[Comic-Con Editorial] Mad Max: Fury Road has a trailer and a sequel script!

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Hey everyone, so Comic-Con happened this past weekend, and it was pretty cool. I thought I would take some time to review some of the major highlights of this year’s Comic-Con.

George Miller showed up to the Mad Max: Fury Road panel this weekend, director of the original trilogy returns to his most important franchise with a new installment starring Tom Hardy as the titular character (replacing Mel Gibson) and Charlize Theron. Here’s the trailer:

 

Miller also spoke up about his intended plans for Fury Road to be the first in a new trilogy, with a script for Mad Max 5 already have been written by him.

I love hearing this news to be honest. When I heard about a new Mad Max film, I immediately thought to myself “oh great. Another disappointingly underwhelming remake on the way” but I am proud of George Miller for trying to tell a new installment. A sequel has the potential to be stronger than a remake, as a remake has too many rules to follow.

So what do you think about Mad Max: Fury Road’s news? Are you fans of sequels over remakes, or do you pine for something original in the world?

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

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Director: Ben Stiller

Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Sean Penn

Screenplay: Steve Conrad

114 mins. Rated PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.

 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one of those movies that will divide critics and audiences alike. Some will walk out with a new view on life. Some will walk out wondering what the hell they just sat through. Me, I lie somewhere in the middle. I admire a lot of what director/star Ben Stiller was trying to do with the film. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t.

The Secret Life tells the story of Walter Mitty, a Life Magazine worker with a very boring life, who dreams of something more. Pretty standard. Walter daydreams…a lot. He is charged with finding a missing frame from a roll of film by Sean O’Connell, a famous professional photographer who shares an odd bond with Walter. This causes the daydreams of Mitty to begin to take form as he embarks on a miraculous journey of self-discovery.

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I would say that the only issue I found with the somewhat generic plot would by the motivation of lead character Walter. What about today? Why, today, does he choose to take on such an insane journey? We never really find out completely.

The performances from the lead cast are pretty solid. Kristen Wiig plays the muse, Cheryl Melhoff, a fellow Life employee who assists him in his search. Adam Scott plays our resident ass, Ted Hendricks, Walter’s new boss. Sean Penn is truly a presence in his near-cameo as Sean O’Connell. He makes the entire film affirming and enjoyable.

The cinematography is a step up from previous Ben Stiller films. I’ve always found him to be a very capable director. The film is edited together nicely. The music actually works even though I didn’t think it would.Really, there are a few times when Stiller’s attempts at creating a visual piece fall flat. There is a moment that works early in the film where a Life Magazine mantra is displayed in the background as Walter is on his journey. That worked for me. Then, there is a scene where the text messages he receives from Cheryl are displayed in the side of a mountainous forest. That didn’t work for me.

Ben Stiller in a still from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The film has its hits. It has its misses. Go see it, and see for yourself. It may work for you, it may not.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

Screen Legend James Garner Dead at 86

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Some sad news this morning coming from Hollywood. The wonderful and talented James Garner has passed away.

Garner was most famous for his role on television’s The Rockford Files, which ran from 1974-1980. He won his first Emmy for his performance.

Garner was also notable for his work on Maverick, The Great Escape, Promise (for which he would win a second Emmy), Space Cowboys, The Notebook, and Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

No cause of death has been released, though there may be some connection to the stroke he suffered back in 2008.

For more on James Garner’s life and career, click here.

Nurse (2013)

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Director: Doug Aarniokoski

Cast: Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Corbin Bleu

Screenplay: Doug Aarniokoski, David Loughery

84 mins. Rated R for bloody violence, strong sexual content, language and some graphic nudity.

 

Someone get me a Doctor! I’m suffering from a horrible disease called Terrible Film! It can remove up to 84 minutes from your life! Seriously, folks, this is one naughty nurse and one awful movie!

 

Nurse tells the story of Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta, Enter the Void, A Walk to Remember), a nurse by day, and scheming, murdering slut by night. I’m not really sure if this film has much of a plot other than that. She does have a strange sexual(?) obsession with another fellow nurse, played by the lovely Katrina Bowden (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Scary Movie 5), which causes a rift between her and the token boyfriend, played forgettably by Corbin Bleu.

I won’t waste much time on this review, as you can probably tell my thoughts already.

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The acting is horrible. Abby Russell speaks to the audience like she is having a tantrum. She just reads on and on and on without anything more than a Blegh! feeling. Literally, her performance feels like she has other better things to do than act, and hopefully she does, because Paz de la Huerta is kind of sucking at her day job. Bowden doesn’t do much better, and by the end of the film, most of the performances seem like cameos by comparison to the rotten screen time devoted to Abby. It seems like a veritable Whos-Who of actors being flushed down the toilet bowl of Hollywood obscurity. I actually kind of forgot that Bleu was even in the film until I sat down to write this. Imagine 84 minutes of this.

Arniokoski does a horrible job of commanding the film. I had to keep checking my watch to see if it was even close to finished. Mostly, it wasn’t. This film drags on, which is more disappointing considering the runtime.

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All in all, Nurse is a forgettable film with an ignoble aspiration. Aaniokoski is trying to make a film so bad it’s good. There have been many that have tried, but you don’t make these kind of movies on purpose. They have to be lucky, or perhaps unlucky, coincidences. Skip this film and see something worthy. Anything please. If you have to sit through it, do yourself a favor. Order a hit of morphine.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

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Director: Bryan Singer

Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore

Screenplay: Simon Kinberg

131 mins. Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.

 

Wow, we have a lot to cover here. If you aren’t big on comics or superhero movies, let me catch you up on this real quick. Days of Future Past is pretty much one of the biggest and most important arcs in the entire X-Men series, and now its a movie.

Okay, so real quick, I will be discussing spoilers about previous X-Men films here as it is really the only way to properly review Days of Future Past. Okay? Begin…

 

Alright, let me catch you up to speed here. It is the future (the film doesn’t designate what year, but I’m told through interviews with the filmmakers that it is roughly 2023). Mutants have been mostly captured or killed off and there are precious few left fighting for their freedom against robotic beings called the Sentinels that the government has unleashed on the mutant population. According to the series chronology:

1. & 2. X-Men Origins & First Class (technically First Class exists within the large reach of Origins)

3. X-Men

4. X2: X-Men United

5. The Last Stand

6. The Wolverine

7. Days of Future Past

 

Okay, so it comes down to this. Wolverine was intercepted by Magneto and a somehow still alive Professor X at the end of The Wolverine. He is told that he is needed and that the war they all feared is here. In the past, Raven/Mystique killed a man named Bolivar Trask, who is responsible for creating the Sentinel program. Yes, the Sentinels were previously seen at the beginning of The Last Stand. Wolverine joins together with Xavier, Magneto, Storm, Kitty Pryde, and Iceman, along with some powerful newcomers to send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to thwart the murder before it happens and save the timeline of the future. Back in time, he meets up with a younger Professor (James McAvoy, post First Class) and Beast who have their own problems. Young Professor has created a serum that obliterates his mutant powers but allows him to walk again, and also allows Beast to be “normal” looking. There is a lot going on in this film, and it is phenomenal filmmaking that helps to fix a lot of the problems that the previous have created. Overall, I love the story, but it still irks me that there is little to no explanation about Professor X’s survival and rebirth. I’ve seen a lot of info on the internet, but I still don’t feel like that can be considered fact in this series.

I feel like I don’t need to discuss Hugh Jackman’s performance in this film. He knows the character. He holds the record for most performances as a superhero with all seven films featuring him.

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James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender take their characters to new levels in this film. McAvoy’s young Xavier is so broken and destroyed by the direction his life has taken. It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch. Fassbender shows a lot of signs on the way to his metamorphosis into adult Magneto. I think what really elevates these two performances is that these got to work with the originators of the roles for the first time in the series.

Ellen Page turns in a very quick and very well-done performance returning to the series as Kitty Pryde.

One of the scene-stealers here is Peter Dinklage (TV’s Game of Thrones, Knights of Badassdom), who plays Bolivar Trask. This man could’ve been a regular old evil man villain, but Dinklage has transformed him into a man who has motives and faults. This is a true character.

As far as editing goes, this story could’ve been a big mushy mess of timelines, but it is placed very well together with key images to designate exactly where we are. Compare it to the confusing time-jumper Oculus out last year.

I wouldn’t be too surprised if Days of Future Past takes away an Oscar nod for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, if only for the scenes with Quicksilver.

One thing I do want to know before finishing this review is the possible confusion with Avengers: Age of Ultron, which releases next year. So, Quicksilver is featured in this film. Quicksilver is featured in that film. Let me point out that, from a film standpoint, these are different characters. The two series are separate and exist in separate shared universes. More on this later.

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Anywho, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men yet and, personally, the best film I’ve seen yet this year. Have you seen it? What did you think? Is your brain melting from all the stuff? So much stuff!

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For my review of X-Men, click here.

For my review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, click here.

For my review of X-Men: First Class, click here.

For my review of The Wolverine, click here.