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Best Bets: Tom Cruise is stoic but deadly as 'Jack Reacher'

While the biggest movies of the month will come Christmas week, a couple of big titles hit theaters this week. Tom Cruise plays stoic and mysterious "Jack Reacher," while the characters of "Knocked Up" get another cinematic turn in "This Is 40." And if you loved Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Total Recall," you may want to compare The Governator's performance with that of Colin Farrell in the remake, coming to home video.


TUESDAY: 'Total Recall' on home video
The 1990 version of "Total Recall" had so much going for it. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the starring role! A three-breasted hooker! Classic lines -- Arnold shoots traitorous wife Sharon Stone while barking, "Consider that a divorce" as only Arnold can. We're still not sure why Hollywood felt a need to remake that film with Colin Farrell in the Arnold role. Critics liked the action, but felt this take had less humor. Now you can compare the two, as Farrell's "Recall" hits home video this week. (On DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 18.)

FRIDAY: 'Jack Reacher'
First, the height question: The character of Jack Reacher in Lee Child's books stands 6 foot five inches tall. His size is a major factor in many plot points. Tom Cruise is famously short. But this is Hollywood, and many of the filmgoers will have never read one of the Reacher novels, so this may not matter. In the film, a man who seemed to have quite clearly shot five people asks the cops for only one thing: That they get him Jack Reacher. The Hollywood Reporter had no trouble with the casting, with critic Todd McCarthy writing, "Tom Cruise might not be the 6-foot-5 rock described in the books, but he makes the title role fit him like a latex glove in a winning turn that could spawn a popular new franchise for the star." (Opens Dec. 21.)

FRIDAY: 'This Is 40'
Although "This Is 40" is being sold as a "Knocked Up" sequel, it's not about Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen's characters. The new film focuses on Debbie (Heigl's sister in the first film) and her husband Pete as they grapple with financial and parenting troubles. If you like director Judd Apatow's work, you'll want to check this one out. Apatow wrote, directed and co-produced, his real-life wife Leslie Mann returns as Debbie, and the Apatow-Mann daughters play the couple's children. (Opens Dec. 21.)

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