‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ Review: Tom Cruise Hits Marks, Punches Faces in Fun, Formulaic Sequel

As played by Tom Cruise, the big-screen version of Jack Reacher (the tough-guy hero of a series of novels by Lee Child) is every 15-year-old boy’s ideal: He’s always right, he’s got an endless supply of argument-ending zingers, and he can kick everyone’s ass. It’s interesting, then, that “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” pairs the character with a 15-year-old girl who, whether or not she turns out to be Reacher’s daughter, is the man’s match when it comes to thinking outside of the box and annoying authority figures.

The girl is Samantha (Danika Yarosh, “Heroes Reborn”), and she feels mostly wedged into the story mainly to be a third-act hostage, but more on her later. We begin with Reacher busting up a human trafficking ring and calling in to the current occupant of his old job at the military police, Major Susan Turner (Colbie Smulders). Their conversations are sprightly, and maybe a little flirty, and the major invites him to dinner next time he’s in D.C.

By the time ramblin’ Jack arrives in our nation’s capital, Susan has been arrested for espionage following the death of two of her sergeants in Afghanistan under mysterious circumstances. She has expressly forbidden Reacher from getting involved, but he can’t help sticking his nose in, and soon Susan’s attorney has been murdered and both Reacher and the major are on the run from the military and trying to crack a conspiracy involving a shady contractor.

See Video: ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ Trailer Shows Tom Cruise Packing Punch as Lethal Vigilante

And since Samantha’s mother brought a paternity suit against Reacher, the bad guys are after the girl as well, which sends the three of them on the road to follow the clues and punch the villains and shoot back and forth at each other. “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is as featureless and generic as its title, but between Cruise’s star quality and the ability of director Edward Zwick to stage coherent action sequences, the results are a palatable enough popcorn movie.

Cruise, three decades after his big breakout in “Top Gun,” remains the master of his domain, even though he’s letting his age show in subtle ways, from the lines that have started appearing on his face to his shirtless torso, which reveals him to be an exceedingly fit human being but not the carved, chiseled Greek god which so many contemporary leading men resemble. It also helps that he’s got great chemistry with Smulders, whose Major Turner is every bit Reacher’s equal in the murder-and-mayhem department. When you see her dispatch a foe with a garden hose, you realize she’s Cruise’s most formidable on-screen top since Kelly McGillis.

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It’s too bad that no one thought to give this pair of heroes an equally interesting villain; there are no bad guys here at the level of the prior film’s Jai Courtney, much less the scene-stealing Werner Herzog. Instead, we get a bunch of generic white guys in uniform, and a grade-A assassin known only as The Hunter (Patrick Heusinger, “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce”), whose most notable feature are his distractingly white teeth. And unless you’re Richard Kiel playing “Jaws” in the 007 movies, your dental hardware really shouldn’t be the most interesting asset your character has to offer.

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“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” – incidentally, if Reacher didn’t go back, Major Turner would be in jail, plus there’d be no movie – is the kind of film you watch with your dad. On an airplane. Or when “Keeping Up with the Joneses” is the only other movie you haven’t seen at the multiplex. It’s nothing special, but it’s nothing awful, either.

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Most Chilling ‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’ Shout-Outs to Scary Classics, Past Seasons (Photos)

“American Horror Story” has been known to reference plenty of horror movies in past seasons, but the sixth season of the series adds something new to the callbacks. More than any other season, “American Horror Story Roanoke” has made numerous references to past “AHS” tales, all of which Ryan Murphy promises are hinting towards the series’ entire mythos being woven together. Here are the best references we’ve found on “AHS Roanoke” so far, whether they be cinematic, factual, or tied to the “AHS” timeline.

Upon arriving in North Carolina, Matt and Shelby encounter some creepy hillbillies that in episode 5 are revealed to be cannibals that are allowed to stay on The Butcher’s land in exchange for providing sacrifices. Such country connoisseurs of man-flesh have been a common/”>common type of foe in horror films, namely the 70s classics “The Hills Have Eyes” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”

In episode 2, Shelby and Lee discover a room decorated with dozens of wooden stick figures, and a larger version of the stick figure is seen out in the woods on several occasions. This is a nod to “The Blair Witch Project,” where such wooden figures are signs of the Blair Witch’s presence and, as discovered in the 2016 sequel, can also work as voodoo dolls.

Episode 3 sees Matt’s niece, Flora, begin to talk about an imaginary friend named Priscilla who threatens to kill them all. This is very similar to “The Amityville Horror,” a film that “AHS” has regularly used for inspiration. In that movie, the family’s five-year-old daughter creates an imaginary friend named Jodie…who’s a pig demon.

And speaking of pigs, one of the most common haunts The Butcher sends after Matt and Shelby is a vicious killer in a pig mask. Pig masks have been featured in several horror movies, such as the 1980 cult classic “Motel Hell.” But perhaps the most famous use of pig masks comes from the “Saw” series, as Jigsaw and his acolytes use pig masks while kidnapping victims for his deadly games.

In episode 5, Matt and Shelby are attacked by the ghosts of past residents who were killed by The Butcher. One of these is a Chinese girl who kidnaps Flora and takes her away. The Chinese girl has been transformed into a pale, wall-crawling demon similar to Kayako in “The Grudge.”

Episode 5 also has one of the most horrifying moments in “AHS” history, when the hillbilly matriarch shatters Shelby’s leg with a sledgehammer. This crippling move was infamously used in the film “Misery” by psychotic superfan Annie Wilkes, playing by “AHS” veteran Kathy Bates.

Now for this season’s many, many references to seasons past. First, there is the concept of a house possessed by the spirits of those who have been murdered while taking residence there. It has played a major role in Matt and Shelby’s tale, and it also lies at the core of the first “AHS” season, “Murder House.”

Next, we meet two of the house’s more murderous former tenants: a pair of nurses who turned the house into a convalescent home and killed five of their patients. These characters were based on an actual murder trial and also double as a nod to the medical abuses that occurred in Briarcliff on “AHS Asylum.”

In Episode 3, we meet an eccentric medium named Cricket, played by Leslie Jordan. Jordan’s only other appearance on “AHS” was in its third season, “Coven.” Cricket also mentions driving to North Carolina from New Orleans, where “Coven” takes place.

Matt and Shelby’s house was first created in the late 1700s by the mentally disturbed art fanatic Edward Mott, who ends up helping the protagonists escape The Butcher as a ghost. Edward Mott is the ancestor of Dandy Mott, one of the main villains in “AHS Freak Show.”

Finally, the “My Roanoke Nightmare” portion of this season concludes with our protagonists checking into a hotel after escaping The Butcher. It’s a reference to last year’s season, “Hotel,” meaning that “AHS Roanoke” has referenced all five seasons that came before it.

 

 

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TV Club: Harrison Wells returns as The Flash gets back to basics

“Magenta” isn’t a perfect episode of The Flash by any means, but it does steer the season out of its early skid by setting aside convoluted timeline talk, putting the focus squarely on the characters we’ve come to love, and injecting a welcome dose of levity into the proceedings. Bringing Harry Wells back into the fold certainly doesn’t hurt, as Tom Cavanagh’s absence was keenly felt in this season’s first two episodes. The team is back in place (it’s probably safe to assume some reasonable excuse for Harry and Jesse sticking around Earth-1 will arise sooner than later) and more or less back to normal (Cisco appears to have emerged from his funk), and these are good signs that The Flash is back on track.

Harry’s return makes sense, as there was every reason to believe Jesse’s exposure to dark matter toward …

Amy Schumer Promises a ‘Squeaky Clean Show’ After Enraging Trump Fans

Is Amy Schumer turning over a new leaf?

The comedian promised on Tuesday that she would perform a “squeaky clean show” after causing a flock of audience members to walk out of her show in Tampa, Florida, due to her jokes at Donald Trump’s expense.

“@rachelfeinstein_ @marknormand and I are putting on a squeaky clean show,” Schumer wrote on Instagram, along with the hashtags “#msg” and “#tampaapologytour.”

Also Read: Amy Schumer’s Donald Trump Joke Prompts 200 People to Walk Out of Florida Show

Schumer is scheduled to perform at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday night.

During her show Sunday in Tampa, the “Trainwreck” actress prompted approximately 200 people to walk out of her show.

During the offending skit, Schumer referred to GOP presidential candidate Trump as an “orange, sexual-assaulting, fake-college-starting monster.”

She also asked a Trump supporter to come up onstage and explain why he was voting for the Republican candidate.

Also Read: Amy Schumer Named Most Dangerous Celebrity Online

After the audience member explained that he would vote for Trump primarily because he didn’t trust Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Schumer responded, “Do you get worried at all with how impulsive he is … that he gets so fired up from ‘Saturday Night Live’ doing a skit on him … do you worry he’ll be impulsive and get us in a lot of f—ing trouble we can’t get out of?”

After Schumer’s comments resulted in boos, the comedian asked anyone booing to leave with the help of security, and many audience members reportedly took her up on it.

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Weekend Box Office, Lionsgate Circling Relativity, Witherspoon and Wright Adapting First Lady Series, ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Bosch’ Renewed

Weekend Box Office: ‘The Accountant’ Adds Up To Number One, ‘Max Steel’ Melts Down The Accountant snagged first place with $24 million. Max Steel, the latest action toy-turned-tv-show movie adaptation, arrived with just $2.1 million and didn’t even break into…

Andrew Haigh Dives Into ‘The North Water’ Limited Series From See-Saw, BBC – Mipcom

45 Years helmer Andrew Haigh has boarded See-Saw Films’ limited series The North Water which is being developed with the BBC. He will adapt and is attached to direct the six-part mystery/survival drama that’s based on the 2016 book by Ian McGuire.
The North Water tells the story of Patrick Sumner, a disgraced former Army surgeon who signs up as a ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. On board, he meets Henry Drax, the brutish harpooner whose amorality has…