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Mad Max: Fury Road worth the wait

Thirty years since the last Mad Max film roared onto screens, George Miller has returned with Fury Road – a two-hour edge-of-your-seat rampage whose heroine gives Ripley a run for her money and proves that three decades was well worth the wait.

Furiosa (right) is comparable to Ripley from Alien

Furiosa (right) is comparable to Ripley from Alien

I’ll admit when I entered this screening, numb and teeth chattering from waiting in the blistering cold for more than an hour, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to watch a film.

But this BLEW. ME. AWAY.

Visceral and unrelenting in its thrills and ferocity, this takes action movies to a whole new level. There simply isn’t anything quite like this out there. At 70 years old, director and co-writer George Miller has challenged the genre with energy, zest and originality.

It stars Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, a one-armed road warrior tasked with taking a powerful tanker (dubbed War Rig) for a fuel run by the horrific warlord who rules over this post-apocalyptic wasteland. But instead of doing as she’s bid, she takes the War Rig off-road. Turns out, Furiosa is smuggling a group of young wives – the warlord’s breeders – out of their captivity to free them from exploitation. Her plan obviously doesn’t sit too well with this guy…

Warlord Immortan Joe, who's played by Hugh Keays-Byrne aka Toecutter in the original Mad Max

Warlord Immortan Joe, who’s played by Hugh Keays-Byrne aka Toecutter in the original Mad Max

Hence the road chase.

But ‘road chase’ isn’t an adequate explanation for what follows – a dangerous journey through dust storms, sand dunes, craggy valleys and mind-blowing landscapes, where the warlord’s brainwashed men swing atop poles on moving vehicles, carrying off daredevil stunts – many of which are real, not CGI.

George Miller had to settle for Namibia over Australia’s Broken Hill when an unseasonal amount of rain came through and turned the dusty Outback into a lush space of green. However, the gorgeous landscapes he has managed to put on screen with Namibia, make it all worthwhile (also the film still has a lot of Aussies in the cast and crew, so a big thumbs up for that).

The War Rig is chased by baddie Immortan Joe into a sandstorm

The War Rig is chased by baddie Immortan Joe into a sandstorm

Of course you’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned Tom Hardy as the titular character yet? Well, for one, it’s very much Theron’s film. Hardy takes over the reins from Mel Gibson as Max, but he’s just a stoic survivor who’s dragged along for the ride, really. So much so, that it angered a Men’s Rights Movement, who dubbed it feminist propaganda because it (gasp) has Furiosa barking orders at Mad Max.

Furiosa takes aim...

Furiosa takes aim…

Actually, Furiosa does better than that. She uses Max’s shoulder as a platform to steady a sniper rifle so she can take a shot when he fails at it. With her bionic arm. Yep, she’s that badass.

 

 

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-PicturesHardy is still a powerful presence. Anyone who’s seen him as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises knows it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t talk a huge amount, or that he has a metal muzzle over his face for the first half hour.

This is a film with a powerful feminist message – hell, painted on the wall in the breeder’s chambers are the words “We Are Not Things”. It’s stance only makes it more relevant, more unique and more exciting. And with the screenplay to a sequel, Mad Max: The Wasteland, already penned it looks like this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Miller’s crazy, madcap version of a dystopian future. Fury Road took 15 years to get to the big screen, after originally being down to film in 2001, so let’s just keep out fingers crossed that this one doesn’t take quite as long.

 

 

 

Why Netflix Will Change Everything

It’s happened. Netflix has finally launched Down Under, to much fanfare and scrutinisation.

Netflix-Australia

It’s the beginning of a new era in Australian home entertainment, as people around the nation bump up their download limits, and prep their couch cushions and eyeballs for the onslaught of top-notch television and movies.

It’s now been a week since the streaming service hit our various tablet, computer and television screens, and as an early adopter, I can already feel the change it’s had.

People like myself who used to hire movies frequently have lately been struggling, as one by one, all the local video shops have begun shutting up shop. Lately, iTunes and GooglePlay were the only options, but if you’re paying $5.99 for every new release and $3.99 for any weekly, it can quickly add up. There’s no 5 weeklies for $10 deals anymore.

watchnowBut with Netflix, and other streaming services such as Nine and Fairfax Media’s Stan and Seven and Foxtel’s Presto, basically for the price of what it used to cost to hire a single new release, you can now get an entire library of movies and TV shows. To put it into perspective, I bought the first nine episodes of Orange is the New Black Season (OITNB) 2, with each priced at $2.99, which in itself is already more than I am now paying to have both seasons, as well as the wealth of other content. But also frustratingly, despite the fact the entire season of OITNB was available in the US, I then had to wait week by week, until SBS had broadcast the show, to be able to watch another new episode.

Aussies won't be fighting to see shows at the same time as the US now

Aussies won’t be fighting to see shows at the same time as the US now

Thankfully, the arrival of Netflix heralds a new era when Australian’s aren’t forced to wait months longer than US audiences to gain access to series.

Sure, a lot of people have been whining about the disparity between the selection on Australian Netflix, which carries only 1,116 titles compared to the US version with 8,499. But there’s promises the Aussie figure will grow and really, do you think Netflix was going to lay all the cards on the table at the launch? They obviously have a game plan, to convince all the people down the track who don’t have the service to sign up.

I found it interesting and a bit naive of some financial experts to say Netflix and other streaming services are a waste of money – that there’s not enough original content and Australian users will max out their data limits.

HouseofCardsThe Australian consumer is not an idiot. Anyone that is thinking of signing up to a streaming service is surely going to look around and see which ones offer the shows or movies they like. Presto has Louie, Wentworth, Sons of Anarchy and Modern Family, while Stan boasts shows such as Transparent, Community and Australian series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The beauty of streaming services is that you can switch between them every couple of months if you don’t need a lock-in contract. Certain services also offer deals with internet service providers and Stan, Foxtel Play and Netflix are giving you the option of a free trial to see if it suits you.

And frankly, what are our other options? If I want to see House of Cards Season 3 and don’t want to download it, what cheaper alternative is there.

While I doubt this will completely curb Australians’ seemingly insatiable appetite for downloading, I do think it will quench some of that thirst, because with streaming services, comes choice. We have a mass of content to choose from now and we can get it at the same time as the US, for a similar price.

That’s right, Australians might finally fork out some of their cash for content, isn’t of heading to their favourite bit-torrent website.

Will streaming services have an impact on piracy in Australia?

Will streaming services have an impact on piracy in Australia?

Where an issue will arise is when it comes to Game of Thrones, which will screen on Foxtel – and not on their streaming service. Most Australians don’t want to pay $25 a month to see a single show – even if Foxtel is trying to ease that harsh truth by promoting all the other stuff you get with a subscription. The problem is that consumers may not want 12 different channels. They want a single show and they want to watch it when they want, for a reasonable price. I believe that is where Foxtel is going to lose customers. If Foxtel were offering it on a streaming service, I would feel differently. For me, it means making the effort of going to the home of a friend or family member who have Foxtel, but I can guarantee others will not.