Video game adaptations are always controversial, and rarely successful. “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” is no exception, although almost everyone agrees that Jolie was the perfect choice for Lara Croft. While the film may not be great, there’s no denying that this was an iconic role for Jolie, and launched her to a whole new level of stardom. The supporting cast, including Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie as Lara’s staff, are really charming, as is Jolie’s real-life father, Jon Voight, as Lara’s dad.
The cohort of villains is made up of Brits Iain Glen, Julian Rhind-Tutt, and Daniel Craig, who is inexplicably doing an American accent. However, Craig and Jolie’s chemistry is one of the high-points of the movie. With a plot that involves the illuminati and settings that range from Cambodia (which Jolie would form a strong connection to) to Venice and Siberia, the second half of “Tomb Raider” kicks into an entertaining gear after a first half that drags.
Still, this franchise piece was just the beginning for Jolie; while Craig will be associated with Bond for the rest of his life, Jolie’s obituary may not even mention Lara, as her career has taken many twists and turns since she played the digital adventurer.
Winona Ryder leads an impressive ensemble cast in “Girl, Interrupted,” a film by James Mangold that is set in a late ’60s psychiatric hospital. Clea Duvall, Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss, and Jolie play young women on the ward. Jolie won the best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of the sociopathic Lisa, a rebellious and bracingly honest provocateur who continually winds up the staff and other patients.
As often happens in Jolie’s career, this movie is most notable for what it led to offscreen: In 2000, Jolie attended the 2000 Oscars looking like Morticia Addams, with her brother as her date. This is the kind of thing that makes Jolie one of our last great movie stars — she regularly plays around with her public persona, constantly reinventing herself in order to provoke the media.
At the time of its release, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” gained more notoriety for sparking Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s relationship than for the movie itself. As such, it is an interesting time capsule and curiosity, especially when paired in a double bill with “By the Sea,” which bookends the decade that Jolie and Pitt spent together.
The film’s ridiculous premise is that two assassins marry each other as a banal cover for their secret and exciting lives, unaware that they are both technically rivals. A highlight is Michael Kaplan’s costume design, particularly for Jolie. A rewatch might surprise you with regard to how deep the cast goes — “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” contains supporting turns from Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Michelle Monaghan, and Jennifer Morrison.
The couple’s zingy banter and sexual chemistry is enjoyably diverting, especially during a scene in which Pitt and Jolie destroy their perfect suburban home while fighting. Just don’t think too hard about the plot holes.
Similar to “A Mighty Heart,” “Changeling” sees Jolie playing a tireless mother who will not stop searching for her missing son, despite enormous pressure to do so. Based on — you guessed it — a true story, Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling” is set in 1928 and is about a woman who attempts to take on the all-powerful Los Angeles Police Department.
When Christine Collins’ son Walter goes missing, the LAPD finds him in Illinois and returns him, a rare happy story that the department hopes will improve its reputation with the press. The only problem? Christine tells them that this boy is not Walter. When she continues to insist that he’s the wrong boy, the LAPD commits her to a psychiatric ward.
In this Oscar-nominated performance, Jolie brilliantly portrays a gaslit single mother who has no one in her corner, other than a pastor played by John Malkovich. She really finds herself between a rock and a hard place — the more Christine protests, the crazier she seems, but she still refuses to give in. While “Changeling” bears some similarities to “Girl, Interrupted,” this is the role that should have earned Jolie that Oscar.
This content was originally published here.