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The Short Story

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Tired of this season’s movie fare? Don’t worry. Now is the time studios roll out trailers for summer’s big-budget blow-outs. Here’s how the sneak peeks are playing.

— Brian M. Raftery

A.I. (Warner Bros., June 29) It has all the Spielbergian flourishes: an emotional swell of strings, a child (an out-of-focus Haley Joel Osment, right) turning his eyes skyward, the tag ”a Steven Spielberg film.” But this first look at the long top-secret project remains maddeningly elusive and too much of a tease. B-

THE MUMMY RETURNS (Universal, May 11) CGI-yi-yi! With the computer-created creatures (living skeletons, creepy crawlers) scampering around, it’s easy to miss this sequel’s flesh-and-blood stars…until the narrator reels off the names of eight players — two of whom we care about (The Rock and, uh, The Rock). C+

PEARL HARBOR (Disney, May 25) It’s a war movie! It’s a love story! Well, it’s a war movie all right, with $135 million worth of ship-tossin’, bomb-droppin’ mayhem outshining the Ben Affleck-Josh Hartnett-Kate Beckinsale love triangle. Despite being a tad too melodramatic, Pearl Harbor looks very see-worthy. A-

ROLLERBALL (MGM, Summer) Considering it’s an update of a fairly obscure ’70s sci-fi flick, you’d think MGM would drop clues on what this biker-and-babes actioner is about. Instead, we get a ball, some motorcycles, and someone who kinda looks like Chris Klein. The whole thing makes us want to roll our eyes. C

SHREK (DreamWorks, May 18) Mike Myers takes on a diminutive prince to bring order to a kingdom of familiar fairy-tale faces. But this computer-animated clip takes the curious approach of introducing its voice-over artists (Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz) as if they were on-screen stars. B

TOMB RAIDER (Paramount, June 15) With bits of cyber-clutter like pop-up interfaces appearing throughout the clip, Tomb Raider at times betrays its CD-ROM origins too much. But if anyone’s going to get us away from our iMacs and into the theater, it’s Angelina Jolie, looking ready to kick some archaeological ass. B

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