Archive for May, 2015

Movie Review – “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Photo from Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s been a week since I saw Mad Max: Fury Road, and I can’t really explain why I’ve sat on this review for so long, other than I just don’t really know what to say about this movie. It’s ridiculous. All sorts of ridiculous. I guess a good way to describe what I really think is to attempt to transcribe what I was thinking when watching one of the many action set pieces.

(The bad guy, Immortan Joe, has just rounded up a war party to go searching for Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa)

Wow, that’s a lot of dudes to go searching for one woman. And they’re all kinda psycho. Woah, is that Tom Hardy strapped to the hood of that dude’s car? That’s crazy.

WTF. There’s this truck full of taiko drummers. Guess they’re getting this little army amped up for battle.

Wait. Is that a wall of speakers in front of those drummers? Is that truck basically made of speakers and amps? That’s nuts.

Hold up. Hold the #$%^ up. Is that a guitar player shredding on his guitar in front of that wall of speakers? Oh wait, no, he’s suspended in front of the wall of speakers. HE’S DANGLING IN FRONT OF A WALL OF SPEAKERS WHILE RIDING ON THIS TRUCK WITH DRUMMERS BANGING AWAY BEHIND HIM. AND HE’S SHREDDING CRAZY GUITAR RIFFS.

Oh, oh, now his guitar spits fire. IT SPITS  #$%^-ING FIRE.

Alright, the chase is on. There’s these hedgehog or porcupine-looking cars trying to kill Charlize Theron. Now there’s cars crashing all over the place.

Oh damn, Tom Hardy can’t do a damn thing tied to the hood of that car. And now that car is trying to crash into Charlize Theron. This is nuts. Now they’re throwing explosive spears all over the place.

Now there’s dudes hanging from long-ass sticks trying to get on top of Charlize Theron’s truck. It’s like a damned Cirque du Soleil show up in this ish.

There’s a sandstorm coming. Damn, nature, you scary.

Oh shiznit, they’re actually going to drive into that storm. Oh hell, there’s lightning and tornadoes all over the place.

IS THAT #$%^-ING TORNADO ON FIRE?

How the hell is Tom Hardy still alive?

How is anyone alive?

WHAT AM I WATCHING?!

Photo from Rotten Tomatoes.

And I was smiling for the entire movie.

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May 15, 2015 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

Movie Review – “Maggie”

It’s a common trope in zombies movies these days to feature a scene where the hero hesitates before having to kill a loved one who has recently turned into one of the undead. This may only last for a minute or so, but eventually the hero gathers his or her wits, and proceeds to mercifully kill what was once their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/brother/sister/etc. Now, imagine that one scene as the entire movie. No running from a horde of zombies, no scrambling to find shelter or supplies. Just the inevitable moment where the hero must act on the obvious – or not.

That’s the premise of Maggie, an apocalyptic zombie drama starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. And it works, mostly. Ahnuld plays against his type for this film, portraying a father dealing with his daughter’s eventual turn into one of the undead. The daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, knows what’s going to happen to her and is trying to live the last few days of her life as normally as possible.

A lot of attention for this film is being focused on The Governator’s low-key performance. Ever since returning to acting, Arnold’s films have mostly been what you’d expect: him spouting one-liners, shooting some guns, and generally causing mayhem. But here, he’s quiet, reserved, and I think only fires a gun once throughout this whole movie. It’s a performance that probably won’t win any awards, but is captivating to watch. Schwarzenegger’s sheer screen presence is enough to draw your eyes to him, regardless of whatever else is going on in the frame.

Abigail Breslin’s performance is also solid. I would expect the character to be heroic in some way – defiantly resisting the urge to turn and eat flesh and doing whatever she can to hold on to her humanity. Hold on she does, but also in a reserved way that plays well with Arnold’s quiet mannerisms. Breslin is still just trying to live her life by hanging out with friends, arguing with her parents. Basically, being a teenager.

Image from Rotten Tomatoes.

What really struck me was how serious the movie took its subject matter. On the surface, it’s a zombie movie, but it could really be described as a close-knit family dealing with one of its members becoming terminally ill. Replace any mentions of a zombie plague with “cancer” or some other terrible real-world illness, and the effect is similar. Regardless of the cause, this movie is about a father watching his daughter slowly die. Now tell me that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye.

Although I could easily recommend this movie to most people, a few things do prevent it from being perfect. The ending is a little unsatisfying, the pacing in the last third feels a little off, and there’s just a bit too much handheld camerawork for my taste (I get it, this is a low-budget indie film. I’m sure you can still afford a tripod, but props to director Henry Hobson and DP Lukas Ettlin for some otherwise beautiful imagery). Still, it’s an interesting movie especially for Ahnuld aficionados like myself. He may not be blasting away terminators or trying to freeze Batman to death, but it’s fun watching Arnold, you know, act in a movie.

May 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment


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