I watched the original Mad Max starring the extremely talented Mel… MoreI watched the original Mad Max starring the extremely talented Mel Gibson directly after seeing the newest one featuring Tom Hardy. Personally, I've never been a big fan of older films: they're less satisfying and don't hold up to my standards as much as other die-hard filmgoers as they do for me. While I do understand how good movies like Mad Max were for their time, they just rarely ever do it for me. Mel Gibson plays Max at least 15 years before the events of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), and he's just as quiet as Tom Hardy's portrayal. Here, there is no apocalypse, unlike Fury Road: instead we have an alternative Australia where cops are men in leather jeans and biker jackets. I have nothing against this film, because I know my opinion is a little biased. However, I still feel like it didn't age well, over 35 years later.
WHAT A MOVIE! I'll admit, I wasn't excited when I saw Mad Max's… MoreWHAT A MOVIE! I'll admit, I wasn't excited when I saw Mad Max's trailer. After seeing it, it completely blew away my expectations, turning out to be one of the best movies I've seen so far this year. The action is some of the best I've ever seen, including 90% completely real and authentic stunts. It moves so quickly: what helps that notion is being able to notice the film is actually being sped up just a bit, for extra intensity. Mad Max also has some of the weirdest little details I've seen in a long time. There are morbidly obese women sitting in a row with tubes attached to their breasts to feed the powder-white henchmen of the villain. There's a tiny little man the size of a baby. Need I say more? As for the actors, Tom Hardy (Max) is a quiet mumbling man, AKA Tom Hardy, and Charlize Theron is a badass rebel with a buzz cut and a robotic arm. Both characters are pretty soft spoken. What makes them insane, along with the rest of the movie are the way they handle themselves in the ridiculously over-the-top yet intensely satisfying action sequences. Cars are constantly exploding into furious balls of flame, men are jumping from car to car wielding explosive spears, and guns are being fired like a hillbilly barbecue on the 4th of July. Add in tribal drums and a badass guitar guy (who's guitar shoots out FLAMES!), both of whom are on speeding vehicles, and you get an amazing and outstanding action film, destined to be a classic in the coming decades. You know a movie takes you over when you can hear yourself breathing hard when silence creeps in after 20 minutes of constant, high octane action.
Majority of zombie iterations see the victims who are bitten die, and… MoreMajority of zombie iterations see the victims who are bitten die, and turn into the walking dead rather quickly. What makes Maggie stand out from the rest is the dreadfully slow and brutal depiction of someone slowly decaying both physically and mentally, making it more emotionally effective than you had expected before going in. People might not like this because when they see Arnold Schwarzenegger's name on the cast list, they expect the movie to be filled with his famous cheesy punch-lines and non-stop action. Maggie does quite the opposite: he's so serious here that it's strangely funny at first. Despite knowing the outcome, Maggie proves it's the journey that makes it rather gripping and hard to watch than the destination itself.
Mood, setting, subtlety, and camerawork are what make Only Lovers Left… MoreMood, setting, subtlety, and camerawork are what make Only Lovers Left Alive a memorable independent vampire story. The film is in constant darkness, the time a vampire would be awake, and calling the film dark both literally and aesthetically is an understatement. It's a rarity to see a film with this kind of tone; Detroit and Tangier, Morocco are beautifully desolate and dimly lit throughout. Director Jim Jarmusch portrays the cities as if they were in an alternate reality, and it's worth watching for that alone. The film is nicely shot as well, and makes Tilda Swinton walking down a dark alleyway look as cool as you could imagine. The vampire aspects of the script are very subtle, unlike most vampire tales. We're never shown anyone's neck being bitten, and there is no skin burning in the sun; these vampires have been alive for too many years to make such foolish mistakes. "It's been 87 years [since we've seen my sister] Eve (Tilda Swinton) comments. The grunge-rock soundtrack supports the badass look of Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve, who sport dark shades and leather gloves in public. The drawback is the extremely slow-burning pace. If you're looking for a deep, intricate script, you're looking in the wrong place. It's the vibe and the minute details that make Only Lovers Left Alive a cool vampire movie.
I'm happy to say that the second was better than the first. The… MoreI'm happy to say that the second was better than the first. The villain, Ultron, a giant metallic A.I. whose set on destroying the world was surprisingly funny and smart, elevated by James Spader's performance as him. He shares a great scene with The Vision (his good-willed A.I. counterpart) at the end. Another great addition is Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) who has telepathic and hypnotic powers, making for a psychological disturbance in a very simple comic book world. Age of Ultron is also funnier than the first, and takes itself a little less seriously, which is something the franchise could use more of. I walked away pretty satisfied, and am actually looking forward to the final two installments.
This sequel is noticeably better than the first. It's bigger, bolder,… MoreThis sequel is noticeably better than the first. It's bigger, bolder, and the pacing is much faster. Danny DeVito nails it as The Penguin. He's perverted, disgusting, and looks grotesque. In fact, he looks just as scary as Jack Nicholson's Joker did in the previous film. Batman Returns also retained the sense of humor from the first. Penguin has his own set of awesome punchlines. "Welcome to the Oswald Cobblepot school of driving. Gentlemen, start your screaming." A second villain made things interesting; Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer in a solid and seductive performance. The love dynamic between her and Bruce Wayne brought out an interesting side to him. I liked this one a lot more than the original.
If you've seen A Most Violent Year, you'd have already realized the… MoreIf you've seen A Most Violent Year, you'd have already realized the title barely adheres to what the movie is actually about- which is the American Dream, a theme now as old as time itself. Revolutionized in The Godfather and proving it's longevity in Scarface, the subject of the American Dream in film is indeed a popular one. A Most Violent Year is about Tony Montana's boring distant cousin Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) and his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain) residing in the New York/ New Jersey area, also trying to carry out his own version of the American Dream. A Most Violent Year is the maverick of American Dream/ gangster movies: Abel Morales is an honorable family man who runs an oil heating company. His wife and the company lawyer (played by Albert Brooks) both try to sway him towards the crime path while he does his best to resist them both... majority of this film is about him doing his best to do everything legally and honorably, and it's also the films biggest downfall because it makes for some pretty dull material. While I respect the themes: that some have to get a little "dirty" once in a while to succeed, and that attaining this American Dream is definitely not a black and white affair, I couldn't help but shake the feeling that it's been done so many times before in more entertaining, watchable, and interesting ways.