Shrek is back, again, in "Shrek the Third," starring the voice talents of Amy Sedaris, left, as the obsessive-compulsive Cinderella; Amy Poehler as prissy-but-sarcastic Snow White; Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona; Maya Rudolph as opinionated Rapunzel and Cheri Oteri as narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty. CLICK FOR LARGE
Holllywood three-peats itself
Film franchises turn out their third installments, in the summer of the sequel
THREE-QUELS, three-peats. Third time's the charm. Or, if you're of a more negative bent, bad things happen in threes.
Summer is always the season of sequels, it seems, but this year, the number of repeat installments -- particularly thirds-in-a-series -- reaches critical mass.
It begins this week with "Spider-Man 3," opening Friday, summer's first blockbuster.
Next week (May 19): "Shrek the Third."
And the next week (May 25): "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."
So, you get it, right?
And that's not even the half of it. "Ocean's 13," "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "Rush Hour 3" are all third-parters, all debuting between now and the end of August.
Interesting that Matt Damon appears in two of those three: "Ocean's" and "Bourne," but that's just another way to play the numbers game.
The web wonder's dark side comes face-to-face with a reflection of his former self in "Spider-Man 3," above. CLICK FOR LARGE
Three isn't the only digit, though. On July 13 expect a major contender for blockbuster of the year: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," No. 5 in the series about the boy wizard. It comes out just about a week before the final book in JK Rowling's seven-part series, so the momentum should be magical.
For die-hard Bruce Willis fans, it's film No. 4: "Live Free or Die Hard." For superhero mutant lovers, it's No. 2 for Morgan Freeman and Steve Carell ("Evan Almighty," a follow-up to "Bruce Almighty") and the Fantastic Four ("Rise of the Silver Surfer").
It might be beginning to seem as though one is the loneliest number, but there are a few solo acts, several playing off real news events. "Rescue Dawn" tells the story of Dieter Dengler, a U.S. pilot shot down over Laos who later escaped from a POW camp. And "A Mighty Heart" stars Angelina Jolie as the widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan.
As a final note, advance tickets are available for "Spider-Man 3" and "Shrek the Third." Late-night screenings for both are scheduled at various Oahu theaters for the Thursdays before the official Friday openings.
Check your neighborhood cineplex. You'll probably be there a lot in the weeks to come.
Geoffrey Rush, left, Keira Knightley and Johnny Depp in a scene from "Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End," just one of the many mammoth movies offering audiences third installments this summer. CLICK FOR LARGE