The Handmaiden

Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden has recently been released in the UK. If you've enjoyed his previous work definitely give this a go. I thought it was an enjoyable high quality production.

Posted on 20 Aug 2017, 11:08 a.m. by toadwarrior

Mad Max and the road to disappointment

I've always been a fan of the mad max films. I've watched the road warrior so many times I'm surprised I don't own a pair of assless leather trousers. I even have an appreciation for Beyond Thunderdome.

So I was expecting to enjoy Mad Max: Fury Road even with the reservations I had after seeing the previews. I mean how could it be be as bad as Beyond Thunderdome? There's no children looking for captain walker.

I was wrong, it's worse than Beyond Thunderdome and even when considering it on its own it's a bit lame. It suffers from having a big budget and as a result being designed for focus groups rather than creating a genuinely good film.

For starters it would seem that radiation has given everyone in Australia an American accent. They seemed to be afraid to have anyone that sounds different which is kind of odd given that Exodus: Gods and Kings gave us a Ramses with an aussie accent. Perhaps hollywood just doesn't like people to have their correct accent?

There is little violence or gore in the film. The mad max films never had much in the way of gore but this one has been sanitised quite heavily which makes any instance of violence or gore feel out of place. The reason being is that the film is very busy. Tons of things are always going on except when there's bloodshed. That happens out of view and in a rather dull fashion.

Neither Tom Hardy or Charlize Theron add anything to the film. Max seems to be going for best lawn ornament impression through most of the film and Furiosa certainly doesn't live up to her name.

The whole film can be summed up as someone thinking the most popular bit of the road warrior was the ending so it would make sense to make a whole film like that. No story, not even any conversation really just a lot of explosions to compensate for the lack of blood and lots of cars driving in the straightest possible lines. Most cars doesn't seem to do anything either. You just have a swarm of cars to fill out the scene while a handful of cars actually do something.

The guy from the trailer with the flaming guitar - that's basically his high point. The of the film he just shows up randomly making random noise to, as far as I can tell, pad out the scene. The same with the guys swinging on the poles. You just wouldn't have that. It makes no sense but it makes the scene busier and perhaps you'll not notice the complete lack of dialog and story.

Other visual problems include a swamp scene where everything is very blue. It's clearly being achieve with computer effects and doesn't look terribly good and it just doesn't really make sense that there's a place so dark and wet in the middle of a place that very bright and dry elsewhere. Surely people would be all up on that trying to collect water to take back to their home.

The films also suffers from plot holes and if you're going to watch it I would say to skip this paragraph to avoid spoilers.. Near the beginning of the chase where Immortan Joe (the main bad guy of the film) realises his wives have been stolen by Furiosa everyone ends up going into massive sand storm. Through the whole thing they appear to be keeping up with Furiosa but then it cuts to the end of the sandstorm. Max and the car he had been strapped onto wrecked in the chase. But they're so close he carry a body and a door in the hot sun all the way to Furiosa's truck. So I would imagine it wasn't that far off. She's running for her life. She wouldn't have sat there all day. So where did everyone else go. Why are they so far back again when everything kicks off again? Later in the film they get stuck in the dark blue swamp I mentioned before. They only barely got out of that but then seem to have zero problem going through it the second time. One the wives also falls out of the truck early in the film. You assume she dies but the other wives and Furiosa are keen to go back. Max isn't and lies about her being squished under the tyres. They ask numerous times and you assume a point is being made to Max lying to save their backsides. So surely this is a key point, right? Later in the film you find out this woman survived but her baby did not. So Immortan Joe says to cut the baby out. Obviously he wants to save his wife to presumably get her pregnant again. Anyway, we now see she's alive. Again there's another point that can play into creating some actual story. But no, she's never heard from again after that or maybe she was in Immorten Joe's car when Furiosa takes it over. I don't know I lost the will to care that point and if she was no one seems terribly bothered that Max lied and she's healed well for being cut open to have a dead baby pulled out. Oh then there's Furiosa trying to avoid having her tyres punctured but when it happens we find out her truck basically has steal wheels inside and there's no reason to fear getting a flat.

All those points mentioned above and the busy visuals lead to a quite boring film that's hard to follow despite not much actually happening. For a film called fury road it doesn't feel that emotional and no one seem that angry.

Lastly, one of the key points made was that this film wouldn't rely heavily on computer graphics but instead would have more real stunts. Well maybe there more real stunts than many other films but this film is loaded with computer graphics. So much so it feels lifeless. The other mad max films were quite intimate and they were stories about characters. Everyone played off of each other and they felt important to the film. Not so in Fury road. As mentioned earlier, I think they could pull Furiosa and Mad Max out of the film and it wouldn't have made the films worse.

I suppose if you didn't realise Fury Road is a sequel then perhaps it's a better film.

If you've thought I wish they'd make a mad max film that I can take my children (albeit older children) to then it's probably a good film for you though Beyond Thunderdome already fits that bill and has a story.

If you suffer from attention deficit disorder and don't like story or dialog but love action then you're going to have an absolute blast with this film.

Posted on 17 May 2015, 10:39 p.m. by toadwarrior

Bikes vs Cars

Fredrik Gertten's latest documentary, Bikes vs Cars covers the selfishness car drivers can exhibit and how certain industries push to keep people dependant on cars.

Cars are fun and the idea that was originally push by automotive makers regarding the freedom that cars could offer is certainly appealing but that freedom can certainly only happen if most people don't drive. I don't think many people realise how restrictive their car is especially in cities. For every rare instance that you travel the countryside on the weekend or carry furniture home rather than ordering online you get hundreds of days of sitting in a little box waiting for traffic to move, the maintenance and other costs. In my mind that's not freedom.

I've not seen this documentary yet so I can't recommend it but I'm certainly looking forward to seeing it.

Posted on 4 May 2015, 1:19 a.m. by toadwarrior