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Monday
May182015

Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Michael C here to review my most anticipated film of the summer. Isn't it wonderful when anticipation and quality go together?

With each passing Summer the concept of the Event Movie gets a little more cheapened, a little more downgraded. Like eyes adjusting to darkness, we see weightless CG blurs collide with other weightless CG blurs and deem it good enough. That is until a film like George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road comes along to rip the curtains down and the light flood in. No, that image is not strong enough. Fury Road tears through the multiplex like a great cleansing fire, leaving the great herd of lesser, timid blockbusters scattering to escape its path. 

It may seem an odd declaration to make about a franchise reboot, itself the third sequel in a series dormant since 1985’s Beyond Thunderdome. But Miller proves that any project can attain greatness with the right spirit of reckless ambition. The prevailing mentality is that an established brand is an excuse to play it safe, to scrub a rehash of the original story down to a neutered PG-13 so as not to risk alienating a single ticket buyer on Earth. George Miller goes full tilt in the opposite direction, embracing the franchise’ twisted id...

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Sunday
May172015

Podcast: Max & Furiosa On The Road

Nathaniel welcomes back Anne Marie and regular Nick Davis and new guest Kyle Stevens to discuss George Miller's critically drooled over action masterwork Mad Max Fury Road. Though is it really as good as they say? We look deep at that misdirection of a prologue, the hallucinatory visuals, and the central conceit vs the female characterizations. We even talk Oscars a little bit. There are a few spoilers so it's best to see the film before listening if you care about such thing.

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes.  


Companion Links
Michael's Fury Road review
Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero"
Kyle's Twitter Account - Follow him. He's fun!

Fury Roadcast

Sunday
May172015

Goodbye To Dear Loved Ones

I'm too distraught at the moment to truly process it but my favorite television show of all time ends tonight. End of an era, indeed. In just a few short hours at that. I'm off to co-host a finale party at the Museum of the Moving Image. (We will surely discuss later and probably through the Emmys so awards seasons have their blessings in keeping conversation relevant and alive.)

But to those who are also in mourning, you are not alone. This show has fascinated so many and inspired such wonderful writing on the web for seven years at many different sites. Let us cry on each other's virtual shoulders. Favorite episode. Favorite character. Favorite season in the comments please!

Sunday
May172015

The Age of Mad Max's Perfect Pitch

"We're Back Pitches!"

Actually EVERYONE was back this weekend in the sequel-saturated landscape. The nice surprise is that it was totally infused with girl power. The real kind, not just the lip service kind with "Strong Female Characters" that the boys then rescue. OK, The Scarlet Witch is rescued by The Vision in Age of Ultron, but she brings it in the power department overall and the film just passed the one billion mark worldwide and became the top grosser of 2015 (in the US). But the top two this week were newer 'old' ones. Anna Kendrick and her harmonizing family The Barden Bellas returned to rescue themselves as they headed toward graduation and the world championships. Meanwhile Mad Max: Fury Road won the hearts of critics with its surprisingly feminist storyline and ambitous action setpieces. The film essentially has two title characters because the story may start with Mad Max but it's Imperator Furiosa in the driver's seat and she's taking this franchise down roads it's never been down before. Charlize Theron once again reminds the world that she's every bit as strong an action star as any man (and considering that Blunt, Jolie, and Johansson are also aces in this department, there are surely others who could carry an action picture if given the chance these actresses have had). 

And "They" say nobody will go see female superheroes. That's what all of these bitches are, you regressive studio execs! WAKE UP. Fund more female-driven movies. 

TOP TEN BOX OFFICE
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Pitch Perfect 2 $70.3 NEW
02 Mad Max: Fury Road $44.4 NEW Review
03 Avengers: Age of Ultron $38.8 (cum. $372)  Review & Marathon & Podcast
04 Hot Pursuit $5.7 (cum. $23.5) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $3.6 (cum. $62.9)
06 Furious 7 $3.6 (cum. $343.8)  Review 
07 Age of Adaline $3.2 (cum. $37) 
08 Home $2.7 (cum. $165.6)
09 Ex Machina $2.1 (cum. $19.5)  Review
10 Far From the Madding Crowd $1.3 (cum. $2.6) 

NEW LIMITED RELEASES
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Where Hope Grows $490,000 (276 Theaters)
02 Good Kill $17,000 (2 Theaters)
03 I'll See You in My Dreams $16,000 (3 Theaters)
04 In the Name of My Daughter $14,000 (3 Theaters)
05 Animals $12,000 (10 Theaters)
06 The Connection $9,800 (2 Theaters)

In truly perplexing news, who is still buying tickets to Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 when there are this many good movies in theaters of pretty much all genres !?

In 'Less Likely To Be At a Theater Near You' news, Far From the Madding Crowd had a great weekend, vaulting into the top ten with an expansion despite still being in a few thousand less theaters than everything else in the top ten. 

Kim Shaw and David Dastmalchian in "Animals"

Of the other new releases, we hope y'all will go see ANIMALS. It's true we're biased in favor of the movie since the film's screenwriter/star David Dastmalchian guest blogged here just recently and I had the pleasure of moderating their Q&A here in NYC this weekend at the Village East cinema. But you don't have to take my word for it since it was a big hit at SXSW and also has the thumbs up from critics. It's currently available for download and playing theatrically in NYC, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Miami, Columbus, and Los Angeles. Next week it adds Chicago, where it was filmed and where many of its actors are from, to the list so if you live in Chicago head to the Gene Siskel next weekend! I told Dastmalchian that it seems terribly fitting that I went to the movie specifically to see him work a rare leading role and I came out appreciating not just him but actors I wasn't yet familiar with in other much smaller roles, the kind he used to get noticed for.

Sunday
May172015

Cannes Review: Carol

Our friend Diana Drumm is in Cannes and will be sending a few reviews our way. First up, Todd Haynes hotly anticipated Carol... (note: this review contains a couple of spoilers for those who haven't read the book)

Within a year of publication, Patricia Highsmith’s first novel “Strangers on a Train” became a seminal Hitchcock thriller. After half a century, her second novel “The Price of Salt” (published under the pseudonym of Claire Morgan) is now a Todd Haynes romantic drama (under the succinct title Carol). Whereas the former concerns two male strangers duplicitous in murder, the latter is about two women finding love in constrictive 1952 New York City. Turning the pulp novel into a palpable parable, Carol is a master stroke in Haynes’s 21st century oeuvre (Far from Heaven, Mildred Pierce, et al.), and harkens back to the pressurized strength of Safe and the sexual fluidity of Velvet Goldmine - both capturing and throwing off the starched restrictiveness of postwar America, and deftly upgrading the melodrama with social relevance.

Inspired by Highsmith’s own stint at Macy’s (and her affair with Philadelphia socialite Virginia Kent Catherwood), 20-something shopgirl Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) waits on and is struck by elegant “blondish woman in a fur coat” Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett). A friendship builds between the two, to the jealousy of Therese’s huffy square boyfriend (Jake Lacy), who dismisses it as schoolgirl crush, and the consternation of Carol’s matinee-handsome, soon-to-be ex-husband (Kyle Chandler), who uses it as ammunition in their ongoing divorce negotiations. [More]

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Sunday
May172015

Happy 75th Waterloo Bridge

Today is the 75th anniversary of Vivien Leigh's favorite from her own filmography Waterloo Bridge (1940). You shoud definitely see it if you only know Scarlett & Blanche