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Thread: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (George Miller 2015)

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    MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (George Miller 2015)

    George Miller:
    MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)



    HOULT, THERON, AND SOME OF "THE WIVES" IN MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

    Mad Max better than ever but you may miss the old days

    Another Mad Max movie is a good idea, isn't it? Maybe not for me. This fourth in George Miller's series has been enormously praised. One reason I can see is the lack of digital manipulation. A lot of the action is real. But I still felt lost. Oh, I'm ready for the post-apocalypse. I've seen it so many times. In this one, it's in Australia, in the desert, and pretty much everybody is a hotrodder and a heavy metal freak. The internal combustion engine still rules and no substitute has been found for gasoline. Most folks have their head shaved and are painted with white power, like Japanese butoh performers. There's fighting, and everyone's wildly energetic, though they have virtually nothing to drink, rarely a chance to get any shut-eye. It's not clear what the diet consists of, but if anybody spots an insect he'll gobble it.

    Max isn't so much mad now, as played by the versatile Tom Hardy, as just shy and quiet. I was quite lost at first. It was hard to spot Tom Hardy behind the metal mask he has clamped over his mouth. But then I remembered him as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Same deal, same guy. We in the audience had to put on those 3D glasses -- it felt like the various masks people on screen were wearing, and seemed to get in the way of knowing what was going on, with one thing popping in front of another, getting in the way of what one wanted to see, or of the whole picture.
    This is not the world of earlier Maxes, in some ways. The superficial appearances -- people fighting their way across a dusty plain in improvised vehicles -- are the same, but things are more elaborate, and smarter, I reckon. All the bells and whistles and furbelows on the vehicles, to begin with, and the seals and insignias, some of which, we're shown, are branded onto the backs of people who're enslaved by a totalitarian master, the most bewigged and masked of all. As a sign of how swell the getups are, Nicholas Hoult had to spend two hours in makeup every morning just to get a big engine-shaped embossed tattoo put on his chest, which we really only glimpse. Charlize Theron has an arm missing and replaced with a glittering weapons-grade prosthetic -- doubtless a nod to CGI.

    It would be nice to have been handed a little program before going in to watch the movie, as is sometimes done at the opera. Some of the purely onscreen explanations went over my head. (I admit that during very violent episodes in blockbuster films I tend to numb out and go into a mild self-protective coma.) It appears that "tyrannical cult leader" King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a kind of decaying monster held together by plastic panels and breathing artificially, controls the known world (or a big chunk of Australia anyway -- played this time by Namibia). He controls large quantities of water, which he occasionally lets gush out for a few wasteful, taunting moments. His enforcers are an army of chalk-painted shaven-headed bare-chested "War Boys," of all sizes, small to large. I thought of William Burroughs. Max has been designated as "a universal blood donor" (I guess his blood is all-type, like an all-region DVD player) and he's held prisoner to provide blood for War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult). And as we see him, Nux is quite recovered, and his enthusiasm is infectious. "What a lovely day!" he exclaims, as he barrels across the desert.

    It gets complicated after that (see the special website Wikia). Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a gas convoy driver for King Joe who goes rogue, leads a revolt in her elaborate War Rig, taking King Joe's breeding wives, who have some picturesque names. They are very white, and look like fashion models. Their excess of softness is offset by the Vuvalini, a gang of gnarly old bike chicks, who join the rebels. Max gets dragged along on Furiosa's mission and Nux with him. Things go back and forth, but the ladies rule -- this iteration in the series clearly on a serious feminist kick. I was troubled by the fact that the South African-born Theron now speaks in a well-modulated American accent, like a proper schoolteacher in suburban Connecticut. It seemed incongruous amid all the rough-and-tumble Aussie voices. Tom Hardy hardly speaks at all, and that in a stifled voice, as if Mel Gibson has been strangled. (He, of course, has been banished since this film was postponed after 9/11.)

    The War Boys are wild boys (a Burroughs name) and as they go chasing after Furiosa and her small crew (in search of a green place she remembers from her youth, seeking not "hope," which she's warned against, but "reconciliation," or something like that), one big War Boy War Rig has music, with the Doof Warrior, a rock guitarist floating out in front, his flamboyant twin-necked instrument actually breathing fire. This was my favorite moment, better even than Max washing enemy blood off his face from a tank of baby milk. At some point I realized this was a fantasy. It is a fine detail that when Max has done his job for the ladies, he fades away into the crowd.

    There was something very Late Seventies about the whole campy Mad Max idea. Mel Gibson's original Max was a vengeful cop raging over mistreatment of his wife and child, a pretty cheap and easy pretext for uncivil violence. The sequels were colorful but forgettable. Some may say that the Mad Max series "has since had a lasting influence on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction" (Wikipedia), but the trouble is that there's been so much of that fiction it's hard for Mad Max to seem fresh anymore, even when, as here, it really is fresh. But vigorous and inventive and joyously absurd this better fourth version certainly is, and there's a genuineness to the effort.

    Mad Max: Fury Road, 120 mins., debuted in Hollywood 7 May 2015, with theatrical releases in dozens of countries in the week or two following and in June.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-18-2015 at 12:16 AM.

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    Mad Max - Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road – directed by George Miller

    After a thirty-year hiatus, the character of Mad Max returns in this fourth installment, “Fury Road.” A director whose vision created this dystopian future, George Miller presents a film with scale and scope that goes beyond the previous incarnations of this franchise. Max isn’t just the everyman out for revenge. His motivations for existence rise above those around him who remain loyal to a perversion of religious beliefs. Max clings to the hope of a sane society that offers its citizens more than mere existence – all of this implied through Max’s expressions and his eyes. Miller purposely avoided unnecessary dialogue except to explain superfluous details – the handmaidens, the second lieutenants, or the mythical destination of a “green place.”

    For one heart-pounding hour, the film opens with almost continual action sequences. We are thrust into Max’s place of desperation, as he is helpless to avoid his eventual death. We wonder if he will ever escape his bondage while being dragged into one of the greatest action sequences ever put on film. Every part of the filmmaking process comes to bear in these action sequences – score, editing, photography (by Academy Award winning John Seale, brought out of retirement), stunt work that defies description and acting by a strong cast lead by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Brought from the original 1979 cast (where he played Toecutter), Hugh Keays-Byrne is Immortan Joe, leader of the valley cult intent on retrieving his property – five “normal” women stolen from his secret lair atop his gigantic fortress that oversees a vast sea of deformed workers. Supported by a cast known as the brothers, whose pure white skin sets them apart, they worship the cult known as V-8 and form their hands into a 4+4 formation over their heads as if praying. The film is one giant chase scene and we have front row seats. But more than that, the movie evokes a yearning for a better life beyond the mundane banality of everyday existence.

    Miller did not go into this production without years of preparation. The first draft of the script came from British artist and designer Brendan McCarthy inspired by the second film, “Road Warrior.” Miller obtained the working script from McCarthy, although he’d had ideas of his own that dated back the late 1990’s. He wanted to use the original cast. However, Mel Gibson’s problems and wars in Africa prevented the production company from going forward with principle photography. Delays resulted in Miller switching the main role from Gibson to Hardy in 2011 and principle photography finally started inside the Namibian Desert in 2012. Seale shot with 4K digital equipment that included Canon DSLR cameras set on rigs to offer constant change in point of view.

    In 2012, Miller needed additional photography and had to match backgrounds as they moved the production company from Australia back to Namibia after they settled a claim the production had damaged pristine desert locations. Miller hired over 150 stuntpersons that included hires from Cirque du Soleil and Australian Olympic athletes to perform in the delicately staged stunts. Editor Supervisor Margaret Sixel (who also worked with Miller on “Babe” and “Happy Feet”) made close to 2,700 edits that averaged out to 22 cuts per minute. DOP Seale explained that Miller required nearly fifty percent of the movie shot under or over cranked (sped up or slowed down) to maximize the effect of the stunt work. WETA workshop (Lord of the Rings) designed and supplied all of the make-up effects and elaborate costume work along with 1,500 special effects shots. The music score is a mix composed of electronic music by Junkie XL and composers John Powell and Marco Beltrami.

    Delayed for release due to post-production work, “Fury Road” finally premiered May 7, at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles; May 14 at Cannes; and wide release May 15 with digitally re-mastered versions for IMAX 3D. One of the highest rated movies of 2015 with 98% of the “cream of the crop” critics in agreement, “Mad Max – Fury Road” is a thrilling, imaginative, and insightful ride into the strange worlds of George Miller’s mind and not to be missed. Highly recommended.
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    Thanks for all the release information and historical background, which was needed. I should have rewatched the earlier films in the series before writing my review, and would like to watch it again, this time in "2D," which for me is always less distracting and more enjoyable.

    Anthony Lane of The New Yorker loves the film and devotes a long review to it in the 25 May issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cinemabon View Post
    For one heart-pounding hour, the film opens with almost continual action sequences. We are thrust into Max’s place of desperation, as he is helpless to avoid his eventual death. We wonder if he will ever escape his bondage while being dragged into one of the greatest action sequences ever put on film. The film is one giant chase scene and we have front row seats.
    Yes indeed. Agreed and agreed, cinemabon. The opening sequence is one of the best openings I've seen from any movie. Just full-throttle, unrelenting imagery. This movie is a Monster. I'm just so happy that it exists. Talk about a wild ride....The cuts as you mention are rapid-fire, and I loved it. Sheer kinetic energy. It never lets up, never disappoints. The only criticisms I might have are with Charlize Theron's character. We don't really learn a lot about her, and despite her shorn head & cool prosthetic arm she still seems too "pure" or too pretty to be mingling with these characters, who call her Boss.
    But I can't knock it, really. What an empowering role for a woman.. kickin' ass and taking names...

    All in all, Massive thumbs up for Fury Road.
    God Bless George Miller.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    I think I said I should probably see it again, but so far I haven't.
    P.s. From Mike D'Angelo on Twitter (13 June):
    New wack opinion! Having now seen all of the Mad Max films, my favorite thing in any of them is THUNDERDOME’s opening Bartertown sequence.
    INDIEWIRE film critic Eric Kohn's list of best movies of 2015 so far (June)
    10. WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
    9. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
    8. KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER
    7. NED RIFLE
    6. CHEATIN'
    5. '71
    4. GIRLHOOD
    3. BUZZARD
    2. A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE
    1. HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT
    I don't agree with this list, haven't even seen A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH, NED RIFLE or WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, and consider KUMIKO to be an irritating and really terrible movie. BUT '71 (NYFF 2014) is a fine action film and GIRLHOOD is really well made French ghetto coming-of-ager and my veteran Lincoln Center event colleague Kurt Brokow of The Independent made the super-indie BUZZARD one of his three 2014 New Directors/New Films Critic's Picks. I want to see A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE -- by Swedish director Roy Andersson, whose last picture,YOU, THE LIVING, I reviewed here (Nov. 2007) with reserved admiration from seeing it in Rome dubbed in Italian (it was in the Rome Film Festival) and wrote, "any good film buff really needs to get a look at this." Andersson's story ideas and mise-en-scène are unique and memorable.

    What this shows is MAD MAX will come up on some 2015 Best Lists.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2015 at 10:35 AM.

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    I also had problems with Theron, an referred to her accent, which is too generic and American, while the rest have salty Aussie-ish twangs.

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    Variety's featured critics gave their 2015 best-so-far movie lists.

    JUSTIN CHANG
    INSIDE OUT
    MAD MAX
    SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION
    THE TRIBE
    WHITE GOD
    SCOTT FOUNDAS
    EX MACHINA
    KUMIKO
    LA SAPIENZA
    MAD MAX
    SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION
    PETER DEBRUGE
    THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY
    THE HARVEST
    INSIDE OUT
    ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
    A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE
    So two MAD MAXes, two SEYMOURs, and two SEYMOURs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    I also had problems with Theron, an referred to her accent, which is too generic and American, while the rest have salty Aussie-ish twangs.
    Exactly. It's outlandish. She shows next to no emotion for most of the movie then she has this "Elias from Platoon" intense emotional release.
    The camera angles are amazing in this. Your eyes are busy- you don't want to blink, you don't want to miss a shot. The 3-D really looked cool to me.
    I recommend it, even tho you said it was an encumbrance Chris. It may not be mandatory, but I really enjoyed the 3-D.
    Yes indeed, this one will be on everybody's top ten list for 2015. If not, then maybe you should stop watching movies altogether.
    I saw a trailer for the rebooted Fantastic 4 and I'm not sure what to make of it. I didn't mind the previous two films, but a reboot may be in order. The Thing looked awesome. I also saw the poster and trailer for Zack Snyder's Batman Vs. Superman, and it looks fantastic. It will not disappoint. Zack Snyder is carving out a Mighty Fine Legacy...
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    I did watch this in 3D. It may be "good" 3D. One that is is LIFE OF PI, which I had to watch in 3D as the NYFF opening night film. But the discomfort of the glasses and the darkening of the images and the simplistic quality of the technology (like grandma's steeopticon) keep me convinced 3D has nothing I want.

    Originally Charlize Theron didn't know English. I think she learned it from American TV shows. Anyway, doing an Australian accent is probably a bit out of her comfort zone. As for her showing no emotion, well, what can I say? A movie like this isn't exactly about acting, anyway, is it? But she didn't quite fit in with the rest of the scene and cast, I agree.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2015 at 06:22 PM.

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    The character of "King Immortan Joe" is my favorite, after seeing this a second time. (Just as Awesome the second time)
    His "look" is freakishly awesome. The mask on his face is quite the eye-grabber. His albino visage is like Rob Zombie in his Dragula video but even more freakish. That character is more interesting than Max himself!

    This movie is indeed fantasy, as Chris mentions. But it's also got a rare quality for outlandish movies: white-knuckle intensity that you can't look away from. Even if you do, even if you roll your eyes, you will keep looking. Won't you, Voyeur? lol
    The opening sequence should pull you in and keep you riveted until those wild credits roll.
    If not, then perhaps Sunnygreen Community Retirement Living House is for you. We lawn bowl on Fridays and have lemonade soirees & knitting classes on weekends. No violence or shocks to your innocence at Sunnygreen! Call today. And experience shuffleboard like you've never experienced it before.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    "A gleefully insane symphony of destruction" is how one reviewer on the IMDB called it.
    I would say that's quite correct.

    The "Doof Warrior" is also a character to behold. He's the Heavy Metal guitarist whose guitar throws flames.
    He's pretty off-the-map Awesome. His scenes are sheer uncontrollable undulation. He's so wild he has to be tethered to the fucking rig...I mean, Jesus, have you ever seen a character like that? In any movie? EVER?
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Well, you enthusiasm harmonizes with the rave reviews -- even from the French critics (Allociné 4.4) and Brits (Guardian's Peter Bradshaw 4/5 stars)/; I think the Metaceritic 89% is a bit over the top, to be honest. Saying your fave character beats Hardy's Max isn't saying much; he's very tame compared to Mel Gibson's original. But a female protag is currently market-savvy, it seems. I also commented on the deaf metal flame-thrower guitar with approval; that got my attention. He's been a passionate movie buff since the age of three, which would be for about fifteen years, and he's fan of Mireilles' City of God, as I am.

    The line you quoted from IMDb comes from a young Australian aspiring filmmaker and sometime movie reviewer, I believe. Very young. Unless he's a plagiarist, which nowadays is always a possibility. This guy admits "my grammar is terrible) -- not without reason, yet he is certainly a vivid and enthusiastic writer: "old-blooded, botanically medieval, crusades-like, and horrifically thrilling—that's Fury Road.." From a sampling, I like his reviews.


    STEVEN/SVEN, ABDIULLA FILMS

    IMDb's Mad Max "User" reviews turn up some serious haters of the film. So not everybody is satisfied. Not that that is anything new. As I imply in my review, I recognize the merit of the piece but it wasn't quite my thing and some of it went over my head. I'm waiting for the program guide I can study before a second viewing -- without the darkening glasses.

    On Allociné's critic page they quote Les Inrocuptibles' Jean-Marc Lalanne, Le film impressionne par son hyper contemporanéité. Il recycle tous les fétiches de la première trilogie puis les refond dans une forme totalement synchrone avec les codes visuels contemporains. "The film impresses for its super-contemporaneity. It recycles all the obsessions of the original trilogy and then reshapes them in a form that conforms completely with current visual codes." Or something like that.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-06-2015 at 04:14 PM.

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    If that's his picture...wow. What did he do to his head? It's been Adam Lamberted!
    A passionate movie buff since age 3. Right-O.
    IMDB reviewers can be sketchy. I haven't written anything there in over 10 years.
    His review was the first one on the Fury Road page and I cherry-picked from it.
    He's using phrases like "old-blooded"- what does that mean? and "botanically medieval"- what does that mean?
    If he's 18 then he's probably trying to make his writing "sing" and he's digging really deep to impress. LOL
    But as long as he keeps it fresh, he should be alright, right? ha ha
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    He comes up with some vivid phrases. There is youthful enthusiasm to burn. IMDb Users comments can be helpful. There are some very serious, well-informed writers. But I rarely look at them now. However, this is a way to reach even the director, sometimes, because the audience is so wide. I've made contacts through commenting there.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-07-2015 at 08:49 AM.

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    You seem to have a good system of cross-referencing other critics. I'm a little solipsistic about what I post, and I should read more varied points of view. I missed the first postings about Mad Max here- I thought nobody had seen it, like Avengers, Age of Ultron.

    I like to cherry-pick. I find that method works. I cherry-pick the films I see and I cherry-pick reviews I like. It's just easier for me. Seems to me most IMDB reviewers are either really enthusiaistic movie-goers who want their opinion heard or are serious writers who have to dress to impress. The main thing I look for is a point to the review. As a friend of mine likes to remind me: "Don't write to say something! Write because you have something to say!"

    You don't want to be like a "stupid fucking white man", right? You don't want to be someone who talks a lot but says nothing, right? lol
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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