Fans of writer Lee Childs' Jack Reacher novels were outraged when it was revealed that Tom Cruise would portray the anti-hero drifter and former military policeman. After all, Reacher is described as blond-haired, blue-eyed, 6 feet 5 inches and well over 200 pounds. The dark-haired Cruise is about a foot shorter and perhaps weighs a little over half as much. Producers claimed they simply couldn't find a bankable star who fit the exact description and Cruise was really their only choice.
Pundits predicted that Jack Reacher would be a disastrous flop, but it turned out better than anyone expected. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to positive, and it appears that the Mission: Impossible star might have another franchise on his hands.
Jack Reacher is based on One Shot, Childs' ninth novel in the series. After five people are fatally shot in a sniper attack, the accused gunman requests that his old Army buddy Jack Reacher come help him. Reacher turns up, determined to get to the truth, and the closer he gets, the more dangerous things become.
Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins and Robert Duvall also star, with Werner Herzog as the mysterious villain, "The Zec". Christopher McQuarrie, screenwriter on The Usual Suspects and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, directs. Rated 15+.
Wreck-It Ralph – Disney mines nostalgia for the 8-bit era of arcade video games in this animated feature. Big hulking Ralph is the villain in the game Fix-It Felix Jr., and is tired of being unloved. He sees a chance to be a hero by entering a modern first-person-shooter game, but in so doing unleashes an enemy that threatens everyone in the gaming world. The voice cast includes John C. Reilly as Wreck-It Ralph, Jane Lynch as tough female soldier Sergeant Calhoun, Sarah Silverman as the "glitch" in the game Sugar Rush and Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's in 3D. Rated G.
Pitch Perfect – This combination of the TV series Glee and Community and the sassy gal-pal antics of Bridesmaids centers on a new girl on campus (Anna Kendrick) who doesn't fit in with any of the stereotypical college cliques. She finds herself among a group whose members have absolutely nothing in common, except they all sing well together. Other stars include Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp and Elizabeth Banks, who also produces. Critical reception is mostly positive. At some Major Cineplex branches, including Esplanade Ratchada. Rated 13+.
Playing for Keeps – Gerard Butler smirks his way through another romantic comedy. Here, he's a dysfunctional former professional soccer star who decides he wants to reconnect with his wife by coaching his young son's soccer team. However, the job turns challenging when he finds himself pursued by amorous soccer moms. Jessica Biel also stars along with Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid. Critical reception is overwhelmingly negative. Rated 15+.
Khun Nai Ho (คุณนายโฮ) – It's that time of year again, when director Rerkchai Paungpetch and studio M-Thirtynine release a romantic comedy for the New Year's holiday. The movies, which are all inexplicably popular with Thai audiences and have all racked up big baht at the box office, all follow the same general formula of casting bankable young stars and well-known comedians and putting them through a succession of nonsensical situations. Here, Rerkchai gives adorable actress "Chompoo" Araya A. Hargate a horrible bowl-shaped haircut. This apparently makes her cry, a lot, which she can do on cue with ease anyway because she's Thai TV's top soap star. I've had the story described to me, but it makes no sense whatsoever. Usual-suspect comedians "Kotee" Jaroenporn Ornlamai and Kom Chaunchuen also star along with Ray MacDonald and Teeradate Methavorrayuth. Rated 15+.
Dabangg 2 – Salman Khan suits back up for this sequel to the 2010 hit action-comedy-drama in which he played a morally ambiguous "Robin Hood" police officer who plays both sides of the law. Sonakshi Sinha reprises her role from the first film, with Prakash Raj joining this time around as the main villain. It's at Major Cineplex Ekamai and Central Rama III. Rated 13+.