Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) AKA The Movie My Boyfriend Didn’t Want to Like Because Tom Hardy is in it But Grudgingly Had to Admit is Awesome


This is a mostly spoiler free review. I love Tom Hardy, so my boyfriend feels the need to hate him. How can anyone hate Tom Hardy? Look at him!

No, seriously….


But, really….


Ok, enough of that. Fury Road has quite a simple plot. In a post-apocalyptic world Max (Tom Hardy) and Furiosa (Charlize Theron) team up to escape the wrath of the grotesque Immortan Joe.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a film unlike any other. Well, except for maybe the other Mad Max films (which I have not seen). It manages to be extremely heavy on the action without ever losing the audience’s attention or the focus of its plot. This film is lean and mean in the best sense. There are no confusing subplots and every detail and action feels necessary. The screen play and the direction of this film is outstanding, all thanks to the vision of George Miller. Fury Road is an example of a director totally unleashing his creative talent with no impediments. And it pays off big time. Warner Brothers gave Miller all the money and time he needed and it resulted in one of the best action films ever made. The visuals are stunning, this is the best film I’ve seen in 3D.

I really enjoyed the simplicity of Fury Road. Furiosa has a goal, get the wives away from Immortan Joe, and Max is just kind of along for the ride. The film handles gender politics very skillfully. Miller doesn’t hit you over the head with feminism or really any philosophy. He just lets the world and its characters exist and the audience can infer from there what the movie’s message is. It’s a subtlety that I really appreciated. Furiosa is a great creation of Miller’s that is made even more amazing by Charlize’s performance. Furiosa feels like a real woman, something that Hollywood often has a difficult time representing. Furiosa is tough, capable, but she is also extremely vulnerable and maintains a sense of femininity despite her buzz cut.

The plot is completely owned by Furiosa as are the more emotional aspects of the film. But Tom Hardy still does a great job as the titular character, even if he is more of a supporting character. Tom shines with the physicality of the character (a defining trait for the actor in all his films). He excels in the action sequences. But the most enjoyable aspect is his somewhat surprising comedic abilities. Another reviewer likened Tom to Buster Keaton. And I have to agree. His mannerisms, facial expressions, and grunts were often hilarious. Tom brings some much needed levity to a film that otherwise would have been very heavy and too serious. Tom has a great gift for comedy, it would be great to see him show it off more.
Mad Max: Fury Road has everything I personally want in a film. Key word being ‘personally.’ This will not be a film for everyone, it may be too overwhelming for some and not have enough dialogue. But it completes my checklist. There is gasp inducing action sequences that dominate the film. There is a simple plot with a powerful message of redemption as well as an examination of our society. There is a strong, well rounded, realistic woman. And there is Tom Hardy with his gorgeous face and joyful sense of humor. This film has to be experienced on the big screen and preferably in 3D. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best, most enjoyable and thoughtful action films I have ever seen 9/10

Trailer Review/Actor Analysis: Tom Hardy and Mad Max: Fury Road


Actor Analysis
My Holy Trinity consists of: Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy. These are actors that I will see in just about anything. They’re charismatic, incredible actors and they also take on risky roles.

My Holy Trinity all happened to star in Band of Brothers.
My Holy Trinity all happened to star in Band of Brothers.

Tom is at an interesting point in his career. He has recognition and acclaim from critics, filmmakers, and avid film viewers. He has done some great work in Bronson, Stewart: A Life Backwards, and Locke. Yet he hasn’t quite caught on in a big way to the general population. He came close as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. But his face was covered up and he was overshadowed by Heath Ledger’s legacy.

Oh, it's just Tom Hardy covering up his face again. The guy must hate looking into a mirror.
Oh, it’s just Tom Hardy covering up his face again. The guy must hate looking into a mirror.

Other than Mad Max Tom has quite a few intriguing projects coming up. Child 44, a gritty drama with Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace will be out in the spring. He’s currently filming The Revenant with Leonardo Dicaprio. Tom will be returning to the DC movie universe, this time as Rick Flag in Suicide Squad in 2016. Most exciting to me is that Tom has signed on to play Elton John in a musical biopic about the singer. Tom is developing such a diverse portfolio. I hope he can successfully balance character study dramas with big blockbusters. Although I don’t understand why exactly he wants to do Suicide Squad. Maybe if he was Deadshot, that I could understand. But Rick Flag sounds like a very minor character.
Mad Max is Tom’s first time carrying a movie, being the lead in a huge blockbuster film. He’s been in successful ensembles before (TDKR, Inception), but can he do it alone? If given the right material I’m sure he can. Is Mad Max: Fury Road going to propel Tom Hardy into super stardom?
Trailer Review
I enjoyed the trailers previous to this one. But this trailer feels…weird to me. I’m not sure what the tone of the film is or what exactly it’s about. The positive of that is the trailer doesn’t reveal too much of the plot (a pet peeve of mine). I don’t like the music, I find that it makes the film seem like too much of a comedy.
The emphasis of the trailer seems to be on everything but Tom Hardy. Which worries me a little bit, although I’m sure he must give a great performance. I guess the studio realizes that Tom Hardy isn’t necessarily a bankable name. Instead there is an emphasis on the action sequences (which look awesome) and Charlize Theron. I’m not a huge fan of hers, but she looks decent in the trailer. What really jumped out at me though was Nicholas Hoult’s transformation. Wow, I had no idea that was him. If he can give a stellar performance he might just steal this movie out from Tom.
I haven’t seen any of the previous Mad Max films, but none the less I will be seeing Fury Road opening weekend (May 15, 2015). What do you think of the trailer? Do you like the career choices Tom is making? And are you even a Tom Hardy fan? (The only possible answer is “Yes!”)

Marvelous Mondays: X-Men First Class (2011) by The Girl That Loved to Review

I recently reviewed one of my favorite comic book movies, X-Men: First Class, over on Life of This City Girl. Go check it out if you haven’t already!

Life of this city girl

Today’s Marvel installment is by Sherise, who has an absolutely fantastic blog over at The Girl That Loved to Review. If you are not already following Sherise, you are missing out on some excellent blogging and I suggest you rectify this matter verrrry quickly :). Thanks for taking part, Sherise!

x men

This may be incredibly unbelievable to some of you, but I have never seen any of the movies in the X-Men trilogy. Never. The only one I had seen before First Class was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It’s very weird when I think about it because I loved the animated X-Men cartoon show as a kid. So basically when I saw X-Men: First Class I was viewing it with fresh eyes. I knew generally about the most famous X-Men characters, but that was about it.

What drew me to the theater to see First Class it’s opening weekend, despite…

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A Single Man (2009)


A Single Man is a film that came out in 2009 and was largely overlooked (wrongly, in my opinion) other than the Oscar nomination Colin Firth received for his portrayal of the film’s protagonist, George. The film takes place in 1962 on what may presumably be the last day of George’s life. Eight months prior George’s lover of 16 years, Jim, died in a car accident. The grief and depression George has faced in the aftermath of this event have become too much for him to bear, so he sets out that day planning on killing himself in the evening.
A Single Man is designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut and it’s quite a good one. I can see how the film would turn off some viewers, but personally I love it. Aesthetically it is a very beautiful film, which isn’t surprising considering the director’s day job. The opening imagery of George metaphorically drowning is beautiful in a somber, melancholy way. The close-ups of people’s eyes throughout the film was interesting, at least when it seemed to obviously invoke memories of Jim. Other times it just seemed to linger too long to the point of being boring. The use of color was also something I really liked. Most of the time the film’s palate is kind of bland. But when George talks to certain people suddenly all the colors start to brighten and pop. I loved the set design (George’s house is beautiful) and the costumes, but this is also in part because I simply love the 60s. I also enjoyed the use of ambient sounds in the film. The sound of the rain drowning out George’s anguish, a child hammering away, the sound of the phone ringing conjuring up memories of Jim’s death. And the ticking clock throughout the day, but especially at the end, was very effective. I found all this very interesting and the score itself is absolutely beautiful.


I find the film is a good examination of the grieving process. I found it extremely relatable. I found particularly effective how all the little events that occur throughout the day evoke memories of Jim. In this way, Jim, and George’s grief, is always present no matter what George is doing. George struggles to “just get through the goddamn day.” The motif of George drowning is readily apparent. A lot of the credit for how effective this film is has to go to Colin Firth. His performance here is remarkable, in a lot of ways I find it superior to his work in The King’s Speech, which he won his Oscar for. Here he is reserved, but still able to communicate so much pain (and lust) through his eyes, his subtle mannerisms. Julianne Moore is a highlight as well. In the short time she is on screen she is charming, funny, and incredibly pathetic. It would have been nice to see a little more of her. And I loved her eye make-up.

As much as I do like this film there are a few things wrong with it that keep it from being amazing. For one thing, I love how the film looks, but everything just seems to perfect. George is extremely well put together for someone who is in such anguish. It would have been nice to see a hint of some kind of dysfunction in his house or on his clothes. And I found it pretty funny that a few characters remark that George looks awful throughout the film because I’ve never seen Colin Firth look better 😛 A small problem I have with the plot is when Kenny finds a picture of Jim in the bathroom drawer. If we are to believe that George is extremely fussy and keeps everything in its proper place then why the hell did he hide the picture under the bandages? It puzzles me. But anyways, the biggest problem for me in this film was the character of Kenny, a young student of George’s, played by Nicholas Hoult. Hoult’s acting is borderline terrible and really drags things down. He is monotone and comes off as naïve. Kenny talks about things like fear and loneliness, but Hoult’s delivery makes it seem totally unbelievable. Maybe he’s just out acted by Colin. And Kenny’s fuzzy white sweater just looked ridiculous. I understand they probably wanted him to wear something obviously gay, but it really wasn’t necessary.

Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) in that stupid sweater.
Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) in that stupid sweater.

The weakest part of the film is the last third. Near the end George and Kenny meet up and spend the night together. Kenny/Nicholas Hoult really brings the film down here, again because of the terrible acting. Although it’s not totally his fault, the film just starts to drag and you keep wondering when it will finally end. Especially that last shot, it drags on for an unnecessarily long time. I guess the film is a little too self-indulgent for its own good. What I do like about the ending is the image of Jim coming and kissing George as he lies there dying. It brings everything back full circle to the beginning of the film, when George kisses Jim in his dream. It even brought a little tear to my eye.
If I had to give this film an overall rating out of ten I would give it 8.5/10. I really like it visually and I think Colin Firth is brilliant. I also find it unique, both in its subject matter and in the way the story is conveyed onscreen. But there are some things (like Nicholas Hoult) that keep it from being an amazing classic. I would recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a melancholy drama acted out in impeccable Tom Ford suits.