Film Review : Mad Max Fury Road (2015)

It’s opening night, so ratings aren’t really needed. The reviews are unbelievably good though

Directed By – George Miller
Starring – Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, JOsh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, John Howard, and Richard Carter

In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.

For the first time since The Dark Night, I have dragged myself out to a theater to see a big name film on opening night. I just don’t do it. I like to get to the theater on dead nights and a week or two after the film has come out. It’s just quieter. For some reason I really wanted to see this film as soon as I could due to all the rave reviews I’ve been seeing so far. Rave reviews for an R rated reboot/sequel of a franchise that hasn’t had a film in over 20 years? Yeah, I had to see it. I’m glad I did. It ended up being a fucking blast.

I haven’t seen a Mad Max film since high school. I think a bunch of us sat down and just put them on one after the other and got drunk. That being said, I’m not a huge fan of the universe. The movies were great. Don’t get me wrong. I just wasn’t part of the culture of Mad Max. I was always a Water World type of person.

That’s a joke.

George Miller’s return to non-dancing/talking animals is pretty special. I don’t think I’ve seen a resurrection like this in a long ass time. The film was kick fucking ass. I can’t really call myself a huge action film person. I love story and character development and most of them are missing those two elements. A good handful of films have been able to not only include those two qualities, but also deliver some breathtaking set pieces to go along with it. I’m a fan of the last two Planet of the Apes films. The Batman trilogy was solid. The original Die Hard is one of my favorite films. Besides Batman, I like my action films without superheroes. It’s no surprise that I ended up liking this film so much. As completely batshit insane this movie was, I didn’t really get a sense that none of it could ever happen. The action was somewhat realistic, if we were to ever get as savage as these people that is.

To be honest, I didn’t really understand what the hell was going on for the first ten minutes or so of the film. It was a little jarring to just be shoved into this world of huge lady breast feeding, white zombie looking fellas, and roving marauders with no fear of death. Thankfully this wasn’t a huge deal. I quickly learned that I didn’t need to know anything about this world that they were in. The planet is shit and most people are shit. Here’s a truck with Charlize Theron in it. Go! I was on board.

Speaking of Charlize Theron, this is her movie. I know it is called Mad Max. I know that Tom Hardy was very good in the lead role, but I wasn’t way more drawn to Theron as Furiosa. She’s the one that started this whole movie into overdrive. Hell, without her, Max would still be a hood ornament. The fact that was kicked just as much ass as Max while only having one arm was also a major draw in. I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie that completely focused on her. Theron was that good.

The action was pretty phenomenal. There were some quiet scenes that pushed the story forward a little bit but for the most part the audience is treated to balls to the fucking floor action. Like a nine year old’s Legos box, the vehicles that came from left to right over the course of the movie ranged from terrifying to hilarious. You had spiked cruisers, sand bikes, teeter totter trucks, and my favorite of all, the sound trailer. I wonder how my man got the job on the guitar? Dude has it made. Actually, Miller was able to not only show us an insane character like the guitar marauder, but his inclusion actually helped make the score more intense. I was on the edge of my seat during these car chases.

If you want to have more films like this in theaters, then go see this movie. Huge budget rated R films don’t happen a thousand times a year. Go and see this film to show that there is an audience for these kind of movies. Go see the film because it’s looney-bin crazy too. That’s also a reason to go.

4.5/5





Film Review : Non-Stop (2014)

IMDB Score – 7.1
Rotten Tomato Score – 60%

Directed By – Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring – Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, and Lupita Nyong’o

An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.

Back when I was working at the theater, I had an employee whose movie opinion I was constantly frustrated with but at the same time respected. He loved films I hated and hated films I loved, but always explained his reasoning with sound logic. When this film came out I was convinced it was going to just be another vehicle for Liam Neeson to be a badass and fuck up bad guys. I knew it wasn’t going to be like “The Grey” which was one of the better winter releases of the last couple years. I expected something along the lines of Taken 2 meets Red Eye. My friend lauded the tense build up and reveal being unexpected. Well, he one of those two things correct and one entirely wrong. The latter ended up ruining the entire film for me.

The synopsis above pretty much sums up the plot. Liam Neeson plays an alcoholic air marshall who has zero people skills unless it involves making little girls happy. Julianne Moore literally plays one of the most useless characters I’ve ever seen on film. He character was not needed in ANYTHING. She served no purpose to the plot other than to shift the suspicion from time to time and to be a person Liam Neeson has to save. Julianne Moore is completely wasted in this movie. In fact, the whole cast is pretty much wasted besides Neeson, who still wasn’t that great. Lupita Nyong’o, who won a fucking Oscar, has maybe three or four speaking lines in the entire film, and the ones she has are lines that could have been given by anybody. It’s just really strange how misused the entire cast was.

Despite the cast, the first half of the movie was actually pretty damn engaging and creative. The use of the text messaging, while annoying to most, actually didn’t bother me that much. I was intrigued by how this person was killing people and still being able to text while doing so. Is it stupid? Hell yeah it is, but I was still sucked into figuring it out. The 180 that both the trailer and the synopsis spoils made for some interesting plot devices and I actually wanted to know how Liam Neeson was going to get out of it.

Then the final third started to happen. We start to learn who the real criminal is and I was lost. It was such a disappointment when the big shocker of a twist happens and all I could think was “Really?”. The action in the last third was completely bonkers and the whole problem with the cast came into full play because I didn’t care about anybody anymore. It ruined the whole film for me.

There were ultimately some good techniques used in the first half of the film. The end and the fact that none of the characters had any depth save for Liam Neeson and you really start to lose your audience. It ended up being an average film with a shit ending. I wouldn’t waste your time unless it’s on cable and you have nothing better to do.

2/5



Classic Film Review : The Killer (1989)

IMDB Score – 8.10
Rotten Tomato Score – 100%

Directed By – John Woo
Starring – Yun-Fat Chow, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh, Kong Chu, Kenneth Tsang, and Fui-On Shing

A disillusioned assassin accepts one last hit in hopes of using his earnings to restore vision to a singer he accidentally blinded, only to be double-crossed by his boss.

Am I an asshole? Am I an asshole for not liking this film? Look at those ratings. 8.0? 100%? I’m going to just assume that I’m a horrible person for thinking this film was one of the cheesiest things I’ve ever watched. I’m a bad person and you should stop reading. Seriously John Woo? SHRIMP HEAD?

I’ll be honest off the bat, I haven’t seen many Woo films. Growing up I had a steady dosage of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, but anything related to John Woo fell by the wayside. I’ve seen his American films but this was my first dive into his films with Chow Yun Fat. It started poorly.

First let me state that the police in this film are horrible. They may possibly be the most insanely inept squad of men I’ve seen in film. They let people get assassinated easier than whoever ran the parade in Dallas. Chow Yu Fat was sitting on a boat with a gun pointed at a very important man whom the police force KNEW could be assassinated and nobody spotted him. They were at a goddamn rowing race. There was literally a thousand people watching the water and they couldn’t see Chow Yun Fat with a bad mustache and a rifle. Then when a bullet blasted through his head, they covered him up and said he fainted. I could have spread that cheese on toast.

The whole film was cheese. The WHOLE film. Woo tried to portray serious emotion but when one of the characters is screaming over the loss of his buddy Shrimp Head, yeah you lost me. The movie also suffered from cliche action movie tropes such as endless ammo, endless villains, and endless times you get shot in the chest before you die. I guess I should be appreciating the action scenes and taking an 80s film for what it’s worth but I’m not going to do that. I hope Hard Boiled is better than this or I’m not even going to touch John Woo again.

Wait, Red Cliff was fucking awesome. This must have just been a mistake. Also, I know get the John Woo dove jokes now. I have arrived to that level of movie reference.

1.5/5



Film Review : Godzilla (2014)

IMDB Score – 7.2
Rotten Tomato Score – 73%

Directed By – Gareth Edwards
Starring – Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche, and Bryan Cranston

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Finally.

I finally got around to seeing this film. It was my umber one most anticipated movie until I found out about “The Rover” and I decided to wait until the crowd died down to see it. Leaving the theater, I felt both satisfied and a bit underwhelmed, but overly glad I saw it. The film was given mostly good reviews but the bad ones seriously bashed the film for being poorly written, slow, and seriously lacking a gigantic creature from which the title gets it name. While all three are true in their own right, there are a lot of good things that happened in this film that left me wanting to see it again one day, and from hating the shit out of it.

Let me get this out of the way first. Bryan Cranston is amazing. He was easily the best part of the entire film and I’m including all the action, all the monsters, all the everything. The fact that he wasn’t in the film for all that much just goes to show how well he did because his character was the only one that I cared about and it wasn’t because of the writing. It was because of him. He gave a heart wrenching and intense performance. We all know how well he played Walter White. Hell, that character may go down as the greatest television character of all time when all said and done, but the man can flat out kill it in other roles. I hope this run of spotlight roles are an open window to him being used in more films because he alone is worth the price of admission. He was the best part of the film.

Besides him, the cast did what they needed to do. Juliette Binoche was in this for three minutes. “Happy Birthday! Okay, bye.” Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen were acceptable in their roles as a young husband and wife and Johnson did well in carrying the action. They needed a Japanese guy in this film and they got the most Japanese guy who we can almost understand in Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins just kind of followed him around. Cranston shined while the others just sort of glistened every once and a while.

The action! The action was pretty fucking awesome. I think I may have been one of the small minority of people to have actually seen (and own) Gareth Edwards first film aptly named “Monsters”, a low budget sci-fi flick with minimal action but gorgeous scenes of destruction. Well, they did a great job in hiring Edwards because I thought he directed the shit out of this. The film looked great. The pivotal scenes of monster on monster action were incredible and while they were few and far in between, delivered when present. I wish we saw a bit more Godzilla but the end justified the mean because the big fucking lizard out on a show for the last 20 minutes or so. I was almost cheering for ol’ lizard brain to crush more things. The evil monsters also had their own cool moments. They kind of reminded me of the bugs from “Starship Troopers” meets the thing from “Cloverfield”. That’s a good thing. They were both awesome. The reason why I was so excited for the film, the Halo jump, exceeded my expectations in being fucking gorgeous, intense, and creepy as shit. I mean, they used the goddamn music from 2001 when the monkeys discovered the monolith. I believe Wendy Carlos did that score but I’m not sure. It was dark and unnerving and a perfect compliment to the jump sequence. It was my favorite action set piece of the film.

There are faults though. The writing was pretty lazy and all over the place. I’ve always hated bringing in children during an action film for a couple reasons. The biggest reason is that you have to find a way for the damn kid to get saved. You think people wouldn’t get scared when a child is about to get killed because they rarely ever do on screen but no, everybody goes “OH NO. SAVE HIM.” It’s unnecessary and just distracting from the actual plot of the film. Unless you’re going to kill the kid and be original for once, leave that scene on the cutting floor. It’s a cheap way to create tension in a film with HUGE FUCKING MONSTERS THAT COULD CREATE TENSION.

There was also a complete lack of logic and results of a monster destroying an entire city. Everybody just kind of gets up afterwards and was like, “shit, a building just fell on me. That sucks.” This was more towards the end of the film but it still ticked me off.

Overall I enjoyed the film. I was into it any time there were monsters or Bryan Cranston on the screen and meh’d by it when there wasn’t. It still was a great sophomore film by Gareth Edwards and I hope he tackles more action movies in the future.

3/5

Suggested Viewing – The Host, Monsters, Pacific Rim




My Experience with The Raid 2

<img src="” alt=”” />

Okay, so I had a disappointing night. If you regularly read my work then you’ll notice something is off. My usual set up of details regarding the movie is absent and I titled this in a very odd way. There is a reason for that. Tonight was honestly one of the most disappointing and frustrating nights of movie watching I have ever had. I’m going to start off by getting this out of the way…

I didn’t finish the movie. I walked out. I have only ever walked out of a movie once before (The Informant) and I am still in disbelief that I did. I don’t understand what went wrong. I’m going to try to figure it out in this post but I give you all fare warning, I’m going to spoil, in small ways, the first half of the film. I do however have a favor to ask of you…

IF YOU HAVE SEEN THIS FILM IN IT’S ENTIRETY AND DISAGREE WITH ME THEN PLEASE…PLEASE…COMMENT AND CHANGE MY MIND.

I honestly need you guys to convince me to go back and see the end of the film because I wanted to love this movie so much but I just couldn’t sit in the theater any longer. I left with about an hour left in the film and I need you guys to tell me it becomes badass in that last hour. There just has to be more but I honestly couldn’t take how bored I was any longer. I looked at my phone and realized that I had another hour and change left and I just couldn’t sit there any longer. Now, let me preface the following words by saying I did not think that this is a bad film. There is a huge difference between a bad film and a boring disappointment and “The Raid 2” was that of the latter. Now, let’s get into this so I can flush out the sadness…

So, like many of you, I loved The Raid. I think it is the best action movie since “The Matrix” and is my top five favorite action movies of all time. I didn’t care that the story was lacking or that the acting was amateur at best. I loved the fact that somebody made a balls to the wall fighting film that rarely let up and didn’t bow its head to Hollywood tropes and actually let the villains get away with some evil shit. I loved the fact that one of the main cops dies. I loved that I was rooting for one of the villains during most of the fights. I just couldn’t get enough of the film. So, naturally, when I heard the sequel was finished and that it was two and a half hours long, I salivated. I thought, if this is anything like the first film, but longer, that I would lose my shit. I refrained from seeing trailers in an attempt to go into the film totally blind and get my face rocked off. The podcasts that I listen to praised the film and the small lot of you guys that have seen the film gave positive reviews. I was ready. I just can’t believe I ended up walking out.

So the film starts off about two hours after the first film ended. This is deceiving because it really only takes place in that time period for about ten minutes before we’re thrown into a plot that is so boring and confusing that I honestly didn’t know what the hell I was watching. Our hero, Rama, has now been persuaded into an undercover position in order to protect his family so he spends two years in a prison getting to know the younger son our a local politician/crime boss. What follows plot wise, and takes up most of the film, is a boring and horribly written story that is trying very hard to be compelling but I could honestly give a shit. Where are my fight scenes? Where are my adrenaline filled, blood pumping, boner inducing fight scenes that I was given in the first Raid? I just didn’t get it. By the time I left there were three fight scenes that had moments of glory but ultimately left me unsatisfied in a way that some people experience blue balls. I was being prodded with glorious fight scenes for five minutes only to be left with talking for another twenty. It was an hour and fifteen minutes of tease. I just couldn’t handle it. I had to leave. I was going to fall asleep or worse, completely punch out of the film, so I folded. There wasn’t even any music in the film. Mike Shinoda contributed a hell of a lot to the first film by giving an intense and fun techno score that added to the fun. There was so much silence in this film that I almost fell asleep. The final straw was the fact that the man who played my favorite character in the first film, Mad Dog, was in this movie, as a completely different person. Let me rephrase the fact that this movie takes place in the same universe and directly after the events of the first film. Having the same actor, and having it be obvious, be in the sequel after he fucking dies, is just stupid. I had enough. I left.

Now, the management staff was kind enough to give me a pass to return and I do plan on revisiting and finishing the film. I ask you though to please help me get back there sooner. Does the film get better? Is the last half hour an incredible display of fighting badassery that I missed because I’m a snobby asshole? Please let me know in the comments because my disappointment was just too much to handle tonight.

I will post a full review if I ever return to this film. Please help me do so.