Weekend Preview May 18th

It's all about the big green guy this weekend, and I'm just as unexcited as I was about the red-and-blue spider guy a couple of weeks ago. There's nothing really wrong with Shrek the Third, except that it's nowhere near as funny, subversive, or slyly sweet as the first two films. Still, the film is sure to make a bundle, and the big drop it takes next weekend will surely be blamed on the pirate guys it'll be going up against then, and not on the halfhearted word-of-mouth that will be grumbling around.

Shrek is the only new wide release this weekend, at 4,122 venues, but Sony is not willing to concede any records yet with its Spider-Man 3 -- that film is breaking its own record for widest release ever by adding screens this weekend, to bring itself up to 4,324 venues (which actually translates into more than 10,000 screens, since many of those locations are multiplexes showing the film on more than one screen). But more screens won't help a ho-hum movie, and I bet many of those 4,324 theaters will ready to start playing Pirates 3 next weekend.

I'm just hoping that that three-quel won't disappoint like these other two have. I'd rather see the hilarious and all-around delicious Hot Fuzz (still on 973 screens) for the fourth time rather than see either Spidey or Shrek for the second. It makes my geeky heart sad, but there we are.

There's some fun new small stuff opening today in a few cities. Hal Hartley's new flick Fay Grim, starring Parker Posey as a reluctant secret agent (or at least that's what the trailer makes it look like), looks like a hoot, and catching this one is in my weekend plan. I've already seen and can highly recommend Luke Wilson's directorial debut, The Wendell Baker Story, a sweetly off-kilter flick about a charming con man (Luke) squaring off with another, less than charming con man (his brother Owen). Severance is a British horror comedy that's kinda like The Office with wickedly funny gore.

Oh, and the delightful Waitress and Paris, je t'aime are expanding too. So there's plenty to see even if you're all ogre Shrek like I am.

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MaryAnn Johanson (email me)

reviews, reviews, reviews! at FlickFilosopher.com