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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Dryworld: redemption through alliance and equal partnership
I liked it... okay... It's visually stunning (I would expect nothing less from George Miller), and has some powerful moments, but it seems like the writers and director love their mechanical engineering and intricately choreographed mayhem more than any other parts of movie-making or storytelling. It's mostly (epic) car chases and blowing stuff (and extras) up, with occasional scraps of plot, dialog and character development tossed in 'cause somebody told them they had to.
But I like the idea of a character who starts out having given up on hope, love, kindness, mercy, altruism and justice, but who nonetheless discovers that "doing the right thing" provides him with an opportunity to quiet his own inner demons. And Charlize Theron's character (Imperator Furiosa) is great, though by now, the trope of the "anti-damsel-in-distress" is becoming very familiar in our "post-hipster", "many-layers-of-I-see-what-you-did-there" era.
I can see why this film has the Men's Rights groups' panties all in a twist, and I like it a lot better for that. But of all the Mad Max films, I still like Thunderdome (for all its flaws) the best. And of course I identify with Max, and I really like the idea that he also discovers that he can be a trustworthy "reliable" ally (rather than just a partisan) even in a fight that isn't really "his", and without being a "white knight" in the process -- his equal partnership with Furiosa is what I like best about the whole movie. And the very last scene, between Max and Furiosa is truly great.
But seeing Tom Hardy as Max, rather than Mel Gibson, is a little like seeing Chris Pine (rather than William Shatner) as Captain Kirk. Hardy and Theron are very good, but I spent the whole movie thinking things like, "Daniel Craig? Naw... Scarlett Johansson? Naw... Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana? Hmmm, maybe...".
But seriously, I think MMFR is entertainment for the damned -- for an audience that knows that we are, in real life, complicit in torture, murder, war crimes and enjoying our wealth while others starve. And we know perfectly well that the answer to the question "Then who killed the world?" is "We did.". We have set the gears of climate change irrevocably in motion and now all that remains is the shouting and screaming.
The prospect of a nightmarish near-future "economy of scarcity" and dystopian society where desperation routinely brings out the very worst in human nature is no longer a stylishly cynical cautionary tale -- it has become a sort of coping mechanism -- the difference between knowing that you MIGHT get some terrible terminal illness and finding out that you actually have it.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Drop everything and go see it right now. If already seen, see it again.
As usual, the real review is on my website, at Burket.net/craig/reviews/review-movie-GuardiansOfTheGalaxy-2014.htm This, once again, is because IMDb's newly-fascist we're-going-to-MAKE-you- write-a-good-review-in-spite-of-yourself-you-stupid-git attitude is as execrable as ever, and so richly deserves to be slathered and covered in scorn that I just can't hold back. But what can you expect from a minion of that union-busting Amazon.com? There, assholes, is that enough text for you, or do you want another round? Feel free to call or write to discuss further -- all my contact info is available on my web page (see above).
LUCY, Dehner, Brennan, Foreman: An Eternal 4-way Singularity Braid
The actual review is at: http://www.burket.net/craig/reviews/review-movie-LUCY-2014.htm
This is because IMDb is being very obnoxious about required edits to my review before posting it, and is turning out to something of an authoritarian a-hole nanny-state, which I did not see coming, but should have. For example, IMDb, being ever so much smarter than you, and being the Iron Judge that it is, decrees that "the minimum length for reviews is 10 lines of text". And it doesn't like too many blank lines, and better be real careful, 'cause any "attempts to pad the comment with junk words can result in your account being blocked from future submissions." Now, this does raise the question of just what they mean by "junk words" and who gets to make that decision stick.