Saturday, May 16, 2015

George Miller is a Miracle Worker

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) - Miller
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Full of smashing metals, grit but short on dialog, Mad Max: Fury Road is just the antidote we've been hoping for in yet another slumming Hollywood superhero movies season of tight costumes and heroic speechifying in front of green screen backdrop. From beginning to end, Mad Max is first and foremost, just like its predecessor, Road Warrior, a chase movie. Max hisself is, as he always ever were, a loner whose only concern is his own survival in a dusty, dog eat dog world of the future. He is not as cunning as Yojimbo, nor as cynical as man with no name in Leone's Spaghetti Westerns. He just wants to be left alone. He was a good man once and there is a remnants of that man still alive inside that rugged exterior and hidden in that indecipherable grunts.

Miller at 70, who still has a vastly different ideas and aesthetics on how to make an action movie (thank god for that), concocts a movie that is so impossibly refreshing, you just have to sit back and admire his singularity. Whoever decided to give him millions of dollars- that blind faith, just like they did with Peter Jackson some time ago, needs to get credit for its success.

The movie's real hero is Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a one-armed, dusted, chiseled, smeared tanker driving megababe who turns her back on whatever the hideous bad man's name is (and it's not important) and decides to save a handful of teen supermodels who are kept wives of that hideous man. And if this sounds extremely sexist a la Reagan era 80s, you just wait, for there are a bandit of kick ass grannies living in the desert! (I mean, Miller must be channeling some Ursula K. Le Guin fan fiction here, jesus christ) And it works! Miraculously! I love this movie and am going to see it again in theaters soon!

My Mother My Sister

Sister (2012) - Meier
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Simon (Kasey Mottet Klein) is a young boy who lives in a some economically depressed Swiss town right below a ski resort. He makes a living stealing skis and gears and brings them to whomever want to buy it, pretending he is one of the rich tourists with masks and gloves and ski boots. He blends right in. He lives with his older sister Louise (Léa Seydoux) who's not really home much. She's always out with some guys with expensive cars. Their apartment is a mess. It seems it's Simon who provides food on the table and money too. He obviously has mommy issues as he clings on to a svelt English speaking tourist (Gillian Anderson) who is there with her two young sons. He lies to everyone that his parents were long dead from an accident, or owns a big hotel but too busy to be with him.

Simon tells his sister that his ski stealing business is a low risk job. But he gets caught and roughed up from time to time. Since it's Switzerland, there are no law enforcement anywhere it seems. No one really cares since the business around skiing is a seasonal affair- for both who work in the resorts and skiers.

Ursula Meier examines the class disparities as well as interesting family dynamics. The 'big reveal' is pretty devastating. Seydoux is lovely, so as Anderson, but it's Klein who shines in a psychologically complex role. Simon is a tragic figure - lonely, small kid who is left in his own devices to fend for himself as he grapples himself with the idea of 'family'. Great little movie.