Mission: Impossible III (D: J. J. Abrams, 126 min)
Forget what the calendar says. Summer officially begins with the opening of the big popcorn movie. Last year it was Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge Of The Shit (oops, Sith). This year it's Mission: Impossible III , or M:I-3 for short. New dad Tom Cruise (tell me Katie's pregnancy wasn't a big marketing stunt) reprises his role as Ethan Hunt, the globe-trotting, multi-masked special agent who gets to save the world yet again. John Woo set the bar high for the franchise with the 2000 sequel. But director J. J. Abrams should be well-equipped to handle the action-and-espionage genre, too. After all, he's been doing that for years on his TV series, Alias. Good to see Philip Seymour Hoffman break out of the indie ghetto as a big-screen villain. Pass the popcorn, please, and let's watch some stuff explode. Something New (D: Sanaa Hamri, 99 min)
Strange that this romantic comedy about a workaholic African-American lawyer ( Sanaa Lathan ) who meets a Caucasian landscape architect ( Simon Baker ) isn't being pre-screened for the press. It got favourable reviews when it opened in the U.S. back in February. Lathan (Out Of Time, The Best Man) has a nice presence, and Baker (The Ring Two) is yet another Aussie-waiting-to-be-discovered. If you can wait, the film gets released on DVD in a couple of weeks.
Both films open Friday (May 5). Screened after press time - see John Harkness's extensive review of M:I-3 on May 4 at www.nowtoronto.com.