Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: "Mission" Accomplished

by | May 4, 2006 | Comments

This week at the movies brings spies ("Mission: Impossible III"), spooks ("An American Haunting") and hoots ("Hoot"). What do the critics have to say?

You wouldn’t believe how many couch-jumps it took to train for this shot…

Ok, first the bad news: According to critics, the plot of "Mission: Impossible III" makes precious little sense. The good news: Who cares? The third time’s a charm for the espionage/explosion series, and the scribes say "Alias"/"Lost" creator J.J. Abrams brings a fresh, loopy energy to the proceedings. Tom Cruise is back once again to save the world, this time from Philip Seymour Hoffman. With absurd-but-exhilarating action sequences and interesting supporting players, "M:I:III" is the best reviewed film of the series, and at 78 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s Certified Fresh.

"An American Haunting"…like "Casper," only…not.

Recently, the makers of horror films have found that adding a "based on true events" handle gives their fright-fests an added jolt of heft. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" tried it, and now comes "An American Haunting," a ghost tale set in 1820s Tennessee. The critics say the film has an atmospheric gloominess and some solid performances (particularly from Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland), but its scares are pretty rote. It currently stands at 29 percent on the Tomatometer.

These kids give a "Hoot"…but will audiences?

Despite the deep divisions wrought by divergent political leanings in recent years, I think we can all agree on several things. It’s a bad idea to pave the wetlands in order to build a pancake house. Luke Wilson is pretty cool. And "Margaritaville" is darned catchy. Unfortunately, the scribes say "Hoot," a tale of some kids who save the habitat of the wise old owl (which features songs by Jimmy Buffett) is an innocuous, but not particularly rousing, family picture. At 30 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes just don’t, ahem, give a hoot.

Mission: Impossible Movies:
58% — Mission: Impossible II (2000)
66% — Mission: Impossible (1996)

Recent Tom Cruise Movies:
72% — War of the Worlds (2005)
85% — Collateral (2004)
69% — The Last Samurai (2003)
92% — Minority Report (2002)
38% — Vanilla Sky (2001)

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