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The Vampires Are Back, Along With Talking Toys and a Huge Dog

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Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I’m Doug Johnson.


And I’m Barbara Klein. This week on our program, we take you to the summer movies. This year's crop includes vampires, talking toys, an Iron Man and, of course, love.



Young fans can sink their teeth into another film based on the "Twilight" book series by Stephenie Meyer.

The first book introduced us to the love story between Bella and Edward. Bella is a human teenager played by Kristen Stewart. Edward is a vampire played by Robert Pattinson.

Last year brought "New Moon." It added to the unusual population of Forks, Washington -- which is a real town in the Pacific Northwest. The story added shape-shifters that turn into large wolves.

The Vampires Are Back, Along With Talking Toys and a Huge Dog
The Vampires Are Back, Along With Talking Toys and a Huge Dog

And now the crowd is back for "Eclipse." This time Bella is torn between Edward and Jacob, a werewolf played by Taylor Lautner.



If vampires and wolves are not for you, then how about a talking dog? A really big talking dog.

"Marmaduke" is a film about a Great Dane and his human family who move to California from the Midwest. Marmaduke is lovable but gets into a lot of trouble because of his size.


Marmaduke moves to Orange County
Marmaduke moves to Orange County

Owen Wilson is the voice of Marmaduke. Co-star George Lopez is the voice of a cat friend named Carlos. The movie combines live action with computer effects.

The film is based on the comic strip that was created by Brad Anderson in the nineteen fifties and still appears in newspapers.



For adults, there is the second "Sex and the City" movie. Sarah Jessica Parker stars again as Carrie Bradshaw. She writes a newspaper column in New York about dating and relationships, and her love for shoes.

"Sex and the City" was a popular television series. The first movie ended with Carrie Bradshaw marrying the man of her dreams, John Preston, better known as Mister Big.

In the latest film, she is beginning to feel unsure about her own identity now that she is Mrs. John Preston.


The Vampires Are Back, Along With Talking Toys and a Huge Dog
The Vampires Are Back, Along With Talking Toys and a Huge Dog

She finds relief in a week-long trip to Abu Dhabi with her close friends Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.

But she also finds a former lover there -- and finds that she still has feelings for him. She starts to wonder about her marriage. But there are enough lighthearted moments to keep the movie a comedy.



A romantic comedy out this summer is "Just Wright." Queen Latifah stars as a physical therapist. The rapper Common plays an injured basketball player she treats.

As she works with him, guess what happens? They start to fall in love. But after he recovers, the girlfriend who left him when he got hurt tries to win him back.



No summer would be complete without some action films.

Robert Downey Junior returns for a second time as "Iron Man," based on the comic book series. He plays Tony Stark, a billionaire inventor who created an armored suit. It lets him be a superhero. But this time, the government wants him to share his technology with the military. He refuses.

And now, the metal of the armor appears to be poisoning Iron Man. He must race to find a cure while still fighting the enemies of peace.



Fans of comic books and graphic novels can also find "Jonah Hex" on the big screen this summer.

The title character is a gunfighter in the American Old West. Half his face is burned. He makes money by finding people who have escaped the law.

Josh Brolin plays Jonah Hex. John Malkovich plays his greatest enemy, Quentin Turnbull.

In the movie, Turnbull is a terrorist wanted by the military. The military asks Jonah Hex to capture him. In return, the military offers to pardon the bounty hunter for wrongdoing of his own.

He will be able to live free. But will he survive the hunt for Quentin Turnbull?



After eleven years, the third movie in the animated "Toy Story" series opens in the United States this Friday. Andy, the owner of the toys, is not a little boy anymore. He is leaving for college.

Cowboy Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and all his other toys end up at a day care center. They meet new toys and new children, and not all the kids are very nice.

Tom Hanks returns as the voice of Woody and Tim Allen is back as Buzz. New voices include Jodi Benson and Michael Keaton playing Barbie and Ken.



So what do movie fans think of the films they have seen lately?

HASSAN GURELL: "My name is Hassan Gurrell. I live in Arlington, Virginia."

REPORTER: "You said you saw 'Iron Man?'”

HASSAN GURRELL: "Yes. I saw 'Iron Man.'”

REPORTER: ”What did you think of it?"

HASSAN GURRELL: "It was good. Not as good as [the] first one, though. A little bit predictable for me. But still, I enjoyed, you know, it was entertaining."

REPORTER: "Have you seen any other of the summer movies, like 'Sex and the City?'”

HASSAN GURRELL: "No. I didn’t see the 'Sex and the City ?' I saw the first one and I liked it a lot. I didn’t tell anybody until now. But, yeah, I thought it was really good.”

REPORTER: "So are you planning on seeing the second one?"

HASSAN GURRELL: "Probably I’ll see the second one. Now I have a wife. So it's gonna be easier for me to see the second one."

REPORTER: "So what’s your name?"

ZEKE: "Zeke."

REPORTER: "And your name?"

GABE: "Gabe."

SILAS: "Silas."

NATE: "Nate."

REPORTER: "And where are you all from?"

GABE: "America."

REPORTER: "What part of America?"

GABE: "Bristow, Virginia."

REPORTER: "What movie did you see tonight?"

ALL: “'A-Team.'”

REPORTER: "And what did you think of it?"

ALL: "It was good. It was really good."

REPORTER: "What did you like about it?"

ALL: "There was a lot of fighting and stuff. There was a lot of action."

REPORTER: "And who was your favorite member of the A-Team?"

ALL: "Mr. T."

REPORTER: "Your name is?"

HALEY: "Haley."

REPORTER: "And where are you from, Haley?"

HALEY: "I’m from New York."

REPORTER: "You said you saw one summer movie so far this year. What is it?"

HALEY: "I saw 'Iron Man 2.'”

REPORTER: "And what did you think?"

HALEY: "I thought it was great. I’d been waiting for it to come out, so I was really excited. I felt like last summer we were missing a really good blockbuster. So this summer I got what I was waiting for. Actually, I also saw 'Robin Hood.' It was definitely an epic film but it was really dark and gloomy, so I wasn’t as big of a fan of that."

REPORTER: "What’s your name?"

TERESA: "Teresa."

REPORTER: "And where do you live, Teresa?"

TERESA: "Florida."

REPORTER: "And what did you see tonight?"

TERESA: “'Killers.'”

REPORTER: "And what did you think?"

TERESA: "It was great. It was funny. There’s action in it. Drama."

REPORTER: "Now how would you rate it among the summer movies you’ve seen?"

TERESA: "On a scale of ten, I would rate it at eight."



Our program was written and produced by Caty Weaver. I’m Doug Johnson.


And I'm Barbara Klein. You can find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, and post comments, at You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and iTunes at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.