New on DVD

2013-05-09T00:00:00Z New on DVDThe Washington Post. The Washington Post. Arizona Daily Star

"Jack Reacher" (PG-13, 131 minutes, Paramount): Presumably taking a long, self-indulgent glance at his What Would Clint Do? bracelet, Tom Cruise takes on the iconic role of surly vigilante in "Jack Reacher," resulting in a mismatch of wincingly epic proportions. This movie is designed primarily to put its leading man in as many clichéd, macho postures as possible, whether it's crouched behind the wheel of a lipstick-red vintage Chevelle or popping off perfect shots in a ballistic showdown. "I'm just a guy who wants to be left alone" is just one eye-roller of a catchphrase uttered by Cruise, whose character is a laconic Iraq war veteran summoned by the aforementioned shooter to exonerate him for mass murder. Working in cahoots with a beautiful defense attorney, Helen (Rosamund Pike), Reacher is a supposedly reluctant hero. But with his penchant for grandstanding it's difficult to imagine him turning down any opportunity to show off a nearly bottomless - and increasingly monotonous - store of Cool Guy-approved skills.

"Safe Haven" (PG-13, 115 minutes, 20th Century Fox): Hoping to re-bottle the lightning captured in "The Notebook" and "Dear John," romance packager Nicholas Sparks has given his usual formula some sharp edges in "Safe Haven." The film opens like a gritty thriller, complete with a taut chase through a crowded bus station and a few smidgens of blood. Soon enough, Katie (Julianne Hough) has fetched up in the quaint North Carolina town of Southport, where Sparks' fantasy of self-reinvention takes place. Quiet and wary, Katie still has elbows sharp enough to keep curious neighbors at bay, at least until an appealing widower named Alex (Josh Duhamel) charms his way past her chilly reserve. Hough and Duhamel don't come close to generating the sparks that Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling ignited in "The Notebook." Their chance encounters and cautious romantic toe-dipping add up to little more than a pretty bore.

"Mama" (PG-13, 100 minutes, Universal): Mama the computer-generated ghoul is scary as heck. "Mama" the movie isn't. The movie opens with a brief prologue, which, while stylishly shot, gives away too much. Jeff has murdered his wife and taken his two little girls to the woods, where he intends to kill them. But he is dispatched by a ghostlike entity. Fast-forward five years to when Victoria and her little sister, Lilly, are found, filthy and feral. Eventually, they're taken in by Jeff's slacker brother, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain). Sure, the movie tries to vague things up a bit. A child psychologist suggests that Mama might not actually exist but is a dissociative projection of the older girl. But every time he or someone else in the film hints that Mama might be something other than an actual, factual bogeyman, the film reminds us that she's very, very real. And admittedly, she is pretty creepy. But the only real mystery in the story isn't whether Mama exists, but why on earth Victoria and Lilly are so fond of this freak show.

Also released Tuesday

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