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New Movie Releases and Box Office Predictions: Mission Impossible III, An American Haunting, Hoot

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May is coming in with a bang. Leading off the month is a sure-fire hit, top billed by a Hollywood superstar who has had a very strange year, what with his whirlwind romance, association with Scientology, and a strained relationship with the press. Its competition includes a “based on a true story” horror flick and a new family feature.

An American Haunting (2006, 91 minutes, PG-13, horror, trailer) I first saw the trailer for this last fall and thought it looked pretty good, if a touch similar to The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Like that other film, this too is based on a true story. It is the tale of the Bell Witch, a story dating back to 1817. The Bell family was cursed by the victim of the Bell family patriarch’s swindling. This could be interesting. It has a good cast including Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek.

Hoot (2006, 90 minutes, PG, family, trailer) I have to be honest, this does not interest me in the least. It seems to be cut from the same cloth as Because of Winn-Dixie, another film that did not interest me. Early word seems to be mixed. Some say it’s a positive family movie, while others consider it soft-core eco-terrorism that misrepresents the targeted animal and shows no consequences to the children for the laws they break. I don’t think I’d go that far, but I doubt I will see it. Hopefully, it will find its audience. I never wish ill on a film that does not overtly deserve it, and this doesn’t deserve it.

Mission: Impossible III (2006, 126 minutes, PG-13, action, trailer) I was kind of lukewarm to this project when I first heard about it, but when I heard that JJ Abrams was on board, my interest spiked. I am a fan of his work with Alias and Lost, and I am definitely interested to see how he fares in his big screen directorial debut. I have read mixed word on it, so I am going in with my eyes open, but I am hoping for the best. It looks to be action-packed and Philip Seymour Hoffman looks to be a first-rate villain. This is destined to be the top movie of the weekend and the second film to hit $100 million this year.

The Promise (2006, 110 minutes, PG-13, fantasy, trailer) I saw the trailer for this about a month ago and I was caught off guard. I was not aware that a new Asian film was coming to the big screens on our shores. The trailer looks fantastic – a sweeping martial arts fantasy, epic in scope, personal in nature. I may be completely off, but that is what I got from the gorgeous visuals of the trailer. I am definitely there for this one.

Brick (2006, 110 minutes, R, drama, trailer) I have been wanting to see this for some time now. The trailer looks intriguing and the reviews have been just as good. The film uses the conventions of film noir and transposes them into a modern high school setting. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was excellent in last year’s icky Mysterious Skin. He plays a teenager who hopes to reconcile with his girlfriend, but she’s been murdered, and he sets out to uncover the truth. This opened sometime ago, but it is only now making it to my neck of the woods at the local art house.

Transamerica (2005, 103 minutes, R, drama, trailer) This opened up last year and was Oscar-nominated (Lead Actress). It is only now coming to my town, at the second-run theater, no less. The film stars Felicity Huffman as a transsexual who travels to New York to meet a son she didn’t know (s)he had. I have heard nothing but good about this movie.

Also opening this week, but not near me.

  • Art School Confidential
  • Crazy Like a Fox
  • Down in the Valley
  • The Fall of Fujimori
  • One Last Thing
  • The Proposition

Box Office Predictions
This week has a clear cut number one movie, and I think I have a handle on how the rest will shake down. The question is, how far will M:I:III run away with the top spot? Here is how I see it:

  1. Mission: Impossible III
  2. RV
  3. United 93
  4. An American Haunting
  5. Stick It
  6. Hoot
  7. Silent Hill
  8. Scary Movie 4
  9. Ice Age: The Meltdown
  10. The Sentinel

The only question mark is United 93. I think it is an absolutely amazing film, but feel it will fall rather quickly, so it may not land at number 3, it may slip a few more spots. One can hope.

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