the woods, here are five films that are noteworthy, if only because they are somewhat different.

Wordplay (June 16)

Each year, one or two documentaries seem to stand out commercially. Perhaps this one, about the fascinating editor of the New York Times crossword puzzles, will be 2006's "Spellbound," "Grizzly Man" or "Super Size Me." The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

Strangers with Candy (June 28)

Stephen Colbert costars and co-wrote this film prequel to the cult hit TV show. That's promising enough, but then you throw in Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Sedaris and a funny premise (middle-aged, reformed crack whore returns to finish high school) and how can you miss?

A Scanner Darkly (July 7)

My favorite director, Richard Linklater, recreates his "Waking Life" magic with this animated/live action film about the darkest side of drugs, sort of like a combination of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Requiem for a Dream."

Lady in the Water (July 21)

M. Night Shyamalan's latest, about a sea nymph who is found in a swimming pool, sounds strange to say the least. "Splash" has already been done. Plus, it's supposedly a departure from the director's typical work. But Paul Giamatti signed on, so it must be decent.

The Reaping (August 11)

Hillary Swank is as dependable as they come, so why shouldn't we be interested in this spooky tale? It's about an estranged Christian missionary who must confront her loss of faith when dark forces threaten a community. Sounds a bit like "Signs," but with Swank it should deliver.

Jim Chastain II


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