Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Mad Max Fury Road’

“You wake up to eerie silence. You call out ‘Hello?’ but no-one answers. You’re alone except for a film projector and speakers with infinite battery life and five of your favourite films at the foot of the projector. You have nowhere to be so start watching the films. What are they, where are you and how will your story play out?”

This is the scenario presented to us by Claire Packer at the recently rejuvenated Cinematic Delights.  Her expectation goes beyond just choosing the five films.  Find out more HERE.

  • My five films: What are the five films you would happily watch for the foreseeable future and why?
  • My fate: Where have you been deserted – are you adrift like Hanks in Castaway or are you an end of the world survivor like Smith in I Am Legend?
  • My finale: How will your time alone end? Will you be saved by Spielberg or will you live happily ever after on your own like Disney?

Let’s start in the middle where am I? I prefer to go with the Desert Island Discs/Hanks in Castaway option, as it always gives a degree of hope!

As for the movies, I set myself an extra challenge.  Eleven years ago, hosted a similar event that I called Desert Island DVD’s also taking its inspiration from the long running BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs.  I have decided not to choose any of the eight movies I picked before, they were: My movies back then were:

  • Casablanca (1942)
  • Some Like it Hot (1959)
  • Two Lane Blacktop (1971)
  • Goodfellas (1990)
  • Dazed and Confused (1993)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • Oldboy (2003)
  • Serenity (2005)

Like last time, it isn’t just about my favourite films, its about films I can watch over and over and not tire of. One thing I can say fore sure, limiting us to just five films was cruel!

Chinatown (1974): I’m not sure there has ever been a film dripping with despair as Chinatown.  Not only is it one of my favourite movies, but it is strangely perfect for this scenario.  When I watched it during the first lockdown last year there was something comforting about watching people whose situation was more hopeless with than me. 

Fandango (1985): The most sentimental film on the list.  The film that give its name to my Blog and twitter handle.  This film has to be on the list for so many reasons.  Just taken on its own merits, it’s a great and under seen film.  It also lends a little much needed brevity to my list.  It is also associated with great memories; the favourite film of a close friend, it was on hard rotation when I was a student, we also visited some of the filming locations while on holiday in West Texas a few years back. 

The English Patient (1996): I loved the film from when I first watched it at the cinema twenty-five years ago.  It has since been either forgotten, overlooked, or dismissed.  I don’t care what anybody thinks, it’s an absolute masterpiece.  One of the few films that I actually think is better than the book on which it’s based.  Like Chinatown, I see more every time I watch it. 

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): There is a conversation at the heart of the movie between Max (Tom Hardy) and Furiosa (Charlize Theron) about why the characters are doing what they are doing.  The answer is simple, they are all looking for either hope or redemption.  That’s kind of what all movies are about! And that’s just one of the reasons the film is so perfect. 

Atomic Blonde (2017): Comparisons with another film that came out a few years before are inevitable, but Atomic Blonde is both the slickest and most fun of its type.  It does the near impossible task of invoking other great films, without making me wish I was watching them. 

The final question: How will your time alone end?  That’s not for me to say, but we are nothing without hope!

Read Full Post »

Pitch Perfect 2 is probably the biggest movie of the month putting more bums on seats than the big hitters Mad Max and Tomorrowland, but what is my Movie of the Month, the contenders are:

Far from the Madding Crowd – A Thomas Hardy adaptation directed by a founder of the Dogme 95 movement (Thomas Vinterberg) is certain to be dark and heavy.  It is therefore surprising how easy going and enjoyable it is, This is largely thanks to great performances from Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Sheen.Far from the Madding Crowd

Unfriended (known as Cybernatural in some territories) – All told from the desktop of one of the protagonists talks to friends in a chat room.  An effective and entertaining horror but one lacking in anything scary.  It clocks in at just 83 minutes before it outstays its welcome or overuses its high concept.Unfriended

Big Game – We have all seen movies about people being hunted, the twist here is that it is the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson) and his protector, a teenage boy.  Has enough funny and silly moments to keep it entertaining but never steps beyond predictable and clichéd.Big Game

Top Five – Chris Rock plays a comedian trying to make it as a serious actor.  Most of the film is consists of walking around New York with an interviewer (Rosario Dawson).  Reminiscent of the Julie Delpy movie 2 Days in New York (that also featured Rock), it is far less manic than a typical Chris Rock film and all the better for it.Top Five

Mad Max: Fury Road – Thirty years after the last of the origonal trillogy, writer/director George Miller returns to the Mad Max universe.  Part sequel, part reboot, the film shares a theme rarther than continuity with the original films.  Tom Hardy is a suitable replacement for Mel Gibson but is overshadowed by a fantastic Charlize Theron.Mad Max Fury Road

Pitch Perfect 2 – Sequel to the sleeper hit about an all girl a cappella group.  Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson return as does Elizabeth Banks who directs as well as producing and acting.  Offers nothing we haven’t seen before, notably in the first film but has a enough funny moments to make it worth seeing.Pitch Perfect 2

Spooks: The Greater Good – Based on the BBC TV series.  The cut price intelligence service seems fitting in this age of austerity.  I didn’t see the TV show so don’t know how it compares to that, the action can’t match Bond or Bourne and it lacks the weight of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, it still works and is a enjoyable enough.Spooks The Greater Good

Tomorrowland: A World Beyond – (the name was changed from just Tomorrowland in Europe for rights reasons).  An interesting concept with a good performances from George Clooney and Britt Robertson.  There are some great moments but there aren’t enough of them and the film itself doesn’t quite gel.  Robertson could be a contender for the next Jennifer Lawrence or Shailene Woodley.Tomorrowland

The Connection – A French take on the drug trafficking that passed through Marseille in the 1970s as seen in The French Connection (1971).  A stylish and insightful movie, the only downside, it offers nothing we haven’t seen before.  The Connection

Not a difficult choice, Movie of the Month is:Mad Max Fury Road

Read Full Post »

My top ten most anticipated movies for the coming year, along with the release date and the reason I am looking forward to them:

American Sniper – I am praying for a return to form from Clint Eastwood, and the trailer is excellent. 16th January

Whiplash – Great word of mouth.  16th January

Ex Machina – I am a fan of Alex Garland as a writer and am interested to see what he is like as a director.  Plus, the trailer looks interesting. 23rd January

A Most Violent Year – Great cast, interesting trailer. 23rd January

Kingsman –  The Secret Service: Another off centre action/comedy from Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman. 29th January

Blackhat – Michael Mann’s first film in 6 years.  20th February

Mad Max: Fury Road – I am such as fan of the original films I wasn’t keen on the idea of this but the trailer looks amazing. 15th May

Crimson Peak – I am keen to see anything from Guillermo del Toro. 16th October

Spectre – A new Bond film is always exciting, the success of Skyfall has upped that.  23rd October

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Can J.J. Abrams do for Star Wars what he did for Star Trek? 18th December

Also keen to see: John Wick, Jupiter Ascending, Child 44, Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Mission: Impossible 5 and The Hateful Eight (we probably won’t get it in the UK this year).

Read Full Post »

“People don’t believe in heroes anymore”

With all the coverage received by the new trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road I thought it was time to look back at the original 1979 movie.  Many people associate Mad Max with the sequels Mad Max 2 (1981), subtitled The Road Warrior in America, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and have forgotten the original movie. 

“A few years from now” in a unspecified place the MFP are the traffic police who maintain order on the streets.  Cop, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) becomes the target of a biker gang after he is involved in the pursuit of an escaped killer calling himself The Nightrider (Vince Gil).  When he  loses everything, Max goes out to seek revenge.Mad Max

As described in the opening title card, the film is set “A few years from now”, it isn’t the apocalyptic world where the desert has reclaimed the world.  A lot of Mad Max is set in relatively lush green scrubland.  It is the beginning of the “maelstrom of decay” described in Mad Max 2.  The world isn’t going out with a bang, humanity is slowly giving up as the gangs take over and the world is tearing itself apart.  Is the film set in a dystopia on fringes of society or in a future on the brink of collapse?  This is never really made clear, but in many ways the film is all the better for it.  In a vast landscape filled with nomadic motorists the traffic cops are the only thing keeping the world in check and hanging on to civilisation, they are the heroes that Fifi (Roger Ward) refers to.Mad Max

So the film isn’t an apocalyptic nightmare, that’s the second and third films, but is it the violent revenge thriller that it is labelled?  It does have its violent moments but most of those aren’t actually shown, they are surprisingly off camera, probably for budgetary reasons.   I am not convinced if released now it would receive the 18 certificate it got on its original release.  Is it then an observations on the effects of the 70’s oil crisis’ on Australian motorists? Is it an existentialist look at what people do to cling to their humanity and the idea of society?  The film is less than ninety minutes long but still manages to devote more than ten minutes to the opening chase scene. Only the final twenty minutes makes up the revenge story that the film is known for.  Any meaning we may be looking for is most clearly observed in the scene where Max wants to quit, he admits to Fifi that he is scared, not scared of what could happen to him, but scared that he may start to enjoy it, scared that he is going to become a “terminal crazy”, this is kind of what we see.    As Max, the innocent and good man gives up on society in favour of revenge, society itself gives up and we see the results in Mad Max 2.  So does that make it a cautionary tale against lawlessness?  Am I reading too much into it, at it is merely a visceral tale loss and revenge designed just to entertain on the most base of levels?Mad Max opening chase scene

Director, George Miller claimed the films budget was around $400,000.  Made in a pre CGI time this resulted in a very inventive movie that makes the most of its money.  This is what I love so much about the film, it’s a genre film like Roger Corman and early Walter Hill, it’s a film that is improved by its limitations not constrained by them, it is a film directors like Michael Bay, McG and James Cameron should revisit, they could learn something.  The real draw for the film is Mel Gibson, at 23 he was an unknown, with one movie and a couple of TV credits behind him.  Given the baggage he now carries with him, it is easy to forget what a charismatic and likeable star Gibson was back then.  Demonstrating the lighter and comic part of the film with the same ease as the more hollow shell of a man set on a path of revenge.  He manages to bring a sense of despair and melancholy to the part.The Rover and Mad Max Posters

The legacy of Mad Max and the apocalyptic movies set in sand covered landscapes that have imitated and been inspired by it probably belongs to Mad Max 2 and not to this film.  In the 35 years since its original release there hasn’t been another film quite like Mad Max, not even its sequels.  With David Michôd’s The Rover just opening and Fury Road due out next may, now is a perfect time to remind yourself of the original Mad Max. 

Read Full Post »