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Three-quels look to turn triple play

Sean Sweany, Erin McGinn, Tae Andrews & Marty Schroeder | Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Spider-Man 3 (May 4)

The wall-crawling webslinger returns in the third (and final?) installment of the Spider-Man series this weekend. Directed by Sam Raimi and featuring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spidey, the franchise has garnered both critical acclaim and massive box office bucks. In his third trip out, the webhead finds himself in his most desperate situation yet, with the transformation of his friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) into the second Green Goblin, the rise of the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and the dreaded arrival of the granddaddy of all Spider-Man villains, Venom (Topher Grace).

Shrek the Third (May 18)

Green is in again. The jolly green ogre (Mike Myers) ambles his way back onscreen for the latest film in the Shrek series. Joined by his irascible pal Donkey (Eddie Murphy), new hubby Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and the one and only Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), Shrek’s latest adventure promises more magical mischief and mayhem in this unconventional take on fairy tales. In order to return to his swampy stomping grounds, Shrek has to help Artie (Justin Timberlake) ascend to the crown and thwart Prince Charming’s (Rupert Everett) push to usurp the throne.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (May 25)

Break out the eyepatches, bandannas and cutlasses, because “Pirates” are back. Director Gore Verbinski’s third “Pirates” film sets sail in search of the beloved Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) have to find their lost leader at the far side of the earth in order to ensure the fate of pirate-kind everywhere. Expect lots of swashbuckling swordfights, giant sea monster battles and a love triangle or two to take place in this latest saltwater adventure.

Ocean’s 13 (June 8)

The heist is on again. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and crew are back in Las Vegas in this third “Ocean’s” film, trying to outdo their former casino grab job. This time, after casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino), goes after one of the original “Ocean’s Eleven,” the remaining crew goes for more than just his money: they’re out for revenge.Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones will not appear, but with the star power of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia and others returning once again, this film should captivate audiences just as much as the first two did.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (June 15)

After an awful first film, the Fantastic Four are giving it another go in the second film in the franchise. After the sudden, enigmatic appearance of the Silver Surfer (basically the coolest thing since the other side of the pillow), Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), the Human Torch (Chris Evans) and the Thing (Michael Chiklis) must combine their forces again in order to defeat the evil Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon). Look for lots of comedy (Evans), hotness (Alba) and punches (Chiklis) in this scintillating sequel.

Ratatouille (June 29)

Pixar’s follow-up film to “Cars” stars a Parisian rat who dreams of becoming a bistro chef in spite of the fact that rats are typically not chefs. Director Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “The Iron Giant”) helms what is the most heavily-anticipated Pixar film in years.

With a voice cast including Brian Denehy, Peter O’Toole, Will Arnette and Pixar regular John Ratzenberger, in addition to stellar early reviews, this overachieving rodent could be the best thing since Mickey Mouse en route to finishing as one of the top five grossing movies of the summer.

Transformers (July 4)

Directed by that master of the action flick, Michael Bay, “Transformers” promises nothing less than to be the biggest, baddest and most robotic summer hit this year. With a plethora of fantasy and comic book films this summer, “Transformers” promises some unadulterated mechanized joy. It will be fun to look at (unless it gives us a headache) but what remains to be seen is whether Bay can field a film closer in nature to “The Rock” than “Pearl Harbor.” Starring Shia LeBeouf, who seems to be popping up in every film this year, Bay’s latest will at least be a thrill ride, if nothing else.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13)

Number five in the “Harry Potter” film franchise, “Phoenix” looks to be bigger and badder than its younger siblings. With the return of a certain baddie, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his loyal band of friends (and girlfriend?) face their most dangerous threat to date.

Helmed by award-winning British television director David Yates, it will be hard to top the third “Prisoner of Azkaban,” but the hype coming out of London seems to say the magic we’ve come to expect will be dealt in spades.

The Simpsons Movie (July 27)

Heralded as the antithesis to the high-tech wonders coming out of Pixar, television series and essential commentator on American culture “The Simpsons” finally gets its very own adaptation to the big screen. Primary writer and series creator Matt Groening and director David Silverman have called the plot very loose and the film will showcase all of the main characters alongside many of the frequent guest stars on the show.

“The Simpsons” fan-nation is a large one and will certainly turn out in full force to support Homer and family.

The Bourne Ultimatum (August 3)

Matt Damon returns for the third time as supreme assassin Jason Bourne in “The Bourne Ultimatum.” In the follow-up to 2002’s “The Bourne Identity” and 2004’s “The Bourne Supremacy,” acclaimed director Paul Greengrass joins returning cast members Julia Stiles and Joan Allen, with new additions David Strathairn and Edgar Ramirez.

In the latest installment, Bourne’s only objective is to go back to the beginning and find out who he once was – all the while avoiding cops, federal officers and Interpol agents. It’s not easy being Bourne again.

Rush Hour 3 (August 10)

Chris Tucker returns to the big screen after a six-year absence as he reunites with the all-star team of co-star Jackie Chan, director Brett Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson to deliver the third installment of the blockbuster “Rush Hour” franchise.

“Rush Hour 3” sees the action-comedy duo of Tucker and Chan reprising their roles as LAPD Detective James Carter and Chinese Chief Inspector Lee. This time, the two must travel to (where else?) Paris in order to battle (what else?) a Chinese organized crime family, the Triads.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday – August 31

The name’s Bean. Mr. Bean. Rowan Atkinson returns to the titular role that made him an international star in “Mr. Bean’s Holiday.” In his latest misadventure, Mr. Bean – the misfit who seems constantly followed by a trail of pratfalls and hijinks – goes on holiday to the French Riviera and becomes ensnared in a European adventure of kidnapping and intrigue.

His adventures, which he records on a camcorder, somehow manage to make their way to the Cannes film festival as Mr. Bean causes chaos throughout the French countryside.