Mad Max: Fury Road
This post-apocalyptic action adventure is definitely all action. Revisit the Mad Max story, in this refreshing addition, with Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as Furiosa but be sure to buckle your seatbelt because the pace is fast. The scenes, set in Australia, set the mood perfectly and the sets are great using less CGI than you would expect but the result is satisfying.
A new version of the traditional story is well worth a family viewing. The “animation to live-action” treatment is done very well and you will enjoy the visual splendor of the scenes as well as the perfect visual special effects. Director Kenneth Branagh has done an excellent job as well as the perfect cast to bring to life this beloved story.
I’ll See You in My Dreams
In this bittersweet comedy/drama, a widow of many years with an unchanging routine becomes restless and unsettled after the death of a beloved pet. Blythe Danner touchingly portrays a woman who discovers that, with the help of friends, life can begin anew. A good supporting cast including Sam Elliott and Martin Starr assist Miss Danner to bring us an enjoyable movie experience about living life and taking chances.
The Water Diviner is a unique historical drama about life and loss shortly after the conclusion of World War I. Beginning in rural Australia the story follows Joshua Connor’s search for his three missing sons presumed killed at Gallipoli. Connor travels to Turkey, now under British occupation rule, to seek closure. Once in Turkey his experiences with the local people are unexpected and through them he gains the opportunity to move forward with his life. This drama has a strong cast with Russell Crowe, in his directorial debut, and Olga Kurylenko.
This film is a great addition to the western genre but not in the traditional sense of conflict between cultures or survival. A young man, Jay, is in search of the woman he’s in love with who has fled Scotland to the American west with her father. On his journey west, Jay meets Silas and realizing he is out of his depth contracts Silas to guide him through this wild and dangerous territory. Unknown to Jay there is a bounty on his sweetheart and her father, dead or alive, and Silas is after the $2000 reward among other interested parties. Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee provide excellent performances as well as Ben Mendelsohn who plays an eccentric outlaw. There are lots of fortunate and misfortunate events that provide humor and further the characters on their journey which is filmed beautifully in an atmospheric landscape.
Woman in Gold
Helen Mirren has another perfect performance in this historical drama based on actual events. Mirren portrays, Maria Altman, a woman in her later life attempting to regain ownership of a famous painting of her aunt, created by world famous artist Gustav Klimt, which was illegally seized from her family by the Nazis during WWII in Austria. The film has flashbacks to her time as a young child and young adult in Austria and her escape from the Nazis occupation. A fascinating look at one woman’s personal struggle to revisit her past, with the help and sacrifices of a young attorney, and address the injustice done to her family.
Far from the Madding Crowd
The classic story by Thomas Hardy is of an independent and headstrong woman, Bathsheba, who has three very different men pursue her. Carey Mulligan is perfect as Bathsheba giving her all the qualities you expect with passion and strong emotions. Matthias Schoenaerts along with Tom Sturridge and Michael Sheen portray her various suitors equally well. The drama is filmed in Dorset England which is the location in Hardy’s story and is the perfect setting for this Victorian tale of relationships and adversity.