MAD MAX FURY ROAD Final Review – *****

“As the world fell, each of us, in our own way, was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy–me, or everyone else.” (Source)

When I first came out of Fury Road, I wasn’t sure what to think, nor did I know how the critics would respond to it. The critics spoke–and were nearly unanimous in their praise. But I knew I had to see it again for myself, to see if I would be swept up in the chorus of praise, or if, in sorrow, I would have to admit the film I had so longed to see, the film so many deemed a masterpiece, was in fact unworthy of its laurels.

But you see those five stars at the top of the page. You know how this story ends.

I’ll say it now–Fury Road is the best film in at least 18 months, and the best summer blockbuster in five years. I delighted at George Miller’s “mastermind” billing in the trailers, but it was absolutely justified. He draws on aspects of the original trilogy, from small touches (the little music box, for one) to primary themes–the damning social critique of Mad Max, the relentless brutality of The Road Warrior, and the post-apocalyptic grotesquerie of Beyond Thunderdome. Here, working with a budget far greater than the budgets of the originals combined, he has crafted a film which draws from and, in my opinion, exceeds them.

He, and an incredibly talented team, have made a masterpiece.

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Dewshine Review

  

Mountain Dew being infamously sugary (46 grams a serving, is it?), I was rather curious when this clear, real sugar-based variant became available. And while the Dew has never been one of my favorites, I figured this was worth adding to my list. It’s been properly chilled–let’s see if they reinvented themselves or basically just made Sprite.

Smells like (teen) Sprite.

Tastes a little more like Dew–it’s got a bit of that heavy, syrupy taste–but so far, pretty much your standard lemon-lime taste.

Also, this particular bottle at least has gone very flat. Like, distractingly so. I haven’t even had this for that long, so I’m not sure what happened.

This has 42 grams of sugar. Sugar, to be fair, not HFCS, but still. 

Not bad, but I can see why this hasn’t really taken off. I can’t really recommend it except to Dew-Hards and completists.

I’ve got three more bottles of this. Lucky me.

CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA Review – ***½

Clouds of Sils Maria, if nothing else, is a superb acting showcase for one actress long regarded as brilliant and one long dismissed as a lightweight, but who is reinventing herself as an accomplished performer. It provides less and more problematic material for a third actress who has done consistently solid work, but whose treatment by Hollywood is decidedly troubling.

What it doesn’t provide, beyond individual scenes that compel, is a real point or a thesis that doesn’t feel like All About Eve mixed with faint, coincidental hints of Birdman, while falling prey to one of my greatest pet peeves in fiction. But let’s start from the beginning.

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AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Review – **** (REVISED)

Generic poses, generic chaos...generic is the word, no? (Source)

Generic poses, generic chaos…generic is the word, no? (Source)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (why Hollywood has decided to start dropping “The” from movie titles on a regular basis is beyond me, but it’s getting annoying; hell, THE Silver Linings Playbook was the name of the fucking NOVEL!) has an external disadvantage hanging over it from the start, namely its predecessor.

The Avengers felt like an event at the time–indeed, it shattered the opening-weekend record, an accomplishment this film is expected to repeat–and even going back to it now, it still feels special; it may not be Marvel’s best film, but it’s their most epic film. It has scope, it has stakes, it has humor, it has character…whatever faults it may have, it’s a great piece of blockbuster entertainment.

Age of Ultron, on the other hand, doesn’t feel like an event. It feels less epic, the stakes feel lower, the humor is weaker and the rich ensemble work which really distinguished the first film is only sporadically evident. That’s not to say it’s a bad film–it’s certainly not. It’s still entertaining and professionally made. But it feels like a bridge to bigger and better things, and in the grand scheme of the MCU, it’s hard to imagine it’ll inspire lasting affection.

(Since writing this review, I saw the film a second time and have revised my opinion of it somewhat. My additional comments are appended to the end of the original piece.)

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TRAILER SALAD VIII: DOPE, TALE OF TALES (NSFW), MR. HOLMES, JURASSIC WORLD, YOUTH (NSFW), THE LITTLE PRINCE, WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE, RESULTS, THE OVERNIGHT, BLACK MASS, NIGHTINGALE

I’m so excited for this. I saw another trailer the other day that was even better. The Boys Don’t Cry bit strikes a sour note, but otherwise, this looks like a hell of a lot of fun. I haven’t had a film this year crack ****½ yet, let alone *****, so I’m hoping this could come close.

Also, I’m not going to share it, but I do want to say that the newest The Force Awakens trailer does look really fucking good. Abrams might be doing his best directing yet here, and it sounds like John Williams has written his first really good score in a while. I’m not even a huge Star Wars buff and I’m genuinely excited for this.

As compensation, here’s the newest Mad Max: Fury Road trailer. Because you need to be as excited for this movie as I am.

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