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Summer 2006 Movie Guide


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'Mission: Impossible III' (May 5)


Starring: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

The Story: Nobody knows -- and it probably doesn't matter, box-office-wise -- precisely what "M:I III" is about this time round. Cruise's secret-agent man Ethan Hunt is joined, as before, by mighty Ving Rhames' Luther, plus Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Crudup, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and, for felicity, Keri Russell. Reportedly, the object of exquisite "South Park"-ian satire insisted on doing his own stunts, even the reeeallly dangerous ones.

The Skinny: Are you gettin' jiggy for the ultra-secret third entry in this money-printing franchise? Script doctor extraordinaire Robert Towne, and then Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile"), polished "Mission," as producer-star Cruise kept postponing production until he was satisfied that he had another winner. The director following in the footsteps of Brian De Palma ("M:I I"), John Woo ("M:I II") and David Fincher, reportedly once tapped to helm "M:I III," is J.J. Abrams, canny creator of TV's "Alias" and "Lost."

'The Proposition' (May 5, limited)


Starring: Guy Pearce, Danny Huston, Emily Watson, John Hurt, Ray Winstone

Directed by: John Hillcoat

The Story: A British constable (Ray Winstone), transplanted to the Australian back-of-beyond, makes a deal with captured Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce), who once ran with a clan of Irish outlaws: Hunt down your bad, mad brother Arthur (Danny Huston) and escape the noose. Charlie heads for Arthur's hideout in a hinterland so remote it's terra incognita even to Aborigines. Lynch-minded townsfolk threaten the constable and his wife (Emily Watson), while Charlie finds it hard to play the Judas.

The Skinny: Rocker Nick Cave scripted and provided music for "The Proposition," dubbed a "kangaroo bushranger Western," the Aussie answer to Sergio Leone's ultraviolent "spaghetti Westerns." No Leone or Peckinpah rip-off, this Down Under saga's reportedly an original, full of vividly portrayed hard cases, ferocious eruptions of gunplay and wide-screen vistas of inhospitable yet hauntingly beautiful landscapes. John Hurt, Noah Taylor and David Gulpilil stand out in a colorful gallery of low-lifes and lawmen.

'Poseidon' (May 12)


Starring: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Andre Braugher

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

The Story: See, there's this gigantic ocean liner that -- you aren't going to believe this! -- has been turned upside down by a 90-foot tidal wave on New Year's Eve. And now the survivors have to ... well, you know the drill, same as it ever was.

The Skinny: Yep, it's a remake (not the one done for TV) of "The Poseidon Adventure," the 1972 pop classic that made the disaster-film genre respectable. In for Gene Hackman is that sweet Alabama homeboy Josh Lucas -- and is that craggy Kurt Russell channeling Ernest Borgnine? More cool passengers: Emmy Rossum, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett, Kevin Dillon, M

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