Ex Major Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) stumbles into a government conspiracy when his replacement Major Turner (Cobie Smulders) is detained and imprisoned by the Military Police. Smelling trouble in the air it’s up to Reacher to set things straight and put an end to the corrupted black ops group behind a series of dark events at home and abroad. Directed by Edward Zwick and based on the book by Richard Wenk, this mind numbing military gumshoe loaded with horrid exposition has several hits in the action department but also many misses on its way to a strikeout at the home plate of quality cinema; gaping jumps in logic and ridiculous coincidence mixed with undercut empowered women in power top the list of faux pas this go round. On the positive, Cruise still manages to pull together a reasonable performance despite the material he’s working with, action choreography is something he still wears well, it’s too bad the rest of the film just can’t get past its clunky behavior. Pass. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is rated PG-13.
Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) are a cream of wheat boring couple who get sucked into the exciting world of international espionage when their new neighbors Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gal Godot) move into the neighborhood. As it turns out, Tim and Natalie are spies, but can they withstand the rigors of suburbia?Directed by Greg Mottle and written by Michael LeSieur this goofy and straightforward bumbling comedy continues on familiar ground for fans of Mr and Mrs. Smith, Spy, and Date Night, all films that have dipped from the same watering hole within the last ten years; that is to say, we’re not even close to getting an original idea at this stage of the game. Meanwhile no strangers to comedy, Galifianakis and Fisher make a reasonable effort to put a little shine on this perfectly harmless chucklefest as Hamm and Godot seem aptly equipped to portray mysterious operatives. No real awards to be given or received here, perhaps consider this one later when it’s on rerun in a few months on cable.
Raised in a militant household, Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a man diagnosed with a form of high functioning Asperger’s syndrome who functions as a mathematical savant. Tutored by a mafia tax accountant (Jeffrey Tambor), Christian uses his talents to uncook the books of the world’s top criminal organizations, an act that’s garnered the attention of the Treasury Department. Sought by the feds as well as his clients, the ensuing trail of carnage will reach unexpected proportions, and, just how well will possible love interest Dana (Anna Kendrick) take to Christian’s mysterious lifestyle. Directed by Gavin O’Connor this blending of genres takes multiple working models and nicely melds them all together to create a Jason Bourne/Beautiful Mind hybrid; an unlikely pairing that actually seems to work. And, while fairly conventional in character setup and development, we’ve seen all these pieces and methods used many times over, it’s the sum of their parts together that keeps this thriller fun to the end, even when we’ve guessed the last few turns before the film reaches the finish line. It’s also apparent that no stretching was required from the ensemble including heavyweights J.K. Simmons and John Lithgow, but that doesn’t stop the fun either, sometimes it’s good to see great actors doing what they do best with material they’re known for. Worthy of your time this weekend. The Accountant is rated R.