Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider. So fun! I love how you see our characters growth – a bike race in familiar neighborhoods, a foot chase from some teenage thugs, waterboarding with a showerhead? We get lower stakes, and mistakes, but similar thrills. Even when the difficulty ratchets up, we see a cycle of vulnerability, fear, panic… and then determination. Our hero is not invincible, not inevitable. (Reminds me of Die Hard that way.) I like seeing the increasing influence of MMA in recent action films – more grappling, jujitsu, throws, locks, holds.

Ex Machina

Ex Machina. One of my favorites of the year so far. Oscar Isaac’s Nathan is awesome, flipping back and forth from intimidating to genial. He’s a brogrammer archetype. Excellent critique here of tech sexism and overreach. His overconfidence makes him too casual, flippant about the ethics. Domhnall Gleeson’s Caleb has his own blinders, about gender in particular. Some of the dialogue was tiresome. I wish they’d felt more courage to just let people talk, and let the audience get lost a bit (if needed) without preface and theory. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised how they handled the ending. I’d imagined something more traditional. Loved it. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for a couple weeks now. Good stuff.