Movie Diary 3/14/2018

Unforgiven (Sang-il Lee, 2013). A Japanese remake of the Clint Eastwood film, staying close in some ways to the original but also veering off in some intriguing ways (including an ending that creates an arguably more stirring resolution). Ken Watanabe plays the Eastwood role, with appropriate restraint – obviously, the “retired samurai” idea substitutes for former gunfighter. The cast is strong all around, with Koichi Sato a standout in the Gene Hackman part – although they don’t give his character anything like the retirement house Hackman is building, alas. Great sense of place, especially an opening sequence that “does snow” like few movies are able to do snow. Was this ever released in the U.S.?

Tomb Raider (Roar Uthaug, 2018). It helps to have a leading lady who is just a tad more down-to-earth than Angelina Jolie, and Alicia Vikander is that. As action flicks go, the nonsense factor  is high, but the enthusiasm for well-shot cliffhangers is admirable. (full review 3/16)