“Tomb Raider”: a Worthy Adventure Starring a Great Hero

Though a Tomb Raider reboot wasn’t something that I would have pegged as a likely success, this little action-adventure film starring Alicia Vikander does far more right than it does wrong. Trailers would suggest that this is your generic, action-packed, thrill-a-minute blockbuster, but it is actually far more subtle and considerate than that. The primary draw is definitely Vikander and her portrayal of Lara Croft, a character that director Roar Uthaug develops in interesting ways and who enjoys a complete arc over the course of all of this tomb raiding (which is quite entertaining and well thought out). It’s also a movie that knows that it is important to have a bit of fun now and then, though it certainly isn’t goofy. The film is far from perfect; the action is a little frenetic and full of cuts, and most of the plot beats predictable and by-the-numbers. But, for the most part, Tomb Raider is an enjoyable little adventure.

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The Empty Store Problem: The Familiar Story of “Jason Bourne”

Add another “L” to the campaign of sadness that is The Year of Movies: 2016 Edition.  Once again, a film has been released in an attempt o revive and further a long-dormant franchise, and like seemingly every cheap cash-in of this year, Jason Bourne fails to elicit any emotion beyond longing for the original property which it is based upon.  This isn’t to say that there are not stirring sequences or solid performances in the film, but there is not a single aspect of this film that was not accomplished better by a previous Bourne film.  Paul Greengrass and company certainly do not need to re-invent the wheel, but they should at least drive the car somewhere new.

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Don’t Lose Guy Ritchie’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” in the Spy Thriller Shuffle

The films of Guy Ritchie succeed best when they blend comedic elements with a strong circuitous narrative set on the fringes of society. Usually, that fringe is some underground criminal element, but with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Ritchie puts his inimitable aesthetic to work on the period spy thriller. Though the plot can feel fairly derivative at times, the stars ably carry the film forward and offer some surprisingly funny moments amid the tradecraft and action set pieces.

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A Game of Musical Chairs Set Off by Alicia Vikander’s Casting in “Bourne 5”

This whole week has been a whirlwind of casting news, kicked off by the announcement of the new Spiderman. Again, castings that were supposedly set in stone (and reported upon in the movie news) have proven less solid by the time the ink finally dried. In this case, Alicia Vikander has officially been named the female lead opposite Matt Damon in the fifth film of the Bourne franchise. This casting clears out two other roles which Vikander was reported to be very close to signing on for: The Circle, starring Tom Hanks, and the Assassin’s Creed film with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Once Vikander’s name fell from consideration for these roles, the respective producers wasted no time in filling them: Emma Watson will play the role in The Circle, and Ariane Labed has been chosen for the Assassin’s Creed role.
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Alicia Vikander is Exploding – And That’s a Great Thing

Go check out Alicia Vikander’s IMDB page. You’d be forgiven for not recognizing Vikander or much of her work at this point in time, but very soon that will no longer be the case. This young actress has established herself in smaller indie and foreign titles, and casting directors are starting to take notice. I’d like to draw your attention to a few particular items in her filmography, and then marvel at the films that she will appear in over the next 12 months.
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