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.

John Carter

John Carter. Easily the most teal-and-orange movie I’ve ever seen. I feel like there’s a good movie hiding in here somewhere. Overhaul the terrible dialogue, trim judiciously. It has some decent-enough swashbuckling action (and one really effective battle), and thankfully doesn’t rely on dumb one-liners or dopey comic relief characters or modern-day allegory. It’s really straightforward, for all its excess in other ways (effects, cast, milieu) Andrew Stanton directed a dud here, but at least he’s still got Finding Nemo and Wall-E on his resume…