Mad Max

Macon Blair in

From the very start, the thesis of this monthly column has been that there’s plenty of great stuff always being added to Netflix, if you just dig for it a little. While we still stand by that statement, it’s also true that the last few weeks worth of new additions have felt a little light—not quite up to the standards of recent months. N ot to worry though, as we’ve still been able to sort through the rubble and find 16 good movies to stream that all range from being worth your time to downright exceptional, so we should all be able to survive until the next big title dump. As always, click on the movie’s title to be taken to its Netflix page. Pick of the Month: Blue Ruin (2013) Most revenge movies are escapist stories that deal in a black and white, eye for an eye morality and feature over-the-top protagonists who go to extreme lengths in order to avenge wrongs that have been done to them. They’re pretty simple, but they’re pretty satisfying. Blue Ruin isn’t like those movies. While it is, essentially, a revenge movie, it manages to raises itself a step or two above the rest of the rabble by being smarter and more interesting than the films that stick to the usual formula. First off, the protagonist here isn’t a killing machine. He’s an in-over-his-head everyman who’s reacting to his situation more like a wounded animal than a terminator. And the revenge he takes isn’t treated like […]

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Mad Max: Fury Road

After over a decade of trying, director George Miller finally got to make another entry in the Mad Max series…almost two years ago. The film began shooting all the way back in the fall of 2012, but it wasn’t until this year’s Comic-Con that anyone saw a lick of footage from Mad Max: Fury Road. The action-packed trailer impressed those in Hall H, thanks to plenty of practical stunts, muscular action, and a promising glimpse of a return to one of the coolest worlds and character ever put to film. Max is now played by Tom Hardy, who is of course a beast of a man that’s well-suited for the character once played by Mel Gibson. Will Hardy’s performance reflect Gibson’s iconic work as Max or is Hardy and Miller going in a different direction? That’s a question director George Miller answered in the press conference for Mad Max: Fury Road, a story that takes place “45 to 50 years after the opening of the movie.” Miller had plenty more to say, so we made sure to take notes. We also get our first look, which was released online today.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

Let’s take a little journey back in time, oh, say about five years, to when we first heard tell of George Miller‘s latest installment of the Mad Max franchise, a small, dusty feature called Mad Max: Fury Road. Back then, in September of 2009 (do you even remember September of 2009? here’s a hint — the number one song for most of that month was “Obsessed” by Mariah Carey), the film was set to star an impressive duo of talents — the just-rising Tom Hardy and the always-good Charlize Theron. While their involvement hasn’t changed in the five years since the film was first announced, plenty else has. Really, plenty, from the rumor that it was to shoot back-to-back with a sequel to the plan to lens the whole thing in Australia to the obvious buzz that it would be shot in 3D. There’s also the fact that we’ve been talking about this film for nearly half a decade and that it’s finally, finally happening. Really! Mad Max: Fury Road is indeed happening — in fact, it’s happening so much that it already happened. The film has already been shot and is in post-production but that doesn’t mean a whole lot without a fresh glimpse at its two stars, now does it?

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One of the things I love about the latest Fast and Furious movie (whatever it’s called, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 6 or my own title, “Planes, Tanks and Automobiles”) is its casting. Not only is the ensemble made up mostly of hyphenate professionals who weren’t originally actors (including a wrestler, a bodybuilder, a former Miss Israel, a couple music artists, a couple martial artists), but a few of them are rather fresh faces to film, new to the franchise and surely on the rise in their movie careers. As much as I look forward to seeing what each does next, I’m also excited to have a new reason to spotlight the fairly recent breakthrough performances that likely got them this gig. In addition to using the opportunity to recommend those films, none of which has been seen by nearly as many people as will see a Fast and Furious movie, I’ve compiled a broader list of movies to now watch after seeing Fast & Furious 6. It’s partly a way to note some of its forebears and possible influences without going my usual negative route of criticizing this as a derivative work. It’s obviously imitative to a degree yet it’s also highly original in some of its stunts and their execution. Besides, just as in music we should accept and appreciate derivatives for their potential to lead fans backward to their (often better) predecessors. Of course, there are some reminiscent predecessors I’d rather not choose to recommend (Cars 2, […]

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Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior

As Tom Hardy’s star power increases, so does the anticipation for George Miller’s new Mad Max movie, Mad Max: Fury Road. What with Mel Gibson being something of a touchy subject these days, is there any other actor out there who would be more fun to watch battling weirdos in crazy outfits over gasoline in the desert? Fury Road is a film that’s been plagued with all sorts of disasters and delays over the course of its pre-production though, and sometimes it’s felt like we’re never going to get our chance to see Hardy rev up his engines and do his thing. Well, there’s good news and bad news regarding the film’s production. After experiencing weather related problems with its original location – Broken Hill, Australia – Fury Road has been moved to the African nation of Namibia, where Hardy and crew are currently shooting. That’s the good news. The bad news is, despite Miller’s early insistence that the film was going to be shot with 3D cameras, that’s no longer going to be the case. Any plans to shoot natively in 3D have been scrapped in lieu of using a mix of ALEXA, Canon, and Olympus digital cameras.

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If you live near an Alamo Drafthouse, you probably already know that Tim League, Zack Carlson, Lars Nilsen and co. have coordinated an amazing summer series devoted to the blockbusting year of 1982. If you’ve been reading FSR lately, you already know that our site co-sponsored a screening of George Miller’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in coordination with the Drafthouse’s site-specific Rolling Roadshow series. And if you live anywhere within five hundred miles of the Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Texas, then you probably attended said screening. But for you feral kids who may have not had a chance to witness this awesome event, or for those of you that did, here’s a first-person account of the happenings by one of FSR’s own. The Road Warrior is something of a sweet spot in Mel Gibson’s history. The peak entry in the Mad Max series (sorry, Tina Turner), The Road Warrior gives us a Gibson who is too young, too unknown, and too accented to yet become a bona fide Hollywood star, but someone who has also (thanks largely to the first Mad Max film) developed enough charisma to be a magnetic force of nature onscreen. He’s hardly a man with no name, but Gibson’s one-man machine doesn’t need to say much – hell, he doesn’t even need both eyes – to give us a degree of intensity that hasn’t been seen before, or arguably since. Yes, Max is surrounded by several comic relief characters (notably the Gyro Captain, who […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links from around the movie blogosphere that is impressed with the rest of the FSR staff’s ability to cherry pick all the really good news for full articles. That just makes it have to dig deeper. So lets do this. We begin this evening with a new image from The Dark Knight Rises. One of six, to be exact. This one shows Anne Hathaway as Catwoman doing some of her cat burglary with her high-tech ears on. There’s another with Batman and his iPad, which you can see if you click over to /Film and check out the gallery.

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  The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: The Road Warrior (1981) The Plot: After the events of Mad Max (1979), in which Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) saw his family murdered by a vicious gang, he wanders the desolate desert wastelands of Australia after society has collapsed. In his continuous search for fuel, he stumbles across a group of settlers who have come under attack from a gang of marauders, led by the hockey mask-wearing muscle-bound psychopath known as Humungus. The gang wants the fuel that the settlers have been refining, and Humungus shows his determination by brutally attacking the settlers out of their compound. Max makes a deal with the settlers that he will help them retrieve a giant truck that can be used to transport their fuel to a safe destination. In return, the settlers agree to let Max have all the fuel he can carry… if he survives.

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Since we all have a million dollars, our minds are almost always tuned to the day dream of what kind of movie we’d make with all that loose cash just lying around (since banks do nothing but lose things). Would it be a romantic horror film? Would it be a silent action film? Would we blow of all of it on lighting and forget the other elements of production design? Probably. Fortunately, we’ve all had a few filmmakers tread before us in using their million bucks with efficiency and artistry. In a world where Michael Bay needs 200 suitcases full of $1m, these directors made it happen with only one of those suitcases (or no suitcases at all), and they created a lasting legacy despite their lack of foldin’ money. If they can do it, why not us? Here are 8 great films made for under a million dollars that we can all learn from. (And if you enter our contest sponsored by Doritos, you might actually win that $1m you need for all those lights.)

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Let’s face it. If you need to threaten an enemy from a middle range distance, clear a ton of jungle in a hurry or carmelize the top of a crème brûlée, there’s nothing better for the job than a flamethrower. It’s a gun that throws fire. As your head wraps around that awesome concept (just as it does on a daily basis when you daydream about owning one), consider this beautiful instrument of destruction’s place in film. Sure, Bellflower comes out this week (and should energize you to convert daydreaming into action), but there’s a storied history here to uncover, and a future that’s assured to be bright enough to demand protective gear. Here are just a handful of movies that put the flamethrower on the burnt pedestal it deserves to sit upon.

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How would you prepare for the end of the world? Or, better yet…how would you prepare for the post-apocalypse? The day when the world is dust, the population is ravished, the landscapes are deserts, and the road is everywhere and everything. Basically, the world is Australia. How would you prepare? How could you?

You can cower in a corner at the thought, or you can be like Woodrow and Aiden and devote your adult life to building flamethrowers and finding ways to inject your muscle car with steroids so that you can rule the land, run the gamut, and in the meantime while you wait for the end of the world you can ride around in a vehicle built for pure testosterone and testicles.

Problems arise, though, when Woodrow and Aiden’s plans for building their car of destruction are interrupted by Woodrow’s encounter leading to relationship with Milly. The relationship itself doesn’t supply the complications so much as the complications that develop within the romance causing a drastic change in character for the unassuming nice guy Woodrow. Infidelity leads to depression, depression leads to anger, anger leads to places people shouldn’t go and all of a sudden the vehicle built to represent them in a future apocalypse becomes a symbol of Woodrow’s progression/regression from sensitive to pained callousness.

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Charlize Theron hasn’t had a starring role in a major movie since Hancock, and even then she didn’t have just a massive amount of screen time. Not counting that, the last time she was front and center was Aeon Flux. To bring some perspective to the plate, Theron may very well be one of those actresses that’s incredibly famous, but hasn’t been in a great starring role for seven years. Sidenote: Aeon Flux does not count as a great starring role. However, it looks like the actress is kicking it into high gear, because her name is attached to all sorts of movies she can’t possibly do at once. She was in talks to appear in the J. Edgar Hoover biopic being made by one-take director Clint Eastwood, but she’s bowed out of that gracefully. Now, she’s only double booked.

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We already knew George Miller is planning to reboot Mad Max. But is he hoping to shoot a sequel back to back?

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From where I’m sitting, this internet meme of throwing together the same quote one hundred times in a single clip began with Sawyer (Josh Holloway) from Lost and his catch-phrase, “son of a bitch.” Now it’s branching out into cross-platform, cross-property clip mashing for phrases that permeate entire genres.

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An import from Australia is hitting theaters soon, but will American audiences care about what goes on down under?

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So we’ve got two attractive young people cast in a movie. How is this news?

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Reader be warned, as the following is a hyper-aggressive vularthon between two of our most entertaining and unique voices. Send the kids out of the room, and enjoy…

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Since the (possible) news is so nebulous, would you rather have Charlize Theron or Tom Hardy play Mad Max?

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Nicolas Cage has signed on to star in “Drive Angry”, a revenge movie directed by Patrick Lussier. Cage will star as a man chasing down the people who killed his wife and daughter, with the violence escalating with each death.

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It’s not that we necessarily want to see the role reprised, but if it has to be, here are a few choice talents that might bring something interesting to Mad Max.

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