May 24 2024

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

In the post apocalyptic wasteland a fierce warrior, Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy), is forged by the impossible sink or swim circumstances she’s forced into by two warlords of the desert, Dr. Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) and Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme). Now, trained by the best defensive driver known, Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke), Furiosa is further armed with the skills and tools necessary to seek vengeance for family lost.Furiosa Written by George Miller and Nick Lathouris and Directed by Miller this well equipped prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) brings fans of the franchise back to dirty and dustier times where the wrestlings between Gas Town, Bullet Town, and the Citadel dominate the wasteland casting civility to the side, familiar themes and concepts. To that end Miller isn’t exactly mining new ore in this latest exercise, but rather, offering an examination to Furiosa’s origin; which Taylor-Joy triumphantly receives and delivers, the steely, shiny, and chrome gaze is strong in this one. So, it’s big, it’s loud, and it’s brash, but it’s also long with a runtime of two hours and twenty eight minutes, but Miller just has to have one more car chase, one more explosion, and one more conversation that seemingly was already punctuated. And, sadly, for a director who historically has embraced the chaos and splendor of practical effects, Miller’s opting for CGI and digital artistry this go round seems diminished by comparison. No doubt budget, safety, and wilder imagination top the list of rationales for this move, but the change is definitely noticeable as end credits roll and practical scenes from Fury Road are played back, a fun but unfortunate juxtaposition reminding the viewer what could have been. Regardless, blockbuster season is officially in effect this weekend. Boom. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is rated R.

May 17 2024

The Blue Angels

Director Paul Crowder takes the public behind the scenes, into the boardroom, and up to the skies for an in depth look at the operations, training, and performance of Navy and Marine’s elite flying team The Blue Angels. Examining the team and support staff’s constant aim and pursuit for perfection, this visually sharp piece serves to inform as much as entertain in its attempt to enlighten the viewer to the organization’s totality, its rich history, and how the Blue Angels are continuing to adapt and inspire new generations of pilots and aviation enthusiasts. And, while a case could be made to show how the entire film serves as recruitment piece for the U.S. Navy, there’s also a balance of material showing the dangers, physical rigor, and mental challenges that serve to illustrate beyond the basics of six pilots flying in really fast jets. As it turns out, in fact, the jets are really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. And, backed by some of Hollywood’s biggest names, Producer J.J. Abrams, Executive Music Director Hans Zimmer, and Arial Director of Photography Michael FitzMaurice, the film comes with a degree of polish that should be experienced in IMAX for the full intended effect. Running just over 90 minutes, this flight exercise is sufficiently timed, if anything even just a shade long, but who’s counting? As we near Memorial Day Weekend, this is one way to reflect on the armed services in a lighter manner. The Blue Angels is rated G.

May 10 2024

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Many years since the death of their leader, Caesar, the primates of earth have become divided in their ways of life. Now, with the arrival of an unusual human visitor, Mae (Freya Allan), a young chimp, Noa (Owen Teague), is challenged in his own beliefs, turning his own world upside down; on a journey to save his clan, Noa, will have to make decisions that could further impact the relationship between humans and apes on a greater scale. And, what of this new Proximus Ceasar (Kevin Durand) and his own trajectory to subvert human technology? Will the humans and apes ever co-exist in harmony?Written by Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver and Directed by Wes Ball this continuation of the Apes franchise continues to offer up impressive visual effects, largely utilizing motion capture technology and CGI to create a stunning illusion. But, from a screenplay and story angle a relatively stale and archetypal hero’s journey awaits the viewer in almost paint by number form leaving little suspense to the film’s conclusion and setup for…wait for it…another Planet of the Apes film. Sure the film works as a carrier for a recounting of present day politics through the sci-fi allegorical lens, but the tact used is relatively thin and there’s little new ground tread. Regardless, fans will still find plenty to enjoy, just don’t overthink the physics of liquids when it gets to act three. Running two hours and twenty five minutes in length, a sharper razor in the editor’s booth would have been appreciated, still, perhaps worthy as a matinee or a rental/stream later. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is rated PG-13.