Weekend Preview May 4th

It's here. It seems like we've been waiting forever, but Spider-Man 3 has arrived. Actually, it arrived last night at 12:01AM in lots of places, so if some particularly geeky pal of your seems to be dragging around today, could be it's because he was at the movies till the wee hours.

The flick is big in every way. Solid rumors peg it as the most expensive movie ever made. It's already breaking box-office records in Asia and in Europe -- Sony released the film a few days ago around the globe in an attempt to thwart piracy. It will have the widest release in North America ever, opening on 4,252 screens (though I bet the movie will hold this record for only a few weeks, till that little flick about pirates opens).

The biggest big for me? Disappointment. When I look back at how psyched I was for this movie six months ago, and how not psyched I am to see it again ... well, I wish I could tell the me of last November to just calm down. Oh, I will see Spidey 3 again with all my geeky pals, and I'll have a perfectly pleasant experience at the movies, but that's not enough. Sam Raimi raised the bar on himself too high with the absolutely perfect Spider-Man 2: if he were competing with all the many half-assed action/comic-book movies out there, Spidey 3 would be genius; measured against Raimi's own genius, however, it fails mightily.

Oh well, not all of Shakespeare's plays are Hamlet either.

The only other wide release daring to go up against the Spider-Man juggernaut is Lucky You, though its 2,525 screens look rather paltry by comparison. Don't be fooled by the marketing of this one: it's not the latest Drew Barrymore romantic comedy -- it's more an intellectual sports drama in which Drew Barrymore's featherweight performance as the love interest is the only weak spot. See it for Eric Bana's fascinating performance as a screwed-up professional poker player who's perfectly happy with being screwed up, though don't be surprised when Barrymore is unable to keep up with his intensity.

In teeny-tiny-indie news, if Lucky You is lucky enough to be in range of either Waitress -- starring Keri Russell and Drive's Nathan Fillion and opening on four screens -- or Paris, je t'aime -- a series of short vignettes about the City of Light from a slew of famous and very cool directors like Alfonso Cuaron, the Coen brothers, and more than a dozen others and opening on two screens -- then don't miss them. They're wonderful.


MaryAnn Johanson (email me)

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