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





Super Trailmix and 2015 Film Preview

You may have noticed a very reduced rate in Trailmixes. There is a reason for that. I have come to loathe trailers. I don’t watch them anymore. The television shows I watch are 95% on Netflix or Hulu. I’m cutting the fucking cords. Coincidentally, my film going experiences have actually gotten better. No stale jokes. No known plot twists. No expectations. It’s a much better experience. I do however like to look forward to what is going to be coming out in the next year. I’ll ad some trailers in here where I can but for the most part it’ll be a list of what I’m eager to see this year. Have fun.

I’m not going to sort these by release date because some of them don’t have one yet. I’ll just bunch them together. You’ll be fine.

Star Wars : The Force Awakens

Directed By – JJ Abrams
Starring – Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hammill, Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver, and Andy Serkis

Uhhh, yeah, how could this not be the first movie that pops into my head. Sure the prequels were utter failures. Sure I hated Star Trek Into Darkness. I didn’t hate Star Trek though. I also loved Super 8. I love that there is a new cast mixed with our old friends. The trailer, which is only a tease, looks like a film that will mixed practical effects with special effects. This is a good sign. I’m excited for it. I’m not going to watch the full trailer whenever it gets released. The anticipation of what it could look like is enough to get me excited.

Releases December 18th, 2015

Inside Out

Directed By – Pete Doctor
Starring – Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Phyllis Smith

ORIGINAL PIXAR MOVIE! YES! Yeah, I know, Brave was original and disappointing. This however is being directed by the man that gave us Up and Monster’s Inc. This is a very good sign. The voice talent is new and intriguing. I’m a sucker for anything Bill Hader. Hopefully this puts Pixar back on the map for top notch animated films.

Releases June 19th, 2015

Midnight Special

Directed By – Jeff Nichols
Starring – Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Michael Shannon, and Joel Edgerton

A thriller/sci-fi film about a father and son who go o the run after learning the son has special powers, directed by the man who brought us Mud and Take Shelter. Both those films were huge successes in my eyes, especially Take Shelter. That film still haunts my dreams. This was hopefully supposed to be ready last year but has been pushed to the end of this year. Should be great per usual.

Releases November 25th, 2015

Knight of Cups

Directed By – Terrence Malick
Starring – Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Imogen Poots, Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy, and the voice of Ben Kingsley

Terrence Malick makes the best trailers. They’re always so grandiose as if you’re about to see something that will change the way you view the universe. Actually, I think that’s what Malick always aims for. He wants you to think differently after seeing every one of his films. The guy is amazing and surprisingly underrated. You never really hear his name brought up with the great filmmakers working today. It’s a shame. In this film it looks like he’s trying to make a psychological Wolf of Wall Street. Who knows, maybe he’ll tell us the story of Jesus in the middle of it. He does that sometimes. Looks wonderful.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Mad Max : Fury Road

Directed By – George Miller
Starring – Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult

Well, this looks completely bonkers. If anybody else was at the helm of this I wouldn’t be as excited but since Miller is back to direct this, the remake seal of death cannot be slapped on and I have more promise for it. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a wild fucking ride. Seeing Tom Hardy in anything is worth the price of admission really. What’s to lose?

Releases May 15th, 2015

Tomorrowland

Directed By – Brad Bird
Starring – George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, and Judy Greer

The trailer is neat. Okay, I have a very big problem with this film. It’s co-written by Damon Lindelof. Look up my Star Trek review and you’ll see why I have a problem with anything he touches. The dude is just too clever and complex for his own good. He has great ideas but can never seem to carry them out for more than an hour before the whole thing explodes into confetti. I’ll take this trailer with a grain of salt. Still, the trailer is really neat.

Releases May 22nd, 2015

The Hateful 8

Directed By – Quentin Tarantino
Starring – Channing Tatum, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Zoe Bell, and Kurt Fucking Russell

The thoughts I have reserved for Quentin Tarantino go like this…I like he’s an asshole. I think he’s so far up his own asshole that he has become and asshole himself. Like some sort of asshole metamorphosis. Besides that, I also think he’s a fantastic filmmaker. Inglorious Basterds is one of my favorite films of all time alongside Reservoir Dogs. Pulp Fiction gets an ungodly amount of praise but it’s still a bitchin’ film. Quentin just needs to wash the taste of my mouth that he left with the final 25 minutes of Django Unchained. I hated the end so much that I still haven’t rewatched it even though the first two hours were amazing. This film takes place in the West in the post-civil war Wyoming. Finally, he makes a western. It should be a show nonetheless.

Releases November 13th, 2015

Maps to the Stars

Directed By – David Cronenberg
Starring – Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Olivia Williams

Looks like David Cronenberg is finally having a go at a David Lynch film. You’re most likely not going to see any bio-horror like his earlier films or his violent realism like in Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. This looks like a straight psychological thriller. The difference is that Cronenberg is behind the camera. I seriously can’t wait for this one. Julianne Moore is on a roll lately and Robby Pattinson wow’d the shit out of me in The Rover. I wanna see what he does next.

Releases February 27th, 2015

The Sea of Trees

Directed By – Gus Van Sant
Starring – Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Ken Watanabe, and Katie Aselton

Based off of the real Aokigahara Forest in Japan, a forest where hundreds of people go to commit suicide every year, Gus Van Sant gives us a hopefully suspensful and deep film about the value of life. Vice Magazine did a story on The Aokigahara Forest and ever since then I’ve been fascinated. It’s a beautiful forest where people go to die. Fascinating stuff. The fact that Matthew McConaughey is in it is also a big plus.

No Release Date Yet

What We Do in the Shadows

Directed By – Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Starring – Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, and Ben Fransham

This has actually already been released mostly everywhere but the US so I’m adding this because I’ve anted to see it so bad and we still have two weeks to go. Looks hilarious and a welcome back to funny after Flight of the Concords ended so damn long ago. Looks silly as hell.

Releases February 13th, 2015

Jurassic World

Directed By – Colin Trevorrow
Starring – Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jake Johnson

Ahhh, sequels/remakes. They’re never as great as you think they’d be are they? Well, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was fantastic, but that was an anomaly. This one has promise though. First off, it stars Chris Pratt. I love this guy. He’s always hilarious and and always seems to be involved with successful films and shows. The other good sign is that Colin Trevorrow is directing the film. His first film, Safety Not Guaranteed, was a pleasant surprise with a sci fi twist. Hopefully this will surprise me as well.

Releases June 15th, 2015

Ex Machina

Directed By – Alex Garland
Starring – Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac

The writer of 28 Days/Weeks Later and Sunshine is behind the camera for this sci-fi story about artificial intelligence. The whole trailer gave off a very creepy vibe to me. Oscar Isaac is co-starring which is a great reason to see this one.

Releases April 10th, 2015

Crimson Peak

Directed By – Guillermo del Toro
Starring – Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Doug Jones

Haunted House love triangle from Guillermo del Toro? Sign me up please. I actually enjoyed Pacific Rim but I’m glad Del Toro is getting back to his creepy roots. It’s been a while.

Releases October 16th, 2015

The Look of Silence

Directed By – Joshua Oppenheimer

You mean to tell me that there is going to be a follow up to one of the best movies of 2013? Yeah, I’m excited. The Act of Killing was robbed of an Oscar and if this film is anything like it, I’m going to be floored. I urge you guys to see Act of Killing before seeing this. It’s a masterpiece of documentary film making.

Releases July, 2015

Spectre

Directed By – Sam Mendes
Starring – Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Naomi Harris, and Ben Whishaw

I love Sam Mendes. I think that Skyfall is the best looking James Bond film and one of the best films of the series. I’m sad that Judi Dench is no longer involved with the franchise but honestly, it was time. This should be nothing short of awesome. Dave Bautista? We’ll see. Christoph Waltz? Oh, hell yeah.

Releases November 6th, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea

Directed By – Ron Howard
Starring – Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, and Brendan Gleeson

The loved Rush. I thought that Hemsworth was fantastic and can be a fucking star if he isn’t one already. The fact that Howard is now tackling Moby Dick, which to my knowledge hasn’t been done successfully yet, is awesome. Plus, I love boats. This should be fun.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Other titles with minimal information provided…

Sicario – Director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Enemy, Prisoners) tells the tale of a FBI aent trying to catch a drug cartel leader. Stars Emily Blunt, Jon Bernthal, and Josh Brolin.

The Lobster – This is the synopsis. “A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods.” Director Yorgos Lanthimos, wrote made the batshit insane Dogtooth, comes back probably even weirder. I can’t wait.

The Revenant – Alejandro González Iñárritu, fresh off the success of Birdman, directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and the “now in everything cool” Domhnall Gleeson, in a revenge film set in the 1820s frontier. Yeah, that’s fucking awesome. I can’t wait. Official release is January of next year but it will most likely be shown sooner.

Quick Hits : Joe, Tim’s Vermeer, and The Drop

Directed By – David Gordon Green
Starring – Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins, and Adriene Mishler

I got a lot of flack for watching this film. Why? I got flack because it stars Nicolas Cage. Why do people hate him so much? The guy is amazing. Half the films he makes are so shit that I can’t even stand to watch the trailer but then the guy will turn in a brilliant performance that knocks you on your ass. Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona, Matchstick Men, Adaptation, and now Joe, all fantastic films that are anchored by brilliant Nicolas Cage performances. The man is a working actor and work he does. Cage gives a pretty incredible performance as the title character Joe, an ex con who hires a teenager to help him with work. The teen is played by Tye Sheridan who is starring in yet another film where he befriends a man with questionable character. The reason for this befriendment is because the boy’s father, Wade, is pretty much a complete fucking scumbag. The guy had no redeemable qualities and Joe was there to save the boy. Gary Poulter plays Wade and gives a knockout performance despite never acting in a film before and living on the street. Green picked him off the sidewalks to play the role and while he died after the filming of the movie, his performance as Wade will live on forever.

The film is violent, dark, and unrelentingly depressing but also creates an atmosphere and real sense of feeling. It’s a great film made by a filmmaker who seems to be finding his niche again.

4/5

Directed By Penn and Teller
Starring – Tim Jenison

Holy hell did I enjoy this film. By the end I was almost ready to pick up my paint brush and start painting something. Tim Jenison invents TV broadcast equipment and is an all around smart as shit person. One day he decides that he’s going to try to paint a replica of a painting by one of the greatest painter of all time, Johannes Vermeer. A Vermeer is worth millions due to the fact that it is so photo realistic despite being painted almost 400 years ago. Tim, who is not a painter by any means, is going to try to paint a Vermeer solely with the help of a mirror and an ungodly amount of time and patience. There really isn’t much to analyse here. The guy is just fascinating to watch and I was surprised by how well Penn and Teller made this film. Teller filmed it and Penn narrated and I’m sure produced. Those guys are just too talented to exist anymore. It’s like not even fair.

The film is a joy to watch if you’re even slightly into painting and even if you’re not, it’s still a fucking blast. I had a huge smile on my face throughout the whole damn thing. It’s my favorite documentary of the year.

4.5/5

Directed by – Michaël R. Roskam
Starring – Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, and Ann Dowd

I’ve been waiting for this film for a long time. I’m a pretty big fan of Michaël R. Roskam’s Bullhead and own it on Blu Ray. When the trailer dropped and I saw that it was adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel I got even more excited. When I found out it has the last on screen appearance of James Gandolfini I marked my calender. The fact that some of my favorite European actors are in it as well certainly added to my anticipation. Well, consider the film a success but one that came with a few flaws. The acting in the film was top notch anchored by Hardy and Gandolfini. We seriously lost a serious talent in Gandolfini who was really coming into his own. It’s a shame we lost him. Hardy builds on his already stellar year with yet another deep and solid performance. I just had a few issues with the story arch and the fact that there are basically two stories to focus on that somehow intertwince by the films end. I enjoyed the film a lot, but the story just wasn’t as good as Lehane’s previous work such as Mystic River or Shutter Island. The camera work and acting however are top notch.

3.5/5

Biscuits & Trail Mix

Sorry for the wait. It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been pretty busy lately with work, friends, family and things like finally picking up a book and and football starting (NINERS! YEAH!). Here’s some biscuits…

– I have seen a few movies recently that I chose not to write about due to lack of either interest or procrastination. These films include Freaks, The Arbor, and Blow Up. I just didn’t find a lot to write about with these ones even though I really did enjoy Freaks. The Arbor and Blow-Up were a bit disappointing.
– Has anybody been to the fucking movie theater recently? Ugggghhhh I hate September. Thankfully there are some great films coming out soon including The Drop, The Skeleton Twins, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, and Tusk. Some of those trailers and more will be below.
– Did I mention football? I may be more 49er fan than movie nerd. It’s been a passion of mine for about fifteen years now. They kicked the shit out of Tony Romo yesterday so I’m pretty happy.
– Please check out my 2014 Films page and see if you missed any great films from the beginning of the year. They may be out on home video now. I know that Only Lovers Left Alive and Enemy are. That is reason enough.

Here are some trailers until I get some time to watch my next film. I should be watching “Korengal” tomorrow night. The first are all coming out in the next three weeks.

September 12th

Yeah, I literally can’t wait for this. I love Tom Hardy. I love James Gandolfini. I love Noomi Rapace. I love and own “Bullhead”. I love Dennis Lehan adaptions. You know, this is probably going to suck and ruin all this hype I built up for myself but I’ve read that there were standing ovations at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival” so I’m expecting brilliance. Plus, that puppy is adorable.

September 12th

I laughed…A LOT…during this preview. Two of my favorite funny people being funny. Sign me up.

September 12th

There’s something about this one that intrigues me. Maybe it’s the acting or maybe because…

The project has one of the most unique structures in cinema. It was shot as a two-part movie, which follows the story of the couple played by James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain from both of their point of view. The two films premiered in 2013 at the Toronto Film Festival. After the premiere, although it received rave reviews, Ned Benson started cutting the movie again, as a one feature, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. All three movies received a theatrical release.

I have no idea how I’m going to see this but I’m going too.

September 19th

Justin Long acting like a jackass? Haley Joel Osment as a fat radio DJ? Walrus experiment? Michael Fucking Parks? Sign me up.

September 19th

Looks weird as shit. I love Gilliam. I’ll be seeing this. From the trailer, it looks like Christoph Waltz was made for this role. Also, did I see Tilda Swinton with another mouth piece and weird accent? Every movie should be doing this now. Every one.

October 10th

Looks like a crazy psychotic ride on the JK Simmons train. Miles Teller is turning into a great actor and this should be his best role yet. It won the grand jury prize at Sundance by the way.

October 17th

This is my movie. If this isn’t my favorite movie of the year I’m going to be very disappointed. The return of Michael Keaton to actual prominence. It is apparently edited to look like a single take, like, the entire fucking film. I’m going to nerd out ALL over this.

October 31st

I think this film is going to disturb and entertain me while also driving in the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal is only beginning to become one of the best actors of our time. He looks bonkers in this film and I love that.

Film Review : Locke (2014)

IMDB Score – 7.2
Rotten Tomato Score – 88%

Directed By – Steven Knight
Starring – Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Ben Daniels

Ivan Locke, a dedicated family man and successful construction manager, receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his careful cultivated existence.

I kind of want to go out and buy a BMW now. They look like they’re comfortable to drive and the whole scroll dial is pretty awesome. Yes, I realize this is a film blog and that I’m talking about a car, but Locke could really double as an 85 minute BMW commercial. The film was shot entirely in the car with Tom Hardy being the only actor to appear on screen. I’ve tackled films like this before. I actually find them supremely interesting due to the fact that the writer has to make an interesting film that takes place in only one place. Locke may actually be the most unique due to the fact that Tom Hardy never gets out of the car and there are literally no action scenes. The entire film is constructed around phone calls that our main and only character has with various people in his life. It was marketed as a thriller or at least that is how I took it, but let me assure you, this is not a thriller. This is a one man play and it’s played beautifully by Tom Hardy.

Locke has made a decision and he’s going to stick to it. The film centers around his decision to drive out to London after work in order to be with somebody. This decision is one that threatens to lose him his job and family but Ivan Locke is a good man and he feels this is the right thing to do. The theme of the film seems to be morality and what is the difference between a good and a bad thing. Do good actions made after bad decisions right the ship? I know that in my experience, it can go both ways. I’ve made mistakes before in my life and had to work extremely hard to fix them. Some things are unfixable. I’ve also had problems seemingly disappear on me as if they have never happened. Ivan Locke is a man who likes to take the practical approach to solve his problems. He’s one of the most respected and reliable men at his construction job. He’s the one people can trust because he’s going to do the job right every single time. What happens when that kind if person hurts somebody thought? The film dances around these questions and tries to find some sort of an answer that for me at least, never really came. Life isn’t that structured and Locke figures this out by the end of the film.

Fresh off his memorable role in The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy, who looks much skinnier than his Bane character, pretty much knocked this one out of the park. I’ve been reading critic reviews that claim that it’s one of the better performances of the last couple years and I’m inclined to agree. The film was shot over six days in which Hardy had to recite the entire film twice a night. The actors who engage with him on the phone are really doing so in a hotel room and Hardy drives along the highway with cameras trained on him. It’s a fascinating way to make a movie but you really need that strong performance to pull it all together. Hardy did just that. His range of emotions was on full display and he really was able to sell this character as being a genuine person. Locke is a brutally honest man and Hardy was able to portray that with eye movement that didn’t come off false. There were a couple scenes involving his father that seemed a bit out of place but they were needed for back story and I was able to shrug them off.

The film overall held my attention and was able to keep me very intrigued the whole way through. Tom Hardy should, but probably won’t, get recognition for this role. It may actually be his best yet. Actually, no, Charlie Bronson can’t be matched. It’s just too good. The film is shot gorgeously in the night as well and the script ws pretty solid and fluid. It was a good watch. I’d recommend it.

4/5