Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Gonzo doesn't even begin to describe Mad Max: Fury Road. The fourth entry in the Mad Max series comes thirty years (!) after the last film, with the broken, post-apocalyptic highway patrolman formerly played by Mel Gibson now re-interpreted by Tom Hardy. And one of the things writer-director (and franchise mainstay) George Miller does with a better actor at the helm is give road warrior Max Rockatansky an inner life. Whereas Gibson's Max was filled with rage at the world of "fire and blood" that took his wife and child, Hardy's Max is literally mad. This Max tries to stay busy to keep the voices in his head at bay, voices belonging to those he has encountered in his travels through the desert that he failed to save. While Max's first inclination is to retreat into himself, Fury Road implies that the only thing that keeps his madness in check is his continuing to help others.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron begins in media res, with the usually fractious superheroes seemingly having evolved into a well-oiled, super-powered machine as demonstrated by a coordinated attack on HYDRA and its new leader Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is beating whole flocks of HYDRA soldiers with one swing of his hammer, Mjolnir. Captain America (Chris Evans) uses his motorcycle the way a gymnast would a balance beam, pushing off into acrobatic flips and bowling his enemies over before meeting the cycle again further down the line. The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, or a CGI version of him) simply barrels through the bad guys like a runaway train while the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) follows close behind, prepared to execute a secret "lullaby" protocol that mysteriously calms the green behemoth in nearly an instant. All of this unfolds while Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is at his most detached, ordering his new Iron Legion of robots to do most of the dirty work while he flies overhead, trying his best to break through an invisible force field surrounding Strucker's castle.