Tom Cruise stars as Jack in this far-future story of a burned-out earth that has been abandoned by humanity. We learn early on that the vast majority of the population has been relocated to a new planet with a whole new future, and Jack works with Julia (Olga Kurylenko) to maintain the remaining machinery designed to extract the last of earth’s resources to be sent to the new home planet. There are alien beings who cause small acts of vandalism, and Jack has to deal with them too, keeping them from the machinery … but soon it appears that all may not be as it appears. I liked the premise, thought it was fresh and different, and Cruise was excellent. Rated 14A.
Who knew that Matthew McConaughey could actually keep his shirt on and act? This charming and delightful film is the opposite of everything he has ever done. As the title character, he is discovered in an old boat on and island in the Mississippi by a pair of 14 year-old boys who, in a previous century, would have been Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Learning that Mud is on the lam, the boys set out to get the bounty hunter off his trail. Beautifully shot and well executed. Great movie! Also stars Sam Sheppard and Joe Don Baker. Rated PG.
3. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES:
Ryan Gosling stars as another anti-hero, a circus motorcycle trick rider who learns, on his return to Schenectady, NY after a year, that he’s a dad as a result of a one-night stand. He decides to do right, stay in town and become a dad ... except that no one – not the child’s mother, not her boyfriend, and not her family, want him around. He falls in with a bank robber – have to make money somehow to be a good dad, right? – and things go from bad to worse. A very dark, very depressing film in many ways, but with great performances. Eva Mendes co-stars. Rated 18A.
If Mark Twain was still writing stories about young boys on the Mississippi in the current age … it might look just like this!
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (1938):
Politically incorrect in today’s world, this is still an exceptional view of life on the river in the late 1800s. Tommy Kelly is Tom Sawyer, Jackie Moran is Huck Finn.
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as undercover investigators in the mob … excellent action film.