Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tomorrowland, White God, Tangerines, and Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! Reviews

Dir. Brad Bird

Tomorrowland, like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion before it, is based on a Disney World theme park attraction. However, unlike those films, "Tomorrowland" isn't a ride with some semblance of a "story," it's just the name of a section of the park with lots of shiny futuristic space ship paraphernalia. So how the heck did Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ghost Protocol) and writer Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus) even go about this? Well, besides borrowing the "Disneyland" aesthetic, their ambitions were certainly lofty: Tomorrowland is no less than a call-to-arms to end cynicism and make the future a better, brighter, the-opposite-of-Mad Max wheat field of joy. But while I appreciate the message, and the retro-futuristic design of the effects, Tomorrowland is a complete mess story-wise. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mad Max Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Wild Tales Reviews

Mad Max: Fury Road
Dir. George Miller

In 1979 George Miller created Mad Max, introducing us to a fresh-faced Mel Gibson and creating a new kind of post-apocalyptic world on a shoestring budget. In 1981 Miller upped the ante with its sequel The Road Warrior and crafted some of the best car-based action scenes ever. But in 1985, Miller dropped the ball and made Beyond Thunderdome. Tina Turner, a dumb prophecy plot, and a bunch of children following Max effectively turning the film into Hook-in-the-desert: the movie was a major disappointment. So much so that it took 30 years to get to Mad Max Fury Road. But holy mother of GOD was it worth the wait. Fury Road feels like Miller, possibly regretful about how Thunderdome turned out and having done a number of family films like Babe: Pig in the City and Happy Feet, just let every bit of repressed fuel-soaked rip-roaring sun-drenched wasteland fantasy pour out of his head and onto the screen. This movie is everything a gritty action movie should be: almost entirely shot with practical effects (with limited CGI), actors who do their own stunts, a world that feels believably fleshed out, characters that have a purpose to the story and bring a layer of depth through mostly physical performances, and probably some of the best road rage action I've ever seen.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Unfriended, Ex Machina, Timbuktu Reviews

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Dir. Joss Whedon

The first Avengers film grossed over $1.5 billion dollars worldwide, becoming the third-highest grossing film ever (behind Titanic and Avatar) and had the single highest opening weekend in North America. It was huge. So naturally, the industry went haywire trying to figure out how to repeat this success, and here we are now drowning in superhero movies. It was bad before, but at this point it's reached critical mass, with Marvel and DC planning films out to nearly a decade in advance! Although I consider myself a fan of the genre, I'm growing extremely weary of it at this point, and after watching Age of Ultron, I've never felt closer to the superhero bubble bursting.

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