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Not Showing Now

June 03, 2002

This summer's record-setting movie crop provides arguable evidence that Americans are favoring familiar images and themes, comic book heroes and galactic gladiators, as they did in their choice of TV programs after last fall's tragedies. Now, as additional entertainment, here's a lighter editorial report on vacation movies you won't see this summer:

* "Power Wars: Attack of the Energy Traders": Well-dressed Texan shysters with lots of money but no boots battle well-coiffed California politicians with lots of money but no scruples for the power to run appliances before 7 p.m. Computer imaging makes Houston appear livable. Named Yoda no one in this film is. Rated PG-13 for Violent Shredding.

* "Spider-Nerds": Wacky accountants get wrong shirts from cleaners, discover web-slinging cuffs, spend breaks swinging between office buildings. Midair collisions over downtown leave dozens of tangled bookkeepers.

* "The Jaded Scorpion Queen": Bored young wife of desert warrior tires of his constant battle absences, his borrowing her necklaces and failure to shower regularly. Seeks divorce by asp. Rated HD-17 for Historical Distortions.

* "Faithful": Happily married husband and wife accidentally pick up each other in dark Valley singles bar, then seek divorce citing mutual monogamy, irreconcilable similarities.

* "My Big Fat Bulgarian Wedding": Would-be emigres dream of Athens in a prequel to the other wedding movie, only with more mutton and grenades.

* "Ring of the Lords": Wife of Arkansas farmer Helmut Lord loses her wedding band during frontyard turkey stampede. Scimitar-swinging husband slaughters thousands. In craw of the last bird he does not find the ring.

* "Men in Orange": Caltrans highway workers, their jobs on Earth complete, land on Mars to repair long-neglected canals. Encounter aliens in business suits.

* "Some of All the Fears": Tim Clancy rips off his brother's book.

* "Die Airport Die": Docudrama covers one man's interminable waits in LAX security lines. Rated R for language, full frontal frisks.

* "Changing Lanes (Quelque Chose Bleu)": Engaged Paris couple leave respective homes on errands at the same moment. She heads west. He heads south. Neither comes near the other. No one thinks anything of it. Frustrations of modern life underscored by obscure English subtitles.

* "Behind Enemy Liens": Warning of budget defaults if secession succeeds, big-city mayor campaigns for unity in separatist Valley, encounters old college sweethearts contemplating their own metaphorical divorce, fighting over the prenup.

* "Never Dye Again Always": James Bond saga continues as 007 combats evil international botox cartel menacing Southern California water with powerful powder that causes wrinkles and premature grayness. Mariah Carey threatens to record soundtrack.

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