Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Running time: 120 minutes

Director: George Miller

2015_mad_max_fury_road-wideIn 1985 the last installment in the Mad Max trilogy, Thunderdome, was released. But, though 30 years later, George Miller is sitting again in the director’s chair for the sequel, Mel Gibson is not. Taking his place as the face of the franchise is Tom Hardy. Sadly, Mad Max: Fury Road seems to be following the steps of last year’s Edge of Tomorrow. A great action movie that everyone loves, has huge word of mouth but for some reason, no-one goes to the cinema to watch. This and given how much the movie cost to make, makes very unlikely that the studio will greenlight a sequel, at least with the same budget.

In an apocalyptic future where all the landscape has become desert and water and gasoline are precious elements, the prisoner Max (Tom Hardy) finds himself tied to the front of a car as the “blood-bag” of Nux (Nicholas Hoult) when Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) discovers that Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has gone rogue and has stolen something very dear to him and is planning to cross the harsh wasteland to return to her homeland.

maxresdefaultI am one of those weird people who never saw the Mad Max trilogy so I can’t say if this movie is better or how much justice does Tom Hardy do to the character that made Mel Gibson a star in 1979. I can only say, he was great. He doesn’t have much dialogue but he manages to portray a lot just through body language. And if it is funny to see Tom Hardy wearing again a mask and talking weird like in his iconic role as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, as his companion Nux, we have Nicholas Hoult hiding once more behind a lot of make-up just as he did in the X-Men movies as Beast and in Warm Bodies.

As for the film and given the trailers, I was expecting a non-stop action movie and that is partly what Mad Max is, but I was delightfully surprise that it is also an homage to the power and independence of women. This is mainly because even though Max is the title character, and Tom Hardy is fantastic, this is really Furiosa’s movie and Charlize Theron, with the guide of George Miller, has given us one of the best action heroes in years. Furiosa’s ferocity and determination never overshadows her tenderness and it is great not only seeing women fighting together but also fighting for each other. The five wives could have easily been mere damsels in distress but each one played an active role in trying to regain their freedom, with fierceness and yes, also a lot of glamour.

FURY ROADBut the true star of Mad Max: Fury Road is actually behind the camera. George Miller, at 70 and after so many delays in the production of the film, has made a spectacle using mostly practical effects. The design of the world and the characters is so grotesque that it becomes in some twisted way quite beautiful.

Really, the best word to describe Mad Max is insane. The characters are crazy, the action is crazy, even the story in itself. The action is chaotic but unlike many other action movies (I’m looking at you, Michael Bay), you can always tell what is going on. This is a great advantage since the movie is basically a big relentless action sequence and therefore, doesn’t have too much character development or even plot. There is some narrative here and there when the action stops that comes across a bit cheap and feels too much like exposition. However, and even though other things could have had  more explanation, in the end Mad Max doesn’t really need any of that to be an exhilarating film.

8,5/10

This Week’s Movie News (1-5 Dec)

Casting News! Doctor Strange! Suicide Squad! Deadpool!

‘Suicide Squad’ Cast Announced

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Many of the actors have been rumoured for weeks though we didn’t know for sure which characters they were playing in David Ayer’s film. Now we know the complete Suicide Squad will be formed by Will Smith as Deadshot, Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, Jai Courtney as Boomerang and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress.

Variety reported that Warner Bros. is still looking for Amanda Waller and they might be considering Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Oprah Winfrey for the role. There were also rumours that Jesse Eisenberg could be coming back to reprise his role of Lex Luthor from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Benedict Cumberbatch is officially Doctor Strange

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This role has been a real rollercoaster but Marvel has finally confirmed this week that their choice to play the Sorcerer Supreme is the long-time rumoured Benedict Cumberbatch.

“Stephen Strange’s story requires an actor capable of great depth and sincerity… In 2016, Benedict will show audiences what makes Doctor Strange such a unique and compelling character,” Kevin Feige said in the Marvel statement.

“Doctor Strange follows the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.”

‘Bond 24’ Title, Synopsis and Cast

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At a live-stream press conference this week, Sam Mendes revealed a lot of information about the next Bond film, which will be titled Spectre. The name stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

The synopsis for the film is the following:

“A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.”

The new cast members were also introduced. Christoph Waltz as Oberhauser, Andrew Scott as Denbigh, David Bautista as Mr. Hinx, Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra and Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann. Some of this actors had already been speculated to be involved in the film. They will join Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinneear and Ben Whishaw.

It was also revealed the new Aston Martin DB10.

Ryan Reynolds Confirmed to return as Deadpool

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It seems Ryan Reynolds has a second chance at portraying the superhero Deadpool after the awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine. His involvement in the film had already been speculated for a while after some animated footage of the movie leaked where the actor was voicing Deadpool. The movie will be directed by Tim Miller with a script that have been long in the making.

‘Fantastic Four’ Official Synopsis

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THE FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

Top Trailers of the Week

‘Terminator: Genisys’ Trailer #1

This Week’s Movie News (20-24 oct)

Jena Malone rumoured to play Robin in ‘Batman v Superman’

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It was no secret that Jena Malone was involved in Batman v Superman after she was spotted on the set with Zack Snyder, but the character she was playing had remained a mystery. However, while doing an interview, one of the extras spilled that the character of Robin was going to be a female. This comment, shortly after followed by the actress posting a photo on Instagram of herself with red hair, which is Carrie Kelley’s trademark in the comic The Dark Knight Returns, led to the speculation that she might be playing this incarnation of Robin.

Bryan Singer wants Tom Hardy for major role in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

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It seems these days Tom Hardy is attached to every single comic book property out there. He is one of the actors Marvel is considering for Doctor Strange, Warner Bros is interested in him to have a part in Suicide Squad and now Fox and X-Men director, Bryan Singer, want him to play no other than the title role of the next film and main villain, Apocalypse.

Tom Hardy is no stranger to villains in superhero movies as he was Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

‘The Martian’, Ridley Scott’s next project

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Based on the sci-fi thriller by Andy Weir, The Martian follows the story of astronaut Mark Watney, one of the first people on Mars. He is left behind by his crewmates after a dust storm tears through the area. His fellow astronauts assume he was killed during the tempest, and Watney has to find a way to survive being stranded on the Red Planet.

Matt Damon will play the lead role of Mark Watney and will be joined by a stellar cast formed by Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels and three new additions, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan and Mackenzie Davis.

The Martian will hit theaters on November 25, 2015

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Official Poster

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First Look at Johnny Depp as the Wolf in ‘Into the Woods’

Entertainment Weekly has released a bunch of covers featuring the main characters of Disney’s next musical, Into the Woods, giving us the first peek at Johnny Depp as the Wolf.

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Top Trailers of the Week

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ Teaser “Choice”

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Teaser Trailer

Read my review here.

Movie Review: Locke (2014)

Title: Locke

Running time: 85 minutes

Director: Steven Knight

Starring: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland, Bill Milner

Summary: Ivan Locke (Hardy) has worked diligently to craft the life he has envisioned, dedicating himself to the job that he loves and the family he adores. On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul. All taking place over the course of one absolutely riveting car ride, LOCKE is an exploration of how one decision can lead to the complete collapse of a life.

‘Mastery of small, telling gestures’: Tom Hardy as a man who goes awol in Locke.

I’ll be honest, I was dreading this movie when I heard of it. An hour and a half with only Tom Hardy in a car making phone calls, but I’ll say, it got me from the first minute. As he has the conversations on the phone you understand why is he there and where is he going. You witness his live slowly decaying as he confronts both personal and professional problems, always in a natural and realistic way. As the film goes on, Locke becomes so intriguing and compelling, keeping the audience in tension while slowly revealing what is going on.

The behind the scenes of Locke is so fascinating. The movie was shot like a play, twice a night during eight days where Tom Hardy was driving alone in a car with cameras and going through the whole script. The voice actors would call in, not recorded but on real-time from a hotel room, so they were actually talking with Tom Hardy, which makes the conversations feel much more realistic.

The acting is just fantastic. From Tom Hardy, our only actor on-screen, who is spectacular, to the people on the phone who, even though you never see them, they become real characters. Tom Hardy definitely deserves an Academy Award nomination for this role. You never get tired of him and he keeps you engaged in what is happening. The only actor I recognize from the voice acting was Tom Holland, who I loved in The Impossible, and was really good here as one of the sons. But all the others were great too.

The script is great and even though the premise seems weird, the director, Steven Knight, makes it work and it’s surprisingly well done. The way the moving lights reflects on the car looks beautiful and every angle is chosen perfectly. Locke, if not the kind of movie you will re-watch, is definitely a must-see film.

9/10