Mad Max: Fury Road

There’s just something about a post-apocalyptic nightmare landscape featuring a lone warrior with a chip on his shoulder, fast cars, scantily clad females, and leather jackets–torn and frayed or not–that are appealing to me, and apparently lots of other folk. I’ve seen all the Mad Max flicks, with Road Warrior the standout favorite. With Mel Gibson now too old to properly play Max again, I assumed the series had run its course years ago and was surprised, pleasantly I might add, to see previews for a new Mad Max movie. The trailers looked intense, so when the opportunity came available, I drove my own sleek metal machine down the darkened roads to my local cinema.

After the interminable parade of previews which demonstrated that yes, people still make horror and slasher flicks, I was transported to the desert world of some not too distant future and a car chase soon ensued. I was then assaulted by the chaotic visual stimulus that would go on for the next two hours. I don’t need a deep, thought provoking plot to enjoy myself and I certainly don’t expect one from this kind of movie. But I will say that the three previous Max’s had a storyline that more or less worked. I can’t say that about IV.

Here’s my down and dirty summary:

  • Visually stunning.
  • Mutants.
  • Lots of cars.
  • Chase scenes.
  • More chase scenes.
  • No one eats, or seems to have access to any food of any kind, yet well muscled physiques abound.
  • Max is a man of very few words. Like seriously, very few.
  • Charlize Theron steals the show.
  • A plot twist that made me look at my watch and think, “oh please, not again.”
  • A building sensation that one possibly did not spend two hours in a meaningful way.
  • The pointless, meaninglessness of life. Oh wait, that’s just life in general.

I’m left with a sense of loss for what was the Mad Max semi-cult phenomenon. Fury Road could have been something if they’d just had a story to tell to go with the bombastic onslaught of gasoline fueled mayhem. 24 hours later, there are handful of things that still come to mind about it, so there’s that, but dammit it should have been more.

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Post Script

I have since watched the movie again, at home, in the comfort of my bed and was able to actually hear most of the dialogue, which was inscrutable in the theater’s overly loud, and apparently distorted sound system. The plot, which seemed so thin without being able to discern the conversations adequately, took a bit more shape for which I am grateful and relieved. My second viewing was a far different experience from the first, and the moral of the story is a message to all cinemas: Don’t cut costs at the expense of your sound system. You will pay dearly for it.

Sleeping Beauty

I will state at the outset that I am a fan of Angelina’s. She has the elusive “something about her” that strikes a chord with me and always has. So when I saw the first advertisement for Maleficent, with Angie peeking out from the trees and saying “then you’ll be afraid” in that sultry voice, I knew I’d be seeing the movie.

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A Facebook friend checked in at Maleficent midday yesterday which alerted me that the film had released. I had no other plans, and so I grabbed my wallet and keys and ran out the door. I thought I might’ve made a mistake when I arrived to a theater filled with children and families. The advertisements were all for video games and Cartoon Network programming, so I was concerned that I would have yet another film that I started, but was unable to watch. When the Disney castle finally hit the screen, my concern peaked.

I think part of me knew that it was a Disney film, but because I don’t have television at home, I’m not bombarded with ads, trailers and the like and somehow it slipped my mind. I opted for the flat screen version vs. the 3D, which is typically how I roll, but the 3D was also showing at 9:55 PM and that’s a bit late for my temperament. I settled in to my last row seat and prepared myself for the eye-rolling. It was not to be.

It’s almost needless to say at this point in film technology, but the effects were stunning. Visually beautiful, it was like an amusement park for the eyes and captured my interest through the early portion of the movie where the story had to be set up. I was unaware that it was based on Sleeping Beauty until much later in the film. Angelina appears fairly quickly in the movie as we skate through Maleficent’s early days and she is a powerful presence on the screen.  We are quickly reminded that human beings are treacherous, greedy and deceitful,which Maleficent painfully discovers. She learns how to be vengeful fairly quickly and there are delicious moments that I’m sure Angelina relished in.

It’s a darker Disney film than I’m accustomed to, but if you really think about it, most fairly tales and fables are pretty dark, so perhaps we shouldn’t try to pretty them up. Life can be cruel and people can be spectacularly awful to each other, so depicting them true to form is likely the best way to prep our little tikes for the horrors that lie ahead.

Go see this movie.

Noah-A Review before The Flood

I’ve long been a fan of Russell Crowe and casting him against his Beautiful Mind costar Jennifer Connelly gave Noah some attractive star power to entice me to see it. But it wasn’t enough. The story of the annihilation of the human race by an invisible, all-powerful and all-knowing cloud creature is so childish, that even that kind of acting powerhouse duo couldn’t tempt me to take a bite of its apple. I’ll admit I was curious to see how they’d put two of every animal on a boat in the middle of a Middle Eastern desert, and how they’d portray a 600-year old Noah doing the heavy lifting to build a wooden boat that conceivably could hold a menagerie of 10 million or so creatures. But not curious enough to go see it.

I began seeing the reviews of the movie online, and they were focused, for the most part, on comparing the film to the Biblical version of the story. It seems the screenwriter, director and producers took plenty of poetic license and tried to make environmental and cultural statements relative to the modern era in the film, and this piqued my curiosity just a bit more.

Finally, bored and sleepy at 6:00PM on a Sunday, I suddenly decided I’d go to the movies. I still wasn’t sold on Noah, but there wasn’t anything else I considered an option. So the time had come to decide and I decided in favor of genocide. I should have gone to see The Muppets.

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