Movie Reviews posts

Wednesday November 22, 2017

3:05 In

A few months ago, my 16-year-old nephew alerted me to this “What the Flick?!?” discussion between movie critics Alonso Duralde and Ben Mankiewicz and former Rotten Tomatoes EIC Matt Atchity. (He's a big fan of the show, and of Duralde in particular.) They're talking about a New York Times article by Brooks Barnes in which people in Hollywood (including Brett Ratner) blame Rotten Tomatoes for Hollywood's awful summer at the box office.

“3:05 in the video,” my nephew wrote. 

 

“As soon as it was mentioned,” he added. “I was like 'no way.'”

Gotta give Atchity credit: Remembering the name of a writer of a seven-year-old article? That's impressive. Not impressive enough to include my EL.com reviews among Tomatometer reviews, of course, but I'll take what I can get.

Posted at 01:09 PM on Wednesday November 22, 2017 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Saturday August 05, 2017

My Father's Original 'Annie Hall' Review from 1977

In March I posted my father's original “Star Wars” review from 1977, and in May, on the 40th anniversary of its release, the Minneapolis Star Tribune did the same. Then they got him to write a follow-up. Had he changed his mind? Of course not. And to be honest, his review is pretty spot-on. “Leave your brain at home.” Moviegoers have been doing that ever since. 

The 1977 movie he preferred to “Star Wars” was this one. He was right about that, too. No follow-up necessary.


At the Movies

May 15, 1977

Original review of Annie Hall from 1977If you’ve held off from seeing Woody Allen’s latest film, “Annie Hall, because of reports that it’s his first “serious comedy,” disabuse yourself of the notion at once. If “Annie Hall” is different from Allen’s previous movies, it’s only in being more personal, more autobiographical.

But its subject matter—Jewish boy meets goy girl, loses girl—is no more serious than, say, the Russian novel or a bank robbery. And the one-liners still fly thick and fast, particularly in the first half of the film.

I think it’s his funniest film yet, and his best, but I’ve thought that about his last three, which suggests either that his grasp of the medium keeps getting more controlled as he gets older or, more likely, that the last joke you heard is always the funniest, because it’s still fresh.

The film, especially considering the title, comes off mainly as a protracted valentine to Diane Keaton, his frequent costar and the actress with whom he once lived, just as Alvy Singer, the hero of the film, lives with Annie.

The strength of “Annie” comes from the unlikely liaison between the two, this woman who says things like “la-di-da” and “neat” and the comedian who says, “My grammy never gave gifts. She was too busy being raped by Cossacks.”

The contrast in lifestyles culminates in a family dinner at the Hall (Keaton) household in Chippewa Falls, Wis., at which Singer-Allen feels so much the outsider that he imagines himself bearded and garbed like a Hasid.

Allen develops his themes in a variety of ways, not all of them successful: time warps in which the current Allen looks at his childhood, subtitles that contrast people’s thoughts with what they say (I thought that went out with “Strange Interlude”), split screens showing both he Singer and Hall families at the dinner table, speeches to the audience.

There are lots of interesting casting assignments, too, and again some of them misfire. Paul Simon works out well as a rock artist attracted to Miss Keaton, and Tony Roberts gets to listen to Woody’s paranoia as if this were a remake of “Play It Again, Sam.”

If Allen wanted the epitome of Waspiness for Annie’s mother, however, he certainly shouldn’t have chosen Colleen Dewhurst, who is as Irish-looking as the Blarney stone.

After making love to Miss Keaton, Allen describes sex as “the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing.” Well, his films—and those marvelous essays of his in the New Yorker—are some of the most fun I’ve ever had with laughing.

He’s a national treasure, and if he wants to make more “serious” films such as this, fine. But not too often. My ribs need time to heal.

Posted at 07:37 AM on Saturday August 05, 2017 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Thursday July 13, 2017

Lane on ‘Big Sick’

“If [Kumail] Nanjiani cuts a likable figure, onstage and off, it's because he never pleads to be liked. His punch lines are not punched at all but flicked as casually as cigarette butts.”

— Anthony Lane in his review of “The Big Sick” on The New Yorker site. I liked this line even though I don't know how true it is. Flicking a cigarette butt has a kind of contempt that I don't see in Nanjiani. Not to mention the fact that Lane seems so-so on “The Big Sick,” which I consider the best movie I‘ve seen so far this yearAnd it should’ve been the lead review, not secondary and after-thoughtish. Right, New Yorker? I mean, WTF? It's like you don't even know. 

Posted at 05:58 PM on Thursday July 13, 2017 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Wednesday March 22, 2017

My Father's Original ‘Star Wars’ Review from 1977 (with special guest star Muhammad Ali!)

Star Wars: original poster, original review

A few days after Christmas, my 84-year-old father, me (53), and my 15-year-old nephew Jordy sat in the basement of my sister's house in south Minneapolis and did a podcast on three generations of movie reviewers talking about three generations of movies: “Four Feathers” from 1939, “Star Wars” from 1977, and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” from 2009. I first wrote about it here. You can listen to it here

During the podcast, we referenced my father's 1977 review of “Star Wars.” He didn't like the movie much—or he didn't gush over it. He had gripes. But if you read the piece, he's not wrong.

Because the Minneapolis Star-Tribune currently doesn't give subscribers access to its archive the way The New York Times does (and Strib: I would totally be a subscriber if you offered this service), I typed it up myself from the original newspaper review. I typed up a few other reviews of his from the ‘70s, too, including “Annie Hall” and “The Godfather Part II,” which I’ll post someday.

Dad's “Star Wars” review shared a column with another film—The New Yorker still does this. Anyone remember “The Greatest” starring Muhammad Ali? I‘ve included that one, too, to give a better feel for the times. 

‘Star Wars’ may be good fun, but leave your brains home

June 5, 1977

George Lucas’ “Star Wars,” his first movie since “American Graffiti,” is obviously the film phenomenon of the year, judging by the crowds it’s attracting at the St. Louis Park theater. It even packed them in at 11 a.m. last Sunday, which is an ungodly hour to see a movie. Clearly it’s the “Jaws” and “Exorcist” of 1977.

But is it also the best film of the year? Time magazine has already awarded it that accolade without bothering to check out the competition. If Time’s editors are so confident of premature judgments, why don’t they also select their Man of the Year now, instead of waiting till December?

I certainly don’t think it’s the best film of the year, or the month, for that matter (it ranks well behind “Annie Hall” and “Jonah” in my May rankings). It does have some gorgeous special effects and an amusing plot, if you like comic strips. There’s also a certain fun in spotting all the sources from which the eclectic Lucas has drawn his material.

It’s got some Flash Gordon, of course, but there’s also a good hunk of “The Wizard of Oz,” with a gold, English-speaking version of the Tin Woodsman and an apish version of the Cowardly Lion looking for that Yellow Brick Road in the sky, and a tribe of Sand People that sounds suspiciously like Munchkins. [Editor’s Note: Yes, Jawas.]

Not to mention the Arthurian legends—the golden-haired, untested squire tilting lances with the Black Knight, who turns out to be a heavy-breathing warrior who sounds like the wrong end of an obscene phone call.

Most of Lucas’ dialogue sounds as if he’d lifted it unaltered from World War II John Wayne movies. “This is it, boys!” says the squadron commander as he prepares to attack the space station, followed by “Cover me!” (Sorry about all of those exclamation points, but this is a comic strip, so every sentence, no matter how innocuous, must end with an exclamation!)

The film also contains an ear-splitting amount of gunfire, none of which hits the outnumbered good guys. There’s a cornball story interred somewhere in the mish-mash—something about an interplanetary rebellion, a kidnapped princess (more of a take-charge type than we’re accustomed to in costumed epics) and the attempt to recover some secret plans. Your kids will love it, and you may too. But leave your brains at home.

**

Watching “The Greatest,” which is the filmed autobiography of Muhammad Ali, is like attending the weigh-in for one of Ali’s fights. For two hours.

The braggadocio, the doggerel, the taunting of a glowering opponent are all amusing in short doses. Stretched out for 120 minutes, they lose their fizz fast.  

A hint of part of the problem emerged from a recent interview with Ring Lardner Jr., who wrote the screenplay but encouraged Ali to rewrite his own lines in the interest of authenticity. As a result, many of those lines become speeches—pontifical, redundant, verbose. It may be the way Ali talks, but it’s not very dramatic.

That’s just one of the problems, however. “The Greatest” certainly deserves one superlative: It’s the worst edited film I’ve seen in some time. Scenes are built up, then dropped, and key scenes are omitted. There’s very little about Angelo Dundee’s effect on Ali, for instance, either because it would have intruded on Ali’s ego or because it’s convenient to ignore his pre-Muslim past.

Ali is certainly an engaging actor, and the fight sequences are exciting, particularly if, like me, you’ve forgotten who won which fights. But despite the promise of the ads to discover the “real” Ali, you don’t learn much about him that you didn’t already know from the papers. 

That “Leave your brains at home” line? Who knew we'd be doing that for the next 40 years? And counting. 

Posted at 06:51 AM on Wednesday March 22, 2017 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Saturday April 09, 2016

The False Positives in the 29% Rotten Tomatoes Rating of 'Batman v Superman'

Batman v Superman negative reviews

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' currently has a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is rotten indeed, but I got curious about those critics that liked it. As in: What exactly did they like about it?

That's what I went searching for, but I found something else.

Yes, a few of the positive reviews are positive:

  • “Unfairly maligned, Snyder's dark vision is impressive and starkly different from the competition. The plot is perhaps too ambitious but the film delivers more often than it doesn't with Affleck's Bruce Wayne and Gal Gadot being highlights.” — Chris Bumbray, JoBlo's Movie Emporium

But many sound like shrugs:

  • “You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both and there you have a Zack Snyder film.” — Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
  • “Above all of it's [sic] flaws, what works in Batman v Superman is enough to please the less demanding audiences.” -- Cuauhtémoc Ruelas, Tijuaneo

While a few are so negative they make you wonder what a critic has to say to give a movie a thumbs down:

  • “Unfortunately, director Zach [sic] Snyder's scattershot, overly complicated and hugely drawn-out exposition depletes the story of all its fun and power, reducing his leads to impotent cranks.” - Roe McDermott, Hot Press
  • “While the actors and the show are worth [sic] of a superhero film, it sacrifices the humanity of the characters and drowns in endless videogame sequences that ultimately leave us an emptiness and without amazement. Totally numb.” -- Mario P. Székely

A few of these were translated (poorly) from the Spanish. Maybe that's how they got translated into positive reviews, too: poorly. 

Posted at 10:44 AM on Saturday April 09, 2016 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Friday April 08, 2016

Michael Shannon by Anthony Lane

Came across this nice description reading Lane's review of Jeff Nichols' new film, “Midnight Special”:

The actor Michael Shannon appears in all four [of Nichols'] films, starring in three of them, and, if you seek a reliable guide to Nichols's work, consider Shannon's face. Smiles do not become it; the mouth tightens, by reflex, to a crinkled line, and once, in “Take Shelter,” it gapes wide in a terrible and soundless O, as the hero wakes from a nightmare. The eyes, not quite matched, are set far apart in a square and noble head, which feels too heavy with care to be borne upon his shoulders. Although he is rangy and tall, anxiety freights him down, or brings him to a devastated halt. Shannon does not look alien, exactly, but never, even in company, do his characters seem like happy members of the human tribe.

Lane found the movie flawed but resonant. He would like to see it again, “to revel anew in its group portrait of those who are haunted by the will to believe.” 

Michael Shannon in "Take Shelter"

Michael Shannon in “Take Shelter”

Posted at 02:33 PM on Friday April 08, 2016 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Friday January 15, 2016

Michael Bay is the Stone on Which Critics Sharpen Their Wit

Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere has been criticizing the dudes at “Honest Trailers” for being a bit behind the times, but I suppose they did their send-up of the trailer for Michael Bay's 2001 film “Pearl Harbor” to coincide with the opening of Bay's new war movie, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” which is getting a lot of attention. (Me, I'd attack “Honest Trailers” more for not being very funny.)

Anyway, Wells uses the opportunity to quote from A.O. Scott's “Pearl Harbor” lede, which he calls “one of the finest opening paragraphs in the history of movie reviewing.” It ain't bad. But it ain't Anthony Lane, who gave us the following in his blistering review:

[That's] the second-best question of the film, topped only when Evelyn [Kate Beckinsale] finds Rafe [Ben Affleck] packing a suitcase, and, quick as a flash, says, “Packing?” She is understandably distraught by her sudden change of fortunes. One moment she is trying to cope with two grown men scrapping over her like a couple of roosters, and the next, as she says in some exasperation, “All this happened.” I am not absolutely sure what she means by “this,” but I imagine that she is referring to the trifling matter of an enraged United States being hauled into a global conflict. I guess we should thank Michael Bay for so bold a revisionist take on the Second World War: no longer the clash of virtuous freedom and a malevolent tyranny but a terrible bummer when a girl is trying to get her dates straight.

Posted at 03:23 PM on Friday January 15, 2016 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Saturday November 21, 2015

Critic Criticizes Critiquing of Critics

There are a zillion ways to lampoon a film critic, and sadly actor Jesse Eisenberg found exactly zero of them in his Shouts & Mumurs piece, “An Honest Film Review,” in the latest New Yorker. 

Apparently critics have been objecting to the piece (and are accused of being thin-skinned), but I question Eisenberg less than The New Yorker, which gave prime real estate to a non-writer. Yeah, I know, Eisenberg's got a book out. Read the piece. He's a non-writer. 

According to this post by Sam Adams on CriticWire, Eisenberg says he got the idea after reading a negative review of a Woody Allen movie:

The review said something along the lines of, “Woody Allen makes another movie. This one doesn't really work, but hey, he's doing one a year. Slow down, Wood-man.” And I realized the guy was not criticizing the movie. He was criticizing his own lack of productivity and laziness, vis-a-vis Woody Allen's productivity. But instead he was putting down the movie.

Interesting interpretation. But not mine. Mine goes like this:

  1. Woody Allen keeps making mediocre movies, year after year.
  2. Maybe if he took more time (say two years?) the movies might be better.

So not only is Eisenberg's piece lame, it's based upon an incorrect interpretation. 

On the bright side, he's got a fallback position.

Posted at 08:41 AM on Saturday November 21, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Saturday September 05, 2015

Blurb Whore Refueled

I haven't thought about blurb whores in a while. I guess I didn't know if they still did them. Why, in a world that doesn't care what critics think? 

Then this morning I saw an ad on IMDb.com that called “The Transporter Refueled,” which is getting shitty reviews, “the summer's sexiest action thriller,” or some such. First thought: Isn't it fall already? Second thought: Who the hell said that? Peter Travers? Larry King? Earl Dittman? I looked. And looked. And looked harder:

Transporters Refueled blurb

Can you read it? I zoomed in. And in:

The Transporter Refueled blurb

Kyle Something, obviously. From “Made in Hollywood.”

Actually, after some quick searching, Kylie Erica Mar. She interviews celebs. But thanks for making it clear, ad agency. 

The movie opened to $2.4 million on Friday, good enough for barely first place. Apparently not enough moviegoers are reading Kyle.

Posted at 08:58 AM on Saturday September 05, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Monday August 24, 2015

'Erik Lundegaard's Reviews ONLY count...'

I'm not sure when Rotten Tomatoes added the following disclosure, but I noticed it for the first time yesterday:

Rotten Tomatoes disclosure

So please keep this in mind as you're skimming the reviews here. Most of these are not Tomatometer-approved. The Tomatometer does not recognize them. The Tomatometer barely recognizes their reviewer. Understandable, given the author photo.

Posted at 05:32 AM on Monday August 24, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Friday August 21, 2015

Back in the Times: 'American Ultra' Review

I have a review of “American Ultra” in the Seattle Times today. Excerpt:

It's “Bourne Identity” meets “Pineapple Express.” Small-town stoner is in reality, and unbeknown to himself, a top CIA assassin. ...

Mike Lowell (Jesse Eisenberg) is the last remnant of a CIA program that turned three-time offenders into assassins, but which is now part of an internecine struggle between its creator, Victoria (Connie Britton), and middle-management douchebag Adrian Yates (Topher Grace), who has his own program, code-named “Tough Guy,” that turns psychopaths into assassins.

When threatened, Mike's pupils dilate and his inner assassin takes over; then he reverts back to vulnerable slacker. He kills two people with a spoon, for example, then needs a hug from his girlfriend. “I have a lot of anxiety about this,” he says, surveying the damage.

That's the sweet spot of the movie, and you do feel for Eisenberg, who's the best thing here. Kristen Stewart is also good. Most everyone else overacts, particularly Topher Grace and John Leguizamo, and not to comedic effect. 

It made me think of what worked with the original 1978 “Superman” starring Christopher Reeve. Reeve played it straight, everyone else was a little over-the-top. The difference is that in “Supes” everyone else (Hackman, Perrine, Beatty) was funny and Reeve wasn't (he was heroic). Here, it's still Eisenberg who makes us laugh. The others don't. 

Ultimately a missed opportunity. 

Posted at 01:07 PM on Friday August 21, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Friday June 05, 2015

Quote: 'The Young, Bikini-Clad or Topless Women of Entourage: Who Are They?'

“The young, bikini-clad or topless women partying aboard the yacht where the movie's first scene occurs—who are they? What do they do for a living? What are their aspirations? Who invited them to the party? And why did they go? Is that what it takes for a young woman to succeed in Hollywood? To attend parties run by men with money and power in the hope of appealing to one of them enough to get cast in a role or hired for a job? The men at the center of the movie have repellent attitudes, but there's nothing to suggest that they're violent or coercive. What do they say or do to induce young women to have sex with them?—or, rather, what's in it for the women? What motivates them to have one-night or one-morning or one-afternoon stands with the likes of E.? Why does Emily Ratajkowski (the character) want to be with Vince? For the business? For perceived advantage? To satisfy her own desires? It's the subject of the film—and the movie's director, Doug Ellin (who's also the creator of the TV series on which it's based), doesn't get anywhere near it. ... 

”How do the kinds of people seen in 'Entourage' manage to make movies that, by and large, make money—i.e., how do they make movies that large numbers of 'civilians' pay to see? It's a mystery, but it's a mystery that gets to the very essence of life at large and the demonic forces that lurk within most people's hearts. ... In a sense, to damn the fictional world of 'Entourage' is to damn the real world, and to review a popular movie is to review its viewers.

-- Richard Brody, “The Silent Women of 'Entourage,'” on the New Yorker site. For once I agree with almost everything Brody writes. “Entourage” currently has an RT score of 30% all/24% top critics

the silent women of Entourage

Demonic forces? Just a girl trying to get ahead? Both?

Posted at 11:29 AM on Friday June 05, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Tuesday June 02, 2015

A.O. Scott Doesn't Hug It Out with 'Entourage'

“There really isn't much more to say. By the time it reached the end of its HBO run in 2011, 'Entourage' had grown staler than last night's Axe body spray. The passing of a few more years has not improved the aroma. Watching the movie is like finding an ancient issue of a second-tier lad mag — not even Maxim, but Loaded or Nuts — in a friend's guest bathroom. You wonder how it got there. You wonder how you got there.”

-- A.O. Scott in his review of the “Entourage” movie. On Twitter he wrote: “No. Not gonna hug it out.” Here's my similar thoughts on the last episode of “Entourage” back in 2011. This thing is so over. 

Entourage

Ick.

Posted at 02:11 PM on Tuesday June 02, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Thursday May 28, 2015

Well, At Least One Person Agrees with Me about 'Meh Max'

From longtime reader Daniel, whose criticism of “Mad Max” gets closer to the problem than my review did:

Thank you for the critical review of Mad Max! I saw it Thursday, and I already knew of its acclaim which might have primed me for a letdown; but if I had to pick one word to describe this movie, that word would be “dull.”

I agree with your praise of the movie, and would add that the visuals of it are impressive and both Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy have terrific charisma and are mesmerizing to watch even when they are looking out a window. That said, I don’t think I found it dull just because I don’t like chase movies. I think it’s dull because we are given no reason to care about any of the characters.

Honestly, do you feel as though you have a sense of a full human being with any of them? Our eponymous character is closest, but how would you describe him? He’s tough and taciturn and plagued by nightmarish images of his past. That’s the best I can do. That’s the starting point for a character not its end point. By the way, the loved ones he didn’t save – did he make a choice of some kind to save himself rather than them? Or, were their deaths inevitable given the dire situations in which they found themselves? It’s ambiguous, but nothing is done with that ambiguity.

Mad Max: Fury RoadFuriosa? She is tough and taciturn. She wants redemption. But, wait, redemption usually means righting a past wrong. Is that what it means for her? Did she do something particularly wrong for which she feels guilty? Or, does she just want to do away with the maniacal patriarchy? It’s ambiguous, but nothing is done with that ambiguity either. What was her goal anyway? If she managed to bring the breeders to the green place, why wouldn’t that just lead to numerous raiding parties from Immortan Joe to that green place probably destroying it if it had not been destroyed already. Is Immortan Joe unaware of the (formerly) green place a day’s ride away? That seems unlikely, doesn’t it? I’m confused.

What about Nicholas Hoult’s character? He is maniacally loyal to Immortan Joe and full of competitive machismo – until he isn’t because … um … he’s convinced that Immortan Joe would never forgive me for letting his favorite die. Why does he think that exactly? He’s an underling. Why wouldn’t he immediately think that Joe would want revenge and would reward him for killing those who killed his favorite? Isn’t Immortan Joe the angry vengeful sort?

As for that favorite, what can we say about her? She’s attractive. She starts acting heroically before she dies. But we aren’t given a sense that any of the others think of her as special outside of the fact that she is described as Joe’s favorite, a description that isn’t prefigured in any way. And once she’s dead, she won’t be mentioned again.

Zoe Kravitz’s character? She’s feistier than the others. Actually, she’s legitimately feisty. That’s a character trait, so good for her.

The brunette? She despairs at one point. But that despair isn’t prefigured in any way and once the one minute scene is over, it won’t be mentioned again either. And despairing at one point is not a character trait. All of these moments that aren’t pre-figured in any way and have no broader connection to the “story” are what I like to call “Bad Writing 101.”

The red-head? She is affectionate around Nicholas Hoult’s character and seems attracted to him. That isn’t a character trait. She seems vaguely more motherly than the others, but three of the others (the favorite, the brunette and the blond) are such non-entities that being a bit more motherly than they are isn’t saying much.

The blond? She mentions that she’s pregnant. It’s a comment that isn’t prefigured and will not be brought up again at any point. Obviously, being pregnant isn’t a character trait, but what else can you say about her?

As for the bad guys, Immortan Joe and his brothers are so grotesque as to be cartoonish. In fact, it has to be said that Ultron is less cartoonish than they are. He has actual goals. Their goals – wait, what are their goals? Does he just want his models, I mean, breeders back? Does he just want to demonstrate that no one can escape his authority? I guess that makes sense, but his society doesn’t seem susceptible to those kinds of worries – although it’s shown to be fragile at the end of the movie – which wasn’t prefigured in any way, sigh. I think he is just supposed to be angry and maniacal and patriarchal, and he’s giving chase with an army because: angry, maniacal, patriarchal. These aren’t actually goals in any real sense of the word. Outside of Nicholas Hoult, the big guy and the guy with the flaming guitar, the chalky underlings are less distinguishable than Despicable Me’s minions. They die randomly, and it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone at all. I realize that it isn’t supposed to matter, but with no real characters at all, it would help if the “villains” were interesting – well interesting other than visually.

I also have to say, I like that so little was done with CGI, but the stunts gave scenes visual heft but not emotional heft. Emotional heft is what matters, it is what gives a chase scene (or a chase movie) tension and drama. This movie is loud and frenetic, but it isn’t dramatic – which is why I found it so dull. Sometimes I will say about a movie that it’s very good but has some noticeable flaws. This movie is the inverse; it’s terrible, but it has some noticeable good points.

I did not intend to write this much. I think I’ve felt more exasperated by this movie than most because I do not understand the critical acclaim for it. Fairly often, if a movie is broadly critically acclaimed, and I did not enjoy it, I seriously wonder what I might have missed as you seem to have done by asking about your “major malfunction.” I haven’t felt that way with this movie. This movie strikes me as objectively awful, and, yes, I believe there is such a thing. Your criticism of it gave me something to which I could respond, and I hope you don’t mind my sending what I’ve written your way. Thank you for continuing to think and write. I appreciate it.

Tags:
Posted at 05:48 AM on Thursday May 28, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  

Thursday May 14, 2015

'Mad Max' is 'One of the Finest Action Films Ever Made'

From Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere:

I've more or less said it already: George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros., 5.15) is one of the finest action films ever made — phenomenal, triple-A, pulse-pounding, perfectly performed by a live-wire cast topped by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, occasionally hilarious and superbly cut, timed, captured and choreographed...a grand slam if there ever was one for this type of thing. And what would that be? Call it an apocalyptic chase thriller with heart and humanity (underneath the rubber and fire and flying bodies it's about wounded characters rediscovering their compassion and trust). And it's extra special, I feel, because of the respect and allegiance it shows for women as leaders, fighters, nurturers, survivors. Without taking anything away from Hardy, who brings the legendary Max Rockatansky to life just as winningly as young Mel Gibson did 30-plus years ago, Fury Road is very much a woman's action film, and all the richer for that.

Despite being a big Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron fan, I wasn't too excited for this. I'm not a fan of either Aussie exploitation flicks or postapocalyptic yadda yaddas. But Wells' enthusiasm has me intrigued. 

Certainly looks pretty

In his post, Wells also gets some good digs in at “Furious 7.”

Posted at 08:56 AM on Thursday May 14, 2015 in category Movie Reviews   |   Permalink  
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