Mad Max: Fury Road – 8/10

A heavy metal apocalypse…


36 years after the original Mad Max, director George Miller returns to the iconic franchise for an update. As reboots go Mad Max: Fury Road is probably the most successful since Batman Begins in 2005. As with Nolan’s dark, gritty take on the dark knight, Miller refuses to tell the same story again with Fury Road a totally different story to the original Mad Max.

The world presented in Mad Max: Fury Road is nightmarish and obsessed with violence and greed whilst still remaining vibrant and colourful. The landscapes are so pronounced as to almost be overbearing but the star power of Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron brings the human element of the story into sharp focus. Nicolas Hoult also impresses in an unrecognisable turn as Nux further cementing his position as one of Britain’s top actors.

Actor and handsome devil Tom Hardy.

While Hardy, Theron et al are very good it is the action sequences that are the real star of Fury Road. Imagine the car chase sequence from Blues Brothers but two hours long and set in a desert occupied by Tolkien’s murderous Orc’s and you are somewhere close to the constant high octane action that courses through Fury Road.

Underneath all the explosions and violence though there is a number of high quality performances, some stunning visual flair and cinematography and a memorable and fitting soundtrack. In this reboot Miller has created one of the most successful reboots and one of the best out and out action films in years.

George Miller’s last film before Fury Road was Happy Feet 2 in 2011. Happy Feet 3 should be interesting…

Dark Places – 1/10

Unfortunately no Garth Marenghi in sight…

Chloe Grace Moretz desperately trying to show everyone she is an adult now.

Where to start?

Dark Places borrows heavily from the real life story of the Amityville murders as well as Truman Capote’s true crime novel In Cold Blood. Other plot points such as a nod to the hysteria around devil worshipping in 1980’s America and child abuse are seemingly thrown it at random.

Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl (another film I hated) is also behind the book from which Dark Places is based and it massively shows. Like Gone Girl almost every character is a cliché and none of the increasingly bizarre story rings true. Gone Girl and Dark Places must be two of the most ridiculous, far fetched films released in the last ten years.

Instead of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike we have Charlize Theron and woefully miscast Nicholas Hoult. Alongside them and doing nothing to improve matters are Chloe Grace Moretz playing a cow murdering, pouting maniac and Christina Hendricks who is the only person to come out of this mess with any credibility.
Charlize Theron wanders around glumly in a hat throughout.

Dark Places is nasty, predictable and in some places totally fucking laughable. The idea that the events leading up to the home invasion and murder that drives the plot could ever happen is completely absurd. I am actually offended that Gillian fucking Flynn and director Gilles Paquet-Brenner would serve up such a trite, daft and embarrassing piece of work. There is barely a single scene that didn’t drive me further away from the unintelligible and banal story and by the end I would have been laughing out loud had I not been consumed with a white hot rage.

Without a doubt the worst film I have seen this year.