Four new March film reviews from Seven Gunn on her ChicagoNow site

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TOMB RAIDER

Lara Croft is not the same of what I remember of the original (Angelina Jolie). Alicia Vikander has some big shoes to fill. I like the fact that she was not trying to be the same character and added her own touch. She was a different Lara that came across well. She maintained a style and grace, but not in a sexy,smarmy way like the old Lara. Vikander played more like a kid trying to find her way. No love affair to get in the way. Just straight discovery, adventure and digs for artifacts. This is a great film for all ages and fans of action/adventure. Screenwriters, Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet did an excellent job at re-creating the new image of Lara Croft:Tomb Raider. It was about time she needed a makeover. I don’t really care for reboots, but this version was acceptable. ‘Tomb Raider’ gives a proper take on modern female adventure heroes.

A WRINKLE IN TIME

I found that this film was clearly made for children and tween audience with the impact of promoting diversity, while strengthening lost images of girls and children of color. There are some fantastical visual scenes in the film that were memorable and rewarding. I applaud the fact that Disney  was brave enough to take a chance on a story with a mostly female cast especially with a young black female lead heroine. It is important that diverse images of women are projected across the silver screen because these voices have been stifled for so long. This story makes good on life lessons addressing bullying, self-esteem, identity, and relationships. I do feel however that the story had some disconnection with the how and the why of certain events, which made me confused by a few things in the story. ‘Wrinkle in Time’ is a beloved children’s novel written by  writer Madeleine L’Engle.

DEATH WISH

When I watched this film, the first thing I that came to mind was ‘Death Wish'(1974) with Charles Bronson. How dare they remake! Thou shalt not remake if one can help it. As if the first one wasn’t disturbing and traumatic enough. This is NOT ‘Die Hard’ either! By using Bruce Willis as a main character, Dr. Paul Kersey, MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) must feel like he could carry the film. This film is based in the book by Brian Garfield 1972 novel with the same name. Alas, they just had to pick Chicago for the location. One feels justified in choosing a corrupt, crime-riddled city. In the 1974 version,  Kersey eventually ends up in Chicago after his rampage in Arizona. The Tucson, Arizona police urge him to move his killing spree to another city.

THE SHAPE OF WATER

The ‘Shape of Water’ is a bloody fairy tale that is from the writer/director  Guillermo del Toro. I loved this Cinderella/Beauty and the Beast story. The film was written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The story evolves when a creature (Doug Jones) is delivered to a laboratory under top secret classification.  A mute cleaning lady, Elisa Espisito (Sally Hawkins), who works at the laboratory finds herself falling in love with the creature that has been brought back from South America. She wants to set him free because they will torture him and cut him open for observation. The creature is known to have emotions, but also strength and healing powers.The tribes of this region worshipped him as a god.  Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shanahan) is a relentless tyrant, who tortures the mysterious creature, while in captivity at the laboratory.

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