Movie Reviews: Mad Max Fury Road


Mad Max Fury Road directed by George Miller

When I first heard that they were making a new Mad Max film, I honestly rolled my eyes. Hollywood is obsessed with sequels and franchise reboots and reimaginings of old stories and the first thought that came to mind was that the only way I would be interested is if they stayed true to the old movies and brought back Mel Gibson. Yes, I know what you are thinking, but come on, let’s move on. They are actors and I can separate a role and a personal life. What I wanted was something after Beyond Thunderdome because that was the movie I liked growing up.

Then I heard Mel Gibson wasn’t going to be in it. What?

I didn’t know what to expect, but part of me was a bit childish in protest. Recasting an iconic movie character from my childhood should be second nature these days, but I dismissed George Miller and his vision in protest.

Then I heard Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy were starring. Hmm … okay, this was interesting.

Then I caught the trailer for it … and it took 30 minutes to pick my jaw up from the floor. Holy damn shit. I was back on the George Miller bandwagon. The uncompromising art. The vision. The practical effects. He was going to blow away one of the greatest live action car chases ever done in the original Mad Max.

I was excited and pumped.

When I finally saw it, the first 30 minutes blew me away. This was a director who had enough creative control to make whatever he wanted. Fast forward shots. No narration or dumb-ass prologue. Keep the audience as confused as Tom Hardy was. Make the villain one ugly ass motherfucker with henchman looking weird as fuck. Then give him a harem of beautiful women and imagine what the hell he was doing. Demographics be damned, George Miller showed us what good storytelling is. Movies are a cross between stunning visuals movements, special effects, sound, scores, acting, costume design, cinematography, and writing. Could you imagine the storyboards for this movie?

George Miller looking over to his set designer, “Yeah mate, I’m gonna need you to make an air guitar flamethrower.”

Set Designer slowly raises his eyes, “Say what George?”

George wiggles his round spectacles and smiles. “And I need a red onesie and solid straps to mount Coma the Doof Warrior on the hood, since the vehicle will be moving, of course.”

Thank you to the studios that financed the film. Thank you to the actors for starring in it and putting up with what must have been a difficult shoot. (Lots of fighting on set in the desert between actors and the director) Thank you or Charlize Theron for shaving your head and showing what a strong woman can do on screen. This is a strong role. Not Sandra Bullock in The Blindside, not Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, and not Brie Larson in Room. Charlize Theron should have won another Oscar. She owned this role. Furiosa is iconic and will be remembered in 20 years while nobody will remember any of the weak roles women get nominated for.

Do you want to know how to empower women in film? When there is a big box office film directed by a legend, and the woman is the moral ground and action hero, constantly tries to sacrifice herself saving other women, and wins the day and the movie audience supports it by buying a shit ton of tickets, then nominate her for an Academy Award, because she did the impossible. It’ll help other actresses demand similar roles and producers wanting to greenlight real empowering films for women.

Movie Rating: 10/10 Sexy Women locked up in a chamber


Movie Reviews: Kick Ass


Kick Ass directed by Matthew Vaughn

Much of why many films work can be credited to the vision of the director. In Kick Ass, a lesser capable director would have failed at adapting the story. Just think of this notion; when was the last Nicholas Cage movie that was actually good? What was the last movie you saw that the hero was a little girl who battled grown ups? How many super hero movies can you name were the main character isn’t there hero at all … only a sidekick?

Kick Ass does all this and more.

I watched the movie on DVD about two years after the release. Personally, I think many marketing departments do a poor job showing what the true essence of the movie is. Usually the trailers are hastily put together and try to appeal to … I don’t know who many of the trailers today appeal to. Many of them try to make the movie look like another hit and show all the good parts, or try to appeal to action junkies. Their job is to get people in seats. A few directors, like Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, and JJ Abrams make good trailers nowadays without giving too much away. In any case, I watched the movie with low expectations.

I was surprised in many good ways. Nicholas Cage wasn’t so annoying. I actually believed in his character’s mission and saw the void caused by his death. His daughter in the movie, Hit Girl, is in a world of her own. She carries the movie more than any other character. Dave aka Kick Ass, is actually pretty annoying with zero charisma, but we don’t care. He is merely the audience’s POV watching all of the action go down. And boy, does the action pick up to a climax that is so unreal I had to watch it twice. If there is a word for Unbelievable-Awesome, let me know, because that is what it was.

Matthew Vaughn gets the performances he needs out of everyone, including Mark Strong who plays the villain (before the commercials portraying the villainous British archetypes years later). He has a serious eye for talent.

I rate the movie a 9/10 and one of the few surprise movies I’ve seen where I didn’t want to watch the movie at all after seeing the preview.

Check out Matthew Vaughn’s other movies: Layer Cake (with Daniel Craig before he was bond and Tom Hardy before he was Bane/Mad Max), Stardust (surprise hit based on Neil Gaiman story … also has a solid cast), X-Men First Class (before Jennifer Lawrence blew up with Hunger Games and won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook), and Kingsman: Secret Service (with Taron Edgerton as one of the final 5 candidates for the new Han Solo movie). Matthew Vaughn is in a class of director I will watch anything they make for now on, no matter the genre. Only David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, and Peter Jackson fit this category.