Pirates and ogres

Three is typically considered a magical number, but right now three means a three-day weekend of three sub-par movies with a (literal or implied) "3" in the title.

Usually at this time of year, our cinemas are bursting at the seams. Kids' movies! Action movies! Comedy! Drama! It's the summer movie season, baby, and we're just living it.

Well, Memorial Day 2007 is more like the Communist Movie Season.

Three movies. That's essentially what you get this weekend. It's like watching TV in a foreign country.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "Shrek the Third" or "Spider-Man 3."

Out of 27 theaters in the Hudson Valley, only five theaters, characteristically independent and second-run spots, aren't showing any of these films. Seven are showing only those three.

At the larger theaters, there are a few other movies playing. But of 27 total venues in the area, "Pirates" is playing at 17, "Shrek" at 18 and "Spidey" at 15, a lower number only because it has been out for three weeks.

By comparison, "28 Weeks Later" comes in a distant fourth place, hitting a mere eight screens in its second week, down from nine when it premiered May 11. After that, no movie is playing on more than five screens.

And if you want to see something smaller, such as "Hot Fuzz," it's playing on a single screen, twice a day, in West Nyack. "Pirates" is playing there 25 times a day on seven screens.

The worst part about all this is that "Spider-Man 3" kind of stinks, "Shrek the Third" is very average, and reviewers agree that "Pirates of the Caribbean" is nothing to write home about.

As Americans, we're led to believe we will be given choices for our entertainment dollar. But that's not the case at the local box office this Memorial Day weekend.

I say we deserve better options. We deserve June, when there will finally be other movies to see.