Tom Hardy

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.

 

 

 

8 Book Adaptations To Look Forward To

As the money-making machine that is Hollywood scrounges around for its next big blockbuster, it’s no wonder the studios turn their hopeful eyes to the pages of books or comics.

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The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, the Marvel movies – some of the biggest franchises in history have been adaptations. They bring with them hordes of devoted fans ready to see how their heroes shape up on the big screen. On top of that, sometimes buying the rights of a book can create enough excitement that sales of that go up, which in turn boosts a film’s hype, until something that was meant to be a small, indie flick (such as Twilight), turns into an enormous financial success.

Twilight

Sometimes the film adaptations can even take the basis of a book and turn it into something far more remarkable. Silver Linings Playbook is a prime example of this – it fleshed out characters and twisted the story into a clever romantic comedy about mental illness. Then you have something like American Sniper, which stirred so much debate that it would seem most of the US saw it, with the adaptation of Chris Kyle’s book raking in US$344 million in the States alone.

Now I’m not going to suggest you read Fifty Shades of Grey, Insurgent, or another drippy Nicholas Sparks novel. I’m not going to recommend any of these books that I struggled to read myself, just because they have been made into movies.

But here are eight upcoming adaptation of books that I think look particularly intriguing. FYI Mockingjay – Part Two is a given, hence why it’s not on the list.

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Child 44 by tom rob smith

Tom Hardy often chooses complex character roles and it looks like his part in this adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s acclaimed thriller is no exception. Set in Soviet Russia, Hardy plays disgraced MGB Agent Leo Demidov, who investigates a series of gruesome child murders. Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace also star, while Daniel Espinose (who helmed Safe House and Easy Money) is in the director’s chair. It’s the first novel in a trilogy, so if it does well, don’t be surprised to hear of more in the pipeline.

 

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The Jungle Book by rudyard kipling

The beloved classic, which Disney turned into a catchy animated romp in 1967 is getting a live-action makeover (with CGI animals) – something which the Mouse House seems to be doing with all its iconic flicks. This one is being directed by Jon Favreau, aka the guy who directed Iron Man and really helped get that little thing called the Marvel universe off the ground. With Scarlett Johansson providing her husky tones to the slithery serpent Kaa, the loveable Bill Murray voicing the loveable Baloo and Christopher Walken monkeying around as King Louie, on paper it’s sounding pretty spectacular.

 

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The Martian by Andy Weir

Did you like Gravity? Well, this could be the next big survival-driven space flick, with Matt Damon starring as an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars, after his crew believe he dies in a dust storm. Directed by the man who made space claustrophobic way back in 1979 with Alien – Ridley Scott – it also boasts a jaw-dropping cast. Aside from Damon, there’s Jessica Chastain (fresh off that other high-concept space movie Interstellar),Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Donald Glover and Sean Bean. History would tell us the last cast-members’ character won’t be around long, but you never know.

 

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frankenstein (aka Victor Frankenstein) by mary shelley

James McAvoy might star as the titular character, but in this twist on the classic horror novel, the story focuses on his young assistant Igor, played by Daniel Radcliffe. Told through his perspective, it focuses on Igor’s dark backstory, his friendship with medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein and, of course, how they created the ‘monster’ Frankenstein. It’s a different take to what we’ve seen – let’s just hope it’s better executed than last year’s dismal, I, Frankenstein.

 

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In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel philbrick

Based on a true story, Aussie Chris Hemsworth, Ben Whishaw and Cillian Murphy star in this adaptation of the award-winning nonfiction book about an eighty-foot sperm whale which attacked the whaleship Essex and left its crew stranded at sea with limited supplies. If it sounds familiar, it probably is – it was the incident that inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.  Hemsworth re-teams with his Rush director Ron Howard to bring it to life and with the release date recently being pushed back to December – aka near awards season – it could mean the studio expects big things from this ocean epic.

 

carol-2

The Price of Salt (aka carol) by patricia highsmith

Patricia Highsmith’s novels have proved something of a goldmine for filmmakers, although the results have been largely hit and miss. There is, of course, Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951) and The Talented Mr Ripley on the high end of the scale, while last year Two Faces of January took an ambitious stab at the material, but was a bit undercooked. This adaptation of Highsmith’s 1952 novel stars Aussie Cate Blanchett as a suburban housewife who has a love affair with a young woman (played by Rooney Mara) who’s stuck in a department store job she hates. Directed by Todd Haynes, who helmed Far From Heaven and Safe, this is ticking all the boxes for a compelling drama so far.

 

truth

Truth and Duty (aka truth) by mary mapes

Cate Blanchett is certainly keeping busy, with this political drama also in the works. Filmed in Sydney last year, it stars Blanchett as former CBS television producer Mary Mapes, who penned her memoir after she and news anchor Dan Rather (played by Robert Redford) were fired for reporting that George W. Bush evaded serving in the Vietnam War. The film takes place during Rather’s final days at the network, in the lead-up to him broadcasting the damaging report. It’s the directorial debut for James Vanderbilt, who wrote the screenplay and penned movies such as The Amazing Spider-Man and White House Down. With a strong cast (also including Elisabeth Moss and Topher Grace) and intriguing story, this definitely shows a lot of potential.

 

charlize-theron-dark-places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

After the success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, it’s no surprise to see another of her chilling novels getting repackaged for the big screen. This one stars Charlize Theron as a woman who survived the brutal killing of her family as a child, but is being forced to face the events of that day again by a secret society who want to find out what really happened. Also starring Nicholas Hoult, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christina Hendricks this thriller is sure to shock and surprise.