LOVE, SIMON Review, TOMB RAIDER Review — Neither is What You Expected

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by Lisa Johnson Mandell

Tomb Raider ReviewLOVE, SIMON Review

If John Hughes were making films today, Love, Simon might be what they’d look like. Although it treats a very current topic, it still has the same warm and shiny innocence of teen films of the ’80’s. Simon could well be the Ferris Bueller for this generation, since there are several nods to his notorious day off in Love, Simon.

Simon (Nick Robinson) tells us in the beginning that he’s an average teen, although his family (mom and dad played perkily by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel) and home are far more gorgeous than average. He’s dealing with a secret: he’s gay, hasn’t told anyone yet, and has no clue on how to come out.

Neither his parents nor his BFFs (with whom he claims to be extremely close) have guessed, and apparently there is only one out kid in his high school, male or female. Oh, and the entire drama department is straight (or closeted, because Simon, of course, is in the high school musical, Cabaret). These are but a few incidences of the film being a wee bit innocent for our time.

Which is not to say it’s not enjoyable to watch. It’s a sweet high school romantic comedy with a blue ribbon pedigree for the genre: directed by Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, The Flash, Supergirl), written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s best selling novel of the same name.

View it as a sweet teen rom com rather than as a strident, reality based social statement, and you’ll be perfectly satisfied.

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 49 Minutes

Tomb Raider ReviewTOMB RAIDER Review

I so did not want to see this film, having had my fill of the video game-based franchise 15 years ago when a vacuous Angelina Jolie donned the skin-tight tank top and fatigues.

So imagine my surprised when I found a rousing, compelling story, and a brand new, resourceful yet down-to-earth Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) leaping onto the scene. This reboot is less about titillating teenage gamers and more about telling the tale of a budding adventuress finding her footing.

And both hero and villain are female for a change, although there are males on both ends of the spectrum as well. Daniel Wu as a good guy and Walton Goggins as a bad guy are particularly fun to watch.

Nothing wrong with a satisfying popcorn movie—especially when it’s least expected.

Rated PG-13

2 Hours 2 Minutes

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by Lisa Johnson Mandell



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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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