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Reviews for May 15th, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Directed by George Miller

      Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), an evil despot, rules his desert kingdom, Wasteland, in the post-apocalypse. When Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) betrays him by escaping with five of his wives in hopes of reaching the Green Place, Immortan Joe releases his War Boys to hunt her down. Max (Tom Hardy), a prisoner still grieving over the loss of his wife and child, is strapped to the vehicle of Nux (Nicholas Hoult), one of the War Boys, while he's used as a human blood bag.

      Director/co-writer George Miller deserves praise for Mad Max: Fury Road on an aesthetic level. Everything from the stuntwork to the cinematography, sound design, set design and music provide a pure adrenaline rush not unlike the kind you would expect to feel during a roller coaster ride at an amusement park. He and his co-writers eschew exposition, so within the first 5 minutes, the film already establishes its tone and the crux of its wafer-thin plot. Miller is lucky to have the talented Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy because they make the most out of their few lines while adding a modicum of depth that's severely lacking in the screenplay. Sometimes style over substance can be forgiven, especially when style equals substance, but that's not the case here.

      Unfortunately, too much of Mad Max: Fury Road feels tedious with diminishing returns after every action sequence. All of those action set pieces last too long and have an excessively fast pace thereby leading to exhaustion rather than anything along the lines of exhilaration. Miller assaults your senses so much that the film becomes an intense, over-the-top, mindless and nauseating 2-hour video game. You'll need a lot of Dramamine to endure it without getting a headache. To be fair, given that we're living in shallow times where people celebrate style over substance, it will probably end up a huge hit and as a cult classic much like the original. At its core, Mad Max: Fury is nothing more than an expensive, overlong B-movie with A-list actors.

Number of times I checked my watch: 4
Released by Warner Bros.
Opens nationwide.

Slow West

Directed by John Maclean


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by A24.
Opens at Angelika Film Center.

Where Hope Grows

Directed by Chris Dowling


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Roadside Attractions.
Opens at AMC Empire.
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