Mad Max : Fury Road (2015) Film Review



Imperator Furiosa (Charlieze Theron) is on a mission; to get a group of women being used as breeders away from the evil control of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Taking a tanker for refueling across the stark desert from the compound run by Immortan Joe is the perfect chance, and she gets a hell of a way before he is on her tail – with his crew of followers, including the War Boys – men who are ill with some kind of perhaps radiation poisoning and live to give their lives for Immortan Joe. Nux (Nicholas Hoult) is one of these, and Max (Tom Hardy), who has been captured, is being used as his ‘blood bag’ – his blood is being transfused from him. Max gets free and ends up reluctantly helping/being dragged along for the ride with Furiosa.

It’s awesome. It most certainly fills all my love for explosions and chases and all of that. Plus, it has a kick-arse female character – actually, it has quite a lot of kick-arse female characters. Max is almost an after thought in the film, it is so much the journey of Furiosa. However, Hardy is perfect as Max – he has the humour and toughness that Mel Gibson had back in his heyday – and there is very much the feel of a man beyond desperation. I think the breeders possibly could have been a bit more clothed, though I understand the arguments for their near-naked state. Charlize Theron has shown again and again how amazing she can be, and here a lengthy close up on just her eyes can tell you so, so much. It’s so refreshing to have a woman being strong without a man puppet mastering her from afar. More kick arse women like this, please. We all love them.

Oh, and the guy on a bunji cord playing a guitar that shoots fire? Yeah, him too.

The Cider House Rules (1999) Film Review


Dr Larch(Michael Caine) runs an orphanage with a side business of providing the occasional abortion. Homer (Tobey Maguire) is one of the orphans who, after several attempts at being adopted out, becomes a permanent fixture of the orphanage and a favourite of Dr Larch, learning some doctoring skills. Then Candy (Charlize Theron) and her boyfriend Wally (Paul Rudd) visit for a procedure and Homer sees his chance to see the world. Well, a bit more of Maine, at least. Wally goes to war, Candy and Homer hang out a LOT, the other workers at Wally’s parents’ orchard have issues and it’s all a big story.

And yet… despite all the things happening, all of the big and major and life-changing and extremely dramatic things, I felt very little throughout. I just didn’t really care what happened to any of the characters, I shared none of the emotion of any of them. It did have that epic feel of a typical Oscar Best Film, and there is no surprise that it was nominated. Thank goodness American Beauty won that year.

The Cider House Rules won Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Caine) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or published and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Lasse Hallstrom) Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score.


North Country (2005) Film Review

North Country

After leaving her abusive partner, Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) takes advice from her friend Glory (Frances McDormand) and gets work in the mine. But she finds that the small group of woman who work there are putting up with appalling sexual harassment, from simple comments through to violent acts. Eventually, she can take no more and must try to stand up for herself, but faces the violent anger of the men of the mine who are annoyed and angered by the presence of women in the workplace.

It’s based on a true story, and it is surely impossible to watch this film without becoming angry. So much of the harassment that takes place in the workplace during the film could be seen as just jokes that the women should just laugh off – and indeed, much of the time they do. But it is horrible to watch just how nasty and abusive the men get – and that they feel totally entitled to act like this against the women and have full support of management, right to the top. It’s a heartbreaker of a film with fabulous cast.

North Country was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Charlize Theron) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Frances McDormand).

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) Film Review


It’s the Wild West and things are pretty horrible. Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a sheep farmer (although not very good at it) and a coward. After his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him, he wants to leave. He cannot be convinced to stay by his best mate, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) or Edward’s girlfriend, Ruth (Sarah Silverman), but when a new lady arrives in town he is convinced to stay. Little does he know that Anna (Charlize Theron) is the wife of the evil Clinch (Liam Neeson) and he is in deep trouble. Plus, now Louise is dating the creepy mustachioed Foy (Neil Patrick Harris) can life get much worse?

I thought that I would get a few laughs out of this, but (like with Ted and Family Guy) be left with the bitter taste of casual misogyny and racism. I’m quite torn by Seth MacFarlane’s humour – he pushes things too far, but that often makes me laugh. Was the ‘I saw your boobs’ song at the Oscars misogynistic or just funny? I thought it was just funny. But there are plenty of other examples of humour that I find quite unpleasant.

Luckily, that nastiness seemed to be lacking in this film. Sure, there are not really great roles for women, but that seems to be fairly normal. In fact, my favourite moments on the screen were between Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi. Who could not love a couple that is waiting to have sex when one is an extremely popular prostitute? Oh, and every moment with Neil Patrick Harris – how marvelous to have a real, old school, over-the-top, magnificent, mustache-twirling villain?

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would watch it again with very little encouragement. It’s just plain funny, (mostly low-brow, with the odd very clever remark, but why would you expect much more?) with good writing that balances the line of living in the time but having a total awareness of the future. Apparently, everyone else hated this film. It’s only got one-and-a-half stars on Rotten Tomatoes. Huh.

Hancock (2008) Film Review


John Hancock (Will Smith) is an alcoholic superhero with a severe attitude problem. He saves people, but causes a lot of damage to infrastructure along the way. Then he saves Ray (Jason Bateman), a PR man who wants to rebrand Hancock. Little does anyone know what will happen when Hancock begins to spend time with Ray, his wife Mary (Charlize Theron).

I don’t think this is a great film, but I really enjoyed it. I loved see Will Smith being all grumpy all the time, I like the ridiculousness of the story and I was entertained. I don’t think I’d sit down to watch it again, but if I was flicking and it was on telly, I’d probably watch it.

Prometheus (2012) Film Review


I recall when this came out earlier in the year, it was panned. Film Fandango, a podcast I listen to from Absolute Radio in the UK totally ripped into it, and listening to their discussion of the appallingness of the film totally put me off watching it. Plus, it’s not my genre – sci fi with some suspense. Most thrillers kill me. But, recently I decided to try to watch all of the films that have been nominated for Oscars – I’ve never done it before, and can’t explain why it matters to me this time, given that I hold little truck for the Oscars.

Prometheus is kind of a prequel to Alien. Set in some future world, a couple of archaeologists find evidence that humans were life forms created by an alien race. They are sent to a particular star system with a crew to try to meet these life forms and get answers. But, once on the planet, things turn awry. There are freaky snake creatures and the man archaeologist gets really sick so they burn him, but he comes back. Then the lady archeologist who had sex with the man archaeologist is now pregnant with some creature, so goes into a weird self-serve surgery capsule and has the creature removed, and after being stapled up, she’s well enough to continue running around the place. It’s totally absurd and annoying and weird.

The only thing more absurd than the plot of this film is the fact the Guy Pearce turns up with a crazy amount of make-up on to be the old man who is the founder of the company that owns the ship they are travelling in. Given his brilliant talent and the high standard of his usual films, this is a shock.

Prometheus was nominated for an Oscar for Visual Effects, and that’s fair enough. It might be a crap film, but it looked pretty awesome. It was also nominated for a BAFTA for Special Visual Effects.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) – Film Review

So, having revealed my enjoyment of Once Upon a Time and Grimm, it should come as no shock that I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling of the Snow White fairytale. I think it was marketed on the fact that it is a lot more kick-arse that the original, and it probably is. I can’t remember what happens in the story of Snow White once the prince kisses her and wakes her from her slumber.

There are a few faults. Some may say it’s PC gone mad, but I don’t understand why they didn’t use short-statured actors for the dwarves rather than using CGI to shrink down regular actors. I mean, they are great actors, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winston. But, really? Whatever. It annoys me, that’s all. And I don’t get the appeal Kristen Stewart, although in the final scenes when she is seriously kicking butt, I thought she was not bad. But, for me, the film was totally made by Charlize Theron who plays the evil stepmother. Evil? She was magnificent. Some of this magnificence was certainly thanks to the awesome CGI effects, but I thought she was great.

Overall, the film had a bit of humour with a lot of stylized violence. That’s how I like it.

Snow White and the Huntsman was nominated for an Oscar for Visual Effects.