There is an undeniable feeling of summer in the air, especially at about 6pm when the change of venue button is slowly pressed with the fair idea of beach time looming just around the corner. Growing up, whenever the issue of EW arrived with the Summer Movie Preview printed on it, for me that signalled the end of a gruelling scholastic year…and some freedom. The movies coming out these weeks and over the next three or so months mark the studios’ drive to make some freaking money and recuperate all the spoils they’ve thrown out on insane budgets that could feed a small nation.
That said, the Mad Max of my childhood had Tina Turner’s flaming blonde hair that scared my little six-year-old self. George Miller’s dystopian (I abhor that word now, but it certainly describes the film series) science-fiction warrior tale brought about a change in the post-Star Wars sci-fi cinema universe. It also made a mega movie star of famous anti-Semite, Aussie actor Mel Gibson. Mad Max: Fury Road takes the storyline into a new zone that is relentless from the start to its crushing final. Miller has chosen to infuse the dark elements of his series’ society with a nod to the crushing world we live in today. Max is now played by Tom Hardy with relentless aplomb but what pushes the envelope is the way women play a dynamic role in Miller’s new vision. Charlize Theron plays Imperator Furiosa, driver of a rigged semi, who with her one arm makes an unplanned detour to deliver five women to safety. But the question it raises is where can women in this world be fully safe from the madness of men? The melding of the two protagonists is smooth and believable. but in this wasteland so many visceral elements really beg the question of where humankind is truly headed these days. Epic action film if laborious at times! ####
When I was a tween almost teen, Atom Egoyan shot to arthouse critical acclaim with his tempting feature Exotica. Horny as any lad would have been, I found a way to watch the film when it came out on VHS and thoroughly could not understand it, but with other films he released like The Sweet Hereafter (1997) and thriller Chloe from a few years back, he has managed to always remain in the arthouse goes full feature zone. After receiving a nomination for the Palmes d’Or at last years Cannes, a final edit of the new film Captives seems to have been lost or something. As I watched, it was easy to get seduced into the lull of the film. The human identity element plays to the strengths of the characters, especially Rosario Dawson and Mireille Enos who plays the mother of the missing Cassandra, a beautiful and very clever, loved young lass who suddenly disappeared during a paternal pit stop for a piece or more of pie. Ryan Reynolds plays this hurting father (better than some might expect) but while the film holds Hitchcockian themes with its creepy ambiance, Egoyan slowly butchers the point of the film with scenes that would best be reserved for some camp thriller. This might be one to skip or wait for on DVD, I’m afraid. ##
Like I said before, the summer movie season is just flaming up, so tune in next week for a weekend that should hold more English releases than this past week. Get some sun on you and start envisioning that vacation…it’s on its way. See you in a few days!