Weekly US film releases: fantasies for the 4th with Twilight’s 'Eclipse' and 'Airbender'

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In anticipation of the US holiday on the 4th of July, the third installment of the Twilight vampire franchise, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, releases on Wednesday, June 30. Another fantasy follows the next day with The Last Airbender opening on Thursday, June 1, geared for children and families.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
This much-anticipated teen fantasy, based on the successful novel series by Stephenie Meyer, tells the tale of mysterious killings that lead to a supernatural battle and the fateful choice Bella faces between the vampire Edward and her friendship with Jacob. The film stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, as well as Dakota Fanning, Anna Kendrick and the daughter of Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard, who replaced Rachelle Lefevre in the role of Victoria. Directed by David Slade who has shot Stone Temple Pilots' music videos, the film opens around the world this weekend, with France and the UK next weekend, Germany on July 15 and Japan following in December.

The Last Airbender
In converted 3D, this live-action fantasy stars Dev Patel ( Slumdog Millionaire) and newcomer Noah Ringer as Aang, a young boy in a line of Avatars who must leave childhood behind to bring peace the world. Based on the popular animated cartoon series on US children's channel Nickelodeon, the adventure follows Aang through the Water, Earth and Fire nations to master the elements and stop the tyranny of the Fire Nation. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan ( Signs, The Sixth Sense), the film opens in Russia, Taiwan and Japan next week, and rolls out in other countries through July and August.

Love Ranch
An adult fantasy, this drama stars Helen Mirren ( The Last Station, The Queen) and Joe Pesci ( Lethal Weapon films) as Grace and Charlie Bontempo, who opened Mustang Ranch, the first legalized house of prostitution in Nevada in 1971. Based on a magazine article about the true story, the independent film is directed by Taylor Hackford ( Ray, Dolores Claiborne) and opens in select theaters, June 30.