Jeffrey Wells



The only three-quels that have any chance of being actually enjoyable or at least watchable are "Ocean's Thirteen" and "The Bourne Ultimatum," for the simple fact that their directors -- Steven Soderbergh and Paul Greengrass -- are famously choosier and more particular and art-house quirky than the mainstream-minded Sam Raimi, Gore Verbinski and Michael "son of Satan" Bay.

The biggest box-office winner with a soul (or at least a fairly good semblance of one) is going to be Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up."


The more expensive the big summer behemoths are, the less likely they are to really to get under your skin. Just as it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, so is it nearly impossible for films that cost over $100 million to make to have sly, whimsical, infectious personalities. Or be winning on any human-scale basis. They're corporate creations, and they're about feeding money right back into corporate piggybanks. These are movies that excite and amplify and accelerate, but also suck your soul dry.


The big surprise sleeper of the '07 summer is going to be "Once." It will take a little time, but it's going to slowly catch on and become, as far as it goes, a real art-house hit. Why? Because it's one of the best love stories I've ever seen, and because the lovers never even kiss much less go to bed (thus emphasizing the spiritual connection), and because it's a very close relation of David Lean's "Brief Encounter." It's small and unassuming but really quite perfect.