Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Directed by: George Miller
Running time: 120 minutes
I almost completely wrote off Mad Max: Fury Road when I initially heard about it. I had added it to the long list of films coming out that are either sequels, reboots or sequel-reboots (requels? seboots?) of 80s and 90s franchises and, given it was based upon a franchise I had very little experience with, I wasn’t terribly excited. I only saw bits of the original films as a child, and Fury Road looked like a lot of crazy car chase action scenes with a heavy focus on the cars rather than the actual action, and that kind of vibe is what has put me off seeing films like the Fast & Furious. I don’t know, but I’ve never been much of a rev-head so that whole “driving cars fast = excitement” mentality has never really appealed to me.
But I will eat my proverbial hat. You have never seen car chases like the ones in Mad Max: Fury Road, and it is one of the better action films I have seen in recent years. Continue reading
It Follows (2014)
Directed by: David Robert Mitchell
Running time: 100 minutes
I have always been a proponent of the concept “less is more” when it comes to horror films. For me, the horror films with the least amount of violence, no proper glimpses of the monster and that build up tension through the fear of danger are the ones that get under my skin. A great example of this I can think of was 2013’s The Conjuring (particularly this scene, if you dare watch it), which primarily hid the spirits and never actually harmed anyone until its climactic scenes.
But, like most cinematic rules, they can be broken and be equally as effective; and the indie horror film It Follows showed me one can defy my “barely glimpse the monster” rule and get so far under my skin that I feel it ought to have bought me dinner first.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Running time: 141 minutes
When I wrote on the first Avengers all those years ago, I rambled in a giddy haze of how amazing it was simply because it didn’t fall apart. Actually having several, high profile superheroes as the protagonists, having them not drown each other out by vying for more screen time and for having an excellent script. Avengers was great for the simple fact it didn’t mess itself up!
But here we are, round two, and superhero team up stories are no longer a new thing. Was the first time a fluke?
Word to the wise: contains brief plot details for both Ultron and some previous Marvel films
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Running time: 125 minutes
After the chaos of the Oscars last month, there were two films I missed out on actually writing up: Boyhood and Whiplash. So before I get started, I wanted to quickly address these two films. On Boyhood: while the impressive undertaking of filming the same cast across 12 years gave a sense of genuineness to the narrative, boring mundane life is still boring mundane life and if it weren’t for its unique filming practice no one would care. Whiplash, on the other hand, was a fantastic edge-of-your-seat thriller featuring nothing but jazz eisteddfods. Seriously, wow.
Anyhow, let’s get on to Fifty Shades of Grey. There’s something I never thought I’d say… Continue reading
Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Running time: 128 minutes
And so we have the last of the Best Picture films based upon true events. We made it! OK, I know I’ve been picking on these movies quite a bit, but I’ll be honest and say that all the previous few “true story” movies have been pretty good. Well, not ALL, but most. I complain about it, but history does have some fantastic stories to tell and often they are stories we, as a society, need to hear as a means to better ourselves.
Enter Selma. Continue reading