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Archive for December 29th, 2012

The simple if flippant answer to why Tom Cruise was the right choice to play Jack Reacher, is that no one can play Jack Reacher, so he is good as anyone. People have been giving reasons why Tom Cruise is the wrong person to play Jack Reacher since before I knew who Jack Reacher was, it actually turns out he was a pretty good choice. As previously mentioned back in June I had only read one Jack Reacher novel back in June when the trailer hit. I have now read another eight and am halfway through a ninth including One Shot, the book the novel is based on. As is widely reported Reacher’s vital statistics include:JACK REACHER

Height: 6′ 5″, 1.95metres
Weight: 220-250 lbs/100-113 kg
Size: 50-inch/127cm chest, 3XLT Coat, 37-inch/95cm Inside leg

The problem with casting a character by height is that you could be blinded by one aspect of the character forgetting all the other characteristics. Tom Cruise is a charismatic and talented actor with a track record in playing action heroes. Had the character been around and the movie been made in the late 80’s early 90’s it is conceivable that Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been cast because of size and reputation when Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis would have been a better choice. The success of the movie could open the door for Jack Reacher becoming a franchise like James Bond, and like Bond it could be reinvented with lose continuity and new actors taking the character in new directions.jack-reacher

As for the movie itself: The plot is simplified and a few characters have been removed to be replaced by a car chase but the basic idea of the original novel is still there and the car chase isn’t bad. There is device within the books whereby the twists and turns of the plots are signposted so the readers are always one step ahead of the characters. This and a lot of the twists and turns of the plot have been removed, depending on your point of view it is to the credit or the detriment of the movie. As an adaptation, it does a good job, avoiding the pitfalls of either throwing the original text out, or even worse being a slave to it. Instead it takes the core structure and essence of the book, the cliff notes for what of a better term, and finds its own way from A to B. Tom Cruise may not be that recognisable as Jack Reacher to die hard fans of the books but the essence of the character and his actions are there.

Lee Child’s cameo in the new Jack Reacher movie

Lee Child’s cameo in the new Jack Reacher movie

If you are still not happy, who else could play Reacher? Here are my top ten more height suitable actors ( in order of height):

Kevin Durand 6′ 6″
Adam Baldwin 6′ 4″
Liam Neeson 6′ 4″ (too old)
Alexander Skarsgård 6′ 4″
Chris Hemsworth 6′ 3″ (too young but give him ten years)
Idris Elba 6′ 2¾”
Hugh Jackman 6′ 2½” (was considered for the part)
Will Smith 6′ 2″ (was considered for the part)
Nathan Fillion 6′ 1½”
Denzel Washington 6′ 0½” (too old)

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  1. Skyfall: I wasn’t sure if Sam Mendes would be the right director for Bond, how wrong was I! After seeing a Bond film I have said “that was a great Bond film” on many occasions, its rare to say that’s a great film. That’s why Skyfall makes the top of my list, its simply a great film.skyfall
  2. The Dark Knight Rises: Both the most intimate and the biggest in scale of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Elevated by great casting particularly Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway. A fitting conclusion to what is possibly the best trilogy ever that like all great movies leaves you wanting more.The Dark Knight Rises
  3. Argo: A spy story based on real events is going to be a hard sell but Ben Affleck has done it again. As both star and director Affleck has given us a film completely different to but as good as if not even better than his first two films. Tense and funny in equal measure and at the right times, a future classic.Ben Affleck in Argo
  4. Haywire: Possibly the controversial choice on the list certainly the “Marmite” choice on the list. Steven Soderbergh has crafted a B movie with an A list cast held together by Gina Carano, a former cage fighter with no acting experience. The antidote to modern action movies with frenetic editing an too much CGI.Gina Carano and Channing Tatum Haywire
  5. The Avengers: Joss Whedon has done the impossible. Bringing a disparate group of characters together to create an exciting and entertaining movie with just the right blend of action and comedy. Making good use of all the characters and giving the franchise a future, its far more than I expected from the movie. And he gave The Hulk the best like of 2012.Marvel Avengers Assemble
  6. Killer Joe: William Friedkin’s tale of murder set around a dysfunctional Texas family is often violent and repugnant, but it is also brilliant mainly because of a star turn from a resurgent Matthew McConaughey.Killer Joe
  7. Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson has turned his unique quirky bittersweet eye on a coming of age drama. It is as funny as you would expect from Anderson, but it is more engaging and endearing thanks to fantastic performances from both the recognisable established actors and the unknown kids.Moonrise Kingdom
  8. Life of Pi: I was a little sceptical about seeing this movie, I had heard it was a bit preachy and how interesting can a film about a boy in a boat be? I also hate 3D. I shouldn’t have worried, as previous mentioned; the 3D is the best I have ever seen, the story is great as well as being stunning to look at.Life Of Pi
  9. Rust and Bone: Jacques Audiard follows up A Prophet with a bruising and brutal melodrama. Marion Cotillard is as great as ever as is her co star Matthias Schoenaerts. Sometimes oppressive and hard to watch, at others uplifting but always emotional. A film that needs to find a worldwide audience.Rust and Bone
  10. End of Watch: Written and directed by David Ayer,. Made up of little snippets of the daily life of a pair a of cops (perfectly cast Jake Gylleenhaal and Michael Pena) working one of the roughest beats in South Central LA. A tough, brutal and believable cop film like nothing that has been made in a generation.End of Watch

A note on my selection: I have only included movies from this year. 2011 movies that didn’t reach the UK until this year have been excluded. I will probably do a redux version when I have seen all the 2013 movies in early 2013.

Don’t forget, this isn’t a best of 2012 list, it is it is simply my favourite 10 of the year. So don’t tell me the list is wrong but feel free to share your favourite films of the year.

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