Hank’s Recommendations 05/07/13

hank_paperJACK REACHER — This film got terrible reviews; The New York Times hated it.

But I liked it (so did IMDB, with a 7.0 rating). True, you might have to be in the mood for this thriller (I was—long day). And it’s true, Tom Cruise is no longer so fresh-faced but simply grimly determined; the fuzz is off the peach. Co-star Rosamund Pike wears an expression of constant, mouth-opening alarm and both Robert Duval and Richard Jenkins are a bit long in the tooth. But the film, itself seeming from the 70s, has bite. The movie’s more than formula and less than cheesy. It’s a good adaptation of a Lee child thriller (which I read), hitting all the sweet spots. Werner Herzog plays the heavy with restrained and eloquent menace, helping to anchor a film that moves along with a pleasingly energized pace. Tom Cruise’s best thriller remains COLLATERAL (with Jamie Foxx). But this one’s satisfying.

If you had a hard day, take a Cruise at Best Video.

Devil_and_Miss_Jones_DVDTHE DEVIL AND MISS JONES – Now here’s a formula that’s fresh as the day it was born—a Depression-era comedy from 1941.

A wealthy New York City magnate takes umbrage to the headlines with a photograph of himself being hung in effigy by disgruntled employees of a large department store he owns – as well as does his sycophantic board of directors. So he takes matters into his own hand by infiltrating the store’s ranks as a lowly shoe clerk in order to unearth the unionizing rabble-rousers.

The movie is exquisitely paced (especially without intruding background music) and acted with exuberant aplomb by a cast that includes Jean Arthur, Charles Coburn, Robert Cummings, Edmund Gwenn and Spring Byington. This socially conscious classic comedy, back when—unlike today’s Depression—there was an actual vision of the future, has wit and charm and heart.