Friday, May 15, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Director: George Miller

Writers: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris

Composer: Junkie XL

Staring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abby Lee, Courtney Eaton, John Howard, Richard Carter

More info: IMDb

Tagline: What a lovely day.

Plot: 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.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Wow.  It's hard to think that it's been 30 years since MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985).  I'd like to have had one sooner but better late than never.  It's a really fun flick that keeps the action going almost non-stop.  Seriously, it's practically a two-hour car chase and the action is fantastic.  I loved that Miller went with is much on-camera practical effects as he did.  The quality shows and it feels more grounded in real life for as much as these stunts look and feel like they're real.  Some of the CGI is obvious but I don't care.  Oh, and there are a nice number of neat and unexpected deaths.  It's a great, fun Summer ride and I'm glad I caught it on the big screen first (in 2D and it looks great...I can't see how 3D would help it much).  Theron gives a good performance.  I've got so much respect for her.  For being one of the most beautiful actresses (and talented) out there, she has no problem making herself look weathered and beaten.  Aside from all of the great stunts and barren desert location shooting, there are a couple of things worth pointing out.  Tom Hardy doesn't have nearly enough to do to the point of wondering about calling it a Mad Max movie.  He does fine in the role I guess but there's not much room for acting for him in this picture.  There were a few moments where he had that look that would fit right in as Indiana Jones.  The role of Max was close to generic as so much as there are a slew of actors that could have done the role and it wouldn't have mattered much.  I would've liked to have seen more Max.  Still, despite those minor nit picks, it's a thrilling ride that comfortably fits into the Mad Max universe.  If you're wondering where it fits in the scheme of things, it's not as good as MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981), one of the greatest action movies EVER, and it's a damn sight better than THUNDERDOME.  One thing that would've made this picture better is having Mel Gibson back in the role despite his age and shitty racist comments.  That would have been fucking awesome!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon

Composers: Danny Elfman, Brian Tyler

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris elba, Stellan Skarsgard

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A new age begins

Plot: When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it's up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

A funny thing happened on the way to the build-up of waiting all this time for the sequel to THE AVENGERS (2012) no point was I all that excited.  I loved the first one and I've dug the various character franchise films (not so much on the Thor pictures).  But I couldn't get thrilled to see this movie.  I just returned from seeing it in Imax 3D (the 3D is OK and it didn't feel like it's a must-see in 3D).  It's a good and worthy follow-up to the first film.  All of the characters get their moments in the spotlight and James Spader's voice work is fantastic.  I REALLY dug Ultron.  I could've used more thanks to Spader's performance.  It was great seeing Andy Serkis in a minor part that felt like more of an extended scene than anything else but it was still fun and I'm glad it made the final cut.  We get action from the get-go and a nice little string of reveals for each character and their badassitudeness.  Caps is still my favorite.  There are little bits that annoy me like when Maximoff (Taylor-Johnson) does that sideways head snap thing when he's about to cut loose on a foe.  I hate that shit.  This is a darker film than the first with a lot less humor which kind of hurts the picture.  I loved the tone of the first film and the playfulness the characters had.  That's mostly gone here.  It's still a very good movie despite its shortcomings.  I read this week that Whedon wanted to release his 3.5 hour cut and said that there would be an extended edition on the home video release.  I hope so.  I'd like to spend more time with these kids.  Once you see the Thanos bit shortly after the end credits roll, there's no need to stay since they didn't include an after-the-credits bit at the tail end.  All you get is "The Avengers will return".  And I had to pee so fucking bad. I was pissed (figuratively) that I waited through 4,000 names for nothing.