Much has been made of the fact that five-foot seven Tom Cruise is playing the six-foot five title character in Jack Reacher, the first movie outing for the military investigator-turned-drifter created by bestselling author Lee Child. But then that's always been part of his appeal: watching how his characters, embodied in his diminutive frame, stretch to greatness through determination and mastery of their environments. Further offbeat casting comes in the form of German director Werner Herzog as vicious baddie The Zec in this adaptation of One Shot , the ninth book in the series, which finds Reacher investigating an apparently cut-and-dried mass shooting case. Behind the camera for the first time since 2000's The Way of The Gun is The Usual Suspects screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, while Rosamund Pike, old hands Richard Jenkins and Robert Duvall, and newcomer Jai Courtney - soon to be seen as Bruce Willis Jr in the new Die Hard movie, A Good Day to Die Hard - complete the lineup.
Michael Haneke's Amour has already won the Palme d'Or and best picture at the European Film Awards, and nobody would be surprised if it carried off the Academy Award for best foreign film come February 24. A characteristically unflinching portrait of old age and death by the Austrian director, it stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva as a pair of retired music teachers in their eighties, facing their final days together in a Paris apartment after Riva suffers a series of strokes and begins to lose her faculties.
Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, music teaching is also at the center of comedy Here Comes the Boom - but then so is crass humor and cage fighting. Kevin James - comic actor of Paul Blart: Mall Cop fame - plays a biology teacher who starts moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter to save his school's music program. Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler also show their faces.
After appearing in Woody Allen's To Rome With Love , Penélope Cruz continues talking Italian in Sergio Castellitto's Venuto al mondo. She plays a woman who returns to Sarajevo with her son 16 years after fleeing the war-torn Bosnian city, leaving her husband behind to die.
Recently seen in Whit Stillman's comeback comedy Damsels in Distress , Greta Gerwig plays a woman fast approaching 30 who is dumped just a few weeks before her wedding in comedy Lola Versus . The second film by American director Daryl Wein after 2009 romance Breaking Upwards , it stars Joel Kinnaman of US TV series The Killing as Lola's ex-fiancé, as well as Zoe Lister-Jones, Bill Pullman, Hamish Linklater and Debra Winger.