It’s been a while since my last update so I apologize for the lateness. Once again I haven’t been able to see many new films (Deadpool and Jane Got a Gun being the only ones). However, I have been able to catch up with Mad Max: Fury Road now that it’s on HBO. In my initial review of the film I didn’t find anything special with it despite the rest of the world seeming to do so. It had great action but its world was silly and its lead performances dull (Charlize Theron’s performance as Furiosa is more of a case of a good character than an actual good performance). While I still do find some of the same faults (the visual world building is still silly in a way that doesn’t match the serious tone of the rest of the film and the two lead performances are still kind of dull), Mad Max: Fury Road is extremely re-watchable. I find myself watching this film almost every night in a way I haven’t really done since Man of Steel. Obviously, that’s not a great comparison, but in the case of Man of Steel I would just fast forward to the fight scenes which highlight the positives of that film (Zack Snyder’s kinetic energy as a director and Hans Zimmer’s powerful score). With Mad Max: Fury Road I just get completely sucked in no matter what part happens to be on.
When I try to figure out why this film’s quality increases so much on repeat viewings I come to two major observations. The first is that there is some really subtle world building going on through the dialogue that adds to the realness of the film. While the makeup designs and names of the places and people that exist in this world are absolutely ridiculous, characters talk like actual people. They assume the people they are talking to (and therefore the audience) know about the world of Mad Max and you end up with a film that saves most of its more detailed information for repeat viewings. For a film that is really just a generic action film on first glance, Fury Road has a very strong script.
The second observation I have come across is that this is a film that showcases action in a way that we have never seen before. George Miller directs this film like a musical. However, with most musicals you have the musical elements dictating where the plot goes. In Fury Road the action is necessary to the plot. It is there because the fight scenes, car chases, and shootouts are the only choices that these characters have. It’s visually stunning and yet it’s completely necessary to support the plot and characters.
In conclusion, I think Mad Max: Fury Road deserves an 8 out of 10 rather than the 6 I gave it on first glance. I still don’t understand the universal acclaim that it’s receiving, but I am beginning to understand why people are so passionate about it.
Deadpool=6/10=Many people have been bragging about this film’s low budget when talking about the film’s success, but that low budget certainly shows in the final product. A lot of the enjoyment in seeing blockbusters is with the top-notch visual effects work and that is just not present here. Additionally, the film’s childish sense of humor is just that. It works some times but at other times it feels like nails on a chalkboard. Ryan Reynolds is charming enough to help the film survive, and Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and Brianna Hildebrand make the most of nothing roles. However, the inclusion and of Colossus and the X-Men comes across as one of the most egregious examples of trying to make a cinematic universe.
Jane Got a Gun=7/10=This film began as a lot of fun. It’s your typical western, but it’s beautifully shot, and the flashback nature of the plot adds some intriguing mystery to the storyline. Joel Edgerton and Ewan McGregor do fantastic work, and it really seems like Natalie Portman is going to get a good role to chew on until the final act when the film completely abandons its feminist nature to get to a clichéd ending.
War and Peace=8/10=This BBC/Lifetime miniseries is shot in the old school British soap sheen, and it quickly makes it clear it wants to harken back to those days of TV. It does so effectively well. The miniseries is epic in scale and features a strong cast. Anytime the underrated Aisling Loftus gets an opportunity to work on screen is more than fine with me. However, the program does lose so momentum near the ending as it tries to tie up its many loose endings. In an era when many miniseries and TV movies outside of HBO come across as cheap and un-warranting of anyone’s attention, this miniseries certainly does not.