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What's new in entertainment

A look at what's new in movies, books, music, television, video games and DVDs for the weekend.

MOVIES:

"SHREK THE THIRD"

The grumpy green ogre, his beloved spouse and his talkative sidekick Donkey return in this third outing for the hit animated film series. When his father-in-law King Harold dies suddenly, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) learns he is the only one left to take the throne of the land of Far, Far Away. Not thrilled with the idea of being a monarch, Shrek, Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) and Puss In Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) set off to find a more suitable heir for the throne. Featuring the voices of Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, John Krasinski, Eric Idle, Ian McShane and Justin Timberlake. Directed by Raman Hui and Chris Miller. Released by Paramount Pictures. Rated PG.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"Much of the bite and a good deal of the wit of the first two films are missing here."

-Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

"'Shrek the Third' begins with a death, and from there the movie itself steadily dies."

-Ella Taylor, The Village Voice

OPENING IN LIMITED RELEASE (check local listings):

"BROOKLYN RULES"

A drama about three young men in Brooklyn whose lifelong friendships are tested when one of them is lured into the mafia amid the rise of future gangland leader John Gotti. Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Scott Caan, Mena Suvari, Jerry Ferarra and Alec Baldwin. Directed by Michael Corrente. Released by City Lights Pictures. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"Another generic memory piece."

-Jan Stuart, Newsday

"(An) anemic urban drama."

-Scott Foundas, The Village Voice

"EVEN MONEY"

A multi-character drama that looks at the lives of compulsive gamblers and their significant others. Carol (Kim Basinger) hides her slot-machine addiction from her husband (Ray Liotta), while Clyde (Forest Whitaker) owes money to Murph (Grant Sullivan), a bookie who's in danger of losing his girlfriend because of his shady profession. With Tim Roth, Kelsey Grammer, Nick Cannon and Danny DeVito. Directed by Mark Rydell. Released by Yari Film Group. Rated R.

What the critics say:

"'Even Money' hardly delves beneath the surface of its moralistic overview of the sins and ramifications of gambling addiction."

-Robert Koehler, Variety

"An overstructured, overacted indie drama"

-Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"ONCE"

A Dublin street musician and a young Czech woman form a friendship based on their mutual love of music in this small Irish film that proved a big hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Directed by John Carney. Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"The formula is simple: two people, a few instruments, 88 minutes and not a single false note."

-A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Natural thesping and appealing music make the whole enterprise a low-key charmer."

-Dennis Harvey, The Hollywood Reporter

"THE WENDELL BAKER STORY"

Luke Wilson wrote and stars in this comedy about an eternally optimistic small-time criminal named Wendell Baker who possesses a surprising streak of altruism. After getting out of jail, Wendell lands a job at a nursing home run by a tyrannical head nurse (Luke's brother Owen), who wants to make Wendell the fall guy in a Medicare payment scheme. With Harry Dean Stanton, Seymour Cassel, Eva Mendes, Eddie Griffin and Jacob Vargas. Directed by Luke Wilson and Andrew Wilson (also Luke's brother). Released by ThinkFilm. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"The screenplay is laced with just-right jokes that play to the cast's strengths without bending backward to be funny."

-John Defore, Variety

"Low-key to comatose."

-J. Hoberman, The Village Voice





VIDEO:

"Apocalypto"

Actor-director Mel Gibson parlayed his success with "The Passion of the Christ" into this unusual epic set in central America amid the collapse of the Mayan civilization. A young husband and father named Jaguar Paw begins a harrowing journey home as an invading force wreaks havoc ion the kingdom. Filmed in the ancient Yucatec Maya dialect and shown with subtitles. Released by Touchstone Home Entertainment. Rated R. Available May 22.

"Epic Movie"

Numerous big-budget Hollywood films get skewered in this "Airplane!"-style parody of such films as "Lord of the Rings," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." Starring Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge and Fred Willard. Directed by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. Released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13. Available May 22.

"The Good German"

A military journalist (George Clooney) in 1945 Berlin meets an old flame (Cate Blanchett) whose missing husband is sought by both the American and Russian occupying armies in this thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic," "Erin Brockovich"). With Tobey Maguire, Robin Weigert and Beau Bridges. Released by Warner Home Video. Rated R. Available May 22.

"Letters from Iwo Jima"

Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers" was considered an awards contender when it opened last fall, but the director's Oscar-nominated companion film "Letters from Iwo Jima" has thus far been considered the greater achievement. While "Flags" told the story of the men who fought the battle of Iwo Jima from the American perspective, "Letters" looks at the same event from the Japanese viewpoint. The soldiers stationed on the island of Iwo Jima know the American forces will soon invade, and that no support or reinforcements will arrive from Japan. Charged with defending the island, the troops soon realize they are facing a suicide mission, one that some soldiers embrace but others can't readily accept. Starring Ken Watanabe, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kazunari Ninomiya and Ryo Kase. Released by Warner Home Video. Rated R. Available May 22.

"Roots: 30th Anniversary Edition"

The groundbreaking miniseries from 1977 is reissued in this seven-disc set that boasts new documentaries about the show's production and commentary tracks from cast members, including Le Var Burton, Cicely Tyson and Ed Asner. Released by Warner Home Video. Not rated. Available May 22.

"The Third Man"

The classic 1948 thriller, considered by many to be one of the greatest films of ever made, gets deluxe treatment in this Criterion Collection set. Among the extras are the alternate voice-over recorded by Joseph Cotton for the film's opening scenes, archival footage, audio of author Graham Green reading the film's treatment, an episode of a radio series about movie character Harry Lime and commentary from Peter Bogdanovich and film scholar Dana Polan. Not rated. Available May 22.

"Venus"

Peter O'Toole stars in this wistful, humorous drama as an aging actor who develops a deep affection for his caregiver despite the fact that both he and the young woman are cranky, sharp-tongued individuals with little tolerance for sentiment. With Leslie Phillips and Jodie Whittaker. Directed by Roger Michell from a screenplay by Hanif Kureishi ("My Beautiful Laundrette"). Released by Miramax. Rated R. Available May 22.





VIDEO GAMES:

"Brooktown High: Senior Year"

A simulation game that allows you to create a male or female character and relive those high school experiences again. Or, if you hated high school, relive all those hellish moments again rendered in bright computer graphics. Published by Konami for Sony PSP. Rated T. Available May 22.

"Dawn of Mana"

The latest game in the Mana fantasy series promises more vivid, three-dimensional graphics to enliven the story of a boy wielding one of those magic swords often found in the genre. Published by Square Enix for PlayStation 2. Rated T. Available May 22.

"Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom"

Young Death Jr., the son of the Grim Reaper, teams up with his friends to stop a bad guy as they travel though weird places created by science projects in this humorous, slightly dark adventure game. Published by Backbone Entertainment for Nintendo DS. Rated E-10+. Available May 22.

"Naruto: Ninja Council 3"

This game based on the hit Cartoon Network show allows players to do battle and complete missions as one of 20 different characters. Published by D3 Publisher of America for Nintendo DS. Rated E-10+. Available May 22.

"New York Times Crosswords"

More than 1,000 puzzles that can be played using touch-screen technology. Includes different levels of difficulty for crossword neophytes. Published by Majesco for Nintendo DS. Rated T. Available May 22.

"Odin Sphere"

Five characters try to stop an apocalyptic war from erupting between the nations in this fantasy role-playing game. Published by Atlus Company, Ltd. for PlayStation 2. Rated T. Available May 22.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

An action game based on the upcoming film that has players guide three different characters, including Captain Jack Sparrow, though a series of adventures and battles with bloodthirsty pirates and strange creatures. Published by Disney Interactive for Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Sony PSP. Rated T. Available May 22.

"WarTech Senko no Ronde"

An action game set on a distant world in which heavily armed fighting machines do battle for supremacy in the skies. Published by Ubi Soft for Xbox 360. Rated T. Available May 22.





MUSIC:

Amel Larrieux, "Lovely Standards": The R&B singer takes a stab at some popular jazz standards, including "Something Wonderful" and "The Shadow of Your Smile." Released by Bliss Life. In stores May 22.

The Beach Boys, "The Warmth of the Sun": A generous, 28-track sampling of some of the band's less-known songs. Released by Capitol. In stores May 22.

Erasure, "Light At The End Of The World": The durable synth-pop group releases their 13th album, which includes the single "I Could Fall in Love with You." Released by Mute Records. In stores May 22.

Maroon 5, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long": Five years after their Grammy-winning debut, the soul/rock group finally returns with their sophomore album. Released by A&M/Octone Records. In stores May 22.

Joan Osborne, Breakfast in Bed: Osborne's latest includes original songs and renditions of such classics as "Midnight Train To Georgia" and "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." Released by Time Life Records. In stores May 22.

"Once" original soundtrack: The songs that were featured in the acclaimed new Irish film, composed and performed by its lead actors, Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech musician Markéta Irglová. Released by Columbia. In stores May 22.

Ozzy Osbourne, Black Rain": Ozzy's first studio recording in six years. Ozzfest is free this year, so repay Ozzy's generosity by buying his album. Released by Epic. In stores May 22.





TV:

All times are EST/PST.

Friday, May 18

"Celebrating Cronkite": Friends and colleagues celebrate the life and career of the journalist once called "the most trusted man in America." 8 p.m., CBS.

Sunday, May 20

"King of the Hill": Bill starts pumping iron and Dale gets sued on the show's finale episode of the season. 7 p.m., Fox.

"The Simpsons": The show celebrates its 400th episode with a one-hour season finale featuring the voices of Ludacris, Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub of "24." 8 p.m., Fox.

"The Sopranos": Tensions build between Tony and New York capo Phil Leotardo, and A.J. is still really depressed. 9 p.m., HBO.

Monday, May 21

"24": Jack Bauer's latest lousy day comes to a close in the two-hour season wrap-up. 8 p.m., Fox.

"Heroes": Peter may blow up - literally - in the season finale. 9 p.m., ABC.

Tuesday, May 22

"Dancing with the Stars": The winner is decided. 9 p.m., ABC.

Wednesday, May 23

"American Idol": Find out the winner is in the two-hour finale. Hint: it isn't Sanjaya. 8 p.m., Fox.

"Lost": The two-hour season finale is all you die-hard fans will get of "Lost for the next nine months. Hopefully there will be some answers to tide you over. 10 p.m. ABC.





BOOKS:

Michael Connelly, "The Overlook": Connelly’s 13th Harry Bosch novel sees the detective promoted to the Homicide Special Unit, dealing with an unusual murder tied to a possible terrorist attack. Published by Little, Brown & Company. In stores May 22.

Al Gore, "The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Fear, Secrecy, and Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision Making, Degrade Our Democracy, and Put Our Country and Our World in Peril": The former vice president takes an unsparing look at the policies of the Bush Administration. Published by Penguin Group. In stores May 22.

Khaled Hosseini, "A Thousand Splendid Suns": The latest novel from the acclaimed author of "The Kite Runner" tells the story of two women of different generations who are married to same brutal man. Published by Penguin Group. In stores May 22.

Ronald Reagan, "The Reagan Diaries": Excerpts from the diaries the 40th president kept during his two terms in office. Published by HarperCollins. In stores May 22.

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