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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The five out of ten rating for Mad Max is based solely on the stunningly beautiful visuals of the desert sands which are featured almost continuously. The story and script are rather silly, with a wasted Charlie Theron, and the equally talented Tom Hardy(see Bronson for a real taste of Mr. Harry's acting ability.) The pair spend two hours being chased by numerous evil bald men with a variety of weapons and exotic vehicles with gigantic tires for easy navigation through the off road terrain. I grew tired of the repetitive nature of the battle scenes, even though they are spectacular at first. A large screen is mandatory for this epic.
It Follows (2014)
Average Horror Film
A young lady gets busy in the back seat of a car resulting in extremely bad karma. It seems that her lover has passed on a malevolent spirit which can only be excorcised by the victim passing it on to the next sexual partner. The premise is a good one but the movie meanders while the teen friends of the possessed girl get together to defeat the demon, with Ghostbuster like efficiency. I was mostly bored by the sub par acting and tedious script, which has me bewildered by the 7/10 rating on IMDb. If you are looking for a horror film with young protagonists, I would recommend Let the Right One In from Sweden; great acting and script.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014)
Kumiko is a Japanese woman working as an office girl in a large office at a cubicle who dreams of a great adventure to escape her mundane life. She lives alone with a rabbit who seems to be her only friend in the world. She watches the movie Fargo and decides that it is a true story. She analyzes it over and over to figure out where the money has been buried by the character played by Steve Buscemi. She travels to Minnesota and attempts to make it to Fargo to find the money. Along the way she meets an old woman who tries to help her, as does a policeman with a good heart. Rinko Kikuchi is excellent in the lead role, but the film moves very slowly and the ending was a disappointment to me. As for Fargo, it is on my ten best list.
Ex Machina (2015)
Ex Machina is a futuristic science fiction movie which looks like a cross between The Stepford Wives and The Terminator. Caleb wins a contest at a Google like company to take on a secret research project. He is flown to a remote, high tech compound where he meets the guy who has built a human like robot. Caleb is to interact with the android, Ava, and reports daily on how well the machine is able to convince him that she can adapt with real people. They are constantly watched on camera and recorded for playback later. Caleb and Ava connect on an emotional level after seven days. The acting is good and the story an interesting one. Some funny moments and an ending which I did not predict, make Ex Machina worth watching.
You're Next (2011)
Violent and Interesting
A family get together at a rural house involving a wealthy couple with battling sons and daughter makes for a well written movie with some unexpectedly funny moments. The violence is over the top, with arrows, knives, sledge hammers, and all sorts of hardware used to kill almost everyone. Bad guys wearing animal masks dole out most of the carnage, and because their is comic relief in between, I was entertained for the entire ninety five minutes. The acting is good, with a couple of U.K. actresses thrown in for variety. The script is sardonic, sarcastic, and believable. The finale is a good one, and so I give You're Next a 7.5/10.
Charlie Theron won the best actress Oscar portraying Aileen Wuornos in this true life crime drama. Christina Ricci is Selby, her lesbian soul mate. The movie is more of a love story than the usual serial killer thriller we are used to seeing. Theron is so good that I felt as if I was watching a documentary. Ricci is also quite good as the clueless love interest Selby. The violence is there, but not overwhelming, and in the end, we have no one and nothing to root for, but Theron and the underrated Ricci make Monster well worth watching. The makeup artist makes Theron look almost exactly like the tough looking Wuornos and I rate the film an 8/10.
A young woman forced into a prostitution ring in Estonia escapes and seeks refuge with an old lady whose horrific past is revealed through a series of flashbacks, and although I am not fan of a non linear style of filmmaking, it works well for this particular movie.The two main actresses are terrific and the World War Two history lesson regarding Estonia and Stalin's communist Russia is quite compelling. Both the current theme of white slavery and the past one of atrocities committed in the name of patriotism and honor are portrayed in a brutal and honest way. Purge runs a bit too long at two hours and five minutes, but even with that small criticism, I would rank it as one of my favorite foreign language films.
[REC] 4: Apocalipsis (2014)
The first Rec movie was a pretty good idea with hand held cameras used throughout. A reporter from a tabloid TV show in Spain ventures into a building and finds a very bad virus which turning the tenants into flesh eating zombies. Somehow, it worked for me. Number four takes place on a ship on the ocean for no apparent reason at all. There is a high tech within the ship and Angela, the original reporter, is a passenger, along with numerous army men and scientists seeking a cure for the original virus. A terrible script, along with bad acting, combine to make this a painful ninety five minute experience. Avoid this like the plague.
Wolf Creek (2005)
Standard Crime Movie
Two young guys and two young women decide to drive to a remote area of the Australian outback for some adventure. Well, of course, while parked at a remote park, the car breaks down. A man shows up offering help by towing them to an even more remote place. After some campfire chit chat, they go to sleep. Upon awakening, one of the girls is tied with plastic ties. She manages to escape only to see her friend being menaced by their guardian angel. Lots of running and screaming follow, with bad decisions making which does not lead to a happy ending. I love crime movies in general, but this one is silly and beyond belief. It is supposed to based on a true story, so maybe a documentary would be more appropriate.
Relatos salvajes (2014)
Revenge is Sweet
Wild Tales is just that, a six story anthology dealing with revenge. The first and shortest is my personal favorite, is fairly simple. A passenger on an airliner engages in a casual conversation with a man who turns out to be a classical movie critic. They discover that her ex boyfriend was a struggling musician who was ridiculed for his lack of talent by the critic. As the flight continues, as others overhear the first two talking, they all share a link to the failed musician. The ending is great; funny and sick at the same time. Story number two concerns a waitress at a diner who serves a customer who in the past has caused her much misery. He is a nasty politician and, oh boy, does she serve justice. Number three is universal to anyone who has driven a car, as I have, and suffered road rage. An arrogant jerk in a new Audi is driving down a road when he gets stuck behind an old car weaving back and forth. As he is finally able to pass, he curses out the other guy while giving him the finger. A flat tire puts him in a bad situation, as the other man catches up and does things that can't be described in a nice way. Again, a good ending. Short number four is another common theme, a man fighting city hall, in this case a tow truck which costs him both time and money. He fights a losing battle until he uses his expertise from his job to get even. Number five is different in that revenge is not the theme here. A young man comes home distraught at the fact that he has run over a pregnant woman and left the scene. The wealthy dad schemes to hide the accident by using his money and bribing several people. A lesson in greed is the moral. The final segment is a huge wedding party where the newlywed bride discovers that her husband has cheated on her with a guest at the reception. All hell breaks loose, and my least favorite ending. Overall, a good way to be amused for two hours and a 8/10.