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Tomb Raider Ascension

Rather documentary than action
After having watched two Tomb Raider films, I realized there was still one left and despite the low rating in the IMDb I decided to give it a try. So I was not surprised to see how bad it would be. Actually, I stopped in the first 2 minutes and quickly skimmed through the rest. So my review shall lack in its entirety but still here it goes.

The actress plays Lara in too different style from our stereotypical image of Lara Croft. I know the story is about Lara's youth and how she grew up to be a tomb raider and all that kind of stuff, but she looks like a typical teenager bored of anything around and consumed with TV games. Does that make Lara Croft familiar to you? Maybe, but certainly to me who was imagining her spending more adventurous life style, it spoiled her image badly. She hardly looks active.

Secondly, the camera-work is too unstable, just like an amateur documentary film. Suddenly it zooms up and down, moves left to right, and that doesn't help it look like an action film at all. This is exacerbated by small voices (or improper level of voice capture) which is again highly inappropriate for action films. I guess this was intended to make the film realistic but due to the shortage of action scenes such effect is adding more home-documentary touch instead.

Thirdly, the characters are not acting enough, or lack training in specific actions. For example, Lara doesn't look very confident in handling tools and guns. In one scene I saw her fighting with a big bloke without guns but both acting looked like cheap shots. To put it another way, their actions look somewhat too slow for action film, they would probably look good for comedy though.

In summary, I found this "action" film rather documentary with amateurish touch. For some people it might work, so I give 3 stars overall. Anyone interested should really check the trailer first and think if you still want to watch it.


So predictable, nothing new, good acting only
I don't understand why many people seem to find this movie so mind-boggling and -twisting because I find this movie very boring. I mean, when you see the main character (Jess) killed her first self (masked-Jess) and saw her friends shouting for help on the sea, anyone could immediately see that the movie ends in either of two ways: (a) she finds a way out somehow and the film ends happily or with a dramatic turn of events, or (b) she struggles in vain and the film ends up repeating itself. I wish there were more twist in it like Lost series. The last part when Jess was killed were also easily predictable. She was being mentally ill from the start and wasn't sure where her son was, saying "I feel tired." That looked like a typical scene where something traumatic happened to the person. And as the story went, she was trapped in her world - again typical psychotic caricaturisation of closing her door to the real world). Why she wants to run away from the reality? Because the reality is unbearable. What horrible thing could happen to her? Some form of loss she regards precious. Then, it's too obvious (although I wrongly guessed that it would be her deliberate action). I also found some of her course of actions a little contradictory (such as being committed to killing everyone just to repeat the process when the only obstacle is her another self) but I leave it as because she was psychotic. I also couldn't see the role of Heather, at all. I give 4 stars for good acting performance and for successfully connecting the chain of events. But that was all.

A Midnight Clear

An amazing piece of work
This is undoubtedly one of my best favourite war films so far. The film is basically about war and the tragedy it causes, a really typical combination for any war films. Yet, on this film, these two elements are depicted as pure and simple beings built upon the warmth of humanity. If I say Schindller's List is about military dignity and the struggle for humanity, this film is about the unfruitful struggle for the coexistence constrained by the systemic rules and military principles. So, two films take different perceptions and maybe even incomparable, but I love this film more than Schindler's.

The music, especially the song by Sam Philips, is as melancholic as Mad World by Gary Jules. As far as I have googled (fairly extensively), there is no music CDs sold containing the Sam Philips version of 'It came upon the Midnight Clear' so I eventually recorded the song into MP3 format from a DVD I had bought from Amazon.com. If you love Gary Jules's Mad World, you will surely like this, too.

Although you cannot expect too much on its making quality, if you love a sentimental feeling, this is worth having a look.

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