The hero from Lee Child's series of novels is back - well, the Tom Cruise version of the hero. He may be a 6-foot-5 blond muscle-man in the books, but Cruise weathered the storm with the unusually smart first movie, and now he returns for a remarkably gritty action thriller that feels like the antithesis of his Mission: Impossible movies. This is an ageing hero who gets hurt and recognises the laws of gravity.
As he roams around America helping strangers, Jack (Tom Cruise) keeps in touch with Susan (Cobie Smulders), who took his old job as commanding officer of a military police base. But just as he decides to drop in to meet her, she's arrested on trumped-up charges. And he is also promptly framed for murder and locked up. All of this happens just as he discovers that 15-year-old Samantha (Danika Yarosh) is his daughter. So Jack and Susan break out of prison and take Sam along as they try to sort out why they are suddenly on the wrong side of the law. Everything seems to trace back to a shady private contractor (Robert Knepper) who has sent a ruthless killer (Patrick Heusinger) to stop them.
In normal action blockbusters, this kind of plot would play out with massive explosions, physics-defying car chases and superhuman characters who take a hit and keep on going. But director Edward Zwick (who directed Cruise in The Last Samurai) takes a much more thoughtful, realistic approach that sometimes makes the film feel like it's moving in slow motion by comparison. Cruise is decidedly mortal in this role, needing to take a moment to recover after every punch. Since he's not invincible, Jack is far more engaging as a character, especially as he grapples with issues surrounding unexpected fatherhood. He also strikes just the right balance of flirtatious camaraderie with Smulders' Susan, never tipping over into a corny action-movie romance.
Continue reading: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Review
After quitting the United States Army Military Police, Jack Reacher has become an independent crime investigator who looks into hard to solve cases. Having recently worked on the case of a rogue sniper we once again meet Reacher who's on a rampage for justice.
Jack Reacher makes his own laws and seeks justice for those who cannot speak. Reacher sets to work uncovering the ways of a dirty town sheriff and soon wants to meet up with his old friend, Susan Turner. Reacher turns up at Turners base to be told that she's been arrested for crimes. This is then followed by the arrest of Jack himself for a murder that happened more than a decade before. Reacher and Turner are both out on a mission to clear their names but as facts start to fall into place, it turns out that the people behind this mystery might reach far higher than ever thought.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the second film in the Jack Reacher series (the first released in 2012), based on the books by Lee Childs. Never Go Back is Childs' 18th book in the series.
This film may look like one of those annoyingly mannered independent films, with its wacky young cast and arty-farty black and white photography, but it's actually a fresh, smart and very funny comedy. It also features one of the most honest female characters in recent memory: Frances is a true original who is awash in optimism as she tries to navigate the obstacles in her life.
Gerwig has made a career of playing quirky goofballs (see Damsels in Distress), and Frances is definitely offbeat. But she's also likeable and real. She lives in New York with her best pal Sophie (Sumner). But their close bond is strained when Frances' romance with her boyfriend (Esper) collapses while Sophie moves forward with her partner Patch (Heusinger). Now Frances needs to find a new place to live, so she moves in with Lev and Benji (Driver and Zegen). She's also pushing her dance company director (d'Amboise) for more work. While everyone around her is growing up and building their lives, she seems to be going backwards. But she never lets that get her down.
Frances is such an engaging character that we can't help but fall for her. Her relentlessly positive approach to life may seem corny, but she also insists on achieving her goals on her own terms. This may make her progress more difficult, such as when she takes a humiliating job at her old university, but at least she has her integrity. Sort of. Meanwhile the film is punctuated with moments of hilarious slapstick, sarcasm and relationships that ring sometimes painfully true. And at the centre is her strained but unshakable bond with Sophie.
Continue reading: Frances Ha Review
Frances Handley is a 27-year-old aspiring modern dancer and an apprentice for a dance company, though she has no real talent in the art. She lives in an apartment in New York with her best friend Sophie who is smarter and much more mature with an ambition in publishing. As time goes on, their bond begins to weaken as their lives take different courses and their personalities take different courses. Sophie wants to move out with another friend of hers leaving Frances to work out her own life and take care of herself for once in her life. Will this pair be separated forever by romance, ambition and growing older, or will they find it in themselves to reconcile?
'Frances Ha' is a black and white comedy drama with many similar qualities to a rom com, except platonic. It has been directed by Noah Baumbach ('The Squid and the Whale', 'Greenberg') who also co-wrote the screenplay with the movie's star Greta Gerwig ('Hannah Takes the Stairs', 'Nights and Weekends'). It looks at love in a way that is rarely explored in movies these days and has so far received immense reviews since its premiere at Toronto Film Festival. It is set to hit screens on July 26th 2013.
Release date 26th July 2013
Continue: Frances Ha Trailer
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