Born on this day in 1921, in Inglewood, California, actress and athlete, Esther Williams. Williams was a marquee star for MGM in the 1940’s and 50’s, appearing in 25+ films, usually featuring her incredible swimming skills. In her teen years, those same swimming skills won her several competitive time records and national championships.
Born on this day in 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina, actress Ava Gardner. Gardner starred in many Golden-Era films, including Babes On Broadway, Show Boat and The Barefoot Contessa.
Born on this day in 1893, in Birmingham, England, actress Fay Holden. Holden appeared in dozens of films during Hollywood’s Golden Era, but is perhaps best known for playing Emily Hardy in the Andy Hardy series, starring Mickey Rooney.
Born on this day in 1895, in New York City, actor Bert Lahr. Though Lahr appeared in more than two dozen films, his most famous role was as The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard Of Oz.
Born on this day in 1898, in Boston, Massachusetts, actor Jack Haley. While Haley appeared in dozens of films, he is best remembered as The Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz.
Born on this day in 1953, in Los Angeles, California, actress Gloria DeHaven. DeHaven appeared with Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936), with Frank Sinatra in Step Lively (1944), and opposite Myrna Loy and William Powell in The Thin Man Goes Home (1944).
I had meant to see the new Tomb Raider in the theater, but its time on the big screen was short-lived, and I missed it. Thankfully, Amazon Prime is currently streaming it, so I was finally able to see how it stacks up against the first two, starring Angelina Jolie.
Whereas Jolie’s Lara Croft spent her days using her millions to become a lethal adventurer, Alicia Vikander’s Lara is content to turn her back on her silver-spoon heritage, working as a nondescript bike messenger. When she’s informed by the family lawyer that her ancestral digs will be on the auction block if she doesn’t assume control of her late father’s assets, she relents and signs on the dotted line.
As part of her inheritance, her father has left her a puzzle box, which leads her to discover a secret room, hidden in her father’s crypt. Unbeknownst to Lara, her father had been researching the location of the tomb of Himiko, The Queen of Yamatai, who supposedly possessed the powers of life and death. Although a message left by the elder Croft begs her to destroy all of his research, she can’t resist the temptation of the mystery. She packs everything into a rucksack and heads to Hong Kong.
Vikander’s Croft isn’t the over-sexed, video game version that Jolie perfected in her two films. This Lara Croft is usually uncertain of her abilities, even as she finds herself more-than-capable at removing obstacles, whether mental or physical. This Lara Croft isn’t an already-existing legend, she’s a young woman somewhere on the path to becoming a hero. In my humble opinion, that’s far more interesting.
This Tomb Raider is less comic book and far more real-world in its approach. A lot of the action sequences create the same tension and release see-saw that we’re put on by movies in the Bourne and Indiana Jones franchises. While it may be predictable at times, it’s also exhilarating. Isn’t that the reason we go to see this type of action movie? I really like this Lara Croft and reimagination of her adventures.
While Vikander’s vehicle only raked in 53 million dollars in the U.S., it netted a respectable 273 million worldwide. MGM and Warner Bros. confirm that that’s strong enough to warrant a sequel, estimated to arrive in theaters in 2021. I’m looking forward to seeing where Lara Croft takes us next.