Friday, May 24, 2024

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

My View: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024) R  As the world falls, a biker horde led by the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) takes a young Furiosa. Years later, Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) tries to escape and find her way home as two tyrants wage a war. Having been a huge fan of the Mad Max franchise since I saw the original film at a midnight screening when in college, falling in love with the action and Mel Gibson (even with his voice dubbed because the studio thought American audiences wouldn’t be able to understand Gibson’s Australian dialect). I consider Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) (1981) one of the great action films of the 80s, and I picked Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) as one of the best films of that year. I am happy to say that while not as good as Fury Road, Furiosa is still an excellent action picture that gives us a ton of backstory on the origin of Furiosa, a character we all fell in love with in the 2015 film. A lot was made of the decision by filmmaker George Miller to not cast Charlize Theron again in the role, but Miller, after seeing how badly CGI did de-aging De Niro in The Irishman, Miller went with Anya Taylor-Joy for the role. It must be said that Taylor-Joy is only in the 2nd half of the film, as the early days of Furiosa use a much younger Alyla Browne in the role, as we learn she was kidnapped as a child by Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) and used as a kind of good luck charm as he terrorizes the world with his biker gang. The film is divided into segments, each telling an essential part of Furiosa’s life. When Anya takes over the role, she shows us she can kick butt with the best of them. I loved her in this role, and she showed she can handle the action sequences. There is an excellent sequence in the middle of the film as Furiosa has become the sidekick of the best rig driver, Praetorian Jack (played by a very charismatic Tom Burke), as he drives a massive war rig across the desert delivering precious gas while Furiosa and Jack fight off a seemingly endless group of attackers who are trying to highjack the rig. It’s a fantastic bit of stunt work that goes on for at least ten minutes of high-octane action. Chris Hemsworth dominates the screen every time he is on it, as the mad as a hatter warlord who loves to cause as much trouble as he can. Hemsworth chews scenery with the best of them, and it’s always fun to see just how nuts his character is in each chapter of the film. While not a great film like Fury Road, Furiosa is still a rousing action film filled with characters you will keep thinking about long after the last scene leaves the screen.   My Rating: Full Price  Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Website  Now playing in theaters nationwide.

Familyfaire: The Garfield Movie (2024) PG  Jon (voiced by Nicholas Hoult) rescued Garfield (Chris Pratt) after finding the cat abandoned in a restaurant. Now grown, Garfield has a sudden reunion with his long-lost father, an alley cat named Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). Now Garfield and his dog pal Odie (voiced by Harvey Guillen) are forced from their perfectly pampered life into joining Vic in a high-stakes heist. The bar is pretty low for any Garfield movie. I mean, Bill Murray sleepwalked doing the voice of Garfield for two movies in the early 2000s. So, how does this film stack up? It’s ok, which in Garfield movie-land means it’s watchable. Kids are going to enjoy the film. There is plenty of action, Garfield gets into lots of trouble and still saves the day, and the cast of characters are at least interesting and colorful. I was bored by most of the film, even with many movie references, but the kids in the theatre with me seemed to enjoy the antics of the fat cat. Chris Pratt does a fine job as the voice of the cat with an attitude. Unlike Mr. Murray, he at least sounded like he was having fun. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Garfield Movie Website Now playing in theaters. 

My View: Atlas (2024) PG-13   Atlas Shepard (Jennifer Lopez) is a data analyst who deeply mistrusts AI technology, even though her mother is responsible for creating the technology that gave AI robots their power. Atlas decides to join an anti-terrorist mission to stop an AI from destroying Earth. After an attack, Atlas is marooned on a planet, and her only ally is an AI robot named Smith. Together, they will have to succeed, or the Earth is doomed. I’ve always felt that Jennifer Lopez could have been a bigger film star if she hadn’t gone off to become a pop star. She had a successful run in the late 90s with Selena, U-Turn, and an outstanding performance in Out of Sight. Even Anaconda is fun to watch, and The Cell is so weird that it is extremely watchable. Then she went with the rom-com route, and we got Gigli, among others. I had hope when she got great reviews with Hustlers (2019), but then she went back to the rom-com route again with stuff like Marry Me and Shotgun Wedding. So now we have Jennifer as a tough-as-nails woman who is determined to stop an AI named Harlan (played by Simu Liu) from destroying the world, an AI that her mother created and set loose on the world. Jennifer spends most of the film inside a giant robot-like war machine that, to work properly, must sync with Atlas so that they both share each other’s thoughts. I liked the action sequences, and the ultimate battle between Atlas and the AIs is fun to watch, but it takes a long time to get there, and that’s what slows this film down. We slowly get the real reasons Atlas is so determined to defeat Harlan (besides his desire to kill humans). This isn’t a bad film; in fact, I enjoyed it for what it is: a sci-fi action film with not enough action in it. I am hoping that Jennifer will find the right role again in the near future. Just stay away from the rom-coms for awhile.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Atlas Website  Now playing on Netflix. 
My View:
The Blue Angels  (2024)  The documentary The Blue Angels delves into the selection and training of the Navy/Marine Corps Flight Demonstration Squadron, called The Blue Angels. I grew up in San Antonio, TX, which is a big Air Force and Army town. So, I didn’t know much about the Blue Angels, but this film has corrected that. This film will amaze you with how skillful these Navy and Marine pilots are. The aerial photography is mind-blowing, and you will be thrilled at the precision it takes to fly these planes like the Blue Angels do. We get to know the pilots and, to a lesser extent, their families as the camera spends a year following the pilots as they crisscross the country, bringing their air show to crowds that sometimes are larger than a Super Bowl. What I loved was the behind-the-scenes training that these pilots do, showing us all the classwork and study sessions that go on throughout the year to try and achieve perfection in their flying. Like their airshows, I have a feeling that this film will inspire a few kids to want to become pilots and someday fly with The Blue Angels.  My Rating: Full Price  The Blue Angels Website  Now playing on Amazon Prime. 
Babes  (2024) R  In Babes, Eden (Ilan Glazer) and Dawn (Michelle Buteau) have been friends forever. They grew up in NYC and experienced everything together. Eden, carefree and single, has a one-night stand and becomes pregnant. She decides to have the baby and will need all the help that her best friend can supply. This film is a hilarious and touching depiction of friendship and family. It's also about the family you create through friendship, and sometimes that bond is stronger than your real family. When we meet Dawn and Eden, they are getting together for their annual watching of a movie in a theater on Thanksgiving, and they will not stop for anything, even if Dawn is having a baby. We instantly see the dynamic between the two as they decide to leave the movie and get something to eat before Dawn has to suffer for ’25 hours like last time. ’ They are best friends, and nothing can get in the way of that. Except for life, especially after a great one-night stand, Eden finds out she is preggers, and Dawn is having trouble managing a new baby, a job, and a toddler. Glazer and Buteau's comedic timing is incredible, as the chemistry between the two women is off the charts. Their banter is laugh-out-loud funny, and the situations they are in seem based on real-world experiences. The film is helped by a great supporting cast, including John Carroll Lynch, who plays both women’s baby doctor. Every time he is on camera, there is a running gag that just made me lose it. While men are going to have a great time, and by the way, Marty (Hasan Minhaj), Dawn’s husband, is a saint, women are going to fall in love with Babes, and its observations on motherhood, pregnancy, birth, and friendship. Go see this film. You will laugh (with a few tears in between) from beginning to end.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Babes Website  Now playing in theaters. 

Forgotten Film: Clean and Sober (1988) R  Daryl (Michael Keaton) is a successful real-estate salesman who has seen better days. He is a drug addict and is in trouble with his job for taking some money and investing it (badly) in the stock market. Oh, and a woman he picks up at a bar dies from a heart attack due to all the drugs they did together. He decides to escape and enroll in an anonymous drug rehab program. His thinking is he can hang out until things cool down. Little does he know this program is run by a counselor who has seen guys like Daryl a hundred times before and will make Daryl work at his recovery. The movie is helped by a supporting cast that includes Morgan Freeman as the counselor, Kathy Baker as a fellow addict whose life is as big a mess as Daryl, and the great M. Emmet Walsh as Daryl’s AA sponsor. Keaton is perfect in the role of a guy who thinks he can either charm or BS anyone into believing anything. The film lets you know at the end that it will be a long and bumpy road for Daryl. We don’t know if he will succeed in staying sober, but at least he has a chance.   My Rating: Full Price  Clean and Sober Info The film is available on streaming services.

Weird Credits: From the credits of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga: Earthworks Manager

Coming Soon to Screen Near You: Beetlejuice Beetlejuice (2024)   After an unexpected family tragedy, three generations of the Deetz family have come home to Winter River and the house we all know so well. Lydia (Winona Ryder) is still haunted by Beetlejuice, and to make things worse, her daughter, Astrid (Jenna Ortega), has discovered that mysterious model of the town. It’s only a matter of time before someone’s name will be uttered three times. Tim Burton and Michael Keaton have returned to bring us the magic back. As someone in a dirty, black-and-white suit says, “The Juice is loose!”  Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Website The film is slated for release in early September.

Until Next Time!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.