Matthew Lickona noon, July 29
Director Taylor Hackford gives author Donald Westlake's famous thief another crack at the big screen. The effort probably won't make anyone forget Lee Marvin in Point Blank, but it just might eclipse Mel Gibson's Payback. Parker is a man of principle; if he weren't played by Jason Statham in perpetual glower, he might come off as crazily prissy, nitpicking about the details of a caper, fussing over who's allowed to pay him back after things go south, and talking about how civilized people should behave as he plans to commit both theft and murder. As it is, he seems more like a meticulous, fair-minded Man out for Revenge. The (perfectly serviceable) story takes him to the island kingdom of Palm Beach, a wealthy enclave that Hackford, to his credit, refuses to glamorize. The same goes for the action and the romance. Jennifer Lopez bravely parodies her Latina heritage as a middle-aged, divorced real estate agent who drinks too much Chardonnay and lives with her mom, while Nick Nolte continues his dominance of the grizzled bear role. A modest film that doesn't overreach. 2013.