Read about the season's hottest movies

Total Recall
When Arnold Schwarzenegger, an average pumped-up Earthling circa 2084, discovers that all his memories have been preprogrammed and implanted in his brain by Martians, he heads for the Red Planet hopping mad. As the trailer puts it, ”They took his mind. He wants it back.” For the first time, Schwarzenegger gets two leading ladies, plus muscular metaphysical dialogue: ”If I’m not me, who the hell am I?” Thanks to director Paul Verhoeven, the futuristic odyssey has lots of action, a spiritual slant, comedic breaks, and flashy visuals. (Opens June 1) (A,C,S,F,E)

Inside Stuff: Budgeted at $40 million, Total Recall cost upward of $54 million, challenging Die Hard 2 as the summer’s costliest movie.

Another 48 HRs.
Eddie Murphy’s film debut with Nick Nolte in 1982’s 48 HRS. started the transformation of a popular Saturday Night Live comedian into a box-office monster. Here, he gets first billing and is also carting off a nice chunk of the film’s big budget. In the original, San Francisco cop Jack Cates (Nolte) sprang Reggie Hammond (Murphy) from jail for 48 hours to help catch a killer. This time it’s the suspended Cates who has two days to clear his name or wind up in the joint. Hammond, fresh out of prison, is involuntarily recruited to help Cates put the heat on the bad guy — a mean mutha named the Iceman. Count on plenty of foul-mouthed fun, car chases, tough-guy bonding, and indiscriminate gunplay as Murphy gets back in stride after the disappointing Harlem Nights. (Opens June 8) (A,C)

Inside Stuff: For director Walter Hill, the heat was on. The action artiste hadn’t had a winner since the original 48 HRS. He was handed a speeded-up production schedule that had the crew working seven days a week to meet Paramount’s early June release date. And he was subject to Murphy’s Law, which states, ”The bigger they get, the harder they are to control.” Spies on the set report that Eddie wasn’t exactly punctual for his scenes, so Hill had the script revised to enlarge Nick Nolte’s role so that they’d stay on schedule.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Adorable little Gizmo is back, this time accompanied by a new batch of bad critters. Real-life stars Phoebe Cates and Zach Galligan also return, along with director Joe Dante and most of the creative team from the first creature feature. Those who enjoyed seeing gremlins pureed in the Cuisinart and exploded in the microwave won’t want to miss the sequel. (Opens June 15) (A,C,F,S,E)

Inside Stuff: The original grossed nearly $150 million, and some observers say Warner Bros. will be lucky if this one breaks $100 million. Contrary opinion says that, as the first real kids’ movie of the season, Gremlins II could provide strong opposition against Dick Tracy when they open head-to-head.

Dick Tracy
Warren Beatty puts his commercial clout on the line as director, producer, and star when he brings the square-jawed, trench-coated flatfoot from the funny papers to the big screen. In an adventure that plays like one of Chester Gould’s typical comic-strip story lines, Tracy finds himself caught up with a band of bad guys, including Al Pacino, who plays the evil Big Boy Caprice, all aiming to do in the do-good detective. Meanwhile, Madonna strikes a pose — and sings three Stephen Sondheim songs — as the beguiling gun moll Breathless Mahoney. Look for spectacular sets, stylish duds, comic-book colors, and uncredited appearances by Dustin Hoffman and James Caan. It’s a lavish production, but the big question remains: Despite all the fuss, will kids and teens like the picture? (Opens June 15) (A,C,M,R,E)