I’m trying a slightly classier name, but it’s still stuff I watched. Less stuff since I was out of town most of the week.
Mad Max Fury Road: I never watched the original three Mel Gibson movies, the last of which was like 30 years ago. This isn’t a reboot even though Mel Gibson has been replaced by Tom Hardy. Since the last movie was like 30 years ago you might think they’d do something to fill you in a little, but nah. The video game commercial before the movie actually was more helpful setting up the world of Mad Max than anything in the movie. But um there’s an apocalypse and now water and gas are precious commodities. There's some freaky dude called Immortus Joe who has a bunch henchmen who look like Fester Addams. They capture Max early on and use him for a mobile blood bank when Joe’s right-hand woman Furiosa (Charlize Theron) decides to make off with Joe’s favorite concubines in a “war rig” which is a tanker with water and gasoline. There are two questions I have: if the women are in the tanker, wouldn’t they suffocate? That’s what happened in a crappy movie about blind bank robbers I watched; they tried to hide in a hollowed out tanker truck and died. And Max is hooked up to a blood line for the better part of a day and can unhook it without even being woozy—then proceed to punch a shitload of guys and blow up a bunch of shit. How much blood does that dude have? More than the average person that’s for sure. Despite that his name is in the title, Max is more of a secondary character in this. He has less personality than most of the vehicles. There are some cool action sequences though. (2/5)
Boulevard: This was Robin Williams’ last movie and as far as that goes it was quite a way to cap off his career. He gives a magnificent performance as Nolan Mack, a simple bank loan officer who has a nice routine life with a nice wife (Kathy Baker) and a good friend in an English professor (Bob Odenkirk, who is the comic relief like in “Breaking Bad”). He’s supportive of his dad in a nursing home, though his dad wasn’t exactly Father of the Year. And he’s due for a big promotion. So everything seems pretty awesome, but then one night coming home from the nursing home, he stops on a bad street and nearly hits a young male prostitute. He proceeds to take the prostitute named Leo to a seedy motel, though he doesn’t do anything to him sexually. Nolan can’t resist seeing Leo again and again, though he tries to act more like a father than a lover most of the time. I assumed he had lost a son or something, but there’s actually something else going on. Really though Nolan needed to brush up on concealing an affair better, as he just about does everything to make his wife, friends, and colleagues suspicious. I always liked Robin Williams better in his dramatic roles and this is no exception. I think it’s because in dramas he didn’t have to be “Robin Williams” with the energy and voices. In this final performance he’s actually really low energy and soft spoken. I’d say it deserves some Oscar consideration. (4/5)
The Skeleton Twins: I wasn’t surprised to see the Duplass Brothers attached as Executive Producers because this was a lot like one of their movies like Jeff, Who Lives at Home or Cyrus, neither of which you’ve seen or will see. You’ll probably never see this either because there aren’t explosions or dragons or alien robots or anything. It’s about a pair of twins (not named Skeleton) played by Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Bill Hader’s character is gay and a struggling actor until he tries to kill himself. Then he goes to upstate New York, where his sister is overcompensating to be “normal” by becoming a dentist and marrying an affable dude named Lance (Luke Wilson) all the while she’s had numerous affairs, the latest being with a scuba instructor. Her brother reconnects with his old English teacher (that guy from “Modern Family,” not Al Bundy or the fat one…I’ve never watched the show) he used to have a thing for. This is a good, nuanced drama about the struggles involved in being gay and the struggles with marriage. You should give it a chance. (4/5)
Exodus, Gods & Kings: I was surprised at how old-fashioned this was. Not really as much as the old Charlton Heston movies, but there was actually a “god” (played by a little kid) and no really plausible explanation for how all those plagues happened. Kind of expected more from the guy made Prometheus and Blade Runner. There was also a lot of old-fashioned Hollywood casual racism in casting white people Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, and Aaron Paul as Egyptians. Hey, just give them a tan and black hair and it’s all good, right? Um, yeah, right. Seriously, you think I’d believe Jesse Pinkman as an Egyptian? Fuck you, Ridley Scott. Anyway, a lot of the background of Moses seems cribbed from Gladiator and Robin Hood; financially I think this did more like the latter. As a backhanded compliment it wasn’t as asinine as Noah. So there’s that. (2/5)