See this is what I get for recommending a movie before I finish watching the whole thing.

Not to take away any of the good things I said about the movie in my post “It’s Not the Zombie Apocalypse”. It is witty, stylish and probably the most entertaining version of P&P I’ve ever seen. Instead of falling asleep wondering idly if Darcy and Elizabeth will EVER get over their socially refined, ever so civil misunderstandings during a ball room dance (*snore*), we watch with bated breath to see if the social gathering will be disrupted by a zombie horde. We anticipate watching them yank out swords and go to town on the undead. Makes for FAR more interesting Austin.

BUT – I can not dismiss one very egregious scene. There are, at least for a while, a community of “civilized” zombies who manage to forestall the full-on mode zombie status by eating pig brains instead of human ones. OK Fine and good.

Elizabeth then witnesses the distribution of said pig brains in a perverse and blasphemous desecration of a Eucharistic ceremony!!! WITHOUT criticism!!!

This was totally unnecessary and offensive in the extreme, as well as either an obvious, or grotesquely clueless, dig at Christian beliefs in general and/or Catholic theology in particular. There was no need either logically or for the plot to include such a Satanic-imaged scene.

Had Elizabeth had, at least recoiled in horror at the sacreligious event, I might have a different opinion, but she takes it in stride, justifying it as part of the zombies’ attempt at staying human-ish.

As far as I can tell, from reading the book synopsis, this scene was not lifted from the source material. Had it been that would not have made the scene less offensive. But the fact it was NOT in the book (let me know if I’m wrong, just for accuracy’s sake) but gratuitously added to the movie makes it even worse.

In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade one of my favorite scenes includes a blasphemy spoken by Indiana (Harrison Ford) followed by a slap in the face from his father (Sean Connery) with an explanation: “THAT’S for blasphemy.” Were the sacriligious scene in P&P&Z evaluated with a similar response by the purportedly other Christian humans, I could have understood its inclusion to underline the evil of the organizing bad guy behind the “civilized” zombies.

But there was no such criticism of this blatant affront to Christian imagery, theology, beliefs or practice. It’s a real shame too, because other than this scene, it’s a unique, classy, and engaging outing.



Daniel Wu


Discount Indiana Jones style adventure thriller with a female lead that takes advantage of the popularity of the video game of the same name.


Mid to older teens and up but video game fans should be warned that while the spirit of the game is there, this is a mostly different plot.


In the African fable of The Cow-Tail Switch a father, the leader of the tribe, is lost on a lion hunting trip. The youngest has not yet even been born when the father goes missing. Time goes by and eventually the youngest brother is born, toddles about, grows older and learns to speak. His very first words are, "Where is our father?" The six older brothers then realize their father has been gone a very long time and decide to go on a quest to find out what has happened. Many days travel away they eventually come upon the father’s bones. Each son has a magic gift of life. One puts the bones together. Another replaces the sinews and muscle. Another gives his father organs. Another flesh. Another fills his father’s body with blood. The sixth brother breathes life into him. They all return rejoicing and the father announces he will make the next ruler of the tribe the one who contributed the most to his return. Each of the six older sons makes an argument for the part they played in returning their father to life. But the father chooses the youngest, reasoning that he was the one who thought to ask about him – and as long as someone remembered him he was never really dead.

Such is the case of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.


The premise of Tomb Raider is that a young woman, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina) decides to embark upon a quest to find out what happened to her long lost adventurer father. During this quest she must overcome everything from Chinese muggers to shipwrecks and an evil nemesis Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins, the perennial bad guy) who works for the mysterious Trinity, an organization seeking to control the world, who shoots the weak and offers up the predictable, "You should not have come," line. Based on the video game of the same name, fans of the game need to be aware that the Tomb Raider movie has virtually (pun intended) nothing in common with the video story except that the lead character is a female on an adventure on a mysterious island to find something. No mention of a missing father or a world catastrrophe she is tasked to stop is ever mentioned in the video game.

Missing for seven years, everyone else has given Richard Croft, (Dominic West with a diverse filmography from 300, the musical Chicago and 1999's A Midsummer's Night Dream) her father, up for dead. But so intent is Lara upon the idea that her father is still alive that she will not even lay claim to the inheritance which will get her off the streets and allow her to return to the life of luxury in which she grew up.

It is only when she is prevailed upon to meet with the family attorney that she is introduced to a wooden puzzle box which, according to the will, she is to solve upon her father’s death.

Solve it, of course, she does (or it would have been a very short movie) and off she is sent on an adventure that would have challenged Indiana Jones.

Until Gal Gadot put lie to my assertion that a really good super hero movie could not be made with a female lead, I did not think that a woman was as good a choice as a man for an action adventure……and aside from Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman I still think this is true.

Part of the problem is that the extremely physical stunts required of the character in Tomb Raider would have been a challenge for a circus gymnast with the power of Dwayne Johnson, much less a female bike courier who likes to kickbox for fun, which is what Lara is without her family dough. A video game character gets several lives, but the movie is more grounded in a real life scenario, and to have a female endure the abuse and survive the jumps, falls, hits, fighting and wounds she does and still have the energy to run with weapons into a battle, cartwheel through ancient booby traps and still have the strength to stand is beyond the limits of even my considerable powers of suspension of disbelief.

Another problem with this movie in particular is the plot. The very McGuffin is flimsy. The father spends much of his time away from his supposedly beloved daughter scouring the world in search of something that – well, truthfully he could have found in the nearest church.

It is never made clear exactly why Lara did not continue to live on the family estate even while her father was missing. Did she, at some point, decide – gosh, I think I’ll move away because if I CONTINUE to live here it will be like an admission of his death….? They never even explain why she left the home of her childhood to begin with. They show her there as a child and an older teen just before Richard leaves on his fateful last trip. When did she abandon the family manor so that returning would be an acceptance of his death? You have to LEAVE somewhere before you can RETURN. And if she left – why? And when? There is no logic, pretext, reason or excuse so much as alluded to. Doesn't make any logical sense.

Another McGuffin point is that the family executor, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, tells Lara if she does not sign papers acknowledging her father’s death that everything will be sold at auction. Um….why? It’s not as though they were going bankrupt. This seems like a very arbitrary threat which comes out of nowhere with no background explanation.

Lara is a newbie to the adventure scene. Indiana Jones' father took him to exotic locales since early childhood. Indiana grew up as an artifact hunter with a lot of experience fending for himself. Batman and Iron Man used LOTS of gizmos to get between their relatively fragile human bodies and the hostile punches, bullets, missiles and other assorted threatening challenges being thrown at them. Superman simply had … powers. Lara is a relative hothouse flower who…rides bikes fast and…kickboxes. Whoopie. This in no way demonstrates that she can survive: an ambush by three thugs, a shipwreck, a fall from a cliff, a landing through trees, picking up her own dead weight one handed – and these are only things you see in the trailer.

Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) is a significant and likeable supporting character who figures strongly in the plot yet is never given the clear resolution he deserves but is just kind of left…  hanging.

The main baddie Mathias Vogel  tells Lara he has killed her father but does not explain why he would murder the one man who, by his own admission, is the only way to find and open the tomb of Himika – the goal that will get him off the island. Then, let us say, in a surprise that takes no one unawares, that he is laughably bad at follow up.

Without giving away too much more than is already IN the trailer I find it difficult to determine who the real bad guy is – Mathias Vogel who only wants to "win" so he will be allowed to go home to his family, or Richard Croft, the titular good guy/Dad who, truth be told, abandoned his daughter to set off a search for an item that he should have predicted would get a lot of people killed, and all for some pretty lame reasons.

And I don't think it is much of a spoiler to reveal that this movie is primarily a great big set up for a sequel. But then so was Ron Eli's 1975 Doc Savage, and given you probably have never even HEARD of that movie you can see how well that turned out.

Not that Tomb Raider is a bad movie. It is certainly a mostly satisfying wild ride of a tale. But Lara Croft is no Wonder Woman. Nor is she Indiana Jones, Captain America, Hulk, Spiderman, Iron Man, Superman, Batman or even Zorro. OK Lara Croft is better than Doc Savage …. or Howard the Duck.

There is a surprise and very small role featuring one of my all time favorite actors, Derek Jacobi. Although the character provides almost nothing to the movie, Sir Derek would lend class and grace to a McDonald’s advertisement, so it was a joy to see him.

Movies like Tomb Raider are like the pleasure you get riding roller coasters or eating cotton candy – not harmful in moderation and a hoot if you don't think about it very hard.

In short Tomb Raider is a good old fashioned potboiler of a thrill ride with plenty of hair raising incidents, near misses, goofy but ignorable plot holes, preposterously unlikely survivals and…running. LOTS of running. So get your popcorn and malted milk balls, turn your brain WAY down to simmer and enjoy.

NOTE: There is NO nudity and NO sex as there is no time and virtually zero opportunity for the characters amidst all the chasing and shooting and RUNNING. There are a few profanities including one blasphemy which is spoken by the bad guy. The violence is on par with your average Indiana Jones movie.

But being a firm believer that people should check things out for themselves, especially when it comes to one's kids, who will VERY likely want to see this movie, I recommend you subscribe and check out: Tomb Raider on www.screenit.com http://www.screenitplus.com/members/tomb_raider_Full_Content_Review.cfm#p



Another reason movies are fascinating and why you should watch them is that they compress experience into condensed versions of that REAL life to which my husband alluded in the previous posts. In a well made movie nothing happens except that which forwards the vision/theme/goal of the film. One of the basics of screenwriting is: if it does not forward the motion of the plot then, even if it is a really good scene, cut it. It's called "killing your darlings". A painful but necessary process. If you have a story about a baseball pitcher, then having a long interlude on how his wife reconfigured the family recipe for orange muffins may not be in the best interest of the story, no matter how cute or well written. You want to stick to the thread of your idea and not wander too far off the trail that will get you from Point A to Point B. Films are not the lengths of real lives (though I have sat through some that were so dull they SEEMED to be closing in on that long). They are, by and large, a maximum of 120 minutes. So getting to and staying ON topic is pretty essential to good story telling. As a result, often what you see is fairly intense – intensely felt love affairs, exciting car chases, pivotal incidents in an otherwise mundane person's life, watershed moments, historic turning points. The rest is left on the cutting room floor. What you see in REEL life is a purer, or at least concentrated, experience than what you would normally have in REAL life.


Another reason I find movies worth the time is that watching a protagonist or antagonist face a decision gives you an opportunity to test your own mettle – what would you do in that situation? Of course, you do not personally have the vested interest of stepping into a boxing ring, or racing from an exploding volcano. But if the film maker has any skill at all and you are the least bit cooperative in the effort, he will help you become emotionally invested in the scenario: Will the guy admit to the girl he loves that he is the biological father to over 500 children? Will the Olympic champion have the moral courage to refuse to run on Sunday? Will the man step into an apparent abyss to save his father's life based solely on the instructions written in his father's diary? What would you do in each of those cases? Would you: Admit? Refuse? Step forward? (Quick quiz: name each of the movies those scenarios come from, answers below.)

Now while it is unlikely one would face ANY of those specific situations, we likely WILL be asked to choose between: admitting a hard truth or adopting an easy falsehood, deciding on something we want versus God's Will, going forward with something that frightens us for a loved one or turning your back in fear. Were they clever? How did they work that courage up?

We are all interested in how others face challenges. Family stories of Grandpa's fishing expedition or how a cousin approached a job interview or how your best friend proposed to his girl can be the inspirations to how you will face your own challenges. Movies help expand our pallet of experience. And getting an opportunity to preview that issue, to get a good example or observe a horrible warning are helpful REEL life exercises running up to the REAL life lessons we will face.


That's four reasons there. But are there any others? Well – yeah! Of course!!! Because they are darned FUN! They make us laugh, cry, jump in fear and shiver in admiration. The best of them can make us proud to be American, thoughtful about the weaknesses of being a human, awe struck by the power of God or the capacity of people to be selfless. They can also take us out of ourselves for a while to offer us perspective or simply a vacation from our daily stresses. Or they can reinforce the importance of the simplest most mundane actions of decent people.

These are some of the reasons movies are important to me and why I think you should watch movies. But the impact – long and short – they can have on our attitudes, our psyche or even our children's dreams are why it is important  – as one of the characters in the quick quiz warns – to "choose wisely". See you at the movies!!!!!

Answers: Starbuck (story stolen by Delivery Man), Chariots of Fire, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

And — FYI, the caution to "choose wisely" comes from the knight of antiquity in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But you'll have to watch it to find out why.


Ree/eal Life – I Love Movies


I love movies. I love everything about them. I love hearing about the possibility of one coming out. I love finding out it's coming to a theater near me!  I love buying the popcorn, watching the trailers (though I admit that sometimes I end up enjoying the previews more than the movie I came to see. LOL). Then when the theater lights go down and the screen lights up, there is something magical about the descent into darkness and allowing the vehicle of your imagination to be chauffeured by someone else for a while – see where THEY want to take you and to go along for the ride.

Before the advent of TIVO, online streaming, DVDs or even VHS tapes, I remember, as a kid, biking down to the local grocery store once a week to pick up the latest copy of TV GUIDE! I'd thumb through it – sometimes not even waiting to get home but check it out on the sidewalk outside, in the shade of the awning, straddling my bike keeping it balanced while I scanned the movie titles for that week. I'd scour the list to find out if any movies that I wanted to see, or had missed at the movie theater, were going to be coming on and PRAYED it would not be on an early bedtime school night.

Movies I was not allowed to see at the movie theater I might be allowed to watch on TV because, back then, the sensibilities were less jaded, editing was pretty strict and an R rating would be knocked down to a tolerable PG when shown in the American home between Oreo cookie and Mr. Clean commercials.

The movie would also have to be on a channel we could get with my Dad's pivoting satellite antenna. He had a tower attached to the house and you could control its direction from inside the house, often getting – especially late at night – channels normally FAR outside of the regular viewing geography. Living in New Orleans, why, sometimes we could even get a channel that originated in Baton Rouge!

OK. This REALLY dates me. Boy what I wouldn't have given at that time for just the ability to copy onto a scratchy VHS the badly hacked movies shown on TV, even crudely truncated to make time for the interminable and poorly placed commercials. Because your choices back then were: catch it at the movie theater, see it on TV at a random time assigned by the station and hope it isn't too chopped up to make time for the advertisements, or …………….. Well, there were no other choices. You could read the "Book based on the movie," listen to the sound track on an 8-track cartridge and hope it included snippets of the dialogue, ask a friend with a good memory and gift for story telling to describe it to you….but really….there were no reasonable options. If you loved movies you could get pretty frustrated.

And I love watching movies – and rewatching them. My Dad used to carry around old beloved paperbacks in his back pocket. He said rereading his favorites was like visiting old friends. I feel the same way about movies.

I'm often told I talk too much. I suppose that bleeds into my writing too. I also understand that one shouldn't write into a single post more than one could read while sitting on the — well, while one is otherwise occupied. So, I have broken this rather loquacious blog into a series and see if that is more user friendly. Please let me know if you like this idea better or would rather get it all over with in one swell foop.  🙂 So, as in the old days………….

…..To be continued